Saturday, 9 June 2012

Techniques: What's in my Knitting Bag?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, 8 June 2012

Magazine of the Week: Woman's Weekly

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

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

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

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

Have a great day all!!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Baby Hats Off!! POTD

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

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

Here is mine:

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

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

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Think Pink!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, 4 June 2012

Trash to Treasure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great day all!!

Sunday, 3 June 2012


Happy Sunday everyone!! Hope you are all well.

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

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

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

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

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Techniques: Needles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what kind of needles do you prefer?

Friday, 1 June 2012

Magazine of The Week: People's Friend

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

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

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

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

Have a great day all!!