Wednesday 29 July 2015

Australian Animals

I can now release my mini Australian animals pattern. The pattern has been published in Australia in Homespun, which you can read about here. After a bit of negotiating Homespun have kindly let the copyright return to me. I have been waiting for my little animals to return, mainly because I needed to take my own photos for the pattern. Kind of chuffed that my little creatures have actually done the journey to Australia and back. (Because of some trouble with customs charges they have actually been there and back three times, which is why hubby refers to them as the jet set.)

These animals are really tiny. So I recommend the pattern only for those that are fans of the fiddly and little. There is quite a bit of sewing up in the attachment of legs, ears and beaks. 

The pattern contains instructions for all four mini creatures. Homespun presented them as mini pendants, though I think they are also cute as little toys.  

This Blue Kookaburra was my first try. He is native to Northern Australia and New Guinea. Homespun decided to go with the traditional brown Laughing Kookaburra, which is the one most people have heard of, though I think visually I prefer my distinctive blue one.

The wombat was the design that I worried about most. I was not sure than I could make him distinctively wombatty enough. I even toyed with the idea of replacing him with a crocodile. But in the end he turned out just fine.

Kangaroo and Koala just flew off my needles. It would have been nice to have given Kangaroo a pouch and a joey, but given the size this just wasn't possible. So I have just googled "Do male kangaroos have pouches?" and found out they do not. So I guess I can say that he is a boy.
I enjoyed the challenge of making these little creatures so much that I am currently working on another set from a completely different part of the world.

The pattern, which contains instructions for all four, is available on ravelry, Love Knitting and Etsy.  

Thursday 23 July 2015

Baby Shower Card

I found the idea for this baby shower card on Pinterest. It was a lovely way for all the staff at school to contribute to a baby shower card. We all decorated a garment, and wrote a personal message on the back. Aren't the miniature pegs cute?

The clothes that I couldn't fit on the washing line, went in a laundry basket inside the card.

Monday 20 July 2015

Wrap Over Felt Shoe

Using varicolour wool gives an interesting look

 I have been sewing some felt baby shoes. 

I love this thick felt, although 3mm thick was just about on the limit of what my sewing machine can handle.

I made the first pair as part of the process of designing my wrap over baby shoe knitting pattern. This is not the way I normally work when knitting. Usually I have an idea in my head, and just sort of go for it, adapting and altering as I go along. But for the wrap around on the knitted shoes to work, I knew the shape had to be precise. The best way to get this right was to make a pair, first out of paper and then out of felt.

This green pair was my first go, and they are completely stitched by hand. The button is just sewn on through all the felt layers without a buttonhole, as I was just checking the shape. But they turned out so cute, I thought I would have a go at making a few more. 

To make these a bit more hardwearing and practical I have machine sewn the seam, and just oversewn around the edges by hand with wool. The buttons are functional, and really useful when putting them on a baby's feet. On some I have handsewn around the buttonholes, though explain on the pattern how you could machine sew them if you have this available on your sewing machine.
The pattern for these shoes is available to download on Etsy. It comes in two sizes - 0-3 months and 3-6 months. It is very good value (that is to say cheap). The little shoes are very easy to make, and I think the wrap around makes them quite different to other felt shoes I have seen. It would be really fun to customise them with a bit of embroidery, but for the photos I wanted the shape of the wrap around to stand out. I suggest you use the best quality felt you can find. 

If you don't have a baby to make some for, I think with a ribbon attached they could make a really nice Christmas decoration, perhaps with some sweets popped inside. I know I shouldn't even be talking about Christmas at this time of year, but I may have a go at giving some of them the Christmas makeover.

I am sure than there must be software that is useful for creating sewing patterns (I would really welcome any advice with this), but the only way that I know is to very carefully draw the pattern pieces by hand, and then scan them on my printer. So this pattern has the same rustic charm as these little shoes. 

As you can see, I just can't stop making them.

If buttonholes are really not your thing you could us a little velcro.

Saturday 11 July 2015

Patchwork Cuddle Ted

Hit play before you scroll down. 
Guarantee this song will make you feel chilled and happy.

This year I have been running a lunchtime knittting club at the school where I work, with a very lovely lady called Joyce. Throughout the year our little group of novice knitters, all aged about 7-10, and so far all girls, have been creating knitted squares. Everyone successfully learned to knit, and we have great plans for next year (possibly to learn how to purl). My other ambition is to get a few boys to come to knitting club.

But what to do with our knitted squares? As you can see we did not worry too much about needles sizes, number of stitches, or the tedious matter of tension. Sewing them together I treated them a bit like a jigsaw, and I love the variety in sizes and textures. We only met for 30 minutes each week, and it has taken all year to make the pieces for this little blanket.

... And with the addition of a head and some paws, the blanket was transformed into a snuggly teddy, a gift for my class teacher's new baby, which is very imminently expected. Isn't Patchwork Cuddle Ted adorable? It was so nice for the children to have created something this special together. 

Tuesday 7 July 2015

Stitchwort Slipper Pattern

There is nothing nicer to have a pair of slippers to pad around the house in. This is my second go at these, and this time a bought some super chunky wool, so I could be absolutely sure what I was working with. I also made them a little bit smaller, but still with enough room to fit a pair of woollie socks on for when it gets colder.

As you can see, we are having a bit of a heat wave here at the moment. I am not very good with the heat, but am trying not to grumble and make the most of the good weather while we have it.

My pattern only comes in one size at the moment (4-5 UK sizes), which is because that is my size. The wool that I used is Wendy Serenity Super Chunky. (Be careful as there is also Wendy Serenity Chunky, which does look quite similar.) I usually tend to knit with quite fine wool, so it was lovely to use super chunky and knit something very quickly.

I have just done a bit of free style embroidery. Why not gave a go at this? It is really very easy, but instantly makes your shoes a bit special. I think making the sprigs of flowers asymmetrical looks nice.

Apart from all the usual places (Etsy, ravelry and Craftsy) I will also put this pattern in my new shop on LoveKnitting. Felt rather enthused when I saw this online London-based shop store, so I have put some of my patterns for sale there just to see how it goes. 

Saturday 4 July 2015

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

I forgive you for munching your way through my strawberry plant, because you are so pretty.

After some internet research I think this is a caterpillar of a Knotgrass moth, Acronicta rumicis. (Please do let me know if I have got this wrong.) There are a baffling number of caterpillars. Click on the name Knotgrass moth, if you would like to see what he will become. Not as bright as I had expected, but still very beautiful. I was amazed when looking through the list of UK moths to see the enormous variety.  Did you know that there are 8 times as many moth species as there are butterflies? Perhaps they need a PR agent, moths just are not getting the publicity they deserve.