Saturday, April 30, 2016


Enough procrastination, I got on and finished off my cardigan, ready for Winter. The weather forecast for today said it would be cold and windy, so I thought I'd be wearing it today, but in practice the day is sunny and warm! That's fine, I'm happy to wait a bit longer before I wear the cardigan.

Thursday, April 28, 2016


I've picked up too many stitches for the first buttonband. But is it bad enough to need redoing? I was planning to have coffee with a knitting neighbour this morning and ask her opinion. Instead I've spent all morning trying to fill in on-line forms, a frustrating business! I'll have coffee with Dorie tomorrow.

I have been working on the curds and whey edging. I'm in the mood for repetitive tatting.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

You Win Some...

I was away when the craft competition I'd entered was held, so I had to wait until yesterday's craft group meeting to get my results in full. My poncho won the crochet section! So it will go forward to the national competition later in the year.  The hat came second in the beginner's machine sewing section. It was a bit cheeky of me to enter the beginner section, but technically I could do that because I'd never won a place for sewing - so I won't be able to enter it again. My cardigan didn't feature. Competition in the knitting section is fierce and apparently my finishing techniques were not up to scratch. The judges did give some very positive comments, but said the setting in of the sleeves needed attention and they thought my casting on was too loose. So there you go. I will get a little trophy for the poncho but haven't received it yet. 

Here's a reminder of what the entries looked like:

At the meeting yesterday, we had a speaker to tell us about 'molecular gastronomy'. It was interesting, especially the idea that you can do some of techniques at home, but I don't think I'm going to be making basil pearls any time soon. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Back to Black

I'm working on the front bands of my black cardigan. The finish line is in sight!

Friday, April 22, 2016


Rather that wrap the blanket in paper that is just going to be thrown away, I've made a fabric bag to present it in. The drawstring bag is lined and has plastic pockets, so I hope it will be just as useful as the little blanket.

An Idea

I know, I know, the cardigan is waiting to be sewn together. But I just 'had to' try out an idea. Melissa Leapman says that if you knit stocking stitch with a magic ball made with knots, the knots will all go to the purl side. I imagined making a blanket and then lining it with fabric to hide the knots. Then I had a brainwave - how about doing double knitting, so that a lining was knitted at the same time and the knots would be between the layers? I had to look up my instructions for double knitting again, in Knit Now magazine, issue 17. It would require some practice to get the tension right, and my first colour changes are rather rough, but it basically works:

Thursday, April 21, 2016


I crocheted a border around the little blanket to finish it off. I did the border before I sewed the ends in, to avoid pulling out the ends as I picked up stitches along the edge:
That's before, here's after:
Why did I sew the ends in all at once? Well, I only had to find my needle and scissors once and make one trip to the dustbin!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

What is a Magic Ball?

I read about the 'magic ball' in Melissa Leapman's book stashbuster knits. Basically you join a lot of short lengths of yarn and then knit with them. Melissa describes two ways of joining the pieces. The first is to knot them:
Melissa says she trims the knots to about 1.5 cm and that in stocking stitch knitting, all the knots will come to the reverse side.
The other method is a Russian join.
You link two pieces of yarn and then thread each yarn back through itself:
The effort involved doesn't seem to me much different from normal threading in ends! The only advantage would be that it's done before knitting.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Rippling On

There are going to be a lot of ends to sew in. But let's face it, if you're using up scraps you're going to have to deal with ends one way or another. One day I'm going to try a 'magic ball' where you join all the bits before you start. In the meantime I'm having fun with colours and resigned to sewing in the ends when I've finished.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Colour Therapy

I have finished knitting all the parts of my black cardigan but haven't yet put them together. After weeks of working with black, I need some colour in my life! I also need a gift for a baby shower at the end of the week. I'm using up my handspun wool scraps to make a pram blanket.

I had to learn to read a crochet chart to make this. I've been using knitting charts for years but never managed to get the hang of crochet charts. The pattern on only given in a chart and since this pattern is just what I was looking for, that was the incentive I needed to learn how to follow a chart. I can use quite short bits of wool, especially for the narrow rows, which makes this pattern perfect for using up scraps. 

Friday, April 15, 2016


The weather has warmed up so much that I'm wondering if it was necessary to knit so diligently to finish my cardigan before Winter! But half way through the second sleeve is not the right time to lose momentum. Onward, onward I go.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Moon Flowers

I have made a start to the second sleeve but it's not terribly interesting so I thought I'd show these flowers that are blooming just outside my front door. We call them moon flowers because they open in the evening and close when the sun comes up. Don't ask me the proper name or botanical name for them! Jack grew the creeper from a slip from a neighbour's garden. The creeper will be frosted in Winter and disappear, but it should reappear next Spring.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

One Sleeve

The first sleeve is done. I took it outside to photograph in an attempt to show the pattern better. Black is not only tricky to work with, it's difficult to photograph too!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Monday, April 11, 2016

Starting the Sleeve

I didn't knit much over the weekend. But last night I started knitting the first sleeve. I spent so much time this morning correcting mistakes that really I'd have been better to just start today! Black is not easy to work with at night and the sleeve has three cables, plus the increases, so requires more concentration than I was giving it. Lesson learnt? I'd like to think so, but probably not.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Working on the Front

I am making progress. I like knitting garments in the round, but I must say there's something to be said for short rows that zip along. Even if you have to start again once that section is finished! The weather has been cold for the last couple of days, a reminder that Winter is on its way, which is an incentive to keep knitting. Andrew Marvell's 'Time's winged chariot hurrying near' is the quotation that comes to mind.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016


I'm making good progress on the right front of my cardigan, but it's not all that interesting, so I thought I'd show you the petunias blooming outside my diningroom window. I like the way the stripey flowers have the colours in reverse of each other. More or less! Here's a picture of the bed

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Right Front

I'm knitting the right front of my cardigan. I like the lace-and-cable pattern. It's a simple pattern, but adds some texture to the fabric and interest to the knitting.

Monday, April 4, 2016


I've finished knitting the back of my cardigan. I've made it 6 cm longer than the pattern. I thought the original looked a bit too cropped for comfort.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

A Hat for Koala

The hat is not really for the koala, of course, it's for the baby. I made a hat for his older brother, who wore it until he outgrew it. So I thought little brother might like one too.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Karl the Koala

I turned Karla into Karl by leaving off the pink heart of the pattern. So here he is, in all his glory!

I really must rid myself of the notion that I can whip one of these toys up in a jiffy. They take many hours and a fair bit of concentration. I'd like to make more amigurumi toys from the book, but next time I'll allow plenty of time and plenty of yarn!