23 January 2015

super bulky yarn

I was just experimenting a bit this week and wanted to share two ideas for making your own super bulky yarn. 
The first is to make a knitted cord first, either i-cord or using a knitting nancy. I used double knit /8ply yarn and a knitting nancy.


Once I had made my ball of yarn, I knitted a small sample, in the usual way with 10mm / US 15 needles. You could use larger thicker needles though, for a looser effect.



Another method of making super bulky yarn and a way which would also be a great stash buster is to knit several strands together.
For this I used four strands, two double knit / 8ply and two aran / 10ply weight. You could experiment with different weights and colours.



To knit I used 12mm / US 17 needles, but again a thicker needle could be used. The photos don't really show the bulkiness, I should have included something to show the scale like a coin or a tape measure. I love the way the colours turned out and really like the texture of the wrong side of the work.


There are lots of projects you could use the super bulky yarn for, cowls, berets or even one of the knitted pouffes which are very fashionable these days. I think this is definitely something I will play with  more in the future.

Have a great weekend, Ali.

15 January 2015

stripes and dpns

It has to be said I love my dpns and love knitting with them. One thing bugs me however and that is the stepped affect when changing colours and knitting stripes. Seen here......


I recently saw on the Drops design website a video showing how to minimise this, so I decided to do my own tutorial, for future reference and to share with anyone who knits in the round.

1. Change colour in the usual way.


2. Knit to the last stitch in the round.

3. At the beginning of the next round pick up the stitch directly below the first   stitch on the previous round.


4. With the right needle, pick up the stitch purlwise through the back loop and place it on the left needle.

 
5. Knit the first stitch of the round and the picked up stitch together. Pull this stitch tight. Continue normally with work.


 As you can see the stepped affect is lessened and there is a more smooth transition between the colours.


For anyone who prefers to watch a video of the technique, the link to the drops website is here.
Now I need a good stripey project. Just the weather for sitting by the fire with some knitting/crochet or whatever.
Till next time, Ali.

8 January 2015

gingerbread house

I previously wrote about a few competitions I was going to enter. One was the campaign for warm homes organised by AgeUk. I eventually got round to knitting up my entry. I had several ideas going round in my head as to what sort of warm home I would knit. Then, before Christmas I was watching Mary Berry on TV making a lovely gingerbread house and so I got the idea of knitting one. AgeUk supply a pattern designed by Julia Marsh, I used this as a starting point and adapted it to create my gingerbread house.......


The main house and roof is knitted flat on two needles. I use a picot edge for the bottom of the roof and moss stitch for the shutters, The chimney was made using dpns, knitted in the round and the candy canes were made using i-cord technique. The smarties on the ridge of the roof are crocheted starting with magic loop.
Some more photos showing the back of the house and some details......


 For more information about the campaign and competition click here.


Till next time, Ali.

20 December 2014

christmas wishes


Many, many thanks for those who have stopped by over the last year. Thanks also for those who have taken the time to leave comments, I do love to read them. I'll not be blogging now until after the holidays, so I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and best wishes for 2015.


10 December 2014

competitions

I do love a competition! Its great to see what other entrants come up with, usually, something which I hadn't thought off!  I recently entered the knit-a-bug competition, run by the BBSRC. The idea was to knit a bacteria or virus, which has an impact on human or animal health. Not being particularly scientific, I did a lot of googling and decided to knit an E.coli bug.
My bug was knitted and then felted, here it is........


I was lucky enough to win a runner up prize - a £25 gift voucher to spend at the Little Knitting Company.
  At the moment I'm entering the Stitch Craft Create competition - Pin it to Win it. All you have to do is pin ten of your favourite items from their shop, on Pinterest. Picking ten items is easy as there is lots to choose from - their website caters for a variety crafts, with some great books and materials. To visit SCC website click here.
Closing date is midnight on the 31st December and the prize is the items you've pinned.

Hopefully if I ever get my Christmas knits completed I will be supporting Age UK campaign to end fuel poverty, by knitting my own warm home.



Details and the pattern can be found here. They are also running a competition and to enter, you send a photo of your knitted house. Details of the competition can also be found on their website.

It's a busy time of the year for everyone but maybe you'll find the time to join me in one or other of the competitions. 
Till next time, Ali.

24 November 2014

granny's closet

Had a quick spin down to Whitehead this morning to visit its newest shop - Granny's Closet, which is situated in the Bank House along with Lighthouse Yarns. It's the place to be with a crochet class on going when I went down.
Meta stocks the sweetest of dolls, teddies and crocheted baby toys in her "Closet". What little girl wouldn't love one of these cuties.....


She also stocks sleepwear, coats, sleep suits, blankets, cushions and towels. 
The ballerina range is just adoreabubble....


I loved these - your little dude and his teddy bear can go to bed wearing matching pjs.......


If you are in the proximity of Whitehead this Saturday 29th November, between 1pm and 8pm, this years Victorian Street Fair is taking place. Lots of events including music and street entertainment, Christmas and craft stalls, Santa's grotto. There is even a competition for the best Victorian costumes. For more details click here. Of course Granny's Closet will be open, along with the Bank House, Lighthouse Yarns and Victoriana Vintage Floral Boutique.
Till next time, Ali

14 November 2014

christmas decoration blog hop


I'm afraid I havent had much time for blogging these last few weeks. I have been busy Christmas knitting, as I am determined not to leave things to the last minute this year. However I was invited by Stitch Craft Create to be part of a Christmas Decoration blog hop. I usually make a few things every year anyway, so was very happy to take part. They have a great selection of e-books and downloads, to have a look click here. The e-book I chose was the Stitch Craft Create Christmas one, which can be downloaded for free, click here. It has eighteen different ideas for things to make, including, papercraft, sewing, knitting and a few tasty treats. At the start of each project there is a wee section telling how long it takes to finish and also the skill level.



One of my favourites in the book is the mini gingerbread house, which perches on the edge of a glass or cup......



I also liked the cute felt hand stitched gingerbread man.....


I decided to make one of the knitted projects. There are three knitted ones in the book, designed by Claire Garland. I knitted up some of the Hanging Bobble Hats. It was nice to have a pattern like this written for dpns. As usual I find it impossible to follow a pattern without making a few changes. For my pattern notes see my Ravelry page, click here.


Good fun to knit and quick too. Her other knitted patterns are Christmas puds and a fairy for the Christmas tree.
If you like Christmas crafting you might be interested in SCC's Handmade Christmas page, click here.

Details of the blog hop can be found here.
Have a look and see what everyone else has made and maybe discover a few more crafty blogs.

Stitch Craft Create are running a great competition at the moment....all you have to do is upload a photo of one of your own handmade Christmas decorations either on their share board or use the hashtag #SCCXmas on Twitter or Instagram. Prize is £100 to spend on their website......very nice!

Till next time, Ali


24 October 2014

freeforming

Recently, my friend Ali (writer of the blog, Random Wooliness) a brilliant crocheter, introduced me to the art of freeform crocheting and knitting. I had never come across it before, but freeforming is basically a project which doesn't follow a pattern, it has no rules or restrictions and you just make it up as you go along. It is a random collection of different stitches, with changing colours and textures. Another way of describing it, is doodling with yarn. The resulting piece is known as a scrumble. I like the whole idea, it's so easy to get up uptight when making something, but this way is much more relaxing.

Ali came up with the idea that we joined together in a freeforming project. We both would make a scrumble, she would crochet one and I would knit one. Then we would send our scrumbles to each other and add on a freeforming knit/crochet piece to the original scrumble.

My scrumble was a cast on row, a row increasing and lots of yarn overs, then cast off. I then stitched the long strip together and added a few beads.


I was so excited as Ali is very creative with her use of colours and mixing different types of yarns, I couldnt wait for her scrumble to arrive.

And here it is a beautiful mix of blues and greens.........


 
We are intending to pass the pieces back and forward, adding on a wee bit each time. I cant wait to see where this freeforming adventure takes us.
Many thanks Ali (the other Ali) for such an exciting project.
Til next time, Ali.

12 October 2014

sea of poppies

Recently I saw online that The National Museum of the Royal Navy were looking for knitters/crocheters to make some poppies, for an art installation which is to commemorate the losses during WW1.  The website gives details of local free workshops and an address were poppies can be posted. They have to arrive before 1st November. For more details click here.
I thought I would take the opportunity to blow the dust off the crochet hooks and make a few poppies. To be honest crocheting does not come easy to me as I much prefer knitting. I think the poppies got gradually better as I went along. I used the free Crochet Remembrance Poppy by the McAree brothers , click here
and here are some of the poppies.......


Have a great week everyone,
 Ali.

5 October 2014

free acorn pattern




ACORN


THIS PATTERN IS COPYRIGHT PROTECTED 
 ONLY FOR PERSONAL OR CHARITABLE USE
ITEMS KNITTED FROM THIS PATTERN CANNOT BE SOLD FOR PROFIT 
 DO NOT REPRODUCE OR USE FOR ANY COMMERCIAL USE 

ABBREVIATIONS 
rd(s): round(s) 
st(s): stitch(es)
k: knit
p: purl
kfb: increase, knit front and back into same stitch
pfb: increase, purl front and back into same stitch
tog: together
rpt: repeat
pwt: pull wool through (thread yarn onto tapestry needle and then through sts on needle) 

MATERIALS 
four dpns size 2.75mm/US 2
two colours of dk/8ply
polyester toy filling
tapestry and darning needle
Cast on 2 sts with brown wool.
Leave a long yarn tail if acorn is to be hung.
i-cord for 4 rows.
Slide sts to end of needle and continue knitting flat.
ROW 5: pfb, pfb (4 sts)    (right side). 
ROW 6: (kfb) rpt to end of row  (8 sts).
Slip sts onto three dpns (3, 2, 3) and join in the rd, make sure that purl (right) side is facing outwards. 
Rd 7: (pfb) rpt to end of rd  (16 sts) this round is a bit fiddly! (to make the increase easier, stretch the stitch which is to be used for the increase with the working needle, before purling into the front and back). 
Rds 8-10: p.
Change yarn to green or beige. 
Rds 11-14: k.
At this point pop acorn inside out and weave end yarns away on the reverse side. 
Rd 15: (k3, k2tog) rpt to last st, k1  (13 sts). 
Rds 16 and 17: k. 
Rd 18: (k2, k2tog) rpt to last st, k1  (10 sts). 
Rd 19: k. 
Rd 20: (k1, k2tog) rpt to last st, k1  (7 sts).
pwt  (break yarn, thread unto needle and thread through 7 sts, do not pull tight).
Poke stuffing inside acorn, do not overstuff.
Pull yarn tight, thread needle through sts again, make a few sts to secure and loose yarn inside acorn.                                               

Oak leaves in the picture below are fom a pattern by Frankie Brown, Woodland Wreath Oak, for more details click here




  copyright Alison Hogg 2014

29 September 2014

tea cosy competition

Yesterday was St Georges Annual Tea Cosy Competition. It has been on going for three years now. 
This years charity was N.I. Children's Hospice and after the judging the cosies are auctioned off.
Here's a photo showing about half of the cosies, some real amazing ones.



One of my favourites was this felted one, I think it was needlefelted and was a work of art.



Loved this one, maybe as it reminded me of myself sitting on the knitting chair.


Suppose you are wondering who won, well my cosy did, thanks to "the peoples choice", so thanks to all the folk who voted for it.
This year I did an Autumn theme....



I didn't have time to futter about designing, so I used some other people's patterns. .....
The tea cosy was a variation of Pamela Henderson's Broken Rib Tea Cosy, available free, click here.
The oak leaves were a great pattern by Frankie Brown, also free, click here.
The hedgehog was a lovely wee pattern by Little Cotton Rabbits, click here.
The squirrel was a dotpebbles pattern.
The flat leaves at the base of the cosy is one of my patterns, available on this blog click here.
The acorns is another of my patterns, which I'll be posting on the blog sometime soon.
Bye for now, Ali.

26 September 2014

halloween pattern

It has just taken me a whole year to write up this pattern, but here it is at long last, my Witches Brew Tea Cosy. Pattern includes instruction for spider which dangles from the hat.





Many many thanks to curlyfro and knitlvr from Ravelry, for giving up their time and offering their expertise to test the pattern.
The pattern is for sale on my Ravelry shop (click here) and etsy shop (click here) and is half price, at £1.00, until Halloween.
Bye for now, Ali

23 September 2014

giveaway winner


Just a quick post to let you know who won the book by Louise Walker - Faux Taxidermy Knits.
I'm afraid I haven't mastered the technique of computer random number generation, so I've had to rely on the old tried and trusted method....


and the winner is.......
Congratulations Lyndelou and I will contact you by email.

If you weren't successful have a look at Lapdog Creations blog as she is doing a similar giveaway click here.


All the best, Ali.

15 September 2014

book review and giveaway

I was well chuffed to be asked to take part in the blog hop to launch Louise Walker's new book "Faux Taxidermy Knits".


 I have to admit the word "taxidermy" in the title, did put me off slightly, but all the 15 patterns in the book are adorable and so cute. As a child I was always fascinated by my Nannie's fox stole, but even then felt for the most unfortunate fox who gave up its life, for my Nannie to wear round her neck. Now I can wear that fox stole without the cruelty and the fox stole shown above is definitely on my knitting to do list
The book  also appeals to me as I'm not really a jumper making knitter and I am always on the look out for different and out of the ordinary, dare I say novelty patterns. The book does not disappoint ...it has a variety of patterns from "Wearables" such as the Polar Bear Paw Mittens, the Wolf Headdress and the Hedgehog Slippers to things for around the house (Habitat) such as the Owl Tea Cosy, the Badger Head and the Tiger Rug or what about a hanging pheasant? Now being a veggie I wouldn't consider a real one hanging in my kitchen, but maybe a knitted one.......


Patterns in the book range from beginner level to some for the more advanced knitter and some even contain instructions for dpns. There are lots of photos, diagrams and tips to help with projects. There is even a techniques part at the end of the book which explains basic knitting such as casting on, knit and purl and more advanced methods such as double pointed needles and intarsia.

I wanted to knit up at least one pattern  before writing the review so  I choose one of the more simpler patterns the Bear Coasters. Here's Louise's version.



 and here's my version.....


A quick fun knit and the suggested Drops Lima was the perfect yarn for the project.


The layout of the book is very appealing and the photos are just gorgeous, well thought out and include such lovely "props".

Louise's book can be bought here

or if you are feeling lucky please talk part in my give away. The publishers have a free book on offer....all you have to do is leave a comment at the end of this post. The giveaway will close at midnight (GMT) on 21st September 2014. I will announce the winner, the next day on the 22nd. If you dont want to check back, please leave your email address in the comment so I can get in touch if you win.

A variety of other knitting books are available from Stitch Craft Create, to have a look, click here

The blog hop has been going on for a while and to see past and future participants please click here.
I feel I'm in very good company!

Good luck if you're taking part in the giveaway, Ali.

6 September 2014

felt competition

I entered a craft competition as part of the Ulster Folk Museum Craft and Skills Day. The category I entered was a wet felt panel, which had to depict a rural scene. Unfortunately there weren't too many entries in any of the categories, I don't think the museum advertised it very well.
Anyway it was nice to do a bit of wet felting again and my panel is supposed to be a scene showing the Mourne Mountains complete with yellow gorse bush. Some photos of it....

 

I won second place - 

 
Congratulations to the winner (sorry no photo) - there were only two entries in my category, so I guess I really came last! Not to worry it was a nice afternoon at the Folk Museum which incidentally had free entrance today.
Till next time, Ali

26 August 2014

summer 2014

I know it is still officially summer, but for our house, today it ended, as this is the first day of the school term. Back to early mornings and school uniforms. To cheer myself up I have done a wee review of summer 2014.

I got much pleasure from my garden with all its blooms.......


There was a lot of al fresco knitting, while I sat in my favourite spot in the garden, we are lucky to have a very private garden which is nice.


I have also been working on a new knitting pattern, which is being tested at the moment. As well as knitting, there was time to do a bit of felting, for a competition, but more of that in a future post.
Till next time, Ali.

12 August 2014

free macaron pattern


FRENCH MACARONS

THIS PATTERN IS COPYRIGHT PROTECTED 
 ONLY FOR PERSONAL OR CHARITABLE USE
ITEMS KNITTED FROM THIS PATTERN CANNOT BE SOLD FOR PROFIT
 DO NOT REPRODUCE OR USE FOR ANY COMMERCIAL USE  
Pattern knitted in the round with dpns. I-cord technique is also used.

ABBREVIATIONS
rd(s): round(s)
st(s): stitch(es)
k: knit
p: purl
tog: together
rpt: repeat
pwt: pull wool through (thread yarn onto needle and then through sts on    needle) 

MATERIALS
four dpns size 3.00mm  (US 2½)
two colours of dk (8ply) for macaron and filling
polyester wadding or ¼ inch foam or polyester toy filling
tapestry and darning needle 

MACARON outside half (make 2)
Cast on 36 sts, leave a long yarn tail.
Divide sts equally between three needles (12, 12, 12).
Join in the rd and place stitch marker.
Rd 1: p.
Rds 2 & 3: k.
Rd 4: (k2, k2tog) rpt to end of rd (27 sts, 9 sts on each needle).
Rd 5: k.
Rd 6: (k1, k2tog) rpt to end of rd (18 sts, 6 sts on each needle).
Rd 7: k.
Rd 8: (k2tog) rpt to end of rd (9 sts, 3 sts on each needle).
pwt.

MACARON inside half (make 2)
Cast on 36 sts, leave a long yarn tail.
Divide sts equally between three needles (12, 12, 12).
Join in the rd and place stitch marker.
Rd 1: k.
Rd 2: (k2, k2tog) rpt to end of rd (27 sts, 9 sts on each needle).
Rd 3: k.
Rd 4: (k1, k2tog) rpt to end of rd (18 sts, 6 sts on each needle).
Rd 5: k.
Rd 6: (k2tog) rpt to end of rd (9 sts, 3 sts on each needle).
pwt.

CREAM FILLING
Cast on 3 sts, leave a long yarn tail.
Continue with i-cord until work measures aprox 36cms/14ins. Check to see if the cream is long enough to fill the inside of the macaron by coiling it round, starting at the centre and coiling outwards.
pwt, leave a long yarn tail. 

To assemble
Right side for outside half is the stockinette facing outwards. Right side for the inside piece is the stockinette facing inwards.
Reinforce the pwt centres by threading yarn throught the stitches again. Pull tight to close up circle tightly, secure with a few stitches and loose yarn on reverse side.

Gently block by pressing on the reverse side with the tip of a cool iron, do not press down hard.


Cut a circle of wadding or foam (diameter 5cms/2ins)
Place pieces with right sides facing outwards and yarn tails at opposite ends. Using yarn tails sew two pieces of the macaron together to make one half. Leave a gap of about 2cms/1inch. Slip wadding, foam or stuffing inside. If using stuffing do not overstuff. Close up gap and loose yarn tail inside.

Coil the i-cord filling round the inside of one of the halves and sew in position.
Attach the other half to the filling to complete the macaron.
copyright Alison Hogg 2014