Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Rowan Laze Knitting Pattern

Oh my god! The Rowan 'Laze' pattern is so long; even my mother groans and leaves the room when I ask her to look at it for me.

"It’s a 25 row pattern!" she cries. However, it is certainly worth persevering as I really love the dogtooth check pattern and contemporary shape of this two colour knitted cardigan. The Rowan Studio 20 booklet also contains a whole raft of other patterns for young fashionistas – the diamond patterned 'Sun' dress has a certain ikat look about it and is a firm favourite. There's also 'Shine', a chic summer shift dress with a twisted cut out back detail that is both elegant and understated. Pictured top to bottom: Laze, Sun and Shine Rowan knitting patterns.

Saturday, 28 January 2012


Waking up to the sound of a bird's chorus is an absolute joy and for a few days I can enjoy such a pleasure, as I relax at my parents' cottage in Norfolk, south east England. The unusually mild weather means flowers are in bloom early, several weeks ahead of nature's seasonal schedule. This daffodil and rose were pictured in mum and dad's garden.

Today I plan to get back to basics by tackling a crocheted hexagon pattern which will be perfect for an afghan/blanket, or felted and used under a plant pot or as a coaster. I will be using a grey, red and white colourway which should look really smart once it's completed. Technique-wise I will also have to learn to crochet clusters, something I am yet to master. The pattern looks similar to the Meme Rose crocheted kaleidoscope throw I featured back in 2011. Check it out at:  Meme Rose kaleidoscope blanket
If I ever create anything anywhere near as stunning as that, I would be delighted.

Following a rummage in my mother's needle roll I thought I would share these snaps; she's getting on really well with her new Clover ergonomic crochet hooks as they are very comfortable to use, particularly if you have aching joints. I've also rather taken a shine to my grandma's old vintage tortoiseshell plastic knitting needles (about 50 years old). Very stylish I thought!

Friday, 27 January 2012

Watching the Clock

Check this out! Spotted in Heals this week, I simply had to pap this crochet covered wall clock in understated olive with a white face. J'adore!

After seeing this textured mini marvel, I imagined the fun I could have covering seemingly dull household items in a tightly woven amigurumi style crochet, transforming them into knitted objets d'art! Picture frames, lampshades and plant pots would all benefit from a unique crochet makeover, let's call it 'knitholstery'.

I may give something in my flat a funky crochet covering this year. Then I'll do a before and after thing and you can tell me which picture looks better!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Full of Beans

Did I tell you coffee is my only real vice? I love the stuff! A work in progress, here's a snap of the cafetière cosy I'm fashioning. As I mentioned previously, there is no pattern for this, I'm simply using the Isamo Crochet bows as decoration and adding them to a bobbly blanket square I made when I first started knitting. I'm hoping once I've applied crocheted shell edging to the two wide sides, the uneven one will appear less so. The yarn I'm using is a navy blue Rowan double knitting wool.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Night at the Museum

Yesterday I was scouring London's famous Victoria & Albert (V & A) museum looking for 'knitspiration' with my old school friend Catherine. Probably my favourite museum in London, the V & A is jam-packed with art, ceramics and jewellery from around the world and also occasionally hosts must-see fashion exhibitions.

The jewellery-through-the-ages space capsule room and neon Japanese kimonos provided some interest but, alas, there was not a stitch of knitwear in sight! Unfortunately our visit didn't coincide with a touring fashion exhibition so sadly the only crafty curiosities to catch my eye were some jumbo crochet hooks and spools of shredded T-shirt yarn for crocheting in the gift shop. These reels of candy coloured cotton loveliness presented me with pleasing visions of a chunky handmade textured top in pastel colours for the spring...

In summary, the V & A is great museum if you're an art and craft enthusiast, but to get the best out of your trip you'd be well advised to plan your visit around the programme of touring exhibitions.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Bouquet Tea Cosy

And here she is at last, my finished tea cosy. As you can see, I covered her in daffodils, a lily, roses, poppies and leaves. I'm fairly pleased with how it turned out and will definitely make another tea cosy from a different pattern in the future. Tea cosies rock!

To make it a bit more interesting I broke the rules by using different sized needles so all the flowers were different sizes, and I knitted the leaves in three shades of green.

When I get near the end of a project I always underestimate how long it will take to darn in the ends. This project was no exception, it actually took ages to sew all the foliage on and tidy up the inside but I am quite pleased with my handiwork. You just can't really buy these, only in the every-one-identical, mass produced sense anyway!

Thanks to everyone whose free patterns I used, now everything's neatly stitched down it's ready for a tea party...!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

In the News: How to Knit the Knitlympics

As we're now in 2012, I'd thought I'd issue an Olympic post and mention 'Knitlympics', a quirky new book of knitting patterns about how to knit former Olympic stars. Check it out! After looking up author Carol Meldrum's website http://www.beatknit.com, I have to say, it's fab and more than worthy of a listing on my blog roll. I am full of regret that I didn’t apply for Olympic tickets, however, whipping up something from the aforementioned book is surely the most painless way to limber up and get into the spirit of the big event?!

Although I’m personally more amigurumi than mochimochi myself, all this Olympic fever is making me want to fashion something Olympic myself. When the London 2012 logo was first launched it was unpopular, critics claimed the digits looked as if Lisa from The Simpsons was doing something unmentionable. However, I found its graffiti retro feel really appealing!

Disappointingly, a quick scan on Ravelry revealed zero London 2012 knitting and crochet projects in progress. If you are making something crafty in preparation for London 2012 do let me know, I’d love to ‘have a butcher’s’, as we say in cockney London town. Perhaps we could even display them online in the style of Tony Hart's gallery from the children's art TV show, Hart Beat. Oh, that takes me back...

Sunday, 15 January 2012


It's been a crisp but sunny day in London today. I've noticed we've had almost an extra 30 minutes of light in the late afternoon and can't wait until spring. Speaking of which, my Spring Explosion tea cosy is progressing really well. Today I made three more flowers: two daffodils – which I am delighted with –and an elegant lily.

Apart from making an i-cord (see third party YouTube clip in previous post for a tutorial on these), I haven't quite mastered using double ended needles yet so worked all the flowers flat. Where possible, I also prefer using regular needles to circular needles. Fingers crossed, I'll have the tea cosy finished by next weekend!

I firmly believe we have our best ideas when we are relaxed and our minds are free. At the crack of dawn this morning I had a brain wave: I still had the little blanket squares I made when I first experimented with knitting a year ago and realised that one in particular would make a fabulous coffee cosy. Wasting no time at all, I frogged an inch or so of it to make it fit our six cup cafetière, and to remove the uneven pattern at the start. When I first knitted the square I hadn't even decided where I was going with it so it was a bit freestyle until a few rows in, where a raised spotty pattern starts to emerge. It took ages to frog as I unpicked the cast-on end (where the pattern was uneven). I've never done this before and it was hard to find and pick up the stitches again to cast off. It's not as neat as the other end, but, in a light bulb moment, I decided I could add two sets of ties, the Isamo Crochet bows I made before and some shell edging and it could look really pretty. My first original design!

Remember the pouffe I made? Well, a lady got in touch on Friday to express her total joy at seeing mine; she is going to have a go at making one herself. All credit goes to the Pickles for supplying such an inspiring pattern, thanks girls!

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Back in the Game

Earlier in the week I was offered a new contract starting next month: "That should keep the wolves from the door!" she cried. I have a really good feeling about this year, I just know it's going to be fabulous.

Being a lady of leisure today I have been pondering about what to make new arrival, my friend's little girl, Ella Maggie. I'm having a break from making toys at the mo so perhaps in a couple of months I'll make her some clothes or a baby mobile, we shall see!

I'm really looking forward to adding some more flowers to my tea cosy tomorrow, here's what I've made so far...

Monday, 9 January 2012

Take a Leaf Out of My Book

Flower power reigns today as I construct the knitted and crocheted foliage for the Spring Explosion Tea Cosy.

Do you remember all that *premature* political speak about 'green shoots' at the beginning of the recession? Well, I've created some knitted ones of my own!

So far, we have four leaves in two shades of green and two magenta roses, all courtesy of naturalsuburbia.blogspot.com (where the Rambling Rose pattern stems from). Pictures to follow.

Anyway, that's all from me. Have a great week!

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Domestic Goddess

Another "ta-da!" moment. I finally got around to filling the knitted pouffe and here it is. Not bad, huh? I'd originally decided to use it as a pet bed for when I get some animals in the future, but actually it's too firm for pets to sleep on, so I'll just use it as a funky foot stool instead.

I think I'll make another one in a brighter colour in the future and neaten it up a bit more. The size came up exactly right as well; it's just the perfect size for sitting on or for resting tired feet on at the end of a long day... Domestic bliss indeed. Here's the pattern again if you fancy having a go yourself, it's very easy, garter stitch throughout. Do let me know how you get on!

Stealing a march on next winter, I squirreled away two remaining scraps of this chunky yarn and worked it into a two-tone rectangle. The creamy stripe shows what the yarn looked like before I dyed it. Hubby took a shine to the wool when I was knitting the foot stool so I plan to make him a snowboarder hat or scarf for next winter. Here it is so far...

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Edge of Glory

Apologies for the poor quality iPhone picture (Steve Jobs will be turning in his grave!); I just wanted to update you on the crochet shell edging I have just mastered and added to my tea cosy.

I initially crocheted it the wrong way round so had to unpick and rework it in the opposite direction. It is pretty, however, I may decide to adapt it later on if it's too large for the cosy.

I love using YouTube and blog tutorials to learn new techniques but there's a lot to be said for quality books with clear pictures and detailed instructions. An aladdin's cave of crochet essentials, Jan Eaton's 'The Encyclopedia of Crochet Techniques' guided me through the basics of shell edging this evening.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy belated new year to you.

I feel very positive about starting the new year and had a blissful day yesterday (officially the last day of the UK holiday season). I've always admired homemade tea cosies for their uniqueness and eccentricity - the wackier the better I say! Pure 'granny chic'. So, over the break I decided it was about time I created one of these mini marvels for myself. In virtually no time at all I knitted up the base of my new Spring Explosion Tea Cosy as featured on Ravelry and blogspot Crochet with Raymond. It fits really snugly and I can't believe how quick it took me to knit it.

The next stage will be knitting and crocheting the leaves and flowers and stitching them on to this little piece of heaven. I've never made flowers or leaves before so it will be a learning curve, but worth it I'm sure.

...More tea vicar?