Sunday, 31 January 2016

mother's tulip mittens - free knitting pattern

Mother's Day is fast approaching (and is a lot earlier this year, falling on the 6th March) and as part of a Mother's Day gift and inspiration guide, organised by Cotton Traders, I've been asked to contribute something knitted for the gift guide.

This was a great challenge to get my teeth stuck into over the last couple of weeks, and I've designed these floral mittens, named Mother's Tulip Mittens, which can be knit very quickly and are suitable for knitters who are new to colour work/stranded knitting.

You only need 3 colours, straight needles, and an evening in front of the TV to get these lovely easy mittens worked up. It's also a great way to use up any of your yarn stash as so little wool is needed. Even though it's a straightforward pattern, it makes for a lovely little extra gift for your mum this mother's day, perhaps if she has a bit of a green finger and wants to keep her hands warm. 

Finished Size

These fingerless mittens, or wrist warmers, should fit the average lady's hands. My hands are quite long and slim so you may need to cast on more or add more rows depending on your size (this pattern is very easy to adjust to meet your needs!). Before sewing up the finished dimensions should be 16cm x 16cm


20 stitches x 28 rows = 10cm x 10cm in stocking stitch


4mm straight knitting needles (or to match tension)
DK weight yarn in grey, green and pink
Tapestry needle
Knitting chart (below)

Yarn Ideas
If you don't have any DK in your stash you could try Cygnet Double Knitting, Stylecraft Special DK, or Hayfield Bonus DK; these are my favourite acrylic based yarns (I work in acrylic much more than traditional wool, but if you want something warmer I would go for some wool/blends). 

Use Arne & Carlos' technique for increasing stitches in this pattern. This way you won't have any holes in your mittens and you will match the stitch count in the chart.
Use their video to learn how to increase (start watching at 8.45)

Decreases will be usual k2tog

(knit 2)

Cast on 32 stitches with grey yarn

Rows 1-4 - work 2x2 rib pattern (k2, p2) (32)
Row 5 - k1, inc, k8, inc, k14, inc, k8, inc, k1 (36)
              (see Note above for inc technique)

Starting with a purl row, work the chart below (bottom up) in stocking stitch, from row 1 to row 35, ending on a purl row
feel free to right click and 'Save Picture As' so you can print the chart and mark your progress
Row 40 - k1, k2tog, k8, k2tog, k10, k2tog, k8, k2tog, k1 (32)
Rows 41-44 - work 2x2 rib pattern (k2, p2) (32)
Cast off loosely in rib pattern

- Weave in ends.
- Pin mittens to desired dimensions and block, allow to relax and dry
- With right sides together, and flower pattern at the top, sew the edges together leaving a thumb hole as follows; start from the top and sew down for 3.5cm, leave a gap of 4cm, then continue sewing to the bottom.
- Turn right side out.

If you do knit these for your mum hopefully she will like them! Happy Mother's Day :)

This pattern is for personal use only, please do not sell items made from this pattern. Please do not republish this pattern as your own/without permission.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

fo: magnanimity cowl

Pattern - Cowl: Magnanimity 
Yarn - Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick Solids (124 Barley)
Ravelry project page - here

I knitted this cowl using a knitting kit I won way back at the end of November via a give away which Julie hosted on her wonderful blog. I cast the cowl on pretty soon after receiving it, but it took a back seat while I worked on larger projects. In the spirit of my crafty challenge this month I was determined to get this cowl finished.

The kit was splendid! Sent from Jennifer of Brome Fields, it included the printed pattern, 2 balls of wool, circular knitting needles, a stitch marker and a tapestry needle, all neatly packaged in a lovely small calico bag, which is now filled with another knitting project of course! I was really impressed with the kit and the speed in which Jennifer sent it over to me, I'm just sorry it took me so long to finish it and share it with you.

The cowl is worked in the round (my favourite way to knit, I can no longer deny this) and uses simple knit, k2togs and yarn overs to create a wonderfully effective texture that looks almost cabled, but without the hassle. You mustn't be deceived by the simple pattern though - if you aren't careful you will lose whether you just did a k2 or k2tog+1, which does alter the finished pattern significantly if done wrong. I did make one mistake after picking up the cowl a month after putting down, and didn't make a note of what I just did and had to guess. You can't see it in the pictures though so I won't bother pointing it out eh?

Once I just allowed myself time to get the cowl finished it worked up in no time at all (just a couple of evenings) and it is so warm and soft and cosy! I don't usually like single round cowls, preferring ones you can wrap round twice, but this one is so chunky it keeps all the warmth in and can tuck into my coat quite happily to keep the wind at bay. I also ADORE Lion Brand yarn, and miss being able to buy it at Jo-Ann's whenever I wanted while I was at uni in Illinois. It's quite a treat to have it again!

That's on more WIP in the bag :)

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

fo: attic 24 ripple blanket

Pattern - Neat Ripple
Yarn Used - Stylecraft Special DK - Cottage colour pack from Wool Warehouse
Ravelry project page - here

This is the other big present I made for Christmas this year (the first being Neil's Lord of the Rings scarf) and was a long time in the making - but this only makes the finishing, giving, and sharing all the sweeter! Katy had asked me to make a blanket for her over summer, when I first started my stash buster blanket (which, if you are wondering, I am on square 8 of 9 now) and I said I would as long as she bought the wool for it. Not too long after this I thought it would make a much better Christmas present, so I didn't bring it up again and happily neither did she - the plan was in place.

I had always fancied making an Attic24 blanket, and longed to purchase one of the special Stylecraft colour packs available on the Wool Warehouse website, but needed a really good excuse to. A Christmas present was just the excuse I needed. Although Katy expressed an interest in a granny square blanket, I really wanted to push out of my comfort zone a little and do something different, plus with the way her room is currently decorated I didn't think a granny square blanket would fit as well as something else. Every ripple blanket that I've seen online is so beautiful, and that's what I decided Katy would like best. I settled on the cottage colour pack, which happened to include the printed pattern for the blanket, and got to work.

I spent 3 months working here and there on this blanket, in secret, in between everything else that I was trying to do. I say trying, I would say I was actually quite successful before Christmas. I get a lot of my projects with deadlines done on the bus though, which wasn't an option with the blanket! This was certainly a bedside project. 

I worked with 15 colours and followed Lucy's pattern (of Attic24). The colour choice throughout the pattern works so marvellously, following Lucy's instructions and using the same yarn she does means you get a wonderful 'random' assortment of colours, without the worry of deciding what you think will look good next, but everything still manages to complement each other row by row. The finished blanket looks really great with crisp lines between colour changes and those lovely waves. 

The only downside I found to crocheting this blanket was after a row or 2, even with the lovely colours and yarn, it did get quite boring. Fundamentally the blank is just blocks of 4 double crochets (triple crochets in UK terms) but you can't just mindlessly go forth and crochet as you have to count each block of 4 to make sure you double up and reduce at the right points. I don't enjoy such counting but it had to be done, and it is so pretty I would probably still consider doing another!

Another interesting point - I started this blanket before  the Spice of Life CAL and so I didn't appreciate how important tension is with everything: not just for clothes in knitting, as I always naively assume. The pattern said to use a 4mm hook and that's what I used. Admittedly, with a blanket, and as a gift, it didn't really matter in the end because I just worked until the blanket looked right (with the help of Neil, dad and Ben) but I was panicking at one point that a) I would never finish the blanket because I supposedly had 40 more rows to go (20 more colour changes), and b) I would run out of yarn before I even got to the end. As it was I only needed to do 64 colour changes as opposed to 84, and as you can see above the blanket fits happily on a double bed. I think I ought to have gone down a hook size if I wanted to get more colours in there. But no matter - it meant I could give Katy all the left over yarn which she could either use herself (being a budding knitter) or have me make her a matching cushion cover if she wanted. 

All in all, I would heartily recommend this pattern and yarn pack to anyone wanting to make a lovely crochet blanket for themselves or as a gift! Just get ready for a lot of repeating over 4 stitches.

Friday, 15 January 2016

people have been crocheting deadpool

If you can't guess from the title of this post, while hunting on Ravelry for a new jumper knitting pattern (like we all do even though we have a million other things to finish), I saw that the Deadpool pattern had a few projects linked to it. To my utter delight I've seen that people have been making him, finishing him, and one person even combined the pattern with my Spiderman amigurumi! Which is interesting as I was originally going to model Deadpool on him myself, but opted for a different approach. 

You can keep up to date with how people are getting on with their own Deadpool's here. In the meantime I'm feeling a little proud and wanted to share the pictures on here too! Hope you will find everyone's variations on the pattern as interesting as I have.
photo credit Doll-Baby
Above is Ravelry user Doll-Baby's Deadpool, crocheted for her husband. I think he look's absolutely fantastic and really a lot like mine, which makes me happy that the pattern must be understandable :)

photo credit thisCindyknits
Ravelry user thisCindyknits combined the Deadpool pattern with the Spiderman one and I think he looks absolutely perfect. Now I want to remake him like this, he looks extra mischievous hanging round the fireplace. 

photo credit dynamitekiddo
This is such an excellent interpretation of Deadpool - Ravelry user dynamitekiddo modified the pattern to make him smaller, and got rid of the legs to make this awesome doll that kind of reminds me of a nesting doll - do you know what I mean? I also can't get enough of those eyes!

People have also been making other patterns of mine as well, such as the Moogle (check out projects here) and the Owl Hat (projects here), but Deadpool was something I was so so excited to finish only a few months ago I'm just really excited. 

Plus the film is out IN A MONTH!! Getting super in the mood :) any more Deadpool/Marvel fans out there excited too?

Sunday, 10 January 2016

fo: lord of the rings scarf

Pattern - Lord of the Rings scarf, but heavily inspired by Ravelry user 'terif''s project
Yarn - Stylecraft Special DK (shades used; graphite and cream)
Ravelry project page - here
Here is one of the 2 really big hand made gifts that I decided to undertake for Christmas - Neil's (big brother) Lord of the Rings scarf. You may remember, if you cast way back, that I cast this scarf on in mid-September, and in my usual crazy knitting methodology I finished the tassels on Christmas morning!
I wanted to do something special for Neil, along the lines of what I did for Katy last year, and with Rebecca's help (his girlfriend) I decided on a variation of this scarf
I started with the elvish script at one end, knit using the stranded knitting method, in the round on my trusty circular knitting needles. Once that chart was complete, then came at least 2 months of plain stocking stitch, in the round, on the bus, on the train, watching TV, wherever I could fit it in alongside other things! It was a long process, but it felt good to have a go-to plain project for commuting to work. I do have a story to tell with this however; one weekend I was getting a train(or 4) to visit university besties in South London. It took a few hours and there were significant delays, but I was in a very good mood, drank plenty of coffee and got lots of knitting done ... until ... I SNAPPED ONE OF THE NEEDLES! Clearly I was angry at the delays on the inside and couldn't take any more! 3.5mm needles, snapped clean in half!! Luckily I was able to replace it the next day, but man I was livid. 

Back to knitting. Once I reached the other end of the scarf it was time to tackle the Tree of Gondor. This I knit using this chart and using the intarsia in the round technique. How was I to manage this? Luckily lot's of Googling made it possible, and I would recommend watching videos like this before you attempt it. It's not a very neat finish along one edge unfortunately, due to turning the work and picking up yarn overs, but when it is all completed it's so satisfying and not so bad that it is totally worth the difficulty!

Neil had no idea that I was knitting this for him and I managed to keep my work on it secret, even when he came home from Durham for 2 weeks over Christmas. When he opened it on Christmas day he was really so delighted to receive it, and he assured me it might possibly be the best gift he has ever had. I couldn't ask for more! I'm so so happy he loves the scarf so much as he didn't even know I was making it for him, and of course the time it took to make. 

Really though, this has to be the last fair isle/colour work scarf I ever knit ever again (which I'm pretty sure is what I said last year when I finished Katy's sheep scarf - and I'm sure I will want one one day).

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

fo: mossing around

Pattern - 150-40 Mossing Around
Yarn - DROPS Nepal (light olive)
Ravelry project page - here

I cast this on because I needed a hat for my Legend of Zelda Link costume, for the video game themed fancy dress party I attended on New Year's day (so still successfully sticking to the crafty plan as this was completed on 31 December, phew). I had also bought the yarn to knit a Christmas gift for a friend, but (silly of me) she is vegan and so I didn't want to risk giving her a woollen gift. Providence smiled in the end because the green wasn't very festive, but was perfect for Link's hat and meant I didn't need to cut up an old dress to make the hat in time for the party.

(Yes yes, I know green is a 'traditional' Christmas colour - but when I received the wool it didn't look like it would make a good pair of slippers, as originally intended.)

The hat is a wonderful slouchy fit and worked in a terrifically pleasing double moss stitch, meaning you work two rows k1, p1 and then two rows p1, k1. You get the wonderful texture that comes with moss stitch (I love moss stitch, as evidenced in the scarves I like to knit) but it also creates a diamond effect that looks like you had to do so much more to achieve.

It was so easy and fast to work up; knit flat, easy pattern, simple reductions over garter stitch to finish and sew up! The only problem I have with the pattern is that it doesn't take the time to tell you how to decrease each row, just that terrifically annoying 'decrease 15 stitches evenly over next row' - really, you have the stitch count, I'm not what I used to be with Maths, help a knitter out! So some of decreases aren't as even as they should be, but I don't think you can tell.

In the defence of the pattern writer though, I was lazy and full of a cold when I knit the hat and didn't take the time to work out the decreases properly like I usually do, so my bad. 

And so I'm really delighted that this hat turned out so well. It looked great at the party (look out on Instagram for some pics) but looks smart and neat enough that I can, and indeed have, wear(ing) it out and about, particularly as it is slowly getting colder, finally. It fits really well and stays on my head in a way a slouchy hat never has!

Ben was photographer this day - his method is lots of 'candid' shots - or letsgetJennywhensheisntlookingsogood! 

Friday, 1 January 2016

crafty plans for january - happy new year!

Every month I aim to set myself, and complete, a ‘crafty challenge’ – a personal goal to help improve my knitting and crochet, and to embolden me to react to all the patterns and inspiration that is available on the internet! By sharing this with you I feel more encouraged to branch out and do these challenges by the end of the same month, and hopefully you will be interested in what I am working. Perhaps it will help inspire you to try something new as well?
Happy New Year lovely readers - I hope you all had a lot of fun celebrating the coming of 2016 and wish you lots of good fortune and love for the coming year! 

It's been a couple of months since my last 'crafty plan' as I had a lot to get done in November and December. Funnily enough I find myself in the rare situation that, because I spent so much time/effort on the big Christmas makes, I don't really know what quite to do with myself now knitting-wise, particularly without looming deadlines (not that I wish I had a deadline!). And so this month's plan directly links to this 'unique' situation. 

Do not cast on/hook up anything new - only work on current WIPS and aim to finish at least 1
I have so many WIPs dotted around my bedroom at the moment, that I really ought to try and make some significant progress with them, and at least aim to finish one. I want to say I will finish two, but don't want to give myself too much to do, as I anticipate knitting will be a little slower this month as I got so many new books to read for Christmas!
Just some of the projects I have lying around that I could really make progress with are 
And I am sure if I tidy my room I could find more!
If I can get some of the projects well on their way to being finished, it would be a really great, positive start to the new year, and I would also feel less guilty about starting some new selfish projects for myself. On the plus side as well it will encourage me to not buy more yarn so soon after Christmas :) 
There is just one exception to this rule though. Any orders, commissions, or Etsy related knits can of course be cast on as new projects! But these are usually completed within a couple of days anyway.
Have you got any knitting or crochet plans for this month? Or perhaps some 'real life' related goals?