Monday, 30 April 2012

POTD: Puerperium Cardigan

Finally the Sun Shines!!!!! Happy Monday Everyone!!! Hope you are all well, and today because the sun is shining I'm sharing my most favourite pattern for baby clothes, and then we can move on to other things to knit- I promise!! I have knit three of these so far, and I really think there will be another in due course. They are so easy and make the cutest little cardy!!!

Puerperium is designed for little ones, about 8lbs-11lbs. However every time I knit this I get a different size. I have knit it on the recommended 4mm needles twice, one in Mirage DK- a cotton yarn, and in Trentino- an acrylic yarn. The cotton one is bigger because of the yarn, but both are really cute and I guarantee that with 5 siblings between us we are bound to have a little one that will fit each one.

This is the Mirage DK version, with some red buttons from my stash. You use circulars and stitch markers like the other knits and it is so quick and fab. The one below is made from Trentino and again some buttons from my stash.

I've also knit this pattern on 4.5mm needles using pink Bambino, and it has made a bigger cardigan and it is very snuggly too.

I seriously cannot recommend this pattern enough. It is so simple to knit, cute and makes a great little knit for anyone expecting. If you only knit one pattern of all of these baby knits, knit this one.

Come back tomorrow because it will be the start of my competition!!! I have two prizes to win and I am really excited, and I hope you will all come and take a chance at winning!!

Sunday, 29 April 2012

YOTD: Robin Picasso DK

Happy Sunday everyone!! This is not so much a happy Sunday as a dark, damp, windy Sunday- Yuck!! I hope you are all warm and dry. I am too, and knitting. Lots. But finally I have finished that blanket so I can share with you this amazing soft fluffy yarn with a lovely colourway.

This yarn is Robin Picasso DK. It is a DK yarn knit on 4mm needles (I didn't- I'll get to that in a minute) and it has a tension of 22 sts over 31 rows over 10cm. The yarn is 100% acrylic and you get a great big 100g for about £2.50 from Wool4less. Bargain. On that ball, you are going to get about 270 metres, so this really is good quality yarn but on a budget. There are some really cute colours too!!!

For this particular colourway, I chose to do a feather and fan blanket. You already know this because I have been moaning about said blanket for days. The swatch above is in that pattern and on 4.5mm needles. It is a thick DK, so knitting it using 4.5mm needles is perfect tension for all those light worsted/aran patterns, and looks brilliant. I would use it as a light aran/worsted weight and on 4.5mm needles for clothes and blankets because the effect is much softer than on 4mm needles.

These pictures are not the best, I know. But because it is miserable outside, my colours are just not right. This particular colourway has a very gentle stripe through purple, orange, yellow and green, but is very light and looks almost white in sunlight. I have also knit this up as a shawl too because I love this colourway so much. But it really does not photograph well!! Here is the shawl below, and you can just about see the gentle stripe in this.

There is only one issue with this yarn. It is great value, it is warm and so so soft and cuddly, and it is all round lovely to knit with. Except the slubs. As you get to the middle of the ball you get slubby bits that really really show up. They aren't small and you can get away with them, they are big and fluffy. I really had to cut them out and reattach the yarn for the lace. There are a few when I was purling, and they have knitted in, but that is my only issue. I have used three of these balls now and each one had the same slubs in the yarn. I do have this in another colour that I haven't used yet so I will update again when I know if there are slubs in this too. I hope not.

Granted, its a bit slubby but I would most definitely buy it again. It is the softest thing, has blocked great, and is of course machine washable so perfect for any knit, and it is a great price for a great yarn. Perfect if you are starting out too, its cheap to play with, but you get a great knitted fabric.

The one above is Marshmallow (I think, although on my ball band I have 2848- and in all the shops the same colour seems to be 2849). I also own Sky (2846) is a mix of white and blues and I presume all of these will stripe like the one above. I have yet to find the perfect pattern for this, but I will recap later once I have knitted it up. There are lots of other colours available and all different stripes, including a very bright orange/purple/yellow number called Refresher and a variety of soft colours too.

I love this, I love the blanket I have knit with it, and I just love the way it has finished. Apart from the slubs. But I can get over them. Knit with this yarn, its yummy, and its a bargain- why not?!
Have a great day all, and stay warm and snuggly, and keep knitting!!!!
(oh and for an exclusive- I've got a great giveaway coming, watch out on Tuesday!)

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Techniques: Blocking

Hi everyone!! Happy Saturday!! Back to the rain again, and the perfect knitting weather. I have finally finished my feather and fan blanket!! YAY!!! This is a great thing, because it was becoming very tedious, but I must say  it looks amazing, and I am very pleased with it. But you will have to wait one more day for YOTD. So, as I sat pinning it out, I thought maybe I should share with you the technique of blocking..

When I first started knitting, I thought what's the point in blocking? And as I knit toys there really wasn't any point in blocking, and there really isn't when you are knitting toys, the small pieces are sewn up and stuffed that they really don't need it. You can if you want, but I don't think it is necessary.

Then I started knitting shawls, lace, and clothes. Now with lace, you really need to block it to get the best results, and to see all the hard work that you have put in. With clothes, it is best to block the work so that when you seam them, the work is flat and you get the size that is on the pattern. Also, stocking stitch will need blocking much much more than garter stitch. Stocking stitch curls and makes it really difficult to get something to lay flat and to seam too.

Let's go totally back to basics with this one. I had no idea how to block and had to ask one of the much better experts on Ravelry how to do it. So here we go, firstly, what do you need to be able to block? You are going to need pins, a towel, something to block on and something to spray water with.

Now above you can see half my blanket. It's only half because it is wider than my blocking mat so I am doing it in halves. So what you can see in the picture above is my blanket pinned out on a towel which is on top of an old exercise mat. That's right, that's how we exercise in this house!! Now this mat was donated to me during my In-Laws last house move and I actually have my sister in law's too for this purpose. These are spongy and give me lots to work with when I'm putting the pins in. The mat underneath is also folded over so it is actually twice the length and I have been known to block a lot of things at one time.
Before I had this mat, I have been known to use the old lagging from our old immersion heater, or lots of towels piled up to take the pins. I was always scouring charity shops for the foam kids mats too, but the exercise mats came up first. You can buy special blocking mats if you want.

 Now there are plenty of different types of blocking. You can submerge your work in a bowl of water, take off the excess water and then pin it out. Personally I am totally scared of that, pushing my work into water. It works perfectly for others and I'm sure it will work for me, but I just prefer to spray my work. I know it works on most yarns, and won't felt things either. I just like it. As you can see, I use a carafe of water, with an old spray top from a cleaning bottle. This makes it easy to spray all over my work and I get an even amount of water.

So here's what I do. Pin out your work on top of your towel and mat to the size or to show the lace. Spray the work with water. Make sure the work is wet, not dripping but wet. Then leave it to dry. Let it dry naturally and then unpin it and you are done. If it is work that needs seaming, you will now be able to sew it up and see the edges better, especially if it is stocking stitch.

I really hope this has helped a few people. You will really see a difference when you block something. It is neater somehow, and all the stitches line up nicely, and you get a better fit to your work. Blocking isn't for everyone. My mum never blocks and her knitting is so very beautiful as it is. Her clothes come out perfect every time. She probably wouldn't say that, but I would. One day I will show you her cables- you will be in awe!!!

Have a great day everyone, keep warm and safe, and enjoy your weekend

Friday, 27 April 2012

Book of the Week: Jean Greenhowe JiffyKnits

Happy Friday everyone!!! Shock Horror it is actually sunny out. Wow! And I'm at work. Oh well, never mind, the sun might bring the customers in. So how are we all today? I am still knitting my feather and fan blanket, but the end is nigh everyone, and I am most definitely heaving a great sigh of relief. Don't get me wrong, I do love knitting, but a 2 row lace pattern repeat for nearly a metre is somewhat tedious after the 60cm I've done so far. I am hoping to get it finished today and then I can share the great yarn I am using to knit it tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Today was then the perfect time to introduce a new section of the blog, Book of the Week. I use Ravelry all the time for my patterns. I love its search feature and the ability to block out all the stuff I don't want and look up patterns for the exact yarn I have in front of me. But I do rely on a few books I have bought, been given and donated, and get at the library when I can. So these reviews are for these, the books I couldn't do without.

Today I am starting with a very cute toy book from a designer that has been in my life a lot longer than when I was just knitting. These pattern books have been around long before me, and I remember them being around when I was a child, and my granny, great aunt and mum knitting from them. I remember looking at the pictures in the Knitted Toys book for hours, espoecially the detailed dinosaur set-up in there. But enough about that book. JiffyKnits is the one that I am reviewing today. So why JiffyKnits? Well, Jiffyknits is probably the best one for beginner knitters young and old, and everything in it is made from garter stitch strips

Jean Greenhowe's Jiffyknits The Exciting New Craft For Garter Stitch Strips
This book is the best one for beginners as it is perfect for learning to knit garter stitch strips and then learning to sew them up, and shape the finished objects into the toys in the book. You need very small pieces of yarn to knit most of these, and there are patterns for every season of the year. Patterns include Christmas snowmen, penguins and father christmas, Easter Bunnies, a whole halloween scene of characters which is where my cute little frogs come from, a whole range of play food and even a tin of beans-which is the cutest thing, and when I can find the perfect shade of Heinz blue, my mum will be getting one as she has been hankering after a tin for ages!!!
So what have I mostly knit from this one? Frogs. And lots of them. Over 50 in fact.
Every one has its own character and I love them so much.
This particular book has 45 different patterns and costs around £5.30 for the book. Good Old Deramores have it on offer at the moment for £4.76.

Have a great day all, and have a lovely weekend too. Keep your fingers crossed for my lace!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

POTD: Seamless Yoked Baby Cardigan

Happy Thursday! Well it is blooming miserable here that's for sure!! Today was one of those mornings where you get up and check your shed (and rather rickety fence panel) is still there. It is still raining and blowing a gale out there and who would have thought it was nearly May? Oh well, this is most definitely knitting weather, and that has got to be a good thing!!! So what have I been up to? Well at the moment I am knitting a feather and fan blanket I started last year and I figured I better actually get that finished. Doing these YOTDs are definitely making me fish through all the UFOs in my cupboard (no nothing flying, UFO means UnFinished Object).

So here is pattern of the day. I have featured this cardigan pattern on the last couple of YOTD and I have really loved it. It has made a really sweet little cardigan, which is different to the normal basic cardigans with a patterned yoke. The designer, Carol Barenys, has designed a lot of different baby knits including preemie knits, and also has a variety of different designs on her website, Carol's Baby Knits. This particular pattern is for the Seamless Yoked Baby Cardigan. Here are my two versions of the cardigan, minus buttons. I'm still trying to find the perfect ones, so please excuse their clear non-existence!!

This first one is knit using Sirdar Snuggly DK in white. It is a very soft, very cute little cardigan. I don't really have any babies to size this up against, well we do but he was a preemie and his sizing is a little bit misleading!!! The pattern states it is probably a newborn to 3 month size, and the pattern also makes a 3-6 month size.

This is my second one in Sublime Baby Silk and Bamboo DK in Juicy, or a subtle lime green. The pattern is knit on circular needles like all the other raglan increase cardigans I have been featuring and includes a cute little pattern on the yoke, bottom of the cardigan, and around the wrists on the sleeves. The pattern states you can leave the ones of the bottom if you are making for a little boy. The pattern is quite a girly one, but it is really cute that's for sure. It is well written and if you just follow the pattern row by row, which is how it is written, it is really simple.

Have a lovely day everyone, and I do hope your weather is better than ours!!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

YOTD: Sublime Baby Silk and Bamboo DK

Happy Wednesday everyone!! Hope you are all doing good today, my post is a bit late because I had to go food shopping and to B&Q (Other DIY stores are available). We needed a new doorbell. By the way, the worst thing in the world might actually be testing out the door bell ringers in the shop. Lets be honest, you want a doorbell that isn't going to cost the earth (some in there were over £100- for a door bell???) and hasn't got a ringer that lasts for a week at about a million decibels. And as much as I did like the idea of being able to upload an MP3 to my doorbell (oh the options) I figured a simple doorbell would suffice. In the shop, you press the little buttons to hear the sounds and everyone looks at you like you might be one of life's special people. I'm over my doorbell fiasco now and back to knitting! Hooray!!

Back to knitting with a very special yarn. Normally quite an expensive yarn and one that I would normally shy away from, but, there I was, stalking the odd ball bin in John Lewis, and there were three balls of Sublime in there. DK? Check. Soft? Oh my yes! Over half price? Well then you are most definitely coming home with me.  OK so what is so special about this yarn. Well it is very soft, and made from 20% Silk and 80% bamboo sourced viscose. (nope, I don't know what that means either, but its soft so its a winner!!). Normally it retails for about £5 a ball, for 95 metres, or 104 yards which is about 50g. Here is a link to MCA Direct where they stock Sublime BSB (no not BackStreet Boys- oh that takes me back!!) and they have free delivery when you spend £10 or more-yay!! Tension here over 10cm is 22 sts over 28 rows on 4mm needles.

This is a lovely soft yarn because of the beautiful fibres, and it makes a lovely fabric. It is heavy, but I think that is something that comes with cottons and bamboos and silks, and also this little cardigan ate up the yarn as I was knitting. I have knit this in around 200m of acrylic but it needed all my 3 balls of Sublime to make this. Still, at £15, this is a lovely little cardigan for special occasions and is machine washable-hooray!! I only paid £2.15 a ball so it was a good price and a lovely finish. It will split if you aren't careful, these types of yarn tend to have a penchant for splitting as you knit, but on my wooden circs, that was reduced a lot.

Would I buy it again? At £5 a ball, probably not, I would need a lot to create a little cardigan and I am not sure it is worth it. If I saw it again in an odd ball bin, I would probably buy it, but there isn't really enough to make much with one ball, maybe a few cute little hats or mitts. I like the yarn, it is beautiful and soft and comes in some beautiful pastel shades that are not too common, and not too babyish.

The colour I've got above is a subtle lime green and called Juicy (273). The yarn also comes in Pillow (267) an off white, Milk Pudding (268) which is almost magnolia cream, Bib (269) a sort of denim baby blue, Ballet Slippers (270) which is a deep baby pink, Goosie (271) a subtle yellow, Tutu (272) a soft baby pink and Dumpling (274) which is not the nicest name but probably nicer than saying Brown, which is what it is.

Sublime also are very good at creating patterns to go with their yarns, and there are 2 pattern books so far to go with these, available at MCA Direct as above or through most stockists. As I am completely addicted to Ravelry, I tend to use the patterns on there, and pick exactly what I'm looking for.

Have a lovely day everyone, and back tomorrow with the pattern for this cardigan, one I have really enjoyed knitting!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

POTD: Baby Eyelet Cardigan

Happy Tuesday everyone!! I'm playing nurse today because the Blattman has hurt his knee- doing something silly no doubt, but he is on the sofa with his knee up and an ice pack, moaning and generally feeling sorry for himself. I'm giving him zero sympathy outwardly, but do feel a bit sorry for him- Bless!!

POTD today is the very first Raglan cardigan I knit, and is a great pattern for newbies for Raglan, and circular needles too, and is all knit flat. It has a really cute eyelet pattern, and it is very simple, so great for lace newbies too. It is only 8 pattern repeats too so it is over before you know it, and so very easy. Here is the link for the Baby Eyelet Cardigan

Both of these cute little cardigans took one ball of yarn, Peter Pan DK (above in brown) and Peter Pan Sweetheart (below in blue). They are lovely little knits, and also use up one of your leftover cute buttons. The pattern is easy, and worth a go. It is a small one, uses basic increases, and basic lace.

This was the first cardigan I knit all in one go, and I have now knit 16 different cardigans using the raglan increases. I love them and I am hooked completely. I actually turn down patterns that are made up of fronts and back and sleeves. I love doing it all in one go.
Just had a look at the pattern page, and there is now a new link to a crew neck version of this little cardy and I may just have to cast on one of those today- here's the link for the Crew Neck Instructions.

Have a great day everyone, and Happy Knitting!!!

Monday, 23 April 2012

YOTD: Peter Pan DK

Happy Monday everyone!! I'm not sure everyone will be having a Happy Monday, but it'll soon be Tuesday if you aren't. We had a lovely weekend with family and wishing Rachel a very Happy Birthday, but now we are back and it is time for another YOTD. I am running out of YOTD, but I still keep finding yarns that I have used and projects to show you so hopefully I can keep these going a lot longer, but you may find over the next few weeks, there are a few more POTD whilst I get knitting!!!! I am currently knitting with a beautiful yarn that I hope to feature soon but I want to make sure I get it finished.

So today's yarn is another baby yarn, and another of my favourites. Peter Pan DK is a great baby yarn and a good budget yarn too. It comes in 50g balls of 55% Nylon and 45% Acrylic and you get 170 metres, and the cardigan I have knit below took slightly less than one ball, so it makes a great knit. The ball below was a bargain £1 in an odd ball bin at Francis Isles in Rochester, but they are normally around £2.80-£3 per ball, which for a cardigan really isn't bad!! The tension over 10cm is 24 sts over 32 rows.

This yarn is really soft, and perfect for baby knits. It is not as soft as Bambino, or Snuggly, but it is still a great soft yarn for babies, and the colour range is so very good. It comes in 57 different colours which is a massive range, and you can get solid and variegated colours. I absolutely love Coral Surprise, and Aqua Surprise in the variegated so much, so they might be the next ones. Here's the link to Deramores where they show you all the different colours, and they have a sale on so why not?!
It is a washable yarn and tumble driable too so great for little ones and for mums who really don't want to hand wash. I'm not a mum, and I don't want to hand wash, so I imagine a wriggly baby is not exactly conducive to scrubbing away in the sink. So these machine washable baby knits are perfect to give.

It has great stitch definition, and the yarn holds together well, no splits. You get a good finished fabric and it blocks very well with lace and stocking stitch. I enjoyed working with this yarn and I would most definitely buy it again, its a good staple baby yarn with so many different colours.

I've had an idea along with the YOTD and POTD to do some other reviews of some of the books and patterns I have bought over my knitting history and I hope they will be useful. I will be working on these alongside YOTD and POTD to give you all a bit more of an all round knitting thing, we don;t just use online patterns and yarns, but needles and other notions so I'm hoping to cover all sorts. Let me know what you think, and if there is anything you want me to review- I'm all ears!!

Saturday, 21 April 2012

POTD: Paxton Cardigan

Happy Sunday Everyone!! We are off up to my In-Laws today to celebrate a birthday, my Sister in Law is 24 on Tuesday so we will be having a nice Roast Dinner to celebrate. Hope you are all going to have a nice relaxing day or if you are at work, then I hope you have a good day too, not too stressful and all that.

Today is another of my new little cardigans, and today's pattern is, unlike most, created for little people as well as newborns. This Paxton Cardigan has an offset front and two buttons. It can be made for preemies, small babies and newborns. Mine I must admit is a bit bigger than newborn, but lets be honest, babies grow so someone is going to wear it.

I really like this cute little cardy, and I've only knit one of these so far. I'm not sure why, but I just havent gone back to this pattern like I have with the eyelet cardys and the Puerperium. I still like it. It is another of the stitch marker jumpers, and makes use of the raglan increases like the hooded cardigans I showed you on Friday. These are great to learn new skills like the raglan increases and using circulars. This is simple too, you can follow the lines on the pattern and it comes out great. I love the fact too you can knit it in three sizes, and it goes down to little babies as well as newborns. You can also knit short sleeves and long sleeves, and it is very customisable. You can make more buttonholes if you want.

This is a perfect cardigan for a new raglan knitter. It is very simple, uses garter and stocking stitches, easy increases and creates a great piece. Give this little one a go, its a rewarding little knit.

YOTD: Hayfield Bonus

Happy Saturday everyone!! Hope you are all either relaxing at home, or working and its a good day full of happy people who don't ask silly questions or moan. Can you tell I work in retail?

I am knitting my little fingers to the bone to get the YOTD up, but  sometimes you just cannot knit quick enough. I am working on it, I promise, with a beautiful silk and bamboo yarn which I am loving, but it will take time. Perfection takes time. So for these next few YOTD I am going to focus on some of my toy yarns that I love to work with, and find really easily in most yarn shops, and is really quite cheap. I don't mind spending money on more expensive yarns but for toys, the cheap acrylic is so perfect, and available in every single colour under the sun. But keep reading even if you don't knit toys. I use it for other things too.

The first of these yarns is Hayfield Bonus. I am using Deramores again as a yarn shop, but they really do show a great amount of the colours, in good swatches, so you can really see what colours you can get. They are also a good price. Bonus comes in 100g balls, which really is plenty when you talk about toys, as you get 280m on there. It knits up on 4mm needles for the tension, but normally when you knit toys, you go down a few sizes of needles to get a thick tension so the stuffing doesn't show through. Normally this yarn is about £2 a ball, but at Deramores currently they are £1.69 a ball.

Here are just a few of the toys that I have knit with a variety of yarns, including Hayfield Bonus. It is a great yarn to work with, easy to knit with and the stitch definition is very good. You get a really nice finish with it. It is also washable, but of course with toys, you would probably only want to make it surface washable, but with these yarns, you know it is going to be safe. It also doesn't fluff so it is pretty safe for little ones.

Not everyone knits toys. I know that. And I have used this yarn for other projects too and they have been really successful. I like to use the cheaper acrylic for the projects that I want to wash a lot, or is going to be used a lot. For example, this tea cosy and teapot stand. This is a stranded tea cosy and a mitred pot stand that I made for a present for my granny, who actually won't use it, despite the fact it is knit in washable acrylic. She uses it on display in the kitchen, over her display teapot.

Toy knitting does really need cheaper yarn. Don't be a yarn snob. You don't need the expensive cottons and silks for these. The cheap acrylic is perfect, mostly because on some yarn you will only need a very small amount. You can buy smaller 25g balls in some brands and I will be showing these soon, along with a specific post about skin tones, as that can be a difficult thing to find.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, we are off tomorrow to celebrate my Sister In Law's birthday with family, and I apparently need to go make a pineapple upside down cake for the Blattman. And a Swiss Roll. Knitting might be on the back burner for a little more!!!

Friday, 20 April 2012

POTD: Easy Baby Cardigan

Hi everyone, Happy Friday!!! Hope you are all well. Ultrasound went well and I am all healthy in the Kidney department, so all my family can rest assured that there is always a spare. I was also very shocked to be in and out of the appointment before I was even supposed to be going in- well done NHS! Now if only they could tell that to my GP!!

So POTD today has to be that incredibly cute little baby hoodie that I showed you in yesterday's YOTD post. I am absolutely loving the pattern, and since it is all knit in one go, hood, buttonhole rows, the lot, it is the perfect knit. It is also pretty quick, so a great project for a couple of evenings work.

These cardys need the use of stitch markers. If you haven't used stitch markers before, don't be put off. And don't think just because you haven't got any you need to buy them either. Now, when I first started I used bits of scrap yarn tied in a circle. Now I use ones I got free with a magazine. But I have been known to use whatever is around me at the time, including paper clips. They work remarkably well!!!! Give it a go, and simply follow the instructions. You use stitch markers to mark an area of your work normally where you are going to increase (in this case) or decrease. What you normally do is knit up to the stitch before the marker, increase, slip the marker over to the other needle, and then increase again. They save you from counting every time and just make things easier. Especially when your husband is shouting out numbers just to bug you!!. (yep, the Blattman thinks that's funny)

The other thing that is not necessary but to be honest so much easier for this knit is circular needles. No you are not going to knit in the round, as I see some of you shirk away and say Is she mad?. You just need a bit of movement in your work to help as you increase. Don't be afraid everyone, you knit exactly the same way as you would on straights. Now I have what my Step Dad calls the most expensive knitting needles in the world- they aren't of course but I do work on Knit Pro Rosewoods, so they aren't exactly the cheapest either, but any circs will do. I have free ones from magazines and a pair of Pony ones aren't expensive either.

What happens in this pattern is you start from the hood, then knit down, increasing for the shoulders and then you put the stitches for the sleeves onto stitch holders. These look like great big safety pins, and are again unnecessary too, you can use a bit of old yarn and just put the stitches onto it. Basically it just holds the stitches until you need them again. You knit the rest of the body, cast off, and then put those spare sts back onto the needles and knit the sleeves. Do them flat, its easy, you can and just sew em up later!!

Give it a go. What have you got to lose? Don't be scared, just try it. Its only knitting and purling right? Plus, I'm only a comment away if you need a hand.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

YOTD: Wendy Bambino

Hi Everyone, Happy Thursday!! Hope you are all well. Weather still no better here, horrible and rainy but never mind,Am off to the hospital for an ultrasound to check my kidneys are all ok after last months infection today, so I really need a YOTD to cheer me up. I finished up the fourth colour for this one last night, and honestly, I totally have been impatient to share this one with you.

Wendy Bambino is apparently a DK yarn, but it is a bit thicker than your average and I have been knitting it to light worsted/aran weight on 4.5mm needles and it has come out really well, with good tension. This yarn comes in 100g balls, with 290m on, so lots of yarn to play with. It is 85% Acrylic and 15% Tencel, and is seriously soft. The tension on this one over 10cm is 24sts over 32 rows.  I bought this at my LYS, Pats in Lordswood, and paid £2.50 for the plain colours and £2.85 for the print, so along with being seriously soft, its seriously cheap too. I was a numpty earlier, but have now found the yarn online, so here is a link to a website that stocks some of the shades, as unfortunately this yarn has been discontinued. My LYS has lots of stock so check out yours too.

There are plenty of colours available in this yarn, and I have four to share with you, and you can see now why it took me so long to get to this one. This is a very baby blue, and is so very soft. The picture you see below is pre-blocked and with some of my button stash.

This colour has not come out as much as I would love it too, its actually a very pretty baby pink, and quite bright, but obviously the sun has not come out as much as I would like so is giving quite a grey look to it. Ill get some better pics later but you get the idea.

 This is the print colour I have, and it is 2 different shades of purple, and take note, this pattern will be coming very soon because I LOVE it so much, hence the 2 in this pattern. Only issue here is that when it was blocked, the dark purple bits ran, so the front is a varying shade of purple. Doesn't look too bad, but I would have preferred it if it didn't, and it does make me question the mild machine wash on this one.

This again has not photographed as well as I would like. This is actually quite a bright mint green, and is really cute and a lovely colour. This one has been blocked and I love this yarn and this pattern.

Would I buy it again? Oh yes I would, a million times over. I would love it in deeper colours, but I understand it is a baby yarn and most people prefer those baby pastel colours. I don't. Still I do love these baby colours for a few bits, and I love it knitted up. It is machine washable on mild and cool tumble dry too, but I really am not so sure about the colours since I blocked the purple version and the colour ran. I'd give it a go, but not with my whites!!! It is softer than the snuggly from Tuesday, and I love it for the American patterns that are for light worsted on 4.5mm needles rather than the smaller dk ones, because the tension is perfect.

I think that adorable cute hoodie pattern will probably be POTD tomorrow, but Ive got a few up my carefully knitted sleeves so we will see. Have a great day all!!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

POTD: Super Simple Baby Tunic

Hi everyone!! Still very rainy, grey and miserable here, I think Spring might have missed this corner of the country this week. Never mind, I am lucky and don't have to go out today so now there is just much more time for knitting!!! And for those of you that may have been worried about the anorak toting scallywags- Bike is still there, so pleased I put the lock on!!

Today's POTD is a cute little dress that I knit a few months ago, and am now considering a cotton version of it too, so hopefully I can share that later. It is knit flat, but there is a version in the round too so whatever you prefer to do you can. Don't be afraid when I say there is a version in the round, this is such a simple little dress, so however new you are to knitting you will definitely be able to knit this one. In fact it would be brilliant for starting out in clothing, 2 pieces, and a few more challenging sections to learn.

So here is the link to the flat version from Rebecca Gunn from her blog and here is the in the round instructions. And here is the picture of my little dress made from the pattern flat.
This little dress is knit on 4mm needles with DK, and I chose Patons Trentino for mine. The other little bonus of this is you get to pick a couple of the cutest buttons you own/forage/buy for this little one. I chose some mother of pearl heart buttons that I got free with Simply Knitting and just suited this one so much. There are so many different ideas for the pattern on the Ravelry Page for it, click on projects, and you can see lots of others for ideas.

The pattern is made up of simple stocking stitch, garter at the bottom, an eyelet row (that I read wrong so I have more eyelets than the pattern says but never mind) and moss stitch at the top. It is very simple and easy to do, minimal sewing up for my version, just the sides of the dress, and it is probably the cutest thing!!!

There won't be a YOTD today because I am working on a new pattern in the final colour of a yarn I want to share with you all so you will have to make do with the POTD, but lets be fair, that is a cute little one. For the next POTD, I think we might start with a new technique to work with. Don't worry, its still so easy, and trust me, when you go Raglan, you really don't want to go back!!!!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

YOTD: Sirdar Snuggly DK

One thing I love is the beautiful British Springtime, complete with lovely bright daffodils and cute little lambs. Do you know what else I like? That's right, beautiful British Sarcasm. I have just ventured out to put the lock on my motorbike in a hailstorm, yep hail, thunder, lightening, the lot. I thought about putting it off, thinking that there cannot be any motorcycle thieves who prefer working in the rain and hail, but knowing that, there will be a anorak wearing scalliwag waiting around the corner to nick it.

So I thought I would cheer you and me up with a soft baby yarn available in every colour under the sun (let me know if you actualy see the sun) and a good review too. Yesterdays was a bit down on what I presume are the nice people at Tivoli, so today Sirdar will get a nice review. (I obviously know that all the people at Sirdar are waiting on baited breath for this review!!!!)

Anyway, onto this yarn. I have two colours of this yarn to share with you today and I have had to wait to review it whilst I knitted up the second one. I love to review all the colours I own to get a good sample and you get different batches, different dyes and a better review- hopefully!! Today, I have chosen also to mention MCA Direct as my yarn shop as they have a great selection, and a great shadecard for their yarns so you can have a good look. They also offer free postage on orders over £10. There are so many colours in Sirdar Snuggly DK that if I described them all we'd all be here all week, and frankly that would eat into my knitting time!!!

So let's get on with it! Sirdar Snuggly DK comes in both 50g and 100g balls, but the bigger ones come in fewer colours. The blue came in 50g balls and the cream in 100g.  Ok, on your average 50g ball, you get 175m of a 55% nylon and 45% Acrylic yarn with a tension on 4mm needles over 10cm of 22sts over 28 rows. A 50g ball will set you back around £3, so pretty reasonable for the meterage. I got my little blue cardy from one ball, but it is a newborn size. My 100g ball has 330 meters on and costs around £5.50 so again reasonable money for reasonable amounts of yarn, I still have about 20g left from my ball from knitting the larger cardigan below.

This has to be one of the most beautiful blues I've knit with. I love this yarn, it is probably the softest thing I've knit with so far, it is just fab. It knits up well, and to a regular tension, and I found no problems with the yarn.

It is washable and tumble dryable on cool which is another fantastic thing about this yarn for baby knits, and it does come in a wide variety of colours too. I like both of these that I have used.

It has blocked very well. As you can see by the Evelyn blue cardy above, you can see how Lace has blocked and the picture below is not blocked at all, and I apologise for the lack of buttons. I absolutely love this little pattern, and I finished late last night so the cardy isnt totally finished up, but you get the idea. I can't wait to share this pattern for POTD.

So, at the end of the day, would I buy this again? Oh Yes I would. In fact many of the colours are really calling me. I would completely recommend this as a great baby yarn, at a reasonable price.

I would ask the Blattman about his review, but he is at work, and very happily too because he passed a pretty important exam yesterday and he is really on cloud 9!!! We are really very proud of him in my family, and he really worked hard to achieve this, and it means great things for our future, so all its good in the Blattcave.

POTD: Pattern of the Day! Baby Wrap Cardigan

Hello everyone, now for all of you tuning in for YOTD, its coming I promise! I am at work today, and I only finished the last of the review last night late, so I have yet to take all the pictures. It is coming later today when I get home. Its one of my favourite yarns too so I'm excited to share that one. I know you are all on the edge of your seats!!!!

I am introducing another little OTD sideline today, as I have so enjoyed doing the YOTD, but have discovered that I cannot knit to demand on that one!!!! So I am adding POTD too so I can keep up updating you all daily, but with different things. I have also discovered that in reviewing all these yarns, I am knitting an awful lot of new patterns and experimenting, and I am lacking on giving you the information on the patterns I'm using. I know, rubbish! So I am addressing this balance and adding Pattern of the Day.

Today's pattern of the day is going to be one of my new little favourites. As you can see, I am pretty much loving knitting the baby clothes and have learnt so much about garment construction and raglan seams, and enjoying every minute of it. This first pattern is the first garment I knit and is a little wrap cardigan.

This cardy is knit using DK and 3mm needles for the ribbing at the bottom and 3.75mm needles for the body itself. The original of the pattern was knit in Sirdar Snuggly, hang on for the review, but mine is knit in Patons Trentino in Orion. You are going to need about 250yrds for this one, which is about 230 meters. You are probably going to have no problem getting one of these cardigans from a 100g ball of DK.  

To knit this little cardy, you start at the bottom of each of the sides of the front of the cardy, knitting them each on two needles, then knitting across all the stitches of both sides of the cardy underneath the sleeves. Then you cast on for sleeves and away you go. I apologise if that description has scared you off but please read the pattern, it makes so much more sense than my ramblings!! Now, I am totally allergic to picking up stitches, I hate doing it, and would go via lands end to avoid them. The bonus of this cute little pattern is that all the bands and edging are knit in as you go. Hooray!!

This is a great little starter pattern for garments. The pattern is very easy to read, and comes in PDF form so is really good to work from. There are also lots of pictures to refer to, which is always a winner in my book. It is also completely and utterly free for your own devices.

I really enjoyed knitting this, it uses basic knitting and purling, easy techniques and no buttonholes either for all you beginners. It is a great pattern, and although there are not many other patterns knit in the same way, so you aren't really learning construction, you are going to get a fabulous little cardy in the end. Win!

So haven't knit clothing before? What are you waiting for? Give it a go. As my mum always says, its only knitting and purling!

Monday, 16 April 2012

YOTD: Tivoli Pearl DK

Hi everyone!! Bit later today, because me and the Blattman have been out and about. Today is a actually a yarn I used last year and bought when we went to Shropshire for my birthday last year, (when I was all young!!) I thought it was time for a bit of glitter frankly, there is not enough of it on this blog yet!!

Tivoli Pearl DK is a glitter yarn and is made from 95% acrylic and 5% wool and has a lurex glitter strand running through it. These come is fab big 100g balls and you get 300 metres. A ball costs around £3.85 too so you get a lot of yarn for your money. Tension over 10cm is 22sts over 30 rows on 4mm needles. It is machine washable and tumble dryable on cool too, so a great yarn for anything really.

Now my swatch is on slightly bigger needles than it says because I was making a shawl, so the tension square above is bigger, and creates a slightly looser fabric. I have made some toys with the yarn left over and the tension has been fine. Because of the way the yarn is made, with a twist in the spinning, it creates more of a slubby yarn effect, which I am not a fan of really, but for shawls its fine. I dont think I would use it for clothes really, but my christmas angels liked it and the shawl looks great.
On most of the websites I've read, they describe it as a soft baby wool. I would not want to be the baby wearing this. It is so very very itchy. The lurex is not soft, its really quite scratchy when you are knitting it, and if you are in contact with it for a lot. It has got no softer with blocking.

Now for the question- would I buy it again? No, I wouldnt, unless I needed knitting for toys. I dont mind scratchy yarns for toys so much, because a lot of the toys I knit arent for holding, like the nativity. There are much nicer yarns out there for glitter and softness, like Rowan Romance.

I am using the white glitter (160) and there are 5 pale colours in the original line up of Pearl, and now another 4 deeper shades have been released too. The others include pale baby yellow (161), baby pink (162), Baby blue (163) and lilac (164) in the pale shades, and Purple (165), Navy (166), Black (167) and Bright Red (168). Today's website of choice is the fantastically named Togs and Toggles!! I liked the name, and they have a lot of good information about each of the yarns and some new yarns I havent seen so they are worth a look at.

And Finally, as always, the last word from the Blattman: Scratchy.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

YOTD: Sirdar Summer Stripes

So todays YOTD is Sirdar Summer Stripes. This yarn was released last year and is a 60% cotton 40% acrylic number which knits up in DK, tension over 10cm is 22sts by 28 rows . It hopefully then should make good knitting for summer this year too. Here are the facts, then Ill get down to some actual reviewing. You get 158m on a 50g ball of this yarn, which is pretty good meterage and it costs normally around £3.50 a ball, but todays shop of choice is Black Sheep Wool and they have it on offer for £2.99 a ball. (On a side note, Ive ordered from BSW before, they are fantastic, great customer service and very quick delivery.)

The yarn is another self striping yarn, and the colours are muted and more washed out than others, they look like they might have been washed a few times first. There are a few of my stitches without colour at all. The colours are quite pretty, and the cardy knit below was from one ball. This yarn is a bit hard but it is very easy to knit with. It doesnt split like the normal cotton yarns that I have been testing and I enjoyed knitting with it. The stitch definition is good and creates a nice knitted fabric. I blocked the cardy, and it didnt get any softer, but the colours didnt run so I was impressed. It is not like a normal cotton yarn, it holds together well and isnt heavy. I like it. I am not a fan of self stripers- im way too fussy about matching for that, but this is probably one of the best. I did enjoy it for this pattern where I didnt have to worry about matching anything up, and I enjoyed seeing the ball unravel and the colours reveal themselves. This yarn is also machine washable! Hooray for machine washable yarns! So would I buy this one again? Actually for a one ball knit, yes I would.

Again, I only have one colour today in this yarn, but this colour Tequila Sunrise (310) is one of 9 created by Sirdar. Calypso (317) is a stripy mix of reds, yellows, blues and pinks. Tropicana (316) is more blue and green but still has the pinks, yellow and white. Sombrero (315) is orange, blue, yellow, green and a number of other smaller stripes of colour too. Margarita (314) is pink primarily mixed with an aqua green and a lighter green. This colour is probably my favourite of the lot, but I am quite a pink girl. Oasis (312) is very lilac and blue. Some of these colours have so many different coloured stripes, but Oasis is much more bluey purple, like denim really. Pina Colada (311) is more beige and green, which a few yellow and purple stripes. Blue/Green/Sand (309) does not have the fantastic tropical names of its followers but does what is says on the tin, as does the two final colours Khaki/Purple/Mustard (308) and Tan/Orange/Purple (307).

I have now decided to let the Blattman way in on these. As he isnt a knitter, you are going to probably get exactly what he thinks!! He thinks this one is rough to touch and that the yarn is washed out, and makes it look a bit old before you have worn it. He says however it looks good knitted up. He is concise if nothing else!!!

Hope to see you tomorrow for another YOTD, and whatever else I get up to. Off to Westfield Stratford tomorrow so who knows what the odd ball bin in John Lewis might hold for me

Saturday, 14 April 2012

YOTD: Peter Pan Sweetheart

Hi Everyone!! Hope we are all doing well. Thanks to my lovely Ladies over on Rav, I am going to get better at this reviewing malarky, and they have given me so many tips on what they want to know about their yarn and their knits that hopefully I can be the best reviewer on the web- then (pay attention yarn companies) I can get sent lots of free yarn!! Oh, and be incredibly useful to knitters everywhere!!!!

So todays YOTD is Peter Pan Sweetheart. Now the 2 particular balls I started with were gifted to me by my mum. Where I say gifted, I mean she really didnt like it. But I'll go into that later. Lets start with the essentials. A 50g ball will afford you 158 yrds and its tension over 10cm is 22sts x 31 rows on 4mm needles. This is another DK yarn, and it is a 45% cotton 55% acrylic blend. A ball of this will cost you about £3-£3.10 depending on where you find it.

Now this yarn is soft, but I am just not a fan. It is designed primarily for babies, and Peter Pan are normally my staple baby yarn but this is just not my favourite. As you can see from the swatch above the stitch definition is a bit off, its splitty and it kinda pulls as you knit it. (Watch out for all those technical terms there!!) It is soft, but not in a dreamy baby sort of way, it has a bit of a scratch to it. It blocks quite nicely, and does become softer with blocking. As you can see from below, I knit some lace with it, which is the ultimate test for blocking and it did come out quite nicely. It is machine washable, on 30, which is always a bonus. I am torn really on whether or not to like it or not.

Now I didn't buy this yarn so the major question is going to be would I? If I am totally honest, No. I just wasn't a fan. I found it too splitty and the stitch definition wasnt perfect enough for me for such a smooth yarn. The same reason it found its way into my stash in the first place. For the just under a ball I have left, I will probably use it for something Im not so bothered about keeping, maybe bibs, small hats or washcloths. I wish I could tell you all I love it, and rave about it, but above anything with this reviewing I want to be honest.

All the colours in this particular yarn are solid colours, and the one above is called Dove (1607). It is a bluey grey and is a nice colour for anyone. The colour hasn't run on washing and it seems to have retained its colour well. There are seven colours available in the range at the moment, and along with Dove, there are Primrose (1604) which is a pale yellow/cream, Blush (1603) which is a very baby pink, Poppy (1608) which is a bright red, Mallow (1605) which is a pale lilac, Cloud (1602) which is a pale baby blue and Atlantic (1606) which is a deep blue (not bright, just a dark blue).

Looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow, and as always, your comments are always welcome, and thankyou all for reading and enjoying!!

Friday, 13 April 2012

YOTD: Patons Mirage DK

So yesterday's post went down well, so I am going to continue YOTD and hopefully you will find it useful!!

Today's yarn is Patons Mirage DK. (No, I'm not sponsored by Patons either, just remembered that yesterdays was a Patons yarn too- tomorrows will be different I promise!) Mirage is a 50% Cotton 50% Bamboo Viscose yarn, and knits to DK. You get 120m/131yrds on your 50g ball, and a 50g ball is around £3.90 a ball. I bought this ball in John Lewis at Bluewater, and fortunately found it in the odd ball bin, and found 4 at the end of a dye lot. I paid £1.75 a ball.

Patons Mirage DK comes in 10 different colourways, and each one is a mix of colours. The colourway I have is called Bright Blue Mix (shade 00082) and in the colourway is red, dark blue, light sky blue, white and green. As you knit through the ball more and more colours arise. This is great if you are knitting a one piece item, but for me, I just cannot have sleeves that don't match so I had to roll some off a ball to get the right pattern on the sleeves. Luckily I had spares. You can see the colours best in the cardigan I knit below. It is the Puerperium Cardigan which can be found on Ravelry

The yarn could be described as splitty, as it is quite a soft yarn, but it is nice and knits up well, the stitch definition is good. It is machine washable and again dry flat. I still recommend this for all knits, dry them flat, and lay them out, they will thank you and always keep in good shape. I was happy with this yarn, and I was surprised with the number of colours as you go through the ball, and if you have a one ball knit, then this is a great yarn. Due to my inability to have unmatching fronts or sleeves on a cardy or item, the striping was too irregular for my liking. Love the yarn, not sure I'd buy it again.

There are 9 other colours available in this particular yarn, some are very light and delicate colours and some are much more bright. Alongside my blue mix above, there are three other bright mixes. Jamaica (86) is purple, black and yellow and Exotic (80) is blue, pink, yellow and orange. Sea Mix (89) is another of the brighter shades and features many shades of blue, from a navy to a light sky blue. The rest are lighter mixes, much more muted colours. Soft Blue Mix (85) is pretty much as it says on the tin, various shades of light blues and yellows. Soft Pink Mix (83) is light shades of pink, yellow and grey. Purple Mix (84) is light shades of purple, green and blue. Lemon Mix (90) is pink and yellow and again a very light shade. Natural Mix (91) is made up of shades of light browns and greys, and lastly Violet Mix (88) is a mix of light purple, blues and greens. (Again Deramores is a great place to see the swatches for these colours, maybe if I mention them enough they might send me yarn- is that wishful thinking?!?!?!!)

I was very lucky to get to go to John Lewis yesterday too and found more bargains in their odd ball bin. As you probably know, I tend to only knit one or two ball knits, because I get a bit bored!!! This makes an odd ball bin a wonder to me. I will be sharing lots more as I knit them up.

I hope to get a YOTD every day, but because I want to knit them up first to give you all the best idea of how they knit up, the stitch definition and all the colours I own in that particular yarn it might take me more than a day.

Please please let me know if they are useful, or if there are any other things you want me to add to my reviews that would be useful to you

Thursday, 12 April 2012

YOTD: Patons Trentino

So I am totally a beauty blog stalker. I love nail polishes and lip colour and everything that goes with it. I rarely buy any beauty product without checking out swatches and reviews before hand. So I figured why can't a knitter do the same thing with yarn. We do not all have the wonder that is our local Yarn store (LYS) that we can visit and feel all those beautiful yarns, so it is much better if we can see those yarns before we buy.

So this is my first Yarn Of The Day. I was so lucky to buy three of the colours of this yarn in the sales this January, so I have plenty of swatches to share.
Patons Trentino DK is a 90% Acrylic/10% Wool Blend yarn and comes in massive 200g balls, which is 660m/722yrds. It is enough to make a sleeveless top, and the pattern for that top comes on the ball band. Personally, I have been using it for baby knits, and from each ball I have made 2 garments so far and have nearly half the ball of each left so it is going really far. Each ball costs around £8.50, which is pretty good because of the amount of yarn you are getting, that would make it around £2.13 per 50g.

The yarn comes in 6 different colours. These are Mexico (a blue, pink, red mix), Brasil (brown, blue, grey), Ocean (green and blues), Melody (pinks and red), Orion (greens and blue) and Passion (purples). I have three here to swatch, Melody, Brasil and Orion. I have knit them on 4mm needles in each of the swatches. You can see and of course buy the yarn at Deramores (they dont sponser me btw, although if they feel like it they can!!!! I just know you can see it best here and of course buy.) Before you buy at deramores however, look for the discount codes, there are lots for knitters.

First up is Melody. It is a pink mix with all sorts of other colours and really does knit up in a very pretty pattern. It is primarily pink in colour. There is no pooling (which means in some varigated yarns you can get big pools of one particular colour which can look funny on a pattern or a garment) and you get a nice all round colour. It is pretty soft and creates a nice knitted fabric.

Orion is a blue, yellow and green yarn, this doesnt really have a primary colour- it is definately a mix of them all. This pools a little, but because of the varigated part of this yarn it doesn't really show too badly. Again such a soft yarn and a lovely knitted fabric.Its quite a boy colour, but it could be used as a great accessory yarn for anyone.

Brasil is a sky blue, brown and grey mix, and creates a lovely colour. It again is a boy colour, but it is not dark at all. It has created some great little baby jackets and I am pleased with the colour.
Trentino is washable on gentle or delicate in the washing machine and then dry flat. I pretty much always dry my knits flat anyway, it helps them to keep in shape.

So let me know if there are any yarns you would like to see swatched in future or what you think of the swatches, are they useful?