Thursday, December 31, 2015

December Knits round-up

While I did not fall for the usual knitted gift madness this year, I have been finishing quite a few knits over the last few weeks including;
A boomerang-style scarf for the Small Human, knit in a handspun yarn from stash.

A cardigan for the Small Human, based on Bella by Dani Sunshine & knit in Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. I omitted the cables & knit garter stitch bands around the yoke in contrast colours, & knit sleeve & body hems in garter stitch. I started knitting multiple colours in each garter stitch band, but decided this was too busy.... once I had finished knitting the body. I ended up ripping & re-knitting just the yoke, bottom up, by fudging a series of decreases as I went.

Another Zapote by Carol Feller.  Knit in Rico Essentials Soft Merino Aran
18 month size, intended for my 3 month old nephew with (quite a lot of) room to grow...
Gentleman's Half Hose in Ringwood by Nancy Bush, knit in Noro Kureyon Sock. started almost a year ago & shoved into a drawer in favour of something more exciting... or something for somebody else. Kureyon Sock is my favourite yarn for socks, and I love the reworked vintage sock patterns in Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks. Quite a few of the patterns are mid-calf length & feature calf shaping for a better fit - my favourite kind of sock. Just a pity that I got a little bored of knitting, & did not decrease the cuff quite as small as called for in the pattern as the ankle area is a little baggy.

And finally, a cardigan for Ariel... because her arms looked cold in a wee strappy dress. I used some leftover sport weight Millamia yarn, and some shiny buttons from the button jar that just happened to suit the doll's dress. I used Elizabeth Zimmerman's EPS proportions for this cardigan, top down & with raglan shaping. It is quite generous fitting, with the hope that certain little fingers will be easily able to dress the doll as wished. 

I suppose this would be the traditional time for a year-end round up, but appropriate words escape me. This has been an eventful personal year, and there have been times when I have been so grateful to have knitting as a distraction; as something to do when there is nothing else is meaningful enough.  Wishing you all a peaceful 2016.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

New pattern: Camden Twist Beanie.

Introducing the Camden Twist Beanie!
The pattern is written in four sizes from Newborn to Child. The hat is knit in the round, bottom up, using set of DPNs or a large circular needle for the magic loop technique. The hat consists of 2x2 ribbing for a stretchy fabric, and features a simple cable.  
The pattern includes charted and written cable instructions.
Newborn, Baby, Toddler, Child.
To fit head (35.5, 40.5, 46, 51) cm / (14, 16, 18, 20)”
Pictured in ‘Too Rouge”, in the Child size, modelled on 19” head.
The pattern requires approximately (85, 108, 132, 160)m / (94, 118, 145, 175) yards 4 ply / fingering weight yarn.

48 st / 42 rows per 10 cm / 4” in 2x2 ribbing, after blocking & relaxed.

2.75 mm needles, or size needed to achieve gauge.
(A set of DPNs or a large circular needle for the magic loop technique work equally well.)
Cable needle or DPN
Darning needle
 The pattern came about as I was knitting the Camden Twist Cardigan; I realised that the simple Twist cable pattern needed to become a hat too. The ribbed fabric is extremely forgiving & stretchy & will accommodate growing noggins for quite a while. I really enjoyed knitting with the Camden Tweed again; the yarn is deceptively bouncy, and knits up beautifully. The wee Donegal nepps in the base yarn add interest to the yarn, & the colour has a wonderful depth.
The pattern is available to download here.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Sparkly Things

I haven't had much knitting to show off lately, but have been working on a variety of sparkly things with the Small Human. She's been recently introduced to the joys of PVA & glitter glue, though most of these projects have involved preparation by me, for the little one to add adornments later.

First up; some tree shapes. I cut triangles of corrugated cardboard & wrapped some deep-stash unloved Noro Kureyon sock yarn around the shapes, with a little glue to hold in place. We then added a few different adornments. Star stickers proved the favourite activity.  

Next, some more tree shapes, cut from 'felt' sheets & stitched with a little wadding in the middle. The Small Human had great fun rooting through the button jar, picking out buttons for me. 

Next, some stars made of lollipop sticks. I assembled the stars, but had plenty of assistance painting a coat of blue poster paint, and then a coat of glitter glue. I hope to hang these near some fairy lights to enhance the sparkling glitter.

Lastly, some more stars. I bought the cardboard stars from the paper craft section of Art & Hobby shop. We layered PVA glue & white tissue paper on these, but found that the tissue was too translucent when dried. I later painted these with a silver acrylic paint, & then wrapped them with a variety of sparkly threads while the Small Human played with some spare threads.

I've enjoyed making these decorations, but have realised that I'll have to change my expectations of the Small Human's involvement. She's not very interested in producing finished objects, but enjoys getting to play with the materials. More than anything, she's going to be delighted when we put up the Christmas decorations.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

New Pattern release: Torc Scarf

Introducing the Torc Scarf. 
The scarf begins with a gently curving garter stitch section, cast on along the top edge and shaped with short rows. The applied 12x12 stitch reversible cable edging is a reinterpretation of golden torcs on display in the National Museum of Ireland, and included in the book A History of Ireland in 100 Objects.  I've been a little obsessed with the notion of taking inspiration from extraordinary artefacts - high status, highly ornate displays of wealth, that we assume were just for occasional or ceremonial wear - and creating cosy, comforting & wearable accessories for every day use. 
This scarf is very, very soft & squishy; definitely one of my cosier knits. It is also reversible. 

The pattern is written in two sizes:
The small size measures 140 x 21cm / 55x8" at the widest point, and requires approximately 400 m / 437 yards of DK weight yarn.   It wraps around the neck once with ends to tuck into coats. It is pictured in Hedgehog Fibres Merino DK in 'Wish'. 
The large size measures 206 x 21.5 cm at the widest point & requires approximately 610m / 667 yards. Pictured in Dublin Dye Merino DK in 'Alge', it will wrap around the neck twice, with ends to tuck in. 

A solid or semi-solid yarn works best with the pattern; preferably something bouncy to show off the cables, & with a little elasticity.  The wide cable can be tricky to work, especially in stiff yarns like cotton. 
The pattern is available to purchase now. (The obligatory goofy photos are without charge)

 I'm very grateful to the kind assistance & generous feedback of my test knitters Janet & Sherry. I've been amazed by how generous people can be, if you just ask for a little help.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Dye experiments

I've been drawn to the idea of dying my own gradient yarns for a while, but was put off by imagined  lengthy & complicated dye sessions involving multiple of re-windings and dye baths. I recently dragged out the dyepot, inspired by this blog post & gave it a whirl. I wound my yarn blanks into very tight little balls, & placed them dry into the dye bath, using Ashford's purple dye. 

Two things that are immediately obvious: the 'purple' is really more a deep pink; and winding into a very tight little ball does not really give a gradient effect. More a graduated speckle on just a little bit of the yarn. The yarn is far too tight & too effective a resist for the dye to soak into the ball. 

I'm happy enough with the results though, especially after re-skeining & over-dyeing the yarn with complementary colours. 
These three mini-skeins became pink, & are intended for a jumper for the Small Human. 

And I added a mixture of blue & purple to this one (I've no idea what this will become).

Amazingly, these skeins perfectly match some sweet peas from my garden.

Monday, October 19, 2015

New Pattern; Camden Twist Cardigan

Introducing Camden Twist Cardigan! It is written in 6 sizes from 0-3 months to 2 years. It is sized with approximately 2.5 - 5 cm positive ease. It is worked from the top down, with raglan shaping. It features a simple cable design along the front & back of the cardigan. The button & button hole bands are knitted on after. 

The pattern is shown in Townhouse Yarns Camden Tweed in 'Too Rouge' colour way, in the 2 year size. I really enjoyed using this yarn. It is surprisingly soft & springy to knit (compared with how it feels in the skein). The 'Too Rouge' colour way has a wonderful depth & strength of colour typical of Townhouse Yarns.

Sizes: 0-3, 3-6, 6-12, 12-18, 18-24 months, 2 years.
Yarn requirements: approximately (100, 110, 120, 130, 140, 150)g 4 ply / fingering weight yarn.
Gauge: 28 st per 10 cm / 4'' in stocking stitch

Materials: 2.5 mm needle or size needed to achieve gauge. The pattern can be knit with a long circular needle - using magic loop for the sleeves - or with a combination of straight needles for the body & DPNs for the sleeves. 
Small cable needle or DPN for working cable. 
Darning Needle
Optional sewing needle & thread for adding buttons. 
(6, 6, 7, 8, 8, 9) small buttons, approximately 1cm diameter, or as many as you wish. 
Stitch markers
The pattern is available to download for free here:

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Finished Knit: Zapote

I've just finished a new hoodie for the Small Human. The pattern is Zapote from Carol Feller's book Short Row Knits , & the yarn is Malabrigo Rios in Ravelry Red, from This is Knit.  The buttons are from fairly recent stash, probably bought in Hickey's. 

I **LOVE** this garment. It is worked from the top town, using short rows to shape the garter stitch hood. The garment features raglan increases at the shoulders, and slipped-stitch i-cord edging along the front.
The garter stitch cuffs can be folded back to allow the all-important growing room. The increases along the sides of the body allow room for nappy bulk in smaller sizes, or for dresses. The garter stitch pockets are perfect for stashing Important Things like pine cones found on walks. The pattern is graded from 6 months to 10 years.

This is the second time I've knit this pattern; I was lucky enough to knit one of the samples that appears in the book, & was itching to knit it again (In Fyberspates Vivacious DK). It really is a lovely pattern. I just wish it came in adult sizes too.... ;)

Monday, October 12, 2015

Finished Knits: Bumble Hats

I've some finished knits to show off! 3 hats for 3 siblings, all are modified versions of TinCanKnits' wonderful pattern Bumble, knit in Debbie Bliss Rialto DK. With all 3 hats, I added extra length and worked the crown decreases over fewer rows. I knit the two-row stripes version, one each of the baby, toddler and child sizes (pictured right to left). 

The slipped-stitch fabric is very stretchy, which means it should fit little growing heads for a while. This also means that my obliging model could fit all 3 on her head for a photo!

I left off the pom-poms because the added weight tends pull a hat off the child's head; I didn't have a chance to check fit on the children these hats are intended for before handing over these knitted gifts.   I intend to make another version for my own small human with the pom-pom included, as (obviously) I will be able to check that the hat is snug-fitting enough to stay in place with the pom-pom.

I really enjoy browsing TinCanKnits' patterns; most are graded from baby to adult sizes (matching sets for all the family!!) The few patterns I've knit so far have been very clearly written, and the finished knits are just dotey. Two thumbs up!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Finished Knits round-up

I have been knitting away, but have failed to share any finished objects lately. 

First up, a pair of Ysolda Teague's Wee Envelopes, knitted in Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in Clotted Cream. The buttons are from stash. I think the darker ones were reclaimed from a pair of combat trousers. The finished garment is very sweet. I find squooshy garter stitch really pleasing for baby knits for its comfort & stretchiness. The pattern is very well written, with an interesting construction, & required just a little attention for the sleeves & yoke. The body section just flies off the needles. These almost matching jumpers will be making their way to two cousins' new babies. The cousins used to dress in matching outfits back in the day!

This hat is based on Woolly Wormheads IGBeanie & is knit using some handspun yarn. (Toddler's choice, it has sparkles - aka angelina!) I changed most of the hat to stocking stitch to try make the most of limited handspun, but this means the hat is not quite as stretchy & flexible as in the original garter stitch design, so I  doubt it will get more than one years' wear. The Small Human is delighted with her little pointed hat ears though! 
Actually knitting up some handspun really shows off my bad spinning habits. I seem to consistently misjudge the thickness/weight of my handspun yarn, and some sections are badly over twisted. I suppose the main lesson here is that I need to actually knit up some handspun more often!

Last up, Cool Kid Hooded Hat by Anna & Heidi Pickles, in Malabrigo Mecha. This wee design is *genius* but the pattern writing could be improved upon. I attempted to reverse engineer the pattern to knit it top-down (and make the most of the yarn) but my addled brain would not, could not cooperate. This is in the 2-4 year size, & is intended for a toddler who refuses to keep hats on (unlike my little model who loves dressing up in knits).
Next knitting; swatches. Lots & lots of swatches.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Sculpture in Context 2015

It's Autumn!! Which means;
Leaves are turning.
The weather is getting colder - knitter season!
Sculpture in Context is on display in the Botanic Gardens. 
We had a little wander on a recent sunny morning. Here are some of the pieces that really caught our attention.
Another Place by Tara Butler Frey

It Tolls for Thee by Niamh & Brian Synnott 
This was our favourite piece. It's really lovely to see something truly interactive in a public setting. 

Flotsam & Jetsam by Verona Stellet

Stalkers in the Midst by Orla Kaminska

Bird Song by Michelle Hannan

Zonitoides Nitidus by Michael C. Keane
The Small Human is fascinated, if a little intimated by this piece. It's huge (for a snail).

Untitled by Genevieve Kiely
The only yarn I spotted in this year's exhibition ... fun fur. It looks effective hanging  in a glass house though!

Hare Bells, Pond Life & A Nursery for Dandelions by Thomas Wollen

Snail Boy by Barra Cassidy

Gardeners Delight by Alan Boyle
This is just a small section of the whole piece. There was something really pleasing about the shapes & colours of these tiles. I would love to embroider something inspired by this. 

Sculpture in Context is on display until 16th October in Dublin's Botanic Gardens.