Archive for the ‘knitting’ Category


a knitting review of 2010

January 12, 2011

This post comes with a heavy image warning. I’m trying to get a photo for every single thing I completed during 2010. So far I’m mostly there but still waiting on some pictures to come back from Germany… I will be blathering about woolly things and what they are made of. If this is not your bag I’m afraid you’ll have to wait until I can rustle up a fresh cat update next time.

You would not believe how good it feels to have this solid record of my achievements. I do LOVE giving away my knits, I could never keep them all, this way I get to enjoy them and so do the new owners.

The 2008/9 stragglers that got finished:

Rasta socks Started November 20 2008  September 10 2010

These were epic and knitting even just in the round with 3 different colours on two socks at the same time ended up too much. I separated them out during the heels. Still these were wonderful and well received by their new owner Andy. They were meant to be a present for bringing his drums as entertainment to our wedding. As you can see it took me the best part of two years to make them.

Basic socks from December 27 2009

Strong mitts November 10 2009  April 2 2010

Made to be butch but colourful for a colleague in Southampton. He sent back a great image of him wearing them. I think the wool was trekking XXL held double to make them supper strong. Oh and a little sneaky iphone cosy up there that avoided being put on Ravelry cos it was so small.

The 2010 finished objects:

The rug! January 9 2010  January 17 2010

After AM and E made me some giant knitting needles I gave them a try. This was 14 balls of wool held together at the same time and knitted. I love this rug but it had to move upstairs because apparently the cats also love to wipe after a toilet visit. Good thing its all really cheap machine washable acrylic. I’d love to make another a bit bigger but it did get rather difficult to knit when finishing because it was so bulky.

Sea blue Laminaria April 7 2010  April 24 2010

A very enjoyable knit. I wear this regularly now but it has gone a bit fluffy due to the pure merino wool used. It went very quickly because I was entertained by the stitch organization. This is one shawl I am likely to repeat.

Baby Cube blanket for Noah March 2010  May 23 2010

I wasn’t keen on making this but it worked really well. The modular design wasn’t too bad to sew together but getting the right arrangement for the cubes was confusing. The most painful bit was posting it to Noah and him not getting it because the postal system delivered when he was not in the house. His lovely parents went to pick it up for him and would not let them have it because they were not the baby on the package. One trip to Ireland later and the package arrived back with me, which made it all the sweeter when Scotty and I went to Colchester zoo to meet him and hand it over personally.

Ruby Shawl April 24 2010 July 9 2010

A beautiful pure alpaca wool which was an absolute pig to block. Given to my sister in-law for her birthday eventually blocked twice to get it to lay flat.

Plum night June 20 2010  August 2 2010

A variation on the pattern Annis from Knitty, I loved knitting this too and it was a great colour for my sister. Modeled by my niece. The beads were heavy but it added something special because it holds the shawl just where you want it. Knitted with a one off dyed ball of wool bought at Knit Nation 2009

Dragon wings August 25 2010 August 29 2010

My niece was in to dragons at this point, so wings were best. I love this wool which is Kauni Wool 8/2 Solids. There was an odd knot in the ball which made the colours of the full rainbow fault back in the wrong direction. Luckily for me this was a full repeat of one set of red colours, the rest are still in the ball waiting to be knitted and are a full rainbow.

Newborn presents October 15 2010  October 27 2010

Completed (sort of) before the arrival of said baby, nicknamed squeak before birth, now has an amazing name to go with his amazing parents. I got the most beautiful card from AM thanking me for these little items which were so easy to run up.

July 15 2010 November 30 2010

Anna owns a vegetable shop and spends all day in the cold, her old mittens were also hand knit by someone else but I wanted to go one better. I measured her hands by comparing them to mine and she was thrilled with the results. I gave her the rest of the wool to knit herself something to go with them.

Le Floof August 1 2010  November 27 2010

Hastily finished to wear to a winter ball, this was so warm! Now I will never doubt the warmness of cheap man made fibers. It looks great on too and I had a lot of compliments when wearing it in snowy conditions. 15 stitches wide done on the giant needles with 7 balls of wool held together.

Red Grey Selbu Moderne November 11 2010  December 11 2010

This kint was epic. It was my first real two colour knitting. I carried all floats over so that they are woven in to the fabric of the hat. I had so very many compliments on it too. I followed the free pattern available on the net. I was so very tempted to keep this and not give it to my dad’s girlfriend. Still She loves it and has also had many compliments on it and has been asked where they could buy one. At least I know its well loved. I also completed  a set of mitts which were s December 17 2010 and c December 24 2010. As you can tell they were taken down to the wire for a christmas present but were also loved when given to the same person as the hat. These are the item I am missing a photo for. They were in just the red without the grey, made out of colinette jitterbug with a picot edge top and bottom. The only odd thing I did with these is start from the finger end and not the wrist end making thumb decreases not increases.

The 2010 failures

I attempted a jumper following the Garland V-Neck Pullover pattern free from Ravelry. I made the rookie mistake of not thoroughly reading the pattern before starting knitting and failed to realise that the side increases all ended up on one side. It was frogged (ripped out) before any photos were taken.

Silky Shuffle

It was a great idea but failed due to using pure silk. If it was square pure silk would work but as soon as this was picked up the staggered rib just dropped out. It was not quite the way I intended. I want to write this one up as an easy free project but in a more suitable wool.

The UFO’s (un-finished objects) coming in to 2011

Jumper for me! November 2 2010

This is the first photo I have taken of the jumper. What with me taking 5 attempts over the past 5 years of knitting to never complete a jumper I feel like I’m trying to overcome a curse. Thing is I’m going to have to keep my arms apart because it appears I have two balls that are dyed quite a lot differently. Lets hope that the main body is odd enough for you not to notice this on the sleeves. The main body is complete up to the armpits, and I’d love to finish this before my birthday. Its based on Carona by CanarySanctuary. I did try this knit before but I used such rubbish wool I thought that was holding me back from completing a jumper too.

Shawl for my grandmother Started December 26 2010

A mix of 3 different shawl patterns amalgamated in to this smooshed up ball of stitches. I should really transfer to a longer needle but I’m sure it will all come out when I’ve finished. I want to complete this before Gran’s birthday too which is after mine. I think its entirely do-able because I only have 10 rows left to complete. A mix of 100% pure merino with 100% pure silk to give it loftyness, strength and mute down the brash colours and give it a bit of softness. I’m sure she will love it. Last time I visited I asked what her favourite colour was and she said turquoise. I think this is as close as I can get.


I did spin one major item in 2010 but I have no idea when I started and finished it.

A 3 ply silk and merino mix carded together on my drum carder. over 200g of wool! woohoo, this spinning project was epic for a newbie like me. I have no idea what to make with it. I’m waiting for my christmas/birthday present to arrive (late January) which is a new yarn swift because my home made one has nearly wobbled to death. Then I can ball this up and get knitting with it.

And finally

I published my first ever For Sale knitting pattern, the Cable Cross Baby Blanket (raverly link). Only for sale on ravelry, because I have not set up any other payment system.

I’ve sold 18 copies since it was launched in July. I pay fees to Ravelry when I sell copies, and taxes via paypal on each transaction, so out of each £4 I charge, I get around £2.50 but that is money I would never have had before. I have gifted one copy too, to Knitted Bear who knits some lovely things. So if you managed to read ALL this, and leave a comment saying you want it, I’ll gift to the first 5 of you who want it!

Plus if you want it outside of ravelry, mail me or comment and we’ll talk 🙂 happy knitting for 2011!


making a pattern.

May 12, 2010

Remember this?

baby blanket front

Now I’ve finally decided that at least with knitting patterns you make it once properly and then sell on copies. I am hoping that at least if I can create a small arsenal of these it will be the basis for creating and making that I can enjoy without getting completely bored. I’m no publisher, my main line of work is IT so at least I can apply the tools of my trade to getting this in to something readable and nice. What I have done though is write this up.

Now I love this pattern and I’m not sure where I stand on a few items including copyright of the original cables and how to get it published without offending any previous designer and or the cable creators. I can say in this instance most of these cables came from a knitting book, a stitch dictionary type book but not ALL of it. Also I created the miter sections myself so that each cable starts correctly on the miter to sit properly within the pattern.

Over on “The Rav” (ravelry) as I like to call it, I went to the test knitters discussion pool and posted a request. Sorry if you can’t get to that link, ravelry is a sign in type site because of the vast content hosted inside. If you are at all interested in the crafts of knitting, spinning, crochet or weaving you should know about it and have an account. So anyway, I posted a request and I was surprised by the vast response to the request. I did this yesterday and I already have what I like to call MINIONS. I know it sounds mean but they are doing my bidding. *cackles evilly* These lovely 5 people are getting this pattern for free whilst they test knit and prove if my charting and pattern writing skills are fully tested.

I want to charge for this pattern mainly because it’s the biggest best knit I’ve created so far. I want it to be something special for other people too. I’ll try to keep you informed on how it goes. For now, if you know anything about publishing, copyright or what really needs to be in that pattern that I may have missed, I would really appreciate hearing from you. It’s all new territory for me and I’m not the sort of person who wants to tread on anyones toes making this.


Laminaria how I love thee.

May 11, 2010

Yeah, I know I have a ton of projects on the go. BUT I had a moment, one of those moments where I saw wool, saw pattern and they wanted to make love. I used up 1 of these 3 balls and about 10 yards of the next ball but Laminaria was the way it was meant to be.

lace weight

It took me exactly two weeks and 3 days to complete, wash and block the shawl. I was wearing it the very next day. I meant to blog about this for some time but I was too busy being REALLY smug about what I achieved.

Laminaria finito!

A quick trip out in to our back yard and I tried to snap a few photos of myself.



Pattern notes: I mussed up one of the sssk type things and did a different stitch. I don’t think it detracts, I did the same stitch throughout so it looks like there are no mistakes. I’ve already had several people tell me they love it and it’s not meant to be kept by me. Even my lovely big sister said she wants one EXACTLY the same. This is one of the few knits I’d love to knit again. The make 9 from 3 stitch appears to be a bind but at least you don’t have to knit more than 3 together in to one stitch. Now I get to wear my entirely blue collection of clothes with a lovely hand knit too! I am SO smitten.


got my busy on.

April 14, 2010

Oh now where do I start? well this post is all about the crafting. Oh and if you’ve not already seen it is VERY image heavy.


I finished a pair of mittens for a friend. He gave them two thumbs up. I also did a matching phone cosy cos nothing says I thought of you than a matching gift set. Knit in trekking xxl and knitted with two strands together for super manly toughness.
accidental stripes   mitts

I started this scarf on holiday and after the first ball it was not long enough. Part way through the 2nd ball and I can’t decide to make it super long or add some other twiddles to it with the rest of the yarn. The yarn is pure silk cord bought at Alexandra palace knit and stitch show. Its dyed with natural indigo and something or other and stains the needles. I gathered up the scarf because it sort of shows the drape a bit better. This is one knit I want to write the pattern for because its super easy and one I wont mind giving away.

pure silk scarf

I LURVE this project. Katie & Matt have a lovely little bairn called Noah who was a miracle to the world after the long and hard process for them to have kids. I had a bit of consultation on what Katie wanted and produced this so far. I still need to knit another 6 hexagons and sew them all together properly. Then back it all in fleece in the same as the bright blue in the picture. I think this is still going to take some time. This was mutilated from a berocco free pattern Arabesque.


Matt’s iphone cosy. Although I should send this on, its waiting for the blanket.

iphone cosy 

I started with this lovely merino lace weight on Wednesday night. So far I’m on the 2nd pattern formation of Laminaria from Knitty. I thought that the Laminaria would be far too complicated but now I’m sure its addictive and not half as difficult as it looks. Except for the 2 or 3 into 9 stitches. THEY are a pain. I’ve not got any decent photos of the shawl as yet.. I suppose I should but that will be on the weekend and by then I may have done most of it! hahahah, who am I kidding. It’s a lovely knit but I’m not THAT quick.

lace weight

Now to meet an old friend. I made this around November time and completely forgot to blog about it. It’s because its my all time favourite hat. PLUS its the first thing I’ve ever fully made from my very own handspun yarn. Now this does need to be written up because its one of the easiest knit patterns I’ve ever made. Although I’m worried someone else has already had the idea before. Cast on 70 stitches with a 3mm needle, K2 P2 for ribbing then YO K2tog, round and keep increasing the needle size until you’ve got enough size for the hat. Then with the largest needle decrease stitches on hat. Simples! which all leads me on to…

my favourite hat

spinning, cos I bought 4 of these lovely bags of alpaca. The finest, the softest and the hat up thar was spun from this. Sadly I don’t have a photo of any of the spun yarn but I’ve only spun one bag so far. I still have another 3 to go. I think I spoiled myself with this wonderful fiber, also bought at the Alexandra Palace knit and stitch show. Spinning this was a delight and made everything else feel tough and not as easy.

!00% pure alpaca

This is 100% pure merino that I bought from the YoYo to make flowers for the wedding. I held on to a good slug of this fiber to spin and I messed it right up. I think I plied it long after I spun it and plied it the wrong way. DOH. Still, its usable and it will probably wash out nice after being knitted but I’m not happy with it. It’s not drop dead gorgeous or floofy or… anyway lets just gloss over that and move on to nicer things.

Eh... Bad spinning

I picked out a few greens I had accumulated from the flower floof for felting and a batt set I bought from etsy and spun them in to….

mix of floof

This! a lovely light two ply but still has some solid weight to it. I’m no lace weight spinner. I just grabbed long hanks of each colour and randomly span each and plied the two together. I was aiming for a barber pole with occasional pooling.

mix and spun

So from bobbin to skein it goes…. My home-made skein winder is starting to get a bit shabby but it still works.


and here it is on the right, all ready for a wash and balling. The one on the left however is something entirely new which I will now cover.

plied and skeined.

This skein was the end result of a rather long process. It’s all natural and came I think from an alpaca but may be camel. I’m not entirely sure. I would like to know though because I’ve got this whole bunch of it… A whole fleece.

hand washed fleece.

The above picture is after I spent a weekend washing and teasing all the fibers apart to make sure it all dried nicely. It’s fully dry here but not in a spinable state. I had hand carders but I’m not technically the best at hand carding. After long deliberation and haunting ebay and other places I placed an order with an independent UK business for this lovely drum carder from Ashford.


So once I got the drum carder there was much *squee* and oooh and ah. I followed the instructions and from the big ball of floof up there I carded these so far:

hand carded fiber

So far around 400g of carded wool ready for spinning or felting. It’s very soft but also some of the fibers are a bit short. It was a real tough sort through it all to try to keep it all a decent fiber length. After carding I did a bit of spinning. Just one bobbin then passed it back through the spinning wheel to Navajo ply. Just make a slip loop and keep spinning and adding slip loops. Much easier than it looks. So now I have some big choices to make. Do I spin the lot? because I’m going to have to card a whole lot more at some point. Also are these items sellable because I’ve not got what sort of animal it came from. Anyway I’m counting my blessings 1, because it was fun and 2, I have a new drum carder and 3, this fleece along with the bags below were all free with my spinning wheel.

how handeh.

I also took some silk and two colours of merino and created two lovely soft mixed batts. I’m saving these for another day too. Not sure what to do with them yet. I have a ton of this silk bought at AP again but I’m running out of these colours to blend it with. I will make some more because two small batts is not enough even to spin. It was just good to get some blending practice in on the drum carder.

3 on left = batt on right.

So on to the stash of wool I have yet to deal with. This is not the yarn, just the fleece, most of which came with the wheel. The first one is self explanatory. I’ve got two bags this size of corridale/shetland mix.

hand washed corriedale/shetland

This potato bag is hiding a lovely slightly darker fleece than the one I’ve started on above. It appears to be slightly smaller than the one I already dealt with. This is still raw and unwashed.

medium rose

Then this… A guaranteed lovely rose brown alpaca. The fleece in this bag is beautiful. Also not washed or dealt with at all yet but it will be. I need to get down the first fleece yet but this one will be something very soft and special one day.

beautiful brown

Then I have the bag of scraps so far. I cleared out two potato bags to fill one half way with rejected bits. It was a whole days work to wash and sort a fleece. I’d love to make this a business but after trying the first fleece I’ve proven it’s a hell of a lot of hard work. I don’t mind doing the work if I could make it profitable but there is where the problem lies, I’m not sure I can set a suitable price and create batts that are stunning enough to get top dollar. Its something I’ve been thinking long and hard about because having a wool business from home sounds like a dream come true. Still at least I have the right tools for the job now.


So I was chatting to friends on twitter about this and that, a friend in North Norfolk owns a farm and creates the very best pork pies. Now I don’t eat pork pies but if you do I’ve been informed they are well loved all over. I checked out brays_cottage web site when they mentioned the wedding pork pie and noticed they have sheeps. I asked if they used the fleeces and within a day they confirmed they don’t. Then offered me the fleeces to their sheep for free.

Now this is going to be a whole lot of work. At least 6 sheep and all coming at once during shearing season. I’ve said a tentative yes to this because I’ve seen a couple of photos and fallen in love with the sheep.

Meet Marcus
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He’s a stunningly beautiful Ram with the stunning horns to match. I love his silver black coat and keep him as my deskptop wallpaper at the moment.

Then there’s the females and the new lambs coming in this season. I have just got to get to the farm to see them all before they stop spring bouncing.

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I’d like to have a name for each sheep and their fleece so I can have a full lineage for my products from these darlings. I also want to highlight the localness of it all, showing the low mileage for my products. Although all this is still very much a pipe dream and I’m not even sure I could wash a full very dirty fleece properly. I’m setting myself some big challenges with a lot to learn and hoping that I can at least start a sideline to my day job, even if I’m not sure I want to put in the hours yet! Still any ideas gratefully accepted and suggestions are wanted! What do you think? am I turning in to a mad sheep/cat lady? Or do you know how I can turn a profit?

Next update: hopefully the garden. We’ve done some of it but I need to take some photos. Probably over the weekend.


the forks what? Oh now that is not good.

February 11, 2010

Scotty came home last week and parked his bike in the hall way as usual.
Thing is the next morning, things were not right. He dumped his bike and walked to work because of this:

appalling photos at the moment cos I really cannot be bothered to sort out the big camera when its still dark most of the day. Still after finding the forks sheared through, not even on a weld line, I took scotty back to Halfords that evening where he purchased the bike. It was around 15 days out of warranty. Luckily because its a chris bordman bike they were super helpful and agreed to replace like for like under the warranty. Then we stood there and asked if we could hire a bike from them because this is the only way Scotty gets to work. Stuart the very helpful assistant wheeled out a mountain bike and said “sorry its nothing special, will this do whilst your bike is being repaired?” Over joyed, we said yes, any old wheels will be fine, and he let us borrow the bike for free for the duration of the fix. Hoorah! GREAT service, GREAT staff, and Halfords Norwich get our best personal service of the year award so far.

Oh and I finished the rug:


Not quite as big as I wanted but it is lovely and warm under foot whilst getting our snowy boots on and orf.  New things on the needles are a silk drop stitch scarf with the silk which was dyed with natural indigo bought from Alexandra Palace. Think Clapotis with a pattern in non dropped columns: elan pattern here. Oh and a mitten which I’m having to do one at a time for a work colleague. The request was manly but bright colours.
This and lasagna were yesterdays achievements. We will not di... on Twitpic

And I think I’m fully up to date with most of the exciting things… I’m still rather disappointed the snow keeps turning to sheet ice and I’ve not been able to make a snow creature of any form this winter. Still looks like with more snow coming I may still get my chance.


doing it large

January 14, 2010

As the lovely AM and her very crafty husband A made me some giant knitting needles for christmas I thought I’d go for a stash rummage and see what I could conjure up. My thinking hat went on and I dug deep and went to the several jumpers’ worth of acrylic inherited from mother. Mainly 400g balls of the sort of stuff that would be fine for making kids clothes and that is what mum mainly did with it. I’ve not really done kids clothes. I don’t really want to either. What I wanted was a solution to my very snowy boots leaving large lumps of melting detritus in my hallway. We have laminate on the floor and it is ruining it. Not to speak of what Scotty’s bike is doing to it. I think I’ll solve that one with some cardboard.

Anyhew after spending some time playing with the needles over christmas I had an idea of what was coming. Some of the wool was already balled after being frogged some time back. I got out the ball winder and started splitting some of the larger balls. 11 balls later and I was getting somewhere. I did start a jumper some time back and I don’t want it now. The yarn was an aran weight and added in nicely. At 14 separate yarns hauled together I had my wool. These have been placed in several plastic bags so that they roll out evenly. They only get tangled up when they’ve splayed out of shape.

After a bit of huffing and puffing. The knitting on these needles is what I would consider a full upper body workout. We have a rug in progress. I want to make it longer but it all depends how heavy and impossible it gets to turn each row. For the moment it is about the very best thing to be knitting because its like wearing a hefty double thick blanket over your knees. The only major issue is trying not to knock anything over or smash Scotty over the head whilst I’m maneuvering the needles. Oh and I think I nearly put my back out so I’ve had 3 days not knitting to try and relax before trying some more.

rug with flash

Now for the extra little challenge I’d love to take it to knit night for giggles. I’m sure it will raise several eyebrows, not so much with the regulars but those passing by the forum. This is how I get my kicks, I like the extravagance at the same time as the frugal practicality. You would not believe how much it confuses people.


crafting progress

December 3, 2009


I made a gear stick cosy for a colleague in another office. I’ve only got one photo and I’m waiting for him to “try it on” his car. He asked for a “condom” shape, and yes folks that is what he got, which is why you’re not seeing the one picture I have got. Instead if you have access to Ravelry for knitting its in there!

I made myself another iphone cosy cos my last one needed washing. It’s in Koigu and lovely and pink.

I made Scotty a scarf a K5 P5 staggered rib that gave the fabric a nice wave of pattern throughout. It’s in pure cashmere and works lovely for him on his bike of a morning. The only issue is if he hasn’t shaved it sticks to his stubble.
stagger rib scarf

As you can see I took a very rubbish photo with my iphone, but still better than nothing and he loves it. Made with Posh yarn. That yarn is truly covetable.

I finished the triangular lace shawl in the ADAMAS pattern. The issue with this is I’m saving it for my sister for Christmas so no photos cos I want to take photos of her wearing it.

I’ve started on the mittens to match the neck warmer I made for my niece, also no photos here because these will be a christmas present. So far so good.

I did get some photos of the finished pink socks I gave to my sister in-law. Except I took the photos on my Brother inalws’ camera and I’m yet to get them back to me. Same with some lovely photos for Halloween of some pumpkins we carved with my brother. They are still on his camera. I’m not doing too well here am I.

I made some Chilli oil. Sadly this failed with a big F. I chopped chillies in half and sunk them in a mix of olive and grape seed oil. A whole liter of it too. Sadly one of the chilli’s decided to float and broke surface and began the molding process. I hid the bottle in the cupboard for a couple of weeks and returning to look at it was rather unsavoury. We emptied the oil outside down the drain, then had to wait for the chilis to decompose some more before we could remove them. A touch of bleach and another day waiting and I’ve emptied it whilst gagging at the bleach mold oil chilli mixture.  I still want to make some nice things for extra gifts but chilli oil for now is NOT on the menu.

Sloe Gin is looking good. This seems to have worked fine. We’ve only got a 70Cl bottle of Plymouth gin but with the extra sugar and sloes it may come out at a bit more. We keep giving it an agitation and I can’t wait to try it.

I did manage to do a little bit of spinning but having a whole break over christmas I’ve got a feeling computer games, movies, spinning and knitting are almost all I want to do. I just can’t wait.