Some much-photographed pups

So things went a little bit bonkers this month.

Do you remember the Juno Jumper?

JJ10

Our little Juno gets a bit chilly in the winter. The little Princess pops one paw out of the front door and onto the pavement, shakes her head in a decisive “na-uh!” and backs into the house once more.

So, I decided to make her a jumper. She’s honoured: my husband’s been asking for years! πŸ˜‰

The pattern is here, if you fancy giving it a go.

Anyway!

In a game of woolly Chinese whispers, ITV asked Loveknitting.com, who asked me to make some little Christmas jumpers for their Text Santa show to be presented to Simon Cowell for his three little Yorkies. And the Yorkie Christmas jumper was born:

CJ1.jpg

But you don’t want to see it like that, do you? You want to see it on those little dogs!

Well, here’s a teaser first: Diddly, Squiddly and Freddy’s finished and personalised jumpers:

dog-christmas-jumpers.jpg

And here they are in person. Well, on canine, in any event πŸ˜‰
I was thrilled to see them fitting so well.

CJ14

You can read about the process over here, if you fancy it.

And you can find the Yorkie Christmas Jumper pattern here.

It is, indeed, beginning to feel just a tad like Christmas ❀

(And I promise many fewer links next time around!)

 

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Whoosh! Catch-up!

I have been horribly remiss keeping this blog going of late. I notice with horror that September was my last post. And it isn’t as though I haven’t been busy! I’m buried under works in progress (*hangs head in shame*) and full of new ideas. I seem to have a discipline problem – must finish one of my eleventy-six WIPs before starting the next!

So, in a mad scramble to bring myself up to date here, I am going to post a few pictures of works completed and works in progress and give myself a round telling off, coupled with threats of disciplinary measures if I don’t try to keep up a bit better.

I have, however, been far more efficient at keeping my Instagram and Facebook pages more current, so if you fancy checking either out, I’d be delighted to see you there.

So… first up, a commissioned Snuggle Bunny for my dear friend Clare. He is HUGE and contains a handmade wheat and lavender sack for microwave heating. Actually, come to think of it, he’s a she πŸ™‚

Clare1 Clare3 Clare5

And I finally got around to making one for me, too. A slightly smaller cat, mine, with a flower granny square embellishment:

me1 me2 me4 me5My thanks to Bertie for modelling them ❀
These can be commissioned at cuddlecats.co.uk if you felt so inclined.

It’s winter, so bobble hats have been flying off hooks and needles.

bobble1 bobble2

And I have finally got around to starting a long-promised blanket for my beloved:

Square-flowers Valentine's-blanket Valentine's-blanket-3It still has a way to go and I’m hoping to complete it by Valentine’s Day (gulp)…

This little chap was fun to make – he’s a travelling sized version, still with wheat sack, in wool and bamboo:

Travelling-4 Travelling-3 Travelling-2-insta Travelling-2And I’m designing a jumper. It’s a little short for my liking, so I’m going to have to get inventive about lengthening it, and I’m onto the sleeves, but prevaricating… I’ll get there:

stripy-jumper stripy-jumper2

Et voila! A selection of the latest.

I will, I hope, see you again much sooner ❀

Jumper Season – WHOOP!

I know, I know, knitting isn’t just for autumn and winter, but I really do struggle to knit big bulky things all year round. I love to wear big bulky things though, and this Autumn has got me really excited because it was only in Spring that I taught myself to knit jumpers. And by then it was kind of too warm to wear them.

I bought myself some wool πŸ™‚

2Andes1It’s the same lovely stuff as my last jumpers, but breaking out of the earthy colour mold – just as a little refresher, you understand πŸ™‚

However, I also had some left over from this little chap:

Owl3which I figured would make a rather nice jumper for my littlest. I’ve come to the end of the ball and have had to order a bit more (I know – shucks – buying wool… what a nightmare! πŸ˜‰ ) I’ve chosen a top-down, seamless yoke method which, given the small size, started out on DPNs and progressed to circular needles when there were enough stitches.

So, here it is in progress (excuse the dodgy phone pics):

Ted1Starting out on double pointed needles.

Ted2Bringing in some stripes and separating the arms stitches out and onto waste yarn.

Ted3Another little flash of pattern.

Ted4Trying not to stamp my feet that I didn’t have quite enough wool πŸ˜‰

I’ll be back, though ❀

The Google Tunic

Or maybe the Pinterest Dress.

Call it what you will, it is essentially a sampler. A top-down, in-the-round, seamless yoke fair isle sampler. A project for me to learn about colourwork and fair isle.

As is so often the case in my life knitting, I didn’t really have a set idea about what I was making before I began. Much of what I do is intuitive, experimental and heart-in-mouth-will-it-fit? It is also a smaller gauge and therefore longer knit than I am used to. I like to use Aran or chunky because I get impatient and want to move onto the next thing, as evidenced by the fact that many of my previous posts showcase items I began after this tunic and finished well before it was complete.

This dress began with the optimistic working title “Spring Tunic”. We’re now well on the way through summer. See? πŸ™‚

It began as it usually does: with a clearance section on a wool website. I trawl them too often, looking for the bargains. I have one stipulation: natural fibres. And I usually stick to it πŸ˜‰

I found Sublime baby cotton kapok dk. I don’t usually knit with cotton. But I was working on the premise that knitting (and crochet) being something I love, I don’t want to only do it in the autumn and winter, and there must be pretty knitwear for the rest of the year.

Rather than babbling on about it any more, here is the sampler tunic, finished with crochet around the hem and sleeves: a progression in pictures:

pinterest-tunic7
An example of one of the charts I googled

pinterest-tunic3pinterest-tunic5pinterest-tunic9pinterest-tunic10pinterest-tunic-11pinterest-tunic12pinterest-tunic-2-squarepinterest-tunic4Pinterest-Tunic

Now… Back to the million-and-one other UFOs on my list..!

 

The Split Poncho

Hello strangers πŸ™‚

OK, so we know about the Ponchette, right? And that you can now make it for yourselves? If you visit here, I wrote the pattern up at Black Sheep Wools’ request and it is available as a free download on their website.

But the thing is, I have a nipper I struggle to keep up with. And ponchos always leave me a little restricted in the arm department, so this needed some thought.

Here it is in pictures and I just might, at some stage, write it up so you can have a go too πŸ™‚

splitponcho7splitponcho6splitponcho5splitponcho4splitponcho3splitponcho2splitponcho1I have a couple of crochet blankets on the go, too – so more anon!

Hope all is well in your woolly worlds ❀

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Tulips Sleeveless Sweater

Or tank top. Or vest. It’s difficult to know what people call them these days, as searching for any of those terms can bring up such a variety of garments, including waistcoats and cardigans…. I thought a vest was a sleeveless t-shirt you wore under your top when the weather turned chilly.

To me, it’s a tank top. Although I do accept that it isn’t a very delicate or romantic term.

Anyway, here’s the story:

I’m a mum. I have five children. I run my own business. I don’t often need to dress particularly formally. But occasionally, just occasionally, I do. I wanted a slipover – there’s another word for it! – an extra layer to go over a shirt when I wear smart trousers.

I chose a beautiful yarn – Drops Lima, which is a wool/alpaca blend – in grey. It may have been dark grey, or charcoal. Here it is:

Knitting a swatch for gauge
Knitting a swatch for gauge

I didn’t have a pattern. I figured, how hard can it be? *cough* and in my usual rather-too-gungho fashion, I embarked.

On 4mm circular needles, I cast on 176 stitches. Not sure why. I’d like to say it’s because I had worked out my gauge, measured my size and done the calculations, but it isn’t. I suspect it is because a similar jumper in a similar yarn on similar needles required the same number of stitches. And I knitted 5 rows of rib.

Off we go.
Off we go.

Then I rounded the number up to 180 stitches, making four at relatively equidistant intervals around the row.

Then I got knitting.

And knitting.

And knitting.

And knitting.
And knitting.

And, after all the fair isle I’ve been doing lately, I got really bored.

So I googled fair isle patterns and came up with a google image of a flower. And guess what! It had 9 stitches across, which meant I could do exactly 20 repeats without altering anything. So I ordered a couple of balls of the same yarn in contrasting colours – an off-white and an ice blue – and put a fair isle strip in there.

The flowers have emerged
The flowers have emerged

Then, I was faced with the shaping. I found a wonderful resource on YouTube. She is far more organised, methodical and scientific than I, and I watched her like a good little student and then forgot it all and did it my way, incorporating some of the lessons she had managed to make stick in my memory. You can find her here with her lesson on shoulder shaping. I also watched her v-neck shaping videos, did my own rather slapdash workings out, and got cracking. One of the most useful things I picked up was the tip to knit both sides at once, using two separate balls of wool. Genius! Then you can’t go wrong πŸ™‚ (in theory…)

Amazing - it looks like a v neck tank top!!
Amazing – it looks like a v neck tank top!!

When I had done front and back keeping all the stitches live on waste yarn, knitted my short rows (for the very first time!) to shape the shoulders, and front and back had reached the same height, I turned the top inside out and fused them using the three needle bind-off.

I hadn’t made the v neck quite deep enough for my liking, so ribbing the neck was going to be a problem. I decided on a row of crochet in the grey followed by a row in the contrasting off-white which rather neatly echoed the edges of the colour join I had chosen before the tulips.

Drops LIma 4

Same around the armholes and ta-dah! We have a v neck. Blocking (on my new Knitpro blocking squares which I love):

Blocking into shape
Blocking into shape

And the finished result.

Drops Lima 6

I am wearing it as we speak πŸ™‚

In other news, I have picked up an old WIP and am determined to finish it. My stashbuster crochet blanket:

Stashbuster blanketAnd finally, I’ve been given a rather fabulous camera, so the very first finished object I ever made – a crochet camera strap – has had new life breathed into it:

CameraAnd look – it takes lovely pictures!

Cherry blossom
The ornamental cherry in our garden
Teddy and JEm
Teddy and his Daddy

The Sweater of Many Random Stripes

Ooh, I’ve had fun with this one!

Having done a couple of top-down, seamless yoke jumpers and been thrilled with the results, I was in danger of creating an entire wardrobe of very similar jumpers for myself – I tend to knit for myself until I have mastered it, at which point I feel more comfortable about giving things away or selling them.

So I embarked on a bottom-up jumper instead.

I used Drops Andes in a beige and a brown. It is the same as I used for this jumper, which until now was my stand-out favourite. And, clearly, I massively over-ordered on the yarn (*blush* “Hello, my name’s Alice. I am a yarn-addict”) I believe this jumper took around 6 x 100g balls.

Drops Andes  100 sts on 8mm circular needles. Random stripes begun
Drops Andes
100 sts on 8mm circular needles.
Random stripes begun

I cast on 100 stitches to an 8mm circular needle and knitted stripes willy-nilly until I reached a length long enough to reach my armpit from mid-hip. I purposely didn’t knit rib around the bottom as I had a vague notion to crochet a border around the bottom and cuffs.

Body almost done
Body almost done

I then embarked on the sleeves: 26sts on double pointed needles, increasing gradually to 34 by the time I reached the armpit. For example, I made a stitch at rows 11 and 13, then a couple more at around elbow level, and four more gradually on the way up to the top. I kept a note of where I increased so that I could recreate it for the second sleeve. I made the sleeve around 14 rows longer than the jumper body: I have long arms and hate when my wrists are bare in the winter!

Sleeve underway
Sleeve underway
Body and sleeve
Body and sleeve
One sleeve complete. The second started.
One sleeve complete. The second started.

I then put 6 sts at each side of the jumper body onto waste yarn, and 6 stitches of each sleeve onto waste yarn, too. They will be knitted together using the 3 needle bind-off at the end.

Then comes knitting across the body to the waste yarn, (place a marker), knitting the live stitches from the first sleeve onto the circular needle up to the sleeve’s waste yarn, (place a marker) knitting across the back of the jumper and repeating with the second sleeve. At the end of the second sleeve, you have your new row beginning.

All on one needle.
All on one needle.

I then knitted two rows before beginning the raglan decreases which, when you have the hang of them, are really quite simple. Two things to remember: Every other row is just a knit around, and use markers!

Every decrease row involves slipping the two stitches before the marker onto the right needle and knitting through them with the left needle. Then, after the marker, knit two together. So much easier in practice than it sounds!!

The raglan sleeves!
The raglan sleeves!

Then, basically, knit till you have the size neck you require. You can stop decreasing and switch to rib for a big chunky roll neck, or end up with something more boat-neck like mine.

Once finished, and all ends woven in, I crocheted three rows around the bottom, using a *single crochet, chain 1* pattern, crocheting into the spaces on subsequent rounds, and just a single row of the same around the cuffs. And ta-dah! No curling!!

The finished article!
The finished article!

I haven’t taken it off yet:

Taken by my son
Taken by my son
Tricky mirror 'selfie'
Tricky mirror ‘selfie’

I must now attend to my severely neglected works in progress children πŸ˜‰

These two, amongst others, are still on the needles:

Cotton fair-isle for spring / summer
Cotton fair-isle for spring / summer
Wool / alpaca tank top.
Wool / alpaca tank top.

Until the next time.

And if anybody fancies attempting the jumper, and I can help at all, please shout! ❀

A Second Success (I’m still bouncing)

handmade with loveI’m really excited to have my shop up and running, and will be popping little bits and pieces in there as and when I can tear myself away from making jumpers for myself πŸ˜‰ because I’ve just finished my second one (that fits!) To say that I’m over the moon would be to understate it completely. I have not removed it since sewing in the ends and am now praying that the sun, which has made its first truly warm appearance of the year so far today, is just a blip and the cold will come back for a while.

OK, I don’t really mean that, but I’m a bit gutted I’ll have to put it away till next year, and fairly soon, too. So I’m starting to look at some cotton tunic options, since this jumper is made with the oh-so-soft-and-snuggly Drops Andes, which is 65% wool and 35% alpaca. It is light, soft, warm… Oh, heck! It’s perfect.

I’ve told the story here in picture form. Since a lot of my knitting takes place in the evenings, when the day-job is over πŸ˜‰ , the light is not fabulous, but the photographs are clear enough, if not aesthetically perfect!

Andes 1
Casting the ribbed funnel neck stitches onto 9mm circular needles
Andes 2
Funnel neck complete, the pattern begins
Andes 3
I love this part – the emergent pattern
Andes 4
In daylight, the seamless yoke taking shape.
Andes 5
The stitches for the sleeves have been transferred onto waste yarn

And here I should add, there are many sensible things you’reΒ supposed to do as a knitter – tension squares etc etc – that I’m a bit too slapdash to do religiously, but I cannot stress enough how useful the waste yarn tip was (thank you my Instagram friend Laura!) This jumper, and its sleeves, are the perfect length thanks to the slightly fiddly but worth every non-knitting moment of transferring live stitches on to waste yarn and trying it on! πŸ™‚

Andes 6
Yards of jumper in front of ‘The Killing’ – seriously, if you haven’t seen the series, it’s *brilliant*
Andes 7
Bedtime. Time to put the knitting away, but too impatient to wait for a daylight shot to show it complete without sleeves.
Andes 8
A bit of a flourish around the bottom of the jumper and then the moment of truth – binding off the hem.
Andes 9
Complete but for 2/3 of a sleeve.
Andes 10
Action shot πŸ˜‰
Andes 11
Can’t wipe away the smile. It’s DONE! It FITS!
Andes 12
Dancing with Baby Baggins.
The Finished Jumper Dance of Joy.

Cotton next πŸ™‚

My very first adult jumper!

On my travels around the interweb, I discovered the challengingly entitled Three Movies Sweater, written in Swedish and English. I loved the style, and the premise, so I took the bait and ordered the wool. Drops Eskimo, for the uninitiated, is a chunky (9mm needle) 100% wool for a very reasonable Β£1.70 for 50g. This pattern took around 12 x 50g balls to make.

Although I was thrilled by the outcome, especially for a first-timer, my jumper came out considerably smaller than the one in the blog, unless she’s teeny, and I bigger than I thought πŸ˜‰

Also, I found there were a few omissions / confusing points in the pattern where I just had to wing it.

In short, I’ve ordered the wool for my next one and it’ll be better!

One thing I was REALLY pleased with, though, was a bit of an innovation – a risk that paid off. The ribbing at the bottom was too narrow for me, and curled up a lot. I searched the Net for tips on how to pick up and continue in rib, but found none. So I winged it again, and it worked. The join is visible, but not unsightly, and I have a new knitting fix in my arsenal πŸ™‚ I tried to photograph it, as you will see below.

So… A picture story of its creation:

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