Saturday, 29 December 2012

A Cardigan for Merry

October 2012

George's Christmas present, which was well timed to coincide with the UK release of the Hobbit (the pattern being named after a character in the Lord of the Rings).

Although this is a freebie pattern, you do need to have bought Kate Gilbert's Cardigan for Arwen if you want to refer to the cable charts. Substituting your own would work fine too, but it would have to be reversible, because the hood means that both sides are on display at once.

This felt enormous when I first finished it, and I remember thinking it would have to languish in a drawer until he was at least 3. A couple of months later, it's not a bad fit - so I guess the 12 - 18 month sizing was about right. George is about 13.5 months here, and big-ish for his age.

I THINK I've got the right yarn - I couldn't find the ball band, but it was definitely something style craft or King Cole-y. Next time I'm in Helmsley I'll track down the wool shop and check (any excuse).

The Buttons came from Boyes in York, chosen by Daddy. Daddy also wanted me to add a tassel to the hood, which I might well have done was it not for the fact that the finishing was already epic (it's knit flat, in pieces, and there are hems - ick).

Pattern: A Cardigan for Merry by annypurls
Yarn: Stylecraft Special double knit
Colourway: 1010 Matador
Needle: 3.5mm
Size: 12 - 18 months
On ravelry: here

Saturday, 8 December 2012


November 2012

I've been working on an entirely-stocking-stitch XL cardigan since September, and it's boring the heck out of me. So I jumped on the opportunity to make this as a Christmas present, just so I could have a go at a bit of lace.

The lace pattern is written, not charted, but for a freebie pattern it seems churlish to complain about that. I thought the way short rows are used to make a nice round shape of the lace yoke was really clever, and unlike anything I've attempted before.

The buttons (from John Lewis, by the way) are supposed to be at the back, as far as I can tell, but I'd be tempted to try it the other way around, because they're so pretty. White and green is such a lovely combination.

I found my lace hem turned up on itself a little bit, but I'll put that down to the fact that I was very poorly when I was trying to finish this off. Blocking has helped a little bit, so I might have another go, although acrylic doesn't really have the same memory as natural fibres.

This is a great baby yarn - I've made quite a few things with it now, and it wears very well. Plus it's washable, which is pretty essential with baby clothes. I was toying with the idea of turning it into a jumper with a dragon on it for George (my little boy), but I think this was the right call. I reckon I should be able to find a more dragon-y green.

You know, it's high time I made something for me. Just as soon as I finished that damned cardigan...

Pattern: Meredith by Ruth Maddock
Yarn: King Cole Big Value Baby dk
Colourway: Nil 7
Needle: 3.5mm
Size: 2 - 3
On ravelry: here

Monday, 3 December 2012


October 2012

There is a certain time of year when a knitted vest over a long-sleeved top is just the thing to keep the chill off without making you too sweaty and itchy. I made this for my son to wear during that time of year in 2013.

I loved the unusual construction of this vest. It starts with a provisional cast on of the stitches which will end up as the row across the back at which underarm shaping starts. You then knit up the back, over the shoulders and start working downwards, making the v-neck by increasing. When you get to the point at which the front measures the same as the back, you take out your provisional cast-on and join to work in the round, making it totally seamless. And you really can't spot the provisional cast on row when you're finished.


I've always struggled with provisional cast on, despite watching more online demos than I care to remember. Just too much twisty turny. Then Amber Bertram pointed out that if you cast on normally with scrap yarn and just knit into that with your working yarn, you achieve the same thing. So simple it made me feel a bit silly.

This was a really quick enjoyable pattern, and I love the way the cables look in this two-tone yarn (I'm not sure what the technical word for it would be). I've completed one other project in Moods Duet dk, and it loved the look of it then, given it's a bit of a bargain basement sort of yarn.

Pattern: Poseidon by Amber Bertram
Yarn: King Cole Moods Duet dk
Colourway: Stonewash
Needle: 3.5mm
Size: 18 - 24 months
On ravelry: here

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Round Dance

July 2010

I love this pattern. To design colourwork is clever enough, but to design something so cool, and which even works around decreases for shaping blows my mind. And to give it away for free too. Awesome.

HOWEVER, it came out massive. It's not that I have a tiny head, honest. I really should have been more careful about my gauge, because being knitted bottom-up, this isn't the sort of thing you can adjust very easily even if you realise it's going a bit wrong. And I did. But I just had to finish the chart regardless.

One other difficulty I had with this hat is that I'm quite new to colour work, and so the huge gaps between the rib cages and the skulls, which called for very long floats, weren't as neat as I'd have liked (although blocking may have remedied that). This is probably one for someone with a bit more experience than me.

I'm blogging about this now because I'm on the verge of unravelling it so that I can recycle the yarn into  a pair of Lusekofte-esque Mitts. I've just passed my driving test, and I think they would be just the thing to keep my hands toasty on a wintery drive. I couldn't bring myself to frog this without plenty of photographs first.

Pattern: Round Dance by Thomas Pototschnig
Yarn: Rowan RYC Cashsoft 4-ply (MC) and Debbie Bliss Rialto 4-ply (CC)
Colourway: Thunder / Cream
Needle: 3.25mm
Size: One size
On ravelry: here

Monday, 12 November 2012

Pirate's Cutie - Sweater

November 2012

I tweaked this a little bit, because judging by the pictures in the magazine, in the smaller sizes it looked as if there was very little space between the top of the skull and the beginning of the neckline.

I used a provisional cast on, knit two rows black and then worked through eight rows of the chart. Then I checked my row gauge (which was waaaay off) and, based on the schematic measurement for the area between the start of the armhole and the neckline, calculated which row of the chart should be the start of armhole shaping if I was going to add four plain black rows after the end of the chart.

I then knitted downwards from the provisional cast on to get the right length. This was the best way I could think of the get the motif exactly where I wanted it to be. I also worked the front before the back, so that I could be more flexible about the number of rows worked by matching the back to the finished front, not vice versa.

Speaking of provisional cast on, though, I recently discovered a very simple way of doing it (via another pattern I recently completed). Just cast on with scrap yarn and then when you’re finished, start knitting into it with the working yarn. It takes a bit of unravelling, but it’s easier than any of the other techniques I’ve tried.

This was mostly intarsia work, which I haven’t done very much of, but it wasn’t an especially difficult motif. This video by Norah Gaughan is a really useful starting point.

I did switch to stranded colourwork in a couple of places - specifically for the teeth and the nose. I might try to add a picture of this inside out later, just to pat myself on the back for sewing in all those loose ends.

I’m seriously thinking about something with the logo on the back next time - it’s got to be easier to photograph!

Nothing useful to say about the yarn for the time being really. It was cheap, it washes in a machine and it wasn’t too squeaky to work with but I’ll be interested to see how it wears.

Pattern: Pirate's Cutie by Shiri Mor - published in Knit One Winter 2006/7
Yarn: King Cole Pricewise dk
Colourway: 48 Black / 46 Cream
Needle: 3.50mm
Size: 12 - 18 months(ish)
On ravelry: here

Tuesday, 6 November 2012


November 2011

Inspired by Brooklyn Tweed's version, and completely ripping off his idea of using a self striping yarn rather than stripes of lots of different colours of solids, this was originally made to match this jacket

Of course, they turned out completely different sizes and were never worn together. In fact, this hat had been languishing in a drawer for months, and it was only in getting George's knitwear drawer ready for the winter that I rediscovered it. It's more or less a perfect fit just now.

My mother in law has a real paranoia about babies getting ear infections (or that's how it seems to me, because it's never happened to George yet) and so wholeheartedly approves of hats which cover the ears. Being able to tie them on is also a plus, for obvious reasons.

This is a freebie patten, made with yarn which I had stashed anyway, so it basically cost me nothing. It's not machine washable, but I don't think that matters so much with hats as with other baby clothes. He would have to be going some to get this dirty.

Pattern: Cisco by Berroco Design Team
Yarn: Freedon Spirit by Twilleys of Stamford 
Colourway: 515 Destiny
Needle: 3.50mm 
Size: 6 - 12 months(ish)
On ravelry: here

Monday, 5 November 2012

Cartman Hat

August 2012

The problem with having a baby son is that I can't help wanting to dress him up in clothes he probably wouldn't approve of, if he was capable of expressing an opinion about it. So this is me making hay while the sun shines, and dressing him up as Eric Cartman. I'm also working on a Stewie Griffin costume, perhaps even including a ginger wig for me.

Anyway, this hat was pretty much improvised. Based on a gauge of 22 stitches to 4 inches and a head measurement of about 16 inches, I cast on 85 stitches. The yellow brim was in garter stitch and about five ridges (or ten rows) wide. The main body was in stocking stitch, which I worked even until about 4 inches from the cast on edge.

Deceases were as follows:

k1, (k2tog, k5) around

k one row even

k1, (k2tog, k4) around

k one row even

and so on, with one less stitch between decreases every other row until there were 13 stitches left.

I left the last few stitches on the needle. whilst I made the pom-pom, so that I could attach it by pulling the two ends of yellow yarn through them as well as the blue working yarn.

Much as would have loved to put him in a red coat and yellow mittens for the photos, it was August and WAY too hot!

Yarn: Patons Fab dk

Amount: less than one skein of each
Colourway: 2302 Yellow / 2315 Blue
Needle: 3.50mm
Size: 9 - 12 months 
On ravelry: here

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Little Coffee Bean

May 2012

I loved this little cardigan. The yarn was a lidl special offer, and very cheap, but lovely and soft. It knitted up beautifully and wasn't splitty at all. The first time George wore it was to a playgroup, and it was spotted as handmade by a fellow knitter, which was gratifying.

Little coffee bean is a top down, seamless pattern, and I always enjoy those. I worked the sleeves in the round using the jobless stripe method set out in Jared Flood's turn a square pattern.

I'm tempted to make this again one day, maybe in a warmer yarn for the winter. I'm a big fan of cardigans without hoods at the moment, as the ones with hoods can get a bit too bulky with a coat on top.

These picture were taken when George was just over six months old - moving onto solid food but not yet mobile, and so at his chubbiest. And just as he was starting to play with his feet :)

Pattern: Little Coffee Bean by Elizabeth Smith
Yarn: Lidl Spring Crochet Assortment
Amount: one skein of each 
Colourway: blue / navy
Needle: 4.50mm
Size: 6 months 
On ravelry: here 

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Lotus Baby Blanket

March 2012

I've been really dreadful at keeping my blog up to date for a good few months now, and I'm determined to make amends, so this is the first in what will hopefully be a flurry of posts about rather old projects. The last post I made was about a cardigan which has now been outgrown, and that's is a shocking state of affairs.

Anyway, back from the days when the baby stayed where he was put, this blanket he is modelling was a present for a little girl called Rosa to celebrate her naming day. I was rather pleased to find something with a flower-like pattern, because it seemed appropriate.

This is worked from the centre outwards. I used DPNS and circular needles rather than magic loop as suggested. When I got to near to the end I was running very short on time, and so I modified the blanket edging by working it in garter stitch, rather than seed stitch (which is a lot more time consuming). I thought it was just as decorative and just as effective at preventing the blanket from curling up on itself.

I really liked Breeze dk - it's lovely and soft and lightweight and it didn't show up my mistakes a much as some other cotton yarns seem to. Sadly it's been discontinued, and I only discovered it through a ravelry trade.

Pattern: Lotus Baby Blanket by Shana Kreikmeier
Yarn: Sirdar Breeze dk
Amount: 2 skeins
Colourway: 065 Apple Green
Needle: 4.00mm
Size: One size
On ravelry: here

Monday, 4 June 2012

Baby Sophisticate

February 2012

Worked entirely according to patt. except that I decided at the last minute to work the cuffs, waist band and button band in a contrast colour.

I love the result. Linden is entirely right about that shawl collar. It’s VERY dapper.
I ordered a shade called Galaxy thinking it was black (it looked black on my screen) but it’s actually black heathered with very dark burgundy and purple. Gorgeous.
There’s enough of each skein left over to make this again in reverse (i.e. black with a red trim).
220 wool is handwash only, but survived a rinse/spin cycle in my machine, so that’s reasonably baby proof.

George is 16 weeks old in these pictures. I made the 6 - 12 month size, but in a much tighter gauge than suggested so it’s more like a 3 - 6 month botch job. I lucked out though - it fits beautifully.
The socks are Trumpettes and the bib is from Funky Giraffe.

Pattern: Baby Sophisticate by Linden Down
Yarn: Cascade 220
Amount: Less than 1 skein of each
Colourway: 9544
Needle: 4.00mm
Size: Custom
On raverly: here

Sunday, 29 April 2012


January 2012
BEAUTIFUL yarn and BEAUTIFUL pattern. It doesn’t get much better than this.

Worked several rows of the middle section whilst in labour. Hard as nails, me. :)
Intended to be a nursing shawl, but I had to wait so long for the Lon-dubh colourway to be in stock that baby is now 2 months old! Ho-hum.
Things worth knowing:
  1. The chart for section 3 is divided into 3 parts, each on a separate page, which is a bit inconvenient, once you get a feel for what’s happening in this section you don’t need to refer to them very much;
  2. Pattern calls for provisional cast on, which took me ages to master. There’s a very helpful YouTube clip on that here;
  3. The yarn is carried down the side of the shawl in sections 1 and 3. There’s a full explanation of how to do it, but one or two ravelers have come up with alternative techniques which are worth a look;
  4. The yarn is also carried behind the buds in section 3 for up to 7 stitches. Not a problem, but you really need to make your floats nice and loose;
  5. It’s worth having a long hard look at the schematic before embarking on this project, as it’s really quite a small shawl;
  6. I had 10g of the pale blue and 26g of the dark blue leftover. Possibly enough for a baby hat?

    Pattern: Catkin by Carina Spencer 
    Yarn: Old Maiden Aunt Merino Superwash 4-ply
    Amount: 1 skein of each
    Colourway: Dreich / Lon-dubh
    Needle: 3.50mm
    Size: One size
    On raverly: here

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Lace Edge Cardigan

November 2011

One last bit of Christmas knitting, this, for the daughter of friends of mine who have been very generous in passing on the baby equipment she has outgrown. This was the least I could do to say thank you.

Sirdar's patterns can be a little bit on the traditional side, but some of them are very pretty. There's something rather fun about being only the second person on ravelry to have had a go at any given pattern too!

I worked the back and two front sections in one piece and joined he shoulder seams with a three needle bind off. The usual mods to cut back on the amount of sewing required at the finishing stage. If I was to make this again, I would probably keep more of an eye on the sleeve length, as they seem fairly long, and as the lace pattern isn't reversible, folding the cuffs back isn't ideal.

The buttons came from Duttons for Buttons in York, chosen by my husband.

Pattern: Lace-edge cardigan from Sirdar 1520
Yarn: Sirdar Snuggly 4-ply
Amount: 2 skeins
Colourway: 0341
Needle: 3.00mm
Size: 6 - 12 months
On raverly: here

Monday, 2 January 2012


November 2011

Here he is, the man himself, my son George... I can't help feeling that had he not arrived 8 days early, he'd have a heck of a lot more knitwear.

I'm an avid reader of Knitty, and I'd had my eye on childHood for some time - I actually thought I'd end up making it as a gift for someone or other sooner than getting pregnant myself. Funny how things turn out.

I adapted the pattern rather a lot. I wanted to make a set of coordinating pieces, and as the other patterns I had in mind for this were designed for dk weight yarn, I modified childHood by following the instructions for the 1-2 year old size. The logic was hat since the schematic for childHood showed the 0-3 month size had a 20" chest, and my gauge with the dk yarn was 22 stitches to 4", I would need roughly 110 stitches to get a similar size with a dk. As it happened, the 1-2 year old size started with 114 stitches if you added together the back and front sections, so it seemed ideal. This is what comes of reading Elizabeth Zimmermann!

I also shortened the hood by about 2" after reading a lot if comments from people how had found it a little on the capacious side. I find it a very useful piece of clothing to have on hand as the hood allows you to make sure the baby's head is covered even if you mislay his hat.

The only slight gripe I had with the pattern was that the button band has to be sewn on, and that's a bit of a faff, but then again, I hate sewing, and it probably wouldn't bother most people. Actually I did manage to make life slightly easier by working the fronts and back all in one piece, and the sleeves could be worked in round too, by anyone who has mastered the jogless stripes technique (so not me, then...)

Pattern: childHood by Natalie Wilson from Knitty, Summer 2003
Yarn: King Cole Big Value dk
Amount: 2 skeins MC, 1 skein CC
Colourway: 221 Pebble (MC) 46 cream (CC)
Needle: 3.5mm
Size: 0 - 3 months
On raverly: here