31 December 2012

happy new year

Many many thanks for those who visited my blog in 2012. I hope you were able to make use of the free patterns and craft ideas. Please call back often in 2013. Here's hoping you have a happy and healthy New Year.

Best wishes for 2013, Ali.

24 December 2012

bah humbug

Christmas is not my favourite time of the year, but for those who enjoy the festivities have a great time.
For others like myself......hang on in and it will soon be all over. Life, shops, traffic etc will hopefully return to some sort of normality.
Bye, Ali.

22 December 2012

monsters + zombies

My son is quite grown up now....but not too old to enjoy wearing his monster slippers - a birthday present.

I do like to knit him a novelty Christmas gift. When I saw this pattern called Tombie the Zombie by Phoeny I just had to knit it. I think he will appreciate my efforts, since he likes films and games involving zombies!!!

Here's my finished zombie


The limbs, head etc are detachable.....

here's a close up of the head....

It is such a well written pattern and great fun to knit. I knit the body, head, limbs on dpns and had no bother converting the pattern as I went along. The pattern is available for sale on Ravelry - click here.
Oh well on with the rest of the Christmas preparations, Ali

15 December 2012

oh christmas tree

OK so maybe I'm a bit late putting up the tree this year. Things are running a bit behind schedule due to various flus and illnesses which have afflicted our household. Had a quiet afternoon to myself today so I put it up, at least that's one thing done. A friend made me the loveliest ribbon Christmas trees. The photo does not do them justice - there is a lovely movement to then as they twist and spin. They have pride of place on the tree.....
That's enough Christmas preparation for today now, don't want to get to carried away! 

30 November 2012

happy birthday dude

My son celebrated his 16th birthday this week. I cant believe he is so grown up and is now taller than me - much to his delight, I think I will have to get a higher hairstyle! It just seems like yesterday since we were sitting on the sitee together, watching the Teletubbies.
He is a wee bit camera shy, so I had to make do with taking a photo of the cake....

I finished the hexaflexacube in time for his birthday. The pattern suggested invisible thread to join the triangles. However, I found this a bit fiddly so ended up using 4ply black sock yarn.....I think I should have persevered with the invisible thread. Not the prettiest project I've ever done, but then my son doesn't do pretty and quite liked his cushion.....

Have a good weekend, Ali.

26 November 2012

continental market

One thing I love about the run up to Christmas is the market at the front of the City Hall.
I remembered to take my camera this year and took a few photos of things which appealed.

loads of sweet goodies

some felted baby booties

matryoshka dolls
colourful ladies
the hobby horses

Bye, Ali

20 November 2012


A friend who knows I like novelty knits, sent me a link for a hexaflexacube cushion. Here's one side of it.....
It is in fact  a folding cushion, with six different sides.
It is from the Woolly Thoughts site, which brings out the mathematics in knitting and crocheting - an inspirational site. There are lots of paper hexaflexagons on the Internet with tutorials of how to fold them. After seeing it I thought I would have a go. I like knitting things for my son and as he doesn't particularly like woolly jumpers, I thought this project might appeal. One problem though it is crochet so again another challenge. It requires eighteen triangles so lots of practise with double crochet. (UK term). I must say that crocheting has proved to be the new Temazepan as I can hardly get my eyes open along the stretches of the double crochet.
Not sure how it will work out as my tension is all over the place and the triangles are hardly equilateral.....Ill let you know how I get on when I get to the assembly stage.

Bye, Ali.

9 November 2012

eyelash yarn beads

If you have some eyelash yarn in your stash a good way of using it up is to make some beads. The yarn is melted and the result is an interesting textured bead which could be used in many different projects. I've written up a tutorial if you want to have a go......its quick and fun!

heat tool
metal knitting needle
synthetic eyelash yarn

Care must be taken when using a heat gun. The metal needle will conduct heat so protective gloves should be worn. The room should be well ventilated. Anyone suffering from respiratory problems should wear a mask as an extra precaution. Once beads are melted they will be hot so care should be taken while handling them.

1. Cut lengths of eyelash yarn. Length depends on the size of the required beads. I cut lengths of approximately 40cms (16ns) - this results in beads about  3cms (1.25ins) long.
2. Wrap yarn round knitting needle and pin to hold in place.

3. Melt and manipulate yarn with the heat tool.
4. Leave to cool and remove pin and bead from knitting needle.
5. Size of hole will depend on the diameter of the knitting needle.

Bye for now, Ali

30 October 2012

happy halloween

I saw a photo of a crocheted spider web recently on facebook and wanted to have a go making one. After having a hunt on Ravelry found a great pattern Spider Web Snowflake by Deborah Atkinson. Its a good well written pattern and free at that. After I got over the confusion between UK and US crochet terms, I got on OK. My spider's legs could have done with a bit more glue though. A fun Halloween project!
Here's how I got on..

My own bit of yarn bombing in the hall.......

Dont eat too  much apple tart!
bye, Ali.


23 October 2012

petite pets

I have just written up a pattern for a wee penguin - see below. He is just about 9 cms (3.5ins) tall. His body and hat are knitted in the round while other parts of him are knitted flat. I-cording is also used. If a loop was attached to the top of his head the penguin is small enough to be used for a hanging Christmas tree ornament. I'm hoping to write up a few more Petite Pet patterns  soon as they are such a fun size. Hope someone can make use of this pattern.
Bye for now, ali.

perceval penguin




height - 9cms (3.5ins) tall
k : knit                                             st(s) : stitch(es)
rd : round                                         tog : together
kfb : increase – knit into the front and back of the same stitch
rpt : repeat                                        M : make
psso : pass slip st over                                                                           
pwt : pull wool through (break off yarn and thread through sts)                  

4 dpns size 3mm (US 2.5)
double knit yarn in black, white, orange and coloured
small amount of polyfill stuffing
sewing thread and sewing needle
two small buttons or beads 

Knitted in the round.
Cast on 18 sts with black yarn, leaving a long yarn tail.
Divide sts between 3 needles and join in the rd.
Rds 1 & 2 : k.
Rd 3 : p.
Rd 4 : k.
Rd 5 : (k1, kfb) rpt to end of rd (27 sts).
Rds 6 & 7 : k.
Rd 8 : (k1, kfb) rpt to last st– k1 (40 sts).
Rds 9 & 10 : k.
Next two rds form the tail.
Rd 11 : k2, (k2tog) twice, k to last 6 sts, (sl1, k1, psso) twice, k2 (36 sts). 
Rd 12 : k2, (k2tog) twice, k to last 6 sts, (sl1, k1, psso) twice, k2 (32 sts).
Rds 13 – 16 : k.
Rd 17 : k1, k2tog, (k2, k2tog) rpt to last st – k1 (24 sts).
Rds 18 – 19 : k.
Rd 20 : k1, k2tog, (k2, k2tog) rpt to last st – k1 (18 sts).
Rds 21 –22 : k.
Rd 23 : k2, k2tog, (k4, K2tog), rpt to last 2 sts – k2 (15 sts).
Continue with k for 15 rds.

WINGS (make 2)
Cast on 5 sts with black yarn.
Continue with i-cord until work measures 5cms (2ins).

Knitted flat.
Cast on 5 sts with white yarn.
ROW 1 : k.
ROW 2 : p.
ROW 3 : k1, M1, k3, M1, k1 (7 sts).
ROW 4 : p.
ROW 5 : k1, M1, k5, M1, k1 (9 sts).
ROW 6 : p.
ROW 7 : k1, M1, k7, M1, k1 (11 sts).
ROW 8 : p.
ROW 9 : sl1, k1, psso, k to last 2 sts, k2tog (9 sts).
ROW 10 : p.
ROW 11 : k.
ROW 12 : p.
ROW 13 : sl1, k1, psso, k to last 2 sts, k2tog (7 sts).
ROW 14 : p.
ROW 15 : sl1, k1, psso, k to last 2 sts, k2tog  (5 sts).
ROW 16 : p.
ROW 17 : sl1, k1, psso, k1, k2tog (3 sts).
ROW 18 : sl1 purlwise, p2tog, psso.
Fasten off. 

Knitted flat.
Cast on 4 sts with orange yarn.
ROW 1 : k.
ROW 2 : p.
ROW 3 : sl1, k1, psso, k2tog  (2 sts).
ROW 4 : sl1 purlwise, p1, psso.
Fasten off. 

FEET (make 2)
Cast on 3 sts with orange yarn.
Continue with i-cord for 1.5cms (0.5ins).
Continue work – knitting flat.
ROW 1 : kfb, kfb, k1 (5 sts) (right side).
ROW 2 : p1, k1, p1, k1, p1.
Cast off in rib (k, p, k, p, k). 

Cast on 16 sts in coloured yarn.
Divide sts between three needles and join in the rd.
Rd 1 : k.
Continue k for a further 5 rds.
Rd 7 : (k2tog) rpt until end of rd (8 sts).

Cast on 3 sts with coloured yarn.
Continue with i- cord until work measures 18cms (7ins).

To Assemble
1. Pull yarn tight at the top of head and with a few stitches to secure.
2. Stuff body, do not overstuff.
3. Gather cast on edge of body and pull tight, loose yarn inside body.
For smaller pieces I prefer to darn end tails away and sew with sewing thread in a matching colour.
4. Sew wings to either side aprox 4cms (1.5ins) down from top of head.
5. Sew feet to base of body, sew along the icord of feet.
    6. Sew around the edge of the white front attaching it onto body.
    7. Fold beak in half lengthways and sew the two edges together, attach to front of face.
    Sew buttons or beads for eyes. Alternatively embroider French Knots for eyes.

18 October 2012

lavender lace

After my first attempt at lace knitting I was keen to have another go. This time I wanted a long scarf. I knitted  the border instructions of The Maple Leaves Pattern the whole way along the scarf. I used the surprisingly stretch Bind Off method as straight cast off was too tight. Rebecca (chemknits) does a good tutorial for this method. I didn't have blocking rods for the sides of the scarf so blocking wasn't a great success - I'm always very timorous anyway about blocking in case I ruin the item.
Here's some photos of my finished project.....

and yes the grandad shirt did actually belong to my grandad, so I suppose that makes it vintage. This was a favourite item of clothing when I was a student which must be about thirty years ago. Those were the days when grandad shirts were very much in fashion. Just to prove it here's a photo of me wearing it....

That's enough reminiscing for now......I always feel sad looking back and that's enough 2 ply knitting for now as well as I'm a definite double knit type of girl.
Bye, Ali.

14 October 2012

sunday at st georges

If you haven't been to St Georges Market, Belfast, for a while you'll be pleasantly surprised.

There are the fruit and veg stalls with some exotic varieties for sale.

and the usual fish stall....

These days there are many craft stalls. I took a few photos as I wandered round.
There is the cute....

 the quirky.....

and the downright yummy.....
 mmmmmmh bought a few for after tea.
bye, Ali.

8 October 2012

christmas knits

Sorry to mention the C word, but I suppose it is time to start making things for Christmas. One of my patterns got a mention in Issue 45, Let's Get Crafting, Knitting and Crochet magazine. My Gingerbread and Mince Pie pattern is along with eleven other Christmas knit ideas. I haven't bought a craft magazine for a while and was shocked at the cost, but to be fair the magazine comes with six balls of yarn, knitting needles and patterns inside.
Loved the photo they took of my two items.

Bye, Ali.

30 September 2012


In the last post I was struggling with the Annis Shawl. After what seems a lifetime I have eventually finished it. Once the outer lace edge was knit, the rest of the shawl knitted up quite quickly. I was a bit timorous about blocking it and just gently pulled it and pinned it and then sprayed it with water. So my shawl is not as large as the one in the pattern. I must say I feel a sense of achievement at finishing as I nearly gave up a few times during the early stages. Here's a few photos of the finished shawl.

 close up of the lace edge
I used beads instead of knitting the nupps which made progress quicker

On with the next project now.
Bye, Ali.

22 September 2012


oh what a tangled web we weave .....
This seems to be the time of year all the spiders move inside. Don't know if they are adding to or detracting from my interior design with their lacy constructions. I am in the process of knitting my own lacy construction in the form of the Annis shawl to be found on the Knitty website. It's been tangled up quite a few times.

I've found it a bit of a challenge as I usually work on small projects - its hard keeping account of the 363 stitches. This is the first time I have knitted with 2ply yarn or added beads to a project. The project pages have been invaluable on Ravelry. Progress has been slow and has had a few false starts. I'll let you know how I go.
Have a good weekend, Ali.

16 September 2012

tea cosy day

Today was the final of the tea cosy competition. There were some amazing ones, all beautifully displayed.

Here's some which caught my eye.....
"Pansy" - loved the colours in this one.

"Titanic Quarter" - I liked the way the cable stitch was used to represent the water.

The winning entry was an amazing Mad Hatters Tea Party one. I was more than pleased to win the Funniest Tea Cosy as the standard was very high, All the cosies were auctioned off for the Help the Aged charity.
Bye, Ali.