Frog in knots

Knitting, knots and frogging.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

A Sneak Preview

Well, the coat's finished - sort of. I still have all the ends to sew in and the lining to do, but I figured you'd rather have a sneak preview than wait until I have it all done. I may take some time to get it totally finished. I can't get to the craft warehouse for the lining material until next week and then it's how long it will take me to do it. Sewing isn't my forte and I have to get used to a new sewing machine first. I also need some form of fastening for it. I saw some ornate silver fastenings ages ago that I think would look great, but I don't know if I can still get them. Otherwise it might be a duffle style button up, it just depends what I can get. You'll have to excuse the dodgy photos, I used the timer on my camera and looked rather startled in most of them.

This is the back, I pulled it tight around me so you could see the diamond effect. The squares are sewn horizontally/vertically, but they look diagonal. I'm really pleased with how it's turned out so far and am really looking forward to getting it done completely.

I have a few squares left over from when I made it smaller. I'm contemplating putting pockets on the fronts, as I think they are handy, but I don't want to ruin how it looks. I also have enough to make a bag, but it might be overkill to go trotting round with both together.

I was really worried that the hood had turned out too big, but I like it and it was the look I was going for. It looks a lot better than the first hood which literally just fitted around my head and looked a little odd.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Knitting Nemesis

This is the coat that never ends, it just goes on and on my friend…

Every now and then you come across a project that shrinks, not in the wash, but on the needles. No matter how much you knit it just seems to get shorter and shorter, even though you checked it with the tape measure only an hour ago.

This was mine. I knitted the exact same pattern a few months ago and that too seemed to be the same, but not to the same extent. I’m starting to swear the Knitting Pixies are coming in and frogging it in the night. Hmm maybe they should get their work ethic from the Shoemaker’s Elves instead.

Baby items usually only take me 2-3 days and I’d cry if I worked out how long this has taken. I was delayed even further, I had to out this morning to get some new bodkin needles to sew it together. The Knitting Pixies appear to be taking them on their frequent visits. It still needs buttons but they will have to wait for my craft warehouse expedition next week. I’m probably going to go for wooden toggles again, but I might chose a slightly darker stain.

Since I couldn’t finish it last night I cast on for a Branching Out from Knitty and did a few pattern repeats. You know what they say about idle hands so I thought I’d better occupy them. It’s for a friend’s birthday. It’s another mystery yarn job from my stash. I was planning on going out to get something exciting for it, but this is pretty similar to what I would have chosen anyway. It’s two shades of green with a slight sheen.

It took me ages to get going as I always have to translate the American terms into English ones and I fiddled around with a few different decreases as I didn’t like the one given, but once I got going it grew pretty quickly. I’m not sure how long I’m going to make it, either as far as the yarn will go or before it gets ridiculous. I hate making nice stuff, I never want to part with it.

I’ve finished my muffler too, but it doesn’t look that much different to the last photo and needs buttons, so it didn’t warrant a photo. It will come in really useful under my skiing jackets, they’re the pull over the head type and a pain to wear a long scarf with and too drafty without.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Jedi Coat

Last winter I really wanted a full length crocheted coat. I had some nice patterns for coats, but none were quite what I was looking for. I found this coat pattern on t’internet and decided to adapt it and make it longer. I also added in side panels to make the bottom more flowy and fitted around my hips. It’s basically a lot of afghan squares sewn together and rows of double treble connecting certain parts. I did actually finish it around the time of the last Star Wars film and was met with lots of laughter from my friends as it ended up looking suspiciously like a Jedi cloak (it was an unfortunate coincidence and accident).

I’d asked Les, my trusty yarn dealer to get me 4 kilos of black Aran weight yarn. I wanted to double it to make it really thick. Black is notoriously difficult
for him to get, especially in Aran in those quantities but he’s a top bloke and true to form he managed to get it. He had made a slight mistake. He hadn’t looked at it closely until he got it home when he realised that it was black, navy blue and bottle green twisted together. He was really worried that I wouldn’t like it, but I thought it was fantastic. The blend is 75% acrylic and 25% new wool. I think it looks a lot better than just plain black which has a habit of looking quite flat and matt looking. In fact I love it!

Once it was finished I decided it was too long, it was brushing the floor and I didn’t want to ruin it by dragging it around on the ground outside. It was also long in the arms. I also wanted to make the hood bigger. It just fitted my head, but stylistically I wanted it to look more like the hood on the Scottish Widows cloak. This summer I pulled it apart and took off the longer bits and am in the process of putting it back together. With the recent bad weather it’s encouraging me to get it done. I’m also planning to line it a bottle green fabric. This is the current state of it, but I’m hoping to have the crocheting done in the next two weeks and the lining shortly after.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

It's cold ouside

Brrrrrrrr. Its really starting to get cold here. It's dropping to as low as -7 at night and there has been a thick fog lingering for the past few days. Snow has been forecast for the end of the week, winter has definitely set in and it's here to stay.

I've finished the hot water bottle cover that I was making for a friend's birthday. I think it's a really fitting gift for this time of year, especially given the weather.

I'm not too happy about this one and I don't know why. I'm going to leave it for a few days and look at it again. It will either grow on me, or I will find a way to change it. I've still got a week or two to make something else if I decide I really don't like it.

I've also been working on this muffler in open twisted rib. It's in mystery yarn that I bought a few years ago as an odd ball for teaching someone to knit. It's thicker than chunky weight, but not as thick as 'Big Wool'. It caught my eye when I was stash diving for something else, so I decided to experiment.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Oh the Potterbilities...

Just got back from seeing the new Harry Potter film. It was fantastic. Knitting features very heavily in the costumes making it cooler than ever. That will teach my mates to mock, I always told them we knitters had it sussed. Now if I can just decide which sweater I want...

Harry Potter

It seems like every knitter jumped on the band wagon and made a Harry Potter scarf. Some of us remained faithful and went with Gryffindor, while others on the dark side went for Slytherin. It wasn’t long after I finished mine that the next film came out and they had changed the design. CURSES! However, I wasn’t willing to make another, I hate making scarves and I’d just made two, one for me and one for a friend.

I deviated a lot from the norm. I didn’t have the time or the yarn to make them both double sided in st-st, so I went for fisherman’s rib so it wouldn’t curl. I also decided not to add a fringe as I thought it would be a bit much with the patches *cough* couldn’t be bothered *cough*. I bought the embroidered patches in the Warner Bros. store and ironed them onto the reverse side (it’s smoother). Mine is going all bobbly and pilled because it keeps catching on the Velcro of my jacket fastening, but my friend’s is still looking quite neat and tidy.

I’ve got my cinema tickets booked for tonight and you can guarantee I’ll be there in my scarf battering small children out of the way with my Hedwig handbag so I can get good seats.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


We got builders in fitting a new kitchen and it’s been non-stop hassle all day. We had them ripping out the old kitchen and then electricians drilling into the walls and rewiring. There’s dust everywhere. They’ve been driving me potty and as I’ve been distracted, so has my knitting. I’m still knitting the navy baby jacket and I feel like it’s taking forever. I got the sleeves cast off earlier, but I couldn’t face doing the hood. Definitely new project time.

I’m still working on the baby cape a few inches each day, but that didn’t appeal to me either. I dragged out a crochet coat that I started last winter and couldn’t face that, so I started another hot water bottle cover. I’ve got another friend’s birthday coming up and I learnt my lesson last year when I made different projects for different people and they all wanted what the other ones had. Em, if you’re reading this you really are getting something different.

I’m personalising it for the recipient like I did with the last one. Jen is mad on lizards and has lizard everything around her home – everything except a hand-knitted hot water bottle cover of course! I’ve done a chart for the lizard, but rather than knit it in (and pull my hair out in the process), I’ve decided to swiss darn it on later. Here's the front so far, there will be another band above the yellow panel, the back will be plain green and i'll probably cable the neck again.

I’m not sure whether I like it or not, the yellow and black band is bothering me and I’m starting to wonder if it’s a bit over the top on colour. I’ll see how it looks when I’ve finished the whole front and if I still don’t like it I’ll rip it back and reconsider.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


I went to the local library today; it’s only a tiny and nothing special. I usually get Evil Librarian stalking me in case I dare touch her precious books, but lucked out today. Despite being renovated it has stayed open and she was busy glaring at builders getting dust on the carpet.

Since I’ve worked my way through the craft section I decided to explore the computer network to see if I could get something else brought in from another library for some more inspiration. I was amazed to find they had some books in I hadn’t seen. Three were brand new books, bought in for the new Parent’s Section and another had just been transferred in. It had been sat in another local library for 2 years and hadn’t been borrowed by anybody. Probably because they were hiding it in a parenting section, rather than putting it in the craft section where normal people would be likely to look for it. Either way I have 4 new books to look through.

‘Candy Tots’ by Candi Jensen (crochet)
‘Baby Knits for Beginners’ by Debbie Bliss
‘Nursery Knits’ by Zoë Mellor
‘Adorable Knits for Tiny Tots’ by Zoë Mellor

First impressions of the books I’ve borrowed:

Candy Tots – I was really disappointed with this. Her idea of colour and design is a bit psychedelic seventies, but there are one or two things that could be toned down and modified.

Baby Knits – Although simple, DB proves that less is more with a fresh take on classic shapes. Two designs have taken my eye that I’ll be sure to make. It’s just a shame her sizing is so off for the ages given.

Nursery Knits – some really cute stuff for around the nursery and some cute sweaters.

Adorable Knits – Really modern shapes and designs and much cuteness inside.

I own hundreds of baby knitting patterns as it is, not only mine, but my mother’s and her mother’s, but in general I’m looking for stuff that’s a bit more modern. I don’t always follow the patterns, more look for inspiration, but it’s nice to see what’s out there. I’ve seen enough today to set my brain ticking and hopefully get some stash-busting done.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Is it just me, or is this enough to make any knitter's heart sink?

You cast off that final piece and sew it up and think that’s it, but then you remember that you’ve got all those ends to sew in. It’s my most hated part of knitting, I’d happily pay someone to do it for me. This was supposed to be today’s task, to get it all over and done with, but I just couldn’t face it. The cardigan has been sat for weeks in my ‘to do’ tub and quite frankly I’ve been avoiding it for a while.

To be perfectly honest I’m in no rush. It’s a Debbie Bliss pattern from ‘New Baby Knits’ and therefore HUGE. It’s my own fault for not looking properly. Miss Not-so-Bliss gives ages as well as sizes and stupid me looked at the age a few weeks before starting the pattern, decided to do the bigger size and then rushed into starting it weeks later. I’d completely forgotten that the chest size was 28” for a 9-12 month old!!! In reality it will probably fit the kid in question at age 7. I could smack myself round the head over it. Still it’s done and now I just have to find a little girl to go in it. It has to be a girl as there are hearts across the top, you couldn’t tell what they were in the chart and once they were done I was really disappointed. I do think they look nice but I was hoping for something a bit more unisex. I don’t know many 7 year old boys that would happily walk round in it - not even for a bet!

I altered the given pattern, the sleeves were supposed to be done with the pattern all the way up like the fronts, but I thought it was a bit over the top *cough* couldn’t be bothered *cough*. I do think it looks a lot better like this, it would be far too busy otherwise. It’s worked in matt black and white DK acrylic.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Patriotic Crafting

These days it’s not very cool to be British, especially not English. Nobody complains when the Scots or Welsh wave their flags with pride, but the English are being told to take theirs down from buildings as it is offensive. It seems that the Union flag has been snatched by racists and the Cross of St George has been nabbed by football fans. With a bad reputation for football hooliganism in Europe, neither flags are welcome
on the continent nor so it seems on our very own shores.

With Remembrance Sunday only yesterday, it was humbling to see the Servicemen and women laying tribute to their fallen comrades. Those brave men and women fought under the Union Flag, fought for the freedom we take for granted. That flag symbolises everything they fought for and it’s about time we claimed that back. I’m proud to be British, and I’ll be waving my flag with pride.

I crocheted this bag in January; I made it up as I went along. It probably wasn’t the easiest way to come up with the flag (and I’ve seen better charts since), but I wanted it to be correct with the crosses of St Andrew and St Patrick in the right place. I worked in dc and made the cross of St George first and then worked diagonally for the others. The flag forms the flap that comes over the bag. The flag and inner are in DK weight and the back and sides are in Aran weight, both acrylic. The very kind lady in the haberdashery stall on the market managed to find the twisted cords for me. I haven’t lined it yet as I’m not sure what I want to do with it. I think I’d like to strengthen the base and sides to make them more rigid, but it’s not a priority right now.

I have several friends of other nationalities and they are super
proud of where they come from. Two friends in particular Jenny and Nick were married last year and are currently incubating a Canadian/Welsh bean. Knowing how proud each of them is of their heritage I knitted two jumpers for the baby when it arrives so he or she can celebrate each half of their heritage.

Both charts were knitted onto an existing jumper patter that I had. For round neck jumpers I prefer to put an opening on each side to make it neater looking than with just one, and it makes it easier for Mum. Unfortunately the photos were taken before the buttons were put on. I used red/white/green for the Welsh one and red/white/red for the Canadian one. These were some of my first attempts at colour work and I found it awkward to do the twisting and stranding without pulling it too tight. I decided to make it a design feature *cough* I screwed up *cough* and say it was to make the dragon look textured and scaly. The Welsh chart I made myself using a dragon picture I found on the internet and Knitting Graph Paper.

The Canadian flag chart can be found here, there is also a crochet chart for it here.

Wherever you are, wave your flag with pride!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Knit one, snore too

When it comes to the likes of Brad Pitt I certainly wouldn’t kick him out of bed for eating toast. I did have a terrible thought the other day though – would he kick me out of bed for knitting? I’m sure it’s a sign of an obsession gone too far when I even have a project on the go that I specifically knit in bed. Can you tell I’m single? Granted it usually depends on how good my current book is, but still I get a bit done here and there.

At the moment I’m working on a chunky weight baby cardigan in a multi coloured mohair content yarn. The complete content is a bit of a mystery as again it’s been a keeper in my stash for a long time. This pattern was one of the first garments I made in my early years of knitting, it was in this yarn too. I’m a bit short of it this time, so I bought some plain pink. The closest match was in acrylic, but as i’m only using it for the rib, bands and collar I’m not too bothered and think it may actually look better than my earlier effort.

It’s made in Trinity stitch and I love the way the pinks, lilacs and blues merge together, it's very soft to the touch too. It may be a while before I get it finished unless I learn to knit in my sleep…..

The pattern is from Patons Classic Baby Collection. I'm doing the 18" size which takes 250g chunky yarn and has an actual measurement of 23".

Saturday, November 12, 2005

If you go down to the woods today


Here's Cockvell in his final incarnation. Think his head came out a bit small, but I wasn't too
bothered. I didn't rip back the full 5 rounds, just 3, but think maybe 2 would have been better. I pulled the neck in internally rather than wrapping around as I thought it looked neater. I went for an Air Farce roundel for a target and swiss darned it on. His face makes me laugh every time I see it. I get the feeling i'll have a small army of these soon.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Da da da da da da Superbaby!

Here’s another WIP, it’s a cape for my friend Jenny’s bean. I'm working in white 4 ply acrylic. She’d asked me initially to make her a blanket, but since her Mum has already crocheted a number of them and Jenny has taken up knitting and made two herself, I decided to do something a bit different.

This is the pattern as it is in the book, ‘The Baby Knitting and Crochet Book’, a compilation of Peter Pan patterns for WHSmith in 1983. I altered the stitch pattern slightly as the one in the book was sending me cross-eyed. I’ve already done a matinee set in this stitch so it’s been pretty easy going as it's similar to the one given. It’s made in 3 parts with a garter stitch yoke and hood. I'm slightly worried that this is a bit more girly than the other but it shouldn't matter for such a little one. It may even come in for dress up when the bean turns into a tot.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Beware the Judderman... dear, when the moon is fat.

I’ve been looking at the WIPs of the other Jujuites and everybody seems to have picked some really cheerful colours. I knew I didn’t want mine to be black, but the baby pink in my stash didn’t seem quite right either.

For some strange reason mine reminds me of the Judderman from the Metz ad campaign just before he changes. It’s the scariest ad ever to be shown on UK tv and showed an creepy man tempting people off into the woods to go and drink Metz. Scary stuff indeed when you consider how much like paint stripper it tastes. The whole project has quite a scary theme, on the needles it looks more like something that should be hanging from the trees in the Blair Witch Project than a knitting project.

Here he is, thus far perfectly ‘armless! He says a lot more turned upside down at the moment.

I’ll give him some arms tomorrow as other more pressing WIPs are calling tonight.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I know what you did last summer...

Well it’s hard not to when you’re 7 months pregnant. That’s not me by the way, it’s my friends. Talk about an advert for what you’ve been up to ;)

Both Jenny and Nicky are due in January, only 2 weeks apart. I used to work with both of their husbands (and Jenny, but I don’t remember us two doing much work wise).

Since I found out Jenny was expecting I’ve turned into a veritable human knitting machine, churning out a lot of stuff in the last 6 months. I love baby knitting, it’s instantly gratifying and so cute too. Here’s what’s on the go at the moment.

Hooded coat in Fisherman’s rib, size 18”, actual size 23”, 200g DK from Patons Classic Baby Collection. Working in navy blue for Nicky, she already knows she’s having a boy. I've already made it in cream for Jenny. I wouldn’t normally knit the same thing for 2 people who know each other (especially since they live so close), but Nicky especially liked this and Jenny doesn’t mind. I've done the back and am currently working on the fronts.

I know acrylic isn’t very glam but I’m a big believer in it for baby clothes, it’s easy care for a new Mum when there’s more to worry about than washing instructions.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

You are the weakest link.....

I was innocently knitting away yesterday when I got a call on my mobile. It was a frantic call from my friend Jenny insisting I turn on the t.v. to BBC2. I was surprised, but I did as she asked only to find my old boss on ‘The Weakest Link’ in the process of being humiliated by Anne.

It was nice to know there is justice in the world and even nicer to have someone making him feel as small as he made many of those that worked for him feel. In all fairness he did get to the final 3, but got thrown off after a devious pair plotted against him. There’s nothing like the great big karma stick in the sky taking control once in a while.

Just in case it isn’t justice enough I’ll still be going ahead with my
Bad Juju doll from the Anticraft (online goth craft magazine), while I might not end up sticking pins in it, I can hate with every stitch and get it all out of my system by the time I’m done. Of course my halo might slip occasionally, but who will know but him….

It's in mystery yarn from my stash, left over from a sweater I made over 10 years ago. It's black and platinum twisted together and slightly fuzzy. It's supposed to be DK but feels a bit finer so i've doubled it.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Life on a whim

I finished this hot water bottle cover on Friday. As usual when I’m making something for somebody I was still finishing it when the friend in question, Lizzy, was on her way to retrieve it. It’s very bad of me, but it was a birthday present. “Nothing wrong with that”, I hear you say. Only her birthday was in May.

Lizzy is a whirlwind of excitement and lives in Edinburgh a.k.a. Lizzy's Creek, because her life is like a teen drama. It isn't her mind, but the people she associates with that create the chaos. Or so we thought....

I got a phone call from her not so long ago

L: Rain, guess where I am?

R: At home?

L: No, I’m in Canada! It’s amazing! I’m dropping out of my PhD and moving here forever!

R: -silence-

L: So whaddya think?

Having spent the previous year hearing about the PhD crisis, where to study, who would fund it, was it the right project and so on I must admit I wasn’t exactly sure that this was a good thing.

R: Are you sure? What about your PhD?

L: Oh forget that, this is better. Trust me, I’ve thought about it and it’s not on a whim.

Overnight she’d gone from wanting to be Dr. Lizzy to moving in with a Canadian rock star, by all accounts, NOT, I stress, on a whim.

Well as life has it, time has passed and she has a visa and some plane tickets. She’s obviously thought about it some more and still wants to go as much as ever, so I’ve thrown away all notion of ever having a brain surgeon for a friend and am embracing it for all it’s worth. Just thought this might help her survive a Canadian winter.

Made from DK acrylic, not quite as radioactive red as it looks (forgot to turn off the flash).

Canadian Flag Chart

Deer pinched from ‘Simple Knits for Little Cherubs’ by Erika Knight.

Neck done in cabled rib (alternate 2 and 4 stitch).

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Remind me how old I am.

I’m 26 today. I know that isn’t ‘terribly’ old, but I’ve got a funny feeling something isn’t right. I thought about this the other day. I’m the one sitting knitting, in a rocking chair, covered in an afghan that I crocheted myself while my elderly mother (she’d kill me for saying that) is out on the town with her friends drinking and gambling (well, ok a bit of bingo at the Social Club), but still I’m sure it’s supposed to be the other way around. Only maybe with something a bit more exciting than bingo and a small sweet sherry. I think I need to get out more.

The offending afghan....

Notable presents include:

A sewing machine
A croquet set (don't ask)
Armwarmers - handknit from Uttams in London, made from 100% wool and fleece lined. Toasty warm and ideal for me. I love the cream and green combo. They even match the blog!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Run for your life!

I don’t know what I’m doing. I've started a blog by mistake and now I have to try and fill it, not least with something interesting to other knitters. It’s time to face facts; my friends just can’t take any more knitting talk.

I really ought to start with a confession. I’m a bad knitter. I ought to have my needles snapped and my yarn tied in unknitable knots. I do things that would make good knitters’ toes curl in horror. I make no apologies for knitting things worthy of You Knit What? Their motto is, “Friends don’t let friends knit ugly”. Well mine do, and then laugh at me when I wear my fug in public. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not horrible people, they’ve just got bad mothers who didn’t teach them knit when they were little. You'll see what I mean soon, just give it time.

Well, you can’t say I didn’t warn you.