Friday, 19 December 2008

Petal Dishcloth

I love this petal dishcloth made by Linh at A Girl in Georgia.

Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom is making one and has posted the pattern (which I couldn't find through the original links). I'm planning to knit a couple once I find some reasonably priced coloured cotton. Dishcloth cotton in the UK only seems to be available in white or natural.

Matching Pairs

I finished the pair of socks for myself. They are very plain - stocking stitch, using a free Regia pattern available with the yarn. I'm pleased with them and they are very cosy. The only slight downside is that I cast on a bit too tightly on the first sock, making it a little hard to pull on. Must remember to make a point of casting on more loosely next time.

I had some left over yarn, and just managed to squeeze a matching pair of socks for Little Cherub out of it. I had to scale the pattern down as the smallest size was still considerably larger than her little feet, but it came out well. I had all of about 18 inches of spare yarn when I finished!

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Toddler Socks

I have discovered I am the opposite of a fair-weather knitter - I stop knitting in the summer and start again when it turns cold and wintry. I picked up my abandoned sweater and worked a few rows, and then had an urge to knit socks. I started with these mini basketweave toddler socks for Little Cherub:

Blue was her choice of colour. They are knitted in DK (worsted) yarn - I used some cheap acrylic yarn I had lying around, which will bobble a bit but is still nice and warm for her little toes. Here is a close up of the foot, though whether the photo is good enough to show the basketweave pattern I'm not sure. They were not difficult to knit, though the dp needles I used were really too long for such tiny socks which made them more fiddly than they needed to be.

They fit her little UK size 5 (US size 6?) feet perfectly. They would be fine for a slightly smaller foot, but a larger size would need a bit of extra length in the foot. A chubbier leg would need a looser cast on than I used. She is very pleased with them and says she wants a pink pair next.

I am now working on a pair for myself, using this self-patterning 75% wool Regia sock yarn.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Mary for May

I have been quiet not because I am not knitting, but because I am knitting three large projects simultaneously and haven't finished anything for a while. As well as the sweater and puppet theatre in my sidebar, I was distracted by a cable stitch sampler disguised as a blanket. You knit strips with a different cable pattern in the centre of each, using Aran wool and large needles, and then sew the strips together to make the blanket.

This week I took a quick detour from the large projects to make this little Mary figure. As Catholics we celebrate May as a month dedicated to Our Lady, and I wanted something to put into a May Basket for Little Cherub. I found a free nativity scene pattern online at Australian Women's Weekly (it can be downloaded as a PDF file here).

I may add the baby Jesus figure for Christmas and probably also Joseph, though I don't see myself knitting the whole scene. The light blue yarn was a bit paler than I wanted, but it was a case of using what I had to hand.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Learning to Crochet

I was helping my mother to clear out old photos, and found this picture of a very young Bookworm just mastering crochet ...

I wasn't normally this solemn as a child ... I think I was just concentrating very hard!

Wednesday, 19 March 2008


I got distracted by a couple of smaller projects.

Project Number 1 ... an Easter gift for Little Cherub

Project Number 2 ... a scarf for myself, from a pattern in The Encyclopedia of Crochet Techniques. I have never done anything more than basic crochet before and was inspired by the book (a library find) to try out this fan pattern, using a very old ball of brushed DK yarn I found at the back of a cupboard.

Monday, 10 March 2008

I Quit!

I started this sweater ...

... and I quit! After two inches of the back. It was stocking stitch in 4 ply yarn, and was going to take. For. Ever. And it was very, very boring to knit. I just don't like the sweater enough to have any hope of finishing it.

So what to do instead? I think probably either this cardigan (I doubt I have enough yarn to do the top as well) ...
... or one of these sweaters.

I'm leaning towards a short sleeved sweater as being less of a marathon with the fine yarn.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Another Finished Project

I am so pleased with the way this cotton sweater for Little Cherub came out. It is made in Rowan Handknit DK Cotton, which is lovely to knit with. The pattern is from The Big Book of Kids' Knits by Zoe Mellor.

Here is Little Cherub modelling, complete with cheesy grin for the camera ...

This is the flower motif on the front ...

And the lacy, scalloped edging ...

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Easter Eggs

How cute are these knitted easter egg decorations ...

Thanks to the friend who pointed me in the direction of the free pattern. Now I just need some scraps of 4 ply to knit them with!

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Two More Projects

Little Cherub's sweater is nearly finished. My next projects are two cotton sweaters for myself, knitted with cheap wool I just ordered on ebay. The top one is going to be in stone (a little lighter than the colour in the pattern, I think) with 3/4 length sleeves, using 4 ply to keep it light. The bottom one will be the short sleeve version in navy. I'll start on these alongside the puppet theatre, which is still a work in progress. I also have a hankering to try knitting socks with the pretty multicoloured sock yarn I saw in our local wool shop.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Little Blue Bolero

This was very quick to knit, though the Sirdar Snuggly Bubbly was a bit ... well ... bubbly! The lumpy-bumpy texture made it a little fiddly. The end result was good, though. A little large still for my Little Cherub, so it should last her a while.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Book Review: Simple Knits for Little Cherubs

With a Little Cherub of my own to knit for, how could I resist Simple Knits for Little Cherubs by Erika Knight. This is a follow-up to Simple Knits for Cherished Babies, with patterns for little ones aged two to five. The book is divided into three sections: plain classics, patterned classics, and classic accessories. That gives you a good idea of the style of the knitting projects - classic and traditional. They are intended to be easy to knit, using stocking and garter stitches.

The two projects I have picked out to knit are this loose fitting sports-style sweater - nice to put over jeans or a cotton dress for playing outside on cooler summer days. It has three-quarter length sleeves, two patch pockets on the front, and a polo-shirt style collar.

... and this little denim pinafore dress. It uses Rowan denim yarn which is supposed to perform like the real thing, including fading and shrinking (the pattern allows for shrinkage). I love it with the stripey top in the photo.

There are plenty of other patterns I would happily knit - a little fluffy bolero, a patchwork style blanket, a rather endearing cuddly fox terrier with felt nose and eyes would be high up my list. On the whole I preferred the plain knits to the patterned ones.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Endless Possibilities

Since my new year's resolution to take up knitting again sparked my interest I have started noticing some of the more bizarre knitting and crochet possibilities out there. Here are two:

(1) The recycled carrier bag bag. You can use all those eco-unfriendly carrier bags from the supermarket to crochet your own bag. I also saw a pattern for knitting one, but it looked harder and the end product less effective. A lady at my mother's church crochets these and sells them to raise money for charity. Mum bought one and if you look carefully you can just see that it is made from carrier bags - Waitrose, we think. I'm not going to try this one, though. Preparing all those bags into "yarn" looks too tedious.

(2) The crocheted Swiffer cover. I use a Swiffer to clean my bathroom and kitchen floors, and the cost of the floor wipes I use with it bugs me as an unnecessary expense. I decided to economise by buying an old fashioned floor mop, but it leaves the floor too wet. Then ... duh! Lightbulb moment! In a thread at the 4 Real Learning boards someone pointed out that you could use any cloths on a Swiffer. And someone else linked to this pattern for a crocheted Swiffer cover. Who knew? A couple of these and I'd never need to buy floor wipes again.

Monday, 4 February 2008

Just Finished

This "little" cardigan for Little Cherub turned out to be not quite so little. The pattern makes it look shorter than it really is - I was thinking it was more bolero style - and Cherub's miniature build means the age 1-2 size is still a bit large. I draw the line at knitting the 6-12 month size for a 20 month old toddler! At least it will still fit easily next winter.

The Snowflake yarn is lovely and soft, and the cardigan warm and cuddly. The only downside to knitting is that the texture of the yarn makes it hard to count rows. The pattern uses Sirdar Snuggly yarn for the bobbly border, but I tested out both some spare Snuggly I had and the Snowflake on the sleeve and preferred the Snowflake. The effect was chunkier, but it felt softer (and saved me having to buy more Snuggly wool in the right colour!)

As modelled by Little Cherub, slightly dishevelled ...

Monday, 21 January 2008

Versatile and Plasticky

That's me! I thought about redoing the quiz, but decided that in the interests of honesty I wouldn't.

What kind of yarn are you?

You are Acrylic.While you are very versatile, your plasticky countenance can be offputting. You are very good with children but can become a pill if left alone with them too long. You are very flexible but don't give in to manipulation.
Take this quiz!

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Casting On - Thumb Method

I've always cast on stitches using two needles, the way I was taught as a child, but the pattern I am knitting specified the thumb method. I decided to be obedient to the pattern and learn a new trick. It worked ... thanks to the instructions I found here.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

A Woodland Pixie

I love this pixie-hooded cardigan - complete with bell on the hood - that Mrs. Pea knitted for her little boy.

Lucinda Guy

These pattern books by Lucinda Guy come highly recommended by Mary of By Hand, With Heart.

There are copies of both in our library system, so I need to decide ... do I order them now, or do I wait until I have finished some of the projects I already have planned?

Monday, 14 January 2008

Book Review: Cornish Guernseys and Knit-Frocks

Title: Cornish Guernseys and Knit-Frocks
Author: Mary Wright

I found this book Googling for guernsey patterns, and was intrigued by the title - I know Cornwall well as I had relatives there during my childhood, and would love to live there one day. Until finding this book I had no idea that there was a tradition of knitting in Cornwall, though given the importance of fishing and the sea it is no surprise that these hard wearing, weather-resistant garments were so popular. I was in luck, as our library system had a copy in their Reserve Stock, where it had sat neglected since 2000.

The book is partly a history of Cornish knitting, and partly a pattern book. It includes a basic pattern for a Cornish guernsey (known locally as a "gansey" or knit-frock), which can be adapted to use any of the twenty-one local pattern variations collected by the author, and another pattern for a Polperro Knit-Frock. It teaches the "how-to" of creating a Cornish guernsey, though only gives two sizes (smaller and larger adult). The sweaters are knitted in the round - traditionally on large stocking needles, though a circular pin would be easier for modern knitters. Unlike the traditional Guernsey, it begins with a ribbed welt rather than a garter stitch band. A sleeve gusset is knitted at the top of the round section, then the front and back are completed separately. The sleeves are knitted in the opposite direction, starting with stitches picked up from the armholes, and decreasing down to a ribbed band at the wrist. Worn cuffs and elbows could simply be unravelled and reknitted.

I would love to knit one of these, as much for the interest of following a traditional pattern as for the garment itself. Frangipani, a small business in Cornwall sells reasonably priced Yorkshire wool (£15 for a 500g cone) and a number of pattern books, including Mary Wright's.

Knitting Projects

I have a whole raft of knitting projects lined up for this year ... mainly for Little Cherub, who is at a great age to knit for. Little jumpers (sweaters) and cardigans for her don't take long to knit, and they use little enough wool that I can actually afford to knit using the yarn recommended by the pattern rather than a budget version.

I am already half way through knitting this little fur-trimmed jumper using Sirdar Snuggly and Funky Fur ...

I picked up some bright pink Sirdar Snowflake yarn in a sale bin a couple of weeks ago, and after trying and failing to adapt another pattern that used yarn with a completely different tension, have now ordered this pattern to make a little cardigan, and some sky blue Snuggly Bubbly wool to knit another using the original pattern.

I found a wonderful book at the library that has many, many patterns I would like to knit: The Big Book of Kids' Knits by Zoe Mellor. I like this so much I am tempted to buy it rather than keep renewing the loan. Thanks to a Christmas gift from my mother cotton yarn to knit this little jumper for summer is on the way ...

I am determined to tackle this long term project from the same book ... a knitted puppet theatre.

A puppet theatre that can hang from a door frame and be rolled up when not in use is far more practical for our limited space than a free standing one, and this looks so bright and appealing. Sizing isn't crucial, so any budget double knitting yarn should work. Even the puppets are knitted. I'm sure Star would love using this, and Little Cherub would get years of fun from it.

Unlike scrapbooking, knitting is something I can easily pick up and put down even with a toddler around, so I'm hoping I can get all these projects made this year. Another appealing aspect of taking up knitting again is that I am a good enough knitter to be able to knit while I read, which means I can keep up with both the Formation and Fun sections of my New Year's Resolutions simultaneously.