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.


Introducing My Little War Pony

June 26, 2011

This is My Little War Pony. Some say he’s a squeezy stress toy in a felt tin hat and saddle. Some say he’s a prototype educational toy designed to educate pre-school children in the plight of horses in the first world war and to lead them into reading War Horse when they are old enough.  He’s definitely not a zebra, though.

I’ve said before that I have no desigre to give up my job and do crafty stuff for a living. Sometimes, though, I introduce craft to my work.  My Little War Pony started as a bit of a joke as a fake collection object to be used in an object movement game I organised.  Now he lives on my desk, ready to head off the war at a moment’s notice.

Stuff made by other people: CAKE

June 26, 2011

These are not my work – they were made by my sister for my niece’s birthday.  She has a small line in making fine cupcakes and decorative cakes for very lucky people in the Coventry area and for very lucky family members.

That’s dark chocolate cupcakes.

With vanilla buttercream (it was some sort of special buttercream that’s particularly light and not cloying)

Those little blue stars are hand stamped, you know.

And there’s chocolate mousse hiding inside each cupcake.  Oh yes.

Cake genius, my sister.

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.

Phone cosy

February 13, 2011

My old phone was slowly dying. So, it was time for a new one and I succumbed to both a contract and a smartphone. Not an Iphone.  It was never going to be an iphone. I wouldn’t try to persuade other people not to buy them, but they are not for me, for a number of reasons. Yet they are almost so synonymous with smartphones (are they the Hoover of the smartphone world?) that the first question anyone asks is “Did you get an iphone?”. So, when making the cover for my new phone, I thought I’d wear my colours on my sleeve.

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.

Knitting that looks like boobs: Reprise

February 5, 2011

It’s meant to look like a character from the film Cars, but I ask you – Headlamp eyes or very large nipples?

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.

Doing a bit of good

January 16, 2011

Back in November, I posted my pattern for toy soldier Christmas decorations.  Very shortly afterward, I was contacted by Lilibet on Ravelry, who had made some soldiers from the pattern. These are hers.

She was even inspired to make some fairies using the same principles, and writes about it here.

She’d contacted me because she wanted to make more of the soldiers to raise money for a Crohns and Colitis charity and for her local hospital as the daughter of her LYS has suffered very badly (far worse than my own case of the disease).  Crohns disease and Ulcerative Colitis aren’t glamour diseases that attract attention from the media.  They don’t often kill, but they do sometimes knock you sideways and feel like they are taking a bit of your life away from you, and it upset me quite a lot to hear about such a young girl going through such a severe attack. So, bloody well done to Lilibet for her fundraising work.  She managed to raise over £250 for the charity and a raffle raised another £150 for the hospital. Excellent effort all round, I think.


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