Friday, 2 December 2011

Narrow Lake Mitts

The latest pattern in my Sweet Little Somethings collection is for the gorgeous Narrow Lake Mitts. The design for these began as an idea for a stitch pattern. Something a little unique and undeniably pretty.

They were super enjoyable to design and to knit, which is not to say that they weren't a lot of work. In particular the thumb gusset was knit, reknit and then reknit again as I designed it into the lace pattern.

I loved knitting these mitts so much I just had to work up a pattern for a matching hat.....more detailed shots to follow when the pattern is released in a few days!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

View from a Bridge

Each day I walk across the river Cam to midsummer common.

It is the inspiration for my Riverside shawl. The garter ridges are reminiscent of the ripples that lap across the surface. The scalloped border is inspired by the shape created by the rowing boats as they glide smoothly downstream. 

As usual it was rather blustery on the day we took the photos, but at least that meant we got some great shots of the whole shawl, even if I did occasionally feel like I might take off at any moment.

Riverside is the first pattern in my Sweet Little Somethings pattern collection. It's a series patterns that I am releasing in instalments. I'm going to be releasing the next one, Amartine, later today and I'm very excited about it. Without giving too much away, let's just say it's gorgeous and smooshy!

Check back soon for some sneak peeks at some of the other patterns.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Indian Summer

We've been having a warm spell recently, which has done wonders for the garden. It's so exciting to see those little tomatoes finally ripen:

And they're even better like this:

The only problem is, with all this warm weather, I've been neglecting my knitting and I really should be getting on with my collection of accessories.... 

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Fibre East

Last weekend we went on a little trip to the countryside. Or at least, that's what I told my husband we were doing. When we got to our destination however, we found (much to our surprise) that a knitting show was in full swing.

'Did you know about this?' my husband asked sceptically. I thought it best not to answer on the grounds that I might incriminate myself. The event was Fibre East and it turned out to be a lovely, lovely show.

We were all captivated by the sheep shearer:

We said 'hello' to the sheep many, many, times. This was much to the bemusement of onlookers (and possibly also, the sheep).

And of course there was yarn, glorious yarn, from the likes of the delightful Boo's Attic:

Roll on Fibre East 2012. My husband might just guess where we're going this time, but there's talk of a 'men's room' to entertain all those long-suffering partners. Here's hoping!

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Marguerite loves Sophia

Introducing Marguerite, worked in a single skein of the delectable Sophia 2ply. So simple to knit and yet so effective.

I made a prototype of this shawl about a year ago and promptly forgot about it, until I heard whisperings on the Posh Yarn group about Sophia, aka the yarn of yarns. Made from 100% cashmere, it’s heavier than your average laceweight, with body and loftiness to it. I coveted this yarn. I wanted some for myself. I just had to try it.

I splashed out and bought a small skein, which weighs in at 55g (1.9oz) and 366m/400yds. But what to do with it? I remembered Marguerite and thought, for Sophia's sake, it was worth my while starting again from scratch.

It was a really windy day when we took the photos - I could barely get the shawl to stay still. My husband laughed at me from behind the camera (so what's new?). He said it looked like I would take off any minute. I replied that it wouldn't surprise me all that much if I did.

Since the shawl uses the daisy stitch pattern, this one is named for my newest niece, Daisy, who is herself named for my grandmother Marguerite.
Marguerite is available as a Ravelry pattern download.

Sunday, 29 May 2011


I have finally, after months of toil, finished my beautiful, exquisite, Ingleside infinity scarf.

The scarf is named for the yarn - the delicious Miranda 4ply, in the colourway Ingleside. I was extremely excited to find a building of the same name in Cambridge, although I agree this isn't immediately apparent in the photos.

Knitting the scarf was rather like deciding to poke myself in the eye with a blunt stick. Indeed at times, I was tempted to do just that, my needles being so readily at hand and all.

You see, I was rather taken by the idea of a 'true' twisted rib scarf. By 'true' twisted rib I mean that all the knit stitches and all the purl stitches were worked through the back of the loop. This is time consuming (and as far as the purl stitches are concerned, a bit fiddly) but it creates a really really beautiful fabric. I'm so glad that I stuck it out, however tempted I might have been to just let this project languish in the UFO pile. 

The scarf can be looped double to make a warm cowl. Although the weather doesn't quite require that these days, I'll be glad of it come winter time.

All that's left to do now is enjoy!

Monday, 23 May 2011

I have been busy with my sewing machine....

The machine used to belong to my mother (who incidentally, does not know the first thing about sewing). She 'taught' me how to use it during a brief spell in the eighties when she had the madcap idea that my sister and I could make our own hair scrunchies.

Hence I won't claim to know how to sew. Indeed, my first attempt to make these pretty little drawstring bags was hampered by my inability to stop the machine from sewing backwards.

The advantage of my lack of ability with the machine is that I have low expectations and am therefore delighted with any result that yields a usable finished object.
I am able to overlook wonky seams, uneven stitches and a host of other imperfections. Another advantage of my lack of sewing ancestry is that my family will marvel at anything made by one its own that is not a hair scrunchy. In fact, I gave one to my sister for her birthday and she liked it so much she has already requested another. It's got a lining! She exclaimed delightedly. I can't tell you how happy that made me. Simple pleasures truly are the best.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Hide & Seek

I finished my little Hide & Seek cowl the other day. The timing couldn't have been more perfect as it adds just the right amount of warmth on a fresh spring day.

We've spent the whole weekend in the garden, planting seeds and digging up weeds.

We found little creatures.

  And generally enjoyed playing outside in the dirt

'I love my new scarf Mummy', concluded my little one. 'It's a cowl' I began to say. Then I caught myself. Who cares about semantics when a knitted item is cherished? I'm glad she enjoys it, so I'll leave it at that.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Here Stitchy Stitchy

Recently I wanted some cute stitch markers for a circular knitting project. I mean really cute. The kind that makes your knitting happy....

So, I bought a bunch of coloured wooden beads and jump rings with the idea that I'd make my own. Making stitch markers of this kind is super easy. Simply place a bead onto a small jump ring, which you then attach to a larger ring.

As we are wont to do, my daughter and I set up a little production line. We made markers upon markers, and even a little shawl pin, that you can just about make out in the picture. 

So pretty!
I can see myself making more of these in the future. They'll make great little gifts for my knitterly friends and let's face it, stitch markers are like balls of yarn. You can never have too many.

Friday, 18 March 2011

A little Hide & Seek

I finished my Hide & Seek the other day and I've been wearing it pretty much non-stop ever since. We've been having a cold spell so the timing could not be more fortuitous, since it's double lined (as well as really pretty).

Thing is I feel a little guilty about it because my daughter has been pointing at the cowl and saying, somewhat hopefully, 'is that mine?'(She knows full well it is not, it's round my neck after all). I'll shake my head.  Then she will point at my knitting and ask, eyebrows raised, 'one for me?'

I can take a hint so yesterday afternoon I went to the wool shop and I bought this:
'Lovely', 'great colour combinations' are all things you or I might think. A two-year-old? 'They don't match!' she said.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Super Stretchy Cast Off

Having knit more Theolie's than perhaps a sane person should knit, I've had the opportunity to experiment with different cast off/bind off techniques. Theolie is a simple shawl, constructed largely of garter stitch, with a textured/lace border. Knit in alpaca it makes for a gloriously smooshy, squishy, comfortable shawl.

Theolie in Artesano Alpaca 4ply
The trouble with alpaca though, is that it has no memory. In this respect, I sometimes wonder if I am alpaca.

For the shawl pictured above, I worked the cast off as written in the pattern. For my next incarnation in the same yarn I tried various stitch combinations. Mostly I wanted to give structure to the edges whilst still being sufficient stretchy....what I finally came up with was really really stretchy….check out these points!

A second Theolie in Artesano Alpaca 4ply

So how is it done?

Firstly, use a needle one or two sizes larger than the main knitting. I used a needle two sizes larger (i.e. 1mm bigger). Then work the cast off row as follows:

1. K2.
2. Slip these 2sts back to the left needle.
3. K2togtbl.
4. K1.

You now have 2 sts on your right needle again so you can repeat steps 2-4 to the end of the row.

This edging was super stretchy and so I’d definitely recommend it if you’re having trouble getting a stretchy-enough cast off edge.

K2togtbl = knit two stitches together through the back of the loops.

Theolie pattern page on Ravelry

Monday, 14 February 2011

The Ministry of Marmelade

Around this time of year there's always a worried exchange of telephone calls between my husband and my father about the appearance of seville oranges in the supermarket aisles:

'Have you seen them yet?'
'No, but I'm on the lookout. Sorry, stakeout.'

Seville oranges, you see, can only be found for a week or so sometime in January or February. (This uncertainty in timing only serves to heighten already raised levels of anxiety.) Since the window of opportunity for marmelade making is short, one should not plan holidays around this time of year. If you marry someone who likes marmelade, you had better not enjoy the ski season.

I have numerous childhood memories of being forced to chop boiled oranges for the purposes of marmelade-making. As a result of this traumatic experience I now refuse to have anything to do with the process other than observe, record and make the occasional helpful comment such as 'You missed a pip' and 'Should the pan be boiling over like that?'

Nonetheless, there is something special about seeing the whole thing taking shape. There is a general buzz of excitement as oranges are boiled, chopped and re-boiled. (As long as you are not the one chopping of course).

The jars are heated and filled.  An animated discussion ensues about the ideal size vessel for a pot of marmelade. 

Slowly but surely the table is covered with warm jars of gleaming orange goo that will keep the breakfast tables happy for another year.


Tuesday, 1 February 2011


I posted last time about my general desire to finish stuff this year. I promptly followed this by casting on for a new project. Not an obvious manoeuvre in the circumstances I admit.

This foray into spontaneity was prompted by the appearance of Fleece by Kieran Foley, one of the patterns in the latest Knitty offering. It reminded me of this lonely old skein of sock yarn that I'd bought because I managed to successfully ignore the fact that I generally don't do stripey (or knit socks).
Noro Kureyon Sock
It occurred to me that I might have found the perfect use for that ball of wool. Until I started knitting that is. Upon picking up the needles I discovered that Monsieur Foley has you knit 15 times into one stitch (well actually it's a k3tog stitch but let's not be pedantic about it). Achieving this stitch correctly is no mean feat. For this reason I did what any sensible person would do and fudged it wherever possible.

Undeterred by having the wrong stitch count on almost every single row I forged on ahead. Another less adventurous knitter might have attempted to sort things out. Not me. I recognised a certain thrill in just carrying on regardless.  After all, I had resolved to 'finish stuff' had I not? And let's face it, we all know that going backwards is seriously detrimental to going forwards.

So it is that I am able to present a so-very-nearly-finished-I-can-almost-taste-it Fleece:

Saturday, 8 January 2011

New Year, New Resolution

I'm not a big one for New Year's Resolutions. I tend to shy away from making promises that I know I can't keep. This year is a little different though in that I have found a resolution I can stick to - 'finish stuff'. Whilst I realise that this is somewhat vague and non-specific, herein lies its appeal. There's bound to be some stuff that gets finished this year, after all.

First up, a pattern that I was working on in the late summer/early Autumn. It's a slouchy beret, which I named Double Crossed because of the pairs of stitches that criss cross the hat in a lattice fashion (and because I liked the double entendre). I realise it might have been more sensible to release it before Christmas, as it'd make an ideal last minute gift item, but life is just not like that at the moment. It's not so much a case of when is preferable, as when is possible.

I'm really pleased with this little beret and it has already served me well this winter, when 'FROZEN BRITAIN' hit the headlines.

I'll be making another, with added slouch this time, because I have a thing about hats....not least that I have the staying power to finish them.