Crochet, tatting, knitting, patchwork, secrets and lies

Little man

You know some weeks, nothing seems to work? I got so frustrated finishing this chap on Friday that I threw him in the bin. My boyfriend spotted him in there yesterday and took him out – then gave me a telling off for being mean.

He’s supposed to be a little mismatched, his ears and eyes are different, but really, his jumper was actually supposed to fit. I had to unpick half of the jumper when I realised I’d mis-counted due to a phone call. Then I realised that even after re-making, the dimensions were never going to work. The nice cuffs were going to be hidden as the sleeves need rolling up, and don’t even talk about the neck… (I’m so pleased I guessed it all correctly for the giraffe – looking back it’s a miracle!)

lil_chap2

In the end I stitched him into the jumper at the back, so it kind of fits, but it’s not ideal. I also made him some trousers – it’s not that easy making trousers, is it?! I just guessed the shape; imagine two pieces of fabric shaped a bit like an upside-down ‘V’. I ended up cutting them in half and re-sewing down the centre to get the right shape – but I think I might understand a little more about trouser construction than I did before!

lil_chap3

Actually after all that I really like him. In real life he looks like quite a gentle, bookish soul. It’s really the jumper that does it. Now I can actually knit I think every crocheted toy needs a jumper. Due to the slightly delicate clothing construction he’s definitely not for playing with, so I think he’ll live with me. I have a feeling he’ll be happy on a bookshelf though – I just need to be nice and apologise for throwing him away. (!)

Patchwork

Before I started fixing him yesterday, I got the sewing machine out and had a bit of a play. I’d already decided what I wanted to make, but I fancied playing with a few scraps first. These were all small pieces from my scrap bag, but I think they go nicely together. Not sure what I’ll do with it yet.

needlecase

This is not the most inspiring photo, but I decided to make a needlecase, loosely based on this tutorial. The tatting has been knocking around for ages… Eeek, since 2013 in fact! I thought it might be nice making something a bit less girly for a change.

inside

This is what it’s like inside – a little pocket front and back, perfect for the essentials (like a rabbit). Don’t look too closely at the binding. Ahem.

inside2

Just like the previous one, this is all made of scraps – which includes the dreadful, cheap, synthetic felt. So just like the previous one I stitched around the edge of the pages, but this time with darker thread on one side. (Yes, that rabbit is hiding a mismatched corner… thanks for asking).

prev

I love how different the new case feels when compared to the old one. And talking of the old one… I use it all the time.

You know what I’ve noticed? Everyone who makes a needle case and then photographs it does what I did up there ^. They show a perfect selection of pins or needles, perfectly aligned. Who keeps a needle case like that?! No one, surely? Certainly no one that ever uses their needles.

reality

 

This is what the old needlecase looks like now. Its all bent out of shape and a mess.

But I love it.

 

Knitting and crochet, the best of friends

Knitting and crochet

This wee fellow is off to a new home tomorrow. He’s going to live with a little three year old girl, called Scarlett. I would be more concerned, but she’s taken excellent care of the monkey I made her in 2013, so fingers crossed! I hope she likes him and plays with him as much, and as carefully (!) as she does with the monkey.

A naked giraffe

Here he is, as naked as the day he was born, in all his crocheted glory. And looking rather embarrassed about it too. It’s a lovely pattern – although as ever, crocheting arms and legs drives me  bit nuts. I always end up missing a stitch somewhere along the way and having to add one or two back in later. If you are in any way giraffe inclined though, I would recommend the pattern and you can find it here. I chose green for mine, because I think it’s nice for little girls to know that colours other than pink are available!

Giraffe scarf

True to form, I made a giraffe scarf. It actually matches the one I made for the monkey, but I think that’s purely because I used the same logic by accident – “I should probably add something scarlet”. I’m nothing if not original…

But then I thought he looked a bit naked. And maybe a little cold. But what to make to warm up a giraffe, other than a scarlet scarf?

Jumper

A wooly jumper of course!

I was in a bit of a rush, as I desperately wanted to finish this in time for Scarlett’s birthday, so I chose a basic, one-coloured pattern. I was also worried I wouldn’t know how to make it, so I thought the simpler the better. In the end I went for another pattern from Little Cotton Rabbits and it’s great! It’s knitted flat, and you start with individual pieces, which come together at the chest. You have to stitch it together of course, but its not hard and looks great.

jumper backAnd look! There’s a little button fastening at the back, which means…

Arms up!

That it’s easy to get on and off again! Quite important I think.

I adjusted the pattern a little bit – longer arms etc – and I think if I were a more skilled knitter I’d’ve taken it in at the sides to suit his body shape a bit more, but in the end, I was quite pleased with it. It looks nice and cosy. The button at the front is just for decoration, incidentally.

Suave and warm

And so there he is. All nice and warm and ready to meet his new friends.

You know what’s also a little funny about this? This is the first jumper I’ve ever knitted! And yes, I am still working on the Brooklyn Tweed Boardwalk pattern, from ages ago! Must get started on that again now.

Busy knitting

hedgie4

I didn’t mean the first post of the new year to be so late, OR to start with another hedgehog (for it is a different one). But time flies, the winter light is terrible, and before you know it, February is here and everyone thinks you’ll never return.

But lo! I have come back. Armed with nothing but an iphone for now. So apologies for the terrible photos.

This hedgehog pattern is so cute. Its quick and takes up very little wool too, hence being exactly the same yarn as the last one! I’d like to make a much bigger one now. They really do have the best little faces:

hedgie5

I’d also like to try out one of the bigger toy patterns from Little Cotton Rabbits. I’m not sure if I have the skills yet, but I am very tempted. (But which one?)

That aside, I’ve also been knitting other gifts. I made this baby hat:

hat_1

Which is also a nice (free) pattern, over on Ravelry. Try as I might, I cannot get the green sections to stand up in the same way as the main photo on Ravelry, but having looked at a lot of pictures of other people’s work I am not alone. I even tried a few of the suggested fixes, and none of those worked either. That said I was still very pleased with it. For once I think I made the stalk too long. You know when you get bored making things like that so you *force* yourself to carry on? I think after all that I could’ve let myself off.

hat_2

I was a bit worried that it was too small, but I stretched it over this bowl and it proved to be bigger than it looks! Not being around babies that often I don’t have an inbuilt baby measurement monitor. I mean, it’s a pretty small hat, but… aren’t babies small? I handed it over before the birth so the baby (a little boy, but they didn’t know pre-birth) could wear it immediately!

boot

I also made this baby boot – from this free pattern. I chose it because I could use the same yarn as the hat, but in the end, I didn’t make the other one… Although it actually looks ok here, I didn’t like it, and I thought it made the hat look bad! (You can’t tell from my awful photos but the hat was surprisingly neat.)

To be honest I think i’m just not that keen on so much garter stitch. I’m just about ok with the hedgehog, but generally it never looks as neat and even for me as stockinette.

I did a stretchy bind off for the green cuff at the top, which was a first for me. If you’re thinking of making this, I would recommend it. The boots might be a little tight otherwise.

giraffe

And I made this little chap. But more of him next time, because he has a scarf and a wooly jumper and I have yet to take photos of those!

So that’s me all caught up, I think?

Hope you all have brilliant weekends.

Catching up

sept_1

Well, time certainly flies. Or at least it moves on, whether you’re having fun or not! I haven’t meant to leave it so long between posts, but work and weekends have intermingled a bit this summer, and I haven’t had a lot of time for myself. Also, the change in my morning commute has affected my productivity much more than expected—I’ve barely had any time to tat. I did manage to make this with a few snatched minutes while waiting for a lift to the station over the last week or so though, and I’ve enjoyed working with these petite seed beads. This is size 80 thread, and so the beads are smaller than regular seed beads.

sept_2

When I have had time to make things, for some reason I’ve gone for the mainly useless! I’ve made a few more stress  bunnies to give away — often to people who are stressed themselves, and last weekend I made a little time to try out this strawberry pattern. (Yes, hers are much neater than mine!) I actually tried this some time ago, but couldn’t get the hang of it at all. This time around it went much better – they’re not perfect, but there’s something about them that I really like. Lots of people make the cord stalk really long, so the leaf pokes out of the top of a book and the strawberry the bottom, but I decided the yarn was too thick and I got a bit bored Icording – so…

sept_3

What I have instead is a cord long enough to tie a little strawberry bundle. No use to anyone, but it makes me happy.

A few months back I did manage to make something more useful. I had a weekend to myself and so made this bucket-style drawstring bag

sept_4

The striped fabric is upholstery weight, bought as a cheap remnant. Its great for this kind of bag as it stands up on its own…

sept_5

I’m using it as a knitting bag, it’s big enough to keep quite a few balls of wool, needles and a printed pattern inside. Its also the kind of bag you can leave the ball of yarn in while you knit, to stop it rolling off.

sept_6

I was really pleased with the colour of the drawstring too. I saved it from a paper carrier bag – I can’t even remember which shop it was from now, but it was the perfect match! I always save these cords, they’re great for things like this.

sept_7

And finally, this is one of my sunflowers. I’ve grown about 8 this year and I’ve really enjoyed watching them grow. As I’ve been away for work quite a lot, every time I get home I’ve rushed into the garden to see how they’re doing 🙂 I’ve also grown chillies and tomatoes, and I’ve loved that too. I don’t know why I had a few summers off the sunflowers, but must remember to grow them again next year.

Hope you’re all well out there and have had a great summer. With any luck I’ll be back again soon.

Been and gone!

bunny

I finished this little lady yesterday afternoon, and by midnight (or thereabouts) she was comfortably established in her new home. This is actually the third one I’ve made, but the first one that is fit for public viewing! They’re very fiddly to put together and I’ve never managed to get the others as neat as this, but I tried extra extra hard as she’s a mother’s day gift. I must admit, I was super happy with the way she turned out. Its the ‘Tiny Knitted Toys‘ pattern, from the brilliant Little Cotton Rabbits.

bunny_2

I know it looks a bit odd, but I do love this shot. A little work in progress…

bunny_3

The rabbit is knitted in some spare white cotton I had knocking about. I *think* it’s the cotton I had from the baby blanket all that time ago. Its actually a bit stiff, I think something more wooly could be easier to knit at that size.

bunny_5

The dress pattern is lovely. It’s actually got armholes and does up at the back with a tiny button. This was made with what I think is some red Rowan Cotton Glace. It has a tiny sheen to it – very good for small decorative things, and is a lovely deep colour.

I must admit, I think crochet is potentially neater for toys. Crochet feels made for creating three dimensional objects, and knitting seems to struggle a bit with that – but to be fair, this is a tiny toy. While I took a lot of care sewing this together, it’s never going to be as neat as a larger crochet toy, and so the dress does help with that a bit – covers up the mattress stitch at the back etc. That said, I feel like making another one. Right now.

hmm.

En garde!

Knitting with DPNs

Word is, there are actually people who *like* knitting with DPNs… that’s true, right? I didn’t make that up? All I can think is that it’s like your first taste of alcohol—you just can’t believe people get involved with this for pleasure. I am willing to believe that it could be possible, but right now it’s way more pain than pleasure. Give me the nice circular needles any day.

This is an iPhone sock, it’s me forcing myself to use DPNs but keeping it simple with a knit 2 / purl 2 rib. It’s also given me a wonderful chance to pick up dropped stitches with a crochet hook… Not exactly on purpose, but hey. Now I know it can be done. (And that knitting is just a weird collection of crocheted chains). I was going to say that if you never see this again, lets not mention it – but you know what? I should blog my terrible things too. Life isn’t perfect and it’s good to learn from your mistakes. Hopefully I’ll blog it good or bad.

crochet rose

This is a crocheted brooch I made for a friend. I like it actually. It’s a generic rose pattern, of which there are millions on the internet  – most of which are the same, but just start with a different number of chained stitches. The leaves are loosely based on those from Attic 24. I say loosely as I made this while watching The Shield (box set, we’ve just finished series 3), and I wasn’t really counting anything properly.

A while back I bought some brooch backs, but have yet to use them so this seemed like a good chance. Terrible photo and off centre stitching but…

brooch back

You can see that this is quite a nice back. It’s good and solid. It comes in two parts, one is a disc with holes in, to which you sew your fabric front and the other is what you can see here, which you attach to the first disc by folding little metal claws with pliers. I got the backs from eBay – must make more use of them.

tatting

I’ve had one long train journey this week, so I ended up making another of these—the beaded one. The other one I made just to see what it would be like with variegated thread. They are so nice to make I can’t stop. And they photograph so nicely!

tatting

Ahem. Anyway. Back to knitting and the gentle art of stabbing myself in the hand.

 

Knitting school!

knitting_1

Hello! It feels like it’s been ages since I posted here, which is not intentional. The house is still chaotic, work is nuts, everything is all over the place, but… Lets not talk about all that now! One of the great things about a crafty blog is that it’s a nice chance to get away from all that.

So.

I went to knitting school! At the end of last year I decided that it would be good to just learn the things I needed to know from a human being, instead of YouTube. I’ve taught myself a lot from YouTube (and will no doubt continue to) but I just thought, ‘go learn on some samples and THEN worry about making something. Stop not making things because they sound impossible.’ Also, hobbies are supposed to be fun, right? I thought it might be fun.

IT WAS GREAT. Three Saturdays in a row, from 10.30-4.30 with an hour for lunch. A nice small class of five people and one lovely teacher.  Claire is the editor of Inside Crochet, and she’s also written a variety of knitting and crochet books. If you’re in London and wanted to learn knitting (or crochet), I don’t think you could have a better teacher. She’s super-patient, the lessons are really well planned and I came away with a stack of reference material and a much better understanding of what I’m doing.

knitting_3

The course was for intermediate knitters. People who know how to knit and purl and are wondering what to do next. The two photos above are from the first week, where we looked at increases and decreases, and then applied that to lace. We made lots of small samples — learning by doing, which is the best way for a practical subject.

knitting_2

These are two samples from week two, where we looked at cables, and knitting in the round. I’ve been wanting to knit cables for ages. It’s nice to know they’re achievable! For knitting in the round we used circular needles and DPNs. I’ve made a baby hat, but can’t get a decent shot of it at the moment (no space in the house due to builders). I bought some Addi circular needles, and finally realised what people mean when they say how much they like a particular type of needle. These are SO nice to use it’s almost like a doing different craft. Amazing.

knitting_4

This is from yesterday when we looked at Fair Isle, Intarsia and also different cast on/off methods. There are a few more samples but I’ve tucked them away in my reference folder. So, all in all, lots of good lessons learnt! I’ve become addicted to Ravelry again, trying to decide what to make next. I cannot wait for the building work to be finished so I can actually get to my needles.

crochet

These little chaps are off to new homes soon. The poor bear has been hanging around hoping for a new family for a long time, and the mouse arrived the other week. I hate to say it, neither of them are perfect, but I have found a place that will make them welcome, I think. I spotted this appeal from the Lincolnshire Police. They’re after knitted and crochet bears (I hope they don’t mind the mouse!) to: “…console children involved in a road traffic accident until emergency services can deal with the accident situation.  They help to keep children calm in what is sometimes a frightening experience.”

What a lovely thing to do for kids in a horrible situation! So these two will be off soon. They look rather nervous, I must admit but I think this is the reason:

crochet2

The house is so upside down at the moment that some of the kitchen and all of the hall is in our bedroom. This is the only space available to take a photograph! I think they were concerned they were about to get crushed.

I hope you’re all doing ok and if you’re in the UK you’re staying safe and dry. See you soon, I hope!