Join me in my adventures with knitting, crochet, sewing and thrifting with a bit of day to day life thrown in too!

Monday, 2 April 2012


My latest finished knit. I actually finished them a few weeks back, but am only just getting round to showing you.

These have been a long time coming. I started them last year and were my first tentative steps into knitting with DPNs. They were the ideal project, in my mind, to practise knitting in the round on DPN's. It's a quick, easy and simple project so you don't have to think about the pattern at all. The pattern calls for aran weight yarn, and so should be easier to practise with than a thin sock yarn.

I found it incredibly difficult to do that first round after casting on, but was being surprisingly patient and simply put it all down to a learning experience. So I found myself quite happy to cast on, knit a few rounds, take it off the needles, rip it back and start again. When I did finally finish them, I discovered that during the learning curve my tension had become better by the second and so was a snugger fit, plus the ladders that can occur where the needles join on each corner were less noticeable. I had also, for some reason, done different casting on and off for each, so they ended up basically being completely different.

By this point, I'd had enough, so I put them in a basket and forgot about them for a few months.

I picked them back up again towards the end of February and decided to rip them both back and start again from scratch. I had a couple of false starts whilst I got back into the swing of it, but this time I paid more attention to my cast on and off and managed to produce a pair of arm warmers.

And here's the finished article, Toast.

I realised too, with delight that I had produced them at exactly the right time too. Coming up towards Spring, when it starts to get a little milder, I had started wearing lighter clothing, perhaps 3/4 length sleeves, but still needed occasional extra coverage on my lower arms.

Photo curtesy of BellaBee

Pattern: Toast by Leslie Friend (Ravelry)
Needles: 4.5mm DPNs
Yarn: Patons Colour Works Aran (50g)
Shade: 00083
Bought: Dunelm Mill
Price: £3.75
Total yarn used: 44g

I'm not going to split hairs and work out an exact cost, as the leftover yarn is not good for much. I lost a little yarn as I wanted to start the second arm warmer on the same section of colour and so get them to match through the colour changes up the length of the arm warmer. I knitted the second to the same length as the first and had a little yarn left over at the end too. I used the long tail cast on and Elizabeth Zimmermann's sewn cast off.

They are ideal, and I wore them solidly for a couple of weeks. They are currently laid to one side while we have the warmer weather, but I can see myself getting a lot of use out of these. And will be making more pairs as presents in the future.

Peace Out x

Monday, 27 February 2012

Cutest Cardy

My latest love is this pattern.  It's seamless, it's all in one, it's top down, it's done on circulars and it's done with aran yarn, which all adds up to a super quick and easy cute little cardigan for a special girl in your life.  I bought the pattern to make up a cardigan for my little niece's first birthday.  I'm probably by now notorious for not finishing projects and presents on time.  But I think, as I'm going to the extra effort to make something special, and a lot of my time and love does go into these things, then people should cut me a bit of slack, and, luckily, they do.  As usual I wasn't on track to finish this present on time, but I wanted to be as close as possible.  Then, the evening before her birthday I was knitting away when I had a dawning realisation that I was actually in sight of the finish, that I was nearly done, that this present would be finished in time to give to her on the actual birthday it was intended for.  I was elated.  I held it up to admire my work, to confirm that I was just a few short rows away from being done.  My eye glanced over the detail.  Then glanced back.  I brought it closer for a better look.  My fingers roamed over the knitted fabric.  No no no no no.  My brain revolted, refusing to acknowledge what my eye had found.  But, finally, it succumbed to the pain, the full realisation and implication sinking in.  I had dropped a stitch.  Not just a couple of rows down, no.  About a third of the way down from the top, just after the armholes, I had dropped a stitch.  The amount of times I had held it up, laid it out, checking my progress, seeing how it was coming along, and at no point had I seen this, this abomination.  I was gutted.  The smile evaporated from my face.  I had never done it before but I knew dropped stitches could be picked from a couple of rows down, but 20, 30, 40 rows down?  So I did the only thing a sane person does in this situation, I pulled it off the needles, and I ripped back to my downfall and put it back on the needles, then threw it in disgrace in the corner and refused to even look at it for a week or so.  Now whether it could have been salvaged I have no idea.  Should I have investigated first, taken a step back from my misery to seek a solution.  Probably.  But at the time, it seemed like my only option. 

You'll be glad to hear the story does has a happy ever after though.  After a suitable period of mourning, I picked it back up, and finished it.  It was a couple of weeks late, but who am I to question my obvious destiny.

Pattern: in threes: a baby cardigan by Kelly Herdrich from Ravelry
Needle: 5.0mm circulars (80cm)
Yarn: Robin Aran with Wool
Shade: 1084
Bought: Indoor Market, Gloucester
Price: £7.99 (400g)
Extras: 3 buttons also from indoor market, can't remember price
Total yarn used: approx 85g
Total price: £1.69 for yarn

I did the size 12-18 months, CO 58 using cable cast on.  I used the suspended cast off for the capped sleeves and for the final cast off.

I love it and will have an adult sized one please!

Peace Out x

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Birthday Cowl

This is another post Christmas birthday make.  It's only going to be short and sweet, and it's actually a bit of a cheat as I've already made one of this pattern and posted about it.  But the reason why I made it in the first place was as a bit of a practise for this gift.  Well, sort of.  It is a lovely cowl and I wanted one for myself anyway.  But as soon as I saw it on Ravelry I thought of my sister. 

It's the GAP-tastic cowl MkII.

I'm glad I got that first one to practise with though.  I was very new to knitting, especially in the round on circulars, and it helped to have a mock run at a few of the techniques.  It went much smoother for the MkII.  I considered using a smaller needle size as the first one was too loose.  But I stuck with the same needle and just tightened up the stitches more. 

Pattern: GAP-tastic Cowl by Jen Geigley on Ravelry
Needle: 9mm circulars
Yarn: King Cole Comfort Chunky
Shade: 428 Dill
Total yarn used: 200g
Total price: £5.98 (£2.99 per 100g)

I used the long tail cast on and Elizabeth Zimmermann's sewn bind off to make sure it had plenty of stretch. The yarn was ideal for this project, lovely and thick and soft.

My sister loves it and it's had plenty of wear already and will probably still have many more oppurtunities for use in the months to come.

On other news, I've now got a new baby to knit for!  My friend's girlfriend is expecting in April, so I'm finding much joy in pouring over and finding some nice boy knits (they already know the gender).  I already have a little niece to knit for, and will soon share a gorgeously cute, easy, quick, all in one seamless cardigan when I've done the little finishing touches.  But it's always nice to have a brand new being to introduce to the wonders of wool.  I was a bit naughty as I have a cardigan that I've vowed to finish for Bella Bee I'd started back in Septemeber and got laid to one side with the Christmas makes.  I tried ever so hard, honestly I did, but I succumbed to those cute little mini knits.  I justified it by the fact that it is a baby knit, so should be quick and simple, I can get it out of my system then get right back on the job of little lady's cardy.  I picked a little vest.  I've done the back and the more I look at it the more it doesn't look right.  It looks a bit too long and narrow to me, especially the top half, after the armhole shaping.  I'm just going to continue and have faith in the pattern and hope it's correct.  After checking the measurements.  Hmm.  I'll let you know.

Peace Out x

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

A Couple Of Cushions

Firstly thank you for your kind comments, Sally the rabbit is well on the road to recovery now, has even put on a little weight, and is settling into indoor life.  It's actually been really nice having her about and I think I will be looking at making it permanent.

Ok, after my absence, it's back on track with a couple more Christmas makes to share with you.  Firstly I made a couple of ripple cushions.  One for my brother and his family and one for my sister and her family.  They were both very similar and I actually forgot to get pictures of them before I sent them off.  Luckily my brother lives close by so I got a couple of snaps of it when I popped over for my niece's 1st birthday.  The light was fading and even taking it outside wasn't much help, so the pictures aren't brilliant and the colours are not completely accurate.

I loved these cushions and found it very hard to let them go. 

Pattern: Stripy Wave Cushion by Nicki Trench from Cute & Easy Crochet
Hook: 4.5mm
Yarn: Patons Smoothie DK
Shades: Gold 1097, Denim 1098, Lilac 1093, Cream 1019, Lime 1010

I also neglected to weigh the cushion cover before sending it off so I can't calculate the cost.  It wouldn't have been much as it's not expensive yarn.  Plus, I already had it, so it was a bonus to get it used for a project.  I do plan on making myself one when I have the time so I will weigh it and calculate costs then.

I had to alter the pattern slightly to account for the different weights of yarn.  The pattern calls for aran weight and the Patons Smoothie is DK weight.  I just added an extra pattern repeat to the width and continued the rows until it came square.  I also added buttons holes and buttons to allow for an opening so the cover can be removed and cleaned.  At regular intervals along one side on round 2 of the edging I chained 2 and missed 2 stitches to create the button holes.

It irked me considerably though, (maybe too much!) that the pattern actually makes a different cushion from the one in the pictures in the book.  The pattern puts more dc rows around the border.  Now I know some people may say it's only a minor difference and that I'm nit picking, but I think if your writing a pattern and accompanying it with pictures, you should at least keep true to the pattern and display a picture of the true finished product.  Or change the pattern.  I preferred the cushion cover in the pictures so pulled back the extra rows to make the slimmer border, and crocheted into the inner loops only on joining to make the decorative edge, something else it also fails to mention in the pattern. 

The second cushion was one I made for Bella Bee's father for his birthday, which is not long after Christmas.  I find it a little difficult to make something that's solely male.  If it's a family gift you can get away with it being slightly feminine.  So I needed to make a cushion 'man up'.  I did actually make him a cushion the year before, but it was sewn, and had a Doctor Who Tardis on it.  So it was pretty safe.  I plan on sharing all my sewn cushions from last year soon, but there are some on my Flickr account if you want to see them before I post about them.  This year I had to man up a crochet cushion.  It's basically going to come down to the colours.

You wouldn't have thought simply picking out more masculine colours would be that hard but for some reason I struggled with it.   Choosing colours is not my forte.  This was the second attempt, after completing the first half of the cover in one colour combination before loosing faith,changing my mind and ripping it all back to start again from scratch with a slightly different combination.

Pattern: Round Striped Cushion by Nicki Trench from Cute & Easy Crochet
Hook: 4.5mm
Yarn: Patons Smoothie DK
Shades: Teal 1058, Cream 1019, Slate 1088

Again I failed to weigh it before joining up the two sides to make up the cushion with the pad inside to calculate a cost.

I had to add 2 extra rounds to account for a 18" cushion pad rather than the 16" one stated in the pattern.  I had also attempted to add a couple extra rounds to include buttons holes and buttons making it possible to remove the cushion pad and therefore making it easier to be able to clean the cushion (I aim to be practical).  However, it didn't look right on the round cushion.  I lost patience and time to try and get it right and just wanted to finish the damn thing by this point.  So that was put to one side for another time, and I joined the cover to fully enclose the cushion pad.

And there we have a couple more of my Christmas makes.  I still have a couple more birthday makes to share, and then I should be up to date. 

Well we're on half term this week.  So they'll be a bit off extra entertaining to do.  Hopefully it won't be too wet so we can get out of the house occasionally.  And Bella Bee has a gymnastic camp a couple of afternoons this week so that should take the edge of some of the energy reserves.  I always enjoy having her home in the holidays.

Peace Out x

Monday, 6 February 2012

Please Meet Sally

This gorgeously big eared lovely is Sally.

She's an immense character. 

A free spirit. 

A well loved member of our family.

Well, maybe more of a love/hate relationship in some cases.

Sally is currently residing in the utility room, recuperating after being a very poorly little girl.

I have been Florence Nightingale to this little lady for the last two weeks.  Numerous visits to the vets, syringe feeding and a vast amount of love has gone into her.  I have never been so happy to see a rabbit munch on a piece of greenery.

She's now on the road to recovery and I'm confident she'll be digging fit in no time.

I'm sure we'll all agree the brief blogging hiatus has been worth while.

Peace Out x

Friday, 20 January 2012

More Bunting And Other Pre-Christmas Gifts

Ok, jumping from October onto the next gift makes in December.  I had two birthday's pre-Christmas to make for (It feels a bit wrong to still be mentioning Christmas, ah well, that's what happens when your as organised as me!).  One was Bella Bee's nanny, for which I made bunting.  Not like the last lot though, this was a bit more grown up!  She likes a country cottage kitchen style, so tried to make the bunting to fit this theme.

Please excuse the shocking winter lighting.  It doesn't get any better any time of the day.

I didn't want it too full on, so the colours are quite muted.  The floral is some thrifted fabric I picked up a couple of years ago and the other is just plain calico.  I wanted to jazz it up a little and found some lovely wide lace trim that I bought at the indoor market that had been sat on my desk for ages.  I love it and think it fits in perfectly with this bunting.

The second birthday was my (sort of) sister-in-law (they're not married).  I wanted to make her a chunky yarn scarf and found an excellent pattern in Cute & Easy Crochet.

A very quick snap when caught on the hop after a visit from the recipient.  The colour is a little washed out in the winter light.

I wasn't very confident on which colour to choose, as I'm not the most observant person and had failed to notice which colours she prefers to wear.  I choose a lovely soft green.  She assured me she liked it.  I don't know if she was being polite. 

Pattern: Chunky Seashell Scarf by Nicki Trench from Cute & Easy Crochet
Hook: 7mm
Yarn: King Cole Comfort Chunky
Shade: 428 Dill
Total yarn: 3 x 100g balls
Total price: £2.99/100g = £8.97

I bought the yarn at the city's indoor market.  It was slightly more expensive than I spend on DK weight, especially as you don't get as much yardage.  I tried a cheaper chunky yarn, however it was of a lesser quality, was much stiffer when crocheted up and didn't have the drape or softness I would like in a scarf.  The yarn I finally used made a gorgeous scarf and has been very well received, so was worth the extra cost.

And finally some little presents I made for Bella Bee's teacher, the teaching assistant and her gymnastic coach.

The colours haven't come across acurate, especially the closest, the fuchsia.  Yet more winter lighting trouble.

Another pattern from Cute & Easy Crochet (guess what book I got in the run up to Christmas!) slightly adjusted to be made bigger to fit a larger mug.  The little flower buttons are very cute and a lovely added touch.  Bella Bee made peppermint creams dipped in chocolate to go inside in a little greaseproof packet.  Overall, ideal quick and easy presents to whip up.

Pattern: Mug Warmers by Nicki Trench from Cute & Easy Crochet
Hook: 4.5mm
Yarn: Rico Design Creative Cotton Aran
Shades: 13 Fuchsia, 11 Cardinal, 36 Turquoise
Total yarn: approx. 15g each
Total price: approx 0.45p for yarn, 0.45p for button, 0.59p for mug = £1.49

I don't know how much the peppermint creams were, I didn't work out the cost.  They have minimal ingredients and will be relatively cheap to make.

Will be back with yet more handmade presents to share with you, accompanied by poor quality winter photos.

Peace Out x

Monday, 16 January 2012

A Birthday Bunny and Bunting (for a boy!)

For this we have to go back, way back, to October and my nephew's 3rd birthday.  I had a couple of things planned, and as usual had let time inexplicably get away from me.  After one extremely late night, a few almost tears, that working on crafts that late at night always seems to do to me, and a crippled unusable claw of a hand the next day, I managed to produce some birthday bunting that I really wanted him to have in time for his birthday to hang up. 

I love bunting, but hate taking pictures of it.  They never seem to do it justice. 

The lettering is secured with Bondaweb and kept in place with a running stitch with embroidery thread in a colour matching that of the flag that letter is on, a second triangle is placed on the back and secured with a running stitch in white embroidery thread. You might not think to look at it, and I never thought it would, but that hand stitching took forever.  I never thought doing a simple running stitch would be so time consuming.  And hand stitching through 2, layers of felt is tough going.  I had an unusable 80 year olds, arthritic claw as a hand for a day or two after.  But the results are unique.  And stunning.  I love it (I don't, however, love the machine stitching job connecting them all with the cotton tape across the top.  It's adequate, but not perfect, enough said!  There's a little voice in me simply dying to ask for it back so I can quickly, a-hem, re-do it, but that's my neurosis).  The joy of such a gift is that it will be reusable year after year, for all birthdays, and will hopefully become part of a family birthday tradition, be much used, loved and remembered for years to come.  A practical, reusable gift is my sort of gift. 

The second gift got sent down about a week later.  I had recently received my first brightly coloured bundle of Rico Creative Cotton and had been looking forward to using those coloured cottons on something I hadn't tried out yet, amigurumi.  I wanted to make something suitable for a growing boy but still relatively simple for a beginner, and settled on the Ugly Bunny Pincushion pattern by wayuki that can be found on Ravelry.  As I was using aran weight cotton, I used a 3.5mm hook size, which would be small enough to keep the fabric tight and compact.  It was a great result, but it is hard work.  And needless to say it can all get a bit fiddly and frustrating when you get to the smaller sections.

It is all sewn and crocheted which should make for a safer toy, as there is a younger sister on the scene.  I am very pleased with my first attempt at amigurumi.  They really come alive as you make them, and this dude certainly looks like he's got bags of character.  It really can be quite tough to let them go at the end of the process.  But let him out into the big world I did.  Then I realised that a 3 year old might not quite understand why he was a getting what may look like a reject toy with wonky ears and a missing eye!  (Apparently some questions where raised, but seemingly satisfactorily answered).

Pattern: Ugly Bunny Pincushion by wayuki on Ravelry
Hook: 3.5mm
Yarn: Rico Design Creative Cotton Aran
Shade: 41 Pistachio
Price: approx £2.00
(50g = £1.50, approx 37g used = £1.11, plus filling and embroidery thread)

Lets not mention the cushion cover I am making him that's still sitting in my basket.  They know me well enough by now.

Peace Out x