Friday, 24 April 2015

Apple Blossom



Spring has definitely come, and the apple tree in my back garden is looking particularly lovely this year. I wonder if this will mean a good crop of apples.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Tundra Baby Shoe


Baby shoes are my favourite knit. So relatively quick to make, and the end result is so pleasing. 

I had an idea for a new design, as two of my work colleagues are expecting. (In fact one of the babies has already arrived.) Although I love knitting my Baby Daisy Shoes and Baby Bee Shoes I thought it was about time for a change. I am sort of trying to work up the courage to design a baby garment, so these have been a welcome delaying tactic.


Those of you who know me are probably looking at this new design and thinking "why no embroidery?". Well I may add some later (I just can't resist) but for the pattern photos I wanted to show the simple shape of the shoes, and I thought that embroidery might be a distraction. 


I have put a lot of thought into the shape of these shoes. I had in my mind that they would be very simple. 

Just for once I can say that this is not a difficult knit. You do not even have to know how to purl. (I am usually so worried about people buying my patterns and finding them hard, that I think I exaggerate the difficulty.) But this pattern is all knit, and has only one technique that new knitters may not have come across. 

These were made with my last scraps of this wool. Unfortunately I don't know what it is as I would love to get some more. Any clues?








This is the wrap method to prevent holes in your knitting when you change direction mid-row. I explain this at the start of the pattern, and have put a photo tutorial on my blog to help more visual learners. (There is also a link to this in knitting tips in the right sidebar.) Once you have done this a few times you will see it is not hard. This gives the front upper of the shoe its very distinctive curves.

Knitted with James C. Brett Marble DK

The pattern just comes in one size, and the finished shoes are 8-9 cm long, so about the size for a newborn to 4 months. You need no more than 22g of wool. I am thinking of getting some chunky wool and trying to size it up to adult size, as I would quite like to pad about the house in a pair of these. 

Knitted from Jaeger Luxury Tweed (unfortunately this wool has been discontinued)

The shoe is made up of three pieces, and I have used doubleknit slightly fluffy wool to give them the look of a felted shoe, and to make them really cosy. So like my other shoe patterns you will find this a tight knit, but that is what helps give the shoes their structure. The pattern is available on Craftsy, ravelry and Etsy.

While knitting these I have had the idea for another baby shoe, which I am already working on. So expect even more baby shoes.

Wrap1K or (How to Prevent Holes in Your Knitting When Turning Mid-Row)

This is a method that I use in a lot of my patterns. (Looking through I really do use it a lot. You can find it in Spiral Shell, Conker, Cricket, Henrietta 2CV, Lizard, Minnow, Sand Dollar, Stanley Spider, and Vintage Tractor.) I guess I like this method! So I thought that a photo tutorial might be helpful for those who haven't come across it before. 

Looking on YouTube I see there are other ways of turning mid-row. To me they seem more complicated, so this is the way I recommend if you are knitting any of my patterns. It is fairly straightforward, and once you have done a few turns you should not need the tutorial any more.

Knitting just part way across a row, and then turning back, is one way to add shaping to a knit. If you looks at my Spiral Shell you will see what a good method this can be, as all the shaping here is done by this method. 


If you use this wrap method when turning to knit back you will not get any holes in your work.  I have used this method in my new pattern Tundra Baby Shoes, and although I explain it in the notes, I thought some photos might make it clearer. In this pattern I am knitting (garter stitch), but this method works when you are doing stocking stitch as well.

The bright wool and needles seemed the best way for the photos to be fairly clear.
Here I am having knit part way across a row.

I bring the wool to the front of the knitting.

I slip a stitch from the left to right needle as if purling.

Then I move the wool to the back of the work.

The same stitch is slipped back to the left needle.

Hard to photograph, but here the work has been turned over so I am about to knit back the way I have just come. You can see that the wool has gone half way round the stitch.

I move the wool to the back to the knitting, ready to knit back the way I have come. Now the wool has wrapped the whole way around the wrap stitch. I knit back to the edge.

You can see hear that I have knitted just part way across the row and back.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Skater Girl Skirt

Cutting out the paper pattern.
School holidays are the time when you need a few indoor projects. So my daughter and I decided that it would be a good idea to make a skirt. Since she has not done it before, we thought we would have a go at following a pattern. We were also a bit inspired by the return of The Great British Sewing Bee.

This was the pattern we used.

She picked a light weight cotton, which I thought would be easy to sew, and would gather easily. She hasn't done gathers before, so I thought it would be good to learn a new technique. The skirt is gathered at the front, and has elastic inserted in the waistband at the back.
 
Not quite sure what was up with the beret. I think she was getting in a 
French fashion sort of mood.



A little bit of hand stitching to close up the channel for the elastic.

And here is the skater girl in action

Thursday, 2 April 2015

#Knit4Monarchs


Well yesterday really was a strange and exciting day. It started off when I noticed I had sold two of my Monarch Caterpillar Chrysallis Patterns on ravelry, both to Canadians. It's not my biggest seller, but I thought perhaps a local knitting group was doing a project. But then things started going a bit bonkers - messages on ravelry and more visitors to my blog than I have ever had.

This is why 


Please watch the video right to the end, as you will then find out that the best thing you can do if you live in areas of the world where the monarch is endangered is not to knit a home for a caterpillar but to plant milkweed. #gotmilkweed The next best thing would be to make a donation to the David Suzuki Foundation

So although knitting a chrysallis will not directly help monarchs, it is a very cute and fun thing to do. It was a very gentle April Fool joke, along the lines of a similar one to knit a coat for a penguin. It is quite funny to think I am a bit of a joke in Canada. 

I was really happy that my pattern was used in this campaign to raise awareness of a serious problem. So to help support Monarch Butterlies 50% of any sales from my Chrysallis/Caterpillar Pattern, and also my Monarch Butterfly Pattern, will be sent to the David Suzuki Foundation.




A Monarch Butterfly resting on Milkweed

Sorry to the Saturday Snapshotters if you have seen some of these photos before. I did have a really Easter themed post, but could not resist linking this one instead. Hope you are having a Happy Easter!


Friday, 27 March 2015

Great Eggsplorers


School holds an Easter Egg decorating competition. So I thought I would show you my daughter's entry - "Captain PegLeg Egg and the Great Eggsplorer". (Just noticed her spelling mistake! Spelling not her strong point.)


Three years ago, when my son was at the same year in school, this was his entry. I was sure I had this on my blog very early on, but can't find it now. Funny how both their creations were "eggslorers".
 


Saturday, 21 March 2015

Eclipse

Today's eclipse was a bit of a non-event for us, as it was so overcast here. Lots of other parts of the UK had a great view, but we were just unlucky.

So I thought I would post a photo of the last solar eclipse in August 1999. For me it was very memorable, as the eclipse was on the day of my son's due date. I tried to persuade hubby if our baby was born on the actual day of the eclipse we should name him something like Moonbeam, or Sunny, or even Eclipse. Luckily for him he was two weeks early!


This is my husband holding our son and looking at the eclipse through a pinhole camera. I know this is probably a bit of a health and safety nightmare, and not to be recommended. Just for once I have a good excuse for the lighting in my photograph. It had a really strange quality.

Did you get a good view of yesterday's eclipse, or another one? I would love to hear your eclipse experiences.