Saturday, 23 May 2015

Corky the Giraffe

My daughter has a bit of a craze on giraffes. Hence the giraffe onesie and numerous other giraffe stuff. So I thought you might like to see this giraffe that she has made. 

The giraffe is made from corks (can't think how those got into the house!), a drawing pin, glue and a marker pen. You also need a craft knife to cut the cork, and wire cutters to cut the wire. So this giraffe although very simple to make would need an adult to supervise.

As she is old enough to do these things herself, and I had no hand in the giraffe-making, I am going to hand over to her to explain how to make a Corky Giraffe.

Step 1. First, I went and used a knife in the kitchen to cut a cork into pieces for the feet, head, horns and ears (you should ask someone to help you or you may get into trouble). Also keep one whole cork for the body.

Step 2. Then I got some thick black wire and cut four bits the same length and one longer one.

Step 3. Using pointed pliers, I made holes and put the wire in them to make my basic giraffe. To make sure the wire stayed in place I put some glue on it.

Step 4. To make the face I put a drawing pin in him to be a nose - I let it not go the whole way in so it sticks out a bit. And stuck the horns and ears on.

Step 5. Then I used a sharpie to draw on the eyes and a tiny mouth.

Step 6. I let him dry for a few hours and then he was done!

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Wrap Over Baby Shoe

I think I mentioned that I was going a bit baby shoe crazy. Here is a second shoe design. I have been dithering about a name, as it would be nice to come up with something northern like my Tundra Shoe pattern. Everything I think of seems to have been already used. For now it is the Wrap Over Baby Shoe, but if I would welcome any better suggestions. 

This time my pattern comes with two sizes (newborn-3 months and 3-6 months). Once again I have tried to keep the knitting simple. The shoes are made with doubleknit wool, and I think the simple shape just emphasises the loveliness of the wool.

There are only two pieces to knit, and once again the shaping of the top piece uses short rows. You can see my tutorial for this technique here.

I have tried to find fluffy doubleknit wools for my samples. I think this gives them such a cosy look, as if they are felted. The brown shoes below have alpaca in the wool, so are lovely and soft. 

Some of these shoes are going to be gifts, though I have now put a few for sale in my Etsy Shop.

If you do make some of these I think that it is really important to find some lovely buttons. The button flap is functional, so you can really easily put the babies feet in. I wanted my buttons to look natural, so opted for wood or mother of pearl. What I really wanted to find was a tiny wooden toggle, but as yet could only find really enormous ones which just looked ridiculous.

So baby shoes are done for now, and I may finally have reached that time when I face a baby garment! 

Friday, 8 May 2015

Stitchwort Slippers

We went for a countryside walk on Bank Holiday Monday, partly because I wanted to take a stroll through a bluebell wood. You really have to catch the right time to do this. But one of the other flowers that we saw a lot of were stitchwort. Stitchwort is such an unassuming but pretty little flower. 

I decided to have a go at knitting an adult sized version of my Baby Tundra Shoes. This was great fun, although harder than I imagined. Adult feet are not the same shape at all as baby feet, much longer and thinner. I worked with both shoes on the needle at the same time, which was rather fun. 

Although I have jotted down what I did, I am not going to publish this as a pattern at the moment. One reason is I have no idea what this wool is. It was given to me as part of someone's stash that they no longer wanted. It is really, really thick. I have no idea if anything similar is available. So I may be off to my local wool shop to study the chunky wools.

My family think the shoes are extremely funny, and although I know they are not at all elegant, I do think they would be lovely to wear on a cold winter night. I have them in mind as a gift for someone who I know hates to have cold feet.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Paloma - Tiny Icon

It has been quite a while since I have made one of my tiny icon dolls. Perhaps you remember Audrey, Marilyn and Lady Gaga. What made me think of Paloma Faith (apart from the fact I just think she is brilliant) was when I saw a photo of her in a wonderful cherry hat, which also reminded me of my Cherry Fairies.

So here is tiny Paloma wearing her Piers Atkinson cherry hat. What I love about Paloma's style is that her vintage look is so elegant, but she is also not afraid to wear some really whacky outfits, and completely change her look. 

Unlike the other tiny icons I couldn't pick one outfit that sums her up. I had decided to make a 1950s style dress, but then I found the photo of her below in a beautiful blue (knitted!!) dress. I had to try to make a little version of this dress.

So my little knitted Paloma is a bit of a mix up, but I hope I have captured the essence of her. 

Has Paloma made it in the States? If you don't know who she is check out Youtube.  You are in for a treat.

P.S. I had lots of visitors to my blog this week, mostly from South Africa. To my Tundra Baby Shoe post. I can't quite work out if I have been featured somewhere, so I would be very grateful if anyone could let me know.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Apple Blossom

Spring has definitely come, and the apple tree in my back garden is looking particularly lovely this year. I wonder if this will mean a good crop of apples.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Tundra Baby Shoe

Baby shoes are my favourite knit. So relatively quick to make, and the end result is so pleasing. 

I had an idea for a new design, as two of my work colleagues are expecting. (In fact one of the babies has already arrived.) Although I love knitting my Baby Daisy Shoes and Baby Bee Shoes I thought it was about time for a change. I am sort of trying to work up the courage to design a baby garment, so these have been a welcome delaying tactic.

Those of you who know me are probably looking at this new design and thinking "why no embroidery?". Well I may add some later (I just can't resist) but for the pattern photos I wanted to show the simple shape of the shoes, and I thought that embroidery might be a distraction. 

I have put a lot of thought into the shape of these shoes. I had in my mind that they would be very simple. 

Just for once I can say that this is not a difficult knit. You do not even have to know how to purl. (I am usually so worried about people buying my patterns and finding them hard, that I think I exaggerate the difficulty.) But this pattern is all knit, and has only one technique that new knitters may not have come across. 

These were made with my last scraps of this wool. Unfortunately I don't know what it is as I would love to get some more. Any clues?

This is the wrap method to prevent holes in your knitting when you change direction mid-row. I explain this at the start of the pattern, and have put a photo tutorial on my blog to help more visual learners. (There is also a link to this in knitting tips in the right sidebar.) Once you have done this a few times you will see it is not hard. This gives the front upper of the shoe its very distinctive curves.

Knitted with James C. Brett Marble DK

The pattern just comes in one size, and the finished shoes are 8-9 cm long, so about the size for a newborn to 4 months. You need no more than 22g of wool. I am thinking of getting some chunky wool and trying to size it up to adult size, as I would quite like to pad about the house in a pair of these. 

Knitted from Jaeger Luxury Tweed (unfortunately this wool has been discontinued)

The shoe is made up of three pieces, and I have used doubleknit slightly fluffy wool to give them the look of a felted shoe, and to make them really cosy. So like my other shoe patterns you will find this a tight knit, but that is what helps give the shoes their structure. The pattern is available on Craftsy, ravelry and Etsy.

While knitting these I have had the idea for another baby shoe, which I am already working on. So expect even more baby shoes. 

P.S. I had lots of visitors here this week, mostly from South Africa. I can't quite work out if I have been featured somewhere, so I would be very grateful if anyone could let me know. 

Wrap1K or (How to Prevent Holes in Your Knitting When Turning Mid-Row)

This is a method that I use in a lot of my patterns. (Looking through I really do use it a lot. You can find it in Spiral Shell, Conker, Cricket, Henrietta 2CV, Lizard, Minnow, Sand Dollar, Stanley Spider, and Vintage Tractor.) I guess I like this method! So I thought that a photo tutorial might be helpful for those who haven't come across it before. 

Looking on YouTube I see there are other ways of turning mid-row. To me they seem more complicated, so this is the way I recommend if you are knitting any of my patterns. It is fairly straightforward, and once you have done a few turns you should not need the tutorial any more.

Knitting just part way across a row, and then turning back, is one way to add shaping to a knit. If you looks at my Spiral Shell you will see what a good method this can be, as all the shaping here is done by this method. 

If you use this wrap method when turning to knit back you will not get any holes in your work.  I have used this method in my new pattern Tundra Baby Shoes, and although I explain it in the notes, I thought some photos might make it clearer. In this pattern I am knitting (garter stitch), but this method works when you are doing stocking stitch as well.

The bright wool and needles seemed the best way for the photos to be fairly clear.
Here I am having knit part way across a row.

I bring the wool to the front of the knitting.

I slip a stitch from the left to right needle as if purling.

Then I move the wool to the back of the work.

The same stitch is slipped back to the left needle.

Hard to photograph, but here the work has been turned over so I am about to knit back the way I have just come. You can see that the wool has gone half way round the stitch.

I move the wool to the back to the knitting, ready to knit back the way I have come. Now the wool has wrapped the whole way around the wrap stitch. I knit back to the edge.

You can see hear that I have knitted just part way across the row and back.