Saturday, 26 February 2011

My favourite sweater

This is a commission that I completed towards the end of last year, and it remains my favourite. My brief was to create a sweater like this one:

See the black and red sweater? Or did you blink? Watch it again ... that's it!

So, armed with King Cole Haze in Poppy and Ebony, and a suitable sweater pattern for adapting, I set off:
We decided to make the stripes all the same width for ease, a long length body and slightly overlong sleeves. Here it is in progress:
And here's the final result in action (on a booga board, I think!). Twas just what she wanted, hooray!

Thursday, 24 February 2011

I love commissions!

Although I am still making my sock monkeys, the majority of my work this year so far has been via commissions (and most of them knitting ones!). I have a couple on the go at the moment and a couple in the pipeline. I love working on commissions, the back-and-forth with my customer to choose what they would like, the visualising of the project, the research to get the final look just right. But most of all I love the way that it brings variety to my work and often introduces me to new techniques and materials that I've not had the chance to try out before.

This is one of my current commissions, a pair of Gryffindor Pride socks:
Gryffindor Pride designed by Ann Kingstone
New techniques learned here - knitting cuffs with knitting in elastic (very odd stuff!), and my first attempt at intarsia in the round. It's not that hard actually, just looks impressive! Quite slow to knit though; this is about 10 days' progress. I'm hoping I pick up speed.

My other commission on the go today is some bunting for a fabulous friend Bronwen in the States who makes nappy cakes for baby showers. She sent me some divine flannel material, which I have augmented with a lovely yellow design I found which I feel complements her work fabulously!
Just look at that cute fabric with the babygrows!
So I sat in my kitchen this afternoon, with my i-pod tuned to Radio 3, and cut out some bunting:
As you can see, not ironed yet!
You can probably just make out in the picture my scribblings for the design. You can almost guarantee I will lose that bit of paper before I finish. On the right are my treasured pinking shears, which once belonged to my granny (and I think to her mother too). I lost them for about 14 months and truly mourned them as I thought they had gone for good. They are wonderful scissors. Any seamstress will know how valuable good scissors are (and how attached you get to them!).

More past projects tomorrow :o)

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Another past project

Here's another in the series "What I have been up to in the last year" !

This is a gift I put together for a friend who is having a tough time at the moment. Firstly, I made her a Dammit Doll to help ease the stress and emotions she may be feeling:
Dammit Doll
And just in case you are unsure of her role, here is the little card I sent with it (apologies for the poor picture, I seem to have been suffering from camera shake! NOT alcohol induced!)
Hence you can see why I gave her felt hair (which unfortunately bears more resemblance to an old-fashioned crash helmet, but we'll let that one go) as I thought wool hair may work loose over time!
Also, since she will be spending lots of time being wanged about (if she is doing her job properly), I thought I would save her modesty (if not her dignity):
I also made her a shawl in a nice bright red, to add a bit of colour to the hospital ward (they tend to be very beige, I've noticed) and to keep her shoulders warm if she got chilly:
It was a lovely quick knit, in King Cole Haze, which I was a little dubious about before I used it but I think it knits up well and is lovely and soft.

Then I made her a bag to keep all her bits and pieces in for when she goes to hospital appointments. This bag is made from curtain fabric samples, I think I used seven in all! It's double layered and has two pockets inside, for drinks and books etc. Unfortunately it came out a bit bigger than I intended, but hopefully it's still a useful size.
I added a couple of vintage buttons to each side to complete the look.
 And here's the inside:

This friend has a young daughter, so I sent her a sock monkey too so that she didn't feel left out:
They were all well received and it was nice to feel I could do a little something, even though I live far away from my friend.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Although I haven't been blogging for a long while, I have been very busy. Here's a toybox that I painted up for the boys at the end of last year:
I used the book "The Tiger Who Came to Tea" by Judith Kerr as my reference, as it was my favourite book as a child, and the boys love it too.  The picture on the top of the box appears on the back of the book.
This is the side of the box, showing the Tiger drinking all the water from the taps so that Sophie can't have a bath that night (even as a child I knew this wasn't possible, but it didn't spoil the magic of the story!)
On the inside of the box I painted my favourite scene in the book. As the Tiger has eaten everything in the house, there is nothing for dinner, so Sophie puts on her coat and wellingtons over her nightdress and goes out to a cafe with mummy and daddy for sausages and chips and ice cream. As a child, I thought the idea of going out at night after bedtime (particularly in your nightie!) was just magical. As the lid is often open as the boys rummage around for bits of lego, this view is often on display.

Originally I had planned to paint scenes on the sides and back too, and I should really have painted the inside as well as it looks rather shoddy! But I'm afraid I had run out of patience by this point and was desparate to move onto something else! Being a bit of a perfectionist my eye is drawn to all the mistakes, but I am basically fairly pleased with the end result. I find painting furniture very enjoyable!

Monday, 21 February 2011

Another Free Pattern!

Continuing yesterday's theme, here's the pattern for a washcloth I designed that was hosted on the old site. This way everyone can have a go!

"Wash" washcloth
Wash Washcloth

Moss st: k1, p1 to end of row.
4mm needles, cast on 37sts. Moss st 4 rows.
Row 5: k1, p1, k33, p1, k1
Row 6: k1, p1, k1, p31, k1, p1, k1
Rows 7, 9, 11: as row 5
Rows 8, 10: as row 6
Row 12: k1, p1, k1, p3, k2, p6, k2, p6, k6, p6, k1, p1, k1
Row 13: k1, p1, k6, p8, k5, p2, k6, p2, k4, p1, k1
Row 14: k1, p1, k1, p3, k2, p6, k2, p4, k2, p6, k2, p4, k1, p1, k1
Row 15: k1, p1, k5, p2, k6, p2, k4, p2, k6, p2, k4, p1, k1
Row 16: k1, p1, k1, p3, k2, p6, k2, p4, k2, p12, k1, p1,k1
Row 17: k1, p1, k13, p2, k4, p2, k6, p2, k4, p1, k1
Row 18: k1, p1, k1, p3, k2, p6, k2, p4, k2, p12, k1, p1, k1
Row 19: k1, p1, k12, p2, k5, p10, k4, p1, k1
Row 20: k1, p1, k1, p3, k10, p6, k6, p6, k1, p1, k1
Row 21: k1, p1, k6, p7, k6, p2, k6, p2, k4, p1, k1
Row 22: k1, p1, k1, p3, k2, p6, k2, p12, k2, p4, k1, p1,k1
Row 23: k1, p1, k5, p2, k12, p2, k6, p2, k4, p1, k1
Row 24: k1,p1, k1, p3, k2, p6, k2, p4, k2, p6, k2, p4, k1, p1, k1
Row 25: k1, p1, k5, p2, k6, p2, k4, p2, k6, p2, k4, p1, k1
Row 26: k1, p1, k1, p3, k2, p6, k2, p5, k8, p5, k1, p1, k1
Row 27: k1, p1, k7, p6, k6, p2, k6, p2, k4, p1,k1
Rows 28, 30, 32, 34: k1, p1, k1, p31, k1, p1, k1
Rows 29, 31, 33, 35: k1, p1, k33, p1, k1
Row 36: k1, p1, k1, p3, k2, p6, k2, p5, k2, p5, k2, p4, k1, p1, k1
Row 37: k1, p1, k5, p2, k5, p2, k5, p2, k6, p2, k4, p1, k1
Row 38: k1, p1, k1, p3, k2, p6, k2, p5, k2, p5, k2, p4, k1, p1, k1
Row 39: k1, p1, k5, p4, k1, p4, k5, p2, k6, p2, k4, p1, k1
Row 40: k1, p1, k1, p3, k2, p6, k2, p4, k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p3, k1, p1, k1
Row 41: k1, p1, k4, p2, k2, p3, k2, p2, k5, p8, k5, p1, k1
Row 42: k1, p1, k1, p4, k2, p4, k2, p5, k2, p2, k3, p2, k2, p3, k1, p1, k1
Row 43: k1, p1, k4, p2, k3, p1, k3, p2, k5, p2, k4, p2, k5, p1, k1
Row 44: k1, p1, k1, p5, k2, p2, k2, p6, k2, p7, k2, p3, k1, p1, k1
Row 45: k1, p1, k4, p2, k7, p2, k6, p2, k2, p2, k1, p1, k6
Row 46: k1, p1, k1, p5, k2, p2, k2, p5, k2, p9, k2, p2, k1, p1, k1
Row 47: k1, p1, k3, p2, k9, p2, k6, p4, k7, p1, k1
Row 48: k1, p1, k1, p6, k4, p6, k2, p9, k2, p2, k1, p1, k1
Row 49: k1, p1, k3, p2, k9, p2, k6, p4, k7, p1, k1
Row 50: k1, p1, k1, p7, k2, p7, k2, p9, k2, p2, k1, p1, k1
Rows 51, 53, 55: k1, p1, k33, p1,k1
Rows 52, 54, 56: k1, p1, k1, p31, k1, p1, k1
Moss st four rows.

I’ve checked and double-checked it, but if there are any mistakes then please do let me know! Feel free to make this washcloth for yourself or as a gift but please do not make it to sell. It is listed on Ravelry and I would love to see your finished results. Enjoy!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

New Beginnings

My little friend!
 It's been such a long time since I blogged, but I've decided to dip my toe in the water again. Just as a little taster, I am republishing this pattern which appeared on my old blog (sadly now corrupted!). I started making these when I was in the depths of depression as a wee comfort when things were bad. I kept mine in my pocket and gave it a squeeze whenever I needed a hug to keep me going.

I have tested the pattern a few times now, but if you spot any errata please contact me and I can edit the pattern. Feel free to make them for yourselves and your friends - they are small enough to slip in an envelope and you can complete one in an evening (this one above took me about three hours altogether). You could also make them to raise money for charity - all that I ask is that you do not make them to sell for profit, and that if anyone asks you for the pattern, you point them in this direction! Thank you :-)

Friend in My Pocket
2.5mm dpns (at least 3)
4-ply or sock yarn in cream for the body
4-ply or sock yarn in any colour for the hat and dress
Small scrap of stuffing
Embroidery thread for features and hair
Using the i-cord method, cast on 4 stitches and knit 11 rows.  Break yarn, put sts on a spare needle, and rpt for second leg.
Put both legs on 1 needle. i-cord all 8 sts for two rows. Divide sts between two needles and, using third needle, k1, inc in next st, k to last two sts, inc in next st, k1 (10 sts)
K 7 rows in the round.
Next row: k3, k2tog, and continue on these four sts, leaving the rest of the sts on the other needle. Using your third needle, i-cord 11 rows for arm. Break yarn, thread through stitches and fasten off neatly. Repeat with remaining sts for second arm.
Stuff the body with a little stuffing; do not over-stuff.
Pick up and k 2 sts from back, 2 sts from arm, 2 sts from front, 2 sts from other arm (8sts). Divide btwn two needles and k 1 row.
Next row: k1, kfb round (12 sts). K 6 rows.
Next row: K1, k2tog - 8 sts. Carefully stuff head whilst rem 8 sts are still on the needles.
Next row: k2tog across row - 4 sts. Fasten off.
Embroider face: using two strands of brown thread, sew French knots for eyes, starting and finishing threads at the top of the head (which will be hidden by the hat). Use two strands of red and sew small neat backstitches for the mouth.
Cast on 12 sts. Divide between two needles and k3 rows in the round.
Next row: K1 (Kfb, K2) to last two stitches, Kfb, K1.
K 2 rows.
Next row: K1 (Kfb, K2) to end - 21 sts.
K 6 rows.  Cast off.
Hair (optional):
Wind a length of brown embroidery thread around two fingers five or six times; cut at one side. Hold the threads over the top of the head and sew to head with small stitches to create a “parting”. Using red thread, fasten to side of neck then sew round hair to create bunches. Repeat at other side. Fasten off at top of head as before.
Cast on 20 sts. Knit in stocking stitch, decreasing 1 st at each end of each k row. If you are going to make a headscarf then slip the first st of each row purlwise to help prevent the st st from curling up. Continue to dec in this manner until there are 2 sts left on the needle; fasten off.
Hat: sew up the seam and place on head. Sew firmly in place.
Headscarf: sew the corners at the cast-on edge together and place on head. Catch the cast-off end to the nape of the neck. Sew headscarf firmly in place.

Some other little friends!

I hope you enjoy making these! The pattern is on Ravelry and if you would like to share your little friends on there then I would love to see them.