Sunday, 1 March 2015

Space Invaders!

Charity shops are fantastic places, little caves of other people's unwanted rubbish, which becomes someone else's treasure. I found a big stack of knitting and crochet magazines in a charity shop recently, and took them all home for the tiny sum of £3 - less than the cover price on each magazine! One of the magazines had a pattern for a cushion with Space Invaders on it, and within 24 hours I had a request to knit one for a child's room.

I used Drops Karisma DK from Wool Warehouse, ridiculously cheap at £2 a ball, and great for colourwork. I'm really pleased with the finished cushion, although I didn't enjoy sewing on all the
poppers for the bottom opening, if I made one again I'd probably use a zip.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Gift Stitching

March and April are busy months for me, with lots of birthdays and occasions, two of which are my Mum's birthday and Mother's Day. I decided to spend my Saturday making her some presents. 

This oilcloth was a tablecloth which I bought in Tiger, a sort of IKEA-style shop which sells really cute homewares and toys. I wanted to make a large shopping bag, so I had a good look through my fabric stash and found some printed cotton which would work as a lining. I've been watching the Great British Sewing Bee recently, but my sewing method would not have lasted long on that show! I didn't iron my fabric before cutting, I didn't measure anything, and I shoved everything under the sewing machine and hoped for the best! 

I'm quite happy with the results though - a large shopper with sturdy handles, slightly messy top stitching round the bag opening, and a pretty lining. 

I also got out my considerable stash of felt, and made a little spring daffodil picture in a frame. A productive Saturday afternoon!

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

All About The Gloves

I seem to have spent a lot of my time knitting gloves recently. I think it's because they are relatively quick projects to knit - even if the pattern is really complicated, the small scale stops the project feeling totally overwhelming. That said, Sanquhar gloves are probably the most difficult things I have ever knitted, and I just finished my second pair of them.

These gloves are the Duke design, and the pattern is a traditional one from the village of Sanquhar in Scotland. You can buy the patterns from the Women's Institute in Edinburgh, and if you get the chance it's definitely worth visiting Sanquhar itself to see the knitting on display in the museum.

I absolutely love the finished look of these gloves, but they are a pain to knit! I used 2mm needles and Jamieson and Smith 2ply lace yarn, which works up really nicely. The pattern itself is quite complicated to follow unless you know how the finished gloves are supposed to look, as each finger has an individual gusset and the lines between the patterns have to run up the correct side of the fingers. Once you get the hang of it, it's not so bad, but I did spend a lot of time shifting stitches around the needles trying to work out where my round should start and end. I modified the letter charts slightly, and decided to knit the recipient's name rather than the traditional initials.

If you want to find out more about Sanquhar knitting, Tom of Holland has a fantastic blog on the subject, which talks about the history and construction of the gloves - definitely worth a read. I also think that the patterns themselves are really adaptable. I made a child's pullover with the Duke pattern, and other designers have used the squares to create hats, scarves and cushions among other things.

Halfway through the Sanquhar knitting I felt like I needed a little break, so I made these fun fingerless mitts for my friend. He wanted something a bit different and superhero related, but I didn't have much luck finding a suitable pattern. These gloves jumped out at me because they were pretty fun, but not too "novelty" to wear to the office. The pattern is Fightin' Words by Annie Watts, and I used some of my new Drops Alpaca yarn. It's so soft and fuzzy, but the pattern was still quite defined. I found the charting really easy to follow, and I also liked the fact that the design can look so effective in lots of different colour combinations.

Now I've got these smaller items out of the way, I've started working through my countless unfinished projects. Currently, I have a cable cardigan, a vintage sweater, a crochet cushion, a knitted fair isle cushion, a pair of fair isle knee socks, a baby blanket and a tunic dress that all need to be finished. I'm trying to stop myself from casting on new things until all these projects are completed, but it's going to be a challenge!

Monday, 12 January 2015

Squishy Winter Gloves

A couple of weeks ago, I lost my cosy Swedish Fish Mittens on the bus. Not to worry, I thought, I'll just dig out my older pair of mittens and wear those instead. A couple of days later, I got off the bus and took the free paper instead of my mittens, which were still on the seat. Devastated! Those mittens took ages to knit, and they were the warmest things you could imagine. I knew it would take me days, perhaps even weeks, to create a replacement, and I just didn't have that much time on my hands. Besides, it was freezing, and I needed new gloves right now!

Then I remembered that I have a pattern book called "Hats, Scarves and Gloves" by Louisa Harding, which has a really easy DK glove pattern in it. I had a wee look in my new stash from Wool Warehouse - all Drops yarn, and such lovely stuff.

The mustard coloured Karisma jumped out at me as perfect glove yarn. It's woolly, warm, and has a great squishy feel to it. Both gloves took four hours to knit, tops. Not even exaggerating! It's a brilliant pattern (called Toasty Tweed, by the way), and apart from having to do seaming, I can't find fault with it. So now I have warm hands, and I may well dig into my stash and replace the fish mittens at my leisure, some time in the future!

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Ripple Blanket

I've spent the past month working on a big blanket for my sofa. It's the Cottage Ripple by Lucy from Attic24, and I used the yarn pack and pattern from Wool Warehouse.

This blanket was a joy to make! I started out thinking that I wouldn't enjoy crocheting ripples. It seemed like a lot more work than a standard granny stripe blanket, and I thought I'd get bored quite quickly. I set myself a target of three stripes a day, and stuck to this plan for a couple of weeks. Then life got a bit busier, and I ended up finishing the whole thing in a burst of activity just after Christmas. It's huge! It easily covers a single bed, perfect size for sofa snuggling.

Monday, 22 December 2014

New Free Pattern

Just a quick post to say that I've released a new free pattern for some fingerless gloves. They were inspired after a disastrous attempt to knit gloves from an existing pattern, so I ripped back to the cast on and started again with my own design.

These fingerless gloves are knitted up very quickly in the round. They have long cuffs to keep the wrists warm, and leave the fingers and thumb free to deal with touchscreen phones or dig change out of pockets. The rib is very stretchy, so they should fit a range of adult sizes. The pattern can also be adapted to fit larger or smaller hands, simply by adding extra stitches and knitting more rows. The gloves are ideal for knitting up scraps, as they use no more than 50g of each colour of yarn.

I made these gloves in a couple of evenings, so if you're looking for a last minute Christmas present idea, these might be ideal. The pattern is available for free in my Ravelry store - Striped Gloves Free Pattern.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Minion Hat

I absolutely love the Despicable Me films, mostly because of the adorable little minions - who are apparently getting their own movie soon! Last year, I did a lot of minion related knitting and crochet and this week I was asked to make another minion hat for a friend. It's a really easy knit, and fits most sizes of children and adults. The eye is crocheted and sewn on later, and the pattern has instructions for embroidering a mouth as well, if you fancy. Here's my daughter modelling it, with a classic minion expression!