Saturday, 13 December 2014

Christmas Knitting

Are you making any Christmas presents this year? Every year I promise myself I'll be organised and get things done early but every year, no matter what, something comes up and it's a mad dash to the finish line.

So with 11 days, 11 hours and 36 mins left until Christmas (I have the Christmas Countdown open permanently at the moment), I have 3 hats, 2 scarves, and 2 cardigans left to finish. Yikes!

Christmas knitting list

1.  A "super soft slouchy beanie" for my friend Tamara. This was a request and is a part Christmas present/part Thank you present for a lovely, relaxing holiday at her house on the Isle of Wight.

 Status: Complete!

2.  Three Ninja Turtle hats for my three nephews. I'm making these using Sirdar pattern 7324 but in King Cole Merino blend to make sure they're toasty warm.

Status: 1 age 7/9 complete! 1 age 4/6 and a 13 month old to go

3.  A soft, fluffy hat for a niece. I still haven't decided which pattern to go with but I think she'll look really cute in this Eskimo kisses. She has a lot of hair so I'm thinking a slouchy beanie or a beret might work the best.

Status: Well I've picked a yarn... that's a start right?

4.  A hooded jacket for one of my twin nieces. This is a lovely pattern - Sirdar 2423 - but my nieces are little fuss pots that won't wear wool so I'm using a cotton aran instead. It won't be as warm but it's beautifully soft.

Status: All knitted, just need to assemble now

5.  Another cotton jacket for my eldest niece. This is from an old book and again, it's supposed to be knitted in a wool blend but I've gone for a nice bright cotton for the biggest fuss pot of all.

Status: Uh oh, only half way up the back

6.  A scarf for mum. This is a Knit Night scarf by Louise Zass-Bangham (great name!), using a hand dyed yarn by my friend Danielle of Mother of Purl. It's a great no-brainer pattern for Saturday night wine time with big sister. 

Status: Weighed the yarn last night and I have 48g of an 100g skein left

7.  Mystery project which I can't really share because it's for big sister and she will read this so I'm not giving anything away. It is lovely though. It's hiding under the subtle top secret stamp in the first picture.

Status: 24g of 100g left

You know, I thought writing it all down would organise me and motivate me to get going but, in fact, it's just terrified me so I'm going to put the kettle on and make a nice cup of tea before I jump in again. 

Wish me luck! Is anyone else as panicked as me?

Friday, 13 June 2014

FO Friday - Free Crochet Pattern

I get so excited when I finish something off because it means I get to start something new! TO celebrate that Friday feeling, I'm offering this pattern for free.

This is a great pattern, suitable for any 4ply yarn. It looks particularly great in sock yarns and hand dyes.



2 x 50g balls SMC Regia 4 ply Colour
4.5mm Crochet Hook


CH Chain, HTR Half treble crochet, REP Repeat, SK1 Skip the next stitch, CH SP Chain Space, ST(S) Stitch(es)


This pattern is written using English crochet terms.

The chains at the beginning of each row are counted as the first stitch.


Chain 7
Row 1:  htr in 4th chain from hook (first chs count as 1htr), htr in each chain to end      
Row 2:  ch2, htr in same st, htr in each st to end             
Row 3:  ch2, htr in same st, *ch1, sk1, htr in next st; rep from * until last st, htr in last st             
Row 4:  ch2, htr in same st, 2htr in each ch sp, htr in each of last 2 sts  
Row 5:  ch2, htr in each st           
Row 6:  ch2, htr in each st

Repeat rows 3 - 6 until you have used all of your first ball, ending after a row 6.

Row 1:  ch2, htr in the next st, *ch1, sk1, htr in next st; rep from * until last 2sts, htr in last st
Row 2:  ch2, 2htr in each ch sp, htr last st
Row 3:  ch2, htr in each st           
Row 4:  ch2, htr in each st

Repeat rows 1 - 4 until there are 6 sts remaining, ending after a row 4. Fasten off your yarn and sew in your ends.

Enjoy your scarf! You can also dowload the pdf version of the pattern through Ravelry here - download now

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Work in Progress Wednesday #7 - Oops I did it again!

I know I should be finishing up some patterns or unpacking boxes or filing or loading new products on to the website but I've got myself distracted again. My cousin has just had a beautiful baby boy and it seems so rare to make something for a boy (we're a family of girls) that I got too excited to wait until the jobs are done.

So I've pulled some super cute ocean themed colours in the Bamboo Cotton DK...

... picked a stitch from my bumper book of crochet stitches and started on a blanket for the littlest member of our family.

It may seem a bit last minute to wait until the baby is here so I feel I should point out that I was organised enough to knit a cute, neutral cardigan when I found out the baby was on its way but I'm also disorganised enough that I have absolutely no idea where I've put it!!!

It looks like it's going to be another race to the finish. My cousin lives in Luxembourg and my sister is stopping by to see them all on an epic tour across Europe in a couple of weeks so I better get a wriggle on. 

By the way, I know this is the wrong side of the stitch, but I think it looks really beautiful.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Work in Progress Wednesday #6

I'm trying to work on my minute concentration span by working on only 2 projects at a time and it's working. I did try just working on one at a time but I just got bored and ended up playing Sims - Not productive.

This week my 2 projects are my Misty Meadow shawl, knit in Fyberspates' Scrumptious 4 ply and my vintage bear.

The shawl has knit up surprisingly quickly. I have just cast off the last row of the lace along the edge so now all it needs is a good hard blocking and it's good to go.

It's rare that I finish something just for myself so I'm excited. It's to wear to a wedding on 7th June and I still have to make the dress to go under it. As beautiful as it is, I don't think the bride and groom would appreciate that look!

The vintage bear was designed by my friend Clare of Clare Bears and Serious Stamp fame. He's a knitted version of her gorgeous, sewn, teddy bears.

I've been working on the pattern and knitting him a friend. It's going to be quite a complicated pattern but I think all the extra shaping is what gives him his charm.  So far he has a body and most of his head.

Just ears, arms and legs to go and some assembling. I have made a bit of a boo boo. I've sewed up the body completely without adding the joints in. I'm going to have to do some teddy surgery.

Back to work, I have a lot of boxes to unpack. Pop over to Tami's Amis to see what everyone else is getting up to.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

The Battle of the Arans

I have a couple of projects in the pipeline that require a fair bit of aran weight yarn (there's a little hint in the swatches below). As each of my suppliers has their own version of a wool/acrylic blend aran in 400g balls, I decided to have a little competition to pick which one to order.

I've knit a little sample in each to compare the knitted texture and that, along with wool content, price and yardage will hopefully help me make up my mind.

Here they are alphabetically:

Hayfield Bonus Aran With Wool

Hayfield Bonus Aran comes in 37 shades in a variety of solid, tweedy and heathered colours. The 400g ball has 840m, contains 20% wool and would retail at £9.95.

I enjoyed knitting with this yarn, it has great stitch definition and has made a fairly solid piece of fabric. It may not make the drapiest of garments but it's soft and smooth.

This swatch was knitted while I watched Eurovision with my big sister and shared a bottle of wine or two. I learned something about myself that night. Apparently I can knit a semi-complicated cable pattern while drinking but I can't do moss stitch!

King Cole Fashion Aran

King Cole's Fashion Aran comes in 18 shades and is available in 100g balls or 400g balls. The 400g ball has 800m, contains 30% wool and retails at £11.95.

This is the yarn that we currently stock in the shop so the swatch was knit in a remnant of the grey I used for the man slippers that took forever. It's a good basic yarn, slightly rougher on the fingers than the Hayfield, probably because of the extra wool content. 

Stylecraft Special Aran with Wool

The Stylecraft Special Aran with Wool comes in 27 shades in a variety of solid, tweedy and flecked colours. The 400g ball has 816m, contains 20% wool and would retail at £9.95.

This yarn is a soft as the super popular Special DK. The finished swatch is light but it has a sheen on it from the acrylic which makes it look cheaper than the other yarns.

Wendy Aran

Wendy Aran comes in 29 shades, ranging from classic to neon. The 400g ball has 800m, contains 25% wool and would retail at £10.95.

I'm going to be honest here, the Wendy is not my favourite. The yarn was harsh to knit with and the resulting fabric is gappy. The stitch definition on the cables isn't great either. I don't think this yarn will make it though the cut.

I'm going to have a ponder on the swatches and ask the Thursday night knitters what they think. So far the Hayfield is my favourite but I'm easily swayed so I'll see what everyone else thinks and let you know the winner.

Have any of you had any experience with these yarns? How do you pick a yarn for your project?

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Work in Progress Wednesday #5

This week I have been concentrating on getting my patterns up to date. I've fallen into a really bad habit of scribbling down notes on scrap bits of paper while I'm knitting things and then, when it's finished, getting distracted by something new and shiny.

Seriously, who could concentrate with this stack staring you in the face?

Although this has meant that I'm entertained, it's also meant that people coming into the shop have fallen in love with items that I have absolutely no pattern for. So I knuckled down, gathered my sheaves of paper into some semblance of order and got to typing. So far I've finished the pdf version of the free Oceanic Scarf  pattern and the pattern for Fibonacci's Shawl. Follow the links to find them on Ravelry.

All that's left is Charlie the Chimp so tonight's job is to make this:

Look like something a sane person could use to make this:

whilst avoiding this:

Tiger the fat cat wants to play!

Friday, 14 March 2014

I'm on a roll! (free pattern)

I feel like I'm finally on a roll finishing all my many projects off. This week I've finished  a pair of mini-socks for the upcoming sock workshop - toe-up on the left, top down on the right,

Charlie the Chimp - pattern coming soon,

and the oceanic scarf -

That's three finished projects which means, according to Big Sister's rules, I get to start something new - woo hoo!

To celebrate, I'm releasing the Oceanic Scarf pattern for free.

Oceanic Scarf


4 balls of Adriafil DUO PLUS Comfort
A pair of 4.5mm ( UK 7 - US 7 ) needles


K Knit, K2tog Knit the next 2 stitches together, P Purl, YO Yarn Over


Cast on 54 stitches

Row 1 *K2tog x 3, ( K1, YO ) x 6, K2tog x 3; repeat from * until end of row
Rows 2 and 3 K all stitches
Row 4 P all stitches

Repeat rows 1 - 4 until you have knit all 4 balls or until your scarf is of sufficient length, cast off, sew in your ends and enjoy!