Shawl Pins

I seem to have an obsession with knitting/crocheting shawls.  I love making them, I love wearing them.  I decided to make wearing them easier a few months ago by buying a shawl pin on Etsy, but I was really sad when I lost part of it somewhere in the Peak District while I was away on holiday.  Sad times.  It was beautiful too.

I decided that instead of buying a new one, I’d try and make one.  So today, I’m going to tell you what I used to make mine, and tell you how you can make your own!  I didn’t get any photos of the process as I hadn’t decided to write a blog post till afterwards!  I made four pins out of about 2m of wire.

What You’ll Need

  • Jewellery Wire – I used a copper-coloured aluminium wire that is 2mm in diameter (use whatever colour suits your shawls best!)
  • Pliers – I used the ones I had available out of my husband’s toolbox with the thinnest end – specific pliers for jewellery making would probably work well.  To prevent the grip on the pliers damaging the wire too much I wrapped it in a little bit of tissue
  • Wire-cutters
  • Small file
  • Hammer
  • Clear nail varnish (optional) – used to protect the pin from tarnishing when finished
  • A handknit shawl to use it on!

How To Make A Basic Shawl Pin

A basic shawl pin has two parts – the pin and the shaped part.  As a note, I didn’t make the pin part in these photos.

Make the shaped part

  • Decide what shape you what your shaped part to be, if you want to include perfect circle find something to wrap the wire around that is the right size
  • You can make a version in string/wool/yarn or similar if you want to cut your wire more accurately to length first
  • File the ends of the wire to avoid sharp edges
  • Then shape the wire into your desired shape

Make the pin

  • Cut a length of wire that is larger than the part of your shaped section that the pin is going to go across
  • File the ends to avoid sharp edges
  • Straighten it out as much as possible
  • Use the pliers to make a spiral at one end to help stop the pin going all the way through

Finishing off

  • Check it works and functions as required
  • To harden it up, hammer it gently and evenly all over.  You should find it feels harder to bend.  Don’t hammer it too much otherwise it goes brittle and will break easily.  Depending on your hammer, it may leave marks so I’d recommend doing it on the back side of the pin only
  • Coat all over with clear nail varnish to preventing tarnishing (may need to do one side then the other)

Use your pin

  • Grab your favourite shawl and pin as desired to show off your fabulous yarn crafts and wirework!

How To Make A Penannular (or Open-Ring) Brooch

This is a little harder to make but I find it so much better for wearing with shawls when I’m being more active as they don’t come off easily!  This time, the shaped part is a circle with the two ends fancy.  The pin is attached to the circle so it can’t come off easily (or at all!)  I’m sure you could come up with other designs, but this is as far as I’ve got so far!

Make the pin

  • Start off by making the pin in the same way as above – make sure the spiral has a hole big enough to fit the wire through.
  • Harden it up by hammering it and then coat it with clear nail varnish.
  • Make sure the nail varnish has dried thoroughly before putting onto the circle.

Make the circle

  • Use some yarn to measure the length of your circle and whatever shaping you want for the ends
  • Cut the wire to length and file the ends to avoid sharp edges
  • Shape one end of the wire with your design and then make the circle loop (to make a perfect circle wrap it around something circular such as a glass, toilet loo tube, eggcup or anything that is the right size).
  • Slip the pin onto the circle
  • Shape the second end of the wire as desired

Finishing Off

  • Finish it off by hammering it gently and coating with clear nail varnish as before.

Now grab your shawl and wear your new shawl pin with pride!

The pins below are all modelled on my Half Moon Shawl made in Caron Simply Soft (colourway 9717 Orchid) which is an Aran weight yarn.

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Machine Knit Sock Recipe

So it turns out that I LOVE hand knit socks.  But I absolutely hate knitting them by hand.  For some unknown reason, knitting with 4-ply sock yarn and in the round makes my stitches tight and my stress levels rocket.  Apparently, I just can’t cope with knitting socks.  But, through experimentation and trying out other peoples methods and working out my own methods, I have created a sock recipe that perfectly fits my feet and that I love how it looks.  Most importantly, it can be done in about an hour using a flat-bed knitting machine (without a ribber!)

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It is made in one-piece, starting at the toe and working up to the cuff.  I like to make toe-up socks as I like to be able to try it on as I go and not worry about the amount of yarn I have left as I can weigh it as I go.  It uses simple short-row heels and toes and has a ribbed cuff.  I’ve included my method to create ribbed cuffs without the use of a ribber.  I’ll admit its a little fiddly, but I prefer it to all the other methods of cuffs I’ve tried so far so I hope you’ll give it a go.

Next time I make a pair of socks, I’ll try and remember to get some photos to help with some of the explanations!

Techniques Used:

  • Short row toe
  • Short row heel
  • Figure-8 cast-off
  • Kitchener stitch
  • Crochet seaming

You’ll need:

  • A standard gauge knitting machine (I use a Brother KH- 836)
  • Waste yarn (I use a 2-ply cotton normally)
  • Rip-cord (I use the nylon one that came with the machine)
  • 100g 4-ply sock yarn (my favourite brand is Regia, but use what you prefer)
  • 3.00mm crochet hook or latch tool (doesn’t have to be 3.00mm, just whatever fits in your stitches easily, used for creating the ribbing and for seaming up)
  • 2.00mm circular needle (to pick up stitches for Kitchener stitch)
  • Tapestry needle (for Kitchener stitch and weaving in ends).

Stephanelli’s Machine Knit Sock Recipe

This is a toe-up sock that uses short row toes and heels.  It requires seaming (but without a needle and thread) and Kitchener stitch.  These socks fit my UK size 4.5 feet perfectly in 4-ply sock yarn.

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To adjust this recipe for sizing/pattern: Knit a gauge swatch at tension 6 in the stitch pattern you intend to use and work out your gauge.  I’m a fan of making a large gauge swatch where possible.  Measure around the ball of your foot and use your gauge to calculate how many stitches you need.  I found I had to experiment to get it just right.  Try and end up with an even number of stitches.

Sock Pattern

The socks are mirror images of each other, so I’ve used the following text to indicate the right sock and the left sock where necessary.  I like to start with the right sock.

Tension: Set the tension dial to 6.

Cast On: Pull out 60 needles to hold position (I use the central 60 from 30 left to 30 right).  Then push back the second needle in from each end to non-working position so there are 58 needles out (1 needle, then a 1 needle gap, then 56 needles, then a 1 needle gap, then 1 needle).  The needle gap gives a bigger stitch to use when doing the side seam at the end.  Cast on with waste yarn using the e-loop method.  Knit a few rows in waste yarn and end with the carriage on the right (left).  Then knit in a rip-cord (the carriage should be on the left (right).

Short-Row Toe

Thread the working yarn into the machine.  Make sure the carriage won’t knit needles in the hold position.  Move the right-hand (left-hand) half of the needles into hold position.  (For my feet, that’s the 29 needles on side opposite the carriage).

Try to leave an end that is about 4 times as long as the knitting so you can use it to do a Kitchener stitch later.

Step 1.  Move the needle nearest the carriage into hold position.  Knit 1 row.  Repeat step 1 until the last row has knit 13 stitches.  You should notice that the yarn is automatically wrapped around each needle.  You can adjust how many stitches are in the last row if you find the toe is too pointy or not pointy enough for your feet.

Step 2.  Move the 2 needles nearest the carriage into hold position.  Knit 1 row.  Repeat step 2 once more.

Step 3.  Move the 2 needles nearest the carriage back into working position.  Pass the yarn under the next needle nearest the carriage that is in the hold position.  (This provides a second wrap to prevent holes in the toe of your sock).  Knit 1 row.  Repeat step 3 once more.

Step 4.  Move the next needle nearest the carriage back into working position.  Pass the yarn under the next needle nearest the carriage that is in hold position to make a wrap.  Knit 1 row.  Repeat step 4 until the last row has knit all the stitches used for the toe.  The carriage should end up on the left (right).

Foot

Set the carriage to knit all needles.  Knit as many rows as needed for the length of your foot minus about an inch.  End with the carriage on the right (left).  You may need to experiment to work out how many rows this is for you.  For me, it was 51 rows.

Feel free to experiment with patterning and colourwork as you please.

Short Row Heel

Set the tension dial to 4 to produce a harder wearing heel and set the carriage so it doesn’t knit the needles in the hold position.  The heel is knit on the opposite side of the sock to the toe in nearly exactly the same method as the toe.

Move the left-hand (right-hand) half of the needles into hold position.  For me, that’s the 29 needles on the opposite to the carriage.

Step 1.  Move the needle nearest the carriage into hold position.  Knit 1 row.  Repeat step 1 until the last row has knit 13 stitches.  You should notice that the yarn is automatically wrapped around each needle.  You can adjust how many stitches are in the last row if you find the heel is too pointy or not pointy enough for your feet.

Step 2.  Move the next needle nearest the carriage back into working position.  Pass the yarn under the next needle nearest the carriage that is in hold position to make a wrap.  Knit 1 row.  Repeat step 2 until the last row has knit all the stitches used for the heel.  The carriage should end up on the right (left).

Cuff

Set the tension dial back to 6 and the carriage to knit all needles.

Knit as many rows as you want for your cuff.  If you have a ribber bed, feel free to make use of it.  I don’t, so once we’ve done as many rows as you’d like for your cuff (including the ribbing rows), I’ll explain how I reknit some of the stitches to make ribbing.  Personally, I knit about 80 rows.

Set the tension dial to 10 and knit 1 final row.  If you used a ribber, skip ahead to the cast-off.  If not continue on…

To get the classic ribbed top to keep your socks up, we’re going to carefully drop some stitches and work them back up to create knit stitches using a crochet hook. (remember you’ve got the purl side facing you).  Decide how much ribbing you want and whether you want a 1×1 rib, a 2×2 rib etc.  For ease, I’d recommend leaving the end stitches as they are.  I like to do 2×2 rib personally.  It is quite fiddly, and you might prefer to do it by hand, but I prefer this method.

First, grab a crochet hook/latch tool (I use a 3.00mm crochet hook, but use what works well for your knitting).  Insert it from front to back through the stitch on the row you want to be the bottom of your ribbing.  Double check you know which needle this is, and drop the stitch off the needle by pushing it back to non-working position.  Let the stitch drop all the way to your crochet hook.  Then work the stitch back up to the top by hooking the long bar and pulling it through the loop on the hook.  Do this till you reach the top and put the stitch back on the needle.  Repeat this step for all the stitches you want to be knit stitches.

Figure-8 Cast Off

I’d recommend using the figure-8 cast off as it is super stretchy but if you have a preferred stretchy cast-off then go ahead and use it.

For the figure-8 cast-off, first, unthread the working yarn from the carriage.  Start with the needles in working position (not hold position).  Then manually knit the first stitch, pulling the needle all the way back into non-working position to create a large stitch.  Then push the needle forward into hold position, being careful of this large stitch.  Use a single-eye transfer tool to go through the large stitch from back to front and transfer it onto the next needle.  This should give it a twist so it looks like an 8 (on its side).

Manually knit the needle you’ve just transferred the stitch onto in the same way as before, creating a large stitch.  Push the needle forward into hold position and use your transfer tool to go through the stitch from back to front and transfer it onto the next needle, making sure you get that figure-8.  Keep repeating this step until you have done this to all the stitches.  At the end, cut the yarn and pull it through the last stitch to fasten off.

Unlike other cast-offs, this leaves the knitting still on the needles.  But you can just push all the needles back to non-working position and it should come off easily.

Finishing Up

To finish the sock, pick up the stitches that are on the rip cord at the toe using small hand-knitting needles (I like to use a 2.00mm circular needle).  Pick up half the stitches on one needle and the other half on the other needle.  I find this bit quite hard to get the right stitches, particularly at the edges of the toe, but persevere and you’ll get there.  You should have the same number of stitches as you started with, half on each needle.  (So for me that’s 29 stitches on each needle).

Remove the rip-cord and waste yarn cast on.

Then, using the end that you left, graft the stitches together using Kitchener stitch.  The internet is a wonderful place to learn about Kitchener stitch if you don’t know it already.  (I recommend these instructions – there is a video and some written instructions!).  As a reminder:
Front needle: Knit off, purl on
Back needle: Purl off, knit on

Finally, we need to do the side seam!  I find its easiest to use a crochet hook (3.00mm again).  To avoid holes, we don’t use any working yarn but the large stitches we created at the sides of the knitting.  Start at the toe.  Insert the crochet hook into the first large stitch.  Hook the large stitch on the opposite side of the seam and pull it through the first stitch to create a new loop.

Insert the hook into the next large stitch on the same side (two loops on the hook now), and hook the stitch on the opposite side of the seam and pull it through both loops to create a new loop.  Repeat this step all the way to the top.  You should hopefully still have some ends which you can use to fasten off the final stitch.

Finally, weave in all the ends and you’ve finished the first sock!  Go ahead and use the same instructions to make the second sock, remembering to follow the left sock instructions!

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I hope you enjoyed this pattern, feel free to ask here or on the Ravelry pattern page if you’ve got any questions.  I’ll also try to update this post in the near future with some photos of each stage.

Happy knitting!

 

Over The Rainbow – Machine Knitting Shawl Pattern

I recently came into possession of a knitting machine – a Brother KH-836 complete with many accessories (including a lace carriage!).  I wanted to try and make a semi-circular shawl on it, but I just couldn’t find a pattern I liked.  So this is my pattern for a rainbow coloured shawl!  It is a little over semi-circular but it means it wraps nicely round your shoulders!  This is my first machine knitting pattern, so I hope it all makes sense!

It is entirely possible to knit this by hand if you don’t mind endless rows of stocking stitch…

You’ll Need:

  • 1 standard gauge knitting machine (I hoped this would be obvious).
  • 6 balls of 4-ply (or light DK) yarn, each 100g, optional 7th ball for the edging (about 25 – 50g depending on far round you want your edging to go)
    • For the main part of the shawl, I used Hobbycraft’s Women’s Institute Soft and Silky 4-ply in the following colourways:
      • 211430 Red
      • MR-03 Yellow
      • 31639 Lime
      • 6370/2 Turquoise
      • 6350/3 Lilac
      • 6349/3 Pink
    • I found acrylic really good to use because it was easy to aggressively block/lightly kill into being flat otherwise it does like to curl (stocking stitch does that…)
    • For the edging, I used some leftover 4-ply sock yarn in grey.
  • Waste yarn for temporary cast offs (I found using a thinner yarn helped, but your choice)
  • Transfer tool(s)
  • Darning needle to sew in the ends

 

Pattern

Tension on the carriage set to about 8.5.  It’s easier if you make your yarn into a centre pull ball using a cone winder before starting.  Start with the carriage on the left-hand side of the machine and using normal/plain knitting settings.

This is worked with the purl side facing you throughout.

First Triangle

1:  Cast on 2 stitches using your first colour (by using a slip stitch and a backwards e-loop or your preferred method). I used the furthest left 2 needles (100 left and 99 left) so I could decide how big I wanted to make my shawl based on how it was looking.  If you prefer to work more centrally, I used 120 needles in total so you’ll want to start at 60 left.  Keep the rest of the needles in non-working position (position A on my machine) for now.

2:  Knit across these 2 stitches, and back again.

3:  Now bring the needle to the right of the knitting into working position.  Knit across and back.  You should now have 3 stitches.

Repeat step 3 again and you should have 4 stitches.
Repeat it again and you’ll have 5 stitches.
Keep repeating step 3 until you have 120 stitches, ending up with the carriage on the left hand side of the machine.

4:  Grab your waste yarn and knit at least 6 rows with it.  I don’t trust temporary cast offs so I always thread another yarn through the final row of stitches (like a life-line) to ensure that no stitch gets dropped.  Once you’ve done this, remove the knitting from the needles and return your 120 needles in working position (B position on my machine).

Second (and subsequent) Triangles

Your triangle is assymetrical (or it should be if you followed the instructions).  This gives the shawl a nice pinwheel effect.

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Make sure you’ve got the purl side facing you still so you pick up stitches along the correct edge.  You’ve got the cast off edge which should be easy to identify.  To its right you’ve got the increasing edge.  To the left you’ve got the usual stocking stitch edge.  We’re going to be picking up stitches along this stocking stitch edge.

5:  To pick up the stitches, start at the wide end (next to the cast on edge).  You should be able to see that there are tighter stitches that look like little knots and then a bar between them.  Using a transfer tool, pick up that bar and hang it on the furthest right needle by pulling that needle out into holding position (position E on my machine).  Then pick up the next bar and hang that on the next needle in the same way (working from right to left).  Keep going all the way to the thin end and you should have picked up 119 stitches.  (One less than your total number of needles.)  End with all 119 needles out in holding position (position E).

6:  Set your machine so it won’t knit the holding needles.  (On my machine this is a little switch on the left of carriage which I switch to H, but check your manual for your machine if you aren’t sure.  Push the currently empty needle and the first needle into upper working position (position D on my machine).

7:  Switch to your new colour of yarn and knit these 2 needles across and back again.

8: Now, push the next needle on the right of these 2 needles into upper working position (position D on my machine).  Knit across and back.  You should now have 3 stitches in your new colour.

If you repeat step 8 again, you’ll have 4 stitches in your new colour.
If you do it again, guess what?  5 stitches in your new colour!
Keep doing this until you have knit all the stitches you picked up and have 120 stitches on your needles.  End with the carriage on the left hand side again.

9:  Grab some more waste yarn.  Knit another 6 rows in waste yarn and remove your work from the machine just like you did before in step 4.

10: Continue making the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th triangles in exactly the same way as this second triangle.  (Repeat steps 5 – 9).

You should have a lovely sized shawl by this point with 6 colourful triangles all with waste yarn cast off edges!  We’re nearly there!  At this point, return all your needles to non-working position (Position A).

Pie-Crust Edging

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11:  To do the pie crust edging you don’t need to remove the waste yarn cast offs.  You can do that at the very end.  Keep the purl side facing you and go to your first triangle and find the rightmost 3 stitches on the cast off edge that aren’t in waste yarn.  Use your transfer tool to pick these 3 stitches up and hang them on 3 needles, bringing the needles into holding position.  Be careful to ensure that you don’t get any of the next stitch (which is in waste yarn) and that you go right through the centre of the stitch.

Set the carriage so it’ll knit the needles that are in holding position.

12:  Knit 8 rows on these 3 needles (ending with the carriage on the left).

13:  Pick up the next 3 stitches and hang those on the same needles that you used last time.  You should have 2 stitches on each needle – 1 in your edging yarn and 1 that you just picked up.  Knit 8 rows on these 3 needles (ending with the carriage on the left).

Repeat step 13 until you have 6 stitches left to pick up.

14:  Pick up the next 3 stitches and hang these on the needles in the same way.  This time, knit 7 rows so you end with the carriage on the right.

15:  To finish this off neatly, we have to do the final 3 stitches by hand so we can bind them off at the same time as knitting them.  Pick up the final 3 stitches and hang them on the needles and put the needles in holding position (position E)..

16:  Now, make the first stitch by hand by laying the working yarn into the latch and pulling it through the 2 stitches to make a new stitch (by pushing the needle back).  Using a transfer tool, transfer this stitch onto to the needle to the left so that needle now has 3 stitches on it (an edging stitch, a picked up stitch and the transferred stitch.  Knit this stitch (again by hand), pulling the working yarn through all 3 stitches to make the next stitch.  Transfer this new stitch onto the final needle and knit 1 more stitch by hand.  You should have 1 stitch left on your needles!  Cut the yarn and fasten off (pull the tail through the loop).

17: Remove the waste yarn cast offs.

18: Weave in all your ends and block aggressively to reduce the curl.

Enjoy your new shawl!  I hope you liked this pattern, any questions please ask in the comments below or by contacting me from the Ravelry pattern page.

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Stump Teapot Cosy Crochet Pattern

It’s been a while since I last posted on here, but today I wanted to share a free crochet pattern for a stump teapot.  I searched on Ravelry and just couldn’t find one so I created a basic one and wanted to share it with you.

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You’ll Need:

  • ~40m of worsted weight yarn
    • I used Cascade 220 in two colours (blue and green)
  • 5mm hook
  • Darning needle to sew the ends in
  • The stump teapot you’re making the cosy for

Pattern

This pattern uses UK terminology and the chain 2’s at the start of each round don’t count as a stitch.  Should fit a small teapot of size: 17cm from tip of the spout to the end of the handle, 8.5cm diameter across the top (not including spout and handle), 11cm diameter across the bottom.

Notes for colour changing: There are various options to change colour.
1) Easy way:  Fasten off each round and join the new colour with a slipstitch.
2) Hard way: do a jog-less change by using the new colour to make the joining slipstitch (when working in the round) or by using the new colour to do the final part of a treble crochet – pulling a loop of the new colour through 2 remaining loops (of the previous colour) that are on the hook.  Don’t fasten off and pull the yarn up to the next row that needs it.  You’ll find this is easy when working in the round but when you’re not working in the round, you’ll have to go back to the start of the row to go over the top in the second colour.  (I.e. two consecutive rows will start from the same end of the row).  To not have random loops that will unravel, the final treble of the second row should go through the stitch as normal and also through the loop from the stitch that is waiting to start again.

I’ve done Rounds 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15 in blue and Rounds 2, 4, 7, 9, 11 in green.

Abbreviations (UK terminology)
Ch – chain
Dc – double crochet
Ss – slipstitch
Tr – treble crochet
Tr2tog – treble crochet two together

Round 1 – Make a magic ring, ch 2 and make 12 tr into the ring.  Pull the ring tight and join with a ss. (12 tr)

Round 2 – Ch 2, make first 2 tr in the same place as join, continue round circle with 2tr in each st, join with a ss (24 tr).

Round 3 – Ch 2, make first tr in same place as join, 2 tr in next, [1 tr in next st, 2 tr in next st].  Repeat the part in [brackets] till end, join with a ss (36 tr)

Round 4 – Ch 2, make first tr in same place as join, 1 tr in next 2, 2 tr in next st, [1 tr in each of next 2 sts, 2 tr in next st].  Repeat the part in [brackets] till end, join with a ss.  (48 tr)

You’ve finished the flat circle part for the top!  Check it against your teapot.  Add extra rounds in the same way if you’re using a bigger teapot (so the next row would be [1 tr in each of next 3 sts, 2 tr in next st] and would have 60 tr total, you’re increasing 12 sts every round to make a flat circle).

Now we need to make the holes for the spout and handle.  We stop working in the round for a few rows now.

Round 5 – Ch 2, 1 tr in join, and 1 tr in each of next 18 sts.  Ch 2, ss in each of next 7 sts (spout hole). Ch 2, 1 tr in each of next 18 sts. (38 tr, split over two sides – feel free to adjust the gaps to fit your teapot).  Turn work.

Round 6 – Ch 2, 1 tr in each of next 9 sts (including same place as ch 2), 3 tr in next st (should be in the middle of the side), 1 tr in each of next 9 sts.  Ch 7 to join up around the spout, continue along other side with 1 tr in each of next 9 sts, 3 tr in next st, 1 tr in each of next 9 sts to end. (42 tr, 7 ch).  Turn work.

Round 7 – Ch 2, 1 tr in each st (including where the ch 2 is) up to chain sts. In chain sts: 1 tr, tr2tog, 1 tr, tr2tog, 1 tr. continue along other side with 1 tr in each st to end.  (47 tr (including tr2tog)).  Turn work.

Round 8 – Ch 2, 1 tr in each of next 21 sts (including where the ch 2 is).  This should take you up to the 5 centre sts under spout hole.  Tr2tog, 1 tr, tr2tog.  1 tr in each st along other of side. (45 tr) Turn work.

Rounds 9 – 11 – Ch 2, 1 tr in each st (including where the ch 2 is) (45 tr). Turn work.

Round 12 – Ch 2, 1 tr in each st (including where the ch 2 is). When reach end, make ch 4 and join into round with ss.  Do not turn work.

Rounds 13 – 15 – Ch 1, 1 dc in each stitch round, join with ss.

Fasten off and weave in ends.

I hope you enjoy your teapot cosy, let me know if you find any problems by either commenting below or contacting me on Ravelry from the pattern page!

Recently Off The Needles (And Hook)…

Hello there!  It’s been a while, I know.  You know that thing where life gets super busy and something has to drop by the wayside for a time?  That happened and sadly my blogs had to take a little bit of a timeout.  However, I’m back, although I can’t promise to post regularly at the moment!  Today I thought I’d take the opportunity to share with you some of my favourite recently finished projects.  The links on each title go to my Ravelry project pages (you don’t have to be a member of Ravelry to see these projects) and I’ve also linked to the pattern pages on Ravelry too.

Green Fan Bookmark

First up is this gorgeous crochet bookmark.

 

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The stitch pattern is a little similar to a Queen Anne’s Lace, but not the same.  It was quick to make and is very lovely.  The pattern was well written and easy to follow too!  Part of my new love affair with tiny crochet!

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Quick details:

Passionflower Doily

Next up is another crochet project, this time not in tiny crochet though!  A reasonably thick silver-grey doily – perfect to go under a pot plant or use as a mat if it weren’t so pretty!

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This is actually the second time I’ve made this pattern.  The first time I forgot to take any pictures and stopped a few rounds earlier so it would fit on the front of a card to be posted to my Godmother.  This is my second and it was just as pleasant to make as the first time.  This is one of my favourite doily patterns.

Quick details:

Caledonian Forest Hat

I originally shared this project way back in September.  If you’ve been around since then you might remember what it looked like then, but here is a reminder:

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Caledonian Forest Hat

This project sadly stayed like this for a rather long time until I had an email from some friends last week asking if I would still knit a shawl for them to gift.  I was of course very happy to knit the shawl, but it did mean that I needed to get this work-in-progress off the needles.  The yarn is beautiful and soft and gorgeous, and not something you really want to put onto scrap yarn until you fancy finishing it.  So the hat got finished.  Very unseasonal timing, but there we go.

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The pattern was clear and easy to follow, although I did make a few mistakes on the decrease rows on the crown, but hopefully, no-one will notice!  (I was knitting this during a ceilidh band rehearsal and had to stop half-way through a row to do a clog solo…possibly why there were a few mistakes looking back…)  However, if I were to do this pattern again, I’d probably either do more ribbing or another repeat of the pattern as it is a tiny bit shorter than I would really like (or even check my gauge…)  However, it is a lovely hat so I’m sure I’ll still wear it!

Quick details:

  • Yarn: (Possibly the most gorgeous and softest yarn I’ve had the pleasure to knit with) Artesano DK 100% Pure Superfine Alpaca (colourways 785 Bolivia (green) and 1532 Chile (Red), purchased up in Morpeth while on a band tour a couple of years ago!)
  • Needles: 4.00mm circular (80cm cord using magic loop method)
  • Pattern: Caledonian Forest Hat by Sarah Franklin

So that concludes some of my recently finished projects.  I’ve got a number of knitting and crochet projects on the go, including 4 shawls (guess what I like making…), a scarf, some bed socks, a toy mouse, a hand towel and a doily.  I hope to share some of them with you sometime.

Advent Calendar

Welcome one and all to Stephanelli Designs in this cold, frosty week!  It seems fitting for December to start with the coldest, frostiest days thus far where I live.  When I left for the nature reserve at 9am yesterday morning the outside thermometer read a whole -4°C (and I when I got in at 12:30pm, a mere 1°C!).  The eagle-eyed amongst you may notice that we’ve had a visual update here!  It’s still the Stephanelli Designs you know, just streamlined and more beautiful (in my opinion anyway!).

Advent is one of my favourite times of the year.  Christmas preparations feel like they can properly start in earnest and exciting things like Christmas lunches, Christmas band rehearsals and such like can occur!  A time of joyous expectation!  Not to mention the Christmas music can start and the daily advent calendar…

Talking of advent calendars – for today’s post, I thought I’d share with you a lovely advent calendar I’ve put together for my little mouse, Colin.  Bonus picture of Colin at the end of this post too!  For his calendar, I’ve crocheted 9 stockings and made a lolly-stick Christmas tree to hang them on!  I’m very proud of it.

The patterns I used for the stockings came from Bethany over at Whistle and Ivy which I found from the ever trusty Ravelry pattern search!  They are a lovely set of patterns and I thoroughly recommend them.  I’ve only made the first 3 patterns mostly because I ran out of time and partially because I figured we could just reuse some of the stockings throughout Advent…he’s a very intelligent mouse, but I don’t think he’s going to complain!  Each stocking has been stuffed partially with tissue paper and a selection of treats put on the top.  Each day he’ll get one to empty out and enjoy!

I hope you enjoyed viewing his calendar, I’m planning some Christmas craft tutorials (origami napkins for Christmas lunch anyone?) throughout December so keep a look out for that and I hope the seasonal preparations go well for everyone who celebrates!  If you’ve got any crafts you’d particularly like me to cover then do drop me a comment at the bottom of the page!

Have a photo of a cute mouse to end!  (This picture won Mouse of the Month on the pet mouse forum I’m a member of!)

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Crochet Slippers

This week has been a bit busy for me so I’ve just got a relatively short post for you today.  I wanted to share with you my most recently finished crochet project – a set of snuggly slippers!

The Pattern

The pattern I’ve used I found on Ravelry and is Priscilla Hewitt’s Hexagon Boot Slippers.  It is a very easy pattern to follow and didn’t take very long to work up at all!  I used a bulky yarn instead of an aran yarn so I adapted the pattern to fit my feet by making four hexagons per slipper and joining them up as per the diagram (read the caption for explanation!)

diagram
Join up along the pink lines (the vertical one isn’t supposed to reach the top), then join the rest of sides by matching their letters.

I also threaded some ribbon round the top to help them stay on as I like my slippers a little big so they feel more cosy.

The Yarn

For this project I used some King Cole Chunky Tweed in colourway ‘1075 Balmoral’.  Its 72% premium acrylic, 25% wool and 3% viscose.  Its quite a stiff, not soft yarn (ideal for walking around the house in).  In case you’re wondering because you’re aware of my wool sensitivity, this seems absolutely fine so far, but then my feet have always been the least sensitive part to wool – they’re also only 25% wool which probably helps too.  I like this yarn so much I’m making a pair of stripy bedsocks for advent using it!  (By for advent, I mean that I am going to be knitting a set number of rows in a set colour every day throughout advent so I end up with a Christmas present to myself of bedsocks.  The hard bit will be only doing the set number of rows each day!)

I used a 6mm hook with this yarn.

The Finished Slippers

So after all that waffle about yarns and patterns, I guess you’d like to see my finished slippers!  So here they are in all their glory!  Join me next week for another crafty post (hopefully another finished project…so I’d better get busy!)

Stephanelli’s Knitting Guide: Cables

Continue reading “Stephanelli’s Knitting Guide: Cables”

Meadow Trails Washcloth

I’m very excited today!  I have a new knitting pattern published on Ravelry today and I decided that I’d love to share it with you!

I’ve recently rediscovered how nice cable stitches are and so I thought I’d use four basic cable stitches to make a simple washcloth.  I love my knitted washclothes – I use them in the bathroom, in the kitchen and for all sorts of cleaning around the house.  Sure I could get cheap ones from the shop – but this is much more fun, and much prettier!

This pattern was inspired by the intertwining tracks you can get across meadows and fields that have been made by animals or humans wandering through them and also by the plants themselves as they weave around each other in the wind.  The woven centre cable on the cloth represents the tracks, and the ascending spirals on either side the plants as they twirl around each other!

It uses four basic cable stitches which are normally the first ones you tend to learn when cabling:

  • Cable four back – slip two stitches on the cable needle and hold at the back of your work, knit two stitches on the left hand needle, knit the two stitches off the cable needle
  • Cable four front – slip two stitches on the cable needle and hold at the front of your work, knit two stitches on the left hand needle, knit the two stitches off the cable needle
  • Cable six back – slip three stitches on the cable needle and hold at the back of your work, knit three stitches on the left hand needle, knit the three stitches off the cable needle
  • Cable six front – slip three stitches on the cable needle and hold at the front of your work, knit three stitches on the left hand needle, knit the three stitches off the cable needle

I used to really struggle with cable stitches because I used to knit so tight, but since rediscovering them, I’ve realised I’m very gradually knitting less tight and so cabling is becoming a technique of pleasure rather than pain!

You can find my pattern over on Ravelry here and I’d love to see your projects if you knit one of these or my other designs!