Tag Archives: knitting

My Favourite Things about Autumn and Winter

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I love this time of year, it is definitely my favourite. I love it when the weather starts to get cooler and you can wrap up in coats and boots. I love the colours of the trees and hills as they start to change and I also love the food and making myself all cosy. So I thought I would write a quick homage if you will to my favourite season and talk about what it is that I do just love about this time of this year!

  1. Hot Drinks

Yes hot drinks as basic as that sounds. I get so excited when I see the Christmas cups come out at Costa and Starbucks and the Christmas flavours of drinks. I had a delightful Salted Caramel Cappucino yesterday and it made me feel all warm inside. Hot Chocolate as well makes a big come back this time of year for me. I love indulging in them in cafes and having wipped cream and marshmallows and one of my favourite things to do is to get a winter inspired hot drink from a little cafe or coffee shop and take it on a walk round some crunchy leaf strewn park or Craft Market. I love them so much that this year I am making my own at home and I even bought mini marshmallows. It is just the epitome of Autumn/Winter for me.

2. Walks

Speaking of walks I absolutely love being out in the fresh cool air at this time of year, not particularly when it is raining but when it is one of those days that is crisp and fresh and sunny it just makes me feel relaxed and happy. I love to go for long walks with my husband admiring the scenery, talking through our plans and putting things right, it really does blow the cobwebs away.

3. Christmas Planning

Is there anything better at this time of year than the run up to Christmas? I enjoy making my Christmas List and planning the presents I will buy my family and purchasing the odd thing stockpiled for Christmas treats like for example Swedish Ginger Biscuits (My husband’s favourite!) or Snowman Handwash (yes it’s a thing in Dunelm Mill). I like to wander around Christmas displays in Manchester and in the big department stores or in local garden centres seeing all the twinkly lights and decorations. Looking at Christmas cards and wrapping paper. I really enjoy getting the house ready for Christmas and putting up the fairy lights and decorations but it is still a little too early to get too excited over this. (But I will point out that I am super organised this year and I have completed all of my Christmas shopping already!)

4) Cosy Candles and Oil Burners

Candles. I am a candle person and if it smells slightly vanillary, cinnamony or biscuity I will buy it and I will light them all. My living room is full of candles and I love to light them, turn out the bigger harsher lights and enjoy the cosy atmosphere they make. I also have a Yankee Candle oil burner which just fills your room with scent and a glowy light. I love nights in with my husband or even by myself curled up watching a movie or reading a book and just taking some time to relax and candles are a big part of that.

5) Knitting

I am a knitter so you must have known that knit wear or the act of knitting would creep into this post. I find knitting the most rewarding and relaxing thing you can do and at this time of year when the nights draw in I find myself knitting more and more often. I make things for Christmas and with the baby on his way I have been knitting up a storm for him. If I can knit something rather than buy it I will so I usually make all my own cosy hats and scarves and even slipper socks. Because the fashion in winter for jumpers and scarves is just right up my street and always has been.

So there is my homage to this time of year, what are your favourite things about Autumn and Winter?

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My First Ever Cardigan for My First Ever Child

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My First Ever Cardigan for My First Ever Child

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.

Baby’s Bunny Blanket

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Baby’s Bunny Blanket

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.

Knitted Toys: Dougal the Dog

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Knitted Toys: Dougal the Dog

So one of my friends is having a baby in August. So I could not resist knitting a present for her and her baby boy to give to her at her Baby Shower. I love knitting toys, it is my all time favourite knit. They are just so fun to knit the little pieces and then build them together to make a 3D cuddly thing. So for my friend I used a Sirdar pattern from Hobbycraft. This was great as I could download the pattern then and there for £3.00 and print it out. The pattern is called ‘Dog’ (original I know) and is knitted in Sirdar Snuggly DK and Sirdar Crofter DK.

I love Sirdar Snuggly for babies it is so soft and the colour range is amazing it’s perfect for toys and for little hats and boots. The Crofter range is very clever it’s Baby Fair Isle design builds colour in stripes and patterns. I chose the colour way ‘Dougal’ which is blues oranges browns and whites for my dog. (Thus the name Dougal the Dog.) You need 100g of Crofter and 50g of Snuggly to make the perfect the dog and it is knitted on 3.25mm needles.

I really like the pattern it was pretty simple to follow and I loved seeing the colours come out in the yarn. I knitted it up in about 2 weeks in the evenings after work.

Flat dog

The build was ok, I had to reattach the legs twice as I couldn’t get them to line up with the seams but I got there in the end. I used chocolate brown acrylic for the eyes, nose and mouth. Faces are usually the worst part of knitting toys for me but this came together nicely and he has a good character face.

I love the crazy patterns and change in colours from the Crofter yarn. I think it’s a great toy for babies as it is so soft, so colourful and just so damned cute. It’s also a great size for cuddles but it is very light so is portable. I finished Dougal the Dog off with a yellow ribbon and gave it to my friend at her Baby Shower. I hope her new baby will like his doggy friend Dougal.

Knitted Toys: Big ‘Barry’ Bear

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Knitted Toys: Big ‘Barry’ Bear

There are two things I love in this life. One is babies and the other is knitting toys for presents for babies. (Well all people really)

For this particular baby I wanted to make something quite big and just for him. So I thought what is the one thing that every child needs? The answer is a teddy of course. So I searched the Internet for a pattern as I have made all the other bear patterns I own and I do get bored. I came across the Big Berry Bear Teddy pattern by Lorraine Leathem on Ravelry. It’s such a cute and proper bear. With a big fat tummy and head.

Just the head and body

The pattern uses a self striping wool but I went for a classic beige and I got stuck in. It’s such a lovely pattern, it’s very clear and lovely to just follow along in the evenings. I changed the face a bit as I believe every toy has its own face that comes through as you start to embroider it on. And I used some orange glass beads for eyes that I found at the bottom of my knitting bag. For its ears and paws I needle felted some brown felt into the yarn for furriness and it worked really well.

Finished but naked Big Barry

When the bear was finished it looked a bit naked so I knitted a scarf in the colours of the baby’s Daddy’s rugby club that he plays for. Bright blue and canary yellow. It really finished the bear and he was renamed Big Barry. I hope he will be a good companion for Baby Callum as he grows. I was even more thrilled as I was asked to be Baby’s Godmother! Must have been because of Big Barry!

With his rugby colours

Close up

With his new owner

3 Months 1 Pair of Socks

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3 Months 1 Pair of Socks

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!

His and Her Hats 

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His and Her Hats 

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.