Citrus Placemats – A Quick Summer Make

Whilst I’m counting the days to our holiday (still too many), mentally preparing for our house move and working on those WIPs, I wanted something bright and colourful on the table at mealtimes. My two are now old enough to be trusted without the wax table covering we’ve had for years but I’m not quite ready for the washing and ironing needed to keep tablecloths clean and stain free. I’ve been flirting with using some Adriafil Navy since it arrived a few weeks ago. It’s a lovely chunky, soft and colourful cotton mix yarn which is perfect for all kinds of summer makes. The question was, what pattern? I thought that I would rework the groovyghan


but I found that the yarn was too bulky and the DC pattern made the fabric too uneven – not great for a tablemat. I dismissed a variation on granny squares as being too lacy. Whilst I was resting my mug on the crochet flower coasters I made last year the thought came to me. Fruit!

orange placemat

So these mats were born. Incredibly quick. Very colourful. And being cotton, durable, absorbent and washable. I like it when a plan comes together.

all the fruits tablemats

Rather than crochet in the spiral, each row is finished off and the next started. The pith is added on when the mat is finished. It is just a row of chains.

citrus fruit tablemats

After making four citrus fruits, I was in need of inspiration. Thank you for your ideas! For those not in the know, guesses please as to what this is.

watermelon tablemat

And this?!

dragonfruit tablemat

Let’s hope it’s obvious….

Enjoy making these – do get it touch if you’re interested in the crochet kit (yarn and pattern to make four placemats).

All fruit tablemats

Posted in Craft, crochet, Summer, Yarn | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Entrelac Laptop Cover – a Pattern

Entrelac, the knitting technique that creates a woven/plaited looking fabric, has been something that I wanted to try for quite a while. I came across the Tenney Park pullover on Knitty which really started my interest.


Isn’t this a beauty?

Of course, knitting for myself is  not something I do that often. However, I upgraded my laptop a few months ago and I gave in to the salesman’s patter on having a coloured case rather than a boring black or standard grey one. My lovely laptop is a gorgeous lacquer cherry red. It struck me that I had to protect it’s beauty by encasing it in wool. And so the entrelac laptop cover pattern was born.

Entrelac Laptop cover


I used Katia Oxford Verde (three 50g) and Azul (two 50g) which have been my favourite go-to stroke yarns for a while. Katia Oxford is a DK tweed effect and gently variegated wool-rich yarn. Verde is a mix of gentle grass green with lapis and turquoise blue speckles whereas Azul takes in the different shades of blue denim from deepest indigo right through to faded with speckles of frayed white and grey. I’m describing the colours as my photos, as ever, just don’t do these yarns proper justice.

I held the yarns double on 4mm needles as I wanted a good thick protection for the laptop.

To create the weaved effect, you have to create a base row of triangles, followed by a purl row of squares, knit row of squares, which you repeat for the length of your work and then finish off with a top row of triangles. Bear with it, to start with it will look wrong, but it will all come together.

Cast on 48 stitches

Base Row Triangles with Verde
Rows 1 and 2 – K2 and turn, p1, sl 1 purlwise and turn
Rows 3 and 4 – K3 and turn, p2, sl 1 purlwise and turn
Rows 5 and 6 – K4 and turn, p3, sl 1 purlwise and turn
Rows 7 and 8 – K5 and turn, p4. sl 1 purlwise and turn
Rows 9 and 10 – K6 and turn, p5, sl 1 purlwise and turn
Rows 11 and 12 – K7 and turn, p6, sl 1 purlwise and turn
Row 13 – K8 and do not turn.
You have your first triangle.
Leave these eight stitches on the right hand needle and work the next stitches in the same way. You will have six triangles when you have finished.

Purl Row Squares with Azul
To make the left side straight, you need to work a triangle.
Rows 1 and 2 – P2 and turn, k2 and turn.
Rows 3 and 4 – P into front and back, p2tog (last st of triangle and next st on right hand needle to join) and turn, k3 and turn.
Rows 5 and 6 – P into front and back, p1, p2tog and turn, k4 and turn.
Rows 7 and 8 – P into front and back, p2, p2tog and turn, k5 and turn.
Rows 9 and 10 – P into front and back, p3, p2tog and turn, k6 and turn.
Rows 11 and 12 – P into front and back, p4, p2tog and turn, k7 and turn.
Row 13 – P into front and back, p5, p2tog and do not turn.
You  have used all eight stitches of the base triangle.
Leave these eight stitches on the right hand needle and go on to create your first square.

Pick up and and purl eight stitches evenly along the next edge of the base triangle and turn.
Rows 1 and 2 – K7, slip 1 purlwise and turn, p7, p2tog (to join pieces) and turn.
Repeat these rows 6 times.
Rows 15 and 16 – K7, sl 1 purlwise and turn, p7, p2tog and do not turn.
You have used all eight stitches of the base triangle.
Leave these eight stitches on the right hand needle and repeat these 16 rows four times.

To make the right side straight, you need to work a triangle.
Pick up and purl 8 stitches evenly along the next edge of the base triangle and turn.
Rows 1 and 2 – K7, slip 1 purlwise and turn, p6, p2tog and turn.
Rows 3 and 4 – K6, slip 1 purlwise and turn, p5, p2tog and turn.
Rows 5 and 6 – K5, slip 1 purlwise and turn, p4, p2tog and turn.
Rows 7 and 8 – K4, slip 1 purlwise and turn, p3, p2tog and turn.
Rows 9 and 10 – K3, slip 1 purlwise and turn, p2, p2tog and turn.
Rows 11 and 12 – K2, slip 1 purlwise and turn, p1, p2tog and turn.
Rows 13 and 14 – K1, slip 1 purlwise and turn, p2tog and turn.
All stitches are on the left-hand needle ready for the next row.

Knit row squares with Verde
Slip 1 stitch then pick up and knit 7 stitches evenly along the edge of the right side triangle. Turn.
Rows 1 and 2 – P7, slip 1 purlwise and turn, k7, ssk (to join) and turn.
Repeat these rows 6 times.
Rows 15 and 16 – P7, slip1 purlwise and turn, k7, ssk and do not turn.
All stitches in the square below have been used.
Repeat these 16 rows five times.

Repeat the Purl row squares three times and Knit row squares twice more.

Top row triangles with Verde
Slip 1 stitch and pick up and knit 7 stitches along the edge of the first square and turn.
Rows 1 and 2 – P8 and turn, k7, ssk (to join) and turn.
Rows 3 and 4 – P6, p2tog and turn, k6, ssk and turn.
Rows 5 and 6 – P5, p2tog and turn, k5, ssk and turn.
Rows 7 and 8 – P4, p2tog and turn, k4, ssk and turn.
Rows 9 and 10 – P3, p2tog and turn, k3, ssk and turn.
Rows 11 and 12 – P2, p2tog and turn, k2, ssk and turn.
Rows 13 and 14 – P1, p2tog and turn, k1, ssk and turn.
Rows 15 and 16 – P2tog and turn, ssk and do not turn.
Leave this stitch on the right hand needle.
Repeat top row triangle five more times to finish.
Cut yarn and pull through last stitch to finish off.

You now have a piece of entrelac fabric to cover one side of the laptop. I noticed that it was not very stretchy so I decided to put ribbing on the other side. If you like, you could hold the yarn singly, which would reduce the gauge, making a tighter fabric. Then you could carry on with the entrelac around the other side of the laptop too.

Pick up and k2, p2 along the long edge of your entrelac triangles. I used the top triangles as my cast off tends to be looser than my cast on and I didn’t want a wide top to the cover.


Ribbed back of Laptop Cover

Knit in 2×2 rib until your work is the same length as the entrelac.
Sew sides together and smother your laptop in the softest of wool covers.
I don’t think there’s any need to block this work as the laptop stretches it nicely.

Of course you can use any colour variations of yarn and even pattern your entrelac. The sky is the limit.

Posted in entrelac, Patterns | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Update on WIPs

There are many moving parts in my non-yarn related life right now. Perhaps as a direct result my knitting mojo is suffering. The alternate way of looking at it of course, is that it’s forging ahead on the WIP front. As ever, I have lots and lots of ideas of makes but nothing committed to paper and most certainly nothing on my needles. A quick review of my WIP basket however shows healthy growth. From the early WIPs, I’ve frogged the jumper and the wrap. The first as I dropped a stitch in the basket weave and for some reason didn’t notice until several cms afterwards (having absent-mindedly added a stitch). There was nothing for it but to start again. The wrap was fun whilst I learnt the pattern but then it quickly got ultra boring so had to go. I am however, left with a promise to my son to finish his rug.

It starts like this

It started life like this

And now looks like this

And now looks like this

My main problem, apart from the rash promise, is that some of the circles are bigger than the others, and that the slip-stitch edging has puckered the circles. There is nothing for it, I’ve got to undo all the edging (there are several strips done), compare the circle sizes and almost start again. And since we’re moving again soon, I should make good my promise…

I also have this little design project on the go.

Loom scarf

It hails from the wintry days when I did a fair bit of looming. I want to create a lacy winter scarf but then it turned warm, and I hid the project.

Loom scarf

It’s also really difficult to take a photo of the pattern – it’s sort of star-shapes and looks nice in real life…

And finally there is my excursion into lace with a very gorgeous speckled silk-based yarn.

Lace wrap

It is  not perfect, but it is now officially half-way but I’ve just not picked it up in a while.

There are a “few” more things but nothing I can’t deal with. Perhaps this holiday, I will be working on cracking the WIPs rather than starting something new. Hmm. Perhaps not!

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Fibre East 2014

I’m incredibly lucky that I live only a few miles from one of the highlights of the yarn calendar – Fibre East. An annual international event, celebrating all things English yarn related and more. I am a recent convert, going last year for the first time but now I can hardly wait to go back.

Fibre East

And why am I so excited? Well, last year’s experience was pretty mind-blowing. I thought it would be a relaxed amble around for an hour or so and then a leisurely cup of tea to digest all the textures and colours that I’ve seen. I totally and utterly underestimated the size of the event. It is massive and there is just so much to do. Of course there are sheep,


All sorts of rare breeds

and there is yarn galore to please every type of taste and need

yarn1 yarn2there is spinning of all varieties (the choice made my head spin!)

spinning spinning1 spinning2and it is both indoors and out, with classes (Bavarian cables and All Spindles appealing to me right now) and lots of lovely new people to meet, great designers willing to sign their books and helpful stall holders and all sorts of squishy lovely yarn to touch and squeeze and buy with buttons and other accessories to wonder at. If you want to dye your own home spun silk, no problem. If you want to join a local knitting association, just sign up. If you have always wanted to give machine knitting a whizz, there is nothing to stop you. The list is truly long.

I hope to see some of you there! Only 17 days to go. I’m currently trying to work out where at home I could hide a little more stash…



Posted in Craft, Fibre East 2013, wool, Yarn | Tagged | 1 Comment

Mitre Jacket – a pattern

It was my birthday this weekend and as a celebration, I want to share with you my mitre jacket pattern which I’ve been working on. This pattern has been in my mind for a while and started life when I saw the granny square cardigan in an Interweave pattern book and grew a little more when I discovered the might of mitres. It took several attempts for me to settle on the type of mitre I wanted, and the yarn, but I got there in the end.

spring tone mitre

Paper/Cotton lightweight ribbed mitre

Neutral tone mitre

100% wool neutral ribbed mitre

In the end, I used neither of these types of yarn, and none of those type of colours. And that’s when I realised the huge versatility of this pattern. You can use any wool and any type of mitre and create a really unique garment.


My final choice – Adriafil Cheope cotton and the smooth stocking stitch mitre

So here is what you do. Take an existing cardigan/jumper and lay it flat with the arms straight out to the side. Measure from cuff, across the chest and to the other cuff. Now you need to decide what number your measurement can be divided by – I’d suggest 9/10/11 as good numbers. As an example, my measurement was 136 cms with the body measurement being about 42 cms. I knew I wanted to make the cardigan sleeves not quite full length as it’s a lightweight summer item and the sleeves would be wide, so I rounded the measurement down to 132 cms and decided to make my mitres 11cms by 11cms (like knitting lots of gauge swatches). And then I got on with it. It is helpful for the number of mitres on the body to be even so that you can split it easily for the front. And of course for the mitres to fit your body comfortably. The sleeves you can add or detract mitres from depending on the length.

Since I was using DK yarn – Adriafil Cheope Sienna, Sand and Dark Khaki, with 4mm needles I cast on 37 stitches. The basic pattern for each mitre is the same.

Row 1 Knit 18, k3tog, K18
Row 2 and all even rows, purl all stitches
Row 3 Knit 17, k3tog, k17
Continue in this pattern until you have one stitch left.

I made four mitres for the right arm, four mitres for the body and another four mitres for the left arm. And I had a very long line of mitres, and a few puzzled looks from politely interested people who asked what I was making. I then knitted four mitres for the right arm and two mitres for the front right, and four mitres for the left arm and two mitres for the front left.

Row of mitres

Long rows of mitres – no, it’s not a scarf

You can join the mitres as you knit by picking up 18 stitches on the side of the mitre you have just finished (don’t forget you already have 1 stitch remaining from the previous mitre, which should be on your needle) and then casting on another 18 stitches. Of course, there was no way I was going to make the jacket just one colour. More on that later.

joining mitres

Joining mitres as you knit

I then wanted to join my long strips. It is possible to keep on picking up stitches on the existing mitres but I wanted to make a feature with a contrasting yarn. I did this using Adriafil Carioca, which is a slightly heavier weight yarn so  not appropriate to use for mitres with Cheope

but a great contrast for joining. I used the “zipped” crochet join to really make the joint pop! Make sure that you join four mitres for the sleeve but only one for the front. The remaining one mitre will be a collar and the neck hole – see photo.

Knit+Crochet join

“Zip” crochet join for mitres

joined mitres

First Row of front and back of jacket

So now it was time to knit the next row down. Exactly the same number of mitres except for one thing – I used two colours in each mitre this time. The change to the pattern is that you cast on 19 stitches with colour 1 and the remaining 18 with colour 2. Otherwise everything is the same, just make sure to twist the two colours together when you are done with the k3tog so that there are no holes.

Two rows of mitres

Two rows of mitres

On the third row I used one colour again, and knitted two mitres for the front right and one for an underarm gusset. Then four mitres for the back. Finally one underarm gusset and two mitres for the front left. I added in the underarm “gusset” so that the sleeve would not be too tight under the arm and bunch uncomfortably. These three pieces need to be joined to the second row of the jacket first so that the gusset attaches to the last mitre of the sleeve on the front and the back (in effect being “folded” in half).

Under arm gusset

Underarm gusset to help with ease

After this, I was in the home straight. One more row of mixed colour mitres knitted in one long strip – two for the front right, four for the back, two for the front left and the final strip of one colour mitres, the same as for the row before.

almost there with the mitres

Almost there!

As the mitre is knitted in stocking stitch and since the yarn is cotton, the edges of the mitres curl a lot. Whilst I was knitting the two colour mitres, a man even asked me which football team I supported as he liked the bunting!

Curled mitres

It looks like bunting

So as I was approaching the end of the knitting, I was wondering how to finish the jacked off on the edges so that it would lie flat. I thought of i-cord edging or picot edging and tried different things. In the end, I thought that I would bring the colours all together by using them all.


5 row DC crochet edging

It’s a substantial edge that allows no curl at all. I used the edging to strengthen the neck line so it wouldn’t stretch. You will need to crochet two stitches together on each side of the neckline on each row of edging to make sure the neckline lies flat. And of course work in extra two DCs in the corners so you get a sharp turn. Here is the final version in its unblocked version.

finished and needs blocking

Block me!

And here it is in glorious blocked variety.


Please ignore the clashing camisole

With this pattern, remember that you can use any yarn, any colours and any type of mitre you like. You could even make slightly bigger mitres along the last row (use larger needles) if you want a slightly curvier jacket. Similarly you could use a smaller needle to produce tighter mitres on the sleeves so that they are less wide. The key is to experiment! I’m really please with how this has turned out. And now I’m casting around in my wardrobe to find something suitable to team it with for the office. Just a few more photos as I’m secretly quite proud of this one…


Jpeg Jpeg

What will your jacket look like?

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Granny Squares and their Uses

I do love Granny Squares. Their “squareness” always surprises me. Their colour range is endless and most crocheters keep their first wobbly attempt at making one. However their versatility is underplayed.

Just a quick scoot around my normal knitty haunts throws up these wonderful ideas:


Granny square Bookmark

childrens room decoration

Granny Squares for childrens’ bedrooms


Granny square coasters – pretty!


Granny square cushions

evening wear

Granny square evening jacket – yes, they ARE granny squares!


Granny square Fashion


Granny square gloves


Granny squares holdall


Granny square shawl


Granny square make up tidy


Granny square toy

All beautiful and there are so many more. Obviously throws and blankets, but also arm-warmers, head-bands, teacosies, bunting, iPhone covers, bibs, hats, slippers… With a little imagination and adaptation there may be no need to learn any other skill!

What’s your favourite use for Granny Squares?

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Knit + Crochet

There are so many knitters/crocheters who know exactly the type of project they’re interested in – socks, baby projects, blankets, granny squares, decorative items …the list of course is endless. I haven’t yet discovered the one thing that I would knit/crochet over and over again (except stitches of course!). I will give almost anything a try at least once*. Perhaps that’s my biggest love for the craft – the ability to try new things all the time.

Over the years however, I realise that certain projects hold more excitement. And one of these is where I can combine knitting and crochet in the finished item.

VS Crochetknit pullover

Victoria’s Secret Knit + Crochet jumper

I love tops like these – the laciness of crochet framed by the solidity of knitting. In projects I’ve put together (designed is a little high-faluting), I’ve often used both – crochet usually as a finishing touch rather than the central piece.


Crochet Shell edging and tassles on Drop-stitch Knit wrap

Knit+Crochet join

Crochet join on knitted mitres

So I was very excited to discover that there are others out there who also like this way of making things, and use crochet to add the Wow factor to the pattern. Here are a couple of beauties.

Knit+Crochet pullover

Mari Lynn Patrick’s Snowflake Sweater

Knit+Crochet turtleneck

Melange Turtleneck by Katie Himmelberg

So with head buzzing with ideas, I wish you a good week.

* Just to explain, up to about a week ago I would have omitted the word “almost” in that sentence. But then I was contacted by someone who wanted me to make willie-warmers. I will admit that I was bemused and a little shocked. Most men wouldn’t think of putting their crown jewels into something woolly, never mind requesting a total stranger to make one for them! This experience has taught me that there are certainly some things I wouldn’t make!

Posted in crochet, Knitting | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Selvedge Stitches

I am amazed that it took me a while to cotton on to selvedge stitches. Now I’m a total convert and knit them automatically but I realise that many people don’t. Well, here’s why they are so important.

But firstly, you may be wondering what a selvedge stitch is! A selvedge (or selvage) stitch is an additional stitch on either side of your work to form an edge. It’s really simple and very similar to framing a picture. It just provides the finishing touch.

selvedge photo

Once you’ve “framed” your knitting with a selvedge stitch on either side, it also makes joining your work so much easier – no  more guess work how to match up rows when sewing pieces together. And most importantly, you don’t lose any of the knitted fabric in the seam. It’s great!

Not only are selvedge stitches really useful, they are also very simple. All you need to remember is to cast on two extra stitches than is required by your pattern. There are lots of ways to do a selvedge stitch but here are two main ways.

knitted selvedge

This method produces a chain on the side of your work, with each chain extending over two rows.

slipped selvedge

The best thing is to experiment. Have fun!

Posted in Knitting, selvedge stitch, Techniques | Tagged , | 2 Comments

International Yarnbombing Week

Another woolly event that I participated in last year is yarnbombing. This also has an International week each year but it’s a little more difficult to pin down the exact dates. I believe it was earlier in June. Looking at the work from this and previous years, I am in awe of the creativity of the participants.

brazil yarnbombing california canopy yarnbomb chicago yarnbombing china yarnbomb hat yarnbombing mushroom yarnbombing norwich yarnbombing paloaltocalifornia yarnbomb parking meter yarnbombo perth yarnbombing philadelphia yarn bombing rubber duck yarnbombinb squid yarnbomb stairs yarnbombing vancouver yarnbombing Yarnbomb snake yarnbombing zany yarnbombing

So much knitting to do and so little time!

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World Wide Knit in Public UK 2014

For those who don’t know me, I happily state that I knit everywhere. Public transport mostly but also in conference calls, waiting rooms, school events, conferences, in fact any time where I have a few minutes to spare or need my hands to be busy so that I don’t fidget inappropriately.

So I am happy to say that I fully support the World Wide Knit in Public week which is 14th to 22nd June in the UK. And this is what it’s about…



Astrid Salling 2© Lena Paaske

World Wide Knit in Public Day was started in 2005 by Danielle Landes. It began as a way for knitters to come together and enjoy each other’s company. Knitting is such a solitary act that it’s easy to knit alone somewhere and sink into your work without thinking about all the other knitters out there. Neighbors could spend all their lives never knowing that the other knits.  This a specific day to get out of your house and go to a local event (with your knitting in tow) just for you and people like you.  Who knows you might even bump into your neighbour! Consider this a spark, to ignite a fire; getting all of the closeted knitters out into fresh air.


WWKiP Day is unique, in that it’s the largest knitter run event in the world. Each local event is put together by a volunteer or a group of volunteers. They each organize an event because they want to, not because they have to. They bring their own fresh ideas into planning where the event should be held, and what people would like to do. If it weren’t for these volunteer hosts, WWKiP Day would still just be an idea.

In the past some people have used this event as a means to show the general public that “not only grannies knit” and while that’s great and all, keep in mind that without those grannies’ we wouldn’t have the wealth of knitting knowledge that we do.

WWKiP Day is really about showing the general public that knitting can be a community activity in a very distinct way. In some places there are many different knitting groups that never interact with each other, on WWKiP Day they come together in one place, making them hard to miss.


In 2005, there were about 25 local events around the world. In 2006, there were about 70 local events, and in 2007, almost 200. In 2008, there were 800 events, and in 2009, 751 events.

Over the years there have been local events in Australia, China, England, Finland, France, Ireland, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, United States and so many more countries.

WWKiP Day takes now takes place from the second Saturday to the third Sunday of June each year; making it a week long celebration of knitting and other fiber arts.

For more information, visit

So join in – Monster Yarns Knit in Public day is tomorrow!

Posted in Knitting | Tagged | 7 Comments