Archive for the ‘knitting’ Category

In which I write up a pattern after a very long time

March 13, 2012

So, it’s been a while since I updated which means it’s time for a brief flurry of activity.

First things first.  I finally got around to putting the animal face charts from the blanket squares into a single PDF.  They look like this.


There’s a Panda, a Bear, a jaunty Jack Russell puppy and a Monkey.  The pattern has been added to my Ravelry downloads here.

BTW – what the hell has happened to WordPress since I last used it?



September 26, 2011

Yesterday, we took a trip to the seaside to visit Jenny and meet the baby. It’s been far too long since the six of us were all together in one place and it was a great day. There was an excess of cake, a brief spell of sunshine as we walked along the side of the beach, lots of laughs, some contemplation of whether the presentation of lots of knitted gifts in childhood would cause a later fear of knitted things and, of course, a very cute baby.

And there were presents.  We handed over the blanket we’d collaborated over and sewn together one afternoon in May on the South Bank (and lined by Amanda after we finished)

Louise gave her the fab little dog that she’d made.  And I finally got to hand over the bootees which I have been hiding for the last few months.

Two bootees, one face

I wanted to do something a little different to the traditional animal bootees you see. I got the idea for the bootees from a pair of Japanese socks I bought a while ago in Covent Garden. Those had a single panda face over the two socks and always make me smile when I know I’m wearing them.

The other big event was that we  planned a secret surprise for Amanda’s big birthday – a big basket of craft related presents. I made a case for a pair of good sewing scissors –

Grey felt, red embroidery. I’ve always loved the combination of red and grey. I’ve always thought of myself mostly as a knitter, but it seems these days that I sew more often than anything.

Hello sailor

August 21, 2011

So, a while ago I blogged this about my experiments with pleating.  Here’s the end results.

It’s actually been sitting in a pile of almost completed projects, waiting for buttons, for about 3 months. I finally went to put on the buttons on today but had to do a repair job first (more of which later).

In basic construction, it is totally seamless. I made the body in one piece to the armhole split, shaped the shoulders with short rows and did a three needle bind-off on the shoulders. From there, I picked up around the armholes and knit a short-row set-in sleeve cap, then knit the sleeves down from there.  The decorative pleating on the front I’m fairly happy with – some more detail here

The red buttons, with the pleating on the front and the rich blue (Azul Profundo Malabrigo laceweight for those who want details) have a slight nautical feel.

Anyway, as I decided to take a quick five minutes to finally put the buttons on this morning, I noticed that, in the time it had been sat in the nearly done pile, bastard moths had been at it and chewed a nice hole next to the armhole. So, time for a little repair job. I used instructions on filling a hole in a vintage knitting book that I have.  The hole was here

The repair has worked pretty well. Not totally invisible, but enough to hide the damage. In a way, the more annoying qualities of the malabrigo (it felts like a bugger as soon as you touch it) helped and the fabric does kind of hold its integrity around the hole that the little flying twunts made.

Another time I think I’d look at a different yarn choice – the malabrigo I suspect will not stand up to a lot of wear before felting further. We shall see. I will also have a bit of a look at making the pleated neckline into a proper collar on the cardigan.

Perry Girl

June 26, 2011

As the sun has finally come out, my thoughts have turned to summery knitting.  My thoughts were lightweight, cool fabrics, something very simply shaped but with small interesting details (I realised a while ago that the vintage patterns I love knitting are just too damn fussy for me to actually wear).

I can’t pretend that classic mod/scooter wear has not had a bit of an influence on what I want (so far my summer wardrobe purchases have been some red capri pants, a black cotton pencil skirt and a op-art-ish striped blazer). And Fred Perry has been playing on my mind. Not the Winehouse stuff. Winehouse can bugger off. But the classic shirts – this summer with contrast trims

Mostly, though, the Richard Nicoll Laurel Wreath collection. I love the palettes of turquoisey blues, coral and tan. Love it. It’s softer than the pure bright blue and red I would normally wear, a summer version I guess.

I have been to visit the range in the shop a couple of times.   I still covet that skirt and a couple of the tops.

So, the summer sales have provided me with some Rowan fine milk cotton in a deep turquoise and deep coral.  I have a mental image of short sleeves, and contrast trim with welt, cuffs and collar in linen stitch and a contrasting colour. I have started the obsessive knitting which only comes with a brand new project.  Here’s what we have so far.

Multiple Sclerosis: The Big Knit

April 21, 2011

Last year, I designed a pattern for a knitted version of human chromosome number one.  The two chromosomes made from that pattern are now sitting in the Who Am I gallery in the Science Museum, demonstrating the degradation of the telomeres which protect the end of the chromosome.  Here they are  on the opening night of the gallery.

Then I released the pattern on Ravelry and didn’t think much more about it for a while.

I was recently asked by Hannah from the British Society for Immunology whether they could use the pattern for their Big Knit project, which was very exciting, so of course I said yes.  The chromosome is one of the patterns used for the MS and DNA tableau which will be on display throughout the Cheltenham Science Festival and it’s been reproduced on the BSI website, alongside other contributed patterns and quite a few created by Hannah herself (including some knitted sunshine, in case the weather doesn’t hold up).

Read more about the Big Knit and see all of the different patterns (listed under tableaux) here.  The BSI are accepting contributions made from the patterns for the tableaux – all details are on their website.

If you want a picture of how the chromosome goes together, there’s one in the pattern PDF, available here.  Or you can go to the pattern loaded onto Ravelry.

More pleats (with added maths joy)

February 23, 2011

So, I thought I wanted to make the Geodesic cardigan.  After a couple of false starts, it turns out I didn’t want to make it at all.  I wanted to make something similar – I love those slightly sheer laceweight cardigans.  Lots and lots of sheer stocking stitch.  And I like structural details with plain knitted fabrics.  Especially pleats.  So, I had this mental image of a fanned pleated yoke on a v-neckline for my cardigan.  And it worked.  The maths worked out perfectly.  I have gently sweeping pleats fanning out from the point of the v-neck up to the collar.

Consider me well chuffed.

A mad idea: my knitted dress

February 13, 2011

So, I had the idea for a knitted dress a while ago and had a cone of Yeomans 4 ply merino stashed away.  And I’ve found that I like a lot of the slightly sheer drapey knits that are around at the moment.  Yes, they are acres of stocking stitch, but acres of stocking stitch is what suits me best.

The one that caught my attention was Veera’s Folded jumper.  But it wasn’t quite what I wanted from a jumper.  And, really I wanted a dress. So, Folded became a dress.

There were a few hiccups. I started it while my father was still in hospital and the nursing care home, so ended up ripping out everything I had done up to that point and starting it right from the beginning again.  And I kept putting it aside while I pondered the modifications that I wanted to make to turn it into a dress.

My modifications:

1. I started at the waistline with a provisional cast on, so that I could make the skirt the length I wanted by trying it on as I went.

2. I didn’t really like the way the ribbing brought in the hemlines, so I used turned hems on both the sleeves and bottom hem.  At the bottom of the dress I also added stripes in the same contrast colour that I edged the sleeves and the neckline in.

3: I added short rows for the bust and sewed the pleats into place so that they were more like tucks and the dress has a slightly  more empire line than the looser shape it was before sewing.

4: I think that the shaping of the shoulders with short rows is genius, but was cautious about the neckline as some projects on Ravelry mentioned the need to add extra rows with decreases to tighten the neckline. As I have narrower shoulders but wanted to keep the slight boatneck, I wanted something to hold the neckline in place.  So, I did an contrast colour i-cord bindoff as a trim.  As those who know me and my loathing of doing i-cord will realise, this was a real labour of love and a means to an end.  It is horrible to do, but it really does hold the neckline firmly in place.

All in all, I think it turned out very well. The fit over the top is beautiful and the sewing into place of pleats transforms it from something a little sacklike into a gently shaped and draped dress.

Getting the basics right

January 16, 2011

A little while ago, I found out that a knitting friend is expecting her first baby.  So, an idea for some new bootees came to my mind.  I’m not going to reveal any precise details yet but they are ones which will have a very specific requirement for the basic bootee – in that they need a longish flat front on them.  And it’s worth getting the basics right if the rest of the design is going to hold up on them.  So, I’ve been playing with some prototypes.

We have a knit flat base with short row shaping on the front

We have a second variation on this with a more defined sole and a different method for the short rows

We have one worked using sock type methods

I shall do a bit of decorating and ponder which works best.  I think the first two will probably stay on best, but the last one may be the better one for working the idea up into an adult slipper.

Toy soldiers

November 18, 2010

Is it too early for Christmas decorations?

Last year, I was part of Knit The City and took part in the Nutcracker Knitmare Before Christmas piece. As the Nutcracker features Christmas presents which come to life, I wanted to make something which echoed traditional toys. I decided that the Nutcracker Prince’s soldiers should be brightly coloured toy wooden soldiers. But a bit more textile based.

I loved how they came out and realised that they’d make a brilliant decoration, so I made some more for a Secret Santa. And now, as Christmas approaches again, I’m making a few more and sharing the way that you do it – both in the original crochet and knitted.

The pattern is available on Ravelry – go here for crochet and here for knitting

Free pattern: Burberrish Cowl (aka how to reverse engineer a cable pattern)

October 18, 2010

I can’t take full credit for the pattern here.  Someone else designed the original cable pattern and the lovely garment you shall see at the end of this post was made by the friend who initially started off the experiment in reverse engineering. The fabulous choice of yarn and colour is all his.

Some weeks ago, over some knitting and fine cake, a friend showed me a picture of a cowl he loved and wanted to be able to make.  The original cowl also costs a few hundred pounds from a designer store.   It also had a fairly intricate cable pattern built into it, so was not something that you could get from a traditional pattern library to adapt.  Some reverse engineering was required.  The internet handily provided a nice flat image of the cowl so I could see what was going on.

Now, I don’t know how anyone else goes about reverse engineering a cable pattern, but I used coloured pencils.  A cable is basically sets of stitches which are entwined.  It’s like plaiting.  In this picture, I could see that there were four strands in the cable, and that each strand was three stitches wide. So, I set to work with my pencils, one colour for each strand, to trace where they crossed each other.  Sometimes a strand crossed two other strands, which meant that there were 9 stitches in the cable crossover. As the crossing strand went to the front, this meant it was documented as C9F.  Sometimes the travelling strand crossed all of the other strands, making a C12F.  From there on in, it was a simple matter of counting the vs in each column to get the row count.

The full pattern is available as a Ravelry download and from here for those of you who haven’t found Ravelry yet. And here is the end result. Doesn’t he look marvellous in it?

%d bloggers like this: