About Me

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Been knitting on and off for about 50 years, sporadically trying to crochet, just bought a lucet. More details about my knitting, crochet and tunisian crochet can be seen at https://www.ravelry.com/people/Rosebark for which you need to be a member, but this is free.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011


 I mentioned back in September that I had started on Rudolf.  He has been knitted entirely from yarn that DD and I already had (thanks to her for the oatmeal and red), except for the bells which Franney donated.  He is stuffed with the insides of an old pillow and his legs and neck are supported by some chenille sticks I found inserted into plastic straws acquired in a pub.  Therefore he has not broken my yarn diet at all.

Like the Tipsy Turkey I did last year (just realised he has not been put on this blog.  Will have to rectify that soon when I have transferred photos from CD saved from old computer to new one), he is done from an Alan Dart pattern.  I'm not so keen on the sewing up, but Alan Dart's patterns are so very clear for the knitting, that they are very easy to follow and make.

I'm pretty sure I positioned the nose as stated in the pattern, but may have put his mouth a bit low down.  This has given him a bit of a shy and/or snooty look, which I wasn't too sure about at first, but has grown on me, so I will not be unpicking his features.

Just one little comment about safety: As he has chenille sticks inside, which have wire down the middle, I would say this is a toy for adults/Christmas decoration and not suitable for children, especially little children.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Diagonal Pink Baby Blanket

Still no finished pics of previously mentioned items, as they are still not quite finished!  However, they were taking so long that I started feeling guilty about not doing anything for the SCBU and felt inspired, having seen a shades of green sock yarn one someone had done of Ravelry, to put together some of the multitude of pink bits and pieces of DK I have cluttering up the place with this result.

I still have at least as much pink left, but in slightly peachier shades, so could do another one with them.  In case anyone's interested as to how I made this, I started off as if knitting a garter stitch diagonal square (increase one stitch at beginning of each row).  When the sides got to the length needed for the short side (about 16") I started decreasing one stitch at the beginning of alternate rows, so it was still growing one side, but had turned the corner and was decreasing at the same rate the other side (hope that makes sense!).  Then, when the longer side was the required length (about 22"), I started decreasing that side too for the final triangle.  Fortunately there was enough left (just!) of the strawberry ice cream pink, which is alternate stripes throughout the whole blanket, to do an applied I-cord edging.  (Note to self: get on with the other items - one post a month is not enough!)

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Knitting and Allergies

Another photo-less post.  I feel it's about time to explain why I mostly knit with acrylic.  One reason, of course, is that it's cheap and the yarn snobs who state that they only knit with such-and-such beautiful, expensive yarn always seem to imply that they think anyone who knits with acrylic (said in a sneering tone) is a cheapskate.  They don't really believe it if you say you are allergic to wool.  Occasionally they will grudgingly concede that some wools may be a bit itchy.  If it was just a matter of being "a bit itchy" I could possibly cope, but that is by no means the whole story.  When I was about 5 my Mum knitted a lovely jumper for me with all sorts of cables etc and a high turned over neckline.  Even at that age I appreciated that she had put a lot of work into creating something beautiful for me.  I put it on and a few minutes later had to very regretfully and apologetically take it off.  At first it just made my neck itch, but very soon after my eyes started puffing up and feeling like there were wool fibres in them.  This was not just "a bit itchy".  Incidentally, I had the same reaction after a woolly monkey had sat on my head at the Woolly Monkey Sanctuary in Cornwall a year or two later. (They're not allowed out amongst the visitors nowadays due to upgraded health and safety regulations, but they were back then).

I am slightly surprised that my wool allergy has not disappeared or at least diminished over the years.  I had it explained to me by an allergy consultant that one's allergies change over the years; one becomes less allergic to substances outside the body and more allergic to foods, etc and it is true that although I was allergic to roses for a while in my teens and twenties that allergy has disappeared..  The poor man who explained this to me was no longer able to drink dry sherry, which had been his favourite tipple, as he was now allergic to it.  However, my allergy to wool seems to have remained.  I can pick up a ball of yarn, put it against my neck, which is my most wool-sensitive area and tell you if it has a high, low or non-existent percentage of wool (but see next paragraph) and if it is reasonably low, I can knit with it, but some yarns I don't even need to put up to my neck - they make my hands itch, which somehow seems even worse than my neck itching.  I then throw the yarn down in disgust and wipe my hands thoroughly.

For a very long time, I thought I was allergic to all wools, except that I was aware that Shetland wool was different, as I find it even more nastily itchy than any of the others (this would be one I would throw down).  However, since I've got back to knitting in a fairly big way, I have discovered that this is not so.  Yes, Shetland wool is still awful, but I have found that merino is completely OK.  I have heard that this is quite common amongst us people with wool allergy.  Daughter and I have been comparing notes, as she also knits and seems to have inherited the wool allergy.  She finds merino OK too.  However, she also seems to be OK with Blue Faced Leicester, which I am most definitely not, whereas I find only last month that Romney wool is OK for me, but I don't think she was entirely happy with it.  I don't think this is because the wool allergy is abating, just that different sheep produce different wool. We both find alpaca feels fine, but then that's another animal entirely.  Also bamboo and cotton are fine, but they are plant-based.  I suppose there may be people who have problems with plant fibres, but I haven't encountered this.

I am aware that there are people who have similar problems with man-made fibres, which must be at least as much of a nuisance.  It used to be called being allergic to the 20th century when people were allergic to all sorts of man-made materials.  I wonder what it's called now that we're in the 21st century.

I accept also that some people just don't like the feel of acrylic and sometimes it squeaks on the needles (usually when you're using metal needles and they're cold, or your tension is way too tight).  My conclusion is that knitting should be fun and if you find a particular yarn is not fun for you to knit with, try others until you find what you do like knitting with and ignore people who are sneering or scathing or otherwise disapproving of your choice.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Thankie Blankie

 Just realised I said I would put up a photo of the finished item.  Have obtained permission from Franney to do this.  She kindly put it all together and this is the result:

My squares can be seen at row 4 column 2 and row 1 column 4.  DD's are at row 1 column 3 and row 3 column 4. As can be seen from the detail photo on the right Franney beautifully crocheted it all together with a multi-coloured yarn she had no other use for.  Josie, who collected the yarn in the first place, took the blanket to the lady's daughter and was told the lady had now had to go into a home, thanked us and said she would take the blanket to her soon.

Sock Singular

My policy of only posting finished items has slipped slightly.  Well, this is a finished item; it just needs another one like it to be useful!

Daughter liked the socks I did myself in this yarn so much she begged me to knit a pair for her.  She's perfectly capable of knitting, but her first socks took about 18 months (or was it longer?) to knit and she now says she hates sock knitting, whereas, having discovered toe-up sock knitting I really quite like it.  These are from the same book as my ones in the same yarn, but at least a different pattern from that book, so we can tell them apart.

We both have trouble finding fun socks that fit, as I have said in my earlier post about socks, so I made sure to knit these socks big enough.  Oops, this one is actually slightly too big.  It's OK on her left foot, smoothed carefully to take up any slack, but really a bit silly on her right foot, so I'm having to make the right sock foot just a little shorter, so it will fit at least as well as this one does on her left foot - so right and left sock! Not something you'd get in shops!

More things will eventually appear on here as they get finished.  I currently have three items on the go - the second sock, my cardigan and now have started a Rudolf for Christmas, plus other things in my mental queue.  I am sticking to my 'yarn diet' though - all the things in progress and planned will be made from yarn I already have.

Thursday, 25 August 2011


Just thought I'd share a couple of hairbands I've made.  I made the cable one some time ago for myself - really simple: two stitches of garter stitch either side with an eight stitch cable (4+4) in the middle, knitted until it was long enough to fit then joined the ends.

The one on the right I made for DD's birthday earlier this month.  The ends are garter stitch and the main part is linen stitch, which I saw on Ravelry and thought would make a nice hairband.  Unfortunately the linen stitch doesn't really show up very well in the photo, which just looks stripy, but closer to it can be seen that the colours kind of dip into each other, due to the stitch.  Perhaps sock yarn wasn't the best choice for this stitch, but we liked the colours.  The yarn was left over from my first socks (post below somewhere) and the button was one I happened to have lurking in my needlework stuff.

(WIPs still progressing but not ready for blog yet.  Also need to get started on Rudolf...)

Friday, 19 August 2011

Latest Baby Cardigan

In my last post I said I had three works in progress.  I am pleased to report I have now finished one of them - the latest baby cardigan for SCBU.

I don't normally do photos of unfinished items here, but the colour on the photo without buttons is closer to the correct colour, so I've included both this time.  I've lost track of where I acquired the pink yarn from, but it was all tangled when I got it, so I sorted it out and wound it up into a ball and decided it would about do a baby cardi.  It was just about enough to do a v-neck one, but unfortunately I chose to do a round-neck one, so ran out.  Fortunately, however, I had some white left over from other items, so did the button band (not visible in the photos) and the neck band in white.  I think it looks OK.

Buttons were the next problem.  None of the local shops had any pink or white - or any other colour - buttons of the right size, so I ended up ordering 100 from ebay - 50 white and 50 blue - for £2.60, which is cheaper per button than local shops are anyway, so I was quite pleased - and they arrived quickly too.  It's not quite clear from the photo, but I used 7 white buttons for this cardi (blue would have looked a bit odd I think!).  I still have quite a bit of blue 3 ply to knit up into baby cardis, so the blue button are already earmarked for use and no doubt the white ones will find a use before long.

This cardigan was taken to SCBU this afternoon.  The other two WIPs are progressing and I will post more about these later.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Still here!

Just realised it's over a month since I posted to this blog.  This is partly because I don't want to do too many blogs without photos, as I think photos make posts more interesting, and partly because I don't want to put progress photos on here and haven't finished anything much lately.    I have three works in progress currently: a short-sleeved cardigan for myself, a pair of socks for DD and another baby cardi for SCBU.

The only recently finished objects are these two squares.  The story behind them is this:

At a recent knitting group meeting, a staff member of the pub we were in came up to us and said she had had a phone call from a lady who had some yarn she wanted rid of and if we were interested, we should phone back.  The lady had been a prolific knitter, but was now too ill to knit any more and unlikely to be able to ever again, so wanted her stash to go to anyone who would be able to make use of it.  One of our members went and collected the yarn and other stuff - about three large bin bags - and various people took yarn, etc at a swap and buy session we had a few days later.  (There's still quite a bit left taking up the member's house room!).  We decided it would be nice to express our thanks.  She said she didn't want anything for the yarn, just to know it had gone to a good home or homes, but we decided to give her a voucher and knit her a small lap blanket, mostly from her own yarn.  These two squares were my contribution, made from yarn from the lady's stash.  If I get a chance, I will post a photo of the completed article (assuming I get to see it before it's given to her). 

A rather sad story, but nice that some good will come of her stash at least and it won't just get chucked when she passes on.  I have taken quite a bit of acrylic DK for making blankets for SCBU.  Not sure what other people will do with what they have taken.

Sunday, 12 June 2011


I have now made the hat/beret I said I was going to earlier.  The yarn is actually dark blue, not black (don't know what light I was looking at it in before).  I think it has turned out quite well.  It is about the right size for an average woman's head (or a volley ball, which is what I used to model it on for the photo!).  It has used about half of the cake of yarn and I am now trying to decide whether to make another beret the same, a different hat, or a pair of fingerless gloves to make a set.  Any ideas?  Anyone fancy buying this beret for about £8.00 (plus P&P - see note to left)?

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Ideas - Aagh!

No photos this time, as the brain to computer connection is not available, or if it is, it's not widely available.  I have all sorts of ideas buzzing around in my head and nowhere near enough time to do them any time soon.  I have an idea for a multi-coloured knitted necklace with beads which I saw in my head in that time when I was either just waking up or just going to sleep (can't remember which) when all sorts of images flash up - and if it works, I would like to do some more - perhaps a little selling line.  I also keep meaning to make some flowers for fascinators/hair decorations or brooches or for scrappers, either knitted, crocheted or on the flower loom (or maybe all three in turns), and I haven't started the hat I mentioned earlier yet.  Then there's the sock yarn that I actually want to make into socks to continue my process of replacing bought socks with hand-knitted ones as the bought ones die.  And the short-sleeved cardigan I originally intended to knit for Spring, which may just possibly get done for Autumn.  And that's just off the top of my head, before I really start thinking about what I want to make.  Oh, and meanwhile, of course keeping on with the blankets and cardis for SCBU/the Acorn Suite (as I believe it is now called).  Please could someone wedge a few more hours into the day for me, so that I can go to work (great new job by the way - people are actually nice!), sleep enough hours, eat, do a little bit of housework now and again AND make things? 

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Needle Roll

This is something I've been meaning to do for I don't know how long.  I've been getting fed up with trying to keep track of  my needles in a bag for a very long time.  I saw Emma's one here, which linked to this pattern and decided imitation is the sincerest form of flattery so I would do one like this.  Had to get Daughter to help me understand the pattern, as, although Emma found it easy-peasy - and it is really - I was having a "Duh, don't understand" moment.  Daughter didn't want me to use the green material, because she thinks it's ugly, but I like it.  Anyway everything I used in this roll had the advantage of being immediately available, rather than requiring me to go out and spend that stuff I don't have much of: money! So here it is:

 I have tried to put the rolled version next to this photo, but it's not having it, so I'll waffle a bit about making it, then put the other photo further down.  I didn't bother with the zigzagging in the pattern, as I figured, well it's going to be tucked away between layers, so won't be likely to fray.  Also I didn't do the over-stitching round the edges because the way I had done it (possibly mis-reading the instructions - I'm good at that) there was not room for this whilst still leaving a reasonable pocket for a pair of needles.  I also didn't have any batting (is that what we call cotton wool?) either, so used the inside of an old pillow pulled out as thin as I could make it, but it was probably still a bit thicker than ideal.  Despite all my omissions, it took longer than it probably should have done as (1) I had to stop and oil the sewing machine as it hadn't been used for a Very Long Time, and (2) I decided to match the thread to the bit I was sewing (i.e. dark green thread on the mainly dark green bits and orange thread on the other bits) so the stitching blended in, so had to keep rethreading the needle.  I'm not absolutely delighted with the result, but it's functional, which is the main object of the exercise, so it'll do.

And here it is rolled up.  I did wonder if, with all the needles etc inside it and with the arguably too thick padding, it would actually roll, but it does.  I also thought that, with effectively three layers of stuff at the bottom but only one at the top, it might roll unevenly (skinny at the top and bulgy at the bottom), but it doesn't, so, not perfect, but not bad considering I haven't got my sewing machine out for so long.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Jumpers (sweaters/jerseys/pullovers - whatever you want to call them)

I have knitted many jumpers over the years, but not taken photos of most of them.  The ones I have pics of are shown below with comments.  There are some others which still exist, which I may take photos of later and add, but others are lost in the mists of time.

I have the complete Odhams collection from the 1970s in 7 volumes, which obviously includes many patterns, this sleeveless jumper being one of them.  I think it is pretty and did wear it a time or two when I first knitted it, but I don't wear sleeveless things now, plus it's really a bit small and likely to remain so even when I have lost more weight.  Daughter did take it over a few years ago and wore it a time or two too, but it is too small for her now that she is fully grown.  I like it and cannot bring myself to just give it to a charity shop, but would like to find it a good home.  It is about size 14 (UK sizing).  If you like it, I would be willing to let you have it, just paying P&P (see note to left), as then I would feel it had gone to a good home and not just got put out for recycling after spending a while languishing in a charity shop.  It is not new, so I would feel wrong charging new sort of price for it, but on the other hand it is in near new condition.  Enough about that.  Moving on.

This next one was based on a pattern borrowed from a friend many years ago.  The stripes were added by me, the left photo being the front and the right one the back.  I did this because I thought I was going to run out of the green, but I quite like the result.  I've still got this as it is still big enough and although I don't wear sleeveless things on their own, I do occasionally under a blouse or jacket.

Another one from the Odhams collection, done a lot more recently.  OK it's not a jumper but a cardigan, but I've included it here.  This was specifically requested by Daughter and is in four colours of 4-ply.  The original only had one pocket, but we both felt it would be better/more balanced with two.  Note: whereas I would be willing to do a short-sleeved jumper as a commission, I am not really willing to do one like this, as it took quite a long time.

On now to my most recent jumper, which I did for myself last summer. (Not the most flattering photo of me and I have lost weight since then - not enough yet, but that's not pertinent here).  This was modified from a pattern I had torn out of a Candis magazine (distributing these was one of the many little jobs I did when the kids were little to try to stretch the ends to the meeting point).  I started doing the jumper according to pattern, which is quite lacy, but realised that the yarn was not suitable for the pattern, so I left out all the laciness except for a row of eyelets round the bottom and the ends of the sleeves.  This photo was taken when I had threaded toning ribbon through the holes, but this was not a brilliant idea either, as the ribbon does not give at all, but the knitting does, with the result that last time I went to put it on the ribbon broke, so in a fit of petulance I pulled it all out and will now do a crochet chain (or may use my lucet which I haven't got out of its packet yet and do a cord with that) and thread that through instead.  Another thing to add to my list of things to do...

That's about it for jumpers until I take some photos of older ones and/or make any new ones.

Monday, 9 May 2011


I picked up knitting reasonably easily when I was little, possibly because my Mum as well as both my grandmothers taught me, whereas I only remember my Dad's Mum trying to teach me crochet - certainly not my Mum anyway.  For some reason crochet just didn't stick in the same way.  I am left-handed and when learning to knit would sometimes knit right-handed and sometimes left-handed, eventually settling to right-handed only.  However, for some reason, I have only ever crocheted left-handed.  I did eventually learn to do granny squares and I made myself a black triangular shawl, which is essentially half a granny square, although a friend started it for me. I may add a photo of this sometime, but do not have one at present.  This was when I was about 25.  About 25 years later, I made one on the same lines in purple for Daughter - well it was going to be all purple, but I ran out of yarn before it was big enough, so it has a black border.

Every once in a while I think, "This is ridiculous.  Crochet is in principle no more difficult than knitting.  I should have another go".  A couple of years ago I bought a book at I Knit (which I can't find for the moment) which gives instructions for both right-handed and left-handed crocheting.  I have never seen one like this before and think it is brilliant.  I read through the beginning bits, thinking, "Yep, know that bit, mmhmm, that bit too" until I came to bits that my grandmother had tried to teach me, but hadn't really gone in, like doing rows of doubles, etc.  At this point I got out a crochet hook or two and some yarn and actually tried it out, with the results below.

On the left is a little bracelet, which is just a few rows of doubles with plaits attached to the ends to tie it up, together with a sampler using doubles and trebles.  I may one day make another identical sampler and put them together to make a small coin purse.  Don't hold your breath, though.

On the right is my first attempt at a hair scrunchie, which I do actually use.  I thought when I had done it that I would make lots of these to sell and bought the elastics to go in the middle.  Hasn't happened yet!

Note to self: More crochet practice!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Gloves - with and without fingers

Husband said he would like green fingerless gloves to go with his green (bobbleless) hat and as the pattern with the ribbed hat also has gloves, plain or patterned, with fingers or fingerless (or perhaps more properly with cut-short fingers) I went ahead and knitted him a pair of fingerless gloves in green. Have not taken a photo of these, but they are the same as the black ones further down (except that the ribbing at the wrist is only the length the pattern suggests).

The lady I was working for at the time was always complaining how cold her room was, so I had the idea of making her a pair of fingerless gloves in bright pink (her favourite colour) so she could keep her hands warm and still use the computer keyboard.  Daughter acquired a pattern for ladies fingerless gloves (pretty similar to the men's ones, but with the thumb slightly differently placed for left and right, and of course smaller overall), which I borrowed and made boss-lady pink fingerless gloves, which she seemed delighted with, although I never saw her wear them!  I made these using a size smaller needles than the pattern suggested, as boss-lady's hands are very small.  No picture of these here, as I didn't think of doing this before I gave them away.

A friend then asked if I could make a multi-coloured pair of gloves complete with fingers for her.  I made hers using Daughter's ladies fingerless glove pattern, but adapting the instructions for the fingers on the men's gloves.  Her hands are also very small, so I again used the smaller size needles.  They turned out fine (photo left) and she asked for a cotton fingerless pair in pink (also smaller needles) for one niece, who has many allergies,  and a multi-coloured fingerless pair (normal size) for another niece, which she bought from me for Christmas presents for the nieces.

A friend in the band that Daughter and I play in suggested we could offer to make black or white fingerless gloves for band members to go with concert wear, which seemed a particularly good idea as we had some outdoor concerts coming up in December!  Daughter made a white pair from the ladies' pattern and I made a black pair from the men's pattern.  I made the black ones with slightly longer ribbing at the wrists than the pattern suggests, so as not to leave a gap at the wrist when holding up a trumpet for instance.   We showed these to the band and offered to make them to order, half the price to go to band funds.  We had no takers :-(  I am, however, very happy to make either size, with or without fingers, patterned or plain - price to be negotiated taking into account yarn required (the cotton was quite a bit more expensive than acrylic, which is what I mostly use, for example) and whether or not fingers are required.  As a guideline, I would say for a plain fingerless pair in acrylic in a colour available from a local shop I would want £10 plus P&P (see note to side), all modifications adding a little to the price.

I also made a grey pair from the men's pattern (photo to right), but using the version with pattern on the hand and with fingers.  I gave these to Nephew and knitted another pair in an orangey-red colour for a charity donating warm clothing to homeless people.  I think I did both with the standard length ribbing.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011


In amongst the yarn I got from ebay recently (see blanket post earlier), is some yarn which is black with white (I think) spun in amongst (but mainly black) which tells me it wants to be a hat - just not sure exactly what sort yet. I'm thinking beret of some sort.
Meanwhile, the hat on the left is one representative of a group of hats I made a while ago.  It started with my husband wanting one to wear whilst fishing.  I had/still have a pattern for a ribbed bobble hat, which we agreed seemed suitable, except he didn't want the bobble.  Hat one from this pattern was knitted in dark green and husband was very happy with it.  (He then wanted the fingerless gloves from the same pattern to go with it - more about them later in a 'gloves' post).

Son (aged about 17 at the time) saw the green hat and said he wanted a dark blue one.  He wanted the bobble, but not attached, and with googly eyes (!).  He was also happy with his hat - and Bobby the bobble, which got lost for a while, then refound.

Daughter didn't want to be left out and, although she had started knitting on a regular basis herself by then and has made several hats herself, including a Jayne hat, requested a purple one with bobble.  Hat three got done.  The bobble turned out bigger than intended, but she is happy with it.  (She did, however, knit fingerless gloves and a scarf for Son in the same colour as his hat and Bobby).

I seemed to have got wound up by then, so knitted hat four in grey for Son's then girlfriend (he told me she liked grey, otherwise I might have done a more girly colour)(see photo).  As all the previous ones had been different I decided hers would have to be too and added a flower-loom flower to hers.

I then moved on to another pattern and did a couple of hats for a work-mate.  I knitted the first one according to the pattern, a white lacy beret.  The pattern designer has stated that the pattern may not be used for commercial gain, so I won't be offering to do this one for sale.  My friend liked this one, but asked that I do another one not beret shape, just kind of head-hugging, so I did a black one based on the same pattern, but not going out and in again like a beret.  I also decided I didn't like doing a hat on dpns as the original beret was, so did this one on two straight needles and sewed it up.  Friend liked this one too and spoke of maybe asking me to do some others, but then I got made redundant from that job and several things have changed, although I'm still in touch with her and the others from the room I worked in.

When I've done the hat from the yarn mentioned at the beginning, I will probably put it up for sale if it's any good, as I hardly ever wear hats myself - which is why I don't have one made from the knitted bobble hat pattern, despite having made four!

Sunday, 1 May 2011


And now for a post which is neither about for sale items, nor baby items for SCBU. Socks!  I have long had an issue with socks, as my feet are rather large.  The only socks I can buy which fit comfortably are men's socks.  Nothing wrong with that if I don't mind being limited to colours which are deemed suitable for men, which tend to be mostly dark (do no men want bright socks?).  Indeed, some are fun, like my Dalek socks, but I have long wanted socks that fit in prettier colours.  I have occasionally given in and bought the largest available women's socks because I've liked the colours/pattern/whatever, but they are always at least ½" too short, so not comfortable.  Then a couple of years ago (well maybe three by now) Susan and I went to I Knit (brilliant shop in  Lower Marsh, Waterloo - has bar and stays open late two or three nights a week!) and I bought a skein of bamboo/merino mix in sock weight/4 ply.  I made this up into a pair of socks on dpns knitting from the top down.  I found this quite challenging (the whole lot got thrown across the table at I Knit at one point and the lady next to me just calmly said - not at all nastily - "well it won't work if you do that"!), but was pleased with the result (see left below).  The photo was taken after they had been washed a time or three, so they had already lost some of their original colour, but they're still going strong now, although a little more faded.

The yarn for these cost, if I remember rightly, £13.20, which is quite a lot for a pair of socks, especially if you have to put in quite a few hours work as well to get them, so I didn't repeat the exercise immediately.  However, I went to a craft fair at Fairfield Halls, Croydon some time later and there was a stall where they were selling 100% merino yarns and I fell in love with the 'burnished' colourway.  They were selling it for £8.00, but I had already spent most of my money, so had to borrow a few quid from a friend to get this yarn, which I knitted up using the same pattern as the first, just knitting into the back of the knit stitches on the ribbing to make them slightly different.  The result can be seen above right (and I did pay my friend back when I next saw her, in case you wondered).  Another friend told me (at the next craft fair at Fairfield Halls) that merino is not ideal for socks, as it does not wear well, which has proven to be the case as the toes of these socks are now getting rather thin.  I've still got a little yarn left over somewhere, so will have to start darning, because they are still so comfortable compared with shop socks!  This is a revelation in itself, as I thought I was allergic to all wools, but have discovered since restarting knitting that merino is OK for me, even at 100%. (Still loathe Shetland wool though!)

So I now had two pairs of socks that fit comfortably and are not in standard men's colours.  But I wanted more!  And I didn't really want to use dpns knitting from the top down, because this involves grafting the toes (Kitchener stitch), which I can do, but find it tedious.  Then I saw the same friend who had lent me the money knitting a pair of socks on two circular needles (may add her name later, when I've asked for permission).  I had heard of magic loop meanwhile, but had, for the time being at least, disregarded this as seeming just as awkward as dpns.  I watched her and she explained how knitting with two circulars works and it set me thinking this might be worth trying, and I liked the idea of doing them from the toe up.   The idea lay fallow for a while, then Susan gave me Wendy Johnson's 'Socks from the Toe Up' book for Christmas.  It does contain a description of how to do Judy's Magic Cast On (and a few others, but Judy's seemed to me to be the best).  I couldn't quite get the hang of it just from the book, but watched Cat Bordhi's video on YouTube a few times and have pretty much got the hang of it now.  So I then knitted myself a lacy pair, 'Riding on the Metro', from some 50% cotton/50% acrylic yarn I bought cheap on ebay, with the result shown below.  I have made them in the larger size on one size larger needles than the pattern suggests, as my tension square was a little small on the correct size needles.  The resulting socks are very slightly large, but not ridiculously, just comfortably so.

I thought that the ribbed top suggested wouldn't go as well with the lacy pattern as a picot edging, so I got all adventurous and did that instead.  Steady on!  Susan liked these and, as I have more than half the cone of this yarn left over, she has persuaded me to do another pair from this book for her in the same yarn, so I'm part way through the I Heart Socks ones.  Picture to follow some time later when they're done.  Then I'll have to make some more for myself.  BTW socks are really rather time-consuming, even by this method, so I am not prepared to knit socks for other people, as the charge for my time would be prohibitive.  I heard about a pair of socks being advertised on Coriandr (one of the hand-made goods selling websites) at something like £200.  Sounds ridiculous?  Yes, but when you factor everything in, it's really not.  So socks are only going to be knitted by me for myself and, very rarely, for Susan.

Little general comment: these initial posts are quite long, because I'm dealing with whole sections of stuff at a time, but I will no doubt be putting up smaller posts, as I just add things I have just made, rather than several years' worth in one go.

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Baby Stuff - Blankets

Firstly, a couple of Tunisian crochet blankets.  The one on the left was made over 24 years ago.  I purchased the yarn from a yarn shop near the corner of Lincoln's Inn Fields and made this blanket for use in the Moses basket and car seat for my daughter.  It was also of course later used for my son.  The photo is a little small to see the detail, but the yarn is mostly white with threads of different colours spun in with.  I decided it needed an edging and did two rows of crochet doubles round three edges, but probably did a few too many, as it seems to have gone a bit curly and misshapen.  The ribbon at the end was from my wedding dress.  My wedding dress had a white ribbon band around the waist with a bow sewn on as an afterthought, or so I felt, so I removed the bow and some of that got used for this blanket.

In with the same charity shop bag of yarn that the fluffy scarf yarn came in, was 100 g of multi colour acrylic double knit, which, although not the same, kind of reminded me of the blanket I had made 20 or so years previously so I started making a blanket in the same style, but part way through remembered that the first one had taken 200g, so this one probably would too, so then bought 100g of plain white acrylic DK to fill in with. Then, having just learned how to do applied I-cord, I did an edging with this - not sure if you can see from the photo, but I did the edging multi-colour on the white bits and vice versa. 

These above two blankets are for keeping, potentially for my grandchildren, should they ever arrive.  (Not hurrying my offspring, though).

Now onto ones I have done for SCBU.  I decided that, at least until I have been paid a month or two in my new job (finally got one starting end May) I am not spending any money on stuff for SCBU, so the following blankets have been made from stash and/or donations from knitting group friends.

Hang on, that first one's just a border.  Yes, when I first went to offer my services, the lady I spoke to gave me a blanket to take away to give me an idea of size, but said it was really a bit smaller than they wanted, so my blankets should be a bit bigger, so I thought if that one was not much use to them as it was, it would make sense to do the small job of making a border for it first, so I could take that back fairly quickly to check it was now the right size, having first measured it, which I did and it was, so I then had a size to work to and they had a usable blanket more quickly than if I had made a whole one straight off.

The pink diamond patterned blanket was modified from a pattern for a larger, pram blanket, but the other two are entirely my own design.  If you would like to know more about how I did them, you could look at my projects on Ravelry.com (details in the about me bit above) or leave a comment asking me, as detailing all this in full might make for a rather tedious post.

I do have some more yarn available for blankets - in fact, having decided not to spend any money on SCBU blankets, I then bought a couple of ridiculously cheap batches of yarn on ebay and have decided some of that will become at least one blanket (so much for resolutions...) - but I'm just finishing off another blue cardigan for them, then I'm going to do a white baby cardigan for the lady who has been good enough to go on maternity leave so I can have her job for at least nine months.  I also have some things I want to do for myself... 

Friday, 29 April 2011

Baby stuff - cardigans

And now for some things that are not for sale! Due to lack of funds, having been made redundant last July, I cancelled all our charity direct debits and told charities I would not be buying any more raffle tickets. This made me feel bad, so I decided to offer my services to the local special care baby unit with the dual function of being useful to them and reducing my stash. They asked me to make newborn size cardigans and blankets the right size to put on babies in their fishtanks (well, that's what I think they look like!).

I was especially glad to do cardigans as I like doing baby cardigans, but particularly in 3 or 4 ply as the DK ones you see in so many charity shops and on craft tables make babies looked all bunched up to me, whereas the finer yarn gives a cardigan that gives that little bit of extra warmth without restricting baby's movement.  Well, that's my opinion anyway.  The ones featured above are ones I have given to SCBU.  I also did one like the striped one in blue with white stripes (got a lot of blue to get through, bought on ebay when I thought I was going to sell lots of stuff on Etsy - didn't happen!).

Some others I did previously are shown belown.  The plain white one like the striped one (or white with white stripes!) was made for a work-mate's baby.  The other white one was the second one I made to this pattern.  The first one was for my cousin's baby and the second one was to be sold and I actually did sell that one to the lady I was working for at the time, whose sister was pregnant.

Managed to get these photos sort of lined up how I wanted with help from Susan.  That's enough for one post, so will put up some blankets later/another day.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

For Sale - Fluffy Scarves

I'm not only going to put items for sale on here - honest!  It's just that I had things ready.  These three scarves were made from some yarn I picked up cheap at a charity shop.  If you get the impression that I frequent charity shops, well you are quite correct!  These scarves were knitted with 10mm needles and are nice and light and fluffy.  The pink one is knitted from a different brand of yarn from the other two (can't remember what any of them were!) and is a bit longer at about 38".  It is quite difficult to measure them as, because they are so loosely knit, they stretch a lot.  The others are about 34" - long enough to wrap round your neck and cross over on your chest, but not to have long dangly ends. 

I would want £3.00 for each one or £8.00 for all three.  See note to the side about P&P.  If you wanted one like these in a particular colour or one similar to these when they have gone, I would probably have to pay full price for the yarn, so would charge commensurately more.

I have started another scarf in another fluffy yarn, but it is shedding fibres all over the place as I knit, so I'm not sure whether it will end up here or not.  It has sparkly bits in so is quite fun.  I'll see how it is when I've finished it and washed it.

I am aiming to blog at least once a week and not only with sale items!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

For Sale - Little bag with matching coin purse

OK, this is supposed to be a blog about my work, but this was made by my Mum during the snowy period in December when she couldn't get out and about. The bag is about 5" across at the base and 5" in height.  The strap is 16½ long, so the bag hangs about 8".  The matching coin purse is about 3" across and 2½" high.  We think they would suit a not too "girly" little girl.

It would not be possible to make another identical set, as the buttons were ones my Mum had from way back, but no doubt one of us could make something pretty similar in similar or different colours - as a set or separately.

Price: £5.00

See note to side re P&P.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

For sale - Monochrome small bag/coin purse

Width: 5"/12½cm
Height: 4½"/11½cm approx


Please see note at side concerning P&P.

This one is available now.  I could make another one in different colours (or all one colour) if you give me about two weeks' notice.  I may have to charge very slightly more for another one (+50p perhaps) if the price of the clasp is more (which is beyond my control).

Tuesday, 22 March 2011


OK, so I've decided to start a knitting- and crochet- related blog.  I will be putting things up for sale, showing other stuff I've done, making comments on related matters and anything else I feel is relevant, but for the moment I'm just putting up this introductory note, as I'm not used to blogging and have worn myself out just setting this up.