Friday, 26 September 2008


Just for completeness, I really should have posted a photo of the swap parcel that I received from Gwen. So here it is only a few weeks late:

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Finished Objects

So I guess that as I've been sat around with my feet up since the beginning of August, I really ought to have posted here more often, But I have been crafting instead, so I guess I can get away with it. Here are the results of that effort:

I loved making the crochet toy out of left over sock yarn. The pirate was a nightmare, too fiddly, and not sure how much "playing" it will withstand, but it is done at last.

Plenty of Cherry Tree Hill yarn left over from EZ's Baby Surprise Jacket, so I've found a largely garter stitch hat pattern, that I'll make to match.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008


So last Saturday was the World Wide Knit in Public day, and as chance would have it, it was one of the very few Saturday's when I wasn't seen knitting in public as a birthday party interrupted the usual routine.
But in the spirit of the day (and the first week's challenge on the UK knitting swap) here's a picture of me not knitting but crocheting.  One of my faithful companions can also be seen.  As the evening progresses Roo moves to one armrest, and Tigger takes up her position on the other.  They are 15 year old siblings who long ago gave up chasing my yarn, unless it repeatedly brushes past their nose or ears.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Latest finished object

So the smock is now finished, and most appreciated by its new owner.

And the current portable project of Chevrolace socks have now reached the gussett - so good progress being made.

I've decided to sign up for the Books and More Raverly swap aswell.  This one could be international, so a chance to expand horizons.  But this and the UK swap should mean I have lots of new goodies to keep me entertained when I stop work again.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Patterned Smock

So this is the latest larger project. I set out with the intention of knitting 2 smocks, one for me with open lower sides, and one smaller one. I started on the smaller one, enlivening the stocking stitch original with this pattern. But as I draw to the end of this garment, I have a feeling that my version will never be cast on.

However, I do like this yarn - Sirdar Calico - a cotton and acrylic mix that feels perfect for summer and doesn't unravel as much as a previous cotton yarn I have used.

Monday, 31 March 2008

Spin and dye

So I went to the Stitch and Craft show at Olympia on Friday. I was supposed to be a knitting focused day - but the only concession to that appeared to be that the free draw prizes for the day were provided by Simply Knitting magazine. So I wandered around once without buying anything, and lacking inspiration decided to book a workshop instead.

The workshop was a revelation. Using a hand held spindle I learnt how to spin silk into yarn. Although it sounds pretty straight forward, the technique is all in getting the thickness of the yarn as consistent as you can and applying the right amount of twist so that the finished yarn is useable. So here is my first finished spindle. I have another couple of colours ready to spin, and have to decide what I'm going to do with the yarn as to whether I should ply this with itself or mix the colours. But I'm converted.

Also over the weekend my daughter and I decided to get the Kool Aid out, and dye the first batch of wool from the lovely stash acquired from Mel as part of the Swap. So this is our grape and strawberry mix. We're really pleased with the result so far, again just need to work out what the end product is going to be.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

I'm still here

With 7 days left until I return to work I have one crafting aim in mind. To at least finish the metallic braids on the Queen of Peace. It is so tempting to try to fit in all the non crafting stuff as well that it will be a tight squeeze. But a necessary one if I am to have any space for the potential stash additions that may be picked up this Friday at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Olympia. I don't have any specific purchases in mind - which probably means I'll come back feeling disappointed if there is nothing that jumps out at me, but never mind! That said it was a craft free long Easter weekend as the family went away and had a lovely time in a cabin in the snow. Must get those pictures developed.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

My Swap parcel has arrived!

Hooray, I have the most wonderful parcel of goodies from Mel. She managed to keep her identity completely secret until the parcel arrived, but matched all my preferences and wishes.

Needless to say the kids helped me to unwrap each of the purple tissue paper covered items, which made taking before and after pictures rather tricky, but here are my spoils: A lovely handmade felted bag, just the right size for sock projects, which contained some lovely Fyberspates sock wool and Brittany bamboo dpn; some undyed wool and a whole box of Kool-aid, gloves and aprons to get the whole family dyeing; a gorgeous cat mug and decaffeinated Earl Grey to be enjoyed with Jaffa Cakes; sweets to share amongst the family; and a box of Lush goodies; and last but definitely not least a cute wooden keyring sock blocker.

I've really enjoyed this swap, it has worked out really well for me both up and down stream. Thanks again Mel.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Inspiring Crochet

So after a lethargic week with headaches preventing much progress, I headed off to a Rowan crochet workshop at Purl and Co in Ipswich with 2 companions. There were 10 of us all together, most of whom had tried crochet, but were looking for additional confidence. Our tutor, Jane Crowfoot, was very patient, starting us off in the morning with a sampler of the different stitches and their effects on the fabric created. In the afternoon we were let loose on the cotton glace and kid silk haze to create our own item to meet our own objectives. A number of the group choose to attempt to recreate one of the amazing samples that Jane had brought with her. By the end of the afternoon, everyone had a good size creation to take away with them. Star of the day was my daughter, who despite being considerably younger than the other participants managed to create a spiral with a ruffled edge, and then a beaded flower with petals. The items pictured are my items, with the leaf in progress until I can acquire the right size hook. My only advice to anyone else signing up for workshops at this venue, is to notify any dietary requirements early - unfortunately I didn't, so my coeliac companion brought her own lunch. But all in all a very enjoyable day.

Monday, 25 February 2008

Catch up

I've fallen behind on the weekly UK knitting swap discussion topics, so here is a catch up of the last 2 weeks:

Week 6: Q: Have you done a swap before (doesn't have to be a knitting swap)? What do you like best about swapping? Are there any personal "requirements" that a swap has to have before you will join?

This is my first knitting swap, and the first anything swap in about 10 years (guess how old my eldest child is!). Way back when in the days of usenet newsgroups I was an active member of uk.rec.crafts and its cross-stitching spinoff. At different times I organised the UK cross-stitchers Christmas card swap, and the International Alphabet Sampler Round Robins (each of the 8 members in each group started off an alphabet sampler, passing it on for each member to stitch their contribution before it ended up home again).

I also participated in the UK quilting swaps where each member chose a fabric to match the theme, sent it to a central location, and then received back pieces of fabric from all the other members.

I enjoy both the preparation, whether that be shopping or crafting and also the receiving, and then the planning of how to make best use of the spoils. So for me the expectations of swapee's have to be realistic, and in tune with my current fads. I'd never get a sweater made in a month, but would get a pair of socks done if I was in the right mood.

Week 5: What kind of Spoilee are you? Are you paranoid that it's not being sent, or lost in the post? Do you want it to arrive quickly? OR Do you enjoy the anticipation? Sitting and pondering when it will arrive... and anxiously waiting for it, close to the deadline?

I am an eternal optimist and always believe the best of people, so as long as I have some contact from my upstream pal (who by the way is very good at that) then I'll be happy. I'll only start waiting once I have posted my parcel, which won't be quite yet. But the deadline day is just after my birthday so I'll be happy for a birthday present, or an early present.

And finally here's the parcel to be dispatched to Preemies UK:

Monday, 18 February 2008

More WIP

A terribly long time since I last posted.

Partly explained by concentration on larger projects, so no FO to publish. So here is the latest update: The preemie pile now contains a dress, cardi, 2 hats and half a blanket ( I mistakenly thought that a mitred square pattern would be quick - but knitting from the long edges in is incredibly tedious.) Here's a pic anyway.

I've also had a splurge on this cross stitch from Mirabilia "Queen of Peace". She needs a dove, back stitch, beads and metallic threads before she's ready but is going really well. Apologies if this appears sideways, as it does on the preview.

Otherwise, I am really enjoying collecting the items for my swap partner's parcel. Most of the knitting related items are now in hand, and tomorrow's objective is to find some pampering treats.

Friday, 25 January 2008


A few days gap without any finished objects, means it is time to post some work in progress. The first exhibit is my first contribution to the premature baby project - a dress that just needs some sleeves. The lacey wide skirt took a few days to work through, even after I'd converted the pattern to work it in the round rather than flat.

These fingerless gloves are still on the go as my portable project, but another dance lesson tomorrow should give me enough time to finish them.

The only other thing to report is a further breaking of resolution number 2 - I've bought some more yarn. But who can resist cheap Collinette? There may be some still left if you get in quick. I followed a message on the UK Hand Knitters Yahoo Group to this link

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Knit-year Resolutions

So the first challenge of the UK Swap is to discuss your resolutions for 2008.

Well on 1st January I only had 2 resolutions this year: 1) Start this blog and see how long I could keep it up (not doing too bad so far) and 2) Not to buy any more yarn before using up some of my stash (um, failed already!).

As already described below, I couldn't resist a skein of one of Hip Knits hand-dyed yarns when I met Kerrie at Braintree. That said, it has been used already. So Exhibit number 1 in my defence is this pair of leg-warmers for the family dancer.

I'm also going to plead mitigating circumstances for my second relapse. Earlier this week I agreed to knit for a group sending parcels to maternity units for premature and still-born babies - so I had to visit the lys to review their patterns, and somehow ended up leaving with 5 balls of baby friendly yarn as well as a decent premature sized pattern.

But in case that sounds just a little too boring, events of this week have lead to 2 more resolutions for the list: 3) No alcohol and maximum 2 caffeine drinks a day, and 4) thanks largely to Mr J Oliver and Channel 4 , eat more fibre and less processed food. We'll just have to wait to see how I manage.

Thursday, 17 January 2008


This is the real Tigger.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Evie Jacket

I've finished the small girl's jackets and used all the Bergere de France wool by making a hat to match. I'm quite pleased with the results, so I'll post the pattern here, and maybe get it linked into other sites soon.

Jacket to fit 6 months (12mths, 18mths, 24 mths). Finished size 20 inches (22,24,26 inches) or 50cm (56,61,66 cm).

Wool used: Bergere de France - Toison in shade Empire (76yds / 70m per ball) : 2 balls (3,3,4 balls)
1 button

Needles: 5.5mm (US 9) circular for body, and 5.5mm (US 9) double pointed needles for sleeves
4 stitch markers

Tension: 16 stitches and 20 rows per 10cm (4 inches) using 5.5m (US 9) needles.

Body (worked back and forth on circular needle)
Cast on 80 (88,96,104) sts. Knit 5 rows to create garter stitch border.
row 6 (ws): K3, purl 74 (82,90,98), K3
row 7 (rs): Knit

Repeat rows 6 and 7 until work measures 4 (5.5,7,8.5) inches 10 (14,18,22) cm ending with a knit row.
Armholes: K3, p14 (16,18,20), bind off 6 stitches, p34 (38,42,46), bind off 6 stitches, p14 (16,18,20), k3
Leave on one side until sleeves are ready.

Sleeves (make 2 separately)
With dpn cast on 18 (20,22,24) stitches, space these across the dpn. I used 4 (5,6,7) sts on the 1st and 3rd needle, and 10 on the 2nd as this works as sleeve widens.
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: Join the round, taking care not to twist the stitches, and marking the start of the round. Purl
Row 3: Knit
Row 4: Purl
Row 5 and all following rows: Knit. Increase one stitch at beginning and end of the 5th and every following 3rd row.

Continue until you have 32 (34,36,38) stitches. Work 0 (2,4,6) knit rows.
On next row, knit until 3 stitches before the end of row marker. Bind off these 3 stitches and first 3 of next row (6 in total). Knit until the end of the row - 26 (28,30,32) stitches.

Yoke (joining all pieces together).
With right sides facing, and circular needle, k 17 (19,21,23), place marker, k 26 (28,30,32) from 1st sleeve, place marker, k 34 (38,42,46), place marker, k 26 (28,30,32) from 2nd sleeve, k 14 (16,18,20), yarn forward, k2tog, k1. [120, 132,144,156 stitches on needle]

ws row: k3, purl to last 3 sts, k3
rs row: *knit until 2 sts before marker, slip st, knit 1, pass slip stitch over, slip marker, k2tog* repeat 4 times, knit until end

repeat the rows above, at the same time dec 1 st at each end of every 3rd row (do this on stitches 4 and 5 - to maintain the 3 stitch garter stitch front border).

Continue until 5 sts remain before the 1st marker. Maintain shaping, but knit the next 2 wrong side rows to create a garter stitch collar. Bind off.

Sew together the 2 short underarm seams. Tidy thread ends.

Friday, 11 January 2008

New dpns

So my double pointed needles arrived yesterday, and now I have one sleeve made and attached to the body of my "minimal sewing" baby's cardigan. Sleeve number 2 is in progress, and then we should be able to see whether my design actually works or not.

I also collected the party pottery for distribution in the playground. Here is the birthday boy's finished effort:

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Evening at Braintree

Last night the members of my knitting group went along to the open evening organised by the Braintree knitting group. So as well as getting to chat and knit as normal, we had the opportunity to share our finished projects, browse through an impressive collection of books and magazines, and the chance to buy more yarn at special prices. I picked up some hand-dyed aran from Kerrie of Hipknits who was also there. I'm going to use this instead of the Bergere de France wool in the crochet project I have lined up.

The Bergere de France wool is now being knitted into baby sized cardigans of my own design. Just waiting on some 5.5mm double pointed needles from ebay for the sleeves. The intention is that this is knitted without the need for any sewing at the end. Further details will follow:

Friday, 4 January 2008

Party time

So yesterday was my son's birthday, and continuing the crafty theme we took a party of 6 and 7 year olds pottery painting. The studio we visited had improved on our previous party experience at the same venue some time before. This time there were prepainted outlines for the kids to "paint in". Luckily they had prepared extra dinosaurs for our visit. It just about retained the interest of the group for an hour - although some kids needed persuading to do the extra coats to guarantee the deeper colours when they reappear from the kiln.

The birthday celebrations meant I didn't finish my Cherie Amour until today. This is what it looks like:

Eager to start the next project I retrieved some Bergere de France wool from my stash (my share of our knitting group's magazine prize) only to find that the nature of the wool means I can't see the crochet stitches - so re-think this evening. It's a wool that will have to be knitted!

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Happy New Year

A new year and a new blog - probably one of thousands being started today.

I hope to record my crafting exploits and possibly some other personal events.

So today's buzz is around Ravelry I got my invite to join this online knitting community 2 days ago, so still finding my way around, but I love it. It has personal areas for you to record your current projects, all those lined up in the queue and your stash of yarn and needles/hooks. And also community areas for sharing and discussion.

So back to the knitting so I can finish the current project - Cherie Amour from Knitty Fall 07 edition