Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Slippers, socks and sandals

I have long admired the Moonkoosa Boot pattern by Tiny Owl Knits  and the many finished versions on Ravelry.  So, when I found a big bag of Lopi wool in a charity shop it seemed like the perfect opportunity to give the pattern a try. Lopi is great for felting.  The first pair that I knitted was the shortest design - simple slippers.  I foolishly ignored the instructions to felt by hand and shoved the knitted slippers into the washing machine. When I took them out it became clear why it is best to do it by hand.  The fringes matt together and it is hard work pulling them apart.  However after an evening spent teasing them apart and squishing them into a good shape I left them to dry on a radiator. The finished result was pretty good and I was well pleased with them. So much so that I immediately knitted another pair in navy blue Lopi.
I decided to machine felt again and so spent another evening pulling the strands of yarn apart for the fringe.  This version was the ankle boot style so there was an extra row of fringing.  Unfortunately, the boots are a little too big in the foot and need to be refelted.  I am thinking to do this by hand as I don't want the fringe to matt together again. As yet, I haven't got around to doing this.  The pattern is really quick and simple to knit up.  The finished slippers are really fun .  I would recommend it.
This winter I have topped up my stock of handknitted socks by several pairs.  I love the colourful yarns that you can use to make socks.  They are also a small, quick, portable project that fits easily into a handbag. This rainbow pair was knitted from West Yorkshire Spinners sock yarn purchased at John Lewis. It is a lovely yarn that knits up into extremely pleasing stripes.

Last Summer I made quite few pairs of these flip flop sandals and gave most of them away as gifts. I found the pattern on Ravelry, of course! The crochet top turns a pair of flipflops into a really comfortable and stylish sandal.  It also doesn't take very much yarn - less than 50g.  I found that an acrylic and cotton mix gives the most comfortable pair of sandals. With flipflops being only about £1 a pair it is a fun, inexpensive project.


At last I have managed to get back into my blog - with help from my lovely laptop repairs man. Since I last posted there has been a lot of knitting, crochet and sewing going on.  Far too much to mention !  So, I will concentrate on a few of my favourite projects. Over the last year I have knitted a vast number of twiddlemuffs which have all been donated to Watford General Hospital .  Twiddlemuffs are great fun to make and use up all those scraps of yarn that you don't know what to do with.  Friends have kindly donated old keys, broken jewellry, ribbons, buttons and scraps of yarn to attach to the twiddlemuffs. I lost count of how many I made altogether, but I imagine it was over 50 .
Each one is unique which means they are interesting to make.  I plan to make more of these at some point.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

More tea cosies and a mat

Just a few more tea cosies! These are all patterns that I have used before and liked.  Probably time to try some new designs now...

Although I am still obsessed with tea cosies, I came across some yarn in my stash the other day that inspired me to have a go at making a bath mat.  I found this t-shirt yarn in a charity shop a couple of years ago and snapped it up.  Bargain! The pattern was free  and found during a Ravelry search for bulky rugs. I am using an 8mm hook, largely because I couldn't find a bigger one.  Probably would have gone for 10mm if I could have found it. However , the fabric is nice and firm and should result in a fairly durable rug.  Not sure if I have enough yarn to complete the pattern and may have to improvise a bit towards the end.
Alfie seems to approve of it so far!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

More Tea Cosies

Just thought I would post a few more tea cosies. They have been flying off the needles lately .
I found this pattern for a crochet cabled tea cosy online after much searching.  I haven't done crochet cables before and really wanted to have a go,  It was quite interesting to do and gives a really lovely effect. The yarn was some old Patons dk that I found in a charity shop recently.
 Another new technique for me was smocked effect knitting.  I enjoyed this one greatly and think it looks pretty good.  It has a nice traditional feel to it.  I used a ball of Rowan Creative Worsted that I bought in a  sale years ago. The original plan was to knit a hat but I never got round to it.
This simple granny square tea cosy pattern is brilliant and looks really effective in a colour run yarn. I guess it would look great with contrasting colour rounds too but who enjoys sewing all the ends in. I have used an acrylic yarn for this design so far - Yarnfair from Wilkinsons. The colours are very nice and it is also a reasonable price. When I manage to find that odd ball of Noro Silk Garden lurking in my stash there could be a posh version of this design coming up.
Another favourite design of mine is the Buddha's Knot No Sew Teacosy - also a free pattern. It's really easy and that little i-cord knot on top just finishes it off nicely.  When I found this amazing rainbow yarn in Hobbycraft I knew it had to become one of these. I am keen to get hold of some more of this. It makes for a very cheerful little cosy. Enough to brighten up the dullest of mornings!
I also made up this cosy in some of the Yarnfair striped yarn.
This yarn is only dk so I held it double.  Luckily the colour runs weren't hard to match up and it worked quite well.
Lastly today, this granny square teacosy is fairly cute but I hated all the sewing up. I think I would also prefer it more random colours for a scrappy look.
I am still considering options for today's teacosy. Maybe another knitted one...

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Tea Cosy Crazy

It has been a long time since I posted on my poor neglected blog.  I have , of course, still been knitting, crocheting and crafting at my usual rate. I have also been doing quite a lot of sewing lately and have finally grown to love my overlocker.
Anyway, I have become just a bit obsessed with tea cosies over the last month and have been making at least one a day.  I find these projects are just the right size to be achievable in one day and also to try out a variety of new stitches and techniques. It is not easy to find tea cosies in the shops and it is hard to beat a beautiful handmade one.
My obsession started when I finally got around to making up this lovely sheep tea cosy kit that I bought from Woolly Chic a couple of years ago.
He is just adorable and keeps the teapot very warm.  The loopy crochet was fun to do and I think he has real character.  I am thinking to make another one using black yarn - or maybe a whole flock.
After this successful project I started looking up patterns for more cosies and found plenty online and in old magazines. I also bought "The Big Book of Tea Cosies" from Amazon and feel inclined to knit every single pattern as they are all such interesting designs.
This simple granny crochet design is fast becoming one of my favourites.  It is so simple but looks very effective in any number of colours.  also, it's a great pattern for using up scraps of yarn.
 This, one is a basic knitted rib cosy.  The fun part is topping it with a whole load of knitted flowers and leaves.
 The cherries add a nice to touch to this seeded rib cosy.  I gave this one to a friend for her birthday recently.  Planning to make some more like this.
 The traditional ruched cosy is really good for keeping the pot warm as it makes for a very thick fabric. Never hurts to stick a pompom on top of a tea cosy!
 More flowers on top...
 This little number has cables and is gathered in at the top with an i-cord drawstring trimmed with pompoms.
 Cosy tweedy cables...
 This one is a bit of a hoot!
This is just a selection of the tea cosies that I have made so far.  I think there are going to be plenty more and will try to post more regularly.

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...