Thursday 27 January 2011

The King's Speech

We went to see the film The King's Speech at the pictures last night.

It was amazing. Very moving, frequently funny and a great story.

Colin Firth as Bertie was superb - give him the Oscar now - why wait until the ceremony.

Admittedly he didn't look like King George VI but Guy Pearce was David (Edward VIII).

Lots of big name stars in the film - unfortunately Johnny Depp was missing - I'm sure they could have found a role for him somewhere.

I'd definitely recommend this film - we're pre-ordering the DVD already!

Monday 24 January 2011

Sugar Mice

Sometimes it's good to revisit old patterns. I have a book by Jean Greenhowe called Knitted Toys from 1986. Back in the days when access to patterns was very limited, this was the height of sophistication in toy patterns! The patterns are very simple and colourful - I have in the past made quite a few projects from the book.

This weekend I decided to make some mice. The book features mamas and babes - bees, hedgehogs, ladybirds and mice. I made six baby mice, and here they are.

Each mouse took about twenty minutes to knit. The body is knitted flat in one piece with a twisted cord for the tail.

I used embroidery floss for the facial features - this gives a more detailed and delicate finish.

They are very sweet- so I've called them my sugar mice.

Friday 21 January 2011

Lulu Bird

I've just treated myself to a great new knitting book. It's called Knit & Purl Pets and it's by Claire Garland.
There are some really cute patterns in it. I decided to start with something quick and easy, so I made this lovely little bird.

It only took a few hours in the evening to make.

I've named her Lulu.

There's some straight knitting but mostly it's knitted in the round. The pattern calls for the knitting to be distributed over three rather than four needles and I found I had no problem with this. All the patterns I've knitted in the round lately have called for the stitches spread on four needles and a fifth needle to do the work. I've always ended up getting tangled up and frustrated. This is obviously where I have been going wrong - one needle too many. I shall have to experiment more with the lesser number of needles and see how I feel.

Anyway I've got my eye on the rat pattern and the greyhound pattern next.

Monday 17 January 2011

Juggling Cats

How cute are these?

These are juggling balls in the shape of cats.
They are crocheted and the pattern is available for free here.

Quick and easy to make. I filled mine with dried beans to get the right weight for juggling. Unfortunately my juggling skills still haven't improved!

Thursday 13 January 2011

Skye Hat

PDF version
Here it is - Skye Hat - finally photographed and typed up.

It's very comfortable to wear and I'm really pleased with the shape. If you want to make your own, here are the instructions:-


A textured slouchy beanie, knitted in the flat with straight needles.

One size – to fit average adult head

1 x 50g ball of 4 ply yarn in main colour (I used Rowan Scottish 4ply Tweed but this is now unfortunately discontinued)
A very small amount of 4ply in contrast colour for casting on.
Needles –
1 pair 3mm needles (US 2 ½)
1 pair 3.25mm needles (US 3)

26sts and 40 rows to 10cm measured over pattern using 3.25mm needles

CC – contrast colour
MC – main colour
k – knit
p - purl
m1 – make one stitch by picking up the loop before the next stitch and knitting into the back of it.
st – stitch
yrn – yarn round needle (making a stitch)
sl – slip
tog – together
psso – pass the slipped stitch over

Cast on 140 sts with 3mm needles and CC.
Break off CC and join in MC.
k2, p2 to end.
p2, k2 to end. Repeat last two rows 5 times more. 12 rows worked in total.

Change to 3.25mm needles.
Increase row – k2 (m1, k5) to last 3 sts, m1, k3. [28 increases, 168 sts]
Knit 1 row

Commence pattern –
Knit 1 row
Purl 1 row
Eyelet row – k3 (yrn, k2tog, k2) to last st, k1.
Purl 1 row
Knit 2 rows

Repeat the last 6 rows 6 more times.

Decrease row – (sl1, k2tog, psso, k18) 8 times. [152 sts]
Purl 1 row
Work eyelet row
Purl 1 row
Knit 2 rows

Work the 6 rows of the pattern

Decrease row – (sl1, k2tog, psso, k16) 8 times. [136 sts]
Purl 1 row
Work eyelet row
Purl 1 row
Knit 2 rows

Decrease row – (sl1, k2tog, psso, k14) 8 times. [120 sts]
Purl 1 row
Work eyelet row
Purl 1 row
Decrease row – (sl1, k2tog, psso, k12) 8 times. [104 sts]
Knit 1 row

Knit 1 row
Purl 1 row
Decrease row – (sl1, k2tog, psso, k10) 8 times. [88 sts]
Purl 1 row
Knit 2 rows

Decrease row – (sl1, k2tog, psso, k8) 8 times. [72 sts]
Purl 1 row
Decrease row – (sl1, k2tog, psso, k6) 8 times. [56 sts]
Purl 1 row
Decrease row – (sl1, k2tog, psso, k4) 8 times. [40 sts]
Knit 1 row
Decrease row – (sl1, k2tog, psso, k2) 8 times. [24 sts]
Purl 1 row
Decrease row – (sl1, k2tog, psso) 8 times. [8 sts]
Break yarn and thread through remaining 8 sts. Pull up tight and fasten off securely. Join back seam.

As of 26th January 2015 I have written the pattern for knitting in the round.  The PDF for this version is available here.  

Monday 10 January 2011

50 Projects in 2011?

I have previously mentioned that I designed and made a hat over Christmas. I was just about to type up the pattern for you when I had a change of heart and decided to rip it out and almost start again - the shape wasn't exactly how I wanted it. I've now reknitted the hat and I'm happier with the shape - so the pattern should follow shortly.

I've been thinking about New Year's resolutions - I don't tend to make any specific ones but usually I just aim at a general 'being better'. This year is my 50th birthday (which I'm really looking forward to) and so I wanted to mark it out as really special. I thought I would make a resolution to complete 50 knitting and crochet projects in 2011. I counted up the number of projects I completed in 2010, just to see if this was a viable goal - I actually completed 85 knitting and crochet projects in 2010 - so to complete 50 in 2011 is hardly challenging. I'll leave the resolution at 'being better' - and see how I get on!

In the meantime, here's a really quick and cute knitting project.

These mini aliens take about 20 minutes each to make. They are only just over 1 inch tall and are knitted in one piece - the arms are actually little bobbles.
The pattern is by Barbara Prime and is available free here.

A friend on Ravelry recommended this pattern to me and I'm glad she did. She also drew my attention to a cute knitted pig pattern - I'll be trying that one soon.

Sunday 9 January 2011

Nonna Finished

Seems like a long time since I started knitting Nonna. Christmas intervened and the lovely Fair Isle sweater had to be put on hold. But now it's finished!
So colourful - so much fun to knit.

The pattern is Nonna by Erika Knight and it can be found in Rowan magazine #48.
It is knitted in double knitting weight yarn - a total of 6 different colours. I love the bright pink band that breaks up the other colours.
It's lovely and warm to wear and very comfortable.

Full details of the finished project can be found on my Ravelry page here.

Wednesday 5 January 2011

Hats for Hilary

Happy New Year, everyone! I've been quiet the last few days because unfortunately I started the year off very unwell! You know you're not well when you haven't even the strength to lift your knitting needles! Today I am feeling a lot bouncier - almost back to normal - so I had better start catching up with things.

On Christmas Day I like to start a new project sitting in front of the television - something relatively straightforward. This year I decided to design and make a hat. I'll let you see the photos and the pattern once I'm organised and have it all typed up.

By coincidence, my cousin Hilary sent a message in her Christmas card asking about hats with earflaps. My hat doesn't have earflaps but I've found a few patterns that might be of interest.
The first pattern is called Thorpe Hat, and is by Kirsten Kapur. The pattern is available as a PDF download and can be accessed here.
It is knitted in chunky yarn so should knit up quickly and can be made plain or with a fair isle pattern. This pattern seems to be very popular on Ravelry which is usually an indication that it's a good pattern.

The second pattern is for a basic earflap hat - plenty of scope to customise. It is by Julie Hentz and is knitted in aran weight yarn.

The pattern is available free here.

Lastly I liked the look of this hat with the pompom. It's called Bibbity Bobbity and is by Cassandra Dominick.
It is knitted in a worsted/heavy DK weight yarn and is available free here.

Hilary, I hope these patterns are useful/inspiring/thought-provoking - I'm tempted to try one myself!