Thursday, 29 December 2016

Yin Yang Mini

I just wanted to show you a mini that I have made for a customer in France. The car has arrived, and she is very pleased with it. Isn't it the coolest car: the full size one and my little knitted version. 

I really like it when I am asked to make a personalised version of my mini cooper, and this is one of my favourites.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

The Dutch Postal System

I have been selling knitted items on Etsy for quite a number of years, and until recently have had no problems. But in the last few months I have had two packages go misssing, and strangely both were to customers in The Netherlands. For both customer I have remade the items, and then sent them tracked. (It is quite dispiriting, but it is the seller's responsibility to get the items there, and I am also very proud of my customer satisfaction rates and 100% good reviews.)  

One item was one of my mini cars, and the other these phone cosies. I did enjoy remaking the phone cosies, and it has put in my head to make a completely new set, with different flowers.

I have just found this article in The Daily Mail about the Dutch postal service. I don't believe very much in The Daily Mail, but in this case my experience does back this up.

Guelder Rose and Bumble Bee

Shepherd's Purse

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Lavender Pyramids

I have finally got going on my big bowl of lavender, from my mum's communal garden. I decided to keep it fairly simple, and have been making these little pyramids out of some white linen. I found instructions on how to do this on Chick Chick sewing

I decided not to worry about string or ribbon to hang them, and to just do some very simple embroidery (actually it is the only sort that I can do). It took a little bit of trial and error to get the embroidery in the right place, as it is done before the pyramid is sewn. The design of the embroidery has sort of evolved along the way. My husband says they look like rather upmarket teabags. I still have half a bowl of lavender left, so am thinking of another design.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Mini World Magazine

You will have found me recently lurking in the motoring magazine section of WHSmiths, where I have been eagerly awaiting the Janaury issue of Mini World Magazine. My Mini Knitting Pattern has been featured on their shopping page.

I was really pleased with how prominently it has been placed, and that they were happy to use my own photograph. Perhaps it will lead to a few orders, although it is always hard to predict these things. The patterns is for sale, and I also make minis to order (which can be ordered through my Etsy shop), so I have been stocking up on wheels, to give me a head start, in case anyone wants one for Christmas.  

I try to make each mini as close of the owner's car as I can, so a photograph to match colours and model is useful.  I love the Mini Traveller on the cover of the magazine, and if you click on Mini Cooper in my labels you will find the posts with minis in that I have made. I really enjoy adapting my pattern, and would love to be asked to make one of the checkerboard roofed minis.

So now to settle down with a nice cup of tea, and read the rest of the magazine.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

"Goodbye Reading Ninja Wizards"

The title of this post probably needs to be explained. I am changing jobs, and have just come home from my last day at my current school (where I work as a teaching assistant). I am moving to a new school to work in the school office. Exciting times, and I am very sad to say goodbye to a lovely school where I have made a lot of friends.

To say farewell to one group of children, with whom I read every week, I have made them a Flat Rat bookmark, from a pattern by Susan Glinert Stevens. With this group we don't just practise reading (they are all pretty good readers), but some of the skills that help comprehension and inference. So we talk about what we have read, ask questions, try to predict what might be coming next, etc. All the things that you probably do when you are reading without even realising it. When choosing a name for the group the children couldn't quite agree, which is why they became the "Reading Ninja Wizards". 

I used this pattern which is free on ravelry, although I knitted the head flat and sewed up a seam. I also slightly went my own way with the paws and ears. 

It also means I will be saying goodbye to my lunchtime knitting club, run with the lovely Joyce, which also makes me sad. But I am also excited about facing a new challenge. 

"Watch out, we may be flat, but we are coming to get you!"

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Tundra Baby Vest Pattern

At last I have my new pattern ready to publish - Tundra Baby Vest. It has taken a little while, as you will see there are different wrapovers for boy or girl, and two different sizes 0-3 months Newborn, or 3-6 months Older Baby. The pattern contains some pictures to show how the boy/girl versions differ. These samples are knitted from James C. Brett Marble Doubleknit. I love these vibrant colours, but the same wool maker also does a Baby Marble Doubleknit or Baby Marble, if you want something more traditional. (I have put links to LoveKnitting where I see some of these wools are in a sale.)  

The knitting for this vest is not terrible hard, but I think it makes a really cosy and pretty top. I am toying with the idea of larger sizes, or a version with arms, but for the moment I think I need to make something a bit more seasonalThe main sections are knitted in rib, which make it very warm and stretchy. The neck is finished off with a length of icord. You could leave this off, put it is not hard to do, and I think gives it a neat looking finish. I managed to find cute little toggles, although you could use buttons.

It is getting colder here in the UK; There has been some frost on the window panes in the early morning.  I quite fancy wearing a cosy knitted body warmer myself.
Boy Wrapover

Girl Tundra Baby Vest - Newborn and Older Sizes

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

Friday, 4 November 2016

Colours and Scents

It seems a long time since I wrote on my blog, and I still have nothing completed. But I thought you might like to see a little section of my baby vest which I am knitting in a larger size. Isn't this wool absolutely lush! The colours really are as lovely as in the photos. I may have to knit myself something in this wool.

At the weekend we went to Kent to visit my mum. She lives in sheltered housing, and with a little bit of help from family and carers, is still (fiercely) independent. We had lunch out, and a shopping trip. As we left she once again gave me the cut lavender, picked from the communal gardens. Nobody else seems to want it. So I have spent the morning in a lovely scented haze in my living room removing it from the stems.  I love the way that she has properly bagged it up. So now just to think of an interesting design for some lavender bags ...

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Ebony and Ivory (Monochrome Fingerless Gloves)

My daughter asked me to knit her some fingerless gloves, so I made these from a basic pattern. She was very specific about the colours that she wanted. The sparkly black wool is from Poundland, and I like it so much that I may knit myself some just in black. 

We tried a few photos in the back garden, but it is surprising how hard it is to pose hands to look natural when they are not doing something.  But playing the piano seemed like a great idea, and to contrast them against the black and white keyboard.

She was really playing a song by Adele, but I couldn't resist the pun in the title.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Tundra Baby Vest

What has been going on with my knitting and blogging? I seem to have slowed down, and I am not one of those speedy knitters to begin with. It is a little to do with all the sock knitting that I have been doing. Socks are quite time consuming, but incredibly satisfying. 

Also I have been working quite hard on a new pattern for an baby garment. 

Here is a sneaky peek. I was inspired by once again becoming a great aunt, and also by this gorgeous wool. It is James C. Brett, DK Marble. I originally bought it with the idea that I could make myself a hat. (I'm not quite sure what happened to that idea.) I think it is a really good wool for a baby garment, as it comes in interesting colourways, and is washable. Knitted up this ball reminds me so much of a wintery sky and the northern lights.  

I think babies can look great in bright primaries or more unusual shades, and don't just have to wear white or pastel colours. But if you want to knit it in a paler shade there is also a range of James C. Brett Baby Marble DK.

My baby vest top is simple in structure, and I think it has a slightly Japanese feel. I had the same idea when I designed my Tundra and Wrap Around baby shoes. I hope that the simple shapes mean that the beautiful colours in the wool can spring to the fore. Unlike many knits the main sections are knitted in rib, which I think gives more thickness and some stretchiness as baby grows. The placket for the buttons or toggles is in garter stitch.

The pattern will be out soon, and will come in three different baby sizes. So just a bit more testing to do .... Off out to buy some more wool.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Tavistock Socks (and Giveaway Winners)

I made a conscious decision at the start of this year to be a bit more selective about what I blog about, but at the moment I just seem not to be knitting very much.

Anyway, I thought I would show you these socks I have just made for hubby. I am calling them Tavistock Socks, as I bought the ball of wool for them in Tavistock market when we were on holiday in the summer. It is King Cole Zig Zag 4ply 1866 Epic. Perhaps I should have called this post "Epic Socks", although at school the children are not encouraged to use "epic" as an adjective.

The pattern I used is called Storm by Diane Mulholland, and is a free download on ravelry. I really like the textured look, but it was quite easy to do from memory once you have done a few rows. I couldn't quite get to grips with doing the toe as set out in the pattern, so just did my normal technique. (Wow, I have a normal sock technique!) They are toe-up, which also seems to be my favourite way. They also had a different bind-off at the top to what I have previously used.  But what made me most pleased was getting the colours to match. Having never knitted socks from variegated wool before, I just wasn't confident it was going to work, but as you can see it did.

Please also feel free to admire my husband's creative project for the summer, which is our lovely new decking. It makes a great backdrop for photos.

Blocking socks on the washing line

And finally I would like to announce the winners of my Red Admiral Butterfly Giveaway. The answer to my question "What were the two mistakes I made on the knitted butterflies?" were: that the spots were embroidered in white, and they should have been black, and was that I sewed the bottom wings on the wrong way round. This is really hard to spot, but they have some light blue stitches, which should be near the centre near the body, and not the outside. 

The two winners that I have picked at random from all the entries are Stacey from The Golden Hours and The Patchwork Fairy. I have already contacted them, but if you would like to leave your mailing address in my comments box, I will get the butterflies off to you and promise not publish your addresses.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Red Admiral Butterfly Giveaway

Photographing some real butterflies on my holiday got me to looking at my two butterfly patterns: Red Admiral Butterfly and Monarch Butterfly. I am thinking about designing a new butterfly, but in the meanwhile I decided to knit and rephotograph the Red Admiral. This was one of my first patterns, and photos were taken before I got my present camera. The camera helps, but I also think I have learned a few tricks about getting the lighting and setting right.

This Red Admiral was much easier to photograph than those on Dartmoor. I have also retyped and published the pattern, as I have changed my method of writing colourcharts.  

While looking at real and photographs of Red Admiral Butterflies, I also realized that a they have a brown underside on their lower wings, so in my aim to be really, really accurate have added instructions to make the butterfly this way. In the original pattern I knitted them with coloured wings underneath, and if you were making it for a mobile, where it would be viewed from below, you might still like to do it this way.

I have had a number of trips to my local park to photograph the new butterflies, and as the summer flowers start to fade have felt under a bit of time pressure.

If you want to enter my Giveaway you need to tell me what is wrong with the Red Admiral Butterfly in the first three photos. I would love to say that I had made some deliberate errors, but alas I just didn't look at pattern carefully enough. There are two mistakes, which you might notice I put right in the butterflies further down the page! Could you also tell me your favourite species of butterfly, or if you are a knitter the one you would most like to make? The winners will be drawn at random from all the correct entries

There will be two prizes, my knitted butterflies, so let me know if you have a preference for the one with brown underwings or the other. Winners will be contacted on 2nd October. There are no restrictions on where you live. You can enter either in the comment section of this blog, or by leaving a comment on my Ginx Craft facebook page. Also there are no conditions about following my blog or Ginx Craft on facebook, but of course I would love it if you did. 

Don't you hate those quizes where the answer is really obvious! I do, although I am not going to be too strict about the knitting errors question, so why not have a go? I especially would like to know your favourites butterflies. To make the competition a little bit harder I will not publish any comments with answers to the question until the result is announced. 

Monday, 5 September 2016

Beach Crop Top

Sometimes as a mum you feel that you just can't win. I really wanted to knit something for my daughter, but a nice poloneck or cardigan just wouldn't do (her words). So something young and funky (my words not hers, apparently young people don't say funky). I decided to make a crop top that she could wear on the beach. (We did actually have one day at the beach on our holiday, and all swam in the sea, even me!) 

I was really quite pleased with this little halter neck top, which I have made up as I went along. I can't quite decide whether to type it up as a pattern. As soon as you get into clothing there is the problem of offering various sizes. At the moment it is just notes on a scrappy bit of paper, which is cut to the same shape as the top. Perhaps I will leave this for some winter evenings, as it is not really the time of year for folk to start to knit a beach top (except in Australia).

But her verdict is it is far too small!!! This from the girl that it has taken me half a year to persuade that she needed some longer school skirts. (Ha, ha - I have just won on that argument.) I can't quite understand it, as it is much more discrete than any bikini top. I think the real problem may be that it is woollie. 

So my reluctant model may not even give me permission for this post. I keep telling her that hardly anyone looks at my blog. We will have to see ....