Saturday, 14 December 2013

Meet Maisie!

There's a great magazine called Mollie Makes, which is always bursting with ideas for all sorts of different crafts. It's full of inspirational pictures, links, and articles, and I just had to buy the latest issue because of the free gift which came with it. First though - look at these lovely pinecones! They're made with just a bit of felt and glitter, so simple that I'll have to try them at some point soon.

However, this is the real reason I bought the magazine. There was a free gift attached to the cover, a kit to make a tiny little doll. I sat down for a very happy hour of cutting out lots of felt shapes, and then spent another hour or two sewing them together. The finished result is so cute!

I decided to call her Maisie, and here she is sitting on top of my scraps of yarn. It was great fun doing all the embroidery and working out how to make her hair look just right. I used a red coloured pencil to make her nose, and give her wee pink cheeks. The base of the doll is made with pipe cleaners, so she can be moved into different positions. I haven't decided what to do with her yet, so she's sitting on my windowsill for now!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Super Quick Knitting!

Tonight I knitted for three hours, and ended up with two cowls. Here are the patterns in case you want to make some last minute Christmas gifts!

This cowl was designed by Paulina Chin, and uses one ball of Sirdar Big Softie knitted on 10mm needles. It's ably modelled by my flatmate, but a ginger beard is not required to pull off this look! The cowl only takes an hour to make, it's sooo easy, and it's also incredibly cosy.

The second cowl was something that I just invented as I went along, and I made it in two pieces, but I think it would be better knitted in one piece. With that in mind, here are the instructions for what I would have done if I had spent some time thinking before I knitted!

Using super chunky yarn (I used unlabelled stash scraps), and 10mm needles, cast on 60sts. Either work flat and seam, or join to work in the round. Work 26 rows in garter stitch. Cast off. Edge the cowl with double crochet, either at the top or at both sides. Wear and enjoy!

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Baby Knits

I've been taking a break from Christmas knitting, and made this little baby set as a gift. The brief was "girly but not pink", so I chose some blue yarns out of my stash. I've been trying to get rid of stash yarn for quite a while now, and this set used up 3 balls - yay!

First up is this helmet, knitted from a Sirdar pattern, using Sirdar Snuggly Tiny Tots DK. It's a really quick and simple little pattern that I've used before, and the yarn has pretty flecks of colour in it. I decided that the ear flaps weren't quite long enough to fit under the chin comfortably, so I omitted the button hole and added little crochet chain ties instead.

I've also got a lot of cotton in my stash that needed using up, especially this Patons 100% Cotton DK. I'm not usually a fan of mercerised cotton, as it doesn't knit up very evenly sometimes, and the finished effect can be quite hard to the touch. This stuff is lovely though, and I thought it would be perfect for a slightly structured baby jacket.

The pattern is from a Sublime hand knitting book, and it's a cute classic design, much like the old fashioned matinee coats that were popular in the 1950s. I do love a vintage design updated for the modern day! I adapted the pattern to knit in one piece to the armholes, and added little daisy buttons for a pretty finishing touch.

Here's hoping that it will fit the baby, and that her parents like it!

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Christmas Knit Picks

Two of my patterns have recently been published as part of the Knit Picks IDP - a reworking of an old design, and a brand new accessory pattern. They'd make ideal gift knits for Christmas, as they're quick and simple to make. Both patterns are designed for lovely cosy Knit Picks yarns, although you can of course substitute an alternative of your choice.

Here's Guppy, a reworking of a design that I published a couple of years ago. It's a cute little pullover, sized to fit 0-6mths, 6-12mths and 1-2 years, and featuring a stranded fish pattern. The stranded knitting makes it really warm and cosy to wear, and you can work it up in lots of different colour schemes. The pullover features a buttoned back opening, so there's no difficulty in dressing a small wriggly baby!

Here's an example of an alternative colour scheme, with a matching hat - the pattern for this isn't available, but I just used a basic baby hat pattern and added the stranded fish motif and a pompom!

The second pattern is Inishmore, a textured cabled cushion, knitted in snuggly Aran yarn. It's patterned with chunky honeycomb stitch, twisted cables and double moss stitch, to form a thick and cosy fabric. The cushion has a back opening which closes with buttons. It looks complicated at first glance, but it's a perfect project for knitters who are gaining confidence with cables, as the pattern is really quick to knit once you get started. This sample size fits a small 10" cushion, but instructions are included for adapting the pattern to other sizes.

I'm in the process of completing my own Christmas gift knitting, so I'd love to hear recommendations for other patterns that would make great gifts. Happy knitting!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Starter Packs Glasgow

There's a wonderful little charity working away in the heart of Govan, and I wanted to blog about them today because I think they're just fantastic.

Starter Packs Glasgow collect donations of household goods, and then distribute these to homeless people who are moving into new homes. They provide starter packs with the basics that every house needs, helping countless people get on their feet. They're always looking for donations, so if you're having a clearout and you live in Glasgow, please do consider paying them a visit.

Starter Packs also run a little charity shop called the Magpie's Nest, a proper good old-fashioned charity shop where you can pick up bargains for nothing at all. I got myself 40 Christmas cards for £1, and a kitchen table for £5, and there's always lots of haberdashery items and bric-a-brac to browse through.

Just a few doors down the road is the Magpie's Eye Gallery, a veritable treasure trove of vintage and hand-crafted items. They tend to post on Facebook whenever they have new things in stock, and most stuff sells within hours. Currently I have my eye on some beautiful brogues, a mirror which is decoupaged with pages from comic books, and dishes made out of melted and reshaped vinyl records.

I'm lucky enough to be able to sell my hand-made items in the Gallery as well, but here's a wee taster of what some of the other crafters have in stock. I love the superhero themed accessories from Elizabeth Arts - especially these compact mirrors!

The wonderful and original Tatty Bon also stocks her jewellery here - check out these irreverent pendant necklaces, at very reasonable prices.
There are also lots of beautiful knitted and crochet items, some gorgeous jewellery, and a whole pile of vintage clothing to browse! Please do give them your support if you can.


Somehow, it seems that nearly a year has passed since I last updated this blog! In the intervening months I've done a lot of knitting, discovered a love for crochet, and managed to get rid of some of my overwhelmingly large yarn stash. I made a list of all the craft projects that have been started and need to be completed, and have been steadily working my way through it over the past few months.

As usual, I have many different projects on the needles - and this is what I've been making recently! Following on from the success of the minions in Despicable Me, I've had several orders for minion related knits. Here are some little minion toys, adapted from a pattern by Anxo Cunningham.

I've really started to enjoy making amigurumi, and my crochet skills have been slowly improving. It's a more free and experimental design medium than knitting, in my opinion, and I feel as if I can adapt and change patterns without too much thought. And of course, there's only ever one stitch to drop!

Besides the little minion toys, I found this pattern for hats - so quick and simple to knit, and fits children and adults alike. Here are some little minions with their mascots! Both the hats and the toys use small amounts of DK yarn - I chose to use Hayfield Bonus DK, as the colours were great and it's machine washable. If you prefer the evil purple minions, here's a free pattern to try.