Monday, 22 December 2014

New Free Pattern

Just a quick post to say that I've released a new free pattern for some fingerless gloves. They were inspired after a disastrous attempt to knit gloves from an existing pattern, so I ripped back to the cast on and started again with my own design.


These fingerless gloves are knitted up very quickly in the round. They have long cuffs to keep the wrists warm, and leave the fingers and thumb free to deal with touchscreen phones or dig change out of pockets. The rib is very stretchy, so they should fit a range of adult sizes. The pattern can also be adapted to fit larger or smaller hands, simply by adding extra stitches and knitting more rows. The gloves are ideal for knitting up scraps, as they use no more than 50g of each colour of yarn.


I made these gloves in a couple of evenings, so if you're looking for a last minute Christmas present idea, these might be ideal. The pattern is available for free in my Ravelry store - Striped Gloves Free Pattern.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Minion Hat

I absolutely love the Despicable Me films, mostly because of the adorable little minions - who are apparently getting their own movie soon! Last year, I did a lot of minion related knitting and crochet and this week I was asked to make another minion hat for a friend. It's a really easy knit, and fits most sizes of children and adults. The eye is crocheted and sewn on later, and the pattern has instructions for embroidering a mouth as well, if you fancy. Here's my daughter modelling it, with a classic minion expression!
 

Friday, 11 July 2014

Baby Gift

I finally finished the little cotton jacket for my cousin's baby. I love the pattern, it's very simple and classic, and also quite unisex. It's a Sirdar design, published in Knitting magazine a few years ago.
 
 
I knitted this one in Patons 100% Cotton 4ply from my stash, and the whole jacket used only one ball of yarn in a 6-12 month size. It's quite a time-consuming knit, but I think it's worth it. I really like the textured feel of moss stitch. These daisy buttons are cute too! I've started knitting some baby hats with more of my stash, so hopefully the three boxes of yarn will be decreasing in size very soon.
 
 

Monday, 7 July 2014

Creative Process Blog Hop

I was tagged in a blog hop by Julie from Little Woollie, about my creative process. I really enjoyed reading Julie's answers to the different questions - it's always fascinating to find out how someone else works, and the kinds of things they like doing. So, here are the questions!
 
What am I working on?
 
So many things! I'm a serial project starter, and always have far too many works in progress. I don't even stick to knitting and crochet - there's a half-finished patchwork quilt stashed away somewhere, a felt alphabet book that I started sewing seven years ago, a shirt that has been waiting for buttonholes since 2011, a cotton dress which is all cut out and ready to sew, and a felting kit that my aunty gave me over five years ago. All of these things will be finished at some point, but new and exciting projects keep catching my eye. At the moment I'm still knitting a cotton baby jacket, and I have two sweaters for myself on the needles. I just finished these little baby items, which have gone into a box to await new babies!
 
 
 
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
 
This is a hard question for me to answer, because I don't feel that I design enough to have a clear style. It is something that I've thought about, from a marketing point of view, if it's better to make things that people can easily identify as yours. However, I tend to make things that I love, and I have quite wide and eclectic tastes! Talking about my design work, I enjoy working with texture and colour, particularly cables and fair isle. I like taking adult designs and reworking them for children, and my notebook is full of ideas that I haven't knitted up yet. My "Wicket" sweater is one of my favourites, and something that I've made for quite a few gift knits.
 
 
I'm also quite proud of my "Inishmore" cushion, which is published through Knit Picks.
 
 
Why do I write/create what I do?
 
This question was an easy one to answer - because I love it! If I could spend every day curled up in  a big armchair, surrounded by yarn, design books and colouring pencils, then I would. There are too many ideas in my head, not just for knitting and crochet projects, but for scripts I want to write and artwork I want to create. I'm from a very artistic and creative family, and it's something that I've always been encouraged to do from an early age. Sometimes I've been asked to design to a brief, which I find a lot harder, as I prefer to just wait for inspiration to strike!
 
 
 
How does my writing/creating process work?
 
As I said, I tend to have lots of ideas, but not enough time to work on them all. I have a big notebook where I will sketch designs, and I also have plans drawn out for two book submissions. Every now and again I will look through all these ideas, and move a bit further towards actually creating them, but it's a slow process. When I create a design, I look up measurement charts if it's for an item of clothing, and then plan out how my chosen stitch patterns will fit with the sizing. I tend to knit first, and then write down the pattern as I go. The maths of knitting is the hardest part for me - it's not my strong point, and I really need to take the time to learn how to use Excel. Grading patterns is my idea of hell! Sometimes I'll feel really inspired to create, and other times I don't work on any new projects for a long time, it just depends. A lot of the time, especially for smaller projects like the cowl below, I won't bother writing a pattern, as the design is a one-off to finish up yarn in my stash.
 
 
 
 
I've really enjoyed answering the questions for this blog hop, and now I'd like to nominate three more people to talk about their creative process -
 
 
 
 
Looking forward to reading your blogs!
 

Friday, 4 July 2014

Friday

Today has been a good day. It's been warm enough to get out into the park, and do a bit of outdoor knitting. The sun is refusing to put in an appearance, but at least there's no rain. I made progress on my cotton baby jacket. The back is finished, and I'm halfway up one of the fronts. I love the way the textured moss stitch looks in the cotton, and I can't wait to see how this will look when it's all sewn together.
 
 
I also made the mistake of looking through the latest issue of Simply Knitting, and found myself another pattern to add to my to-do list. I really like the look of this sweater, as I have a long body and have problems getting tops that will fit.
 
 
This one is designed in a tunic style, which should fit me nicely. I browsed a few websites looking at yarn options, and was very tempted by Drops Extra Fine Merino, but it had some pretty bad reviews on Ravelry. Instead, I think I'll use my old crochet favourite Stylecraft DK, as it will only cost about £8 to make the sweater. Then if I don't like it, I have an excuse to knit a second one in nicer yarn!

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Beach!

Yesterday was perfect beach weather, at least for a pale and easily burned person such as myself. It was reasonably warm, but cloudy, and the rain stayed off for most of the day. I took my kids to Portobello, and we spent a few hours playing on the sand, tentatively paddling in the freezing cold water, and enjoying a picnic. I had forgotten how everything has a slight crunch to it when you eat on the beach, the sand seems to get everywhere! Some seagulls came and stole our sandwiches, and we found lots of weird shaped seaweed and a few interesting shells. My son enjoyed digging a hole that was almost deep enough for him to disappear into.
 
 
I was going to get on with some knitting while the kids were playing, but I soon realised that there was too much sand flying about. This is what happened to me instead!
 
 
It was a really fun day out, finished off by a brief visit to some of Portobello's charity shops. I found  a rather fabulous black sequinned jacket, but resisted temptation and came home empty handed. The kids slept on the train home, and I cast on a baby jacket in a pretty shade of blue cotton. It's knitting up really fast, I've nearly finished the back already, so hopefully I will have another thing ticked off my to-do list by the end of the week.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Super Soft Baby Knitting

I've really enjoyed knitting this little commission, a hat from Sirdar, and the Textured Cuff Booties from 50 Baby Booties to Knit by Zoe Mellor. I used Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, a beautiful soft yarn which is perfect for baby items. It's machine washable, which is always an essential when knitting for babies and small children. I was asked to knit the set in white, not a colour I'd usually choose, but I actually love the simplicity of it combined with the different textured stitches.
 
 
 
I love this hat pattern. I've used it so many times, and it adapts perfectly to different types of yarn. You can also add earflaps to make it into a winter hat, and it will button under the chin to stop a wriggly baby pulling it off!
 
 
The booties were super quick to knit - I made one in my lunch hour at work today, and still had time to eat. I really like the textured moss stitch cuff, and there's a hidden rib section behind it, to ensure that the booties will stay on properly. I was a bit dubious about the sizing, as they seem tiny, but I think I've just forgotten how small new babies are!
 
 
Next up, I'm going to make a classic cotton jacket for my cousin's baby. I'm really enjoying this quick and easy baby knitting, although it is making me broody!

Monday, 30 June 2014

Who Wants To Hop?

I've been tagged in a blog hop by Little Woolie, and I'm looking for three other people who'd like to join in! I'll post my blog next Monday, answering some questions about my creative process, and the sorts of things I like to make. If you'd like me to introduce and link to your blog, so that you can take part as well, just comment below - it's fun, and a great way to let new people find your blog.




Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Baby Knits

A few weeks ago I read this post from Dottie Angel, about her "Little Knits for Small Beings" club. Basically, she's started knitting lots of baby clothes, and is putting them away for possible future use. I can totally understand this - baby clothes are so quick and easy to knit, and invariably cute.
 
At the moment I don't have any babies to knit for, as both my children are school aged, and friends' children are already at the toddler stage. But something is compelling me to knit tiny things, and I think I have been strongly influenced by Dottie's club! So here are the latest little clothes I've been knitting away at, a baby cardigan in first size (was supposed to be bigger but I misread the pattern) and some tiny little baby slippers. The cardigan is a British Hand Knitting Confederation pattern, number 36. I used James C Brett Kool Kotton, which is a cotton/acrylic mix, and finished it off with some mismatched buttons from my button jar.
 
 
 
The slippers are probably very impractical for a real baby, as they will just get kicked off within minutes, but they were too adorable for me to resist making them! The pattern is from 50 Baby Booties to Knit, a book I have used a lot over the years, and I used more of the Kool Kotton and decorated them with roses. They're knitted all in one piece, and take about half an hour to make each one, using only scraps of yarn.
 
 
 
Now I'm discovering that my new addiction is satisfying my urge to cast on different projects all the time, and because they're so quick, I actually finish them rather than adding them to the work-in-progress pile.
 
Works-in-progress are being slowly worked through, however. I finished a Kim Hargreaves cardigan that has been on the needles since 2011. I don't know why I didn't finish it off years ago, as the whole thing took about 6 hours to complete. Only problem is, I hate it! I'm going to wait a few days and then try it on, take some pictures, and decide if I can learn to like it and even wear it. In theory, it should have been the perfect combination - Kim Hargreaves pattern, Rowan Handknit Cotton, and a pretty pastel purple colour, but the fit is all wrong.
 
I've also finished all the squares for my mystery crochet project, and have almost 100% decided that it's going to become a cushion. I just have to do the annoying sewing bits, and then it should be complete.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Little Daisy

If you're looking for the perfect gift knit for a new baby girl, I can highly recommend a pattern. It's called Little Daisy, and is from the Third Little Sublime Hand Knit Book. So quick and easy to make, it's a delightful little design that fits babies from birth to 3 years. I absolutely adore Sublime - their yarns are on the expensive side, but they are truly high quality, and make perfect baby clothes. Their pattern photography is gorgeous as well, there's a very soft, vintage aesthetic that runs through it all.  
Little Daisy only takes a very small amount of yarn, and works well in cotton or wool, though I prefer the springiness of wool with the garter stitch yoke. Here's my most recent version, worked in Rowan Pure Wool DK from my stash.

I also made one in James C Brett Kool Kotton, which I quite liked because it was very soft and summery.

This version was knitted in a generic acrylic yarn, and I added some extra rows to the sleeves to make them slightly longer. I love the colour, it looks slightly blue in this picture, but it was actually a fresh minty green.
Finally, my very first attempt was knitted with some really old Sirdar Silky Look DK. I didn't really like the finished effect very much, as the stitches looked quite messy, and the cardigan felt very floppy and loose.
But I liked the pattern so much that I made three more, and will probably knit more again in the future! If you're not a fan of the short sleeved look, there is also a long sleeved version in the book, along with lots more cute patterns.
 

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Hooked

Hooked - because I really am! I was knitting away at a number of different projects this week, making a vintage baby cardigan,


and a doll's dress for my daughter, 


but a little part of my brain was longing to start a new crochet project. I'd just finished this blanket, a shell pattern one in Rowan Fine Milk Cotton, and I had no idea what to do next.



I didn't have enough yarn to crochet anything big, and I didn't really have the money to go out and buy more. Then I remembered that I had a lot of Rowan Revive yarn in my stash, which I had won in a competition ages ago, and never done anything with. It's made of recycled silk, cotton and viscose, and has a rather rough texture.



The colours aren't the sort of bright shades that I like to work with, they're terracotta, brown and cream with flecks of multi-coloured thread woven in. I looked at these balls of yarn for a while, and then decided just to start crocheting and see what happened. I started off with these little squares, and a few days later I have 16 of them, and I've added an extra round onto each.



I also bought a 50cm square cushion pad from Ikea, and I think this project will eventually become a big cushion of some sort. I might give it away, or I might find a corner of my house that isn't so brightly coloured and could do with a bit of muted decoration. I will probably buy lots more wool and crochet some more vibrant, colourful things!

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Bitten By The Amigurumi Bug

I'm going to be honest here, amigurumi as a trend was just something that I never really "got". Sure, they look cute, but what do you do with them? And aren't they just the fiddliest little things to make? Well, after a series of commissions from my friends, I have ended up making loads of wee amigurumi, and am now thoroughly addicted! I didn't realise how quick and easy they would be to crochet, taking about two or three hours each. I also didn't realise that the patterns were very forgiving, so if you miss a stitch or increase too many, no one is ever going to notice. Here are my latest creations, with links to the patterns if you fancy giving them a go!
 
First up, and not the best picture, but this is the Little Bigfoot Monkey. His body and head are crocheted in one simple section, and there are various options for his ears and face to produce different looks. 
 
 
Next up, a pair of penguins from Lupita Suarez's great pattern. The one on the left is called Marshall, and his little sister on the right is still unnamed. I had to adapt the pattern for her feet slightly as I was running out of orange yarn, so she is slightly more dainty than her brother. This pattern works up in about two hours, and I love the finished effects - so adorable!
 
 
Also rather cute is Karissa Cole's collection of ocean themed amigurumi, including an orca, a dolphin and a goldfish. I decided to make the shark, who is now called Ozzy, and has been gifted to a Black Sabbath fan who wanted a "manly animal". Naturally, I made him the most adorable manly animal I could find, and he's so tiny that he fits in the palm of my hand.
 
 
Next, I crocheted Abbygurumi's panda bear. I wasn't entirely satisfied with this one, as the eyes don't look quite right - I think I should have crocheted little patches to sew on and then added safety eyes, rather than just embroidering them. He's still quite sweet though, with his oversized head and little stumpy limbs.
 
 
Finally, I decided to try a knitted animal, as I couldn't find a crocheted elephant pattern that I was happy with. This one is from Miss Aine, who also does a range of other tiny animals, including the cutest lion I've ever seen! I found this pattern really easy to follow, and love the finished result.
 
 
Next up, I have plans to make a dragon and a rabbit - and then, who knows? Do you have any recommendations? I'd love links to more adorable patterns, so please feel free to comment with your favourites!

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Penguin!

Tonight I made a penguin. He was such a joy to crochet - quick and easy, and irresistibly cute. The pattern is by Lupita Suarez, and you can find it here for free.
 
 
 
I used a 3mm hook and some scraps of DK yarn, and embroidered his face instead of using felt. The whole thing took about three hours from start to finish. I've been bitten by the amigurumi bug now, so I'm off to start work on a wee monkey!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Busyness and Bargain Hunting

How did it end up being a month since I last blogged? Time flies when you're having fun! Since then, I've knitted a fair few things, starting with a baby blanket in a lovely squishy wool - Peter Pan Merino DK. It's a really easy pattern, all in garter stitch and shaped by increasing from one cast on stitch and then decreasing back down to one cast off stitch. I've made it a few times before, but never so big and in such a great wool. The finished result is cosy and feels amazing!
 
 
 
It's been a month for baby knitting, as I then managed to finally use up my Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino stash. This yarn is an absolute dream to work with, so soft, and knits up into beautiful garments, the only drawback is that it's pretty expensive. I used it to make a pair of tiny baby socks from Debbie's book "Simply Baby", and then adapted a nightcap pattern to make a little bobble hat.
 
 
 
I've also been working on a crochet project, my first ever crocheted baby blanket which isn't based round a granny square pattern or created in pieces and then sewn together. The pattern is from a magazine that I forget the name of, but basically it's a shell-like stitch which is made from clusters of trebles. It took a while to get into the swing of it, and the yarn is very splitty and not ideal for crochet - Rowan Fine Milk Cotton. I've got about 10 balls to use up, so I think I'll make a nice big blanket and add a pretty scalloped border.
 
 
I also made a set of clothes for my son's baby doll - wee trousers and a V-neck sweater, and have been commissioned to create a fair few more outfits, as well as knit Yoda and Minion hats and some Adventure Time stuff. That's not to mention the other 10 or so projects that I have on the needles, or waiting to be sewn, so it looks like I shall be busy over the next few months!
 
It's not as if I need any more yarn, but I was passing my local Shelter the other day and noticed New Lanark Aran in the window at only £1 a ball! This kind of bargain couldn't be passed by, so I ended up spending £12 on 20 balls of a "Highland Aran" in 100% wool, as well as 5 balls of the New Lanark stuff. Next job is to find patterns to do it all justice, and on that note, I'm off to try to finish at least one of my works-in-progress before starting anything new!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, 10 March 2014

Happy Monday!

Today is a bright, cheerful, spring Monday morning. The rain from last night is a distant memory in the puddles on the pavement, and the sun is shining. I can hear birdsong outside my open window, and these gorgeous roses (20p from Tesco!) are brightening up my bedroom.
 
 
It's been a lovely weekend, full of time with family and friends, enjoying the simple pleasures in life. I spent a lot of Saturday making these little Hama bead hearts with my daughter. I did most of the assembly, and she picked the colours out for me, making the beads talk to each other, and creating her own little stories. It was a great way to spend an afternoon! I'm going to string them together with nice yarn or fine ribbon and hang them on the wall.
 
 
 

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Final Crochet Cushion!

Finally, after one blanket and three cushions, my giant pack of Stylecraft Special DK has gone! I used the last bits up by double crocheting a long strip in random stripes. Then I crocheted the cast on and cast off edges together, popped a cushion inside, and crocheted together the side seams. To make it a little fancier, I added a very basic edging. Yes, I know it's a bit wonky, but honestly I was so pleased to be finished that I didn't really care. I wasn't very sure about the eventual colour scheme, I thought it was a bit cold and unbalanced, but one of my friends loved it so much that she has a new cushion!
 
 
 

Monday, 3 March 2014

Spring is here

Walking to work through Princes Street Gardens today, I was struck by how quickly Spring has arrived, and how pretty Edinburgh looks in the sunshine. I've never been a big fan of this city, always preferring Glasgow, but after living here for a couple of months, I'm starting to really appreciate it a lot more. The castle looks very majestic, towering over the gardens. I couldn't really get a great picture because the sun was so bright - you don't get to say that often in Scotland!
 
 
As I walked through the gardens I saw lots of lovely spring flowers, like these cheerful daffodils, and the pretty little snowdrops and crocuses.
 
 
 
 
And look, buds on the trees!
 
 
I love the way the sunlight falls on these benches just outside the gardens.
 
 
Walking back home later through the Grassmarket, I was warmed by the evening sun. I popped into the K1 knitting boutique to have a browse at their lovely stash of Jamieson and Smith yarns, and was very tempted by the little metal buckets that they were selling for £1. It's so nice to see the sun, it makes everyone feel a lot happier! Here's hoping that this is the start of a great Spring and Summer.