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, or Ravelry.
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.