Sunday, 2 April 2017

#EnchantedCottagKAL 2

The next issue of Knit Now came out this week, which means it's part 2 of the #EnchantedCottagKAL! I told you all about the beginning of the knit along last month, which will result in a lovely finished blanket (I am sure - technically a mystery KAL after all). There are 3 options of blanket to choose from, and I am knitting the Hyacinth Blanket - which of the three is the more advanced of the blankets. I am knitting it in West Yorkshire Spinners Illustrious which is luuuuush! Last month we launched with the galaxy spiral square, which was so, so much fun to knit - I could only hope this month would be just as good.

Oh yes, yes it was! You see above that I have knit the knots & berries square. This month is all about cables, and let me tell you these cables were pleasantly challenging! If you look at one of the cables and count the 3 strands, in order to have the middle strand visually snaking up and down in between the other two, 2 cable needles were required, and after bringing one to the front and the other to the back, you have to knit, then swap them round, and then knit the cable needles in an order that I can't even remember it was that interestingly complex. Don't let that put you off though, it was well worth it and I've never done cabling where more than one cable needle was needed. 

I think you will also agree that the finished effect is lovely. The berries are made by increasing 5 stitches into one, turning, and reducing them again before carrying on. My only issue is with the finish - it is very difficult to block this square into, well, a square. I had this difficulty with the galaxy spiral as well, so I am curious how my finished blanket will turn out if all of my squares are just not quite squares ... but it will be consistent! And if I can nail my seaming technique I am certain that they will gently shape each other into squares. 

So, two months in, 4 squares done - so far I am enjoying this :) I have seen the next 2 squares to look forward to (the perks of the job, eh?) and they look just as fab so I am very much looking for to continuing this! In the meantime, I fancy starting my own take on Lucy's Attic24 granny stripe blanket, so that will be today's job, and tonight's while Ben and his friend watch Wrestlemania (anyone else into that? No? Ah well!) 

If you are taking part, make sure to say hi and let me know which blanket you are knitting! If you fancy joining in, you can buy issue 71 and 72 (parts 1 and 2) from 

Oh, and before I go, HOW is it April already?! The year is gushing past But the sun is out right now so I am very pleased with this :)

Sunday, 19 March 2017

KNITCRATE march box

I am much more on the ball this month with collecting my missing post and getting my butt in gear to write the blog, so funnily enough, even though last week I introduced you to the February KNITCRATE, I am rather pleased to be able to introduce to the March crate in much better time!

I just this morning picked up the crate from the post office, and I am absolutely over the moon with the contents!! There is a beautiful note card explaining the inspiration behind the theme, colours and choices for this month's KNITCRATE (main box) which are the earthy, deep tones of root vegetables and left over winter stores. Even though we are all moving into spring, we just can't seem to shake off the end of winter, so this box has put a lovely warm, rich spin on that idea.

The 2 skeins included in this month's crate are a delectable selection from Knit One, Crochet Too. The fingering weight yarn is called Crock-O-Dye and is so soft against the skin - 65% superwash wool, 20% nylon and 15% silk, oh man oh man the silk mmmMMMmmmmmm. With 380m per skein, I am looking forward to a lot of knitting with this beautiful wool. The downloadable pattern(s) - generous enough for two this month! - are for shawls, one beginner and one intermediate. I have never knit a shawl before but I have wanted to for so long, and now I can and I can't wait to get started tonight! The colours are a lot darker and deeper than my usual choice, but when I mentioned this to Ben he said that these two will make such a beautiful shawl, and I know he is right and it will be a beautiful, grown-up shawl (if I can say that) - perfect for when this spring weather inevitably turns cold and wet ... oh, look outside it  is now! :)

I was expecting another bath bomb or similar extra goody along with the yarn, so I was pretty excited when I found that it was in fact these adorable sheep stitch markers! They are so cute and lovely!

The box comes with a list of the value of the items in the crate and I am once again very impressed at the quality of the contents, not only for it'd value but for the quality, value, and how excited I am when I first open it to find out what goodies I have to play with!

Don't forget, if you click this link and enter code Geek20 you can save an exclusive 20% off the first month of your subscription! The March box is still open until the end of this month! And if you want to find out a little bit more about this awesome monthly subscription, read my first post about it where I go into a little more detail. 

And now, I am off to start my first ever shawl with the gorgeous wool! Happy Sunday :)

Sunday, 12 March 2017

have you heard of KNITCRATE?

Not too long ago, I was approached by the lovely team at KNITCRATE who asked if I would be interested in working with them to review their monthly subscription box and to offer my reader's a special discount if they were to sign up for the box. My response? Oh, yes yes please!

I am a huge fan of subscription boxes, and I used to be a subscriber to Lootcrate (one for nerds, very good, highly recommended) and for a long time I've wanted to treat myself to another subscription, in particular to knitting if I could manage it. So it was with utter joy that I accepted a subscription to KNITCRATE, and my first box arrived and ... well, just journey with me on the unveiling of the February box.

I couldn't quite believe the quality of the contents of the main box - or Knitcrate - which came in a fabulously bright red parcel (I would have taken a picture, but I was just too darn excited!). Inside were 3 delicious skeins of Mrs. Crosby Loves to Play yarn - Steamer Trunk is 100% superwash Merino wool, and I have THREE skeins of the stuff! It's soft, soft, and did I mention, so so soft? The colours are deep, bold, and the green (named Garden House) is subtly toned throughout as well, so I can't wait to see what it looks like knitted up. It's a worsted/aran weight yarn so it should knit up nice and quick as well - bonus!

And that's not all; a luxury, lavender bath bomb is included as well as a download code for a pattern from Ravelry, which for February is a bag. I myself don't knit bags, but I have the pattern JIC and I might find some other use for this b-e-a-utiful yarn. 
For around $45 I think this is incredible value for money, particularly if - like me - you wouldn't normally treat yourself to such lovely yarn as this so to have it send to your door is a treat. I also plan to thoroughly enjoy my bath bomb tonight with a glass of wine (and watching Yu-Gi-Oh I think ...) 
If you want to sign up to Knitcrate then simply click this link, and if you enter code Geek20 and you will receive 20% off your first month! 
But if this isn't for you, and socks are more your thing (as they are fast becoming mine) then how about Knitcrate Socks?

For the cheaper rate of around $30 you receive a generous a skein of wool perfect for knitting, you guessed it, socks! February saw Mrs. Crosby make an appearance again with Train Case, a generous 100g (425 yards) skein of 55% superwash Merino wool, 15% nylon and 30% viscose which will become a fabulous pair of socks just as soon as I finish the pair of socks currently on my needles. Enchanted Garden is the name of the colourway, which has gorgeous flecks of green and blue running through the cream wool.

As with the main crate, the box (very nice) arrived with a download code for a pattern for a pair of socks (which I will definitely be using) and a bath bomb (to be saved for next Sunday I think!) 

Again if you want to sign up to Knitcrate Socks, or maybe you fancy a crochet crate, a beginner's crate, or something else, you will find it on their website!! Just click this link and make sure to enter my special code Geek20 to receive 20% off your first month! But hurry, you have until 31st March to sign up for March's box.

**Big thanks to KNITCRATE who very kindly sent me these 2 boxes for review. All thoughts, opinions, and gushings of wool-related excitement are my own. Sign up is open on KNITCRATE now for the March box, not February.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

#EnchantedCottageKAL 1

Since taking part in the Spice of Life CAL last year, I've really been looking forward to starting up another yarn-along, and in particular I wanted to try out a knit along (KAL) seeing as I had already tried the crochet scene. So I was delighted when we started a KAL in the latest issue of Knit Now

Issue 71 sees the introduction of the Enchanted Cottage KAL (mmmm that name!) and over the course of the next year, each issue  will reveal a new square that will result in a scrumptious blanket at the end of the project. This is a mystery KAL which makes it all the more exciting, as I have no idea what the finished blanket will look like.

I say each issue has a new square - actually there are 3, because there are 3 blankets to choose from! Acorn Cottage is great for beginners, and is knit in WYS Aire Valley DK. Blackberry Cottage is perfect for knitters with a little more experience under their belt, knitted with WYS Bluefaced Leicester DK. And finally, the blanket I am working on, is Hyacinth Cottage, one for the creative/experienced knitter who would like a little bit of a challenge with each square. This is knitted with WYS Illustrious, a scrumptions 70% Falkland Wool 30% British Alpaca wool that is b-e-a-utiful to knit with! It's so smooth and SOO SOFT - I had so much fun knitting the first square!

The first square is the galaxy spiral, an absolutely fascinating design that is knit in the round from the centre out. The knit and purl ridges make this wonderful texture that is so mesmerising to look at - seriously, when I finished I couldn't stop looking at it, and every time someone came over this week I just had to thrust the square under their nose! The pattern recommends beginning with DPNs and then moving onto circular needles, but I found it just as easy to start on the circular's with the magic loop method. It was so so much fun to knit, simple repetition but with the challenge of increasing steadily, yarn overs, and also a 3 stitch increase that I rather enjoyed once I read the pattern correctly.

I loved it so much, that I decide to knit a second.

That's the beauty of this KAL - 1 square a month will give you a blanket, and 2 squares a month will give you a bigger blanket, score! I've set myself up for knitting 2 a month, as I love to snuggle in as large a blanket as possible. That, and my tension is very tight, so where finished squares ought to finish measuring 20cm across, mine are closer to 15cm. But that won't matter as long as I keep it consistent (probably should knit a tension square - learn from my error people!).

This is going to be a nice pile of squares soon, and after that, a blanket yes yes!

Are you joining in the KAL? You can find out some more information on the #EnchantedCottageKAL on the Knit Now website, and of course make sure you grab issue 71 from your local shop or online so you can get started! I'm going to be updating my progress on the blog, and I will aim to have my squares up not long after the next instalment is available so you will have plenty of time to knit along with me! 

PS - sign up for the #biggeekyswap is still open! Sign up closes next weekend, so hurry if you want to join in! Find out more about the swap here, and click the button on the right to sign up! See you there!

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

free knitting patterns - teddy bear hats

As promised, I am delighted to bring you two free knitting patterns for a set of teddy bear hats, the first designed for a beginner knitter, and the second for knitters with a little more confidence! Again I would love to say a quick thank you to La Petite Epicerie who so wonderfully provided the yarn for these patterns and the below step by step tutorial! You will soon be able to see the tutorials over on their website too, but in the meantime you can always buy the yarn you need from them -  links in the patterns below.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

rainbow wensleydales

If the name of this post confused you, my sincere apologies but I couldn't really think of anything catchier. Hopefully though it was so incredibly intriguing you just couldn't wait to dive in and find out what's going on! 

I just wanted to give you a quick introduction to my latest cast on project (full disclosure, I can't stop casting things on and I have so many things to finish, waaaa love it) which is a beautiful Rainbow Wrap as featured in Knit Now magazine, issue 70. 

This happens to be the Best of British wool issue, and is jam-packed with beautiful projects knit in exclusively British sourced and spun wool. Looking back on my projects, you would see me as the kind of gal who will happily knit with acrylic and not blink an eye, but since working at a knitting magazine and being exposed to some absolutely beautiful wools and yarns, there is no going back. Which brings me to what I am talking about today - the scrumptious wool that the patten recommends. 

Available to buy from Home Farm Wensleydales, this pure wool Wensleydale and Bluefaced Leicester worsted double knitting yarn, from owner Jane's flock here on the farm in the Cotswolds, is luxurious, soft, and so beautifully coloured. This is one of those wools and suppliers that you just wouldn't come across through the 'usual' channels. I feel very privilaged that I work where I do, with such a knowledgeble editor that teaches me these great things, and also shares with everyone! As mentioned before, the pattern is in issue 70 of Knit Now (you can buy online here) and the wool is beautiful.

I was lucky enough to try on the sample at work, and I immediately fell in love, so I emailed Jane to let her know to expect an order.

It's going to be a loooong slog, this knit (only knit and purls) but it looks so splendid finished that it will be worth it - just check the Ravelry image

The wool is beautiful to knit with, soft and warm and very supple on the needles. The colours are bright, without being artificial, and blend so naturally together. I just wanted to make sure that this wool and pattern existed, and if you wanted to knit along with me that would be a lot of fun! I know this is going to take me a heck of a long time to knit, but I can't wait. It costs a little more than I usually (try not to) spend on wool, but believe me when I say that this is absolutely worth every penny. With the added bonus of supporting a small business too, boom.

So there you have it, a spot of yarny goodness to round off a weekend. Oh, and don't forget - sign up is still OPEN for the #biggeekyswap - just click the colourful button on the right and get your name down if you are interested!

Sunday, 19 February 2017

preview for free bear hat knitting patterns

I've teased a little bit about these hats on Instagram over the last couple of weeks, and I've been working on this pair of patterns since before Christmas. I can't quite believe how long they have taken me. I suppose with a *relatively* new job (I really can't used that excuse any more, it will be 6 months in March, I can't believe how fast the time has flown!) and house (ditto; passed the 6 month mark already) I can try and make my excuses, but really I can't quite put my finger on it! Nevertheless I am delighted to be able to finally share with you a preview of two free knitting patterns that will be hitting the blog in the next week!

Thursday, 16 February 2017

why, hello rowan

I couldn't help myself guys, I've made another creature from Edward's Imaginarium from Kerry Lord. I just can't get over the characters, the breadth of creativity, and also how much I love making GIANT versions of smaller creatues. Honestly, I feel like all crochet has to now be done on a minimum 8mm hook (if only yarn wasn't eaten up so easily/expensively, eh?) 

So, let me introduce you to Rowan - Willow's new friend. Ben had the grand idea of sticking to a forest/woodland/tree-themed name. It does just so happen that this also matches the name of, of course, Rowan yarns, but that's not why Rowan has this name. It just fit, you know? This does also rather open the door up to more creatures, which as ideas go, really doesn't upset me at all.

Rowan was actually made for my dear friend's birthday last month. Sophie, the lovely lady in question, commented one day that she liked Willow and in my mind I said "uh-oh, too late, no take backs, you are getting one for your birthday now!" - and so here she is!

Rowan was crocheted using 2 strands of Aran-weight yarn held together, and an 8mm hook. It was part Women's Institute Aran (purple) and part Hayfield Bonus Tweed (brown) and I really think the colours compliment each other very nicely, making a real woodland creature who, I am sure, would guide lost travellers in the night, and help lead poorly animals to nearby streams so they can drink and rest. Rowan has a good heart and will take care of you, and I hope she will take goood care of Sophie!

Sunday, 12 February 2017

say hello to my first published pattern

(c) Practical Publishing Int
I have something raaaaather exciting to announce today lovely, geeky knitters - I have my first pattern published in a magazine! If you come across Bagmaking Essentials in the shop this month, be sure to pick it up, have a flick through, and heck even buy it - because, as well as a whole host of fun and creative patterns for sewing, crocheting, patch-working, and knitting bags, you will see yours truly featured towards the back with a knitting pattern for the cheeky chaps above!

This magazine is one of the titles that the company I work for publishes, and I was really excited to be asked if I wanted to write a pattern to be included in issue 4. My pattern is called Monster Pals and is for 2 fun phone cozies, one designed for a beginner/all-level knitter, and the other for the more confident knitter. Even though they are monsters, they aren't particularly scary, but I'm a firm believer that the best monster's are the friendliest in any case.

If you look carefully on the front cover above as well, you can spot one of the cheeky monsters! These guys were a lot of fun to design - it's not often I get to work to a design 'brief' and it presented a new, creative challenge which I really enjoyed tackling and working on. If you want to grab a copy of Bagmaking Essentials, head to your local supermarket, WHSmiths, or grab it online from
And don't miss out on the #biggeekyswap - sign up is OPEN NOW!! You can read more information about it here, or just shout if you have any questions or want more information.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

join in the #biggeekyswap !

After the success of last year's Christmas craft swap, I've wanted to organise another craft swap for aaaages, but kept putting it off/being too busy/forgetting; basically every excuse you can think of under the sun, over it, and a little to the left.
And so, without further ado, I am pleased to invite any and all to join in the big geeky craft swap - superheroes!

I hope that this will be the first of many successful craft swaps, and so I've opted for the most broadly appealing theme I could this time (that is, of course, still geeky).

Here are some things to bear in mind if you would like to take part:
  • sign up closes 10th March 2017 and the deadline for sending your swap will be detailed after sign up closes, but it will be at least a month.
  • this swap will be open internationally, so please be aware you may be posting items abroad
  • any craft is welcome! Knitting, crochet, sewing, building, etching, painting, embroidering ... 
  • we will be sending out, according to the theme, 1 handmade item (think medium sized toy, something decent), 1 card or letter with a nice note, 1 treat of chocolate/sweets/tea etc., and 1 gift valued between £5-10.
  • you will be swapping with partners to be assigned when sign up closes. 
  • please only sign up if you are willing to put in some thought, time and effort :)

So, just click the link above to pop your details into a Google Doc, and then watch this space for more information!! If you are interested in taking part, or if you have any questions at all, please feel free to email me or pop a question down below as someone else might be wondering the same thing!

Grab yourself the button above to post on your blog or social media and spread the word, using the hashtag #biggeekyswap and be sure to visit my Pinterest board for inspiration and ideas for what you could make in the swap.

I can't wait to get started!

Sunday, 29 January 2017

what the heck are Nudinits?!

I first came across Nudinits on Facebook, I am fairly certain it was a couple of years ago now, and I remember being irrevocably charmed by the humour, detail, and downright candid nature of the villagers in the oh-so-aptly named town Woolly Bush. Every time they appear on my feed, or I just need cheering up, I could rely on Nudinits to bring a smile to my face!

So when Pavillion Books got in touch with me to ask if I would like to review the new book, from creator Sarah Simi, I was delighted to say yes please-with-a-suggestive-cherry-on-top!*

If you haven't figured it out yet, everyone in the town of Nudinits is rather naked. There will be an expertly placed vegetable or tool placed every now and then (just see those watermelons on the front cover) but you get your fair share of naughty in this book! Just think of the mature content tab on Ravelry if you need a reference point. Man I do love a grown-up and rude knitting topic!

The book is a fun mix of funny, staged photos - which are always of the highest quality, with ridiculous attention to detail and so so funny - and 20 knitting patterns, including the patterns to knit the stars of the book themselves, Bernard and Barbara! Bernie and Babs (they strike me as the type of Nudinits that wouldn't mind nicknames) are a retired couple, who spend most of their days tottering around the house doing 'retired life' activities (knitting, gardening, DIY - the dream bascially) and chatting with other Nudinits in town (perhaps popping down to The Ram Inn or St Angora's Church - hey, it's not all nude jokes in this book!). 

It's so much fun just flicking through the book, and spending time chuckling at the comments while spotting something new in the detail of each picture every time; one of my favourites has to be in an image of Bernie gardening, he is expertly placed behind the garden gnome, who also happens to be naked and manages to cover both, ahem, WILLIES with his fishing rod. It is SO MUCH FUN!

Patterns galore are included in the book, which don't disappoint in terms of their charm and attention to detail. And considering you get Bernie and Babs' patterns too, you get so much more than the promised 20 because the person's anatomy has extra bits and pieces (seriously, when you buy the book, read the suggested knitting note on Bernie's willy, you will not be disappointed!) I can't wait to find an excuse to knit my own Babs with some accessories!

You might think that this doesn't sound like your cup of tea, but believe you me this is up the street of EVERY knitter! No matter who I have shown the book too or talked to about it, they've all of them laughed jovially at some joke or other in the book or online. Even though everything about the book centres of the nude (we could all do with being a little more open about human anatomy if you ask me, but that is getting close to what some people might deem 'politics', so I will back away slowly now) it is NEVER crude, and NEVER rude. I don't know how it does it, there are naked people everywhere and its just never crude, always charming and funny and I love it. 

I am really so happy that I have this book now. It would make a perfect present for the knitter in your life that really appreciates a joke and humouring knitting (who doesn't) and, basically, it is ridiculously clever and a whole lot of fun!

Nudinits; Bare-bottomed fun from the village of Woolly Bush by Sarah Simi
£9.99, Pavillion Books

*This book was kindly sent to me for review purposes on the blog. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Have fun nudi-knitting!

Saturday, 21 January 2017

free pokemon crochet pattern - sentret

Hi everyone, and welcome to a new free crochet pattern! For those non-Pokemon friends (just spend some time with me and we will fix that) and generation I die-hards, please say hello to Sentret, a cute normal-type Pokemon which was introduced in the generation II games. Described in the Pokedex as small and furry, Sentret is one of those weaker Pokemon you find at the beginning of a game, and might not leave much of an impression.

So it was a surprise when a friend (the same one who commissioned Espeon I might add) asked if I could make one for a friend of his, who claims Sentret is his favourite! Hey, no judgement here, it was just a surprise to find that Sentret did leave such an impresson on someone. Unsurprisingly, there are no crochet patterns out there for this little-known guy, so I set about writing a pattern myself.

I am delighted with the result, as was my friend, and so much so that for Christmas I made another for my big brother who, although Sentret isn't his favourite, will always catch one early on to use as his HM mule.

If I'm speaking another language to you now, I am sorry and please bear with me! I want to share you with you a FREE crochet pattern so you can make your own Sentret; perhaps you are a closet Sentret fan too, or you know someone who loves Pokemon and will welcome and amiguruimi gift such as this. Alternatively, make one for a child to introduce them to the world of Pokemon, or advertise him as a fun, happy teddy-like creature that kids can cuddle. Regardless, I hope you enjoy the pattern and don't hesitate to get in touch with any questions!

4mm crochet hook
DK weight yarn in light brown, dark brown, cream, and light pink
a small amount of DK in black and white
tapestry needle
toy stuffing

Note this pattern is written in US crochet terms, and is worked in amigurumi style (continuous rounds)

BODY (make 1)
with light brown yarn
Round 1 - sc6 in magic circle (6)
Round 2 - *2sc in next* round (12)
Round 3 - *2sc in next, sc in following* round (18)
Round 4 - *2sc in next, sc in following 2* round (24)
Round 5 - *2sc in next, sc in following 3* round (30)
Round 6 - *2sc in next, sc in following 4* round (36)
Round 7 - *2sc in next, sc in following 5* round (42)
Round 8 - *2sc in next, sc in following 6* round (48)
Round 9 - *2sc in next, sc in following 7* round (54)
Round 10 - *2sc in next, sc in following 8* round (60)
Round 11 - *2sc in next, sc in following 9* round (66)
Round 12 - *2sc in next, sc in following 10* round (72)
Round 13 - *2sc in next, sc in following 11* round (78)
Rounds 14-18 - sc round (78) 
Round 19 - *sc2tog, sc in following 11* round (72)
Round 20 - *sc2tog, sc in following 10* round (66) 
Round 21 - *sc2tog, sc in following 9* round (60)  
Round 22 - *sc2tog, sc in following 8* round (54) 
Round 23 - *sc2tog, sc in following 7* round (48)  
Round 24 - *sc2tog, sc in following 6* round (42) 
Round 25 - *sc2tog, sc in following 5* round (36)  
Round 26 - *sc2tog, sc in following 4* round (30)
Round 27 - *sc2tog, sc in following 3* round (24) 
Round 28 - *sc2tog, sc in following 2* round (18) 
stuff the body firmly here
Round 29 - *sc2tog, sc in following* round (12)
Round 30 - *sc2tog* (6)
finish stuffing, fasten off and sew closed. 
ARMS (make 2)
with light brown yarn
Round 1 - sc6 in magic circle (6)
Round 2 - *2sc in next* round (12)
Round 3 - sc round (12)
Round 4 - *2sc in next, sc in following* round (18)
Round 5 - sc round (18)
Round 6 - *5sc, 2sc in next* round (21)
Round 7 - sc round (21)
Round 8 - *6sc, 2sc* round (24)
Round 9 - sc round (24)
Round 10 - 10sc, inc, 2sc, inc, 10sc (26)
Rounds 11-12 - sc round (26)
Round 13 - 11sc, inc, 2sc, inc, 11sc (28)
Round 14 - 12sc, inc, 2sc, inc, 12sc (30)
Round 15 - sc round (30)
fasten off and stuff arms. 
NOTE the fasten off point of the arms is at the bottom of the arm (underarm area).
TAIL (make 1)
with light brown
Round 1 - sc6 in magic circle (6)
Round 2 - *2sc in next* round (12)
Round 3 - *2sc in next, sc in following* round (18)
Round 4 - *2sc in next, sc in following 2* round (24)
Round 5 - *2sc in next, sc in following 3* round (30)
Round 6 - *2sc in next, sc in following 4* round (36)
Round 7 - *2sc in next, sc in following 5* round (42)
Round 8-9 - sc round (42)
change to dark brown
Round 10-11 - sc round (42)
Round 12 - *sc2tog, sc in following 5* round (36)
Rounds13-16 - sc round (36)
change to light brown
Round 17 - sc round (36)
Round 18 - *sc2tog, sc in following 4* round (30)
Rounds 19-20 - sc round (30)
Round 21 - *sc2tog, sc in following 3* round (24)
Round 22 - sc round (24)
change to dark brown
Rounds 23-29 - sc round (24) 
change to light brown
Rounds 30-31 - sc round (24)
Round 32 - *sc2tog, sc in following 2* round (18)
Rounds 33-35 - sc round (18)
change to dark brown, and stuff tail firmly at this point
Round 36 - sc round (18)
Round 37 - *sc2tog, sc in following* round (12)
Round 38-40 - sc round (12)
fasten off and finish stuffing, leaving the base of the tail open. 
EARS (make 2)
with dark brown 
Round 1 - 4sc in magic circle (4)
Round 2 - *2sc in next* round (8)
Round 3 - *2sc in next, sc in following* round (12)
Round 4 - *2sc in next, sc in following 2* round (16)
Round 5 - *2sc in next, sc in following 3* round (20)
Rounds 6-9 - sc round (20)
Round 10 - *sc2tog, sc in following 3* round (16)
Rounds 11-15 - sc round (16)
Round 16 - *sc2tog, sc in following 2* round (12)
Rounds 17-22 - sc round (12)
Round 23 - *sc2tog, sc in following* round (8)
Rounds 24-28 - sc round (8)
fasten off and stuff the bottom of the ear lightly, leaving bottom open.

INNER EARS (make 2)
with pink
Row 1 - ch 3
Row 2 - sc in 2nd from hook, sc 1 (2)
Row 3 - ch1, turn, sc 2 (2) 
Row 4 -  ch1, turn, sc 2 (2) 
Row 5 - ch1, turn, 2sc in next, sc 1 (3)
Rows 6-9 - ch1, turn, sc 3 (3)
Row 10 - ch1, turn, 2sc in next, sc 2 (4)
Rows 11-12 - ch1, turn, sc 4 (4)
Row 13 - ch1, turn, sc, hdc, hdc, sc (4)
Row 14 - ch1, turn, hdc, dc, dc, hdc (4)
fasten off and sew to EARS, using photo as a guide.

FEET (make 2)
with light brown
Round 1 - 6sc in magic circle (6)
Round 2 - *2sc in next* round (12)
Round 3 - *2sc in next, sc in following* round (18)
Rounds 4-9 - sc round (18)
Round 10 - *sc2tog* round (9)
Rounds 11-12 - sc round (9)
fasten off and stuff feet lightly. 

OUTER TUMMY (make 1)
with cream
Round 1 - sc6 in magic circle (6)
Round 2 - *2sc in next* round (12)
Round 3 - *2sc in next, sc in following* round (18)
Round 4 - *2sc in next, sc in following 2* round (24)
Round 5 - *2sc in next, sc in following 3* round (30)
Round 6 - *2sc in next, sc in following 4* round (36)
Round 7 - *2sc in next, sc in following 5* round (42)
Round 8 - *2sc in next, sc in following 6* round (48)
fasten off.

INNER TUMMY (make 1)
Round 1 - sc6 in magic circle (6)
Round 2 - *2sc in next* round (12)
Round 3 - *2sc in next, sc in following* round (18)
Round 4 - *2sc in next, sc in following 2* round (24)
fasten off.

Using the pictures as a guide, sew Sentret together as follows.
- Sew the arms to the sides of the body, making sure to position the FO point of the arms underneath.
- Sew the feet to the bottom of the body, positioning them slightly forward of the centre of the bottom.
- Sew the tail to the back of the body, positioning it in the centre of the lower back which should allow Sentret to stand, leaning on the tail.
- Sew the ears to the top of the body.
- Sew the inner tummy into the centre of the outer tummy, and then sew the completed tummy to the front of the body, positioning it directly above the feet, just touching the top of the feet.
- Embroider Sentret's eyes and mouth using black and white yarn, positioning using the image above as a guide. 


Saturday, 14 January 2017

warm, toasty, easy-peasy socks

Pattern: Totally Mint by Katya Frankel (Knit Today 123)
Yarn: Artesano Superwash Merino (DK; 2 balls in cream)
Ravelry project page: here

Another project that I completed before Christmas was this warm, cosy pair of socks. I actually knitted 4 pairs of socks between September and December, having never knitted socks before and man do I have the bug now! If you do too, make sure you check out Christine's blog - Winwick Mum. Back to the point I was making; so I've actually made 4 pairs of socks now in recent months, 2 pairs of which were Christmas presents so I am unable to show you pictures, and the first pair the heel turn went horribly wrong, so I plan to frog and knit a different pair. 

But these socks are the most recent pair off my needles (just for interest, I am a circular needles gal, canNOT be doing with those DPNs!!) and they are a great, snuggly pair of socks that are really ideal for those who are new to sock knitting.
Knit in DK yarn rather that the normal 4ply, the pattern from Katya Frankel is an easy knit and purl repeat stitch the circles round the calf/upper section of the sock in a way that is quite pleasing to the eye. I have actually knit some Hermione Everyday Socks (Christmas present for Katy, but I will be knitting myself a pair soon!) which has a very similar repeating pattern going round. I will admit that the pattern works better on the 4ply as it gives more definition, but there isn't much you can do with a DK weight sock in terms of detail, and this is always preferable to just knit knit knit.

I never check tension on smaller project (shh) and I really ought to have this time. The socks are a little more snug than I would have liked, but having said this they do fit: they just don't look as slouchy as they do in the pictures of the finished pattern. My own fault I know I know - I do know I have tight tension so I always go up a needle size, but one more 0.5mm would have helped this time. I will know for the next pair!

The socks are just long enough to peep over my ankle boots nicely, which is really what I wanted to achieve with my socks. I hope to have lots of pairs like this this year, including some red socks and stripey purple ones; be sure to watch this space as per! But I do prefer knitting socks in 4ply so this pattern might not emerge again soon - though it is perfect for a gift pattern I think! Saving it for next Christmas for sure. 

My overriding negative for this pattern is that the heel is worked in short rows, rather than picking up stitches on a heel turn. This is good for new sock knitters, but the finished effect is a little messy for my liking (thought my wrap and turn leaves much to be desired as well) and the resulting heel doesn't fit the contour of a foot as nicely as a usual heel turn does. 

Apart from this however I am really pleased with the socks and I am glad I was able to find a yummy use for my leftover DK merino wool. I am eager to cast on the next pair as soon as possible, but first I really really need to finish a cardigan that I've had my heart set on for months. If only there were just more hours in the day ...

Sunday, 8 January 2017

say hello to willow!

Pattern: taken from Edward's Imaginarium, by Kerry Lord
Yarn: various from stash, acrylic based
Ravelry project page: here
A belated welcome and a very Happy New Year to you, me, and 2017!! Here's to a brighter year, with fewer world-changing events if possible, and on a smaller scale, more blogs from the geeky knitter while I finally get back into the swing of regular blogging. I am still getting that balance between my new job, new house, and just day-to-day, plus with welcoming the New Year with the flu it's been a little quiet this side of the internet, but no more!
But enough about me, I am delighted to introduce you to Willow, the newest* member to the Conduit-Riley household! Willow is a giant Imagimarium monster, and we love her.
(*Willow was actually finished in November 16, and since then we may have bought some new toys, but this is beside the point...)
When I visited Yarndale in September, the TOFT stand had one of their giant monsters on show and I instantly fell in love. I did, there and then, enquire after the cost of the yarn to crochet my own but it was in the £95 price range and I couldn't quite justify that, even though I absolutely covet TOFT alpaca yarn, so beautiful and soft - one day ... But they were wonderful enough to tell me how to make one for myself, and also Edward's Imaginarium also includes the instructions on how to make a larger version of any of the creatures, and once I knew that I could do it, there was no getting that idea out of my head. 

Simply follow the instructions for a small creature, but instead of a 3.5mm hook, crack out the 8mm hook and chunky yarn! It does use up a lot of chunky yarn, and I am all about using my stash up so I didn't want to buy extra chunky yarn in. I did however have several balls of blue chunky weight which wasn't enough for a whole toy, but enough for striping with another colour. The brown stripes you see in Willow is actually a brown Aran weight yarn that I held double (boom!), the very same that I used in the Totoro jumper. I love knowing (roughly) how much yarn I need for a project now just be weight and sight, definitely a perk of constantly knitting!
I originally intended to crochet a little pouch on Willow's back, to hold a mini hot water bottle that we own, so that we can hug her for warmth when needed. I haven't done this yet, 2 month's later, but it's still a pretty good idea if I ever get round to it! If I don't however, Willow really is the perfect cuddling size when watching a film or TV and you want to just have something on your lap, like a comforting cushion but so much more fun.
During the day, while we are at work Willow will happily sit on the sofa and play a little Playstation until we come home and hog the TV ourselves that is. Willow stands a satisfying 84cm tall, and I look forward to making her a friend (or perhaps a few) because she is just so droopy and cuddly!