Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Annika's Set

It wasn't as easy to find patterns for shorts and blouse on the internet as I thought it would be. But after a lot of browsing, I came up with a pattern here and another here.  The shorts look tiny, I hope they're going to fit! If not, I can make another pair because this time I had fabric left over.

I'm going to be away until the end of the week. I'm going to Port Elizabeth on the coast, a thousand kilometres away, for the national conference of the agricultural women's organisation I belong to. I hope to see some spectacular craftwork!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Plan B

I thought a metre and a half of fabric would be enough for a shorts-and-shirt set for a six year old. Wrong - again!
It didn't help that it's a one way print, but in truth, no matter how I fiddled, I wasn't going to get shorts and a shirt out. Luckily the pattern also has a skirt version, which did fit on the fabric, so I went with that. For once I even put the pockets in. A skirt is less practical than shorts, but there you go, life is the art of the possible.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Coming Up Short

I thought I had enough commercial cotton for two little blankets. I was wrong! I'll have to put this on hold until I go to town again and can get some more.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Stash Buster

I was blog hopping one day when I came across this pattern. It really appealed to me, so I bookmarked the page. Just as well because this week my son asked me to make two baby blankets for a friend of his who is expecting twins. I crocheted samples in wool, but decided that cotton would be better for babies who live in the Tropics. I have a bag of handspun cotton scraps in an array of colours, this would be a good way to use them up. I've used commercial cotton for the main colour and combined it with the coloured handspun cotton.

The pattern crochets the blanket lengthwise so that the ends can be finished off as tassels. I'm not a great fan of tassels (as I've said before) and I think tassels in baby's face are really not a good idea. So I worked the stripes sideways. This also enabled me to use shorter pieces of handspun. I worked the natural treble stitches back and forth, rather than ending off each row, which gives a more zig zag look than the original, but gave me fewer ends to sew in. I crocheted an edging, which isn't in the original pattern, but I see a number of commentators on the pattern said they did the same.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

No Comment!

I took my tablet to town with me today so I could follow my usual blog trail while I was waiting around. It half worked - I could read blogs but couldn't comment. It would defeat my object to go through it all again now, so you'll have to take it as read!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


Having finished the socks for next year's competition, I took a look at the crochet section. The brief is to make a 'Mandala cushion'. The competition booklet says, "The word Mandala means magic circle in Sanskrit. Mandala art consists of patterns and symbols worked in concentric circles and arranged to achieve a symmetric and kaleidoscopic effect". Right.

 There's a long list of requirements for the cushion.  I've been looking at patterns -  on Ravelry, on Pinterest and following blog trails. I can't find a single pattern that will meet all the specs but I think I can combine patterns and make something unique.

 An eagle eyed friend of mine pointed out that it 'recommends' that you use more than one kind of crochet yarn. Plan B required because I had thought I could dye the cotton thread I bought and use it throughout. So in this experiment I've used the bought cotton yarn for the flower and handspun cotton for the leaves. I have thread I bought for tatting that I can incorporate. My idea for the flower is to dye a different shade of the same colour for each layer.

I"m going to a craft group meeting this afternoon, so I will take along the socks and this experiment and see what feedback I get.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Jane's New Heart

This is Jane Eborall's Fandango Heart. I'm not planning to make a doily out of it, I just want to attach it to Isabel's dress.When I glanced at the pattern, I thought it would require Catherine Wheel joins, but no, Jane has cleverly put strategic little rings so that ordinary joins do the job. Here is a link to the pattern.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Pair

The socks are done! Hot off the needles. To recap: the pattern is Anelmaiset by Anelma Kervinen, which I adapted. I found it on Ravelry. The yarn is wool which I spun on my Ashford Traveller and dyed. The project took two weeks to complete. The socks are for a knitting competition next year, so it'll be a while before I get any idea what the judges think. Scroll down to see how the project progressed.

Friday, July 15, 2016

More Sock Pictures

I thought that if I knitted all evening, I'd be well on my way to finishing the second sock. Mmm. Maybe so, but if you're making mistakes like dropping stitches, it's a sign that you'd better stop knitting!
The advantage of knitting multicolour patterns is that you soon realise there's a mistake when the colours don't line up as they should.

I've been knitting the multicolour parts with the sock inside out. But there are some parts of the sock, the slipped stitch sections for instance, that have to be worked from the right side. I've learnt how to turn the sock with the minimum of fuss. The secret is to keep the needles still and pull the fabric through:

At one stage I tried putting the needles through, but they poked into the fabric and that was that.

I've retrieved the dropped stitch and now it's onward towards the toes.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Pattern for Small Leaf

I'm still working on the second sock, just got to the heel. So instead of showing 'more of the same', I'm writing down the pattern for the small knitted leaf. Someone else might like to use it and this acts as a 'backup' in case I lose my scribbled piece of paper. It's based on a leaf by Cyntergomes.livejournal.com but is much smaller and simpler. Using 3.25 mm needles and approximately double knit yarn, it measures 5 cm from base to tip.

K: knit, P purl, S2PO, slip 2 stitches together, knit 1, pass 2 slipped stitches over, M1: make 1 stitch by picking up the loop between stitches.

Cast on 6 stitches
Row 1: K6, cast on 5 stitches.
Row 2: K5, P1, K5.
Row 3: K1, M1, K3, S2PO, K3, M1, K1
Row 4: As row 2
Row 5: As row 3.
Row 6: As row 2
Row 7: Knit
Row 8: As row 2
Row 9: K4, S2PO, K4
Row 10: K4, P1, K4
Row 11: K3, S2PO, K3
Row 12: K3, P1, K3
Row 13: K2, S2PO, K2
Row 14: K2, P1, K2
Row 15: K1, S2PO, K1
Row 16: P3 together.
Fasten off.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Working On Sock Two

Thanks for all the comments yesterday. I'd been working so closely on the sock that I'd lost sight of how spectacular it is!

It's pleasant working on the second sock without having to make decisions about colour combinations or how to adapt the pattern.

Monday, July 11, 2016

One Sock

Right, I've finished one Anelmaiset sock. It turned out that my 35 times round the niddy noddy was stingy, I would've run out of dyed yarn if I hadn't used a lot of natural in the foot part.

In the original pattern, the flowers and leaves are crocheted, but that won't do for a knitting competition. I had a look on Ravelry and found hundreds of patterns for knitted flowers. For the flower I used a tutorial by Julie Taylor. The leaf pattern is adapted from a pattern on Cyntergomes.livejournal.com. The original is much too big for my purposes, so I knitted it until I had figured out the principle involved and then I made a smaller version.

Friday, July 8, 2016


The good thing about knitting with five needles is that you can try the sock on during the knitting process. I'd done a fair bit of decreasing when I tried the sock on and found it had to be forced over my heel! No, no, that won't do. Knitting is much easier to undo than tatting, thankfully.   I unraveled my work until I had 60 stitches, tried it on again, thumbs up. So yesterday's neat calculations that the heart pattern would fit exactly no longer apply. I thought I had figured out how to fit the chart to the number of stitches, but didn't get it right - more unraveling. It wasn't made any easier by the fact that I'm knitting the fairisle parts of the sock inside out, to avoid pulling the floats too tight. So progress is slow at the moment, but I'm working at it!

Thursday, July 7, 2016


After all that preparation, I am now knitting the first sock. I'm working on one sock at a time because it's rather experimental and if I make a mistake or change my mind about colours, I don't want to have to undo two lots. I'm writing down what I do so I can knit the second sock without referring to the first sock. Neatly, it turns out the my version in thinner yarn requires the Anelmaiset leg chart to be knitted twice. I'm going to work a mirror image, starting and ending with hearts. I have 80 stitches at the top and will have 48 at the ankle, both of which are divisible by the 8 stitches of the heart motif. Neat, again.

I was a bit disconcerted to read on the pattern that I must look at youtube to find the pattern for the flowers in a row stitch. I think a pattern should be complete, especially one you pay for. Anyway, I did find it, and found a written version. I knitted a sample, but I decided not to use it because it pulled the knitting in and wasn't very elastic. Instead, I'm using boucle wool that I spun for my poncho and didn't use. The specifications for the competition mention 'texture', and I think the boucle will fit that requirement.

If you peer at the picture, you can see that my arrangement of stitches on the needles is very uneven. That's because leaving them as they are helps me keep track of the decreasing. Once I have the final number of stitches, I'll rearrange the stitches more evenly.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Calculations

First the swatch. I started with stocking stitch with a garter stitch border, 10 stitches and 10 rows. I think the fabric looks fine, the needle size is right for the thickness of the yarn. So I knitted another 10 rows in stranded knitting. I measured carefully and the stranding doesn't affect the measurements significantly. The next thing was to measure my leg - below the knee where the sock will finish; around the widest part of my leg; and around the foot. After that came a lot of scribbling:
The calculations are not very difficult: 10 stitches = 4 cm, so 10/4 = 1 cm, so 10/4 x 33 = 33 cm. That gives 82.5, which isn't very practical, so 80 stitches it is. And so on, until I had worked out a plan for the leg part of my sock.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Yarn

I spun and plyed about 150 g wool on my spinningwheel, then wound it into eight skinny skeins, 35 times round the niddy noddy instead of my usual 50. I dyed three dyelots in my microwave and hung it all in the Winter sun:
When it was dry, I wound it into balls:
Four balls for one sock and four for the other, so I don't run the risk of using up too much on the first sock and running out on the second.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Introducing Anelmaiset

I have the specifications for next year's knitting competition. The brief is to make knee high socks for a teenage girl. Right. I have found a pattern, Anelmaiset, designed by Anelma Kervinen, and obtained it with a bit of help from my daughter. I think it fits the various criteria given.

My first step was to use scraps of various thickness from my stash of handspun wool to knit swatches. To achieve the specified gauge, I had to use very thick wool and 5 mm needles. Hmm. Given that much of the sock is worked in stranded knitting, that would make it very thick and heavy. I don't think that will do. Plan B required. I'm spinning a finer yarn and will adjust the stitch count.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Isabel's Dress

This is a tiny bit shorter than my written measurements say it should be - turns out I was a bit stingy when I bought fabric. I think it will be fine, unless Isabel has grown rapidly since March. I'm leaving off the sash and bow of the original pattern because I want this to be a put-on-and-go, easy to wear, Summer dress, no footling with bows.

Friday, July 1, 2016


My big box of patterns is in storage, I have a very meagre collection here. This pattern is from my aunt's stash. It's very old, but I think it's classic and pretty. It is, I hope, also simple enough that I can use it to draft a smaller size. I have Isabel's measurements. So I just need to take a deep breath and get on with it.