Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Meet Rosie

This is Rosie, a little sock monkey/cat/animal thing. She's made from a pair of stripy socks, with two button eyes and an embroidered face. I'm now working on her extended family!


Monday, 28 November 2011

A Parliament of Owls

I had a play with some felt the other day. First I cut out these little guys...
















...then I sewed them together, embroidered some wee details, and stuffed them. They're going to hang on keychains, to be sold at Make do and Mend on Saturday!
















I love owls! Some of my favourite clothes have owl prints on them, and of course I have an Owls sweater that I knitted.




















Owls are everywhere just now - how cute is this bag? and these hats?
And if you love owls too, you simply have to get over here or here - just look at the loveliness!
If you have children, this is the cutest story ever. Fluffy baby owls :)


Saturday, 26 November 2011

Alternative Christmas

I'm a bit of a Scrooge when it comes to Christmas. Deep down, I love the old festive traditions, the family recipes, the yummy bread sauce, and the cosy firelit moments at the end of the day. Generally, though, I hate the new commercialised face of Christmas. It's not even December yet, and festive tunes are playing in the shops, the decorations are up already, and we're all being encouraged to buy buy buy. I think it ruins the specialness of Christmas Day itself, because by the time the 25th comes, we're all thoroughly Christmassed out.

However, I'm going to be selling at my first craft fair, Make do and Mend at Platform in Glasgow, and the theme is Christmas gifts. So I thought I'd better try and get into the festive mood, and make some things that would fit the impending occasion. Yesterday I had a play around with felt and created some wee gifts, which I'll photograph soon. First though, I'd love opinions on my alternative to traditional Christmas cards. I decided to use letters cut from newspapers to spell out the messages, and stuck to a relatively neutral colour palette of greys, blacks and reds. I wanted to create a smart, minimalist feel, but I'm not sure if the resulting cards might just be a bit too "out there". Here's a sneaky peek of one of my efforts - what do you think?

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Disaster!

Look at this gorgeous wool that I got the other day! Babylonglegs Semi Precious, merino silk blend, deep purple colour. Don't you just want to hug it?


















One hour later it looked like this. I want to cry. Never had such a bad yarn winding disaster in my life. Just as well my deadline for using this yarn is still a couple of weeks away - I'm going to need all that time to unravel it!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Snowflake Baby Set - Knit Now Magazine

Knit Now magazine launched in October, a new and very welcome concept in the world of knitting and craft magazines. There are too many publications out there which are aimed at beginners, but which make the mistake of assuming that new knitters want to create shapeless, unfashionable garments and accessories, often in novelty yarn. However, Knit Now have wisely decided to keep their patterns chic and intelligent - beginner friendly but not patronising. The magazine's focus is on accessories, meaning that it's the perfect read for people like me who have hundreds of odd balls of yarn and nothing to do with them. They intend to publish hat, sock, scarf, shawl, glove, bag, toy, home and baby patterns, but no full size garments.

I was really excited to see my pattern, Snowflake Baby Set, published in the first issue. This is a set of cardigan, hat and mittens, sized to fit 0-3 years. I was inspired by all the Nordic patterning in the shops at the moment, and wanted to create a child sized design which incorporated some of these elements. The Snowflake set features traditional Nordic stars in Fair Isle or stranded knitting. It's a unisex design, with a buttoned raglan sleeve cardigan that will suit a boy or girl. In my sample I used Patons Diploma Gold DK, a washable wool mix yarn that is soft enough for baby knitting, but has enough wool content to work well for the stranded design. I chose the strongly contrasting colours of red and off-white, but this could look equally good in a monochrome combination of navy or black with white, or in two softly muted shades of grey or blue. You could also use a yarn such as Sirdar Snuggly DK if you prefer not to use wool.




















How adorable is the model they used in the magazine? She's just the cutest! I also recommend, from that issue, the gorgeous Autumn Forest Gloves by Kyoko Nakayoshi. She's a designer I have a huge amount of respect for, producing lovely designs which are always so simple and elegant. I love her use of cabling in particular.

If you'd like to knit the Snowflake Baby Set for yourself, I think you can still get back issues of the magazine - go to their website for details.

Moss

I was really excited, earlier this year, to have my first pattern accepted by the Knit Picks International Designer Program! It's a fantastic scheme which allows you to have your patterns for sale on the Knit Picks website, making them available to a much wider audience - as well as showcasing Knit Picks' amazing selection of yarns.
The design which was published is Moss, a chunky cabled shoulder bag. It's designed to carry your everyday essentials and stand up to frequent use. The bag is fully lined, and has a button closure at the front. Some knitted bags can stretch, so I wanted to make sure that the lining would take a reasonable amount of weight, and allow the bag to still look its best as well as being practical.

My original sample was knitted in Stylecraft Signature Chunky, a fluffy woollen yarn which has now been discontinued. For the Knit Picks sample, I used Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Bulky, an amazingly smooth and squishy pure wool yarn which is available in a wide range of colours. I chose a lovely green shade, Oregano, but my test knitters made beautiful bags in deep shades of orange, which worked equally well.

Picture courtesy of Knit Picks
























With this design, I was inspired by the yarn to create something very textured and springy, with a feel of the outdoors. I used thick basketweave cables, and then the moss stitch edgings gave me the name. I'm really happy with the finished result, and now I just have to keep up with the orders from various friends who would like one!

If you would like to make your own Moss bag, simply click on the link in the pattern name near the top of the page, which will take you directly to the Knit Picks website.

Chunky Woven Scarf

Just released on Ravelry, the Chunky Woven Scarf, a perfect last minute knit! The scarf is knitted in a textured basketweave pattern, and can be made in two different widths. Adjusting the length is easily done by adding more pattern repeats, and the woven effect is unisex. My samples knitted up in a couple of hours, making this an ideal gift knit.

I knitted my scarf in Sirdar Bigga, a wool and acrylic blend that has now been discontinued. However, any super chunky yarn that knits to the right gauge could be substituted - try Rowan Big Wool or Drift.
This is the wide version of the scarf




















The pattern is available for free on Ravelry - click the link in the pattern name at the top of this post.

Three Way Chunky Hat

If you're looking for a quick Christmas knit, look no further! I've just released a free pattern on Ravelry, the Three Way Chunky Hat. This hat is the perfect addition to your winter wardrobe. It only takes a couple of hours to knit, and can be worn as a beanie, slouch hat or beret. The chunky yarn knits up quickly and easily on big needles, so you can make a hat as a last minute gift, or knit yourself several in different colours.

Worn as a beret




















I knitted my sample in Sirdar Bigga, and it only used one ball of yarn. This yarn is a wool and acrylic mix that is now unfortunately discontinued, but any super chunky yarn that knits to the right gauge would also work. You could try Rowan Big Wool or Drift.

The pattern is available now on Ravelry - click the link in the pattern name at the top of this post.

Guppy

Here is the first of my new designs - Guppy, a sleeveless pullover featuring a wave and fish design, knitted using the stranded or Fair Isle method. The back opening means that it will fit easily over a baby’s head. It’s designed in warm and cosy Sirdar Snuggly DK, making it the perfect extra layer for chilly days. The pullover is sized from 0-2yrs, and knits up quickly enough to make it an ideal gift. The pattern is available to buy now on Ravelry by clicking the link in the name.

Guppy Pullover