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!

Autumnal Preparations

Wow…another long blogging break on Stephanelli Designs and all across my blogs sadly.  That feeling when life gets the better of you and you end up rushing around madly for a couple of months wondering where life is going and has taken you!  That’s how its been for me anyway.  I once again apologise for the break, but there we go…its in the past, hopefully you forgive me and we can continue where we left off!

Actually, the reason I haven’t been posting much here is because I haven’t been doing as much crafting.  Sure, I’ve been knitting and sewing on and off, but primarily I’ve been enjoying the nice weather and getting out in the garden and generally doing more things.  Obviously this leaves less time for crafting sadly – but just maybe I can address that balance by doing more crafting over winter when I have less motivation to go outside!

Since the weather has started turning autumnal I’ve noticed a certain change in my mindset.  I’m less about heading outside and more about spending more time in my craft room with my knitting and sewing.  I’ve been more interested in finding soft yarns and creative patterns.  The last few weeks I seem to be finding my knitting motivation perk up again after the summer of knitting my wedding shawl (its not finished yet, but I promise to share photos when it is!).

Today I thought I’d share my recent yarn stash additions with you and show you two of the projects I’ve already started and some plans for a couple of others!  The rest of this post is mapped out by yarn with details of what I want to use it for in the description.

Artesano 100% Superfine Alpaca – Colourways Boliva (Turquoise) and Chile (Red)

Actually, I’ve had these yarns for about a year now and they have always been intended for a hat.  And you know what?  I’ve finally started that hat!  I’m making the Caledonian Forest Hat which I found on Ravelry after deciding I wanted to do more with cables – because I recently discovered that cables aren’t nearly so bad as I thought.  This is as far as I’ve got…still got a long way to go…but its so amazingly soft!  I love alpaca wool!

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Caledonian Forest Hat

 

Cygnet Boho Spirit – Colourway 6461

I found this yarn while I was on holiday in Yorkshire.  It came from a yarn shop in Pickering and I just fell in love with its colours and softness.  It’s single ply of approximately DK weight and I’m using it to knit a simple stocking stitch scarf for myself – just a nice soft, thin scarf that won’t take ages to complete.  The colours are absolutely gorgeous.

West Yorkshire Spinners Blue Faced Leicester (BFL) – Natural Ecru Colour

This yarn also came from my Yorkshire holiday, but from Saltburn.  I’ve always wanted to feel and knit with BFL and its softness didn’t disappoint me.  I’m hoping to use this to make a snuggly hot water bottle cover although I might pair it with another yarn if I don’t think I’ll have enough.

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Sirdar Cotton Rich Aran – Colourways 5 (Red) and 2 (Light Blue)
Rowan Creative Linen – Colourway 644 (Pink)

I’ve put these two together because I’ve got them with the same purpose in mind.  I’ve recently discovered a love of hand knit (mostly) cotton washcloths and dishcloths.  I’ve also purchased two new books which have yet to arrive.  One book is a ‘dictionary’ of cable and aran stitches, the other of lace and eyelet stitches.  These yarns are to make some simple cloths using the new patterns I find.  Its a way of testing the patterns while also making something useful!

So…that’s it for my creative updates, I’m hoping to be able to have lots more things to show you soon, but stick with me and I promise I’ll try and be a better blogger!

Fluid Ice

I’m quite excited to share today’s post with you!  Since June 2015 I’ve been working on a beautiful shawl.  It was originally going to be a cape, but due to finishing the yarn and deciding that its a perfect size for me, its turned into a shawl instead.

The Story Behind The Shawl
I started off following a simple shawl pattern based on the classic granny square look.  I got a bit fed up with this, so I restarted and made it simpler and quicker while still retaining the granny square look.  After August I got fed up with it so it got put in the hibernation pile and this last week I picked it up again.  Originally, it was going to be the same pattern all the way through, but I realised it was going to take so long to complete, so I figured out a beautiful yet really simple lace pattern to use instead.  Finally, I raided my stash for a contrasting colour yarn and added a very simple one row border.

The Inspiration Behind The Name
Fluid Ice.
What image does that give you?
For me, its pale blues and lilacs, changeable, surprising yet gentle, flowing and soft.  That’s what this shawl seemed like to me so it seemed the perfect name!

The Pattern
The pattern is available on Ravelry and I’d be delighted if you decided to crochet one!  You can use any yarn with an appropriate hook (and one slightly larger for lacier stitches).
It uses just two basic stitches (UK chain and UK treble stitches) so is really simple.

Photos
No blog post would be complete without a selection of photos – I present to you Fluid Ice!

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Fluid Ice Shawl
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Close Up
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Wearing it normally!
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Folded Layers
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A blue ghost?
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Enjoying the warmth

 

On The Needles…

Last week I told you about my complicated project that I’m knitting for myself – a beautiful shawl.  This week, I’ve been concentrating on a much simpler project I was asked to make, although much more colourful!

Try have a guess before I tell you, I’ll even give you some decidedly unhelpful photos!

Its got the colours black, red, green and yellow.  I’m making it on a circular needle and it has a ribbed section and lots and lots of rows of plain stocking stitch.  But no, I don’t have to turn a heel.  Some unhelpful pictures:

Have you had a guess?  Why not comment me your guesses?

To relieve you of not knowing, I’m making a rasta hat!  My Dad works with a person who apparently has waist length dreadlocks that he isn’t allowed to have out at work, so Dad thought I might be able to knit him a rasta hat.  So here I am.  Knitting a rasta hat.

I’m working with Hayfield Bonus DK acrylic yarn and a 4.5mm circular needle.  The pattern is based off the start of the Island Cool Hat I found on Ravelry, but then I’ve continued increasing every 4 rows for a bit to allow for lots of dreadlocks.  The hardest part of this hat is that I’ve never met the person who I’m making for nor seen a picture so I’ve no idea if he has a big head, a little head, lots of tiny, thin dreadlocks, lots of big dreadlocks…so I’m hopefully erring on the side of too large.  I’m not finding this the most interesting project to knit, I prefer slightly more complicated patterns, but it did mean that I yesterday I knitted away while reading on my kindle and later watching some tv programmes on iplayer.  So its growing, slowly but surely.  I’m hoping to get it finished by Saturday when I next see my Dad so he can give it to him to give to his friend.

One final photo and I’ll leave you in peace for another week – the hat so far!
PS: You can now find me on my facebook page or on twitter where there’ll be links to blog posts from my three blogs (this one, the nature and photography one and the music one) and random updates on what I’m up to related to my blogs

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On The Needles…

Its been such a long time since I posted anything on here (not doing very well at my regular posting thing here…), so I thought I’d share with you a very special project that I’m working on at the moment.

I’m using an absolutely gorgeous pattern by Gisela Beyer from Ravelry.  The pattern is called Papyrifera.  It calls for lace weight (2 ply) yarn that is 70% mohair and 30% silk (Madil Yarns, Kid Seta if you’re interested).  Unfortunately I’m heavily allergic to mohair but have a strange love of cotton yarns…so I thought, why not, lets give it go in a light weight cotton.  I looked through some other projects, and decided I’d try it in a 4-ply yarn, partly because it was easy to get hold of some in the right colour, partly because I wanted it to be a little heavier weight.  So as a result, I’m knitting this in Patons 100% Cotton 4-ply, on a 3.75mm circular needle.

I have already made one mistake on a row due to a chart reading error – this is first time I’ve done a project entirely from a chart, I’m not used to this! – but it looks fine as its early on in the leaf pattern (I accidentally did some K2Togs rather than SSKs…or potentially the other way round, just means the leaves have a slightly odd outline in that row, not that I can find it currently…I realised at the end of the row, and figured that it didn’t really matter – it’d make it unique and its so delicate and all the same that no-one would notice…right?)

So, enough words, just a couple of pictures so you can see how its progressing so far – I am so in love with this pattern!

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