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!

Friday, 18 May 2012

Book of the Week: Jean Greenhowe Christmas Special

Happy Friday everyone!!! Hope you are all well. Today I am definitely feeling that getting out of bed is grossly overrated. So I'm going festive in a bid to cheer me up!! I am sure some of you will moan about the fact that I am about to review a Christmas book, but for all of you who, like me, love Christmas and also really want to knit a nativity then you will probably want to start early. I started mine around this time of the year, and it was finished and ready for Christmas. If you are bah humbug, then fine!!!

The book has 16 patterns, but  there are much more than that because the nativity has many parts, as has many of the others. I have knit so many patterns from this book, and I love all of them. There are a few of the patterns below that I have knit, and they are all so cute. I love the basic patterns that Jean Greenhowe creates that can be customised. The stockings below really show this customisation. I have added a pocket to each of them, and used the little dolls from the book for each one too. The Blattman's stocking is the really cute Tardis one and has a K-9 in the pocket.

Another favourite has to be the nativity- I just love it so much, and it is sure to be a family heirloom as well as one of my favourite patterns.

This is a great book for all you christmas lovers out there, and want to decorate your house with knits, as well as gift a lot too. Other patterns include the last minute dolls that I've put in the stockings, a bear and reindeer, a large Santa and Mrs Claus, Robins and a Cinderella topsy turvy doll. There are also tea cosies and tree decorations. I love this book so much and cannot recommend it enough. Imagine all the fun you can have knitting for yourself and your family.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

YOTD: Stylecraft Life Aran

Happy Thursday Everyone!! I had another successful trip to Bluewater and the good old Odd Ball Bin in Johtsn Lewis and found some fabulous Aran weights so I decided to start this Aran-Fest with a good basic reasonable one. 

Today's YOTD is Stylecraft Life Aran. Stylecraft is a great brand and does some really reasonable yarn at a great price and lots of yardage on the balls. I love the brand, and use the DK a lot for toys. I had a 100g ball for a pair of slippers for my mum, and it wasn't enough so I had to buy another. With the leftovers I made this hat below. 
This yarn comes in 100g balls and is a blend of 75% Acrylic and 25% Wool, so it is very durable. You get 198m on a ball, which is great for aran, and it comes in lots of colours. It knits on 5mm needles and the tension over 10 cm is 18sts over 24 rows. It is a really soft yarn and very pretty. This is normally about £3.00 a ball. The link goes to Deramores and they have all Stylecraft on offer this week, so you get 10% off. 

The colourway I have here is Parchment and is a very light tan brown. It is great to work with, and easy to care for. I loved knitting with it, because it was not in any way problematic. Not splitty, no knots or fluffs, just a good yarn. It is a basic yarn that is useful for all types of projects. It also comes in pinks, reds, blues and the parchment I have. This hat pattern will be coming up in a POTD soon. The other great thing is that all the colours available in aran are also available in chunky, DK, 4 ply and super chunky.

Now this yarn is machine washable, tumble driable and you can iron it too so great for clothing for anyone, as is so easy to take care of. A great yarn and I will most definitely buy it again, a great stash staple.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

POTD: Impossibly Large Impossibly Simple Shawl

Hi All!! Happy Wednesday!!

Today's POTD is the Impossibly Large Impossibly Simple Shawl and they do not lie. This is a great beginners Shawl. It is normally knit on 10mm needles, but for the Picasso one I have made below, I used 7mm needles. You knit the shawl and then on the last row of the pattern, before you cast off, you drop a stitch across the row in the pattern. This stitch drops creates the ladders and makes the shawl even bigger. There is an eyelet pattern up the centre and around the edge of the shawl too.

This is a lovely pattern and I have made 3 of these so far, and I love them. They can use any weight of yarn and really any size needles, maybe 4-5 sizes bigger than recommended. You can also see the lovely pattern that comes from this beautiful yarn, it is made with the same yarn as my feather and fan blanket. I just love its softness and its patterning. I cannot wait to use the blue version I have of this yarn too- just need to find the right pattern for it.

Have a great day all!!!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

YOTD: Wendy Beach Baby

Today's YOTD is Wendy Beach Baby. This is a crinkly looking DK yarn which has been discontinued, but my local yarn shop has absolutely loads in stock- That's Pats in Lordswood for those of you who live in Kent. I am sure that you can find these in odd ball bins, and your LYS. It comes in 100g balls and you get around 240 metres on a ball. It knits to a tension over 10cm of 22sts over 31 rows and is recommended for 4mm needles. It is 98% Acrylic and 2% Polyamide. It is a very soft yarn, and a good knit. I paid £2 for this ball, so really reasonable and really good value for money

It could be considered splitty, but I found it easy to work with, and there were no flaws in the ball at all. I enjoyed working with it. I chose to knit another Paxton, which seems to be my pattern of choice again at the moment. Don't you just love it when you find a pattern that you could just knit forever? I did the same with my pocketbook slippers and I know that both the Puerperium and Paxton have joined this catagory, along with the hospital hat, a pattern I now know off by heart!!!

It comes in traditional baby colours in the plain but I have it in shade 622 Carebear, which is a mix of mint green, baby blue and baby pink. I love it, and its knits up like a little pastel camoflage!! It is lovely and soft and it is cool wash and cool tumble dry as well- which is fantastic for these little baby knits.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Pattern: Birthday Present Frilled Apron

Hi Everyone!!! Happy Monday!! So today instead of a pattern of the day like I normally do, I am going to publish one of my own designs for you all to knit. I knit this for my mum's birthday and it is a great apron. My mum loves waist aprons- so no bib, and I always buy, or make, or knit one for her at least once a year. I have sewn them and knit them, and this is the pattern for my frilled apron. Here it is- being fetchingly modelled by my mum- now I know she doesn't like this photo so I apologise now, but its the only one I've got, so I'll replace it when she takes a new one!! (nothing like a bit of parental bribery!!)

So this is knit in Sirdar Juicy, a DK yarn made from 80% Bamboo and 20% cotton. It is therefore pretty absorbent and of course washable- which really is a good thing for an apron. I used some cotton fabric for the ties and sewed the apron to the cotton across the top. There are plenty of other absorbent and washable yarns, I would recommend anything with a cotton content, they have a good drape like this one too. 

You knit the main piece and frill in one go and then sew on a pocket and pocket frill separately. You could miss out the pocket if you don't need/want one.

So You Will Need
Approximately 4 balls of Sirdar Juicy (95m per ball) in orange, and 1 ball in a contrast colour, here it is pink.
4mm needles
Cotton Fabric for ties
Needle for sewing up.

sts- Stitches
K- Knit
gt st- garter stitch (knit every row)
kfb- knit into the front and back of the stitch, to increase

Main Piece

Cast on 80 stitches in main colour
Garter Stitch (Knit every row) until piece measures 14 inches or 35cm or until your desired length. (14 inches came to my mum's mid thigh and she has long legs so you might want to go a bit longer)

Change to second/contrast colour**
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: Knit
Row 3: K
Row 4: K
Row 5: Kfb in every stitch (160 sts)
Rows 6-8: K
Row 9: *K1, kfb* to end (240 sts)
Rows 10-12: K
Cast off K wise

Pocket- Optional

Cast on 40 stitches in main colour
Garter Stitch (knit every row) to desired length for your pocket (on the one above it was 6 inches)
Cast off
Sew to front of apron

Frill for Pocket

Cast on 40 sts
Follow the main pattern from ** to end to create frill.
Sew the frill to the front of the pocket.

For the ties, I used a strip of gingham cotton and sewed it to the back of the apron to give long ties. You can knit ties by casting on the number of stitches you need for width- around 10-15 should be perfect, and then garter stitch until they are the right length for you. If you do make sure you strengthen the ties with some cotton fabric to prevent them over stretching.

I hope you like the pattern and enjoy knitting it. It is a beginners pattern, and should be easy to do. Email or comment if you have any problems, and I'll do my best to sort them out. I have not had this pattern tested, so let me know if there are any problems.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

YOTD: Rowan Cashsoft DK

Happy Sunday Everyone!! I hope you are all well. It's actually not raining here so thats a bonus. Can you believe a year ago my Mum was getting married? Wow, I cannot believe it has been a year since we were in France and we have had so much happen in the space of just a year. They are off out today to celebrate and I hope they have a lovely day. Happy Anniversary Mum and Dave!!!

Today's YOTD is Rowan Cashsoft DK. It is a beautiful yarn which is a blend of 57% extra fine merino, 33% Acrylic microfibre and 10% cashmere. It is a very soft lovely yarn and knits to a tension over 10cm of 22sts over 30 rows on 4mm needles. It normally retails for £5.75 which is pretty good for a cashmere blend, but I found 2 balls in an odd ball bin (good old John Lewis) for £1.50 per ball, which is in anyone's book a blooming Bargain!!! You get 115m or 126yrds on a ball too so not bad for a 50g ball.

It knits up to a lovely thick fabric. There is one little issue with the plying of the yarn, as in both balls I had there was a couple of bits that were big and fluffy and white!! Which shows really badly!! I had to cut them out and reattach the yarn a couple of times. But actually it is so worth it!!

From the 2 balls I got, I managed to make the Puerperium cardigan above, and the Hospital Hat below, and have about 10g left of the ball too, which will go later into something stripy, so I was really impressed. I enjoyed knitting it, and the yarn is lovely to work with. I would probably buy it again, and I would pay £5.75 a ball for it. It went a long way

It is machine washable too, and you can iron it. It is not tumble dryable, but I would tend to dry hand knits flat anyway so I am happy to ignore that. It is also available in over 20 colours, and in various deep and pastel shades. I have shade 508- Ballad Blue, and it is a lovely colour, and the pictures do show the true colour.

Have a lovely Sunday everyone!!

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Techniques: Using Stitch Markers

Happy Saturday Everyone!!! Hope you are all well.

This is the return of Techniques Saturday, and today I am sharing with you all on how to use Stitch markers. Stitch markers are pretty useful in quite a lot of the patterns for the little clothes that I have been showing you. All of my stitch markers have come free from magazines. They are available in most knitting shops and also on Etsy, if you would like more handmade and different ones. Deramores have these split ring style ones in stock and they are fairly reasonable. Mine, that I am using below, look like little padlocks, and I also have ones that look like keyrings. They all do the same job.

Now the photograph above also shows how to put a stitch marker on a needle, You simple slip the marker on where it says in the pattern in between the stitches. Normally in the pattern, the abbreviation is PM which means Place Marker. Simply slip it on between the stitches. Simple as that. Normally you will increase or decrease either side of the marker.

This photograph shows how they are on the needle. You are also looking at my lovely rosewood Knit-Pro circulars- I love them!!! As you are knitting, and increasing or decreasing as the pattern says, you simply slip the stitch marker from one needle to the other as you knit. You will normally see the abbreviation SM, or Slip Marker. As the pattern changes and the markers are removed, you will be told to do so.

Stitch markers can also be used even if you are not told to. They are great if you need to keep a border on an item. For example, if you are knitting a dishcloth with a 4 stitch garter stitch border, you can use stitch markers to ensure that you don't forget- which I do, and have to go back and unpick it-yuck!!! Also a lot of patterns won't include these stitches and just tell you to keep the borders even. Stitch markers can help you remember.

You can also use a stitch marker to mark a particular stitch. In this case, you don't put the marker on the needle, but actually on the stitch itself. You normally use these to mark a particular row or stitch for when you are sewing up or seaming at the end.

I hope this post has been useful, and please tell me what you want to know about and what techniques you are confused about.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Book of the Week: Jean Greenhowe's Knitted Toys

Hi Everyone!! Happy Friday!! I am at work today, and that means for my competition winners, your parcels have been sent to you today so not long now!!!

I know I've done a lot of Jean Greenhowe books, and this one is even discontinued, but you can find them in charity shops and all over, and in libraries, so it is available and Jean Greenhowe is my absolute favourite toy designer. I've also given one away to my lucky reader Sara this week so this seemed to be the perfect week to show this book off. I've also knit a couple of things from the book too, and loved it.

These are the two covers that I know of so keep a good look out in your local charity shops for either of them. I paid £2.50 for my copy so they are a good buy for the amount of patterns. 
There are over 50 patterns in the book, and I have knit the penguins and some of the witty knits. I love the different patterns and there are so many that can be customised too for your own toys. My favourite has to be the witty knits for this, you can literally make anything you want with the basic pattern. I have knit the ghost from the witty knits. He has bells inside him in a matchbox (all the instructions are in the book) so that his chains rattle!!!!

There is a basic topsy turvey doll in the book, as well as the humpty dolls and the christmas decorations. Just lovely patterns. I love this book and they are so easy to knit. 

I hope you all have a lovely day, and the sun shines on all of you!!!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

POTD: Easy-Peasy Baby Bibs

Hi Everyone!!! Happy Thursday!! Sorry there wasn't a post yesterday, but I had a meeting for publicity photographs yesterday morning (that sounds a whole lot more professional than it was I assure you) and then we helped my step-brother and his partner and my baby nephew move home. We worked non-stop and they were all moved in and could actually sit down on the sofa and sleep in their bed so that is a winner in my book! It was a hard days work, but worth it and we are finally even now for my step-brother painting my living room!!

I'm keeping with what would be the pattern for these posts so today will be a POTD, and the YOTD will wait until Sunday. So today's pattern of the day will be Easy-Peasy Baby Bibs. These are perfect for going out, and for using up those leftover bits of cotton. They don't take much yarn to make and only one button, so they are great little stash busters.

I used the Rowan Purelife cotton for these and they have come out really well. I am really pleased with the finished result. For this particular pattern I used 4mm needles and I cast on 35 sts rather than the 25 in the pattern because I wanted them to be a bit wider. If you are using bigger needles and a more aran/worsted weight yarn then stick with the pattern. I also added another buttonhole on the neck strap. So those are my changes to the pattern which made the one above mostly because I was using a thinner cotton than the recommended.

Today I am working on some recycling fabric. I have some fleece pjs that are hardly worn because they are too short in the leg. So I am taking them apart for the fabric and will be using them for fabric for all sorts of things. They will be perfect blanket backs too.
Have a lovely day everyone!!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Competiton Winners!!!!

Happy Tuesday Everyone!!! I had an OK day considering I was at work. I did manage to get a really cute little cashmere/merino mix cardigan and hat finished and it is so soft- watch out for it coming soon. I also have been getting updates from my crocheting mother, who now has work crochet and home crochet- which is just the best concept!!!! She is predominately a knitter so crochet is a bit of a turn for her, but trust me it is beautiful. I am hoping to get her to lend me her FOs to do YOTD on, she always uses beautiful yarns.

I know, I know, you are all so excited to hear if you won- I can hear you telling me to hurry up!!! Well the Blattman picked 2 names out of the hat and here are the winners!!

Sara Pearson @ladysarabella- you have won the book!!! Congratulations!!! Email coming over soon!!

Kim @maplewoolfarm_ you have won the yarn!!! Congratulations!! Watch for the email!!

Thankyou all for entering and thankyou all for following the blog, and I hope you choose to stay around. Lots more planned in the future so I hope you will all be winners one day

Have a lovely rest of the day all!!

Monday, 7 May 2012

POTD: Newborn Hospital Hat

Well, Happy Bank Holiday Monday Everyone!!! Hope you are all well. I am prepping for the drawing of the competition tomorrow- remember it finishes at midnight tonight and I'll be publishing the names tomorrow in my blog post from work, so get excited!! Of course, I have had to organise some sort of hat to draw the names from, and if it wasn't knitted then that would just be silly!! That has inspired today's POTD. Now these little baby hats aren't quite big enough to pick the names out, but they are still so blooming cute, and perfect for little ones, and for gifts.

The Hospital Hat pattern uses up all those leftovers from the balls you have used to knit the cardigans. You can knit a matching set for a gift and with minimal effort and yarn. This hat is also so so quick, so emergency knits for mums-to-be are no longer a problem. These also knit up with any DK which can be shown in my picture below!! I've knit them to match most of the little cardigans that I have knit.

As you can see I've made them above in Wendy Bambino, Sirdar Snuggly and in Sublime Baby Silk and Bamboo. They are all roughly the same size on 4mm needles. The silk one is the smallest but it is still about newborn size, and feels like a dream!!

With the Baby Silk and Bamboo and Snuggly I also added the pattern rows from the cardigan I knit so that they would match. It was a perfect fit too for the pattern and I'm really pleased with the end result. I also know that this pattern is a great basic one and therefore you can add whatever pattern you need. I also like this because instead of rib they have a garter stitch band, and this then also matches all the other garter stitch parts of my cardigan.

This hat was knit on 4.5mm needles instead using Wendy Bamboo and this has really made a great hat and slightly bigger than the newborn size, but I've heard that babies do have a habit of growing so that is probably a useful thing!!!

Have a great rest of the bank holiday, and enjoy yourselves all. I'm knitting another little cardigan in a lovely soft cashmere blend- its lovely- so that's what the rest of my day is shaping up like. My mum seems to have decided crochet is the new black so that's what she is up to- makes me want to pick up my hook again and make another blanket- but we will see. The lure of the needles is certainly strong!!