Sunday, 16 December 2012

It's beginning to look a lot...

I just don't know where the time has gone, it's been almost a month since I blogged! Since the end of November I've been pretty busy, first my parents visited to see the Christmas Markets (I got a cold but managed to plough through with mulled wine!) then J & I headed to London to see friends and have early Christmas celebrations.

I've been stressing over presents (super un-organised this year!) and needed a bit of calming down at one point, I've realised now there's no point buying presents for presents sake, I'm hoping the ones I do have are thoughtful enough to make up for it :)

So I've been furiously knitting & crocheting to try & get some presents finished which I can't really share until after the big day. I'm probably pretty safe mentioning that I'm knitting up something for J (I don't think he reads my blog, but just incase I won't give away too much detail & he is sat right next to me...) but I have to do it when he's not around so pretty much every second of my lunch break and the 45mins between getting home & J getting home have been spent doing that - not much time for other things or blogging!

Yesterday before he went out for his Christmas Do (not hung-over either!) I decided to do something completely different & crocheted up this little fella :)

Orly

He was super super quick to make, I mean really quick & dead easy! The pattern came from Hopscotch Lane which was a beautiful blog and I suggest you go have a look! The pattern is here. It's written in US terms but the only stitch is US Single Crochet so just remember it's a UK Double Crochet et voila you're away :)

Orly

Isn't he cute? I've used left overs of my Drops Paris yarn. I still get annoyed with it's splittyness (do I say this everytime I use it?) but the colours are wonderful and it's quite a solid durable yarn - the rug I made with it still looks like new!

I didn't fancy crocheting the eyes because truthfully my fingers & hands feel like they might drop off. I'll give myself a break after Christmas :) So I used some white felt with a 2p as a template and some safety eyes.

When I'm not freaking out about presents or knitting I have been enjoying the finer things about Christmas, mince pies & festive mugs :)

Mince pie time

And our tree also went up without a hitch (if you dis-guard taking the lights back off because they became super heated & melted (yes melted) and were promptly returned to Mr Dodgy Ebay Seller) the baubles are up and with our newly purchased LEDs (100 for £5 in Morrisons, bargain!) are on - all I need now is a less weedy looking tree for 2013!

Baubles

Baubles

Much Love

And if I don't blog before Christmas have a very happy, festive and safe one - see you in the New Year :)

x x x x

Monday, 19 November 2012

Cat hat - ta-dah & tutorial!

My hat, which I thought was going to be a cat but I'm informed is most definitely a mouse, is finished!

Cat or Mouse hat

I promised a tutorial so I'll try not to disappoint! I must stress that the original pattern was written by Jana Falls which I found on Ravelry and I've merely adapted this for my own purposes. I umm'd and ahh'd over whether to write up the whole pattern to put on my blog and in the end I decided it would be too confusing to keep telling people to look at the original pattern and then mine etc, so here goes.

This pattern is for double knit yarn so if you're using Aran please visit the original :)

You will need:

DK yarn
4mm circular needles
4mm DPNs
A stitch marker
A tapestry needle
Snacks

For a regular adult sized head you need 114 stitches in total to begin. The pattern starts with the two ear-flaps and works from the brim to the top.

The ear-flaps


On DPNs cast on 6 stitches

Purl the next row to set up.

Row 1a (right side): Knit front back, knit until the last stitch, knit front back

Row 2a (wrong side): Knit 2, purl until the last stitch, knit 2

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until you have 22 stitches. If you want more or less stitches you need to take this into account later!

Row 1b (right side): Knit all stitches

Row 2b (wrong side): knit 2, purl until the last 2 stitches, knit 2.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 to desired length. 2-3 repeats should do it.

End with a knit row (as in Row 1b)

For the second ear-flap repeat as above, end with the knit row on your circular needle.

hat tutorial side flaps

Making into the hat


With the second ear-flap on your circular needle cast on 46 stitches using a cable cast on. This will be the front of the hat – it's wider than the back. Join the other ear-flap and knit along to the end of this flap. Make sure it's the same way round as the other flap!! Cast on another 24 stitches using a cable cast on.

hat tutorial back

You should now have 114 stitches; 22 for each ear-flap (so 44 together), 46 for the front and 24 for the back. Right...

Transfer the last cast on stitch to the left (or right!) needle and purl two together (p2tog). You should have 113 stitches now.

At this point the original pattern says to knit but I ended up with my purl stitches on the outside (which would mean you'd need to purl!). Even though I've done this twice the same happened so I'm continuing on my random way :)

Purl across the first ear-flap and p2tog where the ear-flap and the cast on stitches meet. 112 stitches now!

Purl across to the next ear-flap, p2tog where it starts (111 stitches), purl across and then p2tog where it ends. You should have 110 stitches now. If you don't, you can either do an increase / decrease or start over :)

The body

The next part is pretty boring. Purl, purl, purl away until your you've got approximately 12cm worth of hat or roughly 34 rows. It's not an exact science and the hat in my photos is probably a little too big so I've scaled down my estimates.

hat tutorial front

The top – decreasing

Ok this bit is why you needed to have 110 stitches so that the decreases work perfectly.

Place a stitch marker. I always get confused with this but the way I remember is my markers a stop sign. I place it on the first stitch I knit or purl, and when I get back to it I know to STOP!

Round 1: *Purl 8, purl 2 together (p2tog)*. Repeat between the *'s til you hit the stitch marker – 99 stitches
Round 2: Purl all 99 stitches

Round 3: *P7, p2tog* – 88 stitches
Round 4: Purl all 88 stitches

Round 5: *P6, p2tog* - 77 stitches
Round 6: Purl all 77 stitches

Round 7: *P5, p2tog* - 66 stitches
Round 8: Purl all 66 stitches

Round 9: *P4, p2tog* - 55 stitches
Round 10: Purl all 55 stitches

Round 11: *P3, p2tog* - 44 stitches
Round 12: Purl all 44 stitches

Somewhere around here it might be easier to switch onto DPNs. Just spread out your stitches evenly across your DPNs, keeping one free that you'll knit (or purl!) onto.

Round 13: *P2, p2tog* - 33 stitches
Round 14: Purl all 33 stitches

Are you using the DPNs yet?

Round 15: *P1, p2tog* - 22 stitches
Round 16: Purl all 22 stitches

Round 17: P2tog until you hit the stitch marker – 11 stitches
Round 18: P2tog until you hit the stitch marker (same as Round 17) – 6 stitches

Cut a long tail, 15cm should do, and pull this through the remaining 6 stitches to finish. This will pull the top of the hat together nicely.

Ears – make two

Ears

Using DPNs cast on 2 stitches.

Row 1: Kfb both stitches – 4 stitches
Row 2: Purl
Row 3: Kfb into first stitch, knit 2, kfb into last stitch – 6 stitches
Row 4: Purl
Row 5: Kfb into first stitch, knit 4, kfb into last stitch – 8 stitches
Row 6: Purl
Row 7: Kfb into first stitch, knit 6, kfb into last stitch – 10 stitches
Row 8: Purl
Row 9: Kfb into first stitch, knit 8, kfb into last stitch – 12 stitches
Row 10: Purl
Row 11: Kfb into first stitch, knit 10, kfb into last stitch – 14 stitches
Row 12: Purl
Row 13: Kfb into first stitch, knit 12, kfb into last stitch – 16 stitches
Row 14: Cast off

Keep going until your ears are wide enough. I worked upto this point, you could go bigger or smaller if you wanted.

Nose

Nose & eyes

Using DPNs cast on

Row 1: Kfb both stitches – 4 stitches
Row 2: Purl
Row 3: Kfb into first stitch, knit 2, kfb into last stitch – 6 stitches
Row 4: Purl
Row 5: Kfb into first stitch, knit 4, kfb into last stitch – 8 stitches
Row 6: Cast off

Whiskers and eyes


Whiskers

Using a tapestry needle and black yarn, sew whiskers and eyes into the hat. The eyes took a while to get right, but it's just three horizontal stitches across two of the 'v' shapes.

Braids


Add braids by cutting 9 lengths of yarn 60cm long. Thread through the bottom of the ear-flaps until equal on both sides (approx 30cm for each side) and plait together. Tie in a knot at the end and repeat on the other ear-flap.

I wrote this out as I was going along so hopefully it works out okay. Any problems just leave a comment :) Enjoy!!

x x x x

If you want a more concise pattern minus the waffle read on :)

Ear flaps:

On DPNs CO 6sts
P next row to set up

Row 1a (RS): kfb, k to last st, kfb – 10sts
Row 2a (WS): k2, p to last st, k2

Repeat Rows 1 & 2 until you have 22sts.

Row 1b (RS): k to end
Row 2b (WS), k2, purl until last 2sts, k2

Repeat until desired length. End on Row 1b.

When making the second ear knit your last row on circulars.

Making up

With the second ear-flap on your circular needle CO 46sts using a cable cast on – 68sts
K along the second ear-flap and CO 24sts – 114sts

Transfer last CO st onto other needle & p2tog – 113sts

P across first ear-flap, p2tog at the join – 112sts
P to next ear-flap, p2tog at join, p across the flap, p2tog – 110sts

Body

P for approx 34 rows or 12cm

Decreasing

Round 1: *P8, p2tog)*. Repeat until stitch marker – 99sts
Round 2: P

Round 3: *P7, p2tog* – 88sts
Round 4: P

Round 5: *P6, p2tog* - 77sts
Round 6: P

Round 7: *P5, p2tog* - 66sts
Round 8: P

Round 9: *P4, p2tog* - 55sts
Round 10: P

Round 11: *P3, p2tog* - 44sts
Round 12: P

Switch to DPNs

Round 13: *P2, p2tog* - 33sts
Round 14: P

Round 15: *P1, p2tog* - 22sts
Round 16: P

Round 17: P2tog – 11 stitches
Round 18: P2tog – 6 stitches

Cut a long tail (15cm) and pull through the remaining 6sts to finish.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

The cat in the hat

This weekend I am mostly thankful for not being dragged up a Mountain. This time last week I was somewhere walking up Snowdon in Wales. "Come for a walk" they said, "it will be fun!" they said. What was presented to me as an "easy" walk turned out to be eleven miles. E-l-e-v-e-n miles! The top had snow, lots of snow & lots of wind. I wasn't prepared for this. Today I've stayed indoors, tucked under a blanket, just to make up for that.


I did do a bit of climbing which while scary was also jolly fun. Again, today I'll be staying indoors, tucked under a blanket, just to make up for that.


I don't usually put my face on my blog, but for the purposes of taking photos of hats there's not really any alternative and there's no one else who's going to model for me.  Except my fluffy owl :)

Knitted cat hat

This is actually the second hat I made...  The first was meant to be a white panda hat from a free Deramores pattern.  I'm pretty sure I followed the pattern exactly but clearly it was meant for a giant with a giant head.  I wish I'd taken some photos before I frogged it, it looked like some sort of bank robbers mask!!!

So, I found another pattern on Ravelry which has ear flaps - hurrah!  This pattern called for using DPNs at the end and I even managed that!  At the end of every round I had the right number of stitches - this has never happened before!

Knitted cat hat

Look at those decreases :)

Knitted cat hat

It was only at the end I realised I'd started to decrease way too early and the hat was pitifully small.  It's destined to be fluffy owls hat now (cos he really needs one right?)

I cast on again straight away...  This time I knitted many many rounds, certain it would be long enough.

Knitted cat hat

Ta dah!  Well not quite, there's more work to do but IT FITS!

Knitted cat hat

Knitted cat hat

And this was my progress from last night - ears!!

Knitted cat hat

I'll be writing up my own pattern at some point.  It's obviously a modification of the one from Ravelry but I had to adapt it to use 4mm needles and your good old DK yarn which I figure this is the most common yarn / needle size in the UK.

I've made a nose and I'm now on the hunt for some buttons for eyes...  Watch this space :)

x x x x

Monday, 29 October 2012

"Little Woollie" Inspired Cushion

Little Woollie inspired cushion

I've taken the day off to keep J company who's had to phone in sick :( I suspect it's a 24/48 hour man flu but TLC had definitely been on the menu. I'm glad of the day off though as it's given me more time to do thing things I didn't get to do on Saturday when I went off rock climbing to Windgather Rocks in Derbyshire.


I haven't been outdoor rock climbing much, mostly due to the weather and other commitments from our two more experienced climbers. The weather was fantastic but absolutely freezing, and if it hadn't been for Milo I think my hands might have dropped off.


Milo has been our climbing companion several times now, even if he can be a pain in the arse!  He nearly tripped up some poor man who's day might have been severely ruined!


So today between supplying J with food an drink I've been busy knitting up a hat, but as I don't have any photos to show you I thought I'd share my Little Woollie inspired Cushion progress instead.

The stripes have taken a bit of a hiatus since getting the knitting bug again, but here's where we are:


The first several rows are basic Double Crochet (US Single Crochet) which I really love.  I was going to do the whole thing like this but changed my mind.  The 6th row from the top (pink/ Stylecraft Shade Fondant) is a row of Treble Crochet.
 
Little Woollie inspired cushion

This stitch I think is a Double Crochet Cluster?  I'm not sure but all the patterns are on  Little Woollies blog which is where I'd be heading if I were you :)  There are also loads more patterns / stitches that I haven't used yet and probably won't as this is such a small project.

Now this stitch is one of my all time favourites now.  I absolutely love it!  It's called Bobble Stitch but I think I've also heard it with another name.  It's so easy to do but looks so cute!

Lastly are some chevrons which aren't quite finished.  I think there should be another row like the pink to square it off.  Then I'm probably going back to some regular Double Crochet for a good while.

Here we go!  I've realised just how wonky my granny square is but I'm not too fussed.  I did see a great tutorial (afterwards...) about how to stop this - if I could remember where from I'd share the link, but I think the idea was you didn't start a new round in the corners, start along the sides in complete randomness :)


 I'm going to get back to hat knitting now.  I'm absolutely bursting to finish it and share with you.  Lets just hope I don't have another "Goldilocks" moment.  I'll give you a clue: Too big, too small, just right?

Night!

x x x x

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Pink birthday bunting & a million projects

The urge to blog has suddenly hit and I thought I had precious little to share but it turns out that looking at my camera has proved otherwise & I do have a few things! There is a beautiful sunset outside right now*, I love living up so high and getting the maximum daylight possible, it really makes me happy!

It's not rolling hills or anything special but I quite like it anyway.

Sunset
I'm slightly sad that the days are getting shorter again and it reminds me of how fast this years sped by. I've no idea what's up with 2012 but I feel like it's been here all of 5 minutes. J spent the first 6 months living away in London so I guess that was a bit weird but things are very much normal now he's home :)

Mums birthday bunting
Last week was my Mums birthday. Happy Birthday Mum! She reads my blog. Sometimes. I think! Anyway, I bought some lovely fabric back in April which I blogged about here which was meant to make bunting for a friend (and it still will) but my Mum was literally swooning over it - I think she might have tried to steal it from me as well - so that confirmed I needed to make her some too.

Mums birthday bunting
I don't have many photos because I frantically took these on the morning I needed to wrap and post it for it to arrive on her Birthday - the day before!! My Mums mission is to do this for me now :)

Mums birthday bunting
Mums birthday bunting
The buttons are from ebay and the ricrac that I tried to fancily wrap it with is from my box-of-bits-and-bobs :)

Mums birthday bunting
The only thing is now I want some too!! J will definitely say we have too much bunting but is that really possible? No I didn't think so.

Next time I may have an update on my Little Woollie Inspired cushion, or possibly the hat I'm knitting or maybe that Green Garden Grannies cushion I started or the other ribboned stockinette cushion I haven't finished or the new crochet project I started on Saturday - HOW have I ended up with so many WIPs again?! Seriously.

x x x x

*Haha, it's raining now but still sunny - see, totally British, I just can't help myself talking about the weather because that's exciting :p

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Hooky handles

Cold!!! It's gone all cold now and I don't like it

>:-[

Okay... There are *some* things I like about it. I like snuggling up under my blankets, wearing gloves and scarves and my nice new red duffel coat. I also like those clear crisp sunny days but I also like those clear *warm* sunny days; I am definitely a warm loving person. Still, this can only mean that Christmas will be here soon & I love Christmas.

This was our beloved pancake stack on Sunday morning. Mmmmmm!

Pancake stack
I don't really have much to show you from the land of knit & crochet, mainly because I don't want to get out of my blanket to photograph the stripes of my Little Woollie inspired cushion but I'm excited to say I learnt how to do bobble stitches last night and I'm very excited about it indeed!

Boyes crochet hooks

One thing that I have been doing, which involves having the oven on and thus heating the house, is making handles for my new crochet hooks. I forgot how strange it is to crochet with a handle now that I'm so used to having them, so when I tried using my new Boyes hooks it just wasn't happening!

Fimo

I bought some Fimo from ebay which arrived at the weekend and made 5 handles on Saturday. I waited for some green to arrive (the shop sent me white instead by mistake but I got to keep it for free which was a bonus!) because I was going to make one in every colour but the yellow and orange just didn't do it for me so I've kept to a narrower palette instead.

Fimo is great, it only takes about thirty minutes to set and then voila! Beautiful crochet hooks.

Hook handles

For anyone interested in making their own it's really easy.

1. I rolled the main colour into a round ball first so it had no creases or lumps and then rolled it into a sausage shape.

2. Push the hook through the Fimo, be careful not to break through it but if you do repeat step 1!

3. Roll tiny balls of white Fimo and gently press into the handle.

4. Roll across a flat surface, preferably with something other than your hand - I used a Tupperware lid until the dots lay flush with the handle.

5. Neaten up both ends, I used my fingernail to flatten the Fimo where the hook itself pokes out because my last hook handles were a bit of a mess here.

6. Bake and try not to get too excited!

Hook handles 

I think you should all pop over to see Tiny Tin Bird on Little Tin Bird aka Heather's blog to see her gorgeous new baby! She is keeping us all very well updated and he isn't even two weeks old :)

x x x x

Sunday, 23 September 2012

The City that never sleeps

YaWn! I am SO tired right now, something to do with having returned from this amazing city a few days ago :)

NYC 2012 tilted

We didn't get up til 1pm today and 2pm yesterday - shocking!! I feel very jet lagged but all is good. While we were away J & I got a new camera which has a tilt-shift setting that I absolutely love. It makes things look like little miniature models! I won't bore you with hundreds of photos you'll already have seen before, so hopefully these are a little different.

Time Square! Apparently a little seedy back in the 70s, it's now the place where everyone seems to converge of an evening. I loved walking here most nights when we came in 2008 (we stayed literally a couple of blocks away), this year we stayed out in Queens but we managed a good few trips here :)

NYC 2012 tilted

NYC 2012 tilted

Our trusty number 7 train in and out of Manhattan

NYC 2012 tilted

Cony Island

We went in May last time and the amusements were closed! It was quite eerie and I was the only person on the beach but at least the aquarium was open. A very different story this time.

NYC 2012 tilted

NYC 2012 tilted

The Staten Island Ferry

Probably the best free way to see the Statue of Liberty!

NYC 2012 tilted

NYC 2012 tilted

I came back with American Candy - I love the packaging!  Milk Duds are very yummy and we scoffed at least two boxes of pancake mix while we were away, they're so much fluffier than the ones we make in the UK.

American Candy

And a modest purchase from Michaels craft store which is quite simply the most brilliant place ever :D

I've got a nice shiney set of colourful crochet hooks now that are crying out for some new handles... I even got something for another giveaway... More on that another time!

Purchases from Michaels :)

Being New York I didn't have much time to be bored, and I seem to be getting more and more motion sick, so despite taking supplies for the flight I didn't crochet a whole lot but I've made a start on a Little Woollie inspired cushion - I've just seen that she's doing a crochet-a-long for my most favourite blanket ever and I'm gutted I've missed it but I might try and catch up, or just save the pattern. Anywho :)

Kidston Cushion

Kidston Cushion

The colours are Stylecraft again - lets be honest I have so much I think very little of what I make's going to be anything else :-p I'm using Pomegranate, Fondant, Clematis, Meadow, Cloud Blue, Sherbet & Cream at random. I think the back may have to be stripes :)

I need to go and do all that fun post holiday stuff now, washing, getting ready for work tomorrow... What fun! Hope you've all had a good week or two, I'll be back soon with more hooky fun!

x x x x