Ted’s stripes

Having made a gazillion pairs of beauteous boot socks, I had a mega-tonne (well, not quite, but it certainly looked that way in the sitting room cupboard) of Drops Nepal and Drops Big Delight left, and it was as I was knitting the leg of a sock that it struck me… that would make an awesome sleeve. This is the one I was working on:


So I found the cream and the blues and my measuring tape and set about measuring Ted.

He’s 6 – he’ll be 7 in August – and long and lean.

I decided that this one would be a bottom-up jumper, so: knitting from the bottom up to the underarm, then knitting the sleeves to that point, and joining them all on a circular needle to begin the raglan decreases up to the neck.

I worked out the gauge at 5 stitches and 6 rows per inch and jotted down everything I could think of that I’d need.

Around his tummy: 24″
Around his chest: 26″
From the nape of his neck to his bottom: 17″
From underarm to wrist: 13″
From shoulder to wrist: 18″
From underarm to bottom: 12″ and
Around his upper arm: 9″

I used 4mm circulars (80cm) for the 2×2 rib and switched to 5mm circulars for the rest of the piece.

Taking his widest point (his chest), I cast on 130 stitches (26″ x 5 sts per inch). With hindsight, I might have added another 5 for ease, though it does fit perfectly as you’ll see.

I knitted 6 rows of 2×2 rib on 4mm needles in Drops Nepal in cream and then switched to Big Delight and 5mm needles. The stripe pattern is 4 rows of Big Delight and then 2 rows of Nepal which 6-row repeat, most handily, is an inch.


I repeated this until I got to 14″ (13 x 6-row stripes and the rib) and then put it aside (on stitch holders or waste yarn, or even on the needles if you have enough pairs) to knit the sleeves.

Again, using Nepal and 4mm needles, I cast on 44 stitches (9″ x 5 stitches per inch, then minus 1 to keep the 2×2 rib simple) and knitted 6 rows of 2×2 rib, switching then to 5mm needles and Big Delight. Since sleeves are always longer, I knitted 14 x 6-row stripes per sleeve.

So, to join the sleeves to the body:

First, I *put 10 stitches of the body stitches on waste yarn (this will be the underarm, which you will join to the sleeve with Kitchener stitch at the very end) and put 10 sleeve stitches on waste yarn. Then slip the remaining 34 sleeve stitches onto the main needles,  then slipped 55 stitches from the body** and repeated from * to **  I then had 178 stitches on the needles and placed a marker for the beginning of the round.

Using Nepal, I knitted two rounds.

Then I knitted around once in Big Delight and on the next round, to divide for the raglan decreases, I placed markers before the last stitch of the last round and after the first stitch of the next, knitted 53, placed a marker, knitted 2, placed a marker, knitted 32, placed a marker, knitted 2, placed a marker, knitted 53, placed a marker, knitted 2, placed a marker, knitted 32 and arrived back at the first marker.


For the 3rd row of Big Delight, I began the decreases (you can see them underway above), very simply: knit 2 together before and after the 2-stitch raglan (between the two markers either side of the sleeves)

For the 4th row of Big Delight, knit around making sure to slip the markers.

And I continued the decreases every other row whilst sticking to the 6-row pattern (4 rows of Big Delight, 2 rows of Nepal) until I had only 1 stitch left in the sleeve sections (between the two markers).

Then I switched to 4mm needles and Nepal for 6 rows of 2×2 rib and finished with a super-stretchy bind-off. There’s little worse than putting all that effort in and being unable to get the blasted thing over yer head! 😉


Maddeningly, Teddy was at school when it was finished (so inconsiderate!) so I had to wait until I was home from work and he home from school to take him back to the studio to get some pictures.

I think you’ll agree a) it’s very fetching and b) I may have overdone the pictures… Well – knitting and Teddy – two of my favourite things ❤


Tabby Cattercushion (a free tutorial)


So I made a HUGE cattercushion.

Do you see what I did there? 😉

You can, of course make a gazillion of these (s)cattercushions so they can live up to their name, in a narrower gauge yarn, or chunkier, in all sizes and colours…

For this one, I used Schachenmayr Boston and Rico Creative Melange Chunky, 7mm circular needles and some enormous mother-of-pearl buttons. You’ll also need a cushion pad and some toy stuffing.


If you fancy having a go at it, there is a free blow by blow tutorial over on the loveknitting blog. Just click here to be taken to it.

Here’s a picture of him with my Wilfy, for scale:


Enjoy the snuggles ❤

Hobbit Hat (free pattern)

I find myself here, on the beautiful North Norfolk Coast. Wide, sandy beaches, and sunshine that has taken us by surprise.

But… you know… it’s February.

How in the world did someone who knits hats not bring enough?!


My new moniker is, apparently, “The Wool Psycho”, so it goes without saying that needles and yarn had found their way into my essential packing list.

Quick – cast on!


This hat fits us all, from Teddy (aged 6, above) to me. Though it might be a bit of a stretch (no pun intended) for beloved husband, since his bonce is quite spectacularly large. Probably the brains 😉

For this hat, you will need a ball of Rico Creative Melange Chunky (in this case in CurryGreen), a 7mm circular needle and depending on your speed, a couple of movies.


So without further ado:

Cast on 64 stitches and join in the round without twisting.
Knit 1 round, purl 1 round and knit the 3rd round.
Then begin the Knit2 Purl2 rib for 10 rounds. This gives a hat that is super slouchy without folding up the rim, or nice and snug if you do.

Knit for 34 rounds.

Then K2tog all the way around.

Then knit around.

Then K2tog all the way around again.

Cut the yarn leaving a long tail, then sew the tail through the live stitches and pull tight. Tie off securely and weave in the tail. Sew in the ends, and wear to your heart’s content.

Happy knitting! 🙂


A dog is for Christmas 


No. Wait. Life.

A dog is for life.

But since Christmas is nearly upon us, how about she gets to join in with the festivities?

Juno, our  little Jack Russell princess, remember? The one who pokes her nose out of the door as a barometer? Then swivels on her heel (so to speak) and hides behind the sofa if conditions are less than perfect?

Well, in an effort to drag her from her grump and into the great outdoors…

… she has a new Christmas jumper.

If you have a petite pooch of your own, who feels the cold and needs some festive cheer, you can find the pattern on the Loveknitting.com blog over here (and it’s free till 18th December)

Now… back to the Christmas knitting !

(And yes, I gave her the biscuit 😂)

Getting all your cats in a row


I’ve used Millamia naturally soft merino quite a bit of late, so it seemed the natural choice when I wanted to design a jumper for my youngest, little Teddy. He’s quite a sweaty little beast so I didn’t want anything too chunky, after all.

I have begun to love developing charts for intarsia and fairisle. I consider myself a relative novice, but a very enthusiastic one, and I was especially pleased with the rows of stripy cats.

With raglan sleeves and a rolling edge neck, the ‘Kitty Cat’ pattern is now available over on loveknitting.com AND if you’re quick, the Kitten Mitten pattern is free for the rest of this month.


How to… floral phone protector


Y’know? When you’ve sacrificed the security of a fully-protective phone case in favour of one that’s, frankly, a bit of a Cath Kidston knock-off (but she doesn’t do those spots in a Samsung Edge… 😦 ) and you’ve stuffed it in your bag and there are other things in there that might give it a bit of a hard time…

So you decide to make something pretty to keep it in.

Frankly, it’s not going to rescue your phone from your keys in there. But it does look pretty 😉

Look no further!


And if you want to make it, here’s how:
(UK terms:
dc [double crochet] = sc [single crochet] US
tc [treble crochet] = dc [double crochet] US

But it’s all very simple:

I used Drops Safran which is a DK cotton in all sorts of delightful spring colours, and a 3mm crochet hook.

  • ch 21, dc back through chain to beginning.
  • 3dc in first ch  and continue to work around in dc to end
  • 3dc in first dc and continue to work around in dc to end.
  • ch 2 and tc around the entire piece, sl st in original ch2.


  • repeat twice more
  • switch to green, ch2 and 2tc in same tc. [Skip 2, 3tc in next] to end. Sl st in original ch2. {ref point 1}


  • switch to flower colour. Ch2, make 1tc through middle of the 3 green tc, but leave last loop on hook, make another tc in same green tc, but leave last loop on hook, pull yarn through all loops on hook, ch1. [Skip 2 (always making these flowers in the middle of the three green tc), make 3tc, leaving the last loops on hook, in middle green tc, pull yarn through all loops on hook, ch1] repeat to end.


  • switch to original blue. Ch2 and make 3tc in each 1ch gap to end. Sl st to original ch2.


  • Ch 2, tc in each tc around. Sl st to original ch2
  • repeat. {ref point 2}


  • Repeat from {ref point 1} to {ref point 2} until you have 3 rows of flowers in total. Change flower colours if you like 🙂 After the last flower row:
  • ch1 and 3dc in each 1ch gap. Sl st to original ch1
  • ch1 and dc around. Sl st to original ch1
  • THEN on JUST ONE SIDE (working back and forth and no longer in the round): ch2 and tc to end of side. TURN, repeat.
  • ch1, dc2tog, then dc to half way along row. Ch3 for button loop and sl st into last dc worked, dc to last 2, dc2tog. Cut yarn, fasten and sew in ends
  • sew a button to middle stitch of front.



As ever, if you decide to make it and anything I’ve written doesn’t make sense… just give me a holler ❤



A catch-up in beautiful yarns…

I’ve been playing with some serious beauties recently.

The first two I’m going to show you I have just finished writing up the patterns for, and they’ll be available on the loveknitting.com website, and in my Etsy shop very shortly.

The first I call In the Shade since the fairisle pattern is a row of trees with their shadows beneath them. It is knitted in Drops Karisma, in light and dark grey, on 4.5mm circulars. And I’m wearing it as I type 😉 Click here for the pattern



The second is Drops Bomull-Lin, a lovely mix of cotton and linen, in brown and beige (the beige being more like pale gold with its lovely linen sheen). This is my Spring Tunic, knitted in the round on 6mm needles, with eyelet lace details. Click here for the pattern




Also, I got a surprise parcel in the post: a parcel of beauty I would probably not have bought for myself. And I LOVED the challenge of coming up with something to make from it. It is a combination of Millamia 100% merino and Louisa Harding Amitola, which contains silk, shimmers stunningly, and changes colour gradually throughout the piece. Here it is in progress, but on 3mm needles, it’s a slow process – a cardigan in the making (now finished, click here for the pattern):


And finally 🙂

Fancy making this?

Here’s how (in UK terms)

1. Using Drops Bomull-Lin in beige (pale gold) and a 4.5mm hook, chain 30.

2. Make a double crochet (dc) into the 2nd chain from hook, and into the next 5 chains. Then chain 16, and make a dc into each of the last 6 chains.

3. Turn, chain 1, insert hook into first dc in row and make a dc into this and the next 5 chains. Then chain 16, and make a dc into each of the last 6 chains.

4. Turn, chain 1, insert hook into first dc in row and make a dc into this and the next. To make the button hole chain 2 and skip the next 2 dc. Make a dc into the next 2 dc. Chain 16, and make a dc into each of the last 6 chains.

5. Turn, chain 1, insert hook into first dc in row and make a dc into this and the next 5 chains. Then chain 16, and make a dc into the first 2 of the last 6, 2 dc into the 2-chain gap, and a dc into each of the last w dc.

Repeat step 3. three more times. You will have 8 rows in all. Sew a button onto the opposite cuff part from the button hole and voila!

Hasta la proxima, peeps. ❤


Miniature Delights

A dear friend of mine was expecting her fourth child. She already has three of the most gorgeous girls you’ll ever see, and this was her first boy. Obviously, most of those little garments saved from previous siblings weren’t going to be any good.

She asked me to make a couple of things for him. She’d found a fairisle babygro pattern on garnstudio.com (click on the web address and you’ll see the one), and she wanted a baby cocoon, too. (Scroll down for details of how I made it).

The babygro took ages. On 3mm needles in Drops Baby Alpaca Silk, the seed stitch was the fiddliest part. And I’m not a speed knitter. But, as you’ll see from the following pictures, it was worth every second:




And here is Arthur, less than a day old, demonstrating the very reassuring fact that there is plenty of room for growth ❤


As for the cocoon, the pictures she sent me of those that she liked were of such a simple design that all I really needed was some approximate dimensions. It’s astonishing how much we overestimate the size of newborn babies, even though we’re know they’re (generally) seriously teeny.



The circumference of a baby cocoon needs to be around 17-18 inches, so you need to knit a swatch of your chosen yarn to work out how many stitches you need to cast on for the circumference.

I used Drops Fabel in Sea Mist Print, which is a self-patterning sock yarn, and knitted it in the round on 2.5mm circular needles.

When you’ve reached a length of 18 inches, you need to decrease. I simply used a [knit 4, knit 2 together] knitting the last few stitches if there were fewer than 6.

When I reached 20-ish stitches left, I knitted 2 together all around, broke the yarn and sewed it through the remaining live stitches, pulled to close and sewed the ends in.

And look!


Perfection ❤

(With massive thanks to Arthur’s mummy, Imo, for allowing me to share her new baby with you).

Fat and Sassy Valentine


Loveknitting.com sent me this gorgeous, squishy bundle of delight that is Tjockt Fat & Sassy Merino and asked me to try it out, so I’m delighted to offer you a tutorial for this squidgy, tactile, chunky scatter cushion. It’s blissfully quick and easy to make.
And it is also a simple introduction to intarsia. This stuff is HUGE, requiring the biggest needles I’ve ever used, at 25mm, which makes it both very speedy and really fun to use.


The cushion measures 30cm x 24cm

You will need:

250g Tjockt Fat & Sassy Merino in Cloud
100g Tjockt Fat & Sassy Merino in Raspberry
25mm knitting needles



Step 1: Cast on 11 stitches and knit 2 rows of stocking stitch.

(Knit 1 row, and purl the next – this cushion is knitted entirely in stocking stitch).
Then we follow the chart:


The first pink stitch is introduced in the middle of the next purl row:

Turn the work and it will look like this:


Now you are ready to knit row 4 of the chart. When you reach the first of the three pink stitches, wrap the pink yarn around the grey behind the work before making the stitch. This will avoid any gaping holes on the right side of the work between the heart motif and the rest of the cushion. Repeat this process each time you change colour.


At the end of this row, the back of your work will look very like this:


Turn your work and purl row 5, remembering to wrap the yarn around the contrasting colour at the back. It is also worth, once you are knitting a contrasting colour of more than 3 stitches, wrapping it around the original colour again before 4th (and so on, in multiples of 2 or 3 stitches depending on the number you are knitting).


You can see in the following picture that the yarn was wrapped again after 3rd stitch:


Continuing working through the chart, remembering to wrap the yarn with each colour change and in multiples of 2 or 3 stitches behind the work.


The back:


And continue working the chart:




When you have reached the end of the chart and have 11 rows, bind off.

Your work will look like this:


And now you need to make another exactly the same, and leave the last length of grey yarn trailing – you will use it to ‘sew’ the front to the back.

Since the yarn is so beautifully chunky, no tapestry needle is needed to put it together. You can push the yarn through the stitches with your fingers.
Taking the tail from the second piece and with wrong sides together, right sides facing outwards, push the yarn through the stitch on the corresponding corner of the first piece.
You are now going to ‘sew’ with your fingers, pushing the tail under the outside loop of the one stitch and into the outside loop of the corresponding side. I have illustrated how the yarn travels using a crochet hook in this next image (and you can actually see the previous stitch, too):


Employ the same technique around the sides:


When you reach the fourth side, stuff your cushion to the firmness you like. Don’t be tempted to overstuff as the stuffing will be visible through the large stitches. But one advantage of this gorgeous yarn is that it is almost a cushion when sewn together without any stuffing at all!


Use the same ‘sewing’ method to fasten the last side and weave in the end.


Enjoy your sumptuous new cushion!


You can find more of my patterns on loveknitting.com – search Alice Neal
and in my Etsy shop.

Have a gorgeous weekend ❤

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