Monday, 14 April 2014

Vintage Caravans

I've been mulling over this idea for a while. A knitted vintage caravan. Henrietta my 2CV was a curvy car, and that led me to think if I could knit some other curvacious vehicles. Knitting doesn't really lend itself to being angular. What is more curvy that a vintage caravan?

I thought this caravan would make either a really cute toy or ornament, or perhaps be useful as a pincushion. But the pattern also contains instructions for a simpler version where you only knit one side and make it into a keyring for your caravan keys. These few will be for sale in my Etsy shop. I think they are so cute and would now quite like my own vintage caravan.

When I think of a new idea for a knit, I normally go through a similar process. I do a very quick look on the knitting websites to see if anyone has already had my idea. If there are lots of really good patterns, I usually stop then. What can I add to this? But with my vintage caravan I really couldn't find anyone who has knitted anything quite like this. (Apologies if I have missed someone's brilliant knit.) Then if there are a very few, or no patterns, I say hurrah!  Although this may mean that I am designing things that are so quirky very few people want to knit them. I would love to be able to come up with something that is both quirky, unique, and popular. But "chin up" I say. Caravans are one of the popular things I can think of, and who does not love a retro vintage caravan

The pattern designing process then usually involves me sitting and knitting with a notepad by side. I then type up a first version, and after that I amend, and amend and amend ... But I always feel a lot happier when I have that first typed draft, even if I know I am going to have to alter and change a lot. 

These caravans are knitted with doubleknit, and quite a fine needle 2.5mm. This was because I wanted all the pieces to be firm, so the overall caravan wouldn't bulge too much. Everything is knitted on two needles (even the wheels). The finished caravan is quite small (8cm long and 7.5 cm tall). I am thinking of knitting a little car that would be to scale and could go infront.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Toad Crossing

This happens every year now, thanks to a group of toad enthusiasts. I did head up the road with my camera looking for a likely toad to photograph, but had no luck. I think I would have needed to head out in the rain at night, and I didn't quite have the stamina for that. What is the most unusual road sign you have seen?

New Croft

Another Scottish croft.  

A small bird nestles at the side of the chimney.

... and around the back of the croft some white sheep are grazing. 

While at the side of the cottage is the black sheep of the family.

Knitted from my Little Woollie House pattern using James Brett Marble DK, 
and Debbie Bliss Blue Faced Leicester Aran wool, 
and for sale in my Etsy shop.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

A Flutter of Fairy Folk


Spring is in the air here in England, and with flowers appearing I just thought I would put all my fairy folk together, for a bit of a fairy gathering. What to call a party of fairies? After a bit of research I decided a flutter sounds nice. These are all knitted and adapted from my Mermaid and Flower Fairy pattern.

I do like it best where I have managed to photograph them in a natural setting. Most of these fairies have already found new homes, although one or two are still in my shop. There is such variety in nature that I have only once or twice repeated a design. I am already thinking of a few new ones: primrose, blackthorn, or honeysuckle.

So if you have a flower or tree that means a lot to you, please get in touch and I will have a go at making it.



Oak Tree


Apple Blossom



Cherry Tree



Christmas Fairies

Pohutukawa (New Zealand Christmas Tree Fairy)
Echinacea (but photographed on a sunflower)


Sunday, 23 March 2014

My Little Sewing Bee

I am handing my blog over to my daughter this week, and she is going to tell you how to design and sew a really fashionable top. I have never seen our local fabric shop so packed, and I think sewing my have taken over the country since The Great British Sewing Bee has been on television.

First design your top. I used these templates from the computer.
Don't let your fabric get the better of you. This fabric only cost £3.99 and is jersey cotton.
Mum said I should press the fabric first. Only do this if you are old enough to use an iron.
We used one of my favourite old tops to make a pattern.
I pinned it onto fabric, and we realised we had bought far too much. I will have enough left to make something else.

I cut out really carefully.
I was going to used my own sewing machine ...
...  but we did some test stitching on a scrap of fabric, and it was really bad.
Mum said it was because we needed to use a jersey ballpoint needle. So she let me use her sewing machine.
I pinned the shoulders, and checked with the ruler.
I sewed really carefully.
Then I had to press the seam open.
And topstitich on either side. I made the stitch longer for this.
Then I pinned right round the hem.
And sewed twice around it.
We then had to pin where the sides of the body would be, and measured carefully to make sure that it was the same on both sides.

Mum has some black binding for the neck, and I had to be really careful sewing this on.
Finally, we made the straps from and old T-Shirt. The trickiest bit was turning them the right way out.
With the straps on I was ready to model my new top.

I am really, really pleased with it.

Back to me now. We had a really fun afternoon. I realised that although she does a lot of hand sewing, we had never made a garment. I recommend you only let your children loose with irons and sewing machines, if you know they are very sensible. Even then keep a very close eye on what they are doing.

What was really great was to manage to work from her own design, to get a wearable garment that she is really happy with. I think she learned a lot. Particularly about pressing and topstitching, and being careful with every stage. Although my own mother would have probably have had me tacking seams. Perhaps we will have another go. Maybe to learn how to do gathers would be fun.

Saturday, 22 March 2014


A rather drab day, and although I am a bit embarrassed at the quality of these photographs, of what I think are a sparrow and a blackbird. I just thought it was quite interesting to show what is almost the same shot, but with a different focus. Do you have a preference, and why? Slightly reminds me of Hitchcock's The Birds.

And while I am posting about the wildlife I can see from my bedroom window, I thought you might like to see this rather scrawny fox. I only just had time to grab my camera and get this picture, before Fantastic Mr Fox disappeared. I like the way he did seem to be looking right at me!

And then I could not believe my eyes when I looked
 in the other direction, I saw this other rather plumper fox.