Saturday, 18 November 2017

Weather Watchers

I have not being doing as much photography as I used to. So I have been trying recently to take a few more shots, and send some photographs to the BBC Weather Watchers. You can submit your photographs online, and if you are very lucky your photo might be featured behind the weather forecaster on one of the BBC News programmes.

I had been trying occasionally for a while, with no luck. My new decision was that every day when I walk the dog, I take my camera, and submit the best photograph. I think there is a bit of an art to it. Your photo has to be taken on that day, be landscape in orientation, not feature people, and reflect something about the weather that the presenter wants to talk about. Occasionally there will be an arty close up, but I tend to think that you need at least half of the photo to be of the sky.

I was delighted last week that finally one of my photos was featured on the BBC News Channel. You get a message telling you that you are Editor's Pick, but not the time or channel where your photo will appear. It took a bit of a search to find my picture.

For a laugh, a few days later, I took another picture of almost the same view. It was rather dull weather that day, but I was amazed that it was featured on the BBC London News. I wonder if once you have been featured once, you are put on a short-list, or maybe it was just chance. 

Although I live on the edge of London, we are so lucky to have the beautiful stretch of the River Thames only a short walk from my house. We are also close to some other lovely park areas: Richmond Park and Wimbledon Common. There is plenty of scope for enjoyable walks with the dog and my camera.

What I like about the Weather Watchers is that it really is open to everyone. We all have weather, and the photos just have to capture it, not necessarily the most beautiful view, or taken with the best camera. The BBC also get a daily record of the weather over the whole country.

Clicking around a bit more I have found another of my photos from earlier in the month on a page about frost, and the photo below on their bulletin board. They must have forgotten to tell me they were using it. So arty shots do stand a chance. The fern photo was taken on a frosty morning in Richmond Park. You can see the whole piece at


Sunday, 12 November 2017

Red-Eyed Tree Frog

I thought you might like to see this cute and really realistic tree frog, made by jenniferb3 on ravelry from my Frog pattern. She had used the perfect eyes and colours, and added some embroidery, to make a brilliantly realistic red-eyed tree frog.

Here is a photograph of a real red-eyed tree frog, just so you can see how realistic he is. I love to see what folk have made from my patterns, especially when they are as clever as this.

Sunday, 5 November 2017


Ta dah! At long last I have finished my latest pattern. No one guessed that what I have been making is a Vespa scooter. Iconic, and I think those who are into them really, really love them. 

It was also one of my patterns where I was spurred on by being told I could not possibly knit one. You might say pig-headed, I would say determined.

So for Vespa-lovers, I would call this knit an ornament, and definitely not a toy. (I would quite like to display my knitted scooters under glass domes.) There are a huge number of different models of Vespa, and I have spent a long time looking at them. They have slight variations, but I would call this classic Vespa. I have a Pinterest board where I have saved loads of pictures of Vespas old and new, and also started saving celebrities on their Vespas, (also old and new). 

What I love is all the colours that Vespa scooters come in. You really could knit this in any colour and not be wrong. I thought I would need to insert wire in the handlebars, but by using thickish wool and small needles, the icord is rigid enough without.

The structure of the body is made by using a bit of card in the the front panel and base. There is a template for this in the pattern. The pattern is 14 pages long, and jam packed with photos to help with the construction.

One of the main problems I had writing up the pattern is that I don't really know the correct names for parts of the scooter. (After all, I am a knitter, not a mechanic.)  The knitting of the parts is not hard, but the sewing together is quite fiddly.

The pattern is available on ravelry, Etsy, Craftsy, and LoveKnitting.

And here is a photo of my daughter, sitting on someone else's Vespa at Goodwood this year.  I would love to be able to nip around on a Vespa.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Licence to Knit

I've been knitting one of my mini cooper cars for someone in the States this week. Often I embroider a name or real number on the plate, but this time the customer asked for 007. Great idea, for James Bond and Mini Coopers are both British icons, and this also the version with a union jack on the roof.

Then I thought I would see if I could find a link between James Bond and the mini. A mini moke does appear in some films, and I found this picture of Daniel Craig and a mini, but I think it has been photoshopped from the original poster.

But there is a link between James Bond and knitting. Here is a picture of a very young Roger Moore in the days when he was a knitting pattern model.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

That Time of Year

That time of year is approaching, and as I still having nothing new to show you (working on the mystery pattern), I just thought I would remind you of some of my Christmas patterns. Here are photgraphs of some of the patterns that I label as Christmassy.

 Although my own tree is usually covered with some of my seaside creatures.
Just click on the photo to link to any of these patterns on Craftsy. (Feeling rather proud of myself for having worked out how to make a photo into a link!)

Thursday, 28 September 2017

"Traditional Christmas Elephants" ... Again

I try not to repeat things too much, but it seems the right time of year to remind you about  "The Traditional Christmas Elephant". I published this pattern in the Spring, as I just couldn't wait, but I think now is the time of year people start thinking about making Christmas decorations. (You can read more about my ideas then here.)

For my new decoration I wanted to make something that had not been done before. You can find the pattern on Etsy, LoveKnitting, Ravelry or Craftsy.
The pattern contains instructions for both large and small elephants. They have a felt backing, and my pattern contains photos and instructions on how to put the elephant together. You can also make it with or without the coloured seat section.  These elephants are a fairly quick make, so if you were looking to give the decorations as gifts it is ideal, as they are handmade and personal but not too time-consuming. You can use up oddments of wool that you have left over from other projects.

My other reason for repeating the pictures is that I have put the actual elephants in my Etsy shop. I have taken the opportunity to add a few other knitted items and relist some patterns that I had let drop out of the shop.

I am busy working on a new pattern. I am very excited about it, but this doesn't seem to have translated into getting on with it. It is one of those patterns that the family have scoffed at - "you just can't make one of those out of wool". Ha, they will see. I have the whole thing worked out in my head, but I need to get on and knit it and write the pattern. I would also say it is something that is iconic, and I think people who like them, really like them. If you want to have a guess in the comments please do ... but you will never, never, never get it.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

New and Old

I spent a few hours this morning wandering around the V&A in Kensingston, while my daughter was doing maths. I stumbled across the Woman's Hour Craft Prize Exhibition. (Click here if you would like to see the other finalists.) In case you don't know, Woman's Hour is a radio programme on Radio 4, and to celebrate its 70 year anniversary it has run a competition to celebrate the most innovative and exciting craft. 

I was of course drawn towards the textile designer, who uses darning, knitting and embroidery. I think here the important thing is the story behind the garment. Clothes are such a personal thing. What I liked best about this entry to the competition was the photgraphy of Bill wearing the pullover. I wandered off to walk around Hyde Park, thinking about how we have very much become a throw-away society.

So with this in my head I also thought you might like to see another entry, the work of Phoebe Cummings, who creates temporary sculptures. The clay is not fired, so this beautiful sculpture will just last for the time of the exhibition, and will be then squashed down to clay - that can be reused.

I enjoyed looking at all the exhibits - furniture makers, potters, bicycle, jewellery, glass. A little voice in my head kept saying that perhaps we should stop making everything into a competition. Am I being a big old grinch? - I just don't know how anyone could compare and judge such a variety of crafts. Just glad it is not my job.

New entrance to the V&A, blends with the older parts of the building

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Fair Isle Beret and Waistcoat

I have been working away at this project for many weeks. I started the beret as my holiday knitting. Perhaps fair isle is not such a good idea for knitting in the car. It is a present for my great niece, who lives in Ireland, and has just turned one. But having finished the beret I thought it would also be nice to make a matching waistcoat. 

Both are now off in the mail, and I am hoping they fit her, and I will get some photos of her wearing them. But until then my model is Clopper, my daughter's toy. Clopper has appeared on this blog once before, when he went on holiday and met a Dartmoor pony. He seemed more or less the right size, although I am sure my niece is not as tubby as him.

Both beret and waistcoat are knitted from a book I bought in a charity shop Bright Knits for Kids by Debbie Bliss. In the pattern the beret was knitted flat with a seam, but I decided to knit it in the round on 4 needles. That was fine for the lower section for which there was a chart, but I may have got slightly muddled at the top, where the instructions were written out with knit and purl rows. I sometimes forgot to convert this, as in the round you are always on a knit row. But I think it looks OK.

I also found adding the buttonband to the waistcoat difficult. It is a little puckered. It shouldn't have been hard, but it is a long time since I have made a garment in this way. Then I accidentally sewed up the side seams, before adding the armhole bands. So instead of unpicking I knitted these in the round as well.

Knitting fair isle is extremely satisfying. The end result is so pretty, but running in all those ends was very hard work.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Big Blixten - Little Blixten

So Little Blixten has arrived in Sweden, and as promised here are some photographs that the happy owner has sent me of the little knitted bus, with Big Blixten. 

I think both these photographs are so clever, especially the one of the campervan resting on the bumper. The bumper sticker just adds to the photo. If you want to read more about making this little knitted bus, you can here.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Blixten - A Swedish Hippy Bus

This is the owner's own wonderful drawing of Blixten

Wheels with red centres

I got a message from Carl, who says he is a Swedish hippy! Could I make a knitted version of his hippy bus - Blixten? (Blixten means Flash in Swedish, which is also the name of my cat, who I now call Blixten sometimes if she is dashing around.) But I digress, Blixten is an old Opel Blitz van from 1968, turned into a camper van - or "hippie bus". 

I was up for the challenge, and I have been working on it all week,. I thought it would be fun to show you in photos some of the process. You can also see lots more photos of the real van and family on Blixten's very own blog. They are clearly in love with Blixten, and have a lot of fun family trips. The inside is really cool too.

Planning out the side panels on grid paper

Side panels knitted

Knitting a central panel - front, base and back of van

Starting to come together, with icord for the thick red stripes and embroidery for the thinner one

The front wheels have rims also made from icord

Some more detail on the back doors

Side view with the roof and wheels added

This was one of the hardest parts to knit. The ledge and back bumpers

The back is complete, and the air vents have been added on top

My favourite view is the back, because of all the details

The front also needed details: bumpers, lights and numberplate

All completed - I am now off to mail the van to Sweden. 

Carl has said he will send me a photo of the two vans together - real and knitted, which you can see here.