I have been knitting this blanket it feels like for for 100 years. Ever since we started trying for a baby I knew that when we were pregnant I wanted to make an heirloom item in the form of a blanket for the baby. Something personal that I can bring the baby home in from the hospital and the baby can keep. So when we discovered this baby was going to stay I hunted down a pattern.
I saw this on Love Knitting and it was perfect for this project. I wanted to do something with rabbits as my husbands family are slightly obsessed with rabbits due to their Grandfather, who is a big influence on my husband, being a very successful rabbit farmer. The family collect rabbit items like ornaments and things and I’ve started doing it too. Its like our spirit animal so I wanted to link that in.
The pattern was designed by Suzanne Strachan and is called The Four Bunnies. It is a blanket knitted in knit and purl with embossed rabbits in 4 different positions. For the pattern she used Rowan Baby Merino Silk in a grey. I chose a beautiful pale green colour callef ‘Little Duck Egg’ by Sublime in Baby Cashmere Merino Silk DK. I know it’s different to the pattern but I found this in my local shop and I just loved it. According to the Sublime website the yarns in this type are designed for babies as they are ‘reassuringly delicate, soft and smooth yarn’ in the ‘gentlest natural blend next to baby’s skin’. I loved the gorgeous green colour and the feel of the yarn.
The pattern itself is pretty simple it is a garter stitch edge with the embossed rabbits made by purling on the knit side following a guide. The instructions however were not clear to me. I couldn’t figure out how to emboss the bunnies at first and it took my knitting extraordinaire Mother-in-law to take a look at the pattern and discover the key on the very last page. It just shows you what an extra pair of eyes can do to help a project. She also gave me some 4mm circle kneedles on a loop which made it a lot easier as it is a lot of stitches! It can be a difficult pattern if you are not concentrating as you must follow the guide at all times to get the bunny shape but once I was in a rhythm it became a lot easier. I have been knitting this bunny Blanket all over the place taking it with me. To my Mums house, out to the garden and in the car on longer journeys I’ve been trying to squeeze rows in here and there. I finally finished the main blanket whilst we were on our Babymoon in Wales.
This is the final finished main blanket. You can see the four bunnies; successfully embossed and I’m really happy with it. It’s just what I wanted.
To finish the blanket the pattern has images on how to overstitch the bunny tails to make them stand out so I tried this and failed at it. I can’t follow diagrams I need written instructions or to be actually shown. So I watched some YouTube on Duplicate stitch and did this over the tails instead. As it’s a different stitch it made them stand out more so I am happy with it. My final touch was to use duplicate stitch further in the corner of one of the bunnies and put in our baby’s initials. We have already chosen his name and had it ready for so long before he was even conceived. This really made the blanket special for me. I’m 24 and a half weeks when writing this and I’m really pleased I could knit something like this for him to keep we will use this blanket to bring him home from the hospital and its just really special.
Whilst we have been out of our house I haven’t been able to knit very much and I’ve also been so tired recently I’ve found it hard to get the energy and inspiration to knit. Excuses I know but over the last 3 months I have finally knitted a decent pair of socks! (Well 3 as one was frogged and restarted!)
Over Christmas I bought some gorgeous sock yarn, Debbie Bliss Rialto Luxury Sock yarn to be exact. Some for me in shade 13 Montreux and I bought shade 14 Glastonbury to make some for my husband. My Mother-in-law however fell in love with the yarn as well so I let her have the other skein. I bought a pattern and some 3mm double points needles from a gorgeous knitting shop in Much Wenlock called Ippikin. (Worth a visit!) And I cast on the pattern on the fiddly little needles.
My Mother-in-law knitted her socks up very quickly and very well. It has took me a lot longer the first one I had to rip it back down as it was awful which is the beauty of knitting. But practice makes perfect and I am very proud of the socks. It was very relaxing in the end as the pattern was very simple, once I got the hang of it. The yarns are so lovely to knit with and the colours are so beautiful if you do need a sock yarn I would recommend this collection.
I have bought another skein for my husband in blues called Fuji so more practise is ahead!
One thing I love at this time of year is hats. bobble hats in particular. I feel like every year I am on the hunt for the perfect bobble hat knitting pattern. As a knitted I am loathed to spend any money on pre made hats and scarfs as I can make similar versions to the ones in the shops.
Using a new book in my collection ‘Big Needle Knits’ by Melanie Porter I mastered a linen stitch hat. Linen stitch is when you weave two colours together by knitting alternate stitches over the rows. it’s very hypnotic as the colours weave together and with it being a big needle knit (I knitted it on 10mm) it knitted up in no time. I used a wintery wine colour and a grey marl to mix the colours but you could use anything.
My husband was very jealous so I knitted him one as well in blue and grey so we are now one of those couples with matching hats. I wish I’d done a few more rounds on his hat as although the pattern says one size for all….it’s not. With linen stitch because it’s two yarns weaved together it makes a really warm weave which is a perfect bobble hat.
I loved the wine red colour so much I also made a hugh chunky rib scarf as well to match so we look pretty swish at the moment.
I haven’t been knitting a lot recently. Well I have but I haven’t picked up one big project and knitted a one big thing just for the hell of it and now that it’s autumn I felt I needed something warm but something a bit special to brighten my boring and cold commute to work. I also wanted to try a bit of lace work….because I am clumsy Knitter and a heavy handed one-sided delicate knitted lace is my ideal obviously.
I firstly came across some yarn in Sheepish a little shop in Bishops Castle that I always try to go to when we are there. I saw this yarn and I couldn’t leave without it. It’s by Sirdar and is from their Divine range. It’s a Colour change yarn which I love as it adds so much interest to a repetitive patten it’s description reads ‘tempting glistening textures’ and the colours are so beautiful. It was mine. So I got 100g of this and then raided my knitting ‘area’ and found a pattern for fan lace by Charmaine Fletcher in Simply Knitting which I have kept from a magazine. The patten was for a summer mohair scarf but in this slightly thicker wool it makes a lovely winter scarf.
The pattern is very simple the border if 4 rows of knit stitch. The lace pattern is then:
- Row 1: knit
- Row 2: K3, purl to last 3, K3
- Row 3: K3 *K1, (k2tog) x3, (yfwd, K1) x5, yfwd, (k2tog) x3* repeat till last 4 K4
I repeated this pattern till all the lovely rainbow yarn was gone.
The clever thing with this pattern is that it creates a scalloped edge and a wave effect throughout. The pattern says that you can add a knitted 3d fan to add to the scarf and Wear it as a shawl but I thought this would be too much for the yarn I’ve used.
For my first lace pattern I really loved it and I’ve now got a cosy lovely bright scarf for the dark chilly mornings ahead. Wave after Wave of them.
March was a month of courses and learning new skills. I really enjoy learning new crafts and in Manchester one of the best places to go for new lessons is The Ministry of Craft. I get emails from them with new classes and one caught my eye. Knitting with Wire.
I have seen this class advertised before and it is something I have been dying to do so i signed up and went along o e afternoon to the Fred Aldous centre which is an Aladdin’s cave of wonders with every craft ever catered for as well as classrooms for sewing, Knitting and crochet and everything else. This class is taught by the lovely Rachel of Art Yarn and I met some lovely crafty women and had a blissful afternoon making wire and beaded bracelets.
The material’s used for this class are copper wire 0.3mm, seed beads in every colour of the rainbow, jump rings, lobster clasps, wire cutters and wire plyer ‘thingy’ that helps pry apart the jump rings to hook onto the wire for the clasp. To start you hook all the beads you need for the bracelet onto the wire on the spool. And then cast on 7 stitches as it is a simple garter stitch with the beads threaded onto the stitch at intervals. Once knitted into a flat piece it is folded and rolled into a sausage shape. The fiddly bit is feeding the clasp and jump rings onto it to make the bracelet closure using the pliers and cutters.
What I love about this craft is the ease and simplicity of it. After practise I can now make the bracelet in an hour and I’ve been back to Fred Aldous a couple of times to buy beads, tools and wire to make more I love it that much. I’ve made a few for myself and for presents for people and I’m going to look into some more items I can make using wire and beads. I’m sure I’ll be decked out in handmade jewellery for a long time to come.
I really recommend The Ministry of Craft to learn new skills if you are in Manchester it’s worth checking out. It’s exhilarating to learn new skills and add it to your repertoire.
Here are some links:
The Ministry of Craft
You can also find my knitting with wire teacher on Twitter @artyarn
White and gold
When I first started knitting I was 21. And I learnt at a local museum and on my last lesson I was given a load of patterns on print outs to try at home. The one pattern that I loved and have come back to again and again is for a Tam o Shanter hat.
The first time made the hat was for my honeymoon and I recently bought some beautiful turquoise Tweed wool from Abakhans in manchester that I thought would make a perfect hat. So I dug out the old pattern and knitted it up. It took me less than a week in the evenings to do and I love it! It’s so cosy and slouchy and I finished it with a pom pom.
What’s interesting is that now 4 years later from when I first made the hat for my honeymoon is that the pattern wasn’t as hard as I thought and my finished hat has a lot more details of ridges and design then the first one. It does you good to look over past projects and see how far you have come. I love this pattern and I will keep it for the future but it has become known as my honeymoon hat pattern which is very special.
Me in my honeymoon hat
To quote an amazing television programme ‘Winter is coming’ and it’s my favourite time of year! It’s getting colder and crisper the leaves are changing colour and knitting patterns are getting cosy so obviously what you need are some kitten mittens!
I’ve been practising intarsia recently and set myself a challenge of learning to complete an intarsia pattern with more than 2 colours. In one of my favourite books ‘Woodland Knits’ by Tiny Owl Knits is a pattern called Meow Mittens. They are fingerless gloves with a vintage cat in a bow design. I couldn’t resist them as they are so cute!!!
Finished kitten mittens
I sat down and gathered some ends of yarns to make the tabby cat pattern and the bow and for the main colour I used a turquoise DK. So it was a really good pattern for using up ends on yarns. It did get tangled a few times and you really have to focus to make sure the different yarns are entwined around correctly at the back so there are no holes on the front. But once I got into it I loved it and I got a really nice intarsia kitten mitten.
To finish you need to embroider the eyes and mouth onto them. They aren’t perfect and left and right kittem is slightly different but I quite like that. The only changes I made to the pattern was to increase the rib on the cuff so it was more secure on my wrist.
I really like my cute kitten mittens and they are perfect for Autumn!