19 April 2017

ducks in a row

I saw a post for the little yellow duck project on my facebook page and once I read it, knew I would have to get involved. The idea is to make a duck, then leave it somewhere it can be found by someone and taken home. It is to heighten awareness of blood, bone marrow, tissue and organ donation. For more details visit the the little yellow duck project website, click here. There are free patterns on their website, for knitting, crocheting or sewing your duck. Found ducks can also be registered on this website.
I used a pattern I found on Ravelry, Round Duck, by Clare Doornbos, click here. Some great shaping in this pattern, due to short rows and at one point I felt a bit dizzy as the needles twirled round. The head is knitted in the round. 

First I knitted one duck.....

Then made mummy duck and two more ducklings, here they are already for dispatch.....

I dropped the ducks off this morning hoping they would be found. The first one I left in the Pocket Coffee Shop, a lovely cafe on University Road. Here the tea is the loose leaf type, served in metal teapots with egg timers to make the perfect cuppa.....a great spot!

Dorothy was left in the quad at the University......

Drew was left in the Palm House, Botanic Gardens....

and finally Duncan was left on a window sill at the Ulster Museum......

I had so much fun knitting the ducks and dropping them off, hopefully they have now been found and taken home.
Till next time, Ali.

28 March 2017


I find I learn a lot from knitting up and following other peoples' patterns. One that has been on my to do list for a while was "Vera", a teddy bear, designed by Annita Wilschut. What attracted me to this particular pattern is, it is knitted on dpns and knitted in one piece. I wanted to use a variegated yarn and decided on Stylecraft Life dk Vintage Look, Indigo shade. I used needle size US 2/2.75mm, a smaller needle than that suggested on the yarn label, so that the stuffing didn't poke through the knitting. Any weight of yarn can be used with the corresponding needle size.

The pattern starts with the head and I decided to stuff it and add the features before knitting up the body. I liked this part of the pattern ...two purl stitches indicate where to place the eyes.

There are a lot of picking up stitches, so if your not a fan of that technique then this pattern is not for you. I found the edge of the paws tricky, it took me two or three goes, but I got there eventually.
Here is Vera waiting for the body and limbs to be stuffed.

And the finished Vera......

I must say I found it a great pattern, easy to follow and some great shaping with short rows. Particularly appealing if you don't like seaming or a lot of sewing up. It would make a lovely baby gift, if the eyes were embroidered. For more details of the pattern, on Ravelry click here.

Till next time, Ali.

4 March 2017

enchanted wood project

I decided at the last minute to enter the Knitting and Stitching Show, knitting competition. This year the theme is an enchanted wood and is a fundraising project for the Norfolk Hospice Appeal.

A wee while ago, I bought Fiona McDonald's book, "Knitted Fairies," with no thought of a project in mind, however, I used it this time, for inspiration and as a starting point for a pattern.

First I made a fairy, I had so much fun making her, doing her hair and dressing her. The dress has felted petals and ripped up chiffon.

Her hair was kid silk mohair, which I knit up on large needles, wet it, then let it dry and ripped it out, which gave a nice wavy effect.

I collect beads and sequins....I'm a bit of a magpie really, many bought in the various pound shops, so it was great to use them in this project.

The wings were made of angelina fibre and angelina film, melted onto a wire frame. I got the idea from a You Tube tutorial, by Disordiarte, for more details click here.

I thought she was a bit lonely on her own so made a pixie to keep her company.

                                     Here's a few more photos of my project....

If anyone is lucky enough to be going to Olympia tomorrow, have a look at all the entries, there are some good ones.
Till next time, Ali.

29 January 2017

heart coaster pattern

I haven't done a free pattern for a while and so with Valentines day nearly upon us, I have designed a heart coaster......maybe there is someone in your life who could do with a mug rug for their tea, or a coaster for their glass of lager.
It is knitted with two strands of double knit yarn, so knits up very quickly. I used moss stitch for a subtle textured heart.


st(s): stitch(es)
k: knit
p: purl
rep: repeat

two 4mm / US 6 needles
dk / 8ply yarn
tapestry needle

Approximate size is 11cms x 10cms.
Cast on 19 sts with two strands of yarn.
ROW 1: (p, k) rep to last st, p (right side).
ROW 2: (p, k) rep to last st, p.
ROW 3: (p, k) rep to last st, p.
ROW 4: p, k, p15, k, p.
ROW 5: p, k, p, k13, p, k, p.
ROW 6: p, k, p15, k, p.
The following stitch or stitches in bold print are the mid point of the heart.
ROW 7: p, k, p, k6, p, k6, p, k, p.
ROW 8: p, k, p6, k, p, k, p6, k, p.
ROW 9: p, k, p, k4, p, k, p, k, p, k4, p, k, p.
ROW 10: p, k, p4, k, p, k, p, k, p, k, p4, k, p.
ROW 11: p, k, p, k2, p, k, p, k, p, k, p, k, p, k2, p, k, p.
ROW 12: p, k, p2, k, p, k, p, k, p, k, p, k, p, k, p2, k, p.
ROW 13: p, k, p, k2, p, k, p, k, p, k, p, k, p, k2, p, k, p.
ROW 14: p, k, p2, k, p, k, p, k, p, k, p, k, p, k, p2, k, p.
ROW 15: p, k, p, k2, p, k, p, k, p, k, p, k, p, k2, p, k, p.
ROW 16: p, k, p2, k, p, k, p, k, p, k, p, k, p, k, p2, k, p.
ROW 17: p, k, p, k2, p, k, p, k, p, k, p, k, p, k2, p, k, p.
ROW 18: p, k, p4, k, p, k, p, k, p, k, p4, k, p.
ROW 19: p, k, p, k2, p, k, p, k3, p, k, p, k2, p, k, p.
ROW 20: p, k, p4, k, p, k, p, k, p, k, p4, k, p.
ROW 21: p, k, p, k4, p, k3, p, k4, p, k, p.
ROW 22: p, k, p15, k, p.
ROW 23: p, k, p, k13, p, k, p.
ROW 24: (p, k) rep to last st, p.
ROW 25: (p, k) rep to last st, p.
ROW 26: (p, k) rep to last st, p.
Cast off in pattern.

I have also drawn up a chart for those who prefer charts. This is the first time I have done this, so would be glad if anybody has any constructive criticsm. I used Chart Minder, a free tool for knitters. For more details click here.
I know some knitters use Excel, but I find it very complicated, on the other hand I found Chart Minder very easy to use.

There is no facility for making a legend on Chart Minder, so for the purpose of this chart, a blank square is a knit stitch on both the wrong and the right side. A dot is a purl stitch again on both the right and wrong side.

To Finish
Weave away yarns on reverse side.
To highlight the moss stitch heart thread a length of double stranded yarn on a tapestry needle. Starting at the mid base point of the heart, bring yarn up from the wrong side. Stitch round the edge of the heart catching the loop of the purl stitch. 

Gently press with a cool dry iron. Use the tip of the iron to press around the heart shape so that it stands up.

Two different coloured yarns can be used for an interesting effect, However when highlighting the heart with stitches its best to use two strands of the same colour.

                                    For a plain coaster with no heart motif.....

Cast on 19 sts with two strands of yarn.
ROW 1: (p, k) rep to last st, p.
ROWS 2 - 26: rep ROW 1.
Cast off in pattern. 
Weave away yarn tails on reverse side.
Block if required.  

Happy Knitting
Till next time, Ali 

21 December 2016

oh christmas tree

I know some people are great fans of Christmas, but that unfortunately is not me. Although, one thing I do like is putting up the Christmas tree, and I confess I do have two of them. I love getting the boxes out of the glory hole and unwrapping all the tree ornaments that haven't seen the light of day since Christmas last year.

I have some ornaments made by my son at playgroup and primary school. I know they've seen better days, but all too precious to throw out....

Then there are decorations made by friends, which are also much loved. I received a beautiful and expertly made decoration from my friend Anne this year. It will take pride of place on one of my trees. She also sent me the link for a video tutorial on how to make this Folded Fabric Ornament, for more details click here.

Then there are the tree ornaments made by myself. I do try to make something new every year, This year I dived into my stash for different coloured red double knit yarn and knitted up some hearts from my "Tiny Teddy Bear" pattern. For more details click here

 I embellished them with beads, sequins and ribbon...

Now all set to hang on my tree....

Have a great Christmas everyone, and best wishes for the New Year.
Till next time, Ali.

21 November 2016


I'm determined to work though my ever increasing stash, starting with a box languishing under the bed. I had two balls of Rowan Big Wool, which came with a box of yarn I won from Love Knitting a few years ago. I had thought of knitting a hat with matching cowl....but I don't like thick wool accessories. I read the label and saw that it was 100% wool, so had an idea it might felt. My old felted slippers, much worn, so much so that there was a hole in the sole, therefore making trips to the bathroom at night very chilly, needed replacing. So I decided to knit up new slippers using a tried and tested Drops Design pattern, called Magnolia, for more details of the free pattern, click here.
I knit the large size and as one ball was not enough for one slipper I knitted the last row with purple yarn, also from my stash. I crocheted a purple edging round the top of the slippers for a bit of contrast. They turn out gigantic.....

 I put them in the washing machine with an old towel and a colour catcher sheet, I was worried the purple yarn might bleed. I always start felting by washing at a 40 degree wash, the idea being if they don't felt enough I can put them in again. If it is too hot of a wash then they might shrink too much and that process can't be reversed.
So out they came.....

I did have to put them into the machine again and when they came out again, they needed a bit of manipulation and pulling and pushing into shape.
Once dry I had to decide on embellishments,  between flowers or bow or pompoms.....in the end I decided on pompoms.....

And just to prove they do fit, here's me in front of the fire. The Rowan Big Wool worked well as regards felting and is much warmer and thicker than the Drops yarn which I've used in previous projects.

Till next time, Ali.


11 November 2016

irish colleen

I always loved entering the St Georges Market tea cosy competition, every year, but it seems to have died a death. It was great seeing the other entries, so many creative cosies. So, I've looked further afield and found a similar competion, taking place at Dun Laoghaire. It is part of the Craft Festival taking place this Sunday at the Royal Marine Hotel.
Here's my entry...shes supposed to be an Irish Colleen.....

She was great fun to make and will be sold for charity on Sunday. There are some other great cosies entered for the competition and they can be seen on Facebook, click here. If in the vicinity of Dun Laoghaire on Sunday drop in to the craft fair, admission is free.
Till next time, Ali.

13 October 2016

my knitted doll blog hop

I had seen photos of Louise Crowther's (Boo Biloo) book, "My Knitted Doll" on facebook and had made a mental note about knitting one of the dolls up in the future. So I was delighted when I was approached by Sew and So, to review the book and take part in a blog hop.

When the book arrived it did not disappoint...it has patterns and garments for twelve dolls, including one male one. Hair colour and styles can be interchanged so its possible to knit a mini me, or a personalized gift for someone special. All the wee clothes and accessories are delightful, cute, stylish and up to the minute. The clothes fit any of the dolls so its possible to knit up a whole wardrobe. There is a helpful list of recommended yarn which can be used.

The plan was to kit up "Grace" in her stripey dress with heart applique and shrug. There are lovely wee details in all of the doll patterns. For Grace, it was instructions to make a bracelet and hair scrunchies for her pigtails.

Unfortunately all did not go according to plan, things conspired against me and I had only time to knit up Grace's dress...

All I can say it was a great pattern, well written and easy to follow. There is also a useful Techniques Section in the back of the book, in this case for intarsia knitting and picking up stitches. Nice clear photos and instructions for making up as well.
I'm looking forward to knitting up Grace when I have more time.

The book can be pre ordered for November from Sew and Sew.
For more details of the book and a sneak preview, click here 

The Blog Schedule is as follows...

Monday 10th - SewandSo
Tuesday 11th - SewandSo
Wednesday 12th - Eskimimi Makes
Thursday 13th - The Creations of Crazy Dazy
Friday 14th - Planet Penny

Great to find two blogs, Eskimimi Makes and Planet Penny which I never come across before.
Till next time, Ali.

4 October 2016

quick update

I have been a fan of Julia Marsh from Hand Knitted Things ever since I used her pattern to knit up a house for Age UK, Warm House. A few weeks ago she had a giveaway on her blog, which I was lucky enough to win.
When it arrived it was beautifully wrapped....

and inside were Stylecraft vouchers and some Stylecraft goodies....

 Julia also put one of her knitted brooch houses in the parcel.....so I was well chuffed!

As regards my own knitting I have just finished a shawlette as part of a knit a long with Helen and Lola from Instagram. The pattern is Hitchiker by Martina Behm for more details click here. I used Rico Design Las Vegas yarn, which has a wee bit of a sparkle.... I do like a bit of bling.

I'm also still working on my latest food pattern and a project for a blog hop. The blog hop is to review the book, My Knitted Doll by Louise Crowther or rather Boo-Biloo. So call back next Thursday for that.

All the best, Ali

27 September 2016

new pattern in the making

I can't believe I havent blogged since the end of July....tempus fugit!.....and that's about the only school Latin I can remember. I have a lot of catching up to do as well, reading other blog posts. I am enjoying posting photos on Instagram and looking at other peoples photos too. Look me up if you get a minute, under crazydazyknits.

At present I'm working on a new food pattern. The pattern consists of a hamburger, complete with trimmings, a hot dog and chips. I feel hungry at the thought of it.

Just going through the pattern at the moment, have to take some photos and then will be looking for test knitters. 

In an attempt to be more organised I have been using yarn pegs to decide colours. I have so many Stylecraft Special dk balls and unfortunately its easy to loose the labels.

One more thing if you live in the vicinity of Belfast and haven't been to the David Hockney exhibition, I Draw, I Do at the Mac, you should go along. It's on until mid October. There is a great range of his work from the fifties until present day. 
I suppose he is best known for his swimming pool paintings and there is one of those on display....

And then more recent ones, which have been drawn on an ipad....

Well better catch up with a few of my favourite blogs now, Till next time, Ali.

27 July 2016

suffolk puffs

In my last post I was using a gadget for making Suffolk Puffs. Since them I have been googling....I spend way to much time on the internet, but I was looking for projects where I could use my Suffolk Puffs. Here's a collection of what i found.
Lots of ideas for jewellery, including necklaces, corsages and bracelets. I was inspired to make a bracelet, simply made, by sewing six puffs edge to edge and then adding a clasp.........

Thought this piggy brooch looked cute, from Sarah's Little Snippets (click on the following photos for the links)

 piggie brooch from Little Snippets:  

Puffs could be used for garlands (I can thank Helen for this idea) or wreaths. Here's an Easter garland by Sunshine Creations.

Yo yo garland!:

A good technique for textile art, as shown by Michelle Mischkulnig.

Another Michelle Mischkunig piece. Great textures!:

More inspiration found googling, was to use netting, tulle or even net curtains for yoyos as seen on the Blue Mountain Daisy blog.

I have just mentioned a few ideas but the possibilities are endless......I do like a Suffolk Puff! 
Till next time, Ali.