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Thursday, 31 October 2013

Frog Mittens



This week I have been knitting some children's fingerless mittens. I have so admired many of the cabled owls I have seen recently, so thought I would have my own go at producing my own animal from cables. So meet Cable Frog.



He is made from a combination of cabling and bobbles. These are not hard to knit, but the part I found most challenging was writing the cable instructions. Not simple as sometimes you need to cable one or two stitches, and are you on a purl row or a knit row?
 

But I do like these little frogs, with their big feet, and little open mouths. I have used them on the back of some child's fingerless mittens. The mittens are knitted with Aran wool, and although I think the cream frogs show up better in my photos, I also thought green was quite a suitable colour for frogs. The mitten pattern is for sale on ravelry, and I have also put on the frog motif as separate download, so you could use it in whatever way you wish: frog edged scarf perhaps, frog pencil case or bookmark.



I have a few more plans for the frogs, but just thought I would show you this one, which was a bit of a flop. I think it is a cute froggy hat, but the recipient was not happy. She says she would not want to be seen out looking a bit like my acorn fairy. I can sort of see what she means. I may have another attempt at something similar, but for a baby, or at least a younger child who hasn't yet got strong views on fashion and what is cool. I do think Mums would love it.

"Mummy, Why have you made me look like an acorn?"




Saturday, 26 October 2013

The Problem With Ducks!


I don't think I need to add anything. Once again I have problems with my wildlife photography.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Dove Cosy



I know! Another phone cosy. This one is not heading to my shop though, as I made it for little one's new phone. 

She had her birthday a few days ago, and although I would have probably waiting a bit longer, she desperately wanted a mobile phone. So far it only seems to get used for game playing, but I guess next year when she goes to secondary school, it will be useful.

She requested no flowers for her cosy decoration, so this is what I came up with. I wish I had slightly positioned the dove a bit better, but she seemed very pleased with it.

This is just a bit of a filler, as I am working on a new pattern, which as ususal is taking much longer than I ever imagined. Just a few more reknits ....


My blog has had a lot of visitors this week. In fact more than I have every had. At first I could not work out where everyone was coming from, and hubby thought it was probably spam. (Not showing much faith!) But then I found out that my Starfish Pattern has been featured on Knit and Stitch Collection's facebook page. It's been an exciting few days. The power of advertising!

Saturday, 19 October 2013

When Photos Go Wrong


Looking through my photos from the last week and trying to decide what to post, I realise that this is far from my best photo. In fact I nearly just deleted it from the camera. But it is my favourite one of the week. 

I think I had my shutter speed too slow, but the room was almost pitch back.  I like it partly because it has caught my son completely unaware and unposed, and also because he does spend a awful lot of time sitting at the computer (but it is not something I would normally photograph). In years to come I do think it will be nice to look back on photos that show our everyday lives, and not just special days. But mainly I like it because I do think of him (dare I say this online) as my golden boy.

Friday, 18 October 2013

More Phone Cosies

Wild Rose

Wild Rose and Guelder Rose

I promised you more phone cosies, and have been busy stitching away. I have had such fun deciding what flowers to do next, and then researching them.  Thank you for all the suggestions. I now have a few more ideas in the pipeline. 

I have tried to stick to wild flowers, and have been a little bit influenced by the flowers in my favourite flower fairy books. I have a fairly good knowledge of wild flowers. Lots of long walks as a child. But it is still useful to do a bit of research to get them just right.


These are a selection of the books I have used. The book in the centre called Our Country's Flowers I found in a secondhand shop. It dates from Victorian times, and is full of beautiful old plates.

Guelder Rose and Bumble Bee


Shepherd's Purse

I've gone slightly off theme with my final cosy: the Monarch Butterfly below. Someone on ravelry asked me if I had considered a knitting pattern for Milkweed, a favourite flower of the Monarch Butterfly. I think it is beyond me to knit, so I decided to embroider one on this cosy. The new cosies are for sale in my Etsy Shop.

Monarch Butterfly on Milkweed

The basic knitting pattern for the cosy is now available for free on ravelry and Craftsy. It is a pretty simple knit, but this will save anyone working out the sizing. The bits that I think are quite cool is that I have used a stretchy cast on technique, which makes the top easy to get your phone in and out, but also keeps it nice and safe. The bottom of the cosy is grafted, so it has a lovely smooth finish.  I have photo tutorials on my blog for both these techniques.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Grafting

I always found even found the word grafting a bit scary. Something that very experienced sock-knitters knew how to do, but I did not. 

But I recently learned how to graft, and now I just love it. So although I realise that for many this post is really teaching your grandma to suck eggs, if nothing else this is a reminder for me about this technique. The result of grafting is so neat, and once you have done it once or twice you will soon remember the stitching pattern.

Grafting is sometimes called Kitchener's stitch, and is a way of joining two end rows of stitches so you have an invisible seam. Named after Lord Kitchener of Khartoum, British military hero of Boer War and WW I. His design to make socks with more comfortable toes for the troops, today has been generally adopted.

To graft the bottom of my iphone cosy, divide the stitches between two needles, and arrange so your needles are together in your left hand, with the points at the same end, and the wrong side of the cosy is on the inside.

Thread a large needle with a length of your wool. You can use the wool from your last row of knitting.

1. Pass the wool knitwise through the first stitch on the front needle and pulling the wool through, slip the stitch off the needle. 



2. Pass the wool needle purlwise through the second stitch on the front needle, and pull through, leaving this stitch on the needle. 


3. Pass purlwise through the first stitch on the back knitting needle and slip the stitch off the needle.



4. Then pass the wool knitwise through the second stitch on the same needle, leaving this stitch on the needle. 


Repeat these four stages until you reach your last two stitches, where you will just do stage 1 and 3.

And there you have it. A beautifully smooth grafted bottom to your work. 


This tutorial will stay permanently in the knitting tips area in my right sidebar.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Inspiration



I took these photos last spring in the British Museum. This Golden Cape is from the Early Bronze age (1900-1600BC) and was found in Mold, Wales in 1833 by labourers. It has been restored. But imagine how amazing it must have been to find it.

I took the photo because I was looking for some knitting inspiration, and although I have done absolutely nothing further, as it would be quite a big and complicated job, I do keep my eyes open for a supply of golden wool.
 

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Something For The Ladies ...

Poppy and Forget-me-nots

I am still making for my Christmas stall, and realised that although I have quite a lot of things for children, perhaps I should have a few more things for the ladies. So I have been busy making these hand-knitted and embroidered phone or ipod cosies. I am having great fun deciding which flowers to embroider.


I have improved my previous phone cosy pattern. It is now knitted completely the other way up, starting at the rib top. The top is now more stretchy, which makes it easier to get your phone in and out. The bottom is now grafted like the toe of a sock, which I think makes it just a bit neater. I am going to put it on ravelry and Craftsy as a free pattern once I have typed it up.

Forget-me-not

These cosies, which will fit either an ipod touch, iphone, or a mobile phone that is approx 11cm by 6cm, can be found in my Etsy Shop. There are a few more on the way. I would love to know if you have any ideas for flowers which you think might be appealing?

Snowdrops



Saturday, 5 October 2013

Up The Apple Tree


One of my cats, Flash, was spying on me from up the apple tree.

It took me several attempts to get a shot that was focused on her and not the numerous branches.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Christmas Hearts and A Winner




Getting ready for Christmas fairs, I have been making some decorations from my own Christmas Heart pattern. I decided to go a bit less traditional, and used my lovely sparkly blue wool, which you may have seen before on this blog.
 

This simple pattern is in my ravelry and Craftsy shops for free, and has instructions for three different sizes of ornament. 

I love embroidering snowflakes on the hearts with wool, but you could let your imagination go wild. There are some embroidery tips in my righthand sidebar. You could also add buttons or beads.  

But my top tip for making tree decorations is to always make the loop twice as long as you think. There is nothing more frustrating than struggling to hang your decoration because you have sewn on a tiny loop.


A few of these decorations are for sale in my Etsy Shop. There are two types of snowflake, but can't quite decide how to distinguish them by name. Spikey and Knotty?

Unusual Uses for Knitting Needles
 
Announcing the winner in my Unusual Uses Competition. After a bit of debate my children decided that the most amusing use was from Mari of MariReads who said:

"Let's see, my 2 year old finds lots of crazy uses for my needles...drumsticks, cat torture device. The hubby has used one for detangling the brush on our Roomba. Yuck."

So a spiral shell is hopefully mid-Atlantic on its way to her!



Thank you do everyone who left a comment. We enjoyed reading them all.