Rudolphitis, Robin hats and a funny picture, it's Friday

rockin robin earflap hat

Hello!  I hope you have been keeping well and avoiding the lurgy.  It seems that everyone I know has been poorly. There appears to be a virus sweeping the world that makes it’s victims look like Rudolph.  This particular strain of, … Continue reading

Deck the Halls with Bells and Holly, erm Robins, Bows, Candy Canes

snowflake bauble simply knitting christmas decoration

I am going to mention it again,  I am sorry but it’s Chrisssssssssstmas *Slade plays quietly in the background*. When you were all applying your sun cream  I spent the scorching hot days in August (remember those?) knitting Christmas decorations.  Yesterday I was in … Continue reading

Let me help you with your Gift Knitting

I know, I know some of you will curse me for merely mentioning gift knitting! Equally some of you will be sitting there feeling a little bit smug, knowing that you have kept your gift knitting plans to a manageable level (or so you think) and that you stand every chance of being finished my December 1st.   After all that’s what we all aim for isn’t it?

Any way,  I am currently sitting with a foot firmly in each camp, “how can that be?” I hear you asking.  Well I have finished my gift knitting!  Ok, it is a birthday gift (due tomorrow) and it is crochet.  The only thing denting that warm smug feeling is that it is still sitting in ‘my den’.  Flu has delayed play this week,  I am currently day three in my pj’s looking like I am auditioning for the part of Rudolph in the panto.  Nothing is getting done here 🙁

You have already seen an in-progress shot of the Half Granny Shawl by Anastacia Zittel.  It is for my best friend Angela’s birthday tomorrow.  It really was a dream to work, perfect TV crochet with the yarn doing all the colour changing.  I already have the yarn for another one!

half granny shawl

half granny shawl

Last night I managed to make some gift tags, so I thought I would share them with you.  You can download a sheet of these little gift labels and print them onto card or linen effect paper (my personal favourite).  They will add that personal finishing touch to your handmade gifts.

gift label

There is one other way I can help you with your gift knitting.  Remember that sinking feeling you get every year when you realise that you are not going to complete those Fair Isle, beaded, over the heel socks with lace inserts that you had so wanted to make for your Grant Aunt Lily.  Hold onto that feeling and KEEP IT REAL.

gift tag

Happy Birthday Ange,  I hope your day is as wonderfully special and fun filled as you are xx

gift labels

6 Frightfully Fun Halloween Knitting Projects eBook

I have finally done it! After many hours of sweating the small stuff and deliberating over how best to approach it. I have taken the plunge and self published my first eBook.

As the title suggests it is a collection of six Halloween themed patterns, each pattern is super fast to complete and will add that extra touch of fun to your celebrations. It is available for insant download for the bargain price of £3 from Ravelry, Craftsy or Etsy.

6 frightfully fun halloween knitting projects

Projects included are:

kntited spider headband

Spider Headband

knitted ghost toy

Bouncy Ghost Toy

Knitted eyeballs

Eyeballs Out

knitted striped wristband

Spooky Wristband

knitted trick or treat bowl

Trick or Treat Bowl

knitted black cat ears hair clips

‘Black Cat Ears’ hair clips

Katie is most put out that she is not featured in the images for the eBook.  I should point out in my defense that Katie’s images are used in ‘Eye’s Out’ which is available as an individual download pattern.  I feel all my ‘Tween’ needs here is to be holding a mug shot board!  She can do a great line in looking menacing,  I shall be sleeping with one eye open!

eyes out knitted eyeballs

“MY UNUSUAL SUSPECT”

I would love to see pictures of your creations, please post them on Ravelry or my Facebook page.

More Pretty little Knitties, or should that be More Pretties to Knitty?

The latest issue of Simply Knitting magazine is in the shops now. It is packed with festive inspiration of the fibre variety.  There are some great Knitted Christmas trees by Lucille Randall, these are definitely going on my Knit List.  Also in this months issue is an interview with Lucinda Guy, I LOVE Lucinda’s work particular, ‘and so to bed’ and Hand Knits for Kids.

Still looking for knitted gift ideas?  I have designed a few quick and simple gifts that will work up super fast, but look like you spent hours creating them!

flower pin simply knitting

Flower Pin

sewing purse simply knitting

Sewing Purse

lavendar bag simply knitting

Lavender Bag

tape measue simply kniting

Knitted Tape Measure

knitted lace wash cloth simply knitting

Lace Wash Cloth

mini knitted sock keyring

Mini Sock Keyring

You can download Simply Knitting Magazine here

I hope I have inspired you to cast on,  please post pictures on my facebook page, I would love to see what you make.

Tech Knits Book Review

Tech Knits

Celebrate your inner geek with 20 fun and easy projects!’

TechKnits’ or ‘Tomorrow Knits’ is the latest book by Sue Culligan.  Previous books by Sue include Techno Cozies; Vintage Knit Knacks and The Knitting Stitch and Motif Directory.

 tech knits cover image

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this book for my birthday.  It immediately struck me down with design envy, it is totally the book I wish I had written. 143 pages of pure indulgent geekery.

Tech Knits is a collection of 20 projects inspired by retro technology, toys and sci-fi comic strips.  What drew me to it first and foremost is the styling of the book.  The retro 8-bit graphics screamed at my inner geek ‘come and play with me’.  The vintage colours are inspired and the use of intarsia charts as playful graphics is charming. This book has a great deal of ‘kerb appeal’.

‘Who is the book for?’  The book is aimed at anyone with a nostalgic taste for sci-fi, video games and electronic gadgets.  With gift knitting season well and truly upon us, this is a must have book!

The comprehensive yet succinct technique guide at the beginning of the book is a good reference for all knitters.   Tip boxes for each design cleverly guide you with advice and suggestions as you go.  Tips range from which direction you should read a chart to instruction for double knitting.

The quirky difficulty scoring system made me smile.  Scoring from 1-100, reminiscent of early computer games.

tech knits headphone hat open page

 Headphone Hat

I was itching to cast on the headphone hat, so I cast one on for Katie.  The pattern was well written and easy to follow.  The colour work was interesting but by no means taxing and would make a great project for a knitter with a little colour work experience under their knitting belt.

There is a commendable array of techniques used in this book.  These playful pot holders have inspired me to try my hand at double knitting again; having not used the technique since taking a class with The Dutch Knitters back in 2010.

tech knits pot holders

 Robot Pot Holders

tech knits space rocket tidy

 Space Rocket Desk Tidy

I like the use of everyday materials you find in your home, jars, tubes, plastic plates.  No need for specialist materials! Other projects now on my wish to knit list are, the calculator tablet cover and the reel to reel tote bag.

tech knits calculator tablet case

 Calculator Tablet Cover

This project has clever use of Fair Isle and intarsia techniques. It also suggests using Swiss darning to keep the piece more manageable.

tech knits reel to reel tote bag

 Reel to Reel Tote Bag

This eye catching bag is worked in one piece.  Short row shaping is used to create the reels and they are then attached to the bag.

Whilst some of the projects are quite challenging, given the quality of the instructions, this book will introduce new skills to new knitters.

Keeping it ‘real’

Of course no book is perfect; my only criticism is I would like to have seen more photos, particularly of the hats being modelled.

Fancy taking a break?  Sue runs knitting retreats from her home in France along with other tutors, such as Debbie Abrahams and Jane Crowfoot, why not check them out Knitting retreat holidays with Sue

Images kindly provided by and used with permission of Quid Publishing, I have not been paid to review this book, and everything I say about this book is my own opinion.

Look into my eyes, seriously…..

Look into my eyes, well take a look at my latest design I have just published on Ravelry.

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“Eww, whose eyeballs have popped out on stalks?”

These quirky knitted eyeballs are very versatile. Why not sew them onto some deelyboppers, hang from the ceiling on elastic thread or attach to stalks and add some fear to your flowers! Pop them in party bags, add some catnip and turn them into a cat toy, the list is endless……..

They are knit in the round with simple shaping, so they will work up nice and quick.

A great project for learning to knit in the round and using up leftover yarn.

full picture

“Put some fear in your flowers”

10 Essential knitting gadgets you should have

Some of these gadgets might surprise you, I would not be without any of them!

WIP Tubes (work in progress tubes) from Nancy’s Knit Knacks. These little beauties are great for taking your smaller projects out and about with you. At the moment I am using mine for keeping the lace edging I am working on under control. You can buy these from Knit ‘n’ Caboodle in the UK

WIP tubes

Row counter
I have an electronic row counter from Nancy’s Knit Knacks. I am a big fan of their products they are well designed by a knitter! This beauty is easy to use, lets me delete rows when I have to rip back, keeping me on track when I am distracted whilst knitting in front of the TV.

kitchener stitch card

Kitchener stitch card,  once again from Nancy’s Knit Knacks.  This card is always with me as I can never remember the first two steps of Kitchener stitch.  No excuses for not finishing my socks! This card is part of a range of cards, they include decreases, increases, knitting terms and abbreviations, buttonholes.  All the cards have a keyring attached, fantastic for us knitters on the go. Please excuse the blurring of the text but I didn’t want to get my legs slapped for breach of copyright.

Clover locking stitch markers
These are a must! especially if like me you have a tendancy to knit your stitch markers into your project *blushes*. These also double as stitch holders when you have a small amount of stitches you need to set aside. Perfect for pinning pieces together in preparation for sewing up.

Mercerised cotton yarn, for life lines, for make shift stitch holders, for making crochet flowers when your hands are in need of entertainment, the list goes on.

Crochet hook, for picking up dropped stitches and emergency crochet.

Blocking wires, I purchased mine from iKnit and blocking became a joy rather than the dreaded chore I avoided at all costs. The wire blocking kit made my blocking so much simpler and I avoided the scalloped edges you get with just pins!

blocking wire kit

Exercise mats,  yes I said it.  I use the foam clip together exercise mats or floor protectors as blocking mats.  The can be put together to accommodate any size and shape of project.  Pins go in easily and don’t destroy the surface making them last forever.  They store away easily too.

exercise mat

Electronic kitchen scales, for those times when you wonder if you have enough yarn to finish your project.  Stacey over at Freshstiches.com has put together a great tutorial to show you how to use electronic scales to calculate the yardage of your yarn.

Hand cream and nail file, there is nothing more annoying that dry rough skin and snagged nails catching on your knitting.

Post it notes,  great for working from charts! Keeping your place in a pattern and making impromptu notes.

Make up bags,  these are great for transporting your smaller projects when you are on the go.  Keep one in your car so you always have  emergency knitting to hand.  They are  relatively cheap and come in a range of designs from the elegant to the quirky.

What is on your must have knitting gadget list?

The freaky knitter

Today I am at Eurogamer, for those of you not in the know, this is the gaming equivalent to The Knitting & Stitching show. I am not much of a gamer myself, I am a demon Crash Team Racing player and have in my time had to battle several addictions, currently in need of Candy Crush detox. But I come here with my husband and my son who are big gamers.

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How is it, I sit here with my needles working away on my knitting and I am getting the looks, you know the look, the one that suggest I have issues! I have walked past zombies and jokers and barely dressed women from other planets. Hundreds of teens who rarely see daylight or soap and I am the freak!

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Happiness is a design featured on the front cover… and ….

My design made the cover of Let’s Knit Magazine this month, big grin from me!

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I have a couple of really cute [even if I do say so myself] baby bonnets featured in this issue.  The first is a vintage look  lace bonnet, in a contemporary colourway.

lace

The second is a snuggly winter bonnet with a pretty 3D butterfly.

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Isn’t the model beautiful?

Both these bonnets are worked in the new Jenny Watson yarn, Babysoft DK.  The yarn was a dream to work with,  45% extra fine merino, 50% polyamide and 5% cashmere, it is butter soft.  It’s manmade content makes it laundry friendly, making it perfect for baby knits.  I can not recommend trying this yarn for yourselves enough!