Wednesday, March 30, 2016

More Mitts!

 I have made about six pairs of these flower mitts so far and am still loving them. They are the perfect way to use up a single ball of dk - of which I have many! The embroidery is a lot of fun and makes each pair unique.  I found some tapestry yarn in a variety of colours in the local charity shop and find it very useful for adding colour.  Even the smallest piece of yarn can make a few french knots. Three pairs of mitts are waiting to be embroidered, so more of those in my next post.
I crocheted the Lollo Rosso shawl a while back after seeing the pattern on Ravelry and admiring the many gorgeous examples pictured there. It seemed quite small when I was working on it so I purchased an extra ball of yarn and did an extra repeat of the increases. As I was blocking the shawl I realised that this had probably been unnecessary - it opened out a lot! I used beads on the final row as recommended in the pattern but have to admit that it hardly seems worth they effort. They are barely noticeable and get completely lost in the ruffles. They are also so small that they don't really add any weight to the bottom of the shawl. Apart from these few points, it is a lovely shawl and I may well make another smaller version some time.

There are lots of projects on the go at the moment.  Mostly smaller projects - accessories and such. I am usually like to have a big jumper or something to work on as well but can't quite decide what to make next. I need to look through my vast collection of patterns and yarn for some inspiration.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Pretty Mittens

I whipped up these lovely little mittens last night, inspired by a pair that I saw on Ravelry called the Mayrhofen Fingerless Mitts .  I knitted the mittens flat and then sewed them up.  I prefer knitting flat but have to say that knitting in the round does give a better finish - and I do hate sewing up! I am already half way through another pair (in the round) and looking forward to embellishing them. I haven't really embroidered on knitwear before and found it both fun and effective.  My technique could probably be improved upon but even the simplest of flowers makes an attractive addition to these cute fingerless mittens. The wool is some old Wendy Merino dk which was included in a huge bag of yarn that I was lucky enough to be given by a friend doing some house clearing. There is plenty more - hurrah!
Another recent favourite is this amazing blue tit that I bought in kit form at the Spring Knit and Stitch Show at Olympia a few weeks ago. I couldn't wait to knit it up and managed to complete the project in 2 evenings. One for knitting and one for stuffing and assembly. It was a really fun knit and I just love the finished bird. There were also kits available for a robin and I plan to get my hands on this at some point. We had a little photo shoot in the back garden and big bird looked right at home in the tree.

A friend recently asked me if I would knit an aran jumper for her dad, who was missing a worn out old favourite that he had been wearing for years. I had forgotten how much I enjoy this type of textured knitting. The jumper was finished and with it's new owner in 2 weeks.  The good news is that he absolutely loved it and wears it a lot.
I am quite keen  make an aran jumper for myself.  I have the yarn.  I have the pattern.  Maybe my next large project?
I already mentioned that I hate sewing up my projects.  It is the knitting that I enjoy and I can lose interest once taht part of a project is finished. The knitting for this lovely fluffy jumper was finished within a week but it then sat in the basket waiting to get sewn up for a couple of months.  Finally got around to it and now have a lovely soft , warm jumper.  The pattern was a charity shop find which featured a yarn very similar in appearance to the Drops Melody which I was wanting to use.  The yarn was an absolute bargain, as always with Drops, and has knitted up beautifully.

On a final note, I made this entrelac beanie to try out a pattern that someone gave my husband in the pub. He said that a guy who knits hats was slightly baffled by the instructions and wondered if I could take a look. I guess entrelac seems that way at first but is actually very easy once you get into it.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Back to Blogging

 I was thinking about my blog earlier today and realised it has been an age since I last posted. I miss it - don't know why I have left it so long.  Certainly not for lack of items to blog about.  Since my last post I have made some great sweaters - not least of which is this beauty. It was a free pattern that I spotted on the fantastic Ravelry.  Here is the pattern link for the cream jumper
I used some lovely Sirdar Babouska which I had picked up at a fantastic bargain price from Kemps Wools. I wasn't sure if I would like this yarn and really bought it because it was a stupid 29p a ball at one point. This is not always a good reason to buy yarn but on this occasion it proved to be an excellent purchase.  It is over 50% wool and extremely light , fluffy and warm with very good yardage. Babouska was a perfect choice for the pattern.  The pattern was really easy with minimal shaping and a combination of knitting and crochet. Very pleasing result.

For a while, I became completely obsessed with mittens.  They are an ideal way to try out new techniques and are small enough to complete fairly quickly. I found that a few pairs of these mittens resulted in a huge improvement in my stranded colour work.  There are loads of free patterns for mittens that can be downloaded as well as some amazing patterns for sale on Ravelry.
This pair had a Christmas carol knitted around them, which was so much fun.

 I really enjoyed making these little gems and will probably knit a few more pairs throughout the year just for the fun of it.

I also made the first pair of socks in a very long time.

I wanted a chunky pair to wear with my Winter boots and have worn these a lot.  Sirdar Crofter may not be the most hardwearing of yarns for a pair of socks but they are holding up well.
As usual when the weather gets colder, I feel the need to knit a selection of new hats.  The Baable Hat is a free pattern, again from Ravelry, that knits up into the cutest of hats.  I used some Drops Alaska from stash for this one. Love this hat so much! I also made another Westie Hat.  I seem to have lost the red and white one that I knitted last year and was wanting to mkae another.  This time I used some Katia Alpaca which is supersoft and a pleasure to knit with and wear.
Alpaca is one of my favourite fibres and this lovely hat from Toft Alpaca was purchased as a kit at Knit and Stitch Show last year. I really like it .

Last year I wanted to learn something new and decided it was time to tackle entrelac. I have now knitted about half of this totally gorgeous wrap in Noro Silk Garden Lite. The pattern is the Lady Eleanor Wrap from Scarf Style, which has been on my to do list for ages. This project has been "resting" for a while but I am psyching myself up to finish it sometime soon. Entrelac is a lot less complicated than I had expected.
There have been so many projects over the last year that I can't possibly blog about all of them now. I will give a mention to Tiny Ted though as he is a particular favourite of mine.
I made him one evening out of a small scrap of leftover sock yarn and plan to knit him some friends at some point.
Currently on my needles are an aran jumper, a Lollo Rosso crochet shawl and a simple knitted fluffy cowl. More of these soon...

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Bags , hats and a bunny

I recently finished this gorgeous granny bag and felt compelled to blog about it as I was so thrilled with the crochet gorgeousness. It was a kit that I purchased from The Mercerie quite a while ago and then hadn't got around to making up.  After seeing some beautiful crochet bags on Ravelry I remembered that I had this lovely item just waiting to be assembled.  So, I had a rummage in my not inconsiderable stash and managed to find the kit. A week later I am the proud owner of the biggest and best granny bag ever! It consists of 36 granny squares joined up into a large square and gathered around the edges - so easy.  I can see many more of these bags in my future.

Hats have also featured largely in my work over the last few months.  It started with Woolly Wormhead's "Camden Cap" which I knitted up in some Rowan Summer Tweed. I do like the pattern and will probably make it up again in a different yarn - Rowan Denim would be nice.  It reminded me of my all time favourite hat the Swirls Cap and once I had thought of that I had to make one.  After making one I had to make several more - they really are so enjoyable to crochet and also to wear.

I have also been reviving my interest in sewing recently and  have several dressmaking projects planned. I decided to start off with something small and whipped up this cute stuffed bunny in an afternoon. So pleased with the little cutie!  I used an old linen skirt that I no longer wanted for the body and a spare fat quarter for the dress.  The pattern was from a sewing magazine and is called "Harriet Hare". An appropriate project for Easter I think.

I made a couple of pairs of slippers for presents last month.  I like slippers for gifts - they are quick to make and fun to embellish to suit the recipient. The brown flowery ones were for my sister and the purple ones for Janet from Knit Club.

I have been working on a illusion knit picture of a Yorkshire Terrier for a few weeks now.  It is easy but you do need to concentrate on the chart and so it comes out now and then when i am not too tired. It is about 3/4 done now and I am undecided what to make from the finished piece. Maybe a cushion? Perhaps a bag?

Lastly, in an attempt to make a dent in my stash I am crocheting a quick wrap with some super colourful Mary Maxim Prism which I bought at Ally Pally a couple of years ago.  For 100% acrylic this yarn is amazing.  It almost feels like wool and the colours are just amazing. I haven't seen this yarn on sale anywhere else but would love to get hold of some more.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Little Pumpkin and Yoda Baby Hat

I have made this type of hat quite a few times before - it is probably my favourite design for a young baby. The Little Pumpkin Hat just looks adorable on any baby.

This one was made from some worsted weight alpaca from my stash and scraps of wool for the leaf and stalk. I knitted the size 3-6 months but apparently it fits the newborn baby fine. It should last for a few months as you can unroll the brim a bit to make it larger. The pattern I used was Pumpkin Hats by Sarah Hood which is a free download from Ravelry. Highly recommended!
Also for my colleagues new baby boy...

... the equally adorable Yoda Hat which is also available through Ravelry. I purchased a couple of skeins of Berroco Abode at Loop last year and this was the perfect project for it.  The parents are big fans of Star Wars and were well pleased with this supercute topper.
Expect another update soon as there are a lot more finished and half finished projects waiting to be photographed and featured on this blog.  It has been a very productive summer!

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Crazy for Crochet

I have been really keen on crochet lately and have started , but not necessarily finished, quite a few projects. I haven't updated the blog for a while due to camera problems - now sorted! So here are a few of my latest creations...

I found this design when searching Japanese crochet sites for free patterns and general inspiration.  It is just a simple mesh shawl with a pretty border which includes dangling leaves and little balls.  A lot of the Japanese shawl and scarf designs feature really interesting borders and I am a big fan of these designs.  I love the way they can make the simplest piece of fabric into a spectacular masterpiece. I wouldn't call this one a masterpiece but it was enjoyable and quick to crochet.  I used most of a skein of Madeleine Tosh Merino Light that I purchased at Loop last year.  It is a beautiful soft yarn and the colours are slightly tonal, which I absolutely love.
Drops have had a truly amazing sale this Summer with 35% off their cotton yarns, so obviously I had to take advantage of that. I love Drops! The yarns are amazing quality, come in a huge range of gorgeous colours and are incredibly reasonably priced. Their massive collection of free patterns is pretty good too. I found this cute little bag pattern in Issue 55 of Inside Crochet -  it is the Boogie Bag by Jane Crow.

  In the magazine it was hooked from Rowan Cotton Glace which can cost around £5 for a ball but I made it from Drops Cotton Light which cost me 90p a ball. I have enough yarn left over from this project to make another bag, so that is a real bargain.
The piece of crochet with which I am most pleased is the Arianna cardigan wrap. It is a brilliant pattern by Vicky Chan - available, of course, through Ravelry. The genius of this design is in it's very simple shape that when worn drapes beautifully and looks far more complicated than it is. The garment is incredibly versatile and can be worn either way up for different looks.

I used a cone of cotton/acrylic 4 ply from Yeoman Yarns for this version.  It is a very economical but good quality yarn which I greatly recommend. The 2000m cone easily completed the garment with some to spare and had the added advantage of no joins or ends to sew in. I like the finished item so very much that I have started another in gorgeous green Araucania sock yarn (another sale purchase) and can't wait to see how it turns out. The wool should be a little lighter than the cotton.

I have been doing a little knitting too.  Here is the proof...

Sirdar Click Chunky at 49p a ball is hard to resist - so I didn't.  Kemps Wools often come up with incredible bargains on discontinued yarns and colourways and it is well worth checking out their discount section on a regular basis.  The pattern was a Sirdar design from a recent edition of Knitting magazine. It knitted up in a few days and is very warm and wearable.
Acrylic yarn seems to be much softer and better quality these days and I am almost won over by it.  The colours of this Stylecraft Merry-go-Round were enough to tempt me. This simple , fun, rainbow shawl is incredibly quick to crochet and the pattern is easy to memorise.  I have worked up most of this on recent train journeys and at concerts where I don't want to concentrate on a complicated pattern. 

Lastly, a quick fun project that I made from Poundland acrylic dk doubled up to make chunky weight.  I used the Mama Capybara pattern from "Huge and Huggable Mochimochi" by Anna Hrachovec.  It is a wonderful book packed with fun toy and accessory designs which easy to knit and definitely live up to the promise of being huggable.  I made this giant guinea pig (ok, so he is really a capybara) for a friend at work who fosters a lot of the little guys for an animal welfare organisation as it tries to find permanent homes for them.  Hope she has room for this little one!

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Bloomsbury Top and other projects

I have been having another crochet phase lately and am particularly proud of this creation.  The Bloomsbury Top from Interweave Crochet has been on my list of things to make ever since I saw it last year. I finally decided to give it a go after reading on Ravelry that it looks a lot more complicated than it actually is. I would entirely agree with that assessment of the pattern now that I have made it.  It only took about 5 days to crochet the top and I really enjoyed it. The trickiest part was joining the motifs together at the correct points. I have used Noro Silk Garden Sock yarn from my stash which I purchased in a sale a while ago. It would have been far too expensive at full price but has actually turned out to be quite a bargain.  The problem with sales is usually the choice of colours is limited to the ones that no-one else wants.  On this occasion I really like the colours that were available.

Another recent crochet success...

 This one is from Yumiko Alexander's lovely book "Rustic Crochet". I used the 100% linen that I got from Ice Yarns.  It was a quick and easy project and overall I am quite pleased with the result.  I do love linen but am wondering whether this stuff is perhaps a bit more suited to accessories rather than garments.  It has a bit of a string effect and is not very soft. This thought inspired the next project.  A cute bag embellished with flowers.

I like this a lot - it took very little time to make and looks pretty good. I plan to make another of these in a cotton yarn with more colourful flowers.
Still on the crochet theme, I made this blanket from cheap acrylic yarn inspired by a pattern I saw in a magazine. This was a project that I could make with my eyes closed and so ideal for knitting club and telly watching. I really love the fringed edging which makes it look quite special. I loved making this and am sure that I will be making more throws in the future.

I have finally returned to my knitting needles for a while and have been working for most of this week on a second version of the Central Park Hoodie.  My first attempt at this jumper was a big success and is probably my most worn piece of knitwear ever.  I still love it and have often thought to make another one in a different colour.  The recent Drops Yarn wool sale provided just the incentive to start on a lovely green hoodie. The yarn is a lot springier than the Donegal Tweed I used first time around.  I think this means the hoodie will turn out a bit more fitted than the first version.
Hope to finish this very soon - maybe by the weekend so I can show it off at Knit Club!