I would describe myself as an intermediate knitter, I have tackled cable knitting, intarsia, most stitches, 3D structures, socks, animals, teddy bears, blankets and teeny tiny decorations. What I have failed at however has always been knitted garments, but I stumbled across some yarn that I had bought right at the beginning of my pregnancy, which was a gorgeous, Sirdar Snuggly Crofter in shade 145 Hattie. I absolutely love Sirdar’s snuggly baby yarns, they have a gorgeous amount of shades as well as the lovely Crofter yarn series which create a Fair Isle effect. I have previously made a knitted dog for my friend’s baby in the shade number 157 Dougal and it knits up so well and has a really soft but colourful effect. So when I rediscovered the yarn that i had purchased I decided to order a further 50g and just go for a cardigan. There is only so many booties and hats you can knit before boredom sets in. I chose a pattern for a pretty simple Sirdar cardigan from Hobbycraft. The pattern has two types of cardigan in it a Moss stitch and a Garter Stitch decorative cardigan. I went for the garter stitch type as Moss stitch, although lovely when completed, is a bit too tricky for my baby brain to remember right now. The pattern is knitted in sections of 8 rows with the first three rows being knit only to create a garter stitch stripe which runs through the cardigan and the rib edging is a 1×1 rib. The pattern itself was relatively simple the tricky bits came in when dividing the stitches into the back and the two sides, and then reconnecting these above the arm holes. Then the border itself posed a problem for me as you pick up stitches along the edge and then rib these as well to make the edge. I had just enough yarn to finish the cardigan and had the yellow buttons in my crafting supplies. I’m really happy with the final cardigan, I love the colours and the effect of the fair isle pattern alongside the garter edging. The cardigan is knitted in size 3 to 6 months and is not perfect and could be a bit boxy but it is my first ever cardigan for my first ever child so it is a small achievement. Even if it just gets covered in sick I will feel a touch of pride when I dress him in it in a few months time.
I have been knitting for my little boy over the last few weeks and I have become slightly obsessed with knitting booties and hats.
I found a pattern I liked in John Lewis and I picked up one of their books it has simple to make hats and booties as well as some clothese. I wanted to make a few sets for him in newborn size as he is a winter baby and I would like him to be snug as a bug when he is born. I also love the look of handknitted hats and booties on newborn babies. My favourite yarn to use for this is Sirdar Snuggly. It so soft and gentle and I think it is lovely to work with so I have bought a few different skeins of this.
So far I have knitted a blue set with a pom-pom hat and most confusingly a cream set with a plain hat which I think will be perfect for him to come home from the hospital in. I say confusingly as I was having a baby brain melt down that day and started knitting with what I thought was white and was actually cream. Hey ho waste not want not and fortunately I had just enough to finish the matching booties.
I really like this pattern for the boots they are knitted mainly in rib with a stocking stitch panel on the front of the boot which is cosy for the little tiny foot. The hat has a rib bottom and is knitted in stocking and they look lovely together. To be honest I wish they did scratch mits in the same design but I suppose these could be quite hot for little baby hands.
I am planning a white set as well for baby’s Christening and possibly some in a Sirdar Crofter self striping yarn but for now booties to one side whilst I finish some other projects. I’m looking forward to Maternity Leave as I just plan to surround myself with yarn. But these are so simple I am hoping I can carry on making these even when he is born as I can knit whilst he is asleep…or I may be kidding myself there!
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:
You can also find my knitting with wire teacher on Twitter @artyarn