Teatime links

Teatime links 3

Bank holidays are the best, aren’t they? A lazy day of pottering about, followed by a short work week. Perfect! Here’s what I’ve been reading today…

Quince and Co‘s new Piper pattern collection is so swoonworthy. I love the pastel shades and dainty details. There are enough hours in the day for me to knit three laceweight jumpers, right?

Bullet journalling tips and tricks. Have you got on the bujo bandwagon yet? With a little help from a notepad and a Biro I’m finally on my way to getting organised.

Baby Rooster by Rooster Yarns has to be one of my favourites for cute and cuddly little knits. I used it for my French Braid hat.

Fair Isle knitting using both hands… with no tangles! Looking for that eureka moment where the impossible suddenly becomes possible? Watch this video.

Jane Foster‘s designs are really cute! I love her Scandi-style screenprints.

Pattern: French Braid

Hat1

A sweet baby knit that you could whip up in a weekend, this little hat is ideal for last-minute gifts.
The slip-stitch design is worked over just two rows, so it’s easy to memorise for knitting on the go.

Download the PDF at French Braid or follow the instructions below. Happy knitting!

MATERIALS
1 (2: 2) 50g/100m balls of Rooster Yarns Baby Rooster (shade 405)
3.25mm (US 3) knitting needles
Tapestry needle

TENSION
25 sts x 34 rows measures 10x10cm in stocking stitch

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS
30 (36: 42)cm circumference

ABBREVIATIONS
K Knit
P Purl
Psso Pass slipped stitch over knitted and increased sts
Rep Repeat
RS Right side
Sl Slip
St(s) Stitch(es)
WS Wrong side
Wyib With yarn at back
Yrn Yarn round needle

PATTERN

HAT (MAKE 2)
Cast on 42 (50: 58) sts using 3.25mm needles.
Row 1 *K2, P2; rep from * to last 2 sts, K2.
Row 2 *P2, K2; rep from * to last 2 sts, P2.
Rows 1 and 2 set K2, P2 rib.
Work in K2, P2 rib for 8 more rows, ending with a WS row.

Row 1 (RS) K1, *K1, sl1 purlwise wyib, K1, yrn, psso, K1; rep from * to last st, K1.
Row 2 (WS) Purl.
Rows 1 and 2 set slip-stitch pattern.
Work in slip-stitch pattern until hat measures 15 (17.5: 20)cm from cast-on edge, or desired length, ending on a row 2.

WORK TIES
Next row K2, sl1 purlwise wyib, K1, yrn, psso, K2, turn work.
Next row Purl to end.
Continue working these two rows over the first 6 sts of the row only until tie measures 4cm.
Cast off and break yarn.

Rejoin yarn to sts on needle.
Cast off 30 (38: 46) sts, K2, sl1 purlwise wyib, K1, yrn, psso, K2.
Next row Purl.
Next row K2, sl1 purlwise wyib, K1, yrn, psso, K2.
Next row Purl.
Continue working the last two rows until tie measures 4cm, ending with a purl row.
Cast off.

Make second hat piece the same.

MAKING UP
Join side seams using mattress stitch. A one-stitch seam edge has been provided for this.
Join cast-off top edges using mattress stitch, then knot ties together. Weave in ends and block gently.

Hat2

Three things…

It’s been a tough week, so I thought I’d take some time out to focus on life’s little positives. Here’s what’s making me happy today…

  1. Knitting these Zigzagular Socks

Zigzagular socks

I’m always on the lookout for patterns that work with variegated yarns. So many designs seem to fight with the colours rather than enhancing them, but not this one. These are Susie White’s Zigzagular Socks, and I think they might be my new favourite. They have a little cable running down one side – you can’t see it in the photo, but I promise it’s there. Best of all, they’re free!

This is the first time I’ve tried knitting socks on a tiny circular needle rather than DPNs, and so far I’m… not convinced, to be honest. The needle is sharp and sleek, and the cable is smooth and flexible, but somehow it just seems way too small. I feel like a giant trying to knit for a mouse.

This is only the first sock, though, so hopefully I’ll be won over in the end. The yarn is Tiger’s Strømpegarn, by the way, and despite its bargain-basement price tag it’s really rather good.

2. Reading An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth

An Astronaut's Guide…

When I was at school I met Helen Sharman, the first British woman to go into space, and decided that despite short-sightedness, asthma, claustrophobia and a fear of flying I too was going to be an astronaut. Many years on I’m still yet to leave Earth’s atmosphere, but that fascination with space travel has never left me.

I’ve been following Tim Peake’s adventures on the ISS closely, of course (did you know there’s a live video stream of the view from the space station? There’s a live video stream. From space! My productivity has seriously suffered this week). I also picked up a book by one of his mentors, Chris Hadfield.

Not only is Hadfield mind-bogglingly smart and driven, he’s also disarmingly down-to-earth about his achievements. His book takes life lessons from his time in space and applies them to everyday situations – it’s a great read and one I’d definitely recommend.

3. Making plans for this sailboat fabric

Boat fabric

I’d been visiting my favourite tiny-but-packed-to-the-rafters quilting shop for a long time before I made a huge discovery: they had a whole other fabric room that I’d never even noticed. It was like opening your wardrobe one day to find it leads to Narnia.

Ever since then I’ve made regular trips, usually to buy, but sometimes just for that lovely peaceful feeling of being surrounded by beautiful things. I’m very much a novice when it comes to sewing, but as with knitting my philosophy is not to turn down gorgeous fabrics because I don’t think my skills can live up to them. If you’re going to put that much effort into creating something, it should be made with fabric (or yarn) you love.

I think this is going to become a dress – most likely a slightly wonky, not remotely pattern-matched one, but a dress nonetheless.

What’s making you happy today?

Off the hook: Summer Garden blanket

This is one well-travelled blanket. My constant commuting companion during the early months of last year, it grew at a ridiculous pace at first, then I realised how much making up I’d have to do and kind of ground to a halt…

But I got there in the end.

Ravelry_summergarden6

I followed Lucy at Attic 24’s tutorial on joining granny squares, which is so well written – really clear and easy to follow. As you’re crocheting rather than sewing the squares together it doesn’t really feel like making up, either, which is always a bonus!

Summer Garden

The blanket is now at its new home with my friends and their baby, and I hope it has lots more travelling to come.

Teatime links

Teatime links

It’s been umbrella weather for what feels like months here, which has been a good excuse (as if I needed one!) to spend lots of time curled up on the sofa with cups of tea. Here’s what I’ve been reading this week…

Planned pooling tutorial from Dayana Knits. I really want to try this! There are a few variegated yarns in my stash that would be good candidates for intentional pooling.

Baby guinea pig crochet pattern by Kati Galusz. Such a sweet project and really quick to make from scraps of stash yarn.

Eden Cottage Yarns are just gorgeous. I’ve got my eye on the Yarnlings, sets of five 5g balls in coordinating colourways that are perfect for stripes or other colourwork.

Kaffe Fassett fragrances. Has anyone tried these? As you’d expect from the master of colour, they look worth buying for the packaging alone.

Yu Kitty on Pinterest. So much kawaii in one place!

 

Off the needles: Sawley hat

There’s one problem with going on holiday – leaving views like this behind when it’s time to come home:

France1

Just beautiful. I could happily spend all winter playing in the Alpine snow.

Before our trip, the first few weeks of January passed in a blur of back-to-work business, but I managed to squeeze in enough knitting time to make myself a new bobble hat. As soon as I set eyes on ‘Sawley’ in Rachel Coopey’s latest book, I knew I had to make one, and I had just the yarn for it in my stash.

Coop Knits

I have no idea how you pronounce its name (Snail-don? Snarl-dan?), but it’s wonderful. Grippy and warm, and perfect for colourwork.

Knitting Fair Isle to a deadline turned out to be a bad idea – so many tangles! so many mistakes! – and there’s some duplicate stitching to be done to fix the errors, but I’m calling it finished nevertheless:

Sawley hat

It’s lovely and warm, and a little bit big so it keeps the wind out of my ears too. What more could you ask for?

Excuses, excuses

What is it about knitters and making up? We’ll happily spend months on a project, but when it gets to those final few hours of seaming and weaving in ends, out come the excuses. There’s laundry to be done, TV to be watched, forums to be read… and, and, and…

Maybe it’s that when we cast off we feel like we’re done. Project finished! Maybe it’s that making up is fiddly and time-consuming and just not as much fun as knitting. Or maybe, in my case at least, it’s mostly laziness. These socks, for example – I completed them over a year ago.

Stranded Socks

Colourful, aren’t they? I love the pattern. It’s Stranded Socks by Ravelry designer square [ j ] jane, and it’s perfect for using up scraps of sock yarn. But although everything looks ok on the outside, inside they hide a terrible secret.

Monster Socks

Eep. I can hardly bear to look! I was sure I carried the unused yarns down the side, and I didn’t use that many different colours. Where did all those tails even come from? Sigh.

So, my New Year’s resolution for 2016: no more putting off the making up. From now on, weaving in ends starts as soon as I’ve cast off. Probably. Hopefully. Well, I’ll give it a try, anyway.

 

Teatime links

Gingerbread

Christmas has been a bit of a whirlwind (is it ever anything else?), so it’s been lovely the last couple of days to take a moment for a cup of tea, a biscuit and some quiet time online. Here’s what’s been catching my eye recently…

Snuggly teddy by Sirdar. I’m not usually a fan of fun fur, but ohmygosh their new Touch yarn is so soft! And you’re never too old for a teddy bear, right?

Beautiful colourwork mittens by JennyPenny on Ravelry. Super cosy and stunning to look at too. Someday I’ll have the confidence to try a Fair Isle pattern this intricate.

Hello Kitty Crochet book by Mei Li Lee. Hook an amigurumi version of the feline icon to celebrate her 40th birthday.

Scrumptious Selkino yarn. A merino/silk blend hand-dyed by the wonderful Skein Queen. Drool.

Handmade gifts. A heartwarming story from the US about a knitter who donates all her projects to good causes.

Aimee Ray’s cute and quirky blog. Little Dear is packed with embroidery inspiration, and if you’re new to stitching her easy-to-follow tutorials will get you started.

Home sweet home

Where has the year gone? I stopped paying attention for a few moments and suddenly the high street is covered in fairy lights and Noddy Holder is shouting “It’s Christmaaas!” in every shop I go into.

We’ve finally moved in to our new house, unpacked (well, almost) and made the obligatory ‘buy all the stuff!’ trip to Ikea – and now I can start thinking about the important things. Like where to put my yarn stash.

My parents kindly brought us some old furniture to use in the spare bedroom, and I’m thrilled to move my knitting paraphernalia from under the bed to its very own little crafting nook. My yarn is going up in the world!

I swapped out the old handles for these adorable floral ones from Tiger (have you been to Tiger? It’s a treasure trove of budget-friendly Scandi awesomeness), and it’s given a tired cupboard a new lease of life.

Cupboard

Inside, the shelves are the perfect size for my yarn boxes, and there’s even room for some other bits and bobs too.

Stash 2015

And now I can get to my yarn more easily, I have no excuse for not using it up…

Off the needles: Vernal Equinox

Thanks to a week-long staycation (so many extra knitting hours!), my Vernal Equinox is finally off the needles. I um-ed and aah-ed about the cast off as I find crochet ones hard to block and didn’t think the garter edging fitted with the overall floatiness of the design. In the end I went with a trusty picot (cast on 2, cast off 4, repeat ad nauseum…), and I think I like the effect.

So to the blocking board, and from crumpled jellyfish:

Vernal Equinox 6

To finished shawl:

Vernal Equinox 3

Vernal Equinox 5

When am I going to wear a 1.5m-long baby pink lace shawl? I have no idea. But I’m looking forward to finding out.