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.

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.