Monday, 31 October 2011

Angel Delight

Yesterday, whilst procrastinating and looking at knitting patterns, I stumbled across this beautiful (and free) pattern for an angel. So I decided to knit one, and see what came of it. I am so very impressed so I thought I would share it all with you. They take about an hour or so to knit, including the wings, and a little sparkly DK. So here is my version. The one in the picture is going to my Great Aunt, along with a jar of my homemade mincemeat (she provided both the jar and the apples!!) who I will see tomorrow when I go and pick up my granny. The other angel is a surprise for my granny who has been hinting that she would like one too!!

In the background to this angel is my favourite candle holder. I bought it in a cool January in the South of France at the Basilica of St Mary Magdelene in St Maximum and I absolutely love them. Whenever I light a candle, I like to think that these two ladies are looking after the people I light the candle for and take worries away

So I hope the angels will look after you tonight

Sunday, 30 October 2011

O Holy Night

Now one thing my house would not be complete without at Christmas is my nativity collection. I call it a collection now because I have so many and every year we buy a new little one. We have a T light holder one, we have a beautiful wooden one and a little olive wood one made in the Holy Land. And of course, how could I forget my first knitted one? (and my Husband, who I forgot was faffing about at the back of this one!!!)

This year, we decided to buy another from the Aylesford Priory. We had our eye on a small porcelain one that had sold out by the time we got there. But never fear, this one caught our eye. When I got to it, and saw how lovely it was, I was surprised to find a switch on the back. It lit up. Frankly it was coming home anyway but that sold it even more. It had to be ours!! Here is is. I love it so much.

 And for all of you waiting with baited breath for this pattern, here is a sneak peek of the newest pattern from the Blattcave, available on Ravelry soon. I am so pleased with how it has turned out. The photo is rubbish, I know, but its a secret sneak peek so you shouldnt expect david bailey!!

Let me know what you think of the new nativity!!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Round and Round in Circles

Now, as many of you know, me and knitting in the round are not friends. We are not even aquaintances. Frankly if I saw it out on the streets, I'd go back indoors. However, some of the lovely patterns I see are knit in the round, especially when it comes to toys. Many adore the idea of not sewing up, but not me. My patterns are always designed flat for that purpose.
Now I am getting much better at converting patterns, Ive decided to make a list of rules to follow when converting, so lots of other fellow flat knitters can create fabulous knits. Now my rules are pretty much for toys and smaller things like accessories, rather than seamless jumpers and socks so follow these rules and you should be fine!

1. Remember that when you knit in the round, in order to create stocking stitch you knit all the rows, and to create garter stitch you knit and purl. So when converting to flat knitting, if the end result is stocking stitch, convert every other row to purl. Normally the purl line is the one without the pattern or increase/decrease. If you want to garter stitch then convert the purl rows in the pattern to knit rows.

2. If you want to, add an extra stitch to the beginning or end of the work to allow for seaming. Personally I dont do that but that is up to you. This is something you will learn as you go.

3. You may need to change striping. This is because when you knit in the round, you can do just one row of colour and then start another. With knitting flat, this is more difficult, you will be changing colour all over the place, and adding ends everywhere. Instead, you can change the pattern to even number stripes or use two DPNS as follows:

Yes I did use that awful abbreviation DPN. It means double pointed needle for those who are ignoring their presence (i dont blame you- but stay with me) Use two, and if you want to do one colour stripes, knit in one colour, then slide the work to the other end of the needle and use the other colour. Trust me this works. Remember to knit on the knit sides and purl on the purl sides, even if that means you purl two rows. Dont worry it will work out!!

Here is a practise bit for you to try the technique- in colour A and colour B on 2 dpns, use whatever you got, this is only for practise and can be unraveled later!!
Cast on in colour A
Knit one row in colour B
Slide the work to the other end of the needle, Knit one row in colour A
Purl one row in colour A
Slide the work to the other end of the needle, purl one row in colour B

You should get the idea from this practise here. I owe all this ability on DPNs to Julie at The Byrds Nest, who taught me this technique when I knit the rabbit, the inside of his ears were done this way

4. Do not be afraid of I-Cord. There are plenty of tutorials for I Cord and it makes brilliant legs and antennae!! 2 DPNs are used to create a seamless cord. However if you cant do it on DPNs then there are also tutorials for doing it with your hands too!! Look it up on YouTube or Google, plenty of people are out there to help!!

The only way you are going to learn to convert from round to flat is to do it. Try something little, follow the pattern and sew it up. Here are a few patterns you can give a go, they dont take up much wool and you can give it a go and see. Hamster Beans is one, Pocket Rabbits is a pattern knit in the round and flat so you can see the difference and why not give this little halloween spider a go?

Friday, 28 October 2011

Holidays are Coming

I have been pretty quiet of late, and this is because I have a project on the go. Not just a small daily project like normal, and not a project with a pattern I have found myself. This time it is my own pattern. All my own, from the deep recesses of the brain, and it is pretty epic, even if I do say so myself. And, it is nearly finished, all bar a couple of animals. I promise the pattern will be here soon, so watch this space and get those needles at the ready!

Ive also been knitting stockings. Lots of stockings. So here is a picture of my latest advent that I have knit, and I am really pleased with it, and never knitting another one. I have knit so many of these stockings that I have finally had enough.

It is also nearly Halloween!! Last year (and this year) I made some great decorations for christmas using card and recycled carrier bags. So this year, I decided to branch out into halloween versions as well. These Boo signs below are made from Sainsbury's Orange carrier bags and some leftover cardboard. They are great decorations and I love them.

Take care everyone, and keep knitting!!!

Mystery KAL by a new Auntie!!

I am an Auntie!!! On the 25th October, my little nephew, Charlie, was born. He weighed a very little 3lbs 1oz and is currently battling an infection, but fighting his way through so we can hope he will get over this hurdle and be healthy and happy for many long years.

I was knitting for him way before we even knew he was a him, and one of those things was the mystery KAL in the toy lovers group over on Ravelry. This was a fabulous KAL (knit-a-long) run by Julie at The Byrds Nest and she very generously offered one of her amazing patterns for the group to knit. This was my first KAL and I was worried I would not be able to complete it, or Id forget!!! But luckily, this pattern was so good, I couldnt resist. It was originally knit in the round but I converted it as I went to create.....

This Rabbit is now going to be a present for my nephew when he comes out of hospital, as at the moment it is probably twice his size!!! So if you have learnt anything from this post, it is to go and check out the Byrds Nest (if only for Mango the Giraffe who is completely irresistable!!!) and to give a KAL a go- they are great fun and the mystery made me let go of rules and follow someone elses for a change!

Monday, 17 October 2011


On Saturday I learnt that my Brother and his girlfriend, who is expecting their first child, will be having a preemie. Unfortunately her placenta is not feeding the baby properly, and because of this it is not safe for baby to go to 40 weeks. So it looks like the BlattNiece or Nephew will arrive at between 30-32 weeks gestation so will definately be in the NICU for a while.

Premature babies are so very tiny, and the clothes sold in the shops are just too big. Since this baby will be small at 30-32 weeks, it will be even smaller than the average baby of that gestation because of the feeding issue so we are looking at a baby of around 2lbs. Luckily it has an auntie, and grandmas that can knit for it, and it can be cosy and safe in handknits full of love as it grows.

So this has lead me to knit a few bits and pieces that can be used for the baby, but as well for the other babies in the NICU who need a little handknit love. Here are my latest ones, and to size it, in the picture I have placed an AA battery next to the little shoes.

If you can knit, one of these little hats took me around 45 minutes to make, and the micro preemie shoes around the same. They take no time, and are made from acrylic as it is easily washable. I will be knitting a few in all different colours so they can be used by all.
Here is a link to Ravelry for all the free preemie patterns on there, so knit one and donate it. It takes no real time and you are helping out a little someone who needs it.

Needles and Books

After a great trip up to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace, I was lucky to get some brilliant books and patterns, and this inspired me to share some of these with all of you, as well as some of my favourtie books already in my bookcase. Knitting is one of the biggest parts of my life, I love to share my knits with my family and friends all over the world and it has brought me endless hours of fun and peace and destressing.So here are my hot picks for the christmas list of any knitter.

Now most of you probably know me as a toy knitter, and that would be accurate. I love to knit toys, and create a character every time, from my little frogs to the biggest Ark!! So at the show, I couldnt resist this book of Dinosaurs.
Knitted Dinosaurs
Tina Barrett has created this brilliant collection of fun dinosaurs to knit. They are all knit flat too and are so fun and cute. Each dinosaur comes with facts too so the book is great to use with children, learning about their dinosaurs. The first ones I have knit will also be off to Year 2, with special cards so they can learn all about their new friends. I love this book, great pictures and very easy to follow and knit patterns. I even learnt something new about jointing toys from this book.

I personally cannot live without Jean Greenhowe, and I know many toy knitters feel the same. She has been designing for many years, and toys from my childhood were knit from her patterns, and now I am knitting those same patterns. I love the christmas ones, especially this one as I have knitted the nativity from this one.
Jean Greenhowe's Christmas special
I have nearly all the books she has published, and her website is a great resource too, with some brilliant free patterns to get you started.

Product DetailsProduct DetailsThe 'twenty to make' series of books from Search Press are a brilliant series of craft books from all over the crafting world, including sugarcraft, papercraft, crochet and knitting of course, sewing and jewellery making. I have a few of these books and I love them. My favourites include the christmas knitting and knitted flowers, but there are so many to choose from, baby booties, egg cosies, mug cosies, aliens, food, cake and many more.

So here are just a few of my favourite books for knitting, and ones refer to for a lot of my toy knitting needs. They have taught me so much along with the amazing Ravelry so I am forever in debt!!!

Tis Nearly the Season

Now we are over half way through October, I can hear those jingle bells vaguely coming over the horizon, and I can see the Coca Cola Advert in my minds eye, and we all know that means Holidays are most definately coming!!! So because of that, I have been knitting a few more christmas bits. Ive moved from the presents and into the decorations now and the excitement of Advent. This post is all about what is on my needles at the moment

This is my latest FOs, and I love it!! My most favourite part has to be the plug!!! My string of lights was a pattern originally knit in the round, and as you have probably worked out, DPNs and me are definately not friends!! I have sewn them onto a satin cord that looks like the twisted cables that normal christmas lights come on, and each light is a little pocket for a chocolate or a little gift. I love it and Im so pleased. It was a great stash buster and a very quick knit.

Another of my knits at the moment is my own new design and I will hope to publish the pattern by November, so people can knit their own before Christmas arrives. This particular Nativity is going to be knit for Year 2 at St Domenics RC Primary School and the BlattMother In Law who is their teacher. There are ten pieces, created for the ten school days after the first Sunday in Advent. I have already designed the basic body, and my first figure is Mary. The second is Gabriel, and he is coming along nicely. Here is a sneak peak of the pattern, and I hope you will all want to knit them as much as I do!!

As always, Sleigh safe everyone and look forward to sharing more patterns with you soon