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