Frog in knots

Knitting, knots and frogging.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Heavens Above

I decided to give my Starsky it's debut today and I wore it out to town. While taking a wee rest on a bench I was tag team god-squaded. One I can handle, but ganging up on me just isn't fair. I'm afraid my tolerance only lasts as long as, "No thank you, I'm not interested," three times over politely before the full force of how unamused I am comes through. As they walked off one of them told me I was living my life in darkness.

It looks pretty illuminated to me!

Sorry folks, but that is indeed more glorious sunshine in my neck of the woods. Just promise you won't zoom in, the bags under my eyes are more like suitcases at the moment.

It's made in Woolcraft Aran in cream with flecks of orange, lime and brown in it. It's 75% acrylic /25% new wool and took just under 600g, at £3.99 for a 400g ball it's been a bargain knit and I still have enough left to make a baby aran.

I'm not entirely enamoured with it, after the very fitted style of D.M.B.L.B? this feels a little potato sacky. If I made it again (doubtful) I'd add some shaping into the sides. I need to sew down the back of the shawl collar so it sits in the right place, it will drive me nuts if I don't. I also want to change the beltloops as I don't like them as given in the pattern. If I don't love it by the end of the week there's a queue of people waiting to take it off me. I think I'll grow to love it, I'm just suffering from being sick of looking at it.

The question is - what next?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Happy Slapping

There's a craze across the UK at the moment which involves teens going around harming people in some way and filming it on their video phones. It started out quite innocently with a few pranks - making people jump, but has escalated into dangerous violence, including a man being set on fire. One poor woman I know was slapped around the face with a dead pigeon while waiting in her car at traffic lights with the window down. It's not funny and not clever and really makes you wonder what the world is coming to? It really saddens me to know that there are people like that out there who think it's acceptable to push people off their bikes, walk up and hit them or in some cases near kill them - all in the name of entertainment.

However, there are people out there who restore your faith in humanity. I haven't been Happy Slapped, but I have been Happy Clapped by the wonderful Nanatoo. This incredibly kind lady decided to RAK me (Random Act of Kindness) with the Clapotis that she near went blind with knitting in 4ply. I was absolutely delighted to receive it as it's incredibly beautiful and I know I will wear it to death. I've delayed posting about it as I wanted to get a photo of me wearing it. I've worn it a few times already and it's incredibly versatile. Here's me in it at our St George's Day Do.
I've taken to wearing it pinned around my shoulders to keep the chill out, or just draped around as a shawl. It also makes a wonderful scarf and I recently discovered that if I drape it across my shoulders and grip the ends in my hands that it keeps my arms warm on the way home from the pub. It's the best thing since sliced bread.

It's a myriad of beautiful colours and I love it. Thank you so much Nanatoo, I still can't believe you parted with it. I'm incredibly grateful and you can be assured it will be well loved and worn often. It's been much admired by my friends and I'll have to keep an eye on it around my Mother! Thanks again, I know how much work you put into it.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Happy St. George's Day

This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,—
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.

---William Shakespeare

I've chosen today to put out my England Jumper pattern. Although St. George's Flag is mainly associated with football, it's about time it was claimed back from the hooligans and worn and waved with pride - not as a symbol of aggressive nationalism, but of pride in our nation, history and people. There's a feeling out there that you have to be ashamed to be English. I say no more! England rocks and the English rock - nowhere else is eccentricity bordering on sheer madness a celebrated charateristic. It's about time we celebrated the good things in this country. So whether it's a cuppa or a pint - raise your mug or glass.

To England!

Catch you later folks - I'm off to the pub.....

I give you a toast Ladies and Gentlemen
May this fair land we love so well,
In Dignity and freedom dwell.
Whilst worlds may change and go awry,
Whilst there is still one voice to cry!
There'll always be an England....
And England shall be free
If England means as much to you
As England means to me.

---Hugh Charles

England Football Jumper

England Football Jumper - Babies and Toddlers

Approx age 0-3 mths 3-6 mths 6-12 mths 1-2 yrs 2-3 yrs
Chest (actual measurement) 18” 20” 22” 24” 26”

Length 10” 11” 12” 13” 14”
Sleeve length (underarm) 6.5” 7” 8” 9” 12”

Yarn DK (acrylic) MC 100g 100g 150g 150g 150g
CC 50g 50g 50g 50g 50g

22 sts/30 rows = 4" in stocking stitch on 4 mm /US 6 needles
The pattern is suitable for any DK yarn.

Needles: 1 pair each of 3.75mm (US 5) and 4mm (US6).
2 stitch holders or waste yarn.

A note on sizing: The ages given are only rough guidelines. To get the best fit measure the chest of the child and add 2” for babies and a close fit on toddlers and 4” for a loose fit on toddlers. The jumper is designed to worn longer than usual so it resembles an untucked football shirt.

With 3.75 needles and MC cast on 50 (56, 60, 66, 70) sts.

Row 1: *k2, p2. Repeat from * to last 2 (0, 0, 2, 2) sts, k2.
Row 2: p2 (o, o, 2, 2) *k2, p2. Repeat from * to last 0 (2, 2, 0, 0) sts, k2.
Repeat the last 2 rows twice more (6 rows total).

Change to 4mm needles and work 26 (30, 34, , 38, 42) rows as follows;
** Row 1: Knit MC 28 (32, 35, 39, 42), CC 10 (10, 10, 10, 10), MC 12 (14, 15, 17, 18) sts.
Row 2: Purl MC 12 (14, 15, 17, 18), CC 10 (10, 10, 10, 10), MC 28 (32, 35, 39, 42) sts.
Repeat from **
Change to CC and work 14 rows in st-st as set.
Work rows 1 and 2 for 14 (18, 22, 26, 30) rows.

Shape neck
Row 1: Knit 15 (17, 18, 20, 21) sts, k2 tog, k1. T
urn and work on these 17 (19, 20, 22, 23) sts only.
Row 2: Purl.
Row 3: Knit 14 (16, 17, 19, 20) sts, k2 tog, k1.
Row 4: Purl.
Row 5: Knit 13 (15, 16, 18, 19) sts, k2 tog, k1.
Row 6: Purl.
Row 7: Knit 12 (14, 15, 17, 18) sts, k2 tog, k1.
Row 8: Purl.
Work 4 rows straight.
Cast off remaining 14 (16, 17, 19, 20) sts.

Place centre 14 (16, 18, 20, 22) sts on a holder. Work the remaining sts thus;

Row 1: CC k1, k2 tog, k3, MC k12 (14, 15, 17, 18).
Row 2: MC p12 (14, 15, 17, 18), CC p5.
Row 3: CC k1, k2 tog, k2, MC k12 (14, 16, 17, 18).
Row 4: MC p12 (14, 15, 17, 18), CC p4.
Row 5: CC k1, k2 tog, k1, MC k12(14, 16, 17, 18).
Row 6: MC p12 (14, 15, 17, 18), CC p3.
Row 7: CC k1, k2tog, MC k12 (14, 16, 17, 18).

Row 8: MC p12 (14, 15, 17, 18), CC p2.
Row 9: CC k2, MC k12 (14, 15, 17, 18).
Row10: As row 8.
Row11: As row 9.
Row12: As row 8.
Cast off in MC but working 1st st in CC.

With 3.75mm needles and MC cast on 50 (56, 60, 66, 70) sts
Row 1:
Row 2:
Repeat these 2 rows twice more (6 rows total).
Change to 4mm needles.
Starting with a knit row work 66 (74, 82, 90, 98) rows in st-st.
Cast off 14 (16, 17, 19, 20) sts, k22 (24, 26, 28, 30) sts, cast off remaining 14 (16, 17, 19, 20) sts.
Place the centre sts on a holder.

Notes: The stripe is maintained in the neckband. It is easier to use two separate pieces of yarn for the white sections than stranding it across the back of the work. When casting off treat each of the 3 sections as a separate piece and weave in the end of the yarn to the next colour so the edge looks uninterrupted.

Join right shoulder using mattress stitch.
Using 3.75mm needles with RS facing pick up and knit
MC 12 (12, 12, 12, 12) sts down left side of neck, k14 (16, 18, 20, 22) sts off holder.
CC k4 rem sts on holder and pick up and knit 12 (12, 12, 12, 12) sts up right side of neck.
Slip the 22 (24, 26, 28, 30) sts from the back holder on the needle with the other sts 60 (64, 68, 72, 76) sts total.
Join in new yarn and work 6 rows thus keeping the colours correct as set;
*k2, p2. Repeat from * to end.
Cast off in rib maintaining colours correct.

Sleeves (make 2)
With 3.75mm needles and MC cast on 32 (36, 40, 44, 48) sts.
Row 1: *k2, p2. Repeat from * to end. Work this row 6 times in total.

Change to 4mm needles and starting with a knit row work in st-st thus;
Inc 1 st at each end of 1st and every foll 4th row until 52 (60, 68, 76, 74) sts.
26” chest size only - and then on every foll 6th row until 84 sts.
All sizes ontinue straight for 7 (3, 3, 3, 6) rows (or desired length).
Cast off.

Make up
Using mattress stitch, join right neck and shoulder. Join side seams to top of red stripe and join in sleeve. Sew sleeve seam.

Wear with pride!

For a more authentic look you can add embroidered badges, letters and numbers. You could even chart intarsia names and numbers on the back.

If you encounter any problems with
the pattern please don't hesitate to get in touch and let me know.

This pattern is provided free for your own non-commercial use. This pattern may not be reproduced online in other locations or in hard copy to be sold or distributed without the permission of the owner (that's me!).

Youth and Adult sizes still to come.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Tickled Pink

Only those who lived through the 80s will understand the horrendous fashion crimes that were committed. Puffball skirts, psychedelic colours and shell suits were only the surface of the problem.

Who could forgive a mother for this?

Your eyes do not deceive you, that really is a turquoise jumpsuit and white slouch boots. I look like I was auditioning for Star Trek.

I won't even go there on 80s knitting except to say that I have some horrendous patterns knocking about that I can't see ever getting made. No wonder knitting has a bad name. I seem to remember a lot of mohair happening around that time and having a peach (PEACH!) mohair jumper that itched and itched and itched. It put me off for life - until now!

I had a great dilemma. I really wanted to make the Lily Chin Reversible Rib Shawl, but needed the dreaded mohair for it. 600g of mohair. You don't seem to see mohair about much these days, especially not in the way you used to in the 80s - it was everywhere, so I decided if I came across some for a reasonable price in my travels then I would get it. As chance had it my last visit to a craft warehouse yielded this - for a grand sum of 65p per 50g ball.

As much as I tried to avoid buying it, it called to me. It's my colour and I had to have it. For 3 glorious years in my late teens to early 20s I had hair this exact colour down to my waist (it's a bit deeper than it appears in the photo). It would have been rude not to get it. It's surprisingly soft too, no more itching like a dog with fleas.

I'm about 9" in of the whole 72" and am aiming to work at least 12 rows of the pattern every day. In true homage to the 80s I'm knitting it on bright yellow needles, clash-tastic!

My top tip of the day - if you have to knit with something like mohair that's hairy, clingy and grabby, put it in the fridge for a bit first. Your SO may think you've finally cracked up, but it does make it easier to work with.

Right, where's that Bananarama album....

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Hot Cross Bun(nie)s

Whatever you celebrate at this time of year - Enjoy it!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Bear faced cheek

It could be said of some people that they have their heads firmly inserted up their own bottoms, you wouldn't be far wrong if you said it of my bear too. I've been making this Bear in a Lamb Suit since August last year. I made all the pieces, but as I hate seaming at the best of times the tiny little pieces really put me off. I finally dug him out from under the bed because Scarlett is going to need him soon. Another reason for putting him off were the instructions in the book - 'The Baby Knits Book' by Debbie (bloody) Bliss.
I didn't find them particularly clear for making up the bear and I had a rather baffling moment wondering where on earth his legs were supposed to go until realised I'd sewn his head to his bottom. I soon fixed him and he's all dressed up ready to go.

I did have a particular reason for making this for Scarlett. Her Dad Nick is Welsh and most of his time in the crew room at work was spent fending off sheep jokes. One of the first things I made for the expected baby was this Sheep Suit from 'Baby Knits' by Debbie Bliss. I saw it in the book and couldn't resist taking the piss. I made it in DK acrylic with a few modifications to the pattern. I took out the built in mitts and boots and went for separates as I felt it would be a lot more versatile like that. The shoes were in 'New Baby Knits' again by DB. I was a bit miffed about the suit pattern. The smallest size is for a 3-6 month old baby - with a 23" chest!!! I don't know what kind of gargantuan babies this woman has measured, but they surely belong in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Unfortunately this animal knitting started off a craze and the more patterns I found the more I had to make. I couldn't resist this Bear Gilet from 'Knits for Babies and Toddlers' by Fiona McTague. I wanted to put duffle fastenings on rather than a zip and searched high and low for ready made ones. There were none to be found and I was far too lazy to make some so I caved and put a zip in. You'd have cried laughing if you saw me trying to sew it in. I used my new sewing machine (I haven't used a machine for about 10 years) and this was the first thing I did with it. One side went in great but the other was all over the place and I had to unpick it 3 times. It's not great but passable.

The sheep shoes weren't the only little animal feet to make my heart melt. These bunny and bear shoes were too cute not to make.

I've linked to the patterns, but I couldn't make head nor tail of the bear shoes. I made the Fair Isle shoes from 'The Baby Knits Book' by DB instead and put the bear heads onto them. I thought proper little shoes would be more practical than just slippers too.

I'm dreading when she gets older and realises where all of her daft baby clothes came from.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Bow down

to the Domestic Overlord.

If you don't visit Sarah's blog already then got your bottom over there pronto!

I received this marvellous parcel from her yesterday, choc-a-block full of knitterly goodness

The yarn is from Knit Picks. On the left - Sock Landscape 2 x Cape Cod and a Yukon (100% Merino).
The rest is Wool of the Andes, Winter Night, Rain, Chestnut and Snickerdoodle (100% Peruvian Wool).

The WotA is to be turned into 2 felted bags. It will be my first attempt at felting (or 'ruining knitting', as my Mother puts it). So watch this space.

The sock yarn is as yet without a project as Sarah very kindly added it into the package without me knowing it was coming. So far I've just been sat petting it and Scout is taking far too much of an interest in it.

I also received a beautiful beaded bookmark (I've been using an old train ticket), some marshmallows and some Kool-Aid which I have been instructed to drink as well as using for dyeing yarn. Sarah - if my poo turns blue I will have some serious issues with you!

Sarah - thank you, thank you, thank you! I'm very grateful and really appreciate you taking the trouble to send it. You really are awesome!

On the knitting front - I have been knitting, but it's been a bit fragmented. I made these wrist warmers for Jenny (Scarlett's Mum) for her birthday. Happy Birthday Jenn!

They're in mystery yarn from my stash. It was aran weight yarn which I presume is some sort of mohair blend. It's very soft and cuddly. I based the pattern very very loosely on Kimberly's gorgeous fingerless cabled gloves pattern and used her excellent instructions for creating the thumb gusset without holes. I do plan on actually following the pattern at some point as I've had it bookmarked for ages. Mine had 2 opposing twists as it was easier than cabling, the yarn was difficult to work with as I was on small needles.

I've also been working on Starsky and have reached the armholes on the back. I stopped work on it to make time for a few other projects which belong in a different post. The yarn is Woolcraft Aran (75% acrylic, 25% wool). It's beige with tiny flecks of brown, orange and lime green in it. I initially wanted to make it in Airforce Blue (a grey-blue shade) and then realised that I'm slowly building myself a wardrobe full of stuff in the colours of my RAF uniform. I could only find James C. Brett yarn in that colour but it had turquoise and royal blue bits in it and I didn't like it. I'm pleased with how the Woolcraft is turning out, it's made by the same people who do Jarol. Hopefully it won't take too long to do. A new Knitty is out on Monday and I'm bound to find something else I have to make.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Daydream believer

Believe it or not, I have finished Daydream.

I never did find the yarn that the Knitting Pixies stole, but the ball I bought to replace it matched in reasonably well (you can tell which sleeve it was used for, but it's not too noticeable).

This was taken before I put the buttons on or threaded the ribbon through, I had a rather surreal moment putting the finishing touches to it whilst sat in the mother and baby room in John Lewis. It's just a teeny tiny bit too big for her now, but will be perfect for the summer when she's in pretty dresses. It's from 'Rowan Babies' by Kim Hargreaves, worked in Sirdar Silky Look, 120g in Maypole.

I had a significant amount left from the new ball, so I decided to try out a bonnet to match. I used the scalloped edge as a brim and worked from another bonnet pattern for the basic shaping. Zippy's head isn't particularly baby shaped, but you get the idea.

I thought Scarlett could do with a few other hats too. I've wanted to make this hat for ages, ever since I first got 'Baby Bloom' by Erika Knight. It's so pretty.
I used pale pink DK acrylic with a shiny thread twisted around it.

As well as bonnets, which not everybody likes, I went for a bobble hat with this helmet style hat from 'Adorable Knits for Tiny Tots' by Zoe Mellor. Do not get me started on how mistake ridden this pattern was. It's a disgrace how poorly it is written. I get annoyed for the newer knitters out there who may not have the experience to see where the mistakes are and can't correct the pattern for themselves. When you pay around £15 for a book you expect to be able to follow the patterns without having to rewrite it for yourself. That aside, it's a cute hat. Again in DK acrylic.

I'm also working on a stripy chullo from Phildar Baby No50, but I'm in no hurry to finish it just yet as it's a 12 month size. The yarn arrived for my Starsky, so I got distracted...

Especially for Jerry - a gratuitous puppy picture. Scout aged 8 weeks.