Thursday, 11 January 2018

Direwolf Socks (learning by my mistakes)

There is only one member of my family now that I have not knitted socks for - my son. So I decided to give this a go, as part of my Christmas car knitting. I like to have some knitting to do on our travels at this time of year. 

He really likes "Game of Thrones", and it would be nice to knit him something related to that. There is a pattern on ravelry for a Game of Thrones blanket, and although I have thought about making that for him, it would probably mean I would have to devote a year to it and nothing else...

But I found a really nice pattern for some Direwolf Mittens by Carly Hill, but he is not really a mitten-type of person. (He is a bit like his Dad, who seems to think that real men don't need gloves, however cold!) So I thought I would use the direwolf motif from this pattern, but on a fairly standard sock pattern.  I used Favourite Socks by Voolenvine.

Mistake Number One. I pretty soon worked out that I could not just knit the direwolf motif, as I was knitting in the round. But that was a problem I could overcome, and so I decided I would have to also include the background pattern to get the wool to go the whole way round. (The only other way I suppose would be to find a sock pattern that is knitted flat, with a seam. Does such a thing exist?) I decided to have a patterned section, and knit the rest of the sock plain, but with an alternative colour for the ribbing, heel, and toe.

Mistake Number Two - Just don't try knitting from a chart in the car. I tried all sort of techniques: pinning the chart to the dashboard. But the car movement and my eyesight just made it impossible, so I had to be satisfied with just doing the plain sections on the road. I hasten to say that I am a passenger, not driving.

Blocking on my homemade cardboard feet

So all seemed fine. I thought if I knitted the largest size of sock it would all work out. Mistake Number Three. The first sock was nearly done, and I thought I would get my son to do a try on, to make sure it was the right foot length. But my poor son was a bit like an ugly sister trying to get into the glass slipper. Because of my patterned section, it was just too tight to fit him. 

Good news! - They fit me (Miss Cinderella) perfectly. 

Mistake Number Four. The next thing I realised was that although I had planned to have the direwolves facing in different directions, I had placed their faces fairly near the front of the socks. I think it would have been better to have put them slightly further to the sides, but too late for that now ....

I am still determined to make him some Direwolf socks. (He tells me that grey and white would be more House of Stark.) I think perhaps the best way is to incorporate the motif into a seamed sock. A seam on the foot might be uncomfortable though, but I wondered if I could knit the foot section in the round, and the leg bit flat with a seam. I would welcome any advice. Have you knitted any socks with a motif on the leg, or a flat-knitted seamed sock? Does anyone know of any patterns with the foot in-the-round and the leg seamed?

There are still plenty of days left in January to join my new monthly Ginx Yarn Linx party and share your woolly projects. There is a link to it in at the top of the righthand column.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Cooper's Dad's Cooper

I love making personalised versions of my mini cooper pattern. This one was very special, as this man loves his mini cooper so much that he named his son Cooper. So Cooper decided to buy his dad a knitted version of his car. 

Isn't this picture great. The pristine mini cooper, and also the beautifully organised garage, and Cooper's dad, who used to race mini coopers. (Think on husband - although my husband only has a shed, not a garage, it does not look as tidy as this.)

I was lucky as I already had the perfect colour blue wool, and personalised it by making it just a bit longer than my normal mini, with the black roof, and some of the stickers in the back windows, and the numberplate WUTZAT. 

Unfortunately mini cooper no 1 was mailed, but did not arrive.  So below is Cooper's second cooper. I can just about tell the difference. It has been sent, this time tracked, although not quite in time for Christmas.

UPDATE Oh postal services! Cooper No 1 has now arrived. It took 3 weeks. We have decided to blame Trump. So Cooper's dad will get two coopers I guess, so that will make 3! 

Just a reminder that if you are looking for somewhere new to share your projects I am running a new monthly woolly party. There is a link to it in at the top of the righthand column 

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Happy New Year and Ginx Yarn Linx Party

Wishing everyone who visits my blog Happy New Year!

If you do knit anything from my patterns, please send me a photo, or link the project on ravelry. It is lovely to see my patterns knitted up, and get a bit of feedback.

I have done much less pattern creating than other years. So although I have been knitting, I have sometimes found I just haven't had the energy for the pattern-inventing sort of knitting, which requires a lot more thought.

That said, I have come out with some new patterns. You can click on the photos to go to the pattern.



Christmas Elephants

Tiny Elf Clogs

My other main knitting sales have been versions of my car patterns. Seven cars, 1 van and a caravan. So that is probably why I feel I have been knitting. I do enjoy it when someone asks for a personalised version of my cars, so below are photos of some made this year. I have a few more coming up, but I like to know that the recipients are happy before I post about them.

So what for next year. I have ideas for some new patterns, I do feel perhaps I should update the look of this blog, but that seems such a major task I am not sure how to start. I still have the ambition to publish a book of patterns, but the main thing that I have decided to do (and can start straight away) is run a monthly link party. 

Quite a few of the knitting parties where I used to regularly link have folded this year. So perhaps rather than feel sad about this, I am going to try and run my own. 

I don't want to set too many rules, so you don't have to follow me unless you wish to. I had the idea for it to be monthly, and just for fibre or yarn related crafts. (So knitting, crochet, and any other crafts that use yarn or wool.) Please only link posts that fit this criteria. Apologies to other crafts, but there seems plenty of other parties out there for you. 

I will also feature my favourite link/s each month when I open the party for the next month. And if you have linked this month I will send you a reminder for next month. Please try and visit some of the other posts. (I know I have done it myself, been one of the first to link and then forgotten to call back. But as this party is going to run all month, please try and pop back from time to time and see who has joined in.) I don't mind if you link to old posts, so long as they are yarn-related, and a max of 3 per person per party.

Now I have just got to work out how to make a link party!! If you do come and party it would be great if you could mention it or post my blog button (which you can see below) on your own blog. There will also be an "I was featured" button. 

This is my first party (and I am a bit of a technophobe), so I hope you will support me and each other, and make it a fun place to share your projects and ideas.

Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML

Monday, 4 December 2017

Tiny Dutch Christmas Elf Clogs

I decided to make some new Christmas decorations for my tree. What could be more cute than some tiny pairs of elf shoes? 

In The Netherlands at Christmas, children leave a shoe out by the fireplace or sometimes a windowsill. They also believe that if they leave some hay and carrots in their shoes for Sinterklass's horse, they will be left some sweets or small presents. I am not Dutch, but this seems like such a lovely tradition that I thought I would make  some very tiny elf clogs, to contain sweets or nuts on the tree. My daughter tells me that her German friend leaves a boot on the front doorstep for Saint Nicholas to fill, even though she lives in England.

I am posting about this today because we are very close to the days, 5th/6thDecember when St. Nicholas's Day is celebrated. (Although in some countries it is celebrated on 19th December.)

The pattern is available on ravelry, Etsy, Craftsy, and will be on LoveKnitting. They are an easy knit, all in garter stitch, and with one small seam to sew.

I apologise for the huge number of photos. I have rather got a bit carried away with making these little shoes. I also wanted to show them before and after they have been decorated. They are such a quick make, but also great fun to decorate. I have embroidered with wool, and added some beads. I am sure they could be zhuzhed up in other ways. I would love to see what other people do with them.

I've taken most of these photographs at the front of my house, where I have a fir tree. Lots of curious looks from passers-by. So my only problem now is when I do put them on the Christmas tree (we don't have it yet as my husband like to leave it closer to the day), how to I stop one very greedy labrador getting to them. 

In fact the whole dog/Christmas thing is a bit of a worry. We don't go to town with decorations, but do always have a tree in the living room, with gifts around it. I would love any tips on how to do Christmas with a dog who will eat anything and everything. I suspect the answer is, "carefully".


Monday, 20 November 2017

Vintage Caravan

This week I made one of my vintage caravans for an Etsy customer. It is always a bit odd for me when I return to one of patterns that I wrote a while ago. Did I really do that? But it turned out the same as my original caravan, which is always reassuring.

You can find the Vintage Caravan Pattern here, which also explains how you can make a caravan keyring. I still have a few of these and other transport keyrings in my Etsy Shop.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Weather Watchers

I have not being doing as much photography as I used to. So I have been trying recently to take a few more shots, and send some photographs to the BBC Weather Watchers. You can submit your photographs online, and if you are very lucky your photo might be featured behind the weather forecaster on one of the BBC News programmes.

I had been trying occasionally for a while, with no luck. My new decision was that every day when I walk the dog, I take my camera, and submit the best photograph. I think there is a bit of an art to it. Your photo has to be taken on that day, be landscape in orientation, not feature people, and reflect something about the weather that the presenter wants to talk about. Occasionally there will be an arty close up, but I tend to think that you need at least half of the photo to be of the sky.

I was delighted last week that finally one of my photos was featured on the BBC News Channel. You get a message telling you that you are Editor's Pick, but not the time or channel where your photo will appear. It took a bit of a search to find my picture.

For a laugh, a few days later, I took another picture of almost the same view. It was rather dull weather that day, but I was amazed that it was featured on the BBC London News. I wonder if once you have been featured once, you are put on a short-list, or maybe it was just chance. 

Although I live on the edge of London, we are so lucky to have the beautiful stretch of the River Thames only a short walk from my house. We are also close to some other lovely park areas: Richmond Park and Wimbledon Common. There is plenty of scope for enjoyable walks with the dog and my camera.

What I like about the Weather Watchers is that it really is open to everyone. We all have weather, and the photos just have to capture it, not necessarily the most beautiful view, or taken with the best camera. The BBC also get a daily record of the weather over the whole country.

Clicking around a bit more I have found another of my photos from earlier in the month on a page about frost, and the photo below on their bulletin board. They must have forgotten to tell me they were using it. So arty shots do stand a chance. The fern photo was taken on a frosty morning in Richmond Park. You can see the whole piece at


Sunday, 12 November 2017

Red-Eyed Tree Frog

I thought you might like to see this cute and really realistic tree frog, made by jenniferb3 on ravelry from my Frog pattern. She had used the perfect eyes and colours, and added some embroidery, to make a brilliantly realistic red-eyed tree frog.

Here is a photograph of a real red-eyed tree frog, just so you can see how realistic he is. I love to see what folk have made from my patterns, especially when they are as clever as this.