Saturday 31 January 2015

Potato Chip Scarves

Just realised that I can now show photos of some of my Christmas gift knit. These were knitted from the Potato Chip Scarf pattern, so called as you really can't knit just one. I am gradually making one for all my relations. 

The pattern is fairly simple, so the fun is in finding an interesting wool to knit it in.

Sunday 25 January 2015

Snowdrop Shoes

I usually say that the items in my shop are unique, but just for once I thought I would make some of my Baby Bee Shoes that are exactly the same (except for the size). 

I thought it would make a good extra photo for the pattern, and emphasise that it contains instructions for two sizes: 0-3 months and 3-6 months. I love this wool, which is Jaeger Luxury Tweed, and was left over from a pullover. I clearly misjudged how much to buy, as I have also used this to knit a dog coat, and still have more left. It is so fluffy that the shoes almost look as if they are felted.

The other reason I embroidered snowdrops was that the snowdrop season will be with us soon. I have seen a few garden snowdrops online, but has anyone seen any wild ones yet?

Saturday 24 January 2015

The Deforestation Show

As promised here is my daughter's school project video on Deforestation. She made this last year when she was 11 years old. I guess I am being a bit loose with the term snapshots, but it is a series of snaps linked with voices and music. She did all the voices, in fact everything herself.  Just the loan of my camera. I hope you enjoy it. The edge of some of the screen has cut off, and I can't work out how to fix this, but I don't  think it really spoils the whole show. 

If you watch to the end, there is a rather cool dance routine after the credits. When folk grumble about children spending all their time on computers, I think this shows that computer time can be very creative.

P.S. She did not know that Bob Dylan was a real person. Oh young people.

Saturday 17 January 2015

Wee of the Never Never

I can finally show you a project that I have been itching to talk about for almost a year. My first published collection of patterns in a magazine. Last Spring I was commissioned by Homespun, Australia's number one craft magazine, to design some tiny knitted Aussie animals made to be worn as pendants. They would be published to coincide with Australia Day. And finally here they are: Kangaroo, Koala, Kookaburra and Wombat.

I am so pleased with how they have been presented. The title Wee of the Never Never confused me at first, until they explained that it refers to a book called We of The Never Never by Jeannie Gunn, and would be instantly understood by Australian readers. Homespun is packed full of articles and patterns, not just knitting but quilting, crochet and sewing. Printed on lush thick paper, and containing a removal section of pattern pieces, it is the sort of magazine that I would keep and refer to for many years. Available downunder Homespun does annual subscriptions and mails internationally.

Thank you to some of my more experienced Handmade Monday friends who gave me some valuable advice before I went ahead with this project. The staff at Homespun were really a dream to deal with. Completely friendly, fair, straightforward and efficient. (Not naming anyone in particular, but I have found the exact opposite with some UK magazines.) What I did discover is that I work much better with a deadline to aim towards. Although the patterns are only available in Homespun at present, in time the copyright will revert to me, and I will make them available online.

So there I am, looking at myself from my own coffee table. I do realise most of my friends will not recognise me. This photo took a trip to the hairdressers, make-up!!!, and then selection from about a hundred shots, before I finally felt happy with sending it and the personal profile off to the magazine.

I am linking to Planet Penny Happy Friday, and although I'm not sure that I am completely in the rules,  the arrival of my pattern did make me smile.

Saturday 10 January 2015

Autumn Leaves Hats and Hat-Selfie

Since my Polar Bear post, where I have said that the only thing that keeps me awake at night is thinking about my next pattern, I have hardly given that bear a thought, daytime or night. Almost the next day my mum, who is 94, had a fall in her flat and fractured her leg. She is now in a residential care home. It has been quite a difficult time, as my mum does not live close to either me or my sister, but the reassuring thing now is she is at least at the end of a phone so we can talk to her daily and get down to see her as often as possible.

Before this all happened my mum had said she would like a new knitted hat, so while I was waiting for her to be discharged from hospital, this is what I made. The hat was delivered on Boxing Day, and although she won't be going out for a while, she did seem to like it and I am hoping she will be up and about again wearing it before too long. She was also making good use of her birthday shawl.

The pattern I used was Autumn Leaves Slouchy Gotland Hat by Sue Blacker.  I did not use the suggested wool or needle size, so there was quite a bit of guess work. I do like ravelry pattern search - I just typed in doubleknit, worked flat, free and hat, and they come up with a choice of patterns. 

I think the hat on the pattern looks nicer than mine, but I know that my mum wanted a close fitting hat so was pleased with the result. I used the recommended number of stitches, and one of the good things about this pattern is the leaves on the crown of the hat have a 8 stitch repeat, so you can make it bigger or smaller very easily. The wool I used was James C. Brett - Marble. I really like this wool as it comes in such great colours, and I buy in a small hardware shop in Teddington. There among the brushes and buckets is a small rack of wool. My mum has a small head so for the size I just looked at one of my own hats, and cast on so it was a good few inches smaller. (I have a large head!) In these pictures I was just trying it on my daughter for size thinking she would be about the same size as my mum. (I probably have enough wool left from the one ball I used to make another hat.) You can't really see the leaf pattern on the top, and I forgot take my camera to photograph it on Granny, but it did fit. 

The photo above was taken after our Christmas lunch. I really like it as it sort of sums up what we all do after Christmas lunch: I guess half of us play with our new toys, and the other half have a bit of a snooze. You can at least see what a lovely colour the wool is.

Update on The Hat: So here is the second version of Autumn Leaves, made with the rest of the wool. Here I added in an extra two leaf repeats, and knitted the rib section deeper. I also added a few plain rows between the rib and the leaf section, which you can see in the photo below. I am really pleased with how it has turned out, and it will be my standing in the playground hat for the next few months. It is very hard to take a photo of yourself in a hat. Is that called a hat-selfie? The second photo was my best one after many attempts.

Saturday 3 January 2015

Mini Cooper

I can now show a few of my Christmas gift knits, which I have been keeping secret. This was made for my sister-in-law, who has her own life-size mini cooper, and made from my own Mini Cooper pattern.

I must be very unobservant, as I began knitting and then thought, what is the roof colour, does it have stripes, ..... As she doesn't live near me street view on Google Maps came to the rescue. No sign of the car outside her house, but then another search of the car park at the school where she works, and I found her car. Feeling as if I could now get a job with MI5, I could now proceed with my knitting.

I have slightly got the shape of the sun roof wrong, as it should be wider. But I was really pleased that the pattern still looks distinctly like a mini, even without the white stripes on the bonnet, or Union Jack roof. 

While I was knitting this car, I found one tiny typo in the pattern, and a section in the technical bit at the beginning which isn't necessary. So I have published an amended version, which should have gone automatically to anyone who bought the pattern on ravelry. I can't do this on Etsy or Craftsy, but if anyone is reading this and you bought it there, just message me and I can send you the updated version. 

I have plans for some more knitted vehicles in 2015.