Saturday, 15 October 2016

Tundra Baby Vest

What has been going on with my knitting and blogging? I seem to have slowed down, and I am not one of those speedy knitters to begin with. It is a little to do with all the sock knitting that I have been doing. Socks are quite time consuming, but incredibly satisfying. 

Also I have been working quite hard on a new pattern for an baby garment. 

Here is a sneaky peek. I was inspired by once again becoming a great aunt, and also by this gorgeous wool. It is James C. Brett, DK Marble. I originally bought it with the idea that I could make myself a hat. (I'm not quite sure what happened to that idea.) I think it is a really good wool for a baby garment, as it comes in interesting colourways, and is washable. Knitted up this ball reminds me so much of a wintery sky and the northern lights.  

I think babies can look great in bright primaries or more unusual shades, and don't just have to wear white or pastel colours. But if you want to knit it in a paler shade there is also a range of James C. Brett Baby Marble DK.

My baby vest top is simple in structure, and I think it has a slightly Japanese feel. I had the same idea when I designed my Tundra and Wrap Around baby shoes. I hope that the simple shapes mean that the beautiful colours in the wool can spring to the fore. Unlike many knits the main sections are knitted in rib, which I think gives more thickness and some stretchiness as baby grows. The placket for the buttons or toggles is in garter stitch.

The pattern will be out soon, and will come in three different baby sizes. So just a bit more testing to do .... Off out to buy some more wool.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Tavistock Socks (and Giveaway Winners)

I made a conscious decision at the start of this year to be a bit more selective about what I blog about, but at the moment I just seem not to be knitting very much.

Anyway, I thought I would show you these socks I have just made for hubby. I am calling them Tavistock Socks, as I bought the ball of wool for them in Tavistock market when we were on holiday in the summer. It is King Cole Zig Zag 4ply 1866 Epic. Perhaps I should have called this post "Epic Socks", although at school the children are not encouraged to use "epic" as an adjective.

The pattern I used is called Storm by Diane Mulholland, and is a free download on ravelry. I really like the textured look, but it was quite easy to do from memory once you have done a few rows. I couldn't quite get to grips with doing the toe as set out in the pattern, so just did my normal technique. (Wow, I have a normal sock technique!) They are toe-up, which also seems to be my favourite way. They also had a different bind-off at the top to what I have previously used.  But what made me most pleased was getting the colours to match. Having never knitted socks from variegated wool before, I just wasn't confident it was going to work, but as you can see it did.

Please also feel free to admire my husband's creative project for the summer, which is our lovely new decking. It makes a great backdrop for photos.

Blocking socks on the washing line

And finally I would like to announce the winners of my Red Admiral Butterfly Giveaway. The answer to my question "What were the two mistakes I made on the knitted butterflies?" were: that the spots were embroidered in white, and they should have been black, and was that I sewed the bottom wings on the wrong way round. This is really hard to spot, but they have some light blue stitches, which should be near the centre near the body, and not the outside. 

The two winners that I have picked at random from all the entries are Stacey from The Golden Hours and The Patchwork Fairy. I have already contacted them, but if you would like to leave your mailing address in my comments box, I will get the butterflies off to you and promise not publish your addresses.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Red Admiral Butterfly Giveaway

Photographing some real butterflies on my holiday got me to looking at my two butterfly patterns: Red Admiral Butterfly and Monarch Butterfly. I am thinking about designing a new butterfly, but in the meanwhile I decided to knit and rephotograph the Red Admiral. This was one of my first patterns, and photos were taken before I got my present camera. The camera helps, but I also think I have learned a few tricks about getting the lighting and setting right.

This Red Admiral was much easier to photograph than those on Dartmoor. I have also retyped and published the pattern, as I have changed my method of writing colourcharts.  

While looking at real and photographs of Red Admiral Butterflies, I also realized that a they have a brown underside on their lower wings, so in my aim to be really, really accurate have added instructions to make the butterfly this way. In the original pattern I knitted them with coloured wings underneath, and if you were making it for a mobile, where it would be viewed from below, you might still like to do it this way.

I have had a number of trips to my local park to photograph the new butterflies, and as the summer flowers start to fade have felt under a bit of time pressure.

If you want to enter my Giveaway you need to tell me what is wrong with the Red Admiral Butterfly in the first three photos. I would love to say that I had made some deliberate errors, but alas I just didn't look at pattern carefully enough. There are two mistakes, which you might notice I put right in the butterflies further down the page! Could you also tell me your favourite species of butterfly, or if you are a knitter the one you would most like to make? The winners will be drawn at random from all the correct entries

There will be two prizes, my knitted butterflies, so let me know if you have a preference for the one with brown underwings or the other. Winners will be contacted on 2nd October. There are no restrictions on where you live. You can enter either in the comment section of this blog, or by leaving a comment on my Ginx Craft facebook page. Also there are no conditions about following my blog or Ginx Craft on facebook, but of course I would love it if you did. 

Don't you hate those quizes where the answer is really obvious! I do, although I am not going to be too strict about the knitting errors question, so why not have a go? I especially would like to know your favourites butterflies. To make the competition a little bit harder I will not publish any comments with answers to the question until the result is announced. 

Monday, 5 September 2016

Beach Crop Top

Sometimes as a mum you feel that you just can't win. I really wanted to knit something for my daughter, but a nice poloneck or cardigan just wouldn't do (her words). So something young and funky (my words not hers, apparently young people don't say funky). I decided to make a crop top that she could wear on the beach. (We did actually have one day at the beach on our holiday, and all swam in the sea, even me!) 

I was really quite pleased with this little halter neck top, which I have made up as I went along. I can't quite decide whether to type it up as a pattern. As soon as you get into clothing there is the problem of offering various sizes. At the moment it is just notes on a scrappy bit of paper, which is cut to the same shape as the top. Perhaps I will leave this for some winter evenings, as it is not really the time of year for folk to start to knit a beach top (except in Australia).

But her verdict is it is far too small!!! This from the girl that it has taken me half a year to persuade that she needed some longer school skirts. (Ha, ha - I have just won on that argument.) I can't quite understand it, as it is much more discrete than any bikini top. I think the real problem may be that it is woollie. 

So my reluctant model may not even give me permission for this post. I keep telling her that hardly anyone looks at my blog. We will have to see ....

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Sea Foam

I love poking around charity shops, especially the book sections. But it is quite surprising how rarely I find any knitting books. I did find this brilliant Vogue book for only a few pounds. It has big sections on designing garments, and pages and pages of stitches and techniques. Happy evening reading!

I was gifted two balls of Noro Taiyo, which is Aran weight, and decided that it would make a little shoulder shawl for my mum. Sometimes wool is so beautiful that it can just speak for itself, and doesn't need a fancy pattern. She is a big fan of green and yellow shades, so it seemed perfect.

So I have just knitted a big block of Sea Foam stitch, which I learned from my new book. I am not certain if I can count this as lacey knitting, although it is close. My mum came to stay earlier in the summer, and I had hoped to photograph her wearing her new shawl. But it took longer than I had planned, so I was frantically knitting and running in ends in the back of the car on her journey home.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Butterflies and Flowers

I had a lovely time in the garden of the holiday cottage we stayed in on the edge of Dartmoor, photographing the flowers and butterflies. There were just so many beautiful flowers, and more butterflies than I think I have seen in the wild. But trying to catch them on camera was much harder. My family thought I was slightly bonkers, as I would sit quietly in the garden, hoping that a butterfly would settle for long enough and open its wings for me to focus in on it. Perhaps a few generations ago I would have had a butterfly net and pins, but it is much nicer just trying to catch them on camera.

I think that my photos here include a Red Admiral, Tortoiseshell, and Fritillary. There were also some Peacock Butterflies that I didn't manage to photograph

This final photograph went wrong, but I have included it because it is reminds me of our holiday.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

"Heigh Ho says Anthony Rowley ..."

These little frogs are knitted from my new pattern. They are made from small amounts of 4ply sock wool, and I think are a great way of making something cute from those little bits of leftover yarn. (Well I think they are cute, and hope you agree with me.)

I have been working on Mr Frog for quite a few weeks, and I don't know if I am getting slower or just more pernickety. The frogs legs were the main worry, as you can see from the photo above they are long, but frogs' legs are really, really long when they are extended. I have spent quite a while looking at frog anatomy pictures. (Be warned if you type frog legs into google you come across a lot of French cookery pages.) I wanted him to be just right, so his front and hind legs are the right length, with the right number of joints and toes. So you can keep him as a swimming/jumping frog, or if you want him to be permanently sitting I explain how to fold his legs and secure with a few extra stitches.

The frogs are photographed in my friend's garden. I have been cat sitting, so each day frogs and camera have come with me. It is a really beautiful pond, and has some real frogs and newts in it, although I haven't been able to photograph them. I did think it would be rather cool if knitted frog could come face to face with a real one.

Like most of my patterns the pieces are knitted flat, with some short rows to get curves. You will need some doublepoint needles, as there are just a few rows of icord knitting. I have used black beads for the eyes, as I thought they looked realistic, although you should use safety eyes or a knitted knot if giving the frog to a child. The speckles on the frogs are also made with french knots. The pattern is available on ravelry and Craftsy, and will be in all the other usual places later today.

Water Lily