Wednesday, 25 November 2015

candy cane headband - free knitting pattern

A few weeks ago I was approached by Wren Kitchens, who told me about a new campaign the company were launching called #24DaysofWren, in which people like myself would share some how-to Christmas DIY blog posts to encourage people to get into the spirit of making something creative this Christmas! You can find the lovely interactive calendar here.
Being a knitting blog, it only made sense that I should write a knitting pattern to share, and the great news is that regular readers of the geeky knitter of course get to take advantage of this too! I've always wanted to try my hand at knitting cables with more than one colour, and inspired by my own chunky cable knit headband pattern I made some changes to bring you this candy cane inspired knitted headband.
If you aren't a beginner, by all means scroll straight down to the pattern! For knitting newbies though, be sure to read some of the instructions I give below the picture.
For all you new readers and knitting newbies, before trying this pattern out it would be worth looking up some of the below links to help get you into knitting. 
  • Learn how to knit with Knitting Help or Learn with Leanne via the Love Knitting blog
  • Practice your cable knitting with my easy to follow, chunky cable knit headband pattern
  • An introduction to knitting cables with 2 colours from Modernly Vintage. I will do my best to explain as we go in the pattern below, but this might help you to get your head round the idea first!
  • The Idiot's Guide can help you with the colour work, although not strictly intarsia knitting, the twisting of the different colours behind your work will help to minimise gaps - and no, I do not think you are an idiot!!

Finished Size
This pattern will fit an adult's head, with the finished circumference about 54cm/21 1/2 inches - it's quite a loose fit, but is so thick it will still keep your head warm! Use smaller needles/yarn if knitting for a child and adjust your length accordingly.
10 stitches x 12 rows = 10cm x 10cm in stocking stitch

9.5mm straight knitting needles (or to match tension)
Large cable needle
Chunky red yarn (I used Cygnet Seriously Chunky)
Chunky white yarn (I used Cygnet Seriously Chunky)
Tapestry needle 
We are working with 2 different colours so I will refer to colour A (white) and colour B (red). You could try swapping these round, or substituting your own colour choice if you're not looking for a Christmas headband. 
Between colour changes, twist your 2 yarn strands behind your work once so to minimise gaps in your knitting. Don't do this too tight - with the chunky yarn you should be ok :) I've tried to take pictures of the twisting yarn, but check The Idiot's Guide if you need some help. 
k = knit
p = purl
C4B = slip next 4 stitches to cable needle, hold behind your work, knit next 4 from other needle and then knit 4 from the cable needle 
Cast on 12 stitches with A
Row 1 - knit
Row 2 - knit
Row 3 - p2, k4, k4 with B, p2 with A (from now on, always knit colour A on A, and colour B on B)
Row 4 - k2, p4 with B, p4 with A, k2
after row 3 your work should look something like this
Row 5 - p2, C4B (A), k4 (B), k4 from cable needle (A), p2
Row 6 - k2, p4, p4 (B), k2 (A)
Row 7 - p2, k4 (B), k4 (A), p2
Row 8 - k2, p4, p4 (B), k2 (A)
Row 9 - as row 7
Row 10 - as row 8
Row 11 - p2, C4B (B), k4 (A), k4 from cable needle (B), p2 (A)
Row 12 - k2, p4 (B), p4 (A), k2
Row 13 - p2, k4, k4 (B), p2 (A)
Row 14 - k2, p4 (B), p4 (A), k2
Row 15 - as row 13
Row 16 - as row 14
Repeat the cable pattern as shown between ** ** until the piece measures just around your head. I repeated the pattern 3 times, less the last 2 rows.
TO FINISH - knit one row in colour A, then cast off and sew ends together.
cable pattern - Rows 5-16
in the two pictures above you can see how I've twisted the yarn between colour changes.You don't need to pull too tight on chunky yarn, it does the work for you!
the back of your headband will look something like this
the finished headband laid out before sewing
 And there you have your very own candy cane style headband! It does wear a little big and bright, but what better way to celebrate Christmas! If you spot any problems with the pattern or have any questions do drop me a comment or email and I will do my best to help out!
This pattern can be found in the Ravelry database here.

Monday, 16 November 2015

fo: jake the dog

Pattern - PatrĂ³n Jake
Yarn - Hayfield Bonus DK (shade 978 Sunflower)
Ravelry project page - here

If you keep up with me on Facebook and Twitter, you will have seen that I've posted a few things about being busy with orders leading up to Christmas. Jake the Dog is one such order, and I wouldn't always share things that I sell, but he look's so cool I couldn't resist this time!

He is an order for a friend of Katy, who will be in turn gifting him to an older sibling - I love when people order handmade gifts, it's a whole new layer of appreciation for the things we make. Jake is a magical dog, a character from the show Adventure Time, and you would be hard pressed to find another cartoon as wacky, sporadic, and awesome as this one. I happen to enjoy watching the seasons that are on Netflix right now, so he was a pleasant doll to crochet. 

He worked up very quickly, with the bulk of the crochet done while Ben watched football one Sunday afternoon. The pattern I used is actually in Spanish, however Google Translate did a good enough job that I could work out the pattern from there! Be sure to read my Ravelry notes if you plan to have a go using the pattern. 

I inserted pipe cleaners into the arms and legs (once Katy assured me it was a present for an adult) so that he can be put into different positions, and also because they are so long and thin I thought they would look a little sorry if they just drooped all the time. I also crocheted the eyes, rather than cutting them out from felt as the pattern suggested, as I thought he would look better wit the same texture across every feature. 

I do hope his new owner will be pleased with him! I'm pretty tempted to make another one, and a matching Jake the Human, for myself after Christmas - let's see what else catches my eye before then though!

Don't forget, me and Ben have a geeky little Etsy shop now (click the link or the box to the right) where you can find many lovely handmade gifts, created by us! You can also request a custom order via the shop if there is something you'd like made special, and examples can be seen of what I can make here on the blog, and on Instagram

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

the geeky knitter christmas craft swap - now closed!

Thank you to everyone who got in touch about my first ever craft swap and for everyone who has signed up. The sign up is now CLOSED and I'm going to be sending out the partner details by the end of today. 

I've had about the response I expected and hoped for, and have already been able to speak with everyone who is taking part, getting to know them over email, and some superstars who I already knew and have joined in! Today I just wanted to direct you to their social media links (not everyone taking part is a blogger) so if you want to keep up with how the swap is getting on, you can!

The geeky swappers!

Cath - Marsupilami and me
Leigh - What Leigh Made
Elise - Elise and Life
Rebecca - Writing, fatshion, me
Louisa - duck in a dress
Rhiannon - Pastel Daydreams

If you are upset that you've missed out on the swap this time, fear not! I've already learned a lot doing this swap and find that I am enjoying it so much (already) that I hope to host some themed swaps next year (Pokemon, Harry Potter, Once Upon a Time - anyone?) and I think I will open those up internationally! So watch this space!

I'm also keeping so busy with Christmas present knitting, Etsy shop orders, and other commissions, that I'm not sure what I can share with you guys on the blog this month - so I'm putting it to you! What would you like to see? I might have to lift my self-imposed personal knitting ban so I can share some projects with you, as so many things I'm currently making are secret. 

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

fo: spice of life CAL (part 7)

Pattern - Spice of Life Blanket , part of the #spiceoflifecal
Yarn - various stash in double knit weight
Ravelry Project Page - here

You can read all my spice of life CAL posts here.

Can you believe that the blanket is finished!? I can't quite get over it - I finished crocheting this in just under 6 weeks, after tentatively deciding to start it mid-September, and declaring in last month's crafty plans that I would have it finished before November - and by gum I managed it. 

This was my first CAL (crochet along) and it was definitely a fantastic one to start off on, considering I had no idea really what to expect. Sandra is a fabulous designer and blogger anyway, so to take part in a CAL with her was always going to be splendid, and I've long admired Black Sheep Wools and really enjoy receiving their weekly email newsletters. The pattern was released on time every week, clearly written with pictures to help, as well as a weekly blog post from Sandra with hints and tips on how to manage any new stitches. 

And I've mentioned the Facebook group before, but I must say again this was the most lovely part about the CAL - over 6,000 ladies (and, as far as we can tell, one gentleman - any more?) encouraging each other and sharing different blankets. It's amazing how every individual interprets the pattern in her own way. For me, I obviously changed colours to suit what I have in my stash, and I made a simple half-triple and triple crochet (UK terms) border instead of the wavy one Sandra suggests. 
the tulips are my favourite part of the blanket!
I've only ever finished one crochet blanket before (though I do have my stash buster blanket in the works, which will have to wait until after Christmas to be worked on, boohoo) so to finish this so quickly feels pretty awesome. My only complaint is my own inability to keep my tension regular - which I mentioned last week - and even with copious steaming and wetting, it's all a little skew-wiff still. 

Oh well - I'm sure (hope) the giftee won't mind!

As you can see I've been practising picture taking - the weather was too wet for outside pictures on Sunday when I finished the blanket, so you'll have to settle for 'artful crumpling' and 'tasteful folding' instead to show off the blanket. Rest assured though, this is a big, cuddly, warm blanket!

I'm so delighted with how this turned out and I can't wait to gift this next month!

And of course because it's Wednesday - 

Currently reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. You must know The Hunger Games, right? They've even announced a theme park for it! I've read these 3 times already, but I do really enjoy them and I'm prepping myself to see Mockingjay Part 2 later this month (ticket's all booked already!). 

Find me on Goodreads.

Linking up with Ginny's Yarn Along