Tag Archives: Knitting

Violent Violet’s socks

Sometimes (OK, quite often) I run before I can walk. I have a good idea, which is overtaken by a better idea, then I tweak it a bit more and see further possibilities. It all gets too complicated, too ambitious and nothing actually comes of it! After a spell of ill health last summer (if you have a kidney stone, make it a small one, having a 3cm one removed is not a great deal of fun…) I thought I had found a fun project, spinning and knitting socks as a gift for someone.

It started so well, we agreed on the pattern and the colour and I set to work. These socks were going to brighten anyone’s day. The fibre became affectionately known as violent violet:

IMG_1179 Worried in case I ran short of yarn, I spun 200g of fibre into a 3 ply – making something for someone else made me feel I needed to do things “properly”, none of that chain plying, what if they felt the bumps??? So far so good.

The knitting started and then life just kept getting in the way. Then the guilt set in, they sat staring at me every time I sat down, still with just the toes completed. Another spell of ill health and more guilt because I was at home all the time and still the wretched things weren’t getting any further along.

Eventually progress was made, and after I gave myself a stiff talking-to I managed to turn the heel at Christmas. I kept thinking ‘if I just did one pattern repeat a day they’d be done by the end of the month’… I kept torturing myself with thoughts that after all the effort they wouldn’t fit – we have the same size feet, but mine are unusually narrow so every time I tried them on they flopped about and it all looked wrong!

Finally, finally they are winging their way to their new home. I hope they are worth the wait!

IMG_1885 The pattern is Coming Together Socks and Violet is not really violent at all, in fact she is generally known as Violet Merino from World of Wool.

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New pattern – With a Twist Cowl

My first pattern of 2015 is published today in Knit Now Magazine (Issue 44).

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Photo: Dan Walmsley – Practical Publishing

Ravelry Pattern Page

It’s a neck-hugging cowl, perfect for the snowy weather we are having in the UK at the moment! It features reversible cables, so you can fling it on in a hurry, safe in the knowledge that you won’t be wondering around with it on inside out 🙂

With a Twist Cowl

It can be worn with the top folded down, or as a tube to keep as much of you warm as possible.

The cowl was knitted using Emrys Bluefaced Leicester Aran by Triskelion Yarn and Fibre. The yarn was a delight to knit with, a great colour (Hafren) and very very squishy.

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From the original prototype that I made I thought that it would be touch and go to make the cowl from one skein. There was an awful lot of knitting a round, weighing the cowl, weighing the remaining yarn, crossing fingers etc. When, after all that worry, the finished cowl used 90g of yarn, I was mightily relieved!

Annis

This project made me very happy!

The fibre was my favourite colour, I bought it on a rare day out at Unravel, it was pleasant to spin, satisfying to knit and taught me how to add beads.  It’s a free pattern, so if you want an Annis of your very own pop over here to Knitty!  Don’t be put off by the joy of casting on 360-odd stitches to start with, just add in lots of stitch markers and, honestly, after the first few rows of lace it just whizzes along.

What’s up, blossom?

I hope the weather has been kind to you – I have been enjoying the spring sunshine, and happily crafting away.  Shiela, of www.handspinner.co.uk, is running a competition which coincided nicely with my plans – to enter you have to create something inspired by her photo of blossom.

I spun a two-ply yarn, one strand was tencel, the other a repeating colourway of various tufts of pre-dyed merino and some white shetland fibre.  In a rare moment of ‘finish-a-project-itis’ I picked up my needles and put together a top-down hat.  There wasn’t a lot of yarn, so it’s baby-sized, but that meant that the stripes worked out pretty well (and the only head it would fit was that of a toy rabbit…):

Shiela’s competition is still open, so why not join the fun and games?  Click here to find out more!

Knitting with beads

This could also be titled ‘I’m afraid of those nupps’!  I’ve started knitting Annis, a crescent-shaped shawlette, using yarn spun from this fibre thatI purchased at Unravel:

Annis starts at the bottom, so you cast on 360+ stitches which is a bit of a challenge.  I added lots of stitch markers to ensure I don’t get lost!  I’ve not tried nupps before, but I did have some beads around that were just the right colour (and hopefully, if my maths is right, I will have just enough – I don’t want to think about getting most of the way along the last row of beading and finding that I’ve not got enough).  After a bit of research I found various descriptions on how to add beads when knitting.  Here’s how I have been doing it, in case it helps someone somewhere:

1  The next stitch needs to have a bead on it:

2  The beads are on a thread (I have about 150 beads on there and tied a VERY firm knot around the one on the end so they don’t all explode all over the floor) with a sewing needle that fits through the hole in the beads easily.

3  Thread the sewing needle through the stitch:

4   Remove the stitch from the knitting needle:

5  Then pass the sewing needle back through the bead:

6  Move the bead so it is on the sewing thread:

7  Move it further down so it is on the yarn:

8  Remove the thread from the yarn loop:

9  Put the stitch back on the left-hand needle:

10  Knit the stitch as normal:

11  Repeat as required…

I did read about people using dental floss instead of a needle and thread, but I didn’t have any to hand (sorry Mr Dentist, I may not always tell the truth about my flossing habits…).

And then there were three…

The third pair of mittens are complete:

These were a scaled down version of this pattern:  http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/nalu-mitts.  Now I need to find something else to create, the Christmas projects are at an end!

Mittens galore

Knitting gifts for Christmas always seems such a good idea – but why does it always end up taking more time than you have?  The snow and ice has returned and it meant a day of going nowhere and an excuse to do nothing but knit.

I’m doing three pairs of mittens and have finally finished one pair, the other needs another three rows per hand and I have finished one of the other pair (which was the pair I started first…).

This pair are for my mother-in-law, a lover of animals.  The yarn is spun from a batt made of merino, alpaca and angora so represents a good selection from the animal kingdom.  I’m not sure I carded it very well, the angora went into little clumps, but it made an interesting tweedy effect so I’m going to claim it’s a design feature.

Warm and toasty

My first project using a batt I created is now finished:

I made three batts of various orange/rust/gold/brown shades of merino blended with some copper coloured trilobal nylon.  Each batt has a slightly different style – one was layered, one was randomly blended and the other graduated from dark to light across the batt.  Each batt became a single and resulted in a worsted-ish three ply yarn. 

The colours lent themselves well to the Candle Flame cowl (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/candle-flame-cowl) – I managed to complete two and a half repeats of the pattern and squish in a couple of purl rows and end up with a yard or two of yarn left over – result!

Pop!

The yarn is now a hat…  After hunting through the pattern pages on Ravelry I found Pop! I kept weighing the hat and the yarn so I could get as many repeats of the pattern done as possible – the pattern suggests 12 and I managed 7 so it’s not as slouchy as the original. 

You can see the colour changes in this picture – I think I will experiment again with graduating colour through the singles, maybe the next four ply project?

Rectangly hat

The response to my pattern being added to the blog took me by surprise!  There have been loads of visits and downloads and it’s now in 50 queues over on Ravelry – I will be so pleased as and when anyone knits one up.  It must be really amazing if you are a proper designer and see people walking around wearing things that you have designed – I wonder if the novelty wears off?  I’d be unbearable if I saw someone wearing one of my hats! 

I can see from the magic stats thingy on here that this blog has started coming up in response to people searching for free patterns.  I could understand people being directed here when they search for ‘free knitting hat pattern’ or ‘free chemo hat pattern’.  I am still trying to understand  what the person (or people?) were truely seeking when they typed in ‘fruit free hat knitting pattern’ though?  A hat free from fruit?  A free pattern for a hat to go on a banana?  There could be a whole new market out there…

Free Knitted Hat Pattern

My first attempt at a written knitting pattern is now available via the FREE PATTERNS link at the top of the blog.

The pattern’s for this very cozy and totally reversible double-knitted ‘Rectangly Hat’.  The concept of double-knitting (knitting two layers at the same time) fascinated me.  This hat was made after knitting a swatch to find out how the technique worked and wanting to experiment with a larger project.

Hopefully I’ll get this pattern set up on Ravelry tomorrow.  If you decide to give it a go, do let me know how it works out!

Liesl – finished at last!

You know how some projects, through no fault of their own, just don’t want to come together?  This was one of them.  I spun some yarn months ago, started knitting and it was the most hideous creation I have ever seen!  The yarn was a multicoloured pink mix which combined with the feather and fan pattern was just way, way too busy.  For a while it stayed on my Ravelry pages headed ‘Barbie and My Little Pony in the blender’…

This version is much calmer.  I managed to use up almost all the yarn I had spun (about 400g of arun/bulky weight) – literally just a couple of yards spare.  I knit the yoke and a fair bit of the body then started wondering when to stop.  I went back and knitted the arms, then kept going on the body until the yarn ran out.

I’d like to knit another one of these – maybe a calm mix of colours, and a slightly lighter-weight yarn (this version is certainly warm and weighty)!

Fear of felting…

So, the fibre I dyed has been spun and plyed and is rapidly turning into a bag.  The handle seems to be taking forever – I wanted it to be strong so it is a tube of seed stitch, but I can’t decide when to stop knitting.  I’m going to felt the bag so the handle will get shorter, but I bet it will stretch with use…

I knitted a Booga Bag a couple of years ago and remember that it got much shorter but not a lot narrower so I’ve tried to take this into account when making this bag.  Hopefully I will finish the handle today and get it in the washing machine – I hate that bit, what if it eats all my hard work and turns it into something the size of a thimble?  Then I’m on a button buying mission tomorrow so I can get it finished and use it on Sunday!

Socks with a hug

My daughter’s off to Brownie camp today – she’s been away overnight before, but this time she’s away for three nights.  We’ve packed what feels like most of the house (and they’re in a village hall, not tents, so no camping equipment beyond a sleeping bag)!

I wanted her to have a little something if she felt a bit homesick and was inspired by this project on Ravelry http://www.ravelry.com/projects/batfink/sock-buddies.  Both socks have pockets, one has a bear to hug and the other a little crochet heart tucked inside. 

I’m not sure what it will take Brown Owl and Tawny to get through the next few days – rather more than a pair of socks I suspect!

Sheep in transit

Someone told me that every spinning wheel needs a sheep to look out for it.    I used this pattern:  http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/sheep-in-sheeps-clothing# to create the sheep on the left of the picture, who sits in the handle of my Ladybug, keeping an eye on things.

The sheep on the right is on a long journey oop north to make sure all is well with a wheel and it’s new family.  It arrived today (so much for first class post, it was posted on Thursday and arrived Tuesday…) and is currently having a name chosen in a very democratic manner!

Update:  Names were drawn from a hat and the sheep is now named….  Corynthia