Saturday, 9 June 2012

Techniques: What's in my Knitting Bag?

Happy Saturday everyone!! Hope you are all well and are having a lovely weekend no matter what you are doing. It is a lovely day today, and I have been working at the Dickens Festival in Rochester where it was a lovely day but very busy, so I am completely hibernating tonight

Today's post is about what is in my knitting bag. There are plenty of posts out there on a range of bloggers websites regardless of what they blog about, on what is in my handbag. Now If I went through my handbag we would be here all week- especially since I have just bought the most wonderful handbag and I do like to carry a lot of stuff with me. So instead of boring you with the content of my Mary Poppins Handbag, I am going to share what is in my knitting kit and stuff I couldn't be without for my knitting.

So this little pencil case goes everywhere with me. It came free with Knit Today when I had a subscription, and to begin with it smelt horrendous and I thought it was cheap. However, I used it to store my stitch markers in anyway as I wasn't really using them, and now it has become brilliant. It doesn't smell at all, in fact it smells a bit like my perfume now, and I've slowly and surely added all my essentials so I can just carry them all around easy.

Here is everything this little case contains. It has more markers, but you get the idea. It squishes a lot, and everything just about fits in, if I get it in the right order and hope!! So here we go. All my knitting essentials.

This is my selection of needles. Sewing needles this time. Now the Pony ones in the middle are the ones I use all the time, and I mean ALL the time. I use them for sewing up my work and in this pack you get 2 needles, one for the thinner yarns and one for the bulky ones. They cost about 90p and are so very perfect. I completely could never be without them. The ones on the right, with the orange pack are 1950s needles I inherited with all my buttons and they are very very thin for small buttons and beads. The other side are my button needles. They are smaller than my sewing up needles but bigger than the beading ones.

These are my row counters. I have two, one small one designed for the end of a needle, and the other one was a freebie with Simply Knitting. I seriously could not be without my big flower counter. I love it. The smaller one I use now if I have to count more than one thing at once. You can also see my pen, that I always have on me, in my handbag, and I like to note down changes to a pattern or if its my pattern then what is going on.

Pair of scissors- obviously. And that sad looking little bumblebee without its googly eye and the print kinda faded, well he is my tape measure!! Many patterns will say something like stocking stitch for 9 inches, or garter stitch for 3cm. So a tape measure is pretty essential. This one came free with Simply Knitting too.

So the big safety pin things? They are stitch holders. If I am working on a cardigan or in fact anything where I will be coming back to stitches later to work on them I use these. You don't need these because you can always put those stitches onto a piece of spare yarn, but I have these and I prefer to use them, I find them easier. At the bottom of this picture are a selection of my stitch markers- little padlock style (which I probably use the most), little hoops, and keyring style. All of these were free with magazines too.

So there you go. That is what I have in my knitting bag, and all the notions I couldn't do without. So tell me, what's in your knitting bag?

Friday, 8 June 2012

Magazine of the Week: Woman's Weekly

Hi Everyone!! Happy Friday!! I hope you are all well!!

Today's book/magazine of the week is Woman's Weekly. After People's Friend last week, I wanted to show another of the great weekly magazines that come with knitting patterns. Woman's Weekly is a great example of this. Each week, there is normally a pattern for knitting or crochet, and they have been known to get great licensing deals so there are lots of popular childrens characters in them. To name just a few from recent magazines- Hello Kitty, Fireman Sam, Rory, Peppa Pig. This is also normally the only time you can get these patterns too because many of them are only available for a short amount of time, so you can definitely find most of these on ebay!!!

As well as each magazine having a pattern in, every three months or so Woman's weekly publishes a knitting and crochet special. These have so many patterns in, from many popular designers such as Alan Dart and Debbie Bliss. I actually found these particular magazines in our local Cancer Research shop at the same time as it is published and at over half the price, so it is always good to check out your local charity shops for old magazines and knitting pattern books

The mitts from this little baby set were created from a pattern from one of these magazines, and I have always found them to be great magazines and I check out woman's weekly on my trip to the newsagents every week along with People's Friend. Its worth a quick flick, who knows what pattern you might come across?

Have a great day all!!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Baby Hats Off!! POTD

Hey everyone! Happy Thursday, its horrible again and rainy so I think that sunny spell was a bit of a weird spell. Hope we are all doing well out there. Today I am going to do a bit of a POTD because we have been sharing a lot of different patterns in our group on Ravelry and it has been making me grab my needles and cast on.

This little hat was recommended to me because it is so simple, and so easy and has made up the staple of many of my friends project lists. This is Little Boy Blue Ribbed Baby hat, which is actually in my case Little Baby Cream, but is a cute ribbed hat which is great for a new knitter, learning to purl

Here is mine:

It is knit with some of the leftover from my ripple cotton blanket- Stylecraft Special Aran in Cream on 4.5mm needles. This was the last of my non-pink knits so pretty much everything you will see this month will be pink- different shades mind you, but pink.

Have a great day all, I will be spending the rest of my evening here making sure my hair does not resemble Sideshow Bob now it has been cut short again and watching Great British Menu! Oh and finishing off knitting with Sirdar Snowflake- that could be a bigger task than taming the aforementioned hair!!!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Think Pink!!

Hi Everyone!! Happy Bank Holiday Tuesday!! How many times do you get to say that? I'd like to be able to report that a wonderful heat wave has swept the South East but no, that would be wishful thinking. But still, it was nice enough for a flypast, and that's good in my book. I will never get fed up with the Red Arrows. No better way to be patriotic!

Love this picture- I took it at Biggin Hill 2009 and it is me being all arty (when you read arty- read my camera battery was dying, the sun was shining and I was guessing and hoping I got them in the shot)

As most of you know, me and Ravelry are great friends, in fact it might possibly be love. I use it daily for patterns and yarns, and catch up with friends all over the world. As part of Ravelry, you can join groups of like minded people and in certain groups we have challenges. In one of the groups I belong to, Babyalong, we knit and crochet baby clothes, blankets, well anything for little people. This months KAL (Knit-A-Long) is for the Fantasy Naturale Cardigan. So a trip to the wool shop was in order, and I bought this.

And here is my little cardigan- minus buttons- for all of you to see. It is rainy and grey outside hence the rainy and grey photo below. The colour is perfect in the photo above. And this cardy only took up 1.5 of the balls above so I have lots more to play with.

Which is absolutely perfect for the June Challenge in the Trash from Treasures group. We love to recycle and use all sorts to create things with, not just knitting and crocheting. We have challenges we vote on every month and there are two this month. The first is clean and purge, which has come over from May's challenge. We are focusing on organising our lives and our homes and all the areas we work in and getting rid of all the rubbish. The garden makeover worked into this, as well as a lot of my other organising over the last month. Also this month, the June Challenge is Pink. 23rd June is Pink day, and we are making lots of things in pink. So to go along with both of these challenges, I have sorted out my stash, got out all the pink, and this month I am going to work on busting this.

I have actually decided, that should this month go well, I am going to do this every month with a different colour each month to work that stash down, and create cute and useful things.

Have a great day all, and look out for the review of the yarn for the cardigan and the pattern posts soon

Monday, 4 June 2012

Trash to Treasure

Hi Everyone!! Hope you are all well!! Happy Bank Holiday Monday!! I was at work today looking out at the rain and the chilly weather. Did I neglect to mention the fact that it is June? Ridiculous. I hope it is nice where ever you are. Where my mum is, it is 26 degrees and sunny. At a risk of being labelled repetitive- Ridicuous.

This post is all about our new Garden. Now we have lived in our house for 5 years this year, and slowly but surely we have been sorting it out. In this last year, a lot has been sorted. We have painted the study, the hallway, redone our living room and we have really been neglecting the garden. We have needed a new shed for quite a while, in fact it was very much leaning and the roof most definitely had a bit of a sag in it. We wanted a new plastic shed that was smaller and less spider infested!! So we found one, at a really great price, and set about sorting it out during the sun last weekend.

Here we go, here is the Blattman doing something he has been talking about for ages, demolishing said shed. It actually came down really easily and it took two trips to the wood skip at the tip to get rid of it.

This is the shed after it had been "Blatt-ed" I am so glad to get rid of it, and replace it.

He moaned about it, but actually really enjoyed doing it. I'm not sure he is going to be a shed demolisher full time but he loves the end result.

Now I am actually no good at demolishing. I am it turns out, pretty good at building them!! Hence no more pictures of construction!! This is what I was doing whilst he pulled the last one down. This is my muppet ba that I carry all my current projects in, and I was out on our patio knitting socks. Here are the socks, knit flat using a wrap technique for the heel, and the pattern is from Lets Knit Magazine Issue 28. I really enjoyed these socks, and they are knit in Patons Trentino.

Now this last photo is what the garden looks like now, from the inside, so it looks smaller than it is. I am inside because it was raining. A lot. The patio is not included. The Blattman has his new BBQ hot plate made from recycled bricks from our old heaters, and our fantastic new garden storage is in place. Now all we need is some lovely weather so we can  entertain!! Oh and please don't mention the word BBQ to my husband at any point unless you wish for an in-depth discussion about the new BBQ he wants. Bless him!! He can't wait for a new one, but he will have to wait just a little longer!!

Have a great day all!!

Sunday, 3 June 2012


Happy Sunday everyone!! Hope you are all well.

If you have been following my Facebook recently, you will already know the battle I have had with my latest pattern. I am knitting a cot size blanket in Aran on 5.5mm needles and I have been so determined to make it. I started it on Tuesday evening when I bought the yarn from my LYS, Pats in Lordswood, and I finished it this morning!! Hooray!! It hurt yesterday so much I had to stop knitting completely, but after the rest, the final 4 rows were done. So here is the big reveal of this pattern, and the finished blanket.

Here it is!!! And I must admit I love it. It was such hard work, but I do love it. I have been knitting a lot recently so I am going to do a few posts on whats going on in our lives too along with the knitting because that is always what I wanted this blog to be about. I have got a bit apart from that, and I do love the YOTD and POTD, and I am going to continue this but I want to add a little bit more about whats going on knit wise, and family wise, so I can get a balance going. I knit a lot of things that are not online, or are in magazines and I want to share these too.

Ok a little more detail about this pattern above, this is a pattern by Tina Barrett and I got it from a Woman's Weekly Knitting and Crochet special February 2012, but it is also available in her book Natural Knits for Toddlers and Babies and Knitting Magazine Jan 2009. It is the Cotton Blanket and Dog pattern, and it is linked to its Ravelry page. I don't think I will knit the dog to go with it but you never know!! It is knit in Stylecraft Special Aran in Aspen (which is the mint green) and Cream on needles.

Happy Sunday and Happy Jubilee Weekend. I'm off to watch the Flotilla and the Queen and it is very much raining, so I'm hoping she has one of those old lady plastic hair covers on- now that would be brilliant!!!!

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Techniques: Needles

Happy Saturday Everyone!! Hope you are all having a fantastic weekend whatever you are getting up to.

Today's post is all about knitting needles, and the ones I love to use. There are so many different types of knitting needle, and when you first start out it can all be a bit overwhelming. What to use, where to buy them? I hope to answer a few of these questions and more in this post, so you can understand how I started and what I use.

Ok, I started off with plastic needles that I got free with the kit I bought when I first started. I bought a Let's Get Crafting kit, with yarn and needles in, and a pattern book. This gave me everything I needed except my tutor, my mum. So I started with plastic needles and I thought I was never going to be able to work on anything else. They give as you knit, they are easy to use and lets be honest, they were free. Then I needed a size I didn't have in plastic so I had to buy metal needles. I bought Pony needles, they are a really reasonable price, available everywhere and easy to use.

These metal needles have come from all over the place, some I have bought, others I have got from my Grandma's stash and charity shops. When you are in a charity shop, ask because sometimes they don't have them out but out the back, and they normally have lots to choose from. The size of the needle is on the top of these so you can always find the right sizes.

Metal needles also come in a range of lengths. I prefer the shortest ones because I knit very small things normally and they are just easier to work with. I find it difficult to knit on long needles. I am not alone, my mum only likes small ones, and we both cram our stitches on. My grandmother-in-law knit with a really long needle that went under one arm, and a small one to actively knit with. Not my way, but her way. Everyone knits differently. So I was never going to stop using my metal needles. What was the need in any others I thought?

Then I got the most fabulous christmas present. Below are my knitting loves. My Knit Pro Rosewood Needles. Now these are what my Step-Dad calls the most expensive needles in the world, and they are pretty expensive. But they aren't the only set of interchangable needles on the market so you don't need the most expensive ones to have these.

These are the needles. They are rosewood, and they have plastic cables that connect them. You can see the 3.5mm there on the cable, and these have all sizes up to 8mm. You simply screw the cable off the needles and add the size you need, and you are off. I love wooden needles, and they hurt my hands a lot less after a lot of knitting than my metal ones.

Here we go, this is inside the box. The plastic wallet contains my cables in varying length, the ends for the cables (if you want to stop a project and start another, you can screw off the needles, add the caps and your work can stay on the cable.) and the screws that attach the needles tightly to the cables.

Now if you do have a set of these needles, they have the size printed on the side. This printing doesn't last very long in my experience, so I have this little guy in my box. He is a needle sizer and the holes match up to the sizes of the needle. I like this little owl, he is cute and handy.

So what kind of needles do you prefer?

Friday, 1 June 2012

Magazine of The Week: People's Friend

Hi Everyone and Happy Friday!! Hope you are all well. Now I know, Its Friday, and surely that should be book of the week. Well to take a break from that I am also including magazine of the week on Fridays, because I have a lot of magazines as well as books, and this way I can include a few of the lesser known magazines that include knitting patterns.

Today I am going to focus on People's Friend. Now this magazine has got a bit of an old person's stigma about it. If I say People's Friend, most people look at me like I am a bit crazy, and should get a few cats and start talking weird. But actually, they have some brilliant knitting patterns and for only 90p, you can't go wrong. The stories aren't too bad either if you get a bit bored!!!!

Normally, every week in each issue of People's Friend is a pattern or two. The first magazine I bought was for the glove pattern that I have shown below. I really enjoyed this pattern and therefore now, every week I check out the pattern. I have seen vintage cardigans, tea cosies, blankets, scarves and all sorts in the magazine and I always go to it to see what is coming up. There are also many crochet patterns if they take your fancy, and other crafts to pick up too.

I do have a pair of these gloves but the other one has gone into hiding- or maybe its more camera shy than this one!!! Look out for People's Friend and get yourself new, cheap patterns and the odd competition too.

Have a great day all!!

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

YOTD: Robin Chunky

Hello All!! Hope you are all having a great day!! Happy Wednesday!! Work with me dear readers whilst I get this blog all sorted. My work computer is not happy at the moment so posts are a bit thin on the ground, but I promise to get them sorted this weekend. I have a few ideas for the blog, as I started originally writing it for me to share what is going on in my life too, where this journey is taking me, and now I want to work on that part too, not just the YOTD and POTD. I promise to have everything up and running by the weekend. In the meantime, enjoy this yummy yarn and ladybird (yep keep scrolling!!!)

Today's YOTD is Robin Chunky. This is a great basic budget chunky yarn that can be used for pretty much everything. The yarn comes in 100g balls and you get 140 metres on the ball, which is great for chunky yarn. Its tension is over 10cm on 6.5mm needles and is 14sts over 20 rows. A ball from Deramores will cost £1.99 and I paid this too in my LYS, Pats in Lordswood. It is 100% Acrylic yarn.

Now this isnt the best picture of the yarn, but that is because this is probably one of the most used things I have ever made. This is the close up shot of the big ladybird footrest I made. Actually it looks fantastic now even though it has been used for over a year. The Blattman has his head on it as I type actually. I am so pleased with the final result with this yarn. I normally knit in DK as you can probably tell, but this ladybird has to be in the top ten of all the things I have made, and the yarn does help that. It was so easy to work with, gave a great result and has really worn well.

Here he is from above, and below is the front of him, looking at you. The black and the red are Robin Chunky, and the white on this is actually DK, and my mother's fantastic crochet skills, and she made this up as she went along, and I think he looks fantastic.She made the eyes on this ladybird. She was just as happy with the yarn as I was. The pattern came from Knit Today magazine from the UK and I believe it was issue 46 but I will check on that.

This took me about 10 hours to finish this guy, and the yarn was so easy to work with and didn't split at all. A great acrylic budget yarn for this project, and I would most certainly use this yarn again. Love it. It is also wonderfully machine washable!!

At Deramores, they have 20 colours in stock. You are looking at Cherry Red (042) and Raven (044). There are also 3 varigated colours as well as the 17 solid colours.

Have a great day all!!

Monday, 28 May 2012

YOTD: Jaeger Pure Silk DK

Hi Everyone!! Hope you are all having a great day!! Happy Monday to you all!! Another beautiful day here in Kent, so hopefully you are having a lovely day too

Today's YOTD is Jaeger Pure Silk DK. I was lucky to be bought three balls of this by my Grandma who saw them in an odd ball bin and I absolutely love them. They come in 50g balls and you get 125m on a ball. It is 100% silk and probably the softest thing I have ever felt in all my life. It is truly beautiful yarn. I love it. This is unfortunately another discontinued yarn, and this is the problem with odd ball bins, but I have tracked a few down at English Yarns and at MCA Direct Yarns with its new name, Rowan Pure Silk DK. Now normally a ball of this is £11.95!!! Its down to £7.95 at MCA, but even I know that isn't the best value for money in the world. It is blooming soft though!!!! The tension over 10cm is 22sts over 30 rows and is normally knit on 4mm needles.

This yarn is so beautiful and I loved every minute of knitting with it. I have three colours in this and I only have one ball of each colour so it really made me focus on patterns to knit with it. These gloves below were knit from one ball and make a completely luxury item. I don't mind spending a little more on a good yarn for a small project. There is no way I could afford to buy this kind of yarn for a jumper or big item, but it is fab for a pair of gloves. It was easy to knit with and I enjoyed working with it.

Would I buy it again? Odd ball bin bargain-oh yes I would. £12 per ball-oh no I don't think so. Call me a cheapskate if you want, but I just think that is a lot of money for a ball of yarn, even if it is softer than a kitten!! It's also hand wash only, so another accessory yarn.
So what else have I knit? Well with my ball of blue, my mum's iphone is very comfortably living in a pure silk cosy, and actually it has worn incredibly well. It stretches a bit, and hasn't held its shape well, but it hugs her iphone perfectly, and she loves it. In fact, when my stepdad bought her a new cover and it didn't quite slide out properly to begin with, she was all for ditching the new cover in favour of the very pretty silk!!!

Have a great day all!!

YOTD: Rowan Romance

Today's YOTD is Rowan Romance. I bought this one at the same time as Twinkle at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace two years ago, and having recently been to the latest one I am using up some of the old stash! It is a bulky weight yarn and knits on 7mm needles. I used this yarn  ages ago in one of my techniques post and here is the picture from that post so you can see it in the ball.

Rowan Romance is unfortunately another discontinued yarn, but I have found some and on sale!! Here at English Yarns they are £3.55 a ball, a saving of 30%!! Rowan Romance comes in 50g balls and you get around 60yrds/55m on a ball which is good for a chunky yarn and is made from a massive combination of 36% Acrylic, 27% Nylon, 26% Mohair, 8% Polyester, and 3% Wool. Now that sure is a mix!!! The tension is hidden on the picture but over 10cm it is 11.5sts over 15 rows. 

As you can see, the yarn is quite a loose ply and there is a glitter strand running through it. It is a really easy yarn to work with, and this project was actually my first ever project knit entirely in the round. So it was a great achievement for me too so I do love the cowl that I knit with this. It is a bit scratchy for me, but I have incredibly sensitive skin so that could just be me. I am so sensitive I can't even wear certain cashmere!!! In my view, it is one of the softer yarns I have worked with and It is so so pretty knitted up.

Here is my cowl here, being fetchingly modelled by my water jug, but you get the idea. This is a very long cowl that you double up. In terms of the pattern I used, well I made that up as I went along. Kinda cast on some stitches and knit until I was happy. (when you see happy, actually read fed up!!)

I think this is really pretty and I love all the colours available. You are looking at shade 99 which is a deep grey colour, but available at English yarns are a soft pink, white, light grey, green and a deeper grey. The only problem- Hand Washable! This is a great yarn for accessories, especially scarves and cowls like mine. Great yarn, enjoyed working with it. Would I buy it again? No, its too itchy for my skin and I really don't need any more scarves. Simple as that!!!!
Have a great day all!!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

POTD: Fable Fingerless Mitts

Hi everyone, Happy Sunday!!! It is an absolutely beautiful day here in the South and we are really enjoying it. We bought our new garden storage yesterday and the Blattman spent the rest of the afternoon knocking the old one down and building the new one. It looks fantastic in the garden now, we are really enjoying the sun and relaxing. I start working 6 days a week for the next three weeks so I will be rushing about and working hard so I apologise if there will be a few days without posts.

Today's POTD is a fingerless mitts pattern, and this does seem a little ridiculous on such a warm day, but its what I'm going with so bear with me. Its a small pattern so you might fancy knitting small projects on these warm days, plus you can get a few finished objects in before the christmas rush and have all your presents made and finished and you can relax!!

The Fable Fingerless Mitts is a pattern originally knit in Cotton, but you can use any DK to knit these, they also come in two sizes, small and medium, and you can make use of some very pretty buttons on the cuff. I knit these in Silk, so they are so pretty and soft, but I have yet to add my button band.

I knit these using the small size, because I have very small hands- yep even my motorcycle gloves are child size (in my defence a big child size!) These are a nice fit. And this yarn is beautiful, and these were knit with one skein so I can afford to use some of my more expensive, pretty yarn. These would make a great present, and knitted in any yarn they would be great

Have a great day everyone!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Techniques: Storage

Happy Techniques Saturday everyone!! Hope everyone is well and having a lovely weekend.

Today's post is all about storage. I have a lot of yarn-obviously. My stash is somewhat epic due to the toy knitting. I have lots of half balls where I use a little each time. So it is totally essential that I have a place to store them, since the Blattman is not overly happy with it living everywhere!!! I am going to share with you how I store my yarn.

In our study, I have a cupboard for my bits and pieces. The first role for this cupboard is for the Blattman's suits and my long dresses. It is a lovely floor length cupboard so it is perfect for my posh dresses to hang nicely. However I don't have too many so there is plenty of room for my yarn too. It also has a fab shelf in it for the boxes. So here we go, welcome to the yarn closet!!

Now this isn't the best picture but you get the idea. This is my laundry bin of DK. This has all my toy knitting yarn in, so it is pretty much all acrylic and not really any full balls in here. I have a few lavender bags all through this bin and that keeps the moths from getting too attached to my lovely bits. This fits perfectly in the bottom of the wardrobe, and is also plenty of room behind the bin for books- yay!! This laundry bin came from Ikea and we have three of these, in fact one saved me the other day when I fell up the stairs, and they are about £5, probably less. They are brilliant.

In the top of the cupboard here, I have 2 boxes. These are great and I got them at the Works in Lakeside, and they were 2 for £10. They fold down flat too so they can always be packed away if I am not using them. The added benefit of this is that the sides, as you can see, are poppers. I can simply pop open the side and then get at the yarn I want, rather than keep taking the boxes out the cupboard. The bottom box is my box with chunky and aran weight yarns. The top box actually contains a lot of my World War 1 and 2 collection, and the folders in there are also part of that collection. The big box lying on its side is actually a shoe box (the Blattman has seriously big feet) and it is for FOs for Christmas and Birthdays in there. Right next to the gift bags. Lastly, the little box at the front, that's a pom pom maker. 

I have my current yarn that I am working on in a Disney store Muppets bag and that sits next to the sofa in the living room, I have everything I am working on, and yarns to review and other bits that I am currently using in there.

So that's it. That's how I store my yarn- How do you store yours?

Friday, 25 May 2012

Book of the Week: Jean Greenhowe Bazaar Knits

Hi Everyone!! Happy Friday to you all!! Today is another Jean Greenhowe book, but I can never get enough of them, and hope to get the newest one soon, so I will still be showing her work off on this blog. I've knit so many of her patterns over the years, as has my granny before me, and she is sure to go on in generations again! I grew up loving her patterns that were knitted for me, and my family now love the patterns I can knit for them. So all in all, it is a winner.

This book, Bazaar Knits, was one of my later acquisitions in her range, and I love all the cute patterns in this book. This book was originally created as fund raising ideas, and all the patterns are perfect for any stall or fundraising event, they are quick and easy patterns and very popular too. There are 20 patterns in this book, but each one has many different versions within so you are getting a good amount of patterns for the £5.29 price tag. I bought mine in a shop, and it cost me £3.99 so have a look around to see where you can get it.

The patterns included in this book are message medals (I've made one of these before for my Step-Dad), Baby face brooches, the Cactus (see Senor Prickly below), watch pincushions, flower brooches, liquorice allsorts jewellery, egg cosies, hand bag accessories (of which I have knit the tissue holder) scented sachets, picture frames, hot air balloons, bugs, bracelets, airplane toys and mobiles, pincushion cakes, money banks and desk tidies, and finally the Pedlar doll from the front cover, with all the little pieces she has in her basket.

I made this cactus for a Mexican dinner night we had at our house, he sat on the table and it just decorated perfectly. This book is great and I cannot recommend it enough. I love her patterns, they are so easy to follow, as are the instructions for making up. They are fun and different patterns.

Have a great day all!!!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

YOTD: James C. Brett Twinkle DK

Hi All!! Happy Thursday Everyone!! Hope you are all well!

Today's YOTD is James C. Brett's Twinkle that I picked up at last years Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace in London. It is probably the only show that is really all about knitting in the UK and I always try to go in October when it is on. I love to go and surround myself with yarn and books, and drag the Blattman too- he secretly loves it!!!

James C. Brett Twinkle is a DK yarn and it comes in 100g balls and you get a huge 300m on a ball. It is made from 97% Acrylic and 3% Polyester and has a beautiful glitter strand in colour of the main yarn in the ball. It is a really nice yarn and comes in lots of colours. It has a tension over 10cm of 22sts over 30 rows. One ball of this will cost you about £2.99 and again this is great value for money, because you get a great meterage, and it is a great yarn to work with.

With a glittery yarn expect it to be a bit scratchy, but this is probably the least scratchy of my glittery yarns with the exception of maybe Tivoli Pearl. It knits very well, like a normal acrylic yarn, and the glitter strand does not catch or split away from the main ply of the yarn. It blocks and wears like any other acrylic yarn and I would use it in the same way

Normally I would use this yarn just for add ons for my toys but I decided I loved this pink enough to make a hat from it- just a shame it is too small!!! Never mind!! I have this yarn in 6 different colours, this pink above, Teal, Silver, Red, Purple and white with the pearl glitter through it. I love these for adding glitter to my Christmas toys and decorations as it really adds something, and makes them much more festive.

This is the white version and I will feature this cute angel pattern soon as it is really easy and makes a great gift for anyone who needs a little pick me up. I love the iridescent part of this yarn, it just creates such a beautiful piece, and I've also used it in my latest pattern for a nativity for the angel. Here is a sneak peek at some of the other colours I own in this from the Nativity.

Aren't these wise guys cute? I love them!!! I'm only showing you their backs because you can see the glittery yarn better. This yarn is also machine washable, tumble driable and you can iron it too, should you really want to! Great yarn, great price, great finish!!

Have a great day all, enjoy this lovely weather we are having in the UK, and for those of you abroad, hope you have sunshine too!

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

POTD: Feather and Fan Baby Hat (and Booties)

Happy Wednesday Everyone!! Not such a happy Wednesday for the Blattcave thanks to the people at British Gas!!! I will be using the good old comparison sites today to sort them out!!

Today's POTD is Feather and Fan Baby Hat, and you get the bonus matching booties pattern too on the same page. I have knit this in a pink variegated Peter Pan DK that was in my stash. It is a knit flat pattern, unlike a lot of my others that I just knit flat anyway!! It is also a top down pattern that I haven't really come across much in hat knitting, so it was something different for me to work with. It also includes a very simple feather and fan pattern which is fantastic for any new lace knitters, there is only a 4 row pattern repeat and only one of those is a lace row.

There is also a bootie pattern that matches this little hat, and that pattern is free too so if anything that is a great thing. You can make a matching set for a new baby, and it will take less than a ball of yarn to do so. Find one of my amazing £1 odd ball bin finds and that is one seriously cheap, but absolutely amazing present. The hand knitted ones are always the best. (I know I know, I'm Bias!!)

Have a great day everyone!!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

YOTD: RYC Bamboo Soft

Hi All!! Happy Tuesday Everyone! Hope we are all doing well today. Apologies for the lack of post on Sunday and no explanation yesterday either. Yesterday I was at work, and the work computer is no good for Blogger, it is just not playing ball, so I couldn't sort my post out properly. On Sunday, we were bowling with the Blatt-Family, and we had great fun!

Today's YOTD is RYC Bamboo Soft. It is a discontinued yarn, but I have seen it in a lot of odd ball bins so I am sharing this one now. MCA Direct currently have some for £2.25 a ball. Now this yarn is 100% bamboo and is just one of the softest things you will ever feel. It is wonderful. It is a DK weight and normally knits on 3.75mm needles. For the pattern below I used 2.75mm to get the rigidity that I wanted, so it worked fine. The tension over 10cm on 3.75mm is 25sts over 30 rows. Per ball you get around 102m so pretty good value now it is on sale, and it is perfect for little knits, such as the booties below.

Lovely soft yarn, so so many splits- horrendously splitty actually, even if you are using bamboo needles. I love the finished fabric and I love the softness, but I hate the yarn so much. I made a shawl with this yarn too, and we call it the dishcloth. In fact, if I am trying to explain this yarn to my family, and I say dishcloth, they know exactly what yarn I'm on about.

Now I hear you all saying- why on earth is there only one? Well dear readers it is because these booties look horrendous. I mean truly awful when flat. They look like misshapen, long, horrid things that you would never put on a child, even if you didn't like it. Turns out when they are stuffed, they don't look nearly as bad. Maybe I will knit the other one!!

Now that important question- would I buy this again? I know its discontinued, but there are 4 balls of a lovely chocolate colour in Bluewater that are reduced and I did actually turn them down. Because of the terrible splitting. But I am now almost regretting that decision now I have properly stuffed this little shoe. Its actually really cute and I like it. However I am sure once I have knit the second shoe, I will be cursing it so much I will be glad never to see it again.

Have a great day everyone!!

Monday, 21 May 2012

POTD: Lace-Edged Woman's Hat

Hi All!!! hope you are all well.

Today's POTD is the Lace-Edged Woman's hat. I found this lovely hat on Ravelry, and used some of the James C Brett Twinkle that I love! And I completely love this colour too. The hat pattern is made on 4mm needles with a DK yarn of your choice, and I love all the finished objects with a variety of different yarns, each one shows the lovely lace pattern perfectly.

This is a great pattern, and I can see me creating a scarf and gloves using the same lace pattern to create a set. The yarn is beautiful and there is a lot of lovely sparkle which isn't too scratchy either. If I had to change anything on the pattern, I would add some extra length for my big head!!! It comes just to my ears and looks frankly ridiculous!!!! There is no way I would post a pic of me looking that silly- I also have a pic of my step-dad in it too, and he actually looks even more ridiculous than me, which is really going some!! This one will probably go to charity as we are a big headed family thats for sure!!!!

Have a great day all!!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Techniques: Yarn Weights

Happy Saturday Everyone!!! Techniques Saturday has arrived and today I am going to be chatting about different yarn weights and how you tell the difference, as well as a few tips about each weight. There can also be confusion about different names depending on where you are in the world so hopefully I can sort out a few issues, and sort it out. I'll also talk about recommended needle sizes for the yarn too.

  • Lace/1ply/2ply: This is the smallest weight of yarn, and is normally used for lacy shawls and other lacy projects. It is normally knit on needles smaller than 2.75mm. The picture above shows my one ball of laceweight yarn, it is a pure silk and is so so beautiful I've had it over a year and still cannot use it. I just look at it. Some of you may think I'm nuts but I know most of you do the same thing!!!
  • Fingering/4ply/ Sockweight: This is normally the yarn you would use for socks and some of the lighter weight baby clothes. It is normally knit on 2.75-3.25mm needles 
  • DK(Double Knitting)/8ply: This is probably the most widely produced size for yarn in the UK but not so much in the US. We have probably the most choice in DK here. Below you can see the picture of Patons Trentino and the thickness of the yarn and where on the ball band you can find the recommended needle size. DK is normally around the 4mm needle size. 

  • Aran/Worsted: This is normally knit on 4.5-5.5mm needles and is slightly thicker than DK. Worsted is more common in the US and is normally used for toys like we use DK. The picture below shows Patons Fusion (which I bought on tuesday). This is as popular for all items the same as DK.

  •  Chunky/Bulky: This is a thick yarn normally used for thick jumpers and other big items. I've made big hats and scarves with chunky and it knit up so very quickly!!! Chunky normally knits up on 5.5mm/8mm needles depending on the thickness of the yarn and the project that you are knitting. Below is Rowan Romance, and as you can see, is recommended for 7mm needles. 

  • Super Chunky/Super Bulky: This is very very thick yarn, and knits up so quick you will hardly notice!!! Knit normally on 8mm or larger needles. I have used a variety in the past including Stylecraft Life Super Chunky and I tend to use it for big scarves. The Blattman has a big thick scarf knit in super chunky that always gets stolen first whenever we go out with anyone who needs a scarf!!!
So how can I tell the difference if it is not written on the label? Some lovely yarns don't tell you what weight they are. I can imagine most of you don't have a handy person you can text when you have no clue what it is.  (I do- if she answers her phone!!!) In the shop, you can use the needle size on the ball band. Rowan Romance for example does not tell you on it, just that little clue of the needles. 
If you have a random ball in your stash (we all do) which has in fact lost its ball band to that place where odd socks live, then how do you do it then? Well you use a wraps per inch tool, and count those wraps. I know you are all looking at me like I am nuts!! 

This is a wraps per inch tool care of Purlesence and it is in the shape of a Llama- what more could you want!!! Well what you do is you take your yarn, wrap it around the body of the llama, or stick if you have that version, count the amount of wraps and then see how many you have. Simple as that. You can also use a big needle or a ruler to check this out too. Beneath is a general rule about how many wraps it takes.

4ply- 14 Wraps
DK- 11 wraps
Aran- 8 wraps
Bulky- 7 wraps

Well, I hope this has been useful to you, comment with your ideas or things you want to know too!! Have a great day!