Sunday, 20 November 2016

fo: beau the unicorn

Yarn - ArtesanoMerino Wool DK and various colours from stash
Ravelry page - here

So I've actually made a number of Christmas presents so far this year, but as I am making a few I haven't been able to share them as I finish them, and last year I don't think I ever really showed the gifts as I made them - but I'd really like to this year! 

Here is one of the first gifts I finished this year for one of my best friends; Beau the Unicorn! Beau is the first toy I've made in Merino wool, and not just acrylic. MMMMMM no going back after this I swear.

The pattern for the toy is actually to be found in one of the magazines I now work on - Crochet Now. As a matter of fact, I came across the pattern while in the office and cheekily took it home, because as soon as I saw it I knew who I wanted to make it for! Designed as a baby toy and accompanying blanket, the person I have made this for is by no means a baby - my age, come on - but I am fairly sure she will like the present still! I know I want to keep Beau after all ...

Beau is a really great name for a unicorn, and is the pattern's name so no need to change it I think. I really love how the pattern uses the different colours to compliment the white base. As well as white, five colours are used in total; one for each of the hooves and the horn. These colours make up the mane which looks excellent! The pattern includes a really helpful guide to attaching the main - it's one strand at a time which made me worry it might looks scraggly, but the finished effect is realy good. 

And I'm not just saying that because I work there now, honest!

The tail is just three chained lengths that haven't been straightened out, only worked once along so they curl really nicely - a simple, straightforward effect that uses the different colours to their potential again on the finished piece.

All in all, I am really pleased with this present and he was a lot of fun to make!! As unicorn patterns go this one is one I would recommend to anyone looking.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

who is gary kennedy?

Don't you love falling for a knitting designer who you've just discovered? Spending time (ahem, hours) indulging yourself through their Ravelry page and patterns, picking the ones you want to knit (let's face it, all of them) and the ones you will actually knit (possibly one if you're lucky and have the time) and just feeling really happy that you've finally discovered such a designer?
I recently had this revelation with a knitting designer called Gary Kennedy (Intarsia), who I stumbled across at work, of all places - yes, the perks of working with knitting, woohoo! A reader got in touch looking for this pattern from Gary Kennedy, a Timmy Cushion from issue 18 if you want to know, and after having a look and telling her where she could buy a back copy to access the pattern, I had a look at Gary's Ravelry (hope first names will be ok, much quicker to write!)
(c) Practical Publishing
At first glance, some of the patterns are a little unnerving - just take a look at William - but, if you just scroll down the page, OH MY LAMB my eye's positively bulged out of my head with excitement!


collage of Gary Kennedy (Intarsia) patterns, copyright Patons, Disney, and other publishers. Saved from Ravelry, collated by Jenny Riley
If you browse through Amazon as well, there are more of my absolute favourite cartoons growing up, such as Tom & Jerry and Mighty Mouse to name but a few. EEP I love them all! All of the patterns are, you guess it, Intarisa patterns (what gave it away I wonder) which I'm not good at, but I would learn for the chance to wear an iconic view of Snoopy chilling on his dog house emblazoned across my torso
Imagine, after my wonderous gaze had drank all of this in, my absolute heartbreak to learn that every one of the more amazing pattern leaflets are, unsurprisingly really, out of print. No doubt the copyright was up, plus the likes of Peanuts isn't as big as it used to be (but is still amazing of course nonetheless). So even if I might never knit these patterns, I still absolutely need them just in case you know, of knitting emergencies and what not.

Although out of print, there are plenty of avenues for me to explore; Amazon I've already mentioned, and on Ebay I've found CDs of knitting pattern collections related to these ones, so I think that's a way forward. Talk about retro eh, buying patterns on CD?Give me a PDF download any day.

With Christmas on the horizon, do I need more of an excuse to buy some? I assure you when I buy some for myself you will see them on Instagram. Also, does anyone have any of these leaflets that they don't fancy? Perhaps you have them and you've knitted them - I would LOVE to see them!!!

In the mean time, I will leave you with this fantastic Pink Panther Inspecter Clouseau sweater, knitted by Ravelry user MummyRivett #knittinggoals

(c) Ravelry ID MummyRivett

Thursday, 3 November 2016

fo: georgina the hippo

Yarn: Cygnet DK (black mix) 
Ravelry project page: here
Another friend to sit with me at work, I crocheted Georgina the Hippo over a couple of evenings last month. I've had the pattern collection Edward's Menagerie for a number of years, but I can't believe I have never got round to crocheting something from it! I really can't believe how silly I am, the animals in the book are all so straightforward, but complex enough to add the detail, it's clear what each animal is, and they are all filled with character and sit in a cute way which just makes them perfect. 
I decided to make Georgina purely because I've never made a hippo before. I've made rabbits and bears and all the 'usual' toys, but she is just so perfect and looks the part, and her big tummy and nose are going to look so cute sat on my desk next to skinny and tall Matilda. The nose was constructed really well (or snout, I know not my hippo anatomy). Instead of finishing the section with a gradually decreased round that was sewn together, the head was finished with 18 stitches left in the round, then once stuffed and the yarn thread through each stitch in the round and pulled taught, it made this great, flat surface that was a really effective way of making the hippo! I do love easy, crochet techniques like that which make so many characters, crochet is so versatile. 

Even though I'm not a kid, and I have no friends under the age of 20, I have many plans to make toys from the Menagerie as gifts this Christmas! They make good desk buddies - at least, that's my story and I am sticking to it!