Cowl, Poncho Cape and Skirt – in One

If you’ve visited my blog before, you will probably know that I really like statement pieces and versatile items. The latest thing off my needles is another 3 in 1. And it is also easy – a mix of stocking and reverse stocking stitch with bulky yarn and a few decreases. You can wear it three different ways, as a cowl, as a poncho/capelet and even as a skirt. And it’s reversible!
Textured pattern

I think the secret is to use one textured/self-striping yarn and one plain. Or perhaps lots of different colours. As a cowl it looks like this:

Cowl

Pattern:
You will need three 50g skeins of Adriafil Alchimia (A) and same amount of another bulky yarn (B) of your colour choice.
8mm circular needles (can be knitted flat)
Reversible

With A, cast on 80 stitches, place marker and join.
Purl 5 rounds.
With B, knit 3 rounds.
With A knit 1 round and purl 3 rounds.
Repeat until you have 10 knit 2 rounds with colour B.
At the same time, from the second repeat, reduce one stitch at a time at the beginning of every other round 12 times.
With colour B purl 3 rounds and cast off loosely in purl.

Then try to make your mind up whether you want to wear a cape/poncho
Cape Ponchoor a skirt.
Skirt

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When a Scarf is not a Scarf – a Pattern

We’ve all been there –  most people start with knitting them. You can never have too many after all! Of course, I’m talking about scarves. But they can be a bit boring to knit and what if you want to use it to keep more of you warm than just your neck? I’m all for multi-functional items – see my 3-in-1 scarf and I wanted to make a more versatile scarf that could be worn in many ways.

Scarf done

Is it a scarf?

I used an aran weight self striping yarn with a little girlie glitter in it and started knitting 7 rows of seed stitches, keeping 7 stitches of seed stitch on either side, adding a YO, slip 2 knitwise, k1, slip the 2 stitches over, YO in the middle of the material – the total width is about 45 cms. I carried on for six 100g skeins of yarn. A long, wide scarf in fact. And then the slightly clever bit. I folded the scarf in half widthways and sewed six decorative buttons at equal distance along one half and matching hooks on the other side. When you button the scarf up all the way, you can wear it hanging.

What is it?

Or if you turn it round with the long side hanging at the back, it looks like this.
Back to front?Of you could wear it like a poncho
Poncho?Or a wrap

Is it a scarf? Scarf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And finally, I really quite like the asymmetric look.

Asymmetric scarf look

But more to the point – what do I call it?

Scarf

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Knitted hats and more hats – Two Patterns

So last week I was crocheting. This week, I’ve been knitting. This is the result:

Knitted Pompom hat

Knitted textured Pompom hat

 

I love the colour and wanted to add texture to the hat (perhaps it’s a little over done now). The hat’s rim is double sided, with a smooth stocking stitch on the inside to keep your head and ears warm and cosy.
And then there is this one:

Knitted beehive hat

Knitted beehive hat

I’ve had this lovely wool yarn for a while and every time I looked at it, it reminded  me of beehives. I have no idea why but I knew that the hat needed to look like a beehive.

The beauty is that they are both really easy.

Knitted Textured Pompom hat

DK self-striping yarn about 150 m
3.5 mm and 4.0 mm DPNs or knitting needles to knit in the round.

Decreases on pompom hat

With 3.5 mm DPNs, cast on 100 stitches with long tail cast on and join.
In stocking stitch, knit 10 rounds.
Purl 1 round.
Knit in 1 x 1 rib 10 rounds.
Pick up one cast on stitch per one live stitch on the needle and k2tog.
Change to 4 mm needles.
Knit 20 rounds of seed stitch.
Knit 10 rounds in stocking stitch.
Continue in stocking stitch decreasing one stitch every 10 stitches every other round until you have 10 stitches left on the needle.
Cut yarn leaving a long tail, thread through remaining stitches and finish off.
Add pompom.

Finished pompom hat

Please note that I didn’t start with a seed stitch but with the ribbed stitch I used on my son’s jumper and then changed my mind half way into the hat. I think it looks fine but you may think it’s a little busy. It is also a good idea to try the hat as you knit to make it fit your head perfectly. The row count in the pattern fits my head!

Knitted Bee-hive Hat

DK yarn about 200 m.
3.5 mm and 4 mm DPNs or ordinary knitting needles.

Beehive hat

With 3.5 mm needles and long tail cast on, cast on 100 stitches.
In 1 x 1 rib, knit 11 rows/rounds.
Change to 4 mm needles and knit one row, increasing 1 stitch every 10 stitches.

If you’re knitting in the round, purl 5 rounds, knit 4 rounds.
If you’re knitting flat, knit 5 rows reverse stocking stitch and 4 rows of stocking stitch.
When you’ve repeated the pattern nine times, continue in pattern, p2tog every other stitch every other row/round three times.
Cut yarn with a long tail, thread through remaining stitches and work off.

Wear with pride.

 

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Crochet hats and more hats

I don’t know about you but I quickly feel the cold. I’m sure I’m more suited to living on a tropical island with ambient temperatures all the time rather than seasons. Although I would miss seeing Nature change her look, I can really live without wind, and cold ones at that. Since autumn has most certainly arrived, I think it is time to start making new hats for the new season. And since I’m a little short of time right now, I turned first to crochet.

His and Hers Crochet Beanies

His and Hers Crochet Beanies

The one on the right is made with Adriafil Navy which is a chunky cotton yarn and the one on the left is made with the leftover wool from my 3-in-1 scarf from last year – also chunky. Both beanies were made in one afternoon, so definitely quick and with 6mm crochet hooks. They are crochet in the round not in the spiral. This is what they look like close up – the difference between the cotton and the wool mix yarn is quite obvious:

Crown of Her Beanie

Crown of Wool Beanie

Crown of His Beanie

Crown of cotton beanie

They were such a fast make that I carried on with the beanie making:

Glow in the dark Beanies

His and Hers Glow-in-the-Dark Beanies

These were slower process but still comparatively quick. Same rule – chunky/aran yarn and 6mm hooks. The one on the right is a seashell pattern the one on the left is a spiral pattern. I wanted to beanies that were easy to spot in the greyness of autumn mornings and late afternoons. I’ve got a thing about fluorescent colours and hats are the perfect project to use these. These are a little more intriguing than the plain beanies:

Fluorescent Seashell Fluorescent Spiral Beanie

 

 

 

 

 

 

So we now have a family of beanies and warm ears!

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Crochet Circles Rug – a Pattern

It’s been a long time coming and my son has been more than patient – I have finally finished the rug that I promised him for our move out of London. In time for our second house move. Well, better late than not at all!

2014-06-29 19.15.42

I promise I have now worked away all those ends!

I have learnt much along the way not just about crochet skills but also about my ability to multi-task (I’m not as good as I expected). On the whole I’m happy (it’s finished!) and I know that it will be used well which is the main thing. HOWEVER, if you want to use the pattern, please do not make the same mistakes that I did and your rug will be perfect.

Pattern:
This is a very versatile pattern and you can use scrap yarn, yarn held double/triple or like I did, very chunky yarn (Cygnet Seriously Chunky in Just Denim, Cream and Macaw).
Using Seriously Chunky, you will have a rug about 125 cms x 75 cms when you crochet 67 circles of about 10cm diameter (12mm crochet hook).
48 meters of Seriously Chunky (100g) makes two and half circles so I used 27 skeins of Just Denim and five skeins of Macaw. A lot of yarn!
Of course you could make each circle a different colour (scrap) and just use one colour to join them all together. You create your design!
You can make a much smaller rug by making less circles. This rug is also ideal for bathmats if you use chunky cotton yarn.

2014-06-29 19.16.08

Round 1: Using magic circle, 8 dc in the ring and slip stitch to join.
Round 2: Chain 1, 2 dc in each dc from round 1 and slip stitch to join (16 stitches).
Round 3: Chain 1, *2 dc in first dc, dc in next dc*, repeat from * to * to end and slip stitch to join (24 stitches).
Round 4: Slip stitch VERY LOOSELY (I didn’t) in the back loop of each 24 dc. Slip stitch to join. Leaving a long tail, cut yarn and fasten off.
If your slip stitches are not VERY LOOSE, you will end up with cups not circles. A bit like me!

Make another 66.

When you have all the circles you need, lay them out in rows of 10 and 9 circles as it’s time to join!

Joining circles
With contrasting yarn (Macaw) slip stitch into 12 slip stitches i.e. half way round the circle. Join the next circle to the first the same way. Repeat until you have 10 circles in a row. When you get to the 10th circle, continue slip stitching all the way round and then finish slip stitching around all the other circles you have joined. Once you are done, you will have a long thin strip of joined circles.

And now looks like this

Repeat three times and then another three times using only 9 circles. You should end up with four strips of 10 joined circles and three strips of 9 joined circles.

You are now ready to join the rows!

Joining rows
Turn all rows to the WS. Take one 10 circle row and using contrasting yarn (Macaw) join to a 9 circle row with slip stitch into Row 4 slip stitches NOT the slip stitches you made to join the circles. This will make your rug more sturdy.

Keep on alternating short and long rows of circles until you’re done. Use your long ends from each circle to join the circles more firmly to each other as you work away all the ends. There are a lot!

Finishing
Slip stitch around the entire rug to give it a nice finish. Depending on the yarn you used, this may not be necessary.

2014-06-29 19.15.55

Enjoy!

 

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Lace Knitting: Do’s and Don’ts

Over the last few months I’ve done a fair amount of lace knitting. It’s all been fun and I love how lace patterns all make sense from a maths point of view yet create something ethereal. However, I have heard a lot of “I can’t do lace knitting” from people too.

Lace Knitting - Vogue Knitting

 

Not all lace knitting needs to be fiendishly complicated. In fact quite a lot is repetitive and once you’ve memorised the pattern, you can knit in front of the TV just as if it were stocking stitch flying off your needles. On the whole however, you do need to start somewhere undisturbed. And depending on the pattern you pick, you will need a glass of wine or a darkened room and some headache tablets!

This is my humble advice to anyone attempting to try lace knitting:

stitch markers

  1. It is not surgery. If I can do it, you can do it.
  2. READ the pattern all the way through to make sure that you know all the stitches.
  3. Swatch. And swatch again. Some lace patterns just don’t work if you knit too tight/loose. It’s better you find that out before you invest too much time in your project. And of course the yarn that you picked may not be shown to advantage.
  4. Have plenty of differently coloured stitch markers to hand and make sure you use them. Don’t wait for the pattern to tell you to insert a marker. Just put one in where it makes sense to you – at the beginning/end of a pattern. Anything to help you with the counting.
  5. Learn how to put in a lifeline. I’m currently working on a simple lace pattern on a jumper. I’ve had to rip back to the beginning twice now because I found it impossible to pick all the stitches up correctly half way into the work. Third time round, I learnt my lesson!
  6. Anyone who tries to interrupt you when you’re finding your feet with a new lace pattern is asking to be barked at.
  7. When you’re done. BLOCK your work.

The only other thing about lace work is the charts. All odd rows read right to left, all even rows from left to right. The chart is invaluable to show you what the knitted lace looks like – a bit like crochet charts.

knitting lace chart

However, unless you have the eye-sight of an Olympic archer, you will need to increase the size of the chart provided in the pattern using a photocopier. If you only do this for your personal use, it is OK from a copyright point of view. And I’ve got to admit that I write out all charts in longhand. Yes, I do. Somehow, seeing it in print not just visually, helps me to knit quicker. Plus, if I’m very lucky, my youngest will spend half an hour or so reading it out to me as I knit. I’ve even been thinking about putting lace charts on to audiotape. Like books! There must be a market for that surely? Don’t forget, I had the idea first…

light as air lace

I hope this has given you some confidence to try lace knitting. It’s doubly rewarding when you see the finished item.

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Lace + Geometry = Lacy Shrug: a Pattern

I am not a confident designer. I have ideas galore and projects a-plenty but I tend to shy away from sharing them/writing the patterns down as I don’t feel qualified. Over the summer, I was thinking about how it is possible to dress the human form (curves) with geometric shapes (mainly straight lines) and one of the finished results (admittedly there are many frogged and “sleeping” ones) is this shrug.

I wanted to create a pattern that was easy for beginners to follow but gave seasoned knitters an interest and even a possibility to exercise creativity. So it is in effect a long, wide scarf – we’ve ALL made one of those! – coupled with some easy but eye-catching lace. Of course to avoid any technical gremlins, this pattern is one-size-fits-all with minimum changes needed to personalise to your shape.

Lace Crochet Shrug

Please ignore creased camisole

I’ve enjoyed picking the patterns to use to shape the rectangle – slight ribbed lace to pull the sleeves in and a very open lace pattern to lengthen the back. However you could experiment with different stitch patterns to alter the shape. The shrug is knitted from one sleeve, across the back and down the second sleeve from top to bottom edge.

PATTERN
Use any DK yarn of your choice. You could try two different colours of 4ply held together, block colour, self-striping, self-patterning, sparkly, mohair…it’s up to you.
4mm needles.
Gauge is not important.

Cast on 98 stitches.

Sleeve pattern
Row 1: K1, *YO, k2tog, k4*, k1, repeat from * to * to end.
Row 2 and all even number rows: Purl all stitches except knit YO from previous row.
Row 3: K1, * k2tog, YO, k4* k1, repeat from * to * to end.

Repeat rows 1-3 until your sleeve measures around 28 cms.
At the same time, increase one stitch at each end of every 6th row ten times and then every 4th row four times. (126 stitches)

Back pattern
Row 1: K1, *YO, k2tog*, k1 repeat from * to * to end.
Row 2 and all even number rows: Purl all stitches except knit YO from previous row.
Row 3: K1, *k2tog, YO*, k1, repeat from * to * to end.
Repeat rows 1-3 until back measures about 58 cms.

The back

Repeat Sleeve pattern but decreasing the stitches at the same intervals (starting with the four row decreases).

You will now have a long rectangle. You can either just sew together the sleeves and block and wear or add the finishing touch with a little edging. I used a crochet picot edging as it’s easy and pretty.

Crochet picot edging
Hopefully you didn’t forget the selvedge edge – if you did, starting at one corner of the shorter side of your rectangle dc around the rectangle first making sure that you space your stitches evenly without pulling or puckering the fabric. Once you are done, dc into the next stitch, chain 3, then dc into the next two dc. Repeat all the way round the shorter side of your rectangle. Once you reach to the end, slip stitch in the other side and join with right sides together.
DC the seams of your sleeves together then carry on the picot edging when you reach the back. Picot edge all the way to the next sleeve, join the sleeve (this time at part closest to your body when wearing) with a slip stitch and dc the seams of the sleeves together. When you reach the end of the sleeve join, picot edge the cuff.
Rejoin yarn to the edge on the back of the garment which you have not worked yet and crochet the picot edge there too.

Picot edging

Picot edging – pretty

The picot edging pulls the ribs out so that the sleeve flairs out. I think this looks pretty, but if you don’t like it, use a different edging or don’t bother with one at all. And finally of course, you could knit a picot edging too but I’m too impatient for that!

Bell sleeves

Work in ends, lightly block and wear.

side view

If you need to customise the size, you can do so in many ways – make the back longer, the sleeves shorter/longer, or just make the sleeve seams shorter to allow easier access. I’ve had many different shapes and sizes of people try this on and it has so far fitted everyone!

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A Wedding Gift

My baby sister is getting married. As if that wasn’t enough to send all sorts of hares running in every which direction possible, there is the question of the wedding present. Now don’t get me wrong, I am more than happy to be generous. Profligate even. After all baby sisters don’t grow on trees and they certainly don’t get married often. But knitting a bed spread? For a King size bed! Seriously?!

Nice Teeth

BTW – nice teeth!

Once the request was made, the dutiful follow. So there has been a flurry of emails and ideas exchanged and I have narrowed it down to these two options. The colour scheme will be different (of course) so I’m just being undecided on the pattern. Here are my options:

1. Tree of Life

Tree of Life2. Double Wedding Ring

double wedding ring

Which one should I make?

And please send me words of encouragement – I have never promised to deliver on knitting for something so meaningful and I’ve certainly never knitted anything of this size. I get bored with repetitive patterns so part of me is dreading starting.

Perhaps I could just buy a bed spread and knit a matching cushion instead?

 

 

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Leaf pattern Lace wrap – Done!

Summer Holidays are most definitely over. The boys are back at school, the days are drawing in, the air is crisp and fresh and the trees are wearing amber leaves. I’ve been meaning to get back to writing for a while but life got in the way in the shape of a bad bout of cold.

Summer has been a time of finishing projects. My WIP list is now very short indeed – I have finished all three of these!! The one I’m most proud of is the leaf-pattern lace wrap – it is a beautiful design by Asa Tricosa called Semele I fell in love with almost two years ago. I’m not a wrap person usually – I find that they slip off and get lost or are just too fiddly for words. But there was something about the leaf design – I have a soft spot for those…

The beginning of the lace wrap

I remember sitting at that desk!

I cast on in the autumn and having never done any form of lace knitting, it was slow going indeed. I remember that it would take me 30-40 minutes to knit two rows. However, train journeys helped me to persevere. Then I lost interest and many other knits followed. Each time I would look in my WIP basked, there would be that lovely speckled silk yarn and the half done wrap. I felt guilty.

Beginning

I think that finishing long slumbering work is a frame of mind. Sometimes it just happens. From the beginning of the summer, although I had many ideas for knitting projects, nothing would feel right until I picked up my WIP basked. At first it was only to check for moths (grrr) but then as the yarn tumbled out, I fell in love all over again. And surprisingly quickly, the wrap was finished. Here it is with a summer backdrop.

Jpeg

That lovely blue sky sets this off nicely!

All done JpegI’ve got to admit that  I was a little disappointed with the depth of the wrap – I always think of wraps as wide and long so it covers everything. Semele is not like that at all. It is a dainty slip of a thing for the shoulders and mid-back. I’ve got to say that this summer it saved me many nights of feeling cold and the chic French women all complemented me on it too. It was perfect! When we came home however, I knew that the lace had to be blocked and since I’m not well versed in lace blocking I was really dreading it.

Bath time

Bath time

The Magic of Blocking (2)

It’s much longer and wider than before

The Magic of Blocking (1) So far, so good. The pattern has opened up, the leaves are distinct, the wrap is wider and longer, my mistakes have been unearthed for all to see and the yarn is looking nice. It’s not quite dry yet so I will leave it pinned for a while longer.

I hope you have all had a very relaxing summer. I have a number of pattens to share with you during the autumn so come and visit soon.

 

 

 

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Buttons

I remember as a child playing with hundreds of buttons all kept in a large tin. Each of my grandmothers had an almost identical container. One, as she made clothes, and the other as she had many clothes made for her. At the time, all I cared about is the buttons. Their weight, colour, size and texture varied a great deal – metal, bone, Bakelite, carved, mottled, smooth, pretty, functional, wool covered, four hole, two hole, the range seemed to be endless. Perhaps it’s the invention of Velcro and the wider use of zips, but my Mother’s collection of buttons was a lot smaller and less varied. Mine is very immature in comparison. However I do have one!!

Button haul

My most recent acquisitions arrived courtesy of a very thoughtful and craft oriented friend. And what a beautiful haul they are.

Button collection

They immediately reminded me of afternoon’s spent sorting buttons in my grandmother’s house. There are pretty wooden ones.

Wooden button

And modern metal ones.

Metal button

Girlie rainbow-hued butterfly ones.

Dragonfly button

And even shell ones.

Shell button

I was doubly thankful for the kind gift as I have been thinking of making my own recently and I’ve even bought some materials. I have an orange and brown reversible felt coat that I’ve loved a little too much and the buttons seem to have disappeared. I want to make some two-coloured new ones. This is a summer make – I will post photos when I’m done.

And then I want to crochet some. Another summer make.

crochet buttons

I now feel that I want to work on getting a project made so I can use those gorgeous red floral wood buttons. How about this? I think it’s really elegant. I just wonder whether I’d use it enough…

Interweave Crochet pattern for cape

Interweave Crochet pattern for cape

And that is all from me for a while. I’ve decided to emulate the French and take the entire month of August off. I hope to do a bit of designing, a bit of making, a bit of reading others’ blogs (I miss you all) and enjoy the summer. My warmest wishes to you and your families, thank you for stopping by and speak to you in September.

 

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