Saturday, 6 February 2016

WIP - No Teddy Bears Were Harmed in the Making of This Project ...

WARNING - Some of you may find these photos distressing

Poor old teddy, but he has been so helpful, as head is just the right shape. I have been working really hard on this new teddy bear pattern. I want him to be a perfect traditional old-fashioned bear.

I am probably not even half way there yet, as I have done the arms, and I am working out the shaping for the head panels using Eric the Bear as my assistant. On the final pattern his head will, I hope, be knitted in one piece. This is not the way I usually work, but the shape I need is fairly precise and unusual. Nothing is going to be knitted in the round, because I find working flat means I can use short rows to get extra curves and bulges where I need them. A teddy should have a bit of a round tum.

Teddy may take a few more weeks, and then there will be test knitting, so probably even longer before I release the pattern. He is going to be jointed, so I also need to check out where I can buy some toymakers joints. 

For me this is a fairly big project. For this first version I am rapidly getting through some wool that I unravelled from a pullover. My mum enjoyed helping me with this at Christmas, and although she can't really see well enough to knit now, she is a pretty good unraveller.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

"It's A Mini Thing"

I've been asked recently to knit some variations on one of my favourite patterns - Mini Cooper. The Mini Cooper is the sort of car that owners seem to not just like, but fall in love with. This first Mini Cooper is already in Texas, with Alex. It follows the basic pattern, with the Union Jack roof, but this time there are black stripes on the bonnet.

... and here is the customer's own car.

Next I was asked me to reproduce a mini with a Paul Smith roof.  I really enjoyed matching the colours for the striped room. You might also notice that I altered my pattern a little, as this car is a five door mini. Minis seem to be getting less and less mini! This one has gone all the way to Taiwan.

And finally a mini cooper convertible. I have given this one the look of a roll back roof, so there is no window at the back. I also tried to recreate the look of the bonnet and black wheel arches.  I had a job trying to match the colour with this one, but the customer was delighted nevertheless.

So this is a new line in my Etsy shop. I wonder if I will be asked to make any more. There is such a variety of minis on the roads. Strange that I am turning into a bit of a car buff, as I am the sort of person who if asked what car I drive, say something dopey like "a red one"!

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Dutch House Bookends

So as promised quite while ago some functional houses. ... I made these Dutch House bookends as a Christmas gift, so although they have been complete and the pattern written up for a little while, I have been keeping them secret. I also had a bit of a job getting photos, because of dark, overcast days. I'm still not completely happy with these ones, but am just having to go with it, as the houses are now with their new owner.

Although these houses are bookends, I think a single house would be very useful as a doorstop. They would also make a lovely toy. I fancy making some more so I could just have a little row of colourful houses along side an imaginary canal

The bookends are filled with rice, which make them very weighty. You could also use something like lentils or dry beans. Hubby says that they could also be cracked open in an emergency. 

They are knitted with doubleknit wool, and although there is some sewing up of seams, perhaps not as much as you would imagine. The front is a separate piece, but the back, sides and roof are all knitted in one. The pattern contains a diagram to help with the sewing up.

I have made the two houses different in roof shape and colour, but with enough similarities in style so that they look like a pair. The finished bookend are approximately 17cm by 9 cm by 9cm.

The pattern for them contains instructions for both houses. It has taken me a while to write up, as it also contains illustrations to help with the wool embroidery. I think some folk might be a bit scared by the idea of sewing on the doors and windows, but I find this the most relaxing part. You just plod away putting the needle in and out, and although it takes a while, at the end you have made something rather unique.

The pattern also contains a single pattern piece to make an inner lining from calico to contain the filling. This also caused me a bit of grief, as the pattern piece is bigger than A4 paper size, but I did not want to split it over two pages. The solution that I chose was shrink it from A3 to A4. So anyone using it will need to find a photocopier that enlarges it back to the correct size, A4 to A3. I think these are fairly readily available these days, although if anyone can't get to one I will email the shape split over two pages, and you would just need to join it together to make the pattern piece. Please contact me if you would prefer this.

I specially picked what I thought were my most photogenic books. What books would you put between your?

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Sock Buddies

I have finished my second ever pair of socks!  (Ok it is 2 years since the last pair, so perhaps I shouldn't be quite so full of myself.) I can see why some people get hooked on sock knitting, as there is something so pleasing about turning the heel.

This was my "Christmas car journey" knitting. I do really find car knitting relaxing, and our journey back from Devon on a very stormy day, did mean I needed something to keep me calm. But car knitting has to be from a pattern, and also something not too fancy, so I can manage in darkness too.

So I thought I would have a go at these children's socks from Knits for Fab Feet and Cosy Toes by Anna Tilman, which I have photographed at the bottom of this page. What is great about the sock patterns in this book is that they come in a range of sizes. These were knitted on four needles. I didn't use the recommended wool, but some Sirdar Snuggly Double Knitting wool, which as you can see turned out great for size, and I really like the slightly unusual colour.

The pattern is called Sock Buddies, because of the little bears in the pockets. I didn't  quite follow the bear section of the pattern, but sort of improvised them. These socks are for my daughter (those are her legs!), who did not think she was too old at 13 to have teddies in pockets on her socks. I did suggest she could keep her asthma inhaler in one of the pockets, which didn't go down very well!

There are lots of other lovely patterns in this book, so I think it might be time to knit some socks for myself next.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Knitting Orders

I have been doing some knitting to order. I don't do very much of this, as sometimes it is hard to judge how long the knitting is going to take. But having intended to put some of my more popular knits in my Etsy Shop for Christmas, as usual I somehow didn't get myself organised, so was really pleased to get a few unprompted orders.
So as you can see my classic 2CV is driving off to someone named Pam

Some of the knits have been for a lady I met through one of the craft fairs that I did several years ago.

This is my Cherry Berry, but knitted in a smaller size for a toddler ...
... with matching mittens
and some baby bee shoes and shoe bag ...

... and finally my blueberry clutch bag, in sophisticated black, with a tiny silver fleck, and tartan silk lining.

I do like revisiting my own patterns from time to time. It is sort of reassuring to see that I can produce the same item. 

Also fun for me if someone wants a slight variation on one of my patterns, which is what I am working on at the moment ...

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Stashbuster Christmas Trees

If you want to make some extra decorations then my knitted Christmas Tree Pattern is incredibly versatile. As you can see they turn out great in all sorts of different colours, and you can have great fun with the decorations.

I have taken this pattern into school for my school knitting club, as it is fairly simple. Well that is what I thought, although you do need to be able to knit, purl, and know how to increase and decrease. It is a great way of using up any oddments of wool that you have left over.

It is also fun to add details with a bit of stitching. I love projects where the sewing up stitches are part of the design! There are photo tutorials for some of the stitches used here in my sidebar.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Wedding Anniversary Bus

I am always a bit thrilled when I have a sale from my Etsy Shop, but also sometimes feel a twinge of sadness when posting off something that I have spent time creating. Very silly, I know. 

But when I got a message recently asking if I could personalize one of my London buses as a Wedding Anniversary gift for seven years, I was really delighted. Seven years is traditionally associated with either copper or wool. I don't think I have ever made something that has been an anniversary gift before. My photo has not quite caught that the number on the front is a 7. 

"What a wonderful, thoughtful husband."  I keep saying this within earshot of my own husband, hoping he might be inspired for our next anniversary.