Knitting a lot and then knitting some more

Apart from an amigurumi bunny for a colleague’s baby shower, I’ve really been knitting a lot more than crocheting. I finished the Reyna shawl and am now busy with the wrap pattern called “Moonlight” by Pat Strong. Although I have gone full rainbow colours on this wrap and not anything near the demure dark colour it’s shown in Knitting Magazine!

The Reyna Shawl:

I did make some changes to the pattern by basically working a much larger garter stitch panel in order for it to not only be a bigger shawl but also to finish the wool that I had left…

The pattern is an easy one, good for working on while listening to podcasts and great for beginner lace knitters. I’d actually like to try it in a thicker wool and just see the texture of it. But that will have to wait a bit because of my current knitting WIP.

I used Red Heart Lacie (oh why did you stop making it, cruel universe!) in a cerise pink for this project and 4.5 mm KnitPro circulars. Yes, I’m a KnitPro gal when I can be. I am in love with especially their Simfonie needles and mostly work with the interchangeable tips. I find the needles wonderful to work with and they are so beautiful on their own, you just can’t resist them! (My other needle is Elle circulars, but they mostly come in 80cm, which is a bit short for most of the things I make. They’re great for smaller projects though.)

Moonlight (WIP):

This pattern was featured in the December 2017 issue of Knitting Magazine (oh, what a joy of a magazine…) and, although it is a 16-row repeat, it is a very easy pattern to memorise.

It’s turning out to be bulkier than my other wraps and shawls, but I’m loving the texture. I think anything thicker than DK and I would have frogged it and tried another yarn. The yarn I’m using is Chick DK in the Vibrante colourway. I’m using the same 4.5 mm KnitPro Simfonie circulars for this project.

Tip on buying needles for newbies

If you’re not sure what to buy (let’s face it, there are so many sizes and types of knitting needles available), I’d suggest 4 or 5 mm needles. Either straight or circulars. I find the short circular needles easier on my wrists, which is why I usually use them. So if you struggle with the long, straight needles, maybe also try the circulars.

Don’t feel pressured to buy a whole set when you get started – rather build on your collection and first find the brand that you really like to use. Some swear by Hiya-Hiya, for instance, others by KnitPro. (I have yet to try Hiya-Hiya as they’re not imported to South Africa as far as I know).

Sampler knitted scarf zoomed in linen stitch and tweed pink and grey WIP

Digging out my embroidery skills

I hope I’m not the only one who buys craft kits and then take a year (or five in this case!) to start on them. In 2012 I got one of  Rosework’s embroidery patterns called “Firebird” and finally started working on it about a month ago. (Roseworks is a local — i.e. South African — brand.) In my defence, though, I have been busy with needlepoint and did not realise when I bought said pattern that it called for over 40 colours of embroidery cotton.

Okay, and I forgot I had it for a while… (Part of the reason why I really needed to declutter my craft cupboard — I had stuff in there I’d forgotten about.)

But anyway, so about two months ago I found a local place that sells the DMC embroidery cotton for a lot cheaper than the usual wool-and-embroidery-stuff-though-it-actually-sells-sewing-machines-but-I-love-the-people-there shop I go to. And I thought huzzah! Now I can actually afford to buy the cotton!

So, long story short, and after taking an hour to find all the colours (I may have gotten distracted after spotting quilling paper), I walked away with a bag of embroidery cotton, and the realisation that I haven’t embroidered anything but a few Ruon charms in years. And that the Firebird pattern stated ‘advanced’ when I looked a bit closer.

Turns out that I seem to be all right with the basics still… Mostly thanks to this little embroidery kit I got with Molly Makes and Craftsy Unlimited videos. Let’s just say that before watching the video on French knots I was utterly unable to make them. No matter how many tutorials I read. It’s the main reason I never did any proper candlewicking patterns…

Here is the Molly Makes embroidery:

Love embroidery on white background finished

And the Firebird embroidery, which is my embroidery WIP:

And here are the Ruon charms — they form part of my stories in The Ruon Chronicles.

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Learning and Practising Knitting and Embroidery

So it’s been a busy few weeks writing wise (both fiction and at work!), but I have been crafting more than I thought I would thanks to the Easter weekend. I only have one FO to show – the “Love” embroidery that came as a kit with one of the Mollie Makes magazine issues.

The last thing I embroidered were some “charms” for a blogpost, so getting back into it – and at last learning how to do a proper French knot – was great. I even got some embroidery floss so I can start on my Firebird embroidery pattern… which I got in 2012. So it’s about time that I start!

Find Firebird and other Roseworks patterns here (it is a South African online shop).

Other than that, I’ve worked on my sampler scarf (knitted in various stitches) and my Mandela Day scarf which is my lazy no-brainer crochet at the moment as it just uses Elizabeth stitch I found on Pinterest.

The scarf is half my own pattern and half that which is the project for the Simply Stunning Colorwork knitting course by Anne Berk you can do through Craftsy (I can highly recommend it).

And I’m making yet another shawl. Why? Because I love them. This one is the Reyna shawl by Noora Laivola.

Reyna knitted shawl on white background WIP photo 1

Golden Rainbow Shawl and News

It’s finished! Made from Sirdar Divine yarn (colourway 062), the asymmetric shawl I was busy with is now finished. This is the end result:

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It’s based on another scarf pattern that includes some lace knitting inserts, but I realised only after working with the Divine yarn for a bit that the lace pattern won’t work. Instead, I kept on only increasing a stitch every two rows. I’m very happy with how it turned out as well, but am going to knit another one in another yarn that includes the lace parts.

 

Other knitting and crochet news

I’ve now started on my scarf for the Mandela Day challenge for 2018. I’m using Elle Baby DK in the Apricot colourway and a 3.5mm hook. The stitch is called the Elizabeth stitch. As with my other charity makes, I go for something practical but beautiful. Who says things you receive through charity shouldn’t be beautifully made?

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Craftsy is addictive. That is all I can say. I’m learning some new stitches and colour changes, and am making a sampler scarf for the one class. Using: Elle Charity DK in Fuchsia and School Grey.

TOMM pic sampler 1

Knitting and amigurumi all the way

Meet my newest amigurumi creation! The pattern is a paid pattern from DIY Fluffies (check out their other patterns while you’re at it). I found the pattern very well written and thorough (Photos! Graphs!) so making it was seamless even using a different thickness of yarn. I only substituted the size of the eyes as my yarn was thicker that the one used in the pattern. (Used Elle Family Knit DK throughout)

Koala 1

Otherwise I’ve been mostly knitting as my bad wrist has been giving me some troubles. I finished the Herning shawl (with the slight changes made by me) and I love how it came out! I think I may make another one in the future in a different colour… (Used Elle Babykins 3-ply in colourway Teddy)

Then I am on my second ball of yarn for the asymmetric shawl. (Using Sirdar Divine in colourway 062)

Other WIPs

Other WIPs I have going at the moment include the Springtime scarf (using Elle Charity DK in the Fruit Shake colourway) and the throw for my aunt. More about these and the new charity I joined next time!

Catching Up, Finished Objects, and Christmas Crafting Begins!

In which time runs away from me, I start a new job, finish a few projects, and start some Christmas projects (can you believe it’s already that time of the year!).

I’ve had no excuses for not keeping up with the blog other than not having enough time… In September I started a new job (yay!) so August was spent handing over my work and writing fiction (and yet I’m still not finished with The Box of Secrets).

September, as you may imagine, sped past me in a bit of a haze as I started the new job (as copy writing at a publisher) and had to get used a whole new routine. I am almost feeling like I am catching up again with life, though, although NaNoWriMo is next month and it promises to be a doozy.

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Because of NaNo (a challenge in which you write 50 000 words/a novel in 30 days), I will not be able to work on my Christmas gifts as much as I would like. So, for the next two weeks I am crocheting and knitting my heart out.

But first – some FOs

Three finished objects of the past two months are the nameless cactus (for my desk at work), the nameless bear (for a colleague’s daughter), and the Daisy Doily.

Cactus 1

Current WIPs and Christmas crafting time!

Most of my WIPs have now been put on hold while I’m busy with Christmas gifts. The Duinen scarf is so close to finished (about 10 rows left), but I ended up not buying enough wool, so I had to also put it on hold. Luckily I got my hands on another ball of Elle Pullskein in the May apple colourway!

The Christmas gifts for this year is not many in number, but are quite big projects. One is a throw for a double bed and the other includes lace knitting. Which is taking a LOT longer than I had initially thought it would! Keep your eyes on my Instagram for some bits and pieces on the Christmas gifts!

Free Pattern: Fingerless gloves with trebles and texture

In case you were still wondering — yes, it is still winter here in the southern hemisphere! Although we have had a very mild winter, so the gloves I have been making have not been too thick and warm. I also still have to get some proper wear out of my scarves — but I digress.

These fingerless gloves are made with 4-ply wool, so they are nice and light and perfect for wearing when you need to type or are travelling.

I tried something a bit different and used some other stitches to add some subtle texture to the glove that I had not included in the other patterns (like the ones you can find over here).

As always — please link back and don’t copy the pattern. But please show me your FOs! I would love to see them!

Now without further ado, here is the pattern.

Pattern:

Fingerless Gloves with Trebles and Texture

You’ll need:

  • 4-ply yarn (I used Elle Family Knit 4-ply)
  • 4 mm hook
  • Needle to weave in ends

Pattern:

Foundation chain: 45 stitches (or to fit around hand)

Row 1: 1 dc in each of the foundation ch. Close with a slst.

Row2: 1 dc in each stitch. Close with a slst.

Row 3: 1 htr in each stitch. Close with a slst.

Row 4: 1 dc in each stitch. Close with a slst.

Row 5: 1 htr in each stitch. Close with a slst.

Thumb opening:

Row 6 – 13: 1 dc in each stitch (work to and fro, do NOT close with a slst.

Row 14: 1 dc in each stitch. Close with a slst.

Row 15: 1 htr in each stitch. Close with a slst.

Row 16: Working in “back v”, dc in each stitch. Close with a slst.

Row 17: 1 htr in each stitch. Close with a slst.

Row 18: (1 fptr, 2tr)* rpt to end of row. Close with a slst.

Row 19: 1 dc in each stitch. Close with a slst.

Row 20: 1 dc in each stitch, dec. 2 stitches. Close with a slst.

Row 21: 1 tr in each stitch, dec. 2 stitches. Close with a slst.

For a longer glove:

Repeat rows 18 and 19 until desired length is reached.

Notes:

This pattern is quite easy and I am certain that a beginner would be able to follow it.

To make a longer glove, simply add more rows after row 21. See end of pattern for repeats.

I use English terminology, so just keep a conversion chart at hand if you’re used to the American terminology. As soon as I have time, I will make both available. This will be sooner rather than later, I hope!

 

Baby Shower Gifts – Crocheted and Knitted

Zero the dog, Sparkles the unicorn, and other bits and pieces

In my last post I spoke about the baby shower gift I had made for a friend. It contained a few toys, as well as two beanies. All the patterns I used were free (yay!) and I’ll link to each of them below.

Zero the dog

Those of you who know The Nightmare Before Christmas will immediately recognise Zero, the ghost dog. I had made a Jack Skellington beanie for my friend’s other daughter a few months ago, so when I saw this I knew I had to make it!

The pattern can be found on Ravelry. It is a bit more involved even though it uses basically only double crochet stitches. If you’re used to amigurumi this pattern would be dead easy, I guess. However, it is still not an advanced pattern. It is an easy enough pattern to follow and the instructions also includes some photos — just keep some stitch markers at your side!

Pattern for Zero.

I used Elle Charity Chunky and a 5 mm hook for the pattern. The embroidery on the face was done in Elle Family Knit DK in red and black. (The reason I changed the nose was because it is for a baby and I did not want it coming off by accident!)

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Sparkles Twinkletoes the unicorn

Sparkles is a pattern I found on Ravelry — and which I fell in love with immediately. The pattern is more difficult than Zero’s pattern and includes colour changes, so I would say that it is more suited to an intermediate crocheter.

That being said, the pattern is well-written and clear and is quite a quick make. (Which would have been even quicker if I had not run out of white yarn. Oops. Although I do not mind going yarn shopping at all!)

I ended up embroidering the eyes as I did not have safety eyes and it is meant for a baby, but that is all that I changed on the pattern.

Pattern for the amigurumi unicorn.

I used Elle Family Knit DK and a 4 mm hook throughout for the body. Then I used some cerise pink 4-ply Mirage and some leftover purple Red Heart Lacie for the mane and tail.

A bunny!

Because the baby already has a Squishy the Octopus, I decided to make a bunny that could be kept at hospital if necessary.

This bunny is easy enough for a very new beginner as it is made out of a single block of knitting that is stitched and stuffed in a specific pattern.

I used Elle Babykins DK (oh so soft!) and 4 mm needles. Sir Tristan was also very interested in the bunny while I was making it!

Beanies

The beanies I made is the Lisha Hat pattern — those who follow the blog knows how I adore that pattern!

Lisha baby hat pattern.

I made one from the Elle Babykins DK and one from Elle Family Knit DK.

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And that, dear readers, was the baby shower gift. In the next post I will show the finished “Heirloom scarf”, my first attempt at lace knitting, and how far I’ve come with the Duinen II scarf.

What are your favourite crocheted or knitted baby shower gifts to give? Leave a comment below — or even a link to a photo of an FO to brag a bit! 🙂

The Peacock Shawl, Duinen II, and a Unicorn

Behold! The peacock shawl is finished!

Eilian 2Eilian FullEilian 1Eilian closeup

The pattern is the Eilian Shawl by Jasmin Räsänen which is available for free on Ravelry. I used Red Heart Lacie yarn — swiped the last in the store just in time before learning that it had been discontinued. It was a sign, in my opinion. I was meant to make this shawl!

The pattern is easy enough for a beginner who wants to tackle a bigger project and Jasmin’s patterns are easy to follow. She also gives a diagram of the pattern (which I personally prefer to written instructions).

Current WIPs — Duinen II by Jasmin Räsänen

After finishing the shawl and updating my Ravelry page, I had a look at my queue and Jasmin’s “Duinen II” pattern was next on my list. Well, poor old me had to go and start it. I mean, I’d only bought the yarn for the project seven months ago already.

The yarn is Elle’s Pullskein DK in the Mayapple colourway and I am using a 4 mm hook. (If you’re wondering, the hook is also an Elle hook and I can highly recommend their ergonomic ones. Very comfortable to work with.)

Mermaid Tail Shawl & Sparkles the Unicorn

I have also taken out the Mermaid Tail Shawl again — and managed to get another four balls of the crochet cotton, which means that I’ll now be able to finish it! (I’m noting the pattern as I go and will post it once it’s done.)

Mermaid shawl

Unlike the Lacie yarn, the “Cool and Crazy” colourway has not been discontinued, but the closest shop in my area that stocks it is quite out of the way for me. While I was there I also picked up another ball of the Mayapple and a ball of the white Elle Family Knit DK* that I was using to make Sparkles Twinkletoes, the unicorn. Yes, that is her name and I am sticking with it!

Sparkles is part of a gift that I made for a friend’s stork tea/baby shower. I’ll do the next post about the gift and give all the pattern links and yarns that I used then.

In-between I am also still crocheting away at the baby beanies for charity. You can see them and get the pattern from my Ravelry project page.

Well, that has been my week in crafting — I would love to hear how your WIPs are going or see some FOs! Why not leave a link in the comment section?

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*As you can see, I am a fan of the Elle yarns and thread!

Glove Patterns, an FO, WIPs, and Plans

At last I have some of the glove patterns ready for you! (These are free to download, I only ask that you link back here and not share them without attribution — thank you!)

The patterns are easy enough for beginners, and are highly customisable when it comes to sizing, so you can use the same pattern for kids or adults.

Scroll down for the following free patterns (they’ll be on Ravelry a bit later):

  • Nettie’s Wristwarmers
  • Fingerless gloves with a lace edge
  • Sam’s fingerless glove recipe

Finished Object: Heirloom Scarf

The Heirloom Scarf is finished! An easy and fast pattern, this scarf is perfect for a quick gift or when you just feel like working a pattern you don’t really have to think about. This pattern is also a good one for a beginner. I’ll type it up during the week to post it (I hope!) next week.

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WIPs and an FO

I’m currently busy with a few projects, including some gifts for a stork tea in two weeks’ time. The main gift (which is the FO) for the tea is a Zero toy (the dog from The Nightmare Before Christmas). I got a free pattern online and am using chunky Elle yarn. Then I am also making a small bunny from Elle’s Babykins yarn that’s perfect for a baby’s sensitive skin.

The “peacock shawl” is still growing steadily — I have about 75 g of yarn left (Red Heart Lacie).

I have also been trying my hand at lace knitting again. I am making the KnitPicks Fishtail Lace Scarf pattern and, though it is slow going (at least in contrast with the speed at which I crochet!), I enjoy seeing the pattern grow and evolve.

Finally I am also busy with the second pair of “Nettie’s Wristwarmers” and need to finish the Jack Skellington beanie.

Plans for future projects

August is just around the corner and I realised that I seriously need to figure out the gifts I am making for Christmas this year!

The only one I am 100% certain of, is a lace scarf for my sister, for which I will most likely use Katia yarn. I quite fell in love with this pattern and think that it would suit her wonderfully. I am still deciding on the colour, though.

Besides gifts I am also still making beanies and booties for Beanies, Booties, and Blankets. The pattern I’m using is “Lisha Hats” that you can find on Ravelry.

Pattern:

Nettie’s Wristwarmers

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Needed:

DK wool/yarn (I used Stylecraft DK and Elle Family Knit DK)

5 mm crochet hook

Needle for weaving in the ends

Pattern:

Foundation chain: 35 stitches (or two fit around arm), close with slst.

Row 1: 1dc in each chain of the foundation row. Close with slst.

Row 2 – 5: 1dc in each stitch, close with slst.

Row 6: Start Paris Stitch by working as follows: chain 3 (counts as first tr) and work in same stitch 1tr, 1ch, 1dc, skip 2 chain *2tr, 1ch,1dc, skip 2 ch*. Rpt * to end. Close with slst.

Row 7 — 15: Continue with Paris Stitch as follows: Into 1ch space work *2tr, 1ch, 1dc*, close each row with a dc.

End work and weave in ends.

Notes:

  • The wristwarmers may be made longer by adding more rows of Paris Stitch.
  • Fit the wristwarmer after finishing row 5 to ensure a good fit.
  • Other wool may be used, simply measure how many stitches you will need to fit around your arm. The pattern is fully customisable.

Pattern:

Sam’s Glove Recipe

This is a longer fingerless glove. It was originally made as a Harley Quinn/Joker pair, but you can use any colours and combination.

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Need:

DK yarn (I used Elle Family Knit)

5 mm hook

Needle to weave in ends

Pattern:

Foundation row: Chain 30 (or enough to fit around hand).

Row 1: 1dc in each chain of the foundation row. Close with a slst.

Row 2 — 10: 1 dc in each st, close with a slst.

Thumb opening: Row 11 — 15: Work 1 dc in each st to and fro, do NOT close with a slst. Close only row 15 with a slst.

Row 16 — 18: Working in the round, 1 dc in each st around. Close with a slst.

Row 19 — 20: Dec 2 st in each row as follows: Start and end with 2dc tog. 1 dc in all other st. Close with slst.

Row 21 — 47: 1dc in each st, close with slst.

End work and weave in ends.

Notes:

  • Glove can be shortened by omitting some rows between 21 and 47.

Pattern:

Fingerless Gloves with Lace Edge

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Need:

DK yarn ( I used Elle Family Knit DK in “peat” colourway)

4 mm crochet hook

Needle to weave in ends

Pattern:

Foundation chain: 40 stitches, close with a slst.

Row 1: 1 dc in each ch of the foundation row, close with a slst.

Row 2 — 6: 1dc in each stitch, close with a slst.

Thumb opening: Row 7 — 14: Working to and fro, work 1 dc in each st without closing with a slst.

Row 15 — 16: 1 dc in each st, close with a slst.

Row 17: Dec 2. Begin by working 2 dc tog, 1 dc in each st, last 2 dc tog. Close with a slst.

Row 18 — 25: 1 dc in each st, close with a slst.

Row 26: (Paris Stitch) ch 3 (counts as 1tr), work in same st 1tr, 1ch, 1dc, skip 2 ch, *2tr, 1ch, 1dc, skip 2ch* rep * to end and close with dc. End work and weave in ends.

Notes:

  • Gloves can be made longer by adding more rows between row 18 and 25.
  • Create a bigger lace border by adding more rows of Paris Stitch, working 2tr, 1ch, 1dc into the 1ch spaces.

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