Friday, 9 October 2015

Northern Lights Dress and Intarsia Knitting

The idea for this design came from the beautiful colours in the wool (James Brett), and also that I sort of love Polar Bears. I knitted a polar bear sample square a while ago, with the idea of using it on a garment. I have an idea for a polar bear hat, possibly with smaller bears.

The dress/top pattern is basically the smallest version of my Baby Daisy Dress, and although I love the finished result, I've decided not to publish this polar bear version as a pattern, mainly because it was such a tricky knit. I thought the snowflakes would make it a bit easier, as the white wool is carried across the back on the blue parts, but the blue is not carried behind most of the bear (except on the leg section), as it was such dark wool it would show. 

Here is a photo of the chart that I made to use on this design. As you can see it all gets a bit scrappy. When I make a chart it usually involves a lot of tracing paper and transposing marks. There is also then the problem of how to get a large chart into a pattern document. (I had the same problem with my Tree Cushion, where the chart was absolutely enormous.) 

There must be an easier way to make a chart I thought, and with a bit of surfing around, I have found it. The Knitting Site has software to convert any digital picture into a knitting chart. You can scale the chart up or down, according to the wool you are using and how much detail you want in your design. So although I didn't use it for this bear, and can see myself coming back here for some other intarsia designs.

And here is the little lady wearing it ...

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Crochet Diary - Hat or Fruit Bowl?

I tend with knitting to write about projects that I have finished, and that have worked. But with this crochet diary, I think I need to show you the failures as well, as it is meant to be an honest look at my learning.

I wanted to try and make a crochet bowl. I have seen some really beautiful bowls and baskets online, but couldn't find a pattern I could follow. So I thought I would just busk it. The bowl caused much hilarity among the family, as it did not have any rigidity, and was not even very nice to look at. More of a shapeless bag than a bowl.

So I changed the plan, and wondered if I kept going I could turn it into a stylish hat. This also caused another bout of teasing, and threats that no one would ever go out of the house with me if I wore it ...

So I think I have learned something, and that is that I am not ready to crochet without a pattern.

The old problem of how to photograph yourself in a hat

The whole thing has been unravelled, and I am back to thinking about granny squares and blankets.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Super Moon

Someone was out in the back garden last night at 3 am. I have to admit it wasn't me, but my husband. I did take the picture below earlier in the evening, just for comparison. 

Monday, 21 September 2015

Baby Daisy Dress

My new pattern has taken quite a bit of thought. I love dresses with a yoke, and I also love moss stitch. So to combine the two took a bit of working out. I also love fair isle, but not the really tricky kind. So the fair isle daisies are pretty, but quite easy to follow.

So my Baby Daisy Dress incorporates all of these, but is still a fairly easy knit. The pattern comes in two sizes (0-3 months and 3-6 months) which is why it has taken me so long to produce. It even has a proper tension square.

I like baby clothes not in the traditional blue/pink, which is why I went for this gentle green. (This may be a bit radical, but I also think baby girls can look pretty in blue, and I like babies in dark colours.)

I have photographed it hung on my new willow screen, which hubby put up to hide a rather the neighbour's ugly fence. I thought it made a rather cool backdrop. 

It is knitted in Aran wool, which makes it a fairly quick knit. The front and back are the same. If you don't like the daisy pattern it would be quite easy to knit it plain, or come up with your own pattern. I will be posting about another version of this dress with an interesting intarsia design in a few days.

This dress has gone to its new owner, whose Mum's favourite colour is green!

And here it is knitted in the smaller size, using Rowan Felted Tweed Aran wool.

The pattern for Baby Daisy Dress is available on Craftsy, ravelry, Etsy and LoveKnitting.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Egyptian Sandals

Egyptian Sandals in the British Museum. Hmmm.... Am I thinking of a new shoes design? It amazes me how complete and well-preserved they are.

Friday, 11 September 2015

My Crochet Diary - Country Flowers

In my first crochet diary I thought I had shown you all the crochet books that I own. But then I remembered that I have two other books, which I think of as knitting books, as I had only used the knitting halves of them.  The 100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet by Lesley Stanfield, is the book that enthused me into resuming knitting, after not doing it for a few years. And the 75 Birds, Butterflies and Beautiful Beasties was one of my leaving gifts when I moved jobs. Although I have knitted quite a lot of the projects, the crochet sections of both books had been completely ignored.
These Hellebores took several attempts

The 100 Flowers book divides the patterns in Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced. So far I have manly stuck to basic, and still have to sit with my other book open to remind myself on how to do some of the stitches. Annoyingly most of my favourites are in the intermediate and advanced sections of the book, but hopefully I will get to some of them in time.
Lazy Daisy and Flared Rose

These two both have errors if you looks closely. I spiralled the rose the wrong way, and the daisy is one petal short.

Forget-me-notes and Primrose

I really like these ones, perhaps because they are some of my favourite flowers in nature, and the primrose has a 3-D quality.

I thought it would be really fun to make a bunch of these to hang up at Christmas.

This cloverleaf was made in a hotel room in Bruges. I thought maybe I could crochet on the train, but this was just too hard.
Narcissus is the only one I have managed to make from intermediates.

I love these projects - partly because they are small, so not too daunting. I'm not quite sure what I will do with all these little flowers and leaves. I definitely think I am getting past the fear stage of learning - particularly of the diagrams. So I may be working myself up towards a granny square.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

"I Could Make You One of Those ..."

So many times when I am out shopping with my daughter we see something nice, and I hear myself saying "Yes, but I could make you one of those ....". 

OK, so most of the time I don't actually get round to the making, but I found myself saying this when she wanted one of the kimono style robe/jackets that have been all over the shops this year.

The thing that often puts me off sewing is that I know that by the time I have bought pattern, thread, material etc. it would really be cheaper just to buy the garment. But for this simple garment I thought I could make my own pattern. So out my old copy of Winifred Aldrich Metric Pattern Cutting, the bible for pattern cutting, and I had a go at blocking out the pattern properly. I used the basic bodice block, which is then adapted into a basic kimono block. It is quite a while since I have done this, but so long as you take careful measurement and follow the instructions step by step it is not too difficult.

The material was from Fabricland. It was very fine, which was quite tricky to sew and cut as it was quite slippery. I couldn't save time by just pinning, but had to tack all the seams. I used French seams, which is great as all the raw edges are safely sealed away. It turned out so well, and I now have a pattern, so I may have a go at another version of this kimono. Or even make one for myself.

Here are a few more photos of my daughter wearing the kimono in Bruges, where we had a short break last week. A beautiful city - which has museums of chocolate, beer and chips. Something for everyone.

... and with slightly more camera shy big brother.