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

Friday, 25 November 2011

Making Handmade Gifts

In the run up to Christmas there are many people who choose to make a few of the gifts they will give.
My latest handmade gift was a scarf I knitted a family friend's birthday.  The Chinook Scarf.

A very good scarf to make for a gift I think, especially for a beginner knitter like me.  It's relatively quick to knit up, and looks a little more refined with it's shawl-esque look and lace edging. 

It's a very good pattern for a beginner wishing to learn a couple of new skills.  It's has increasing and decreasing, the i-cord along one edge and the lace along the other.  It's an excellent pattern for that first step into lace knitting, with just the edging being lace, it's gives a taster without being overly daunting. 

 It's overall a very good pattern for moving beyond a beginner with the bulk of the knitting still being the standard stocking stitch it feels do-able, but the lace and i-cord edging stops it getting too boring and repetitive.  As it's worked sideways it's very simple to calculate yarn quantity.  Simply increase until end of first ball then decrease with second.

Pattern : Chinook Scarf (Ravelry, free)
Needles : 4.5mm
Yarn : Wendy Sorrento DK 50g (45% cotton 55% acrylic)
Colourway : 2416 Clover
Cost : 2 skeins @ £1.69 each (on sale) = £3.38

This was my first attempt at blocking too.  I had no real idea of what I was doing but it seemed to work out and opened up the lace edging well.  The narrow end sections still curled but not sure why.  Think it may have simply been the stocking stitching.  I don't think better blocking would have improved it.  Maybe I'm wrong.

Whenever I make a gift I have a wobble of confidence.  Is it good enough?  Will they like it?  Does it look like I made it?  I mean the last one in the sense of badly made, like a child made it.  If a child has made it though, it's all good, it's a sure fire winner with the rellies.  If I've made it, I want it to look professional, almost shop bought.  It still needs to have the essence of handmade, so they can see I put a crap load of hours and effort into it, but on the other hand it needs to look good enough that it could have been bought.  

Plus, I always have to suppress an urge to explain the gift.  Explain to the giftee my whole thought process behind said gift.  Plus exactly how long it actually took to make it.  Because running parallel with the doubt is also the pride of having actually made something, and in my case having actually completed it.  I want to put a label on said item laying out the exact number of man hours that has gone into making it,  including finding the right pattern, understanding said pattern, choosing the right colours, fabric, yarn etc.  The frogging or seam ripping, the frustration and sometimes literally the blood, sweat and tears that can often go along with some projects.  I want them to appreciate it, love it, but most of all I simply want them to use it.  That's the highest compliment I can get.

At the end of the day, a gift is a gift, and whether it's bought or made your not always going to get it right I guess.  But if they, at least, don't appreciate the time and effort gone into it, then make sure they get bubble bath next time.

Peace Out X

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

One A Day Update - Week 9

First I want to share my latest treats.  I had a lovely postie day yesterday.

Something to view, something to make, something to drink.  What could be better?  I have already started a project from the new book as you can see.  It's about time I started a few Christmas presents, and this book is full of potential pressies. 

Anyway, another week, another update.  Is it just me or are these posts starting to feel a little repetitive?  How many photos can I take of the same blanket but just a little bit longer?  I suppose that's my fault for choosing 2 big, long term projects.  To be honest I'm getting a bit bored of them now.  I'm starting to struggle with having to ripple every day.  Luckily, then, the end is in sight.  Well, for the ripple at least.

Taking this photo was more than a little precarious, perched on top of the high sleeper ladder.  With a guest cameo from Floppy Bunny.

Just a bit longer, and then the border.  I want it roughly the same size as a single duvet, but have yet to measure it off against one to see what needs to be done to make it so.  It's needs to be wider for sure, which the border will have to accomplish.

Name: Bella Bee Ripple Blanket
Pattern: Ripple Pattern from Compendium of Crochet Techniques by Jan Eaton
Yarn: Stylecraft Special DK
Colours: Grape, Pale rose, Meadow, Cream

Join us over at Gingerbread Girl to view all the projects in progress.

Friday, 11 November 2011


It's that time of year to get wrapped up in some serious comfort knits!  This is a knit I actually finished back in August, but has now come into it's own.

The GAP-tastic Cowl

This pattern was super quick and super easy.  It's comfy and cosy and a super big soft hug for your neck.  It's absolutely ideal for a Christmas present. 

Raverly Project Page
Pattern: GAP-tastic Cowl
Yarn: Stylecraft Special Chunky
Colour: Parchment 1218
Needles : 9mm circulars
Quantity: 2 x 100g
Cost: £1.76 per 100g x 2 = £3.52
Bought at Knit And Sew

It's a super dull colour I know but at least it'll go with everything.  As soon as I saw it I thought of my sister, so this was actually a bit of a practice run for a possible birthday present (her birthday is right after Christmas) but I'm now very pleased to have my own.  It's just been through a normal 40 degree wash and has come out how it went in.  If I decide to make this again I may go down a needle size, as my tension is a little on the loose side, to make the pattern a touch more compact.  All in all I'm extremely pleased.

So get wrapped up warm and have a super weekend.

Peace Out X

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

One A Day Update - Week 8

Hi all.  I've had a good week, finishing off a knitted gift (which I will share this week), and a lovely weekend celebrating Bonfire night with Bella Bee.  We managed to see the local big firework display for free and in the comfort and warmth of the car by parking in nearby street.  Plus it stopped Bella Bee getting too uncomfortable, as she doesn't like loud noises for a prolonged length of time.  We also attended a private display with family on Sunday.  Bella Bee had a whale of a time running round with her cousins and family friends.  I hardly saw her all evening.  She didn't even seem to mind the fireworks with friends to distract her.

So onto the project update.  This week is the turn of the Summer Garden Granny Blanket.  I discovered last week that I had done one too many blocks while catching up so I've only done one block since the last update 2 weeks ago.  I have since roughly estimated how many blocks I will need to complete the blanket and I think I should have kept to the one block a week and had the extra as a bonus if I'm ever to finish this monster.  I thought I was realistic when starting this project and doing only only square a day was fully expecting not to have a finished blanket to use until next winter.  That, I have since realised, may be unrealistic.

Laying the blocks on the bed this morning and wanting a blanket roughly the same size as the King size quilt I have on the bed I estimated 8 blocks across by 12 blocks down.  That equals a massive 96 blocks.  Ouch.  At 52 weeks in a year, that would take nearly 2 years!  Ha ha ha!  I'm starting to struggle with the long term aspects of these blanket projects as it is.  Maybe I could fit in 2 blocks a week?  Realistically not sure that is feasible as I always have other smaller projects on the go too and completing the one block a week often seems to elude me.

It will be positively gorgeous if I ever finish it though!

Project details
Name : Summer Garden Granny Blanket
Pattern : Summer Garden Granny Square from Lucy at Attic24
Yarn : Stylecraft Special DK
Colours : Grape, Pale Rose, Lemon, Meadow, Cream

Hope your all getting on well with your own projects, and I hope to try and get round you all for a little peek this week through Gingerbread Girl.

Peace Out X

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

One A Day Update - Week 7 - Take 2 - Eurgh

Take 2.

Bloody computers. 

Don't even want to do the sodding post now.  It was a great post.  An ideal mix of witty, informative, ripply homely goodness.

So now I will sulk.

Here are some photos.

Blah blah blah.

Project details:

Name : Bella Bee Ripple Blanket
Pattern : Neat Ripple Pattern (ish) by Lucy of Attic24
Yarn : Stylecraft Special DK
Colours : Grape, Pale Rose, Meadow and Cream
Size : Single bed size
Measurements : approx 38"/97cm width from a base chain of 183 (12x15)+3

Go over and check out all the other lovely, none sulking One A Day project people at Gingerbread Girl.

Right, now to find something to release this frustration out on.

Peace Out X