African flowers

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My first one was made in odd acrylic and I really love these colours together!

I have been having some fun with these, once I worked out the pattern I found they were actually fairly simple to make. They hold their shape well too, they are a hexagonal granny square.

 

Then I decided to make a cotton table mat but I needed red cotton, as my dining room has a red theme to it. So I bought a ball of Wendy cotton supreme from my local store,  C & H and tried out a few with the various cotton oddments of yarn I could find. I wanted the entire mat out of cotton so it could be washed easily and would be absorbent. It would also hold it’s shape more.

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Playing around with the colour scheme!

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Here are a few that I tried, I was a bit limited by what colours of cotton I had. I did red and pink and orange and just wasn’t very keen on the outcome, then I thought I’d do a simple flower using only red and white.

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My favourite, simple and stunning.

I liked the effect, less colourful but amazing contrast so I decided to use red and white only for my mat. It was very beautiful.

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And then I made more

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and more

Three flowers made, I wanted seven. A central one, with six on the outside.

This was it once joined together, I decided it needed a little border and then it was done.

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Ta-Daaaa!

Here it is finished with a candle holder in the centre! Now I’ve got another four to make, one for the center of the table and one each for our glasses. I’m debating doing a bigger one with an extra round of stars for the plates.

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Okay, I actually changed my mind and added another border…

So this is the final finished thing, now to make a couple more. If you want to play around with these the pattern can be found here in English, Spanish and Dutch. There’s also other projects you can make with this, a hippo, a bear. The only downside is that it uses American terms, but it’s okay to translate and even has a photo tutorial.

Finished! A Pink Jumper.

Pink Feather and Fan

All hung up waiting to be worn.

I’ve been doing a lot of clearing of old things that just get put somewhere stupid.

partially a box of yarn I found upstairs, among this I found a carrier bag, one of those old 1990’s M&S bags from before my town even had a Tesco! Inside that bag were a pair of knitting needles, a sleeve, a jumper front, a jumper back and another sleeve which had only been knitted up to the rib.

There were also two and a half balls of the wool, Sirdar Silky Look.

Sadly there was no pattern. I thought I was going to have to give up, because without a pattern how could I finish the last piece?  It was one sleeve that was all, I had even done most of the rib so I had the right number of stitches.

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Old wool

I looked in my pattern books and found a “feather and fan” stitch cardigan, which was the same stitch as my jumper so surely I could work out how to finish a sleeve from this. The pattern is feather and fan   basic

Row 1 knit

Row 2 Purl

Row 3 Knit 2 together (3 times) then yarn over needle and knit 1 ( 6 times)

Row 4 knit

These 4 rows form the pattern so by counting the stitches and the patterns I was able to work it out and knit the second sleeve. The top shaping was a bit fiddley to work out but in the end I now had 4 pieces of jumper. Now all I needed to do was the neck.

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Feather and Fan stitch, simple and pretty

The front and back were on stitch holders, the old-fashioned safety-pin type, so were securely held I picked up the stitches along each said and knitted about 6 cm rib so it would fold over to form a neck . I did the back and front separately but the neck would be too tight to get over my head if I joined it all together. I needed buttons or something. Then I had another look at the shape of the sleeves. I could now join these to the front and back but the top lined up with the base of the neck.

There was an 8cm section which needed rib joined on then it could be added to the neck to give a jumper with a neck easily big enough to slip on and no buttons needed. So I attached the sleeves added the rib and finished it.  I even inserted elastic so it would fit snuggly and I can wear a necklace with it too.

It looks great, but I never seem to do action shots. Maybe soon.

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In progress, knitting up the last sleeve.

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Playing around with the neck

Purl City Yarn Haul

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My order from Purl City Yarns

I like a lot of pages on Facebook, to begin with it was something I didn’t see the point of, but now I’m starting to catch offers from it. I found a really good one from Purl City Yarns where they were giving away a free set of crochet hooks with every order over £15! I couldn’t miss that one as I’m short on the sizes before 3mm and above 5mm. Now I’m good. This offer is still running until the end of May, their shop is here if you want to order. And they have free postage for orders above £25.

At the top you can see my free 12 pack crochet hooks 2mm -8mm! They’re aluminum, but I like those.

I’m going to show you all the goodies I got!

Shawl pin

 

This is a shawl pin by Symfonie costing only £3.30. Since my daughter started wearing a shawl and saying how comfortable it was I thought I’d wear one of my mum’s old shawls. She was right, they’re great for around the house, my only complaint is that it will slip off sometimes, happily this shawl pin stops it and looks pretty!

I’ve also got a pack of candy love hearts and some wool washing liquid for free. The sweets were yummy and my son enjoyed them, but I’ve not yet used the washing liquid. I’m probably going to try it then if I like it buy one for me and one for Andi.

The washing liquid is called  Euclan, it’s a washing liquid for delicates no rinse lavender fragrance. I’ve only got a 5ml sachet, and I need to find something woolen to try it on.

Rainbow wool

 

Andi has been going through a sock phase, which is great! I’ve decided to profit from this by asking for my own pair of socks. She told me to buy her the yarn to do it, well, here’s one of the ones I chose. It’s Lang Jawroll, Magic Degrade, shade 0050 Macaw, 75% wool 25% nylon   £7.95 100g ball. 25% nylon is fairly standard for sock wool from what I can tell, as is the price of £6-10. What I liked about this one was the colours! It reminded me a lot of the Katia yarn I got a while back. I will have colourful and warm feet soon.

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The other yarn I chose was Lang Millie Colori sock and lace, in shade 90, again it’s 75% wool, 25% nylon. £9.95 for a 100g ball. Still in the standard price for sock yarn, and again the colours are amazing. The photo doesn’t do it justice, and I don’t think I’ll be able to show the full beauty until this is knitted, but it is lovely.

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Next are the stitch holders, what’s so special about these? It’s a Clover jumbo double ended stitch holder, They’re £4.20 for a pack of two which I feel is good value and about the same price as the standard safety-pin style stitch holders. I got the 7mm size, but there is a smaller one available.

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This is the photo of the double ended stitch holder with a normal safety-pin style stitch holder. It is modern, but flimsy and easily bends so the stitches can fall off. Once it came open in my knitting bag. So I went back to using an antique of my mum’s.

 

 

 

P1060056These safety-pin style stitch holders are old and I’m sure they were my mum’s. They do work but you can still only access the stitches from one end. Meaning you need to slip them onto a double-pointed needle and sometimes turn and it’s a lot of faff.
That’s why I got the double-pointed stitch holder! It looked so practical, and it was fairly cheap.

 

Otherwise, I’m very please with this yarn shop. It’s got a very interesting range of yarns I’ve never heard of, and the fiber contents are all good quality, wool based as far as I could tell. I had a poke through the books to and there is a lot of interesting stuff there. I would recommend this shop to anyone.

The shipping time was great too! I ordered Saturday afternoon and it got to me Tuesday morning!

The current offer is “Free PCY Project Bag when you spend over £50 / Free Crochet Hook Set with orders over £15″

So I will update soon when I’ve tried these goodies out. I will also share a jumper I made recently. For more updates you can check out my Facebook page.

Work in Progress – Fair Isle Vest

I’ve been knitting again, well, I’ve not stopped. Since finding Deramores getting wool has been easier.  I found an amazing fair isle vest pattern by King Cole and I knew instantly that Andi would love one for her son. It was vintage, retro, granddad vests and cardigans! But I didn’t like the colours. You can buy the pattern here if you like it too. It’s sized 0-6 months to 4 years.

A real Granddad vest!

So I decided I was definately going to make this one but I needed to choose the colours. I like clashing things, originally I was going to do grey or black, but when I saw the colours in King Cole Big Value DK I knew I wanted Gold. The other colour is a Navy from King Cole Comfort Baby DK. When my parcel came this was the first thing I started out of all the yarns I’d bought.

Knitting up the front, with a fairly simple fair isle pattern

The back was easy and only took two or three days, but it was plain, the front took me much longer because of the fair isle pattern. The effect is well worth it though.

Pinned out to dry flat

When both pieces were finished, yesterday, I carefully hand washed them and pinned them out onto a towel to dry. I always do this because the pieces dry flat and are easier to sew up. So for now I’m just waiting for the pieces to dry and I’ll be picking up the neck and arm holes and it will be finished! I’m really excited to see this one done.

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Here is a close up of the fair isle pattern.

 

This was my first time using Big Value DK and over all it’s just another acrylic, better than Robin or other cheap ones, but okay. The texture is pleasing enough, I can’t say I’d use this again because I prefer cotton yarns, but for an acrylic it’s okay.

Comfort is a lovely soft blend of Acrylic and Nylon, it fluffs a lot so the stitch definition is lost, but for this I think it works. I like it for baby things, but it wears out fairly quickly so I’d not make much out of it.

Both yarns are good enough for the price though.

Crochet waist coat

I have been really busy and have now finished my granny square waistcoat! I have worn on several occasions already. It is really useful on cold days, although I am beginning to wish I had used a better quality wool and not just cheap acrylic. The more I knit and crochet the more I hate it. The colours are nice and bright though, but these days wool is bright too, as is cotton.

So what’s the story of my original chrochet waist coat? It’s surprisingly uninteresting, I bought it. It is handmade though! I got it back in the 1970’s, back when music was good and knitting was normal. Back in the days of local woolshops that were within walking distance there was a store near me selling handmade clothing too. They were selling that waistcoat and I really liked it, at the time nobody could crochet in my family so it was buy it or go without. My mum bought it, well she bought the wool because I wanted to choose the colours and the lady made it the same as the others.
Recently though I’ve been thinking it’s a little pale next to all the bright yarn colours in existance now, so I wanted to remake it, the acrylic was more of an experiement; and since it worked I might make another in cotton.

I used a bit of odd stash wool for this, a lot of pink left over from Andi’s clothing in the 1990’s, but I bought the new purple to trim it, although I can’t remember the brand. It came from my favourite online store, Deramores.

Sadly I don’t have a photo of me wearing the waistcoat, my son wouldn’t help me out and I’m too old for selfies, but soon I’m hoping to get one.

Another Wool Haul

200 Crochet flowers, embellishments & trims

I’m always needing something to finish a little cardigan, or something I’ve sewn. Crochet embellishments just work great for me, and I seem to always be making flowers for something, so I’ve treated myself to this book, I’ve not made anything yet though. I think it looks good, and the instructions seem easy to follow, maybe I’ll write a review soon.

20 to make Crochet Granny Squares

I always find granny squares versatile too. Sandy has blankets made from them, as did my children. I’ve used them in cardigans, bags, everything. I got this from Deramores, again I’m very pleased with it and it seems easy to follow. It’s also small, so I can take it out with me.

Red heart 100% acrylic black 4ply. The left over Wendy Festival from Andi’s winter set. And a set of buttons I liked.

All of the above is from Deramores. I’m making a little cardigan from the black acrylic, it’s cheap, and I don’t know how it will wear so if the jacket comes out very nice I’ll make another one in cotton. It’s for Sandy, in 2-3 years, but the pattern includes 3-4 as well.

The Wendy made Andi a very nice hat and scarf, but I’ve not yet got the decent pictures of it.

And the buttons? I don’t know yet, I just liked them.

Sirdar Montana

Eight balls of Sirdar Montana. I’m not sure what this is for yet, it was in the sale.

Thee balls of Patons 100% cotton. Two balls of red Bonus DK acrylic, and one ball of green.

This yarn is from Hobycraft, the black 100% cotton. I got red and green is acrylic too, there was a 3 for 2 offer on. I want to do a strawberry jumper. I had to drive ten miles to the nearest hobby craft though, which is slightly annoying, on the plus side, parking was free.

C&H wool haul.

This photo is a mess. I raided the sales in my local (expensive) wool shop. I did very well.

I got a pack of crochet hooks, just because they’re always good to have around and I’m missing a lot of smaller sizes.

4 balls of Wendy Supreme DK cotton, two orange and two green.

Sirdar snuggly 4ply in sage.

An odd patterned wool that’s lost the band.

And an odd chunky, same story.

Regia 4ply sock wool, two balls.

An eyelash yarn by Sirdar, not sure what for, but loving the colour. I only use those yarns for trims anyway.

4 balls of a nice cotton yarn that I can’t remember the name of at the moment.

 

Next I’ll be knitting this all up. Well, hopefully. I got four patterns too, but I’ll show those when knitted up.

Andi keeps nagging me to get a ravelry, I don’t know what the big deal is.

How I buy my yarns and what I like

Knitted in Robin DK, a cheap 100% acrylic yarn.

My, what  long title. I can’t think of a way of condensing it, because I want to talk about my favourite wool brands, and my buying habits. I do have a pretty big stash of odd wools, but even so I still need to buy things to supplement or because I don’t have the required colour, brand or texture.

I’m going to go into that last one a bit more. Texture. Wool, acrylic, mohair, cotton and other blends of wool or yarn all have a different texture. This is in double knit (DK) not in things like chunky or 4ply, but again those have a different texture. For example, wool has a bit of hair to it, cotton is completely smooth, mohair is fuzzy and things like polyester yarns exist in a furry version. That’s just touching on the subject of texture, but if you want to know more look at different yarns when you go out, look at things like acrylic compared to real wool and mohair. That’s the best way you’ll understand it.

If I’m buying a new brand that I’ve never seen, handled and worked with before I buy it in person. Well, I buy most of my wool in person, I like my local (10 mile away) wool shop, the women in there are nice, it’s distracting me to look at other things I wouldn’t have seen, there’s a clearance bucket. I like going into the real shop, it’s nice and it supports localish business. More importantly it gives me a chance to check the colour of the wool, if it’s really the shade I’m looking for, and I can check it against other colours for striping. I can feel the wool, which means I can see what the texture and thickness is like as not all double knit wools are the same thickness. I can see how rough it is, and what it looks like when knitted up because my wool shop has gauge squares with their brands! Sometimes I will buy online if I know the brand and type of wool is one I like and won’t disappoint me. I try to buy from shops with a physical store, because I miss the old days when wool shops were everywhere. I do not like having to drive ten miles just to buy some wool!

So what brands (and their wools) do I like?

  • King Cole – Baby DK, 100% acrylic and around £2.50 fr 100g. Bamboo Cotton DK 50% cotton and 50% bamboo, £5.50 for 100g.
  • Patons -100% cotton in DK and 4ply under £5 for 100g.
  • Peter Pan – Moondust DK, 55% nylon and 45% acrylic around £3.50 for 50g. Peter Pan DK , also exists in 2ply, 3ply and 4ply in fewer colours, 55% nylon and 45% acrylic. DK is around £3.50 for 50g.
  • Robin – Robin Aran with Wool, 25% wool and 75% acrylic, around £10 for 500g. Robin DK, 100% acrylic and around £2 for 100g. Robin Chunky, 100% acrylic, around £2 for 100g.
  • Stylecraft – Eskimo – 100% polyester £2 for 50g. Classique Cotton DK, 100%cotton and £4.50 for 100g.
  • Sirdar – Snuggly Baby Speckle DK, 60% cotton and 40% acrylic, roughly £4 for 50g. Snuggly Baby Crofter DK, 55% nylon and 45% acrylic around £4 for 50g. Snuggly Baby Bamboo, 80% bamboo and 20% wool, £4 for 50g.
  • Wendy – Yeti, 100% , £2 for 50g.
  • Katia – This is a newish wool brand, I saw some in Paris when I last visited Andi, she bought a ball of Inca, I’ve not personally worked on it, she has and said it was a very good one. It’s the colours that amazed me, it cost around 9€. 50% wool and 50% acrylic, chunky weight. I’m hoping I can stumble across more.

As with the Katia – Inca yarn there’s been many times where I’ve found a new brand that I like, I buy it, but then I forget the brand, or it’s from a weird shop in France and doesn’t exist in the UK, so the above list is just a quick summary. Back in the 1980’s I used to make a lot with mohair too, but I’m not liking that much these days. Basically I like DK yarns, mainly cotton, or acrylic depending on the colours, texture and most importantly, price. I don’t like spending too much on wool because it seems wasteful to me, yes I like the more expensive wools, but I’ve not got the kind of money to buy them.

A jumper made from Sirdar’s Crofter DK yarn. The picture doesn’t do it justice, it’s so beautiful.