30 August 2015

holiday knitting

I am just back from a short break in London. I'm not a great reader so wanted to bring some knitting for any spare time I had when I was away. I was only taking hand luggage so wondered how I could get knitting needles past airport security. My usual Knitpro Karbonz had to be left behind and instead I took a set of bamboo dpns. I knew I couldn't take scissors either, so I purchased a Clover yarn cutter - makes an attractive pendant too.

 I wanted a nice easy knit so decided on some preemie hats for the local charity Tiny Life. I contacted them a while ago and they kindly sent me some patterns.
All went well going through security and the needles went unnoticed, no problem. On arriving at the hotel, I "bagged" the lounger as my knitting chair, lovely and relaxing and the light was nice and bright.

I got quite a few hats knit, being so small they knit up very quickly. Here's a few of them in a variety of sizes....

As well as the hats I practised a bit of cabling, something I haven't done before and wanted to have a go before starting my next project.

  Till next time, Ali.

12 August 2015

a bit of sewing

This is my sons last year at secondary school and hopefully he will be going to uni next year. To mark this milestone I decided to make him something. I did a bit of up cycling using his old blazer, old tie and PE kits, which I've kept over the years. Had to blow the dust off the sewing machine it's been so long since I've given it a whirl. I pieced together bits of the uniform and ended up with a cushion I even inserted a zip on the reverse side. Here it is.......

A wee memento of his seven years spent at Inst, Im not sure if he will appreciate my efforts but I had great fun sewing it, must do more sewing.
Good luck to anyone who is waiting for their exam results tomorrow, or later in the month.
Till next time, Ali.

4 August 2015

fingerless mitts

Its summer here.....well supposed to be anyway. Awful though it is, still not the weather for wearing woolly mitts but this hasn't stopped me knitting up two pairs. For the first pair I used my all time favourite pattern - Susie Roger's Reading Mitts. My old grey ones were looking very sorry for themselves so these are a replacement. The pattern is a freebie and available on Ravelry, click here.

A girl cant have to many accessories, so I wanted to knit a pink pair as well. I decided to look for another pattern and found one by Louisa Harding. This one, Victoria Mittens is available in her book - "Knitting Little Luxuries".

The pattern is written for two needles which is a shame as mitts tend to lend themselves to be knitted seamless. I tweaked her pattern and used my trusty dpns. What I loved about it was her use of picot cast on and off.... I thought it gave a pretty effect.

I used the loveliest of yarn for these two projects, Findley dk by Juniper Moon Farm, found in the Textile Studio, Ballyhackamore, Belfast, so soft and with a lovely sheen and a delight to knit up.
And after trying both patterns, the Susie Roger one is still my favourite.
Enjoy the rest of your week, Ali.

12 July 2015

tiny ted

Sorry haven't blogged for a while now.....have been busy with mundane things around the house. All very boring! I cant believe how quickly the summer is flying by. I have however been busy on the laptop today as the knitting pattern I have been working on has just been completed ........a tiny Teddy bear who comes  with a heart. 

The heart is optional, but with it he would make a great Valentines or anniversary gift. He stands about five inches tall and has jointed limbs. Ted is mostly knitted in the round with small pieces knitted flat. The heart is also knitted flat. He is now for sale on my Ravelry store and my etsy shop.
Hoping to catch up with all the blogs I follow today. 

till next time, Ali.

8 June 2015

two down

Since my last post I have managed to finish two of the four projects I was working on. The first was another crocheted shawl for my friend Faye...hopefully it will be with you soon. The second was something I saw on facebook, a call for knitters to make sensory bands for patients in the later stages of dementia. The scheme was launched at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) and the Integrated Dementia Services Project Manager explains, “The sensory band was designed to help people find comfort in tactile stimulation which they may be missing, especially when they are away from home. The bands can be reassuring and help people to feel more relaxed and safe". For more information about the scheme and for a pattern click here.
Basically the band is just a knitted tube, which I did on dpns, using two strands of dk yarn.

I tried to use colour and texture for stimulation and had great fun with different yarns, stitches and add-ons such as buttons, ribbons, beads and icord, which were sewn on both the outside of the band and the inside.
A great and easy project to knit and hopefully it will bring comfort to a dementia patient.

Till next time, Ali.

1 June 2015


I seem to have a lot on the go at the moment, but don't seem to be achieving much. I'm working on a sewing project, a crochet project and a knitting project, all at once. I'm also in the process of writing up a new pattern. I do wish I could be more organised and write neat methodical notes. However I seem to generate chaotic notes combined with squiggles. Hopefully it will all come together in the end.

My son is also working towards his A Levels at the moment, hes a bit of a messy worker as well.....I do wonder where he gets it from! The paper mountain is growing daily. I'm waiting till he finishes before it all goes in the recycle bin,

Good luck to anyone, sitting exams at the moment.
Till next time, Ali.

17 May 2015

crochet butterfly

In my last post I showed photos of my half granny shawl, which I made for the SIBOL challenge. Each shawl or blanket sent to the Homes is decorated with a butterfly, so I wanted to include some with my finished shawl. I had a look on the Internet and found one I liked, on You Tube ....a tutorial by Yolanda Soto Lopez, click here
I had to watch it over and over again and I wrote down the pattern as I find it easier to follow written instructions. The video uses US crochet terms but I have translated it into UK terminology.

Crochet Butterfly 
based on a video tutorial by Yolanda Soto Lopez click here 
uses UK crochet terminology

rd: round
rpt: repeat
st(s): stitch(es)
sl: slip
ch: chain
dc: double crochet
tr: treble

dk/8ply yarn - two contrasting colours
4.00mm hook 

Make a magic circle with yarn and sl st into circle. 

Rd 1: 3ch, (1tr, 1ch) rpt 14 times. 
(3ch, 15tr  1ch in between) 
To join the rd, sl st into 2nd ch of the third ch in rd 1.
Pull magic loop tight with the yarn end.

Rd 2: (3ch, 1dc into space between trebles in rd 1,
          7ch, 1dc into space between trebles in rd 1).
Rpt all the way round ending with a 7ch.
To join the rd, sl st into 1st ch of the 3ch in rd 2.
(eight 3ch loops and eight 7ch loops)

Rd 3: sl st into three ch loop in rd 2 ,
Inside seven ch loop, sl st, 5tr, 3ch, sl st into fourth ch from end (forms point on wing), 5tr.

Rpt all the way round.
Sl st to join the rd, (8 points).

Fasten off.         
Darn yarn ends away and fold in half to form butterfly shape.

Using a contrasting yarn, ch 8.
Wrap round middle of wings, sl st into first chain.

Pull loop through and cut yarn.
Using the loop and two ends tie knot twice to form head.
Trim two ends to form antennae and loose the other two ends.

If you want to have a go at one of the butterflies, it might be useful to use both the written instruction and the video.

 Have a great week, Ali.

9 May 2015

granny shawl

Just for a wee bit of a change I thought I would do some crocheting. While having a look around the Internet one night, I discovered the SIBOL Challenge which involves making blankets for the elderly in Nursing and Care homes. For more info about the Challenge, click here. I'm not fond of very large projects as I become easily bored, so was glad to see that they were looking for shawls as well as blankets. I used the Original Half Granny Square Shawl pattern, by Ambar Enid Alcal, which is available free, click here. As I can crochet Granny squares, just about, I thought this would be an ideal pattern for me. Just finished the double cochet border today and darned away all the yarn ends, and here is my attempt......

I like the thought of my shawl bringing some comfort and warmth to an elderly lady and I hope to make a few more in the future.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend, Ali.

25 April 2015

knitted flower like crochet

I have written up a design for a flower which can be used as an embellishment on just about anything and I think it looks very much like it's been crocheted. The flower is very simple to make and is knitted flat on two needles.The only knitting skills required are cable cast on, knit stitch and cast off. Any type of yarn can be used along with the appropriate size of needles. The needle sizes given in the pattern below are only an approximate guide.


st(s): stitch(es)
k: knit  

two needles size 3.00mm/US 2½ for 4ply/fingering yarn
two needles size 3.50mm/US 4    for dk/8ply
tapestry needle
button or bead

Cast on 81 sts (using cable cast on method).

ROW 1: k1, leave this st on needle, do not use this st for the next cast off.

cast off 15 sts, leave last st on needle, do not use this st for the next cast off,
(2 sts on right needle 64 sts on left needle),

cast off 15 sts, leave last st on needle, do not use this st for the next cast off,
(3 sts on right needle 48 sts on left needle),

cast off 15 sts, leave last st on needle, do not use this st for the next cast off, 
(4 sts on right needle 32 sts on left needle),

cast off 15 sts, leave last st on needle, do not use this st for the next cast off, 
(5 sts on right needle 16 sts on left needle),                

cast off 15 sts, leave last st on needle (6 sts on right needle).

ROW 2: k six sts - pull yarn very tightly between working sts.
pull wool through 
(break yarn, leaving a long yarn tail. Then thread yarn unto needle and then through the six stitches on knitting needle. Pull tight and secure with a few stitches).

Join first and last petal with a few stitches.

Pull petals open to make a flower shape, a cool dry iron can be used to make the petals a better shape. Pull one petal at a time and press gently with the tip of the iron.

You may need to pull the petals into the centre with a few stitches to obtain a better flower shape.
Attach button or bead to centre.

Bye, Ali.

18 April 2015

knitted cuffs

I spend a lot of time browsing the patterns on Ravelry. My problem being I want to favourite them all, with the result my to do list seems to get longer and longer. One such pattern which I knew I just had to knit was the Handschmeichler or Hand Charmer by Claudia Höll-Wellman. It is available free both in German and an English translation, click here. When I saw it on Ravelry I couldn't work out how it was constructed but in fact it is multiple knitted buttonholes. The end result looks so organic like tree branches or seaweed.
Here's some photos of my finished project......

My pattern notes are on my Ravelry page, click here. Unfortunately or rather fortunately it is too warm to wear them at the moment, but they can wait till the Autumn. I am now, a dab hand at knitted buttonholes and I couldn't have mastered the technique without the video on knitting help.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend, Ali.

10 April 2015

i-cord ideas

Now that I have mastered the knitting mill (see previous post, click here) I've been having a think about what I can use the knitted cord for, so I've listed a few ideas.

1. Use it to write with and make words and names.....

2. Faye came up with the idea to knit cords and use them for hair ribbons which could be knitted in school or team colours......very pretty.

3. Shoe laces.

photo courtesy of fluff and fuzz

4. The edging of a garment.


this idea came from Hattie My Loves blog click here.

5. Jewellery, what about a necklace or bracelet.....

found on indulgy by Ophelia click here.

6. Bowl, many years ago I did pottery at school and we made coil pots from sausages of clay. A woolly bowl cold be made in a similar way by stitching the i-cord together. The stitches could be made into a design feature.

 photo from the booklet "French Knitting" by Heather Kingsley-Heath.

7. Upturn the bowl and it becomes a hat.

8. Helen who writes Midget Gem Quilt blog came up with some great ideas....carpets for dolls houses, small coasters for wine glasses and cords for reading glasses.

Anyone else with any ideas I would love to hear them.

I use i-cord a lot in my patterns.....have a look at the Daisy Brooch, Shamrock, Mistletoe or Daisy Chain Necklace.

Till next time, Ali.

3 April 2015


Things have been very busy here with this and that and even a dash of spring cleaning.....so not much time for knitting, sewing or blogging. This is just a quick post to wish everyone a very Happy Easter, hoping it will be filled with fun and more importantly, chocolate.
Once Easter is over I hope things will be back to normal and I'll get a chance to do a bit of blogging about something crafty! 
Till next time, Ali.

21 March 2015

knitting mill (2)

In my last post I was having difficulties with my newly purchased knitting mill. I contacted the seller and seemingly double knit / 8 ply yarn is too thick and she suggested 4 ply / fingering. I also looked at a tutorial on you tube, see here - so thanks Helen (who writes the Midget Gem Quilts blog) for suggesting that. No problems with the 4 ply and I got it going first time.....

As the cord gets longer, you have to move the weight further up, the tutorial shows how to do this by using a clothes peg. It's a pity the manufacturer hadn't come up with something.

The cord grows very quickly and would be a good way to use up leftover sock yarn. Fluffy yarn or yarn that splits easy wouldn't be very successful, but I was all chuffed I got it working in the end.
Now having mastered the technique, my next post will be ideas that you can use the i-cord for.

Till next time, Ali.

13 March 2015

knitting mill

I do like a bit of i-cord either done on two double pointed needles or on my knitting nancy. I've seen i-cord machines and thought I would like to have a go in case I ever needed to make vast amounts of knitted cord. So with labour saving in mind I ordered my Prym Knitting Mill online.

After reading the instructions several times I had a go........then another go..............then another go. I don't know what I have been doing wrong but I ended up with more knots and tangles than cord.
Even after a cuppa and a few chocolate bickies and then a recap of the instructions I still could not get it to work. Aaaaaaaarrgggh!

If anyone has any tips or hints or think they know where I'm going wrong I'd love to hear, but in the meantime I'll be using the tried and trusted methods and I find the repetition of these techniques very therapeutic.
Thanks for stopping to read my blog, Ali.