Friday, 14 November 2014

Now you see it, now you don't!

Pinky often tells me how big her head is, and it's certainly true that kids' hats stopped fitting her quite a long time ago so when I decided to knit her this beret I made the largest size possible:

Surprise, surprise, it was too big!

So it had to be reduced to this:

and has now begun it's second life in a smaller size:

The book the pattern is in is called Big and Little Knitting Projects for you and your family; 9 Cosy Hats and Scarfs and was given to me by a friend who decided it was too hard for her.  You can find it here but be warned, I have found some errors in the pattern and don't know if the other patterns in the book have similar errors!

God willing, I will post this onto Ginny's Yarn Along on Wednesday!

Monday, 10 November 2014

Finally finished!

The knitted blanket which began here and went through various different stages here and here and here is finally finished - hooray!

God willing, I will be sharing this on Ginny's yarn along on Wednesday!

Thursday, 30 October 2014

The road to a finished project doesn't always run smoothly!

Do you remember the huge knitted throw I've been working on for ages?  The one I got so close to finishing?  Well, this is what happened!

Yes, that's a gap where there used to be knitted squares!  Sadly, one of the squares got snagged on an upholstery pin so I had to remove it and in the process of doing so I accidentally started removing the wrong square so ended up taking out two squares :-(  They didn't even come out neatly, so couldn't be repaired or re-knitted.  Thankfully I still had leftover wool in the correct colour so new squares could be made: 

Then I just had to block them, sew them into place and finish the border.  The border became a little tricky as it was hard to work out how many peaks to knit and I ended up twice not knitting enough, so had to continue knitting whilst some was attached to the rest of the work, then block it, again, still attached to the work!

 So, all that was left was to sew the last of the border on and then it would finally, finally, finally be done!

God willing I will be putting this onto Ginny's Yarn Along today (Fri 7th Nov 2014).

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

I did it!

Much to my surprise I managed to make a large piece of crochet and spend some time out of the knitting zone!  It was so quick that I actually have time to spare before posting it to its new home :-) I'm fairly convinced that the number of stitches in each row varies from time to time, and although my plan to combine a single strand of chunky yarn with 2 strands of double knit yarn seems to have worked satisfactorily, I will try to use the same weight of yarn next time (yes, I really hope there will be a next time!) to see if that helps it hold its shape better! I did manage a border, but only one row of double crochet - I'd like to try something more adventurous next time.  I also struggled with ends when I changed colours or joined in new balls of yarn so I need to investigate ways to keep ends a bit tidier.  The blanket is big enough to go adequately from waist to floor of one person sitting down, or could go across the laps of two people sitting side by side.

I was delighted to discover that I can post this 2nd class for just £2.80 this morning (although that price usual frustrates me as I'm posting something tiny but not tiny enough for regular letter stamps) so the whole thing has worked out to be very economical :-)

Now I have no more excuses not to complete my huge knitted throw - almost there now!

God willing this will be linked onto Ginny's yarn along tomorrow!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Stepping out of the knitting zone ...

I am far more of a knitter than a crocheter, but I have made a few crocheted items over the years - all quite small, or at least made up of small parts!  Presented with the following challenge though, I knew I had to step out of my comfort zone and grab the crochet hook!
My challenge was to make a present for my step-grandmother's 91st birthday - I had 10 days (minus postage time) during which I had to continue with normal life and most of which was going to include the addition of a gorgeous golden retriever to our household while her owners took a well deserved holiday.  I also had to use whatever yarn, needles etc I already had at home as I didn't have time to take a trip to the local town.  What I really wanted to make was a cosy blanket for the coming winter, but there is no way I could knit one in the time available and I know that crochet works up faster so there was only one thing to do!  I consulted my trusty copy of The Knitting and Crochet Bible and found a stitch which was quite close - I didn't want too many holes letting the warmth out - and settled on double crochet.  I emptied bags, searched in cupboards and ummed and ahhed for a while and then decided to use 2 strands of double knit in the purple/aubergine colour against a single strand of chunky in the blue/grey colour.  To be honest, my options were fairly limited! Almost miraculously I happened to have an 8.00mm crochet hook which I'd bought a few months ago with some wool which was in a sale and hasn't been used yet. 

I am yet to decide what to do about a border, but I have a little time to work that out yet!  So far, I am really pleased with how it is turning out.  Previous attempts at crocheting large items have been disastrous as I tended to increase/decrease at the ends without knowing where I was going wrong!  I hope to be posting photos of the finished item very soon!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

All sewn up ... just a very long border to go!

Following on from this post I have now sewn together all the knitted squares and am amazed at the difference this has made - this is by far the most enormous thing I have ever knitted and I'm pleased with the visual impact - so far!  As the days are getting cooler and the evenings are drawing in, it feels like the right time to be completing this (many years long) project, so I have started on the border (again - first time in the cream colour, then changed my mind so re-started in blue!).  This is the first time I have ever knitted a border - it always seemed a bit frivolous when I was a slow knitter, but now I have picked up a bit of speed and the pattern is quite easy to memorise (and quite easy to make mistakes in too!) I feel it is justified.  At some point I am going to have to block this border while it's still on the needle so I can work out how much I need to knit - not entirely sure how successful that will be, but I'll give it a try!

God willing, I'll be linking this into Ginny's Yarn Along ...!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Late Night Tablecloth

Last year ... or was it the year before ... we were blessed with being at the receiving end of a very long garden table  through freecycle.  We initially took one of the sections out as it really was too long for our patio, but after some building work this summer the table now fits on comfortably in its entirety :-)  However, the nice new patio made the table look a bit dull so I decided to make it a tablecloth.  This was fairly straightforward as I'd need the whole width of the fabric (so no need to hem the 3.55m length of it!) and just needed to hem the much shorter ends :-)  Of course, outdoor tablecloths tend to flap around in the wind, so using some leftover lining material I made 10 pockets in which we will place some weighty things - penny coins, rocks, nuts and bolts have been suggested so far!  I finished at gone midnight - not surprising really when I started at gone 9pm!  It was very satisfying to buy fabric at about 3.30pm and have the finished article less than 9 hours later :-)

Starting off with 4metres of fabric proved a bit of a handful!

Hems pressed (unusual for me!) and pinned ...

... in the right direction for once!

A quick template for the pockets.

Pocket ready to be sewn.

Front and ...

... back!

One of the 10 pockets pinned into place.

Now sewn into place.

I almost lost the machine amongst all the fabric a couple of times!

Naked table!
Beautifully dressed table, complete with child :-)

Two of the finished ...

... pockets :-)

Monday, 18 August 2014

Hama Beads and a Felt Bird

Pinky wanted to make a gift for a friend's birthday so after pursuing a variety of ideas in just as wide a variety of materials we settled for an old favourite which always comes up trumps: Hama beads :-)

We got the pattern free from here and adapted it slightly so that she could thread a ribbon through it.  I also noticed that she changed the mouth to red - can't think who she takes after, wanting to put her own stamp on things ;-)

Last year Pinky made the same child this lovely felt bird:

And if you're wondering if there's a reason she has made her friend things to hang up both last year and this, the answer is yes!  Pinky's friend shares her bedroom with a toddler so she has tried to make things which can be hung up out of the toddler's reach so the toddler doesn't break them, or more importantly swallow a part of them and choke!

1 T-Shirt = 1 Bag + 4 Rags

Some time ago I turned hoodies into bags and little bags so I figured it wasn't such a great leap to turn a t-shirt into a bag as well!  Perky had outgrown a t-shirt which I had decorated for her; I didn't think it would sell in a charity shop as it is too personalised (a bit like the hoodies!) so decided to have a go at making it into a bag for her.  This really was a quick job with very little thought and virtually no planning - yikes!

The t-shirt before I began!

I turned it inside out ...

... and cut off...

... the sleeves.

Not looking brilliant at this stage!

What was left of the t-shirt plus 2 new rags :-)

I used a ruler to help me find how low I wanted the bag handles to go and marked it with a pencil dot.

Then I used a pencil to mark where I would cut to make the handles.

This part was a bit scary as I was either going to get it right or completely ruin it!

Now I had 4 new rags :-) ... 

... and something which still looked more like a vest than a bag!

I pinned the bottom together.

As usual, I put the pins in the wrong way, making it awkward to remove them as I sewed!

Almost at the end ... t-shirt material is a bit tricky to work with and keeps bubbling up as you can see.

I decided to do a second line of stitching to give it a bit of strength.

Then I needed to do something about the raw edges around the handles ... I was going to overlock (zigzag) them but at the last moment found another option in my sewing machine instruction manual but can't remember what it was called now.  Anyway, it involved no tricky folding of curved edges and it will be sufficient for the purposes of this bag :-)

And here is the bag - already carrying its new cargo - Hama beads :-)