Frog in knots

Knitting, knots and frogging.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Frog Bin

Where old projects go to die...

I have a load of old UFOs that span back about 10 years, things started and for some reason never finished. I think my nomadic lifestyle is to blame with my university and military years seeing me shift my stuff across the country and around Europe meaning projects got left behind. As I've found different things I've either decided to finish or rip them depending on what it is. I recently found more that I dumped into the frog bin for recycling but have changed my mind and decided I might keep them after all. Granted I'm no longer the skinny teenager that cast them on, but what's a few inches between old friends? Thank goodness knitting stretches.

I'd forgotten all about this one, I went through a phase of liking very plain knitwear that I usually did on a machine for speed. I didn't fancy the chances of this mohair getting through with being mangled so I adapted the machine pattern I'd written and started by hand. It was a time when rolled hems were all the rage and it was a good excuse to be lazy and leave off a rib. The bit still on the needles was a hood I'd planned to put on, but now don't like the idea of. I reckon a 2x2 rib would be the best thing for the bottom and cuffs but will wait to see what the neck looks like when worn to see where to go with that. I'm quite pleased to have a whole sweater almost ready for very little work right now.

This one I certainly couldn't forget about. It's been a nightmare for years. It's thick and thin mystery yarn that I only bought a small amount of. I didn't like the way it pooled as the thinner parts of it look so patchy. This is the third neck I've put on it and I'm still not convinced about it. The first was one of those big cowl necks that came into fashion and hurriedly went out of it again. It looked ridiculous and I wouldn't have worn it in public if you'd paid me. The next was the same as this, but I did it too small to go over my head and I was in no mood to fix it at the time. I dragged it out again late last year and put this one on it, but now I think a ribbed one would look better. What's the money on me not liking that either? The ribbed strips at the sides were initially meant to be shortish armwarmers that I lengthened when I took the big collar off, they may be a bit of a squeeze for full length sleeves, but there's only one way to find out...

This is one I've been debating about for ages. I love the pattern (out of My Weekly Magazine many years ago) but wonder how it will look on my body shape. If I were to start from scratch I'd probably rethink it quite a lot, but I'm loathe to reknit it again. I'd done quite a lot of it the first time I made it, but then lost the pattern. It was such a long time between working on it and picking it up again that I couldn't remember it well enough to carry on without it. Sod's law well and truly struck and once I'd frogged it I found the pattern again. I'd got as far as the back last time and am now debating whether to go on with it or not. I'm still not decided what to do. I really like the blush pink boucle that I'm working in and have enough extra to do long sleeves and even to add something to the bottom such as an long rib section. Decisions, decisions.

The green cabled cardi is coming along well, I started the sleeves last night. I'll be glad to get it out of the way as I've already decided what to make next.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Escaped mental patient

You'll have to excuse the lack of decent blogging recently and the time it's taken me to get round your to your blogs to comment. As well as working on a submission I've had a load of hospital appointments recently and have been a bit preoccupied (Nout to worry about, just a bit of general maintenance). I was a bit miffed actually. Not only did they stick a camera up my nose (how far?) but I was trotting into the hospital wearing my beautiful new sandals - the most elegant things ever to grace my lumpy old feet - and the toe post snapped as I went through the main entrance. It was dangerous to walk in them so I took them off and was left padding barefoot about the hospital like some sort of escaped mental patient. Not a happy bunny, but the shop was in the same town and took them back even though I didn't have the receipt on me. I've replaced them with some right grannie like sandals that could survive a lot more abuse. It's a sad (albeit sensible) day when you choose your shoes for comfort not style.

Despite my shoe acquistion not going exactly to plan, I've got my sticky little mitts on some lovely yarn and patterns recently. I found some black 4 ply, the bane of my life because I can never find it. It's Sirdar Country Style 45% acrylic/40% nyon/15% wool and feels lovely. I got a bag of 600g for just under a fiver. I've cast on for the SK lacy top but I'm not convinced I want to make it anymore - I'd have to break into my black mohair for it too and I've been saving that for ages waiting for the right pattern. I fancy a sweater out of the Sirdar but don't have anything in mind.

I also saw these cones of mystery yarn and wasn't sure of the thickness or amount so I bought 3 (£1 each!). There's 500g on each cone so a big project can come out of it. I quite fancy making a replica of a sweater I bought from H&M that's looking a bit scruffy these days. It's blues, purples, pinks and a yellowly green.

Plus this gorgeous Filatura di Crosa 'Love' in a deep terracotta shade. There were only 2 balls but I figured I could get a scarf out of it for my Mum. It's her favourite colour and this is so soft and warm it's perfect

As for patterns I found Debbie Bliss's 'Nursery Knits' which I've been after for ages. My local library had 'lost' it and now I know why, the one I found in a charity shop is the library copy with a 'withdrawn for booksale' stamp in it. It's got some lovely patterns in it which I can't wait to make. I also bought Knitability by Linda O'Brien which is 80s-tastic but some of the motifs for the sweaters are really cute. I got a few loose patterns too including a great hat pattern that I really want to make.

As for actual knitting, it feels like I haven't done much for ages because I've been working on things I can't show you. Some of my gift knits have now reached their destinations so I can let you take a peek at them. You may remember the fantastic parcel stuffed full of lovely yarn from The Domestic Overlord, I finally got a parcel sent off to her which included a bag I made.
I was a bit lazy and swiss darned the motifs on it as my intarsia patience for that month had been well and truly used up on another project. The bag pattern is my own and I used the motifs from Hello Yarn's Skull Tote and Zombies Need Not Apply from Magknits. I crocheted the handles on and sewed in a lining mostly by hand as I got a bit carried away on the machine and made a right mess of it.

I was very naughty with another one of my gifts. When Nanatoo sent me the beautiful Clapotis she warned me that I musn't send her anything in return - so I didn't. I sent some things for her daughter instead. I made an Odessa from 100% cotton, I modified the sizing quite a lot as it was coming out enormous even for my giant bonce and I may have been a bit overzealous. I worked 90 sts instead of 110 and made it 1" shorter in the main section. I dont know if anyone else who's made one had the same problem as me with it, I found the yo and the SSK created a gap (bigger than I expected) which stretched out to a big hole which no amout of tweaking would draw in. It may just be that I used cotton and it was too rigid. If you have any idea about it I'd appreciate pointing in the right direction. I also made her some little wrist warmers from the left over camo yarn I had. Again my own pattern, but nothing too exciting, just 3x1 rib.

Other than that I'm working on the green cabled cardi that I started in February (pre-olympics). It looks great but It's boring me to death so I may have to start something else that isn't cabled. Too much yarn, too little time. Please tell me I don't want bright yellow yarn. I hate yellow, I never wear it and wouldn't dream of knitting in it for myself. Despite that I have seen the most beautiful shade of yellow I have ever clapped eyes on and feel compelled to buy it. It calls to me every time I see it. I also want to make something that would involve me working in moss (seed) stitch for a week or more. Maybe she poked my brain too hard with that camera...

Friday, June 16, 2006

Clean out yer lug'oles

It's a bit of a change this week. If you want to know what I've been up to you'll have to listen to Carrie Anne's fantastic podcast - BritKnitCast. You don't need an ipod to listen you can do it through your computer.

It's the second episode and last week's is well worth a listen too, it was recorded at a felted jewellery workshop that Carrie Anne attended and is really interesting and has a really friendly feel to it.

As well as chatting to yours truly Carrie Anne discusses knitting groups, knitting in public, Debbie Stoller's latest offering - The Happy Hooker and her plans for Woolfest.

If you get sick of the sound of my voice, you can amuse yourselves by working out which bits I recorded with a hangover and which bits I did later in the day.

Yes, I really do sound like that and Nanatoo - I already know I'm a Northern Monkey ;)

Thanks for asking me to do this Carrie Anne, I really enjoyed getting involved and I know your podcasts will go from strength to strength, they're excellent.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Come on England!



Best of Luck lads. I'm sure you'll do us proud.

I know it's World Wide Knit in Public Day and I hope all of you involved in group activities or just going out knitting anyway have a fantastic time. As you can see I'm firmly planted in front of the TV ready for the footie.

My favourite KIP story ever...

Just after the war my grandad had a motorbike. So he could take the family out, he built a sidecar to go on it. My Nanna would sit in the sidecar (plus the three kids) and would knit everywhere they went. My Nanna is a huge factor in my knitting heritage - she rocked!

All hail Knitting Grannies everywhere!

Ooh, it's almost time for kick off...

It's coming home, it's coming home, it's coming. Football's coming home.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Curse of the Claw

Many years ago in a land far away a small girl was playing with her mother's jewellery. She was delighted with what she found as she delved into the box and covered herself in strings of pearls and gold. As she looked deeper and deeper she discovered a secret compartment and inside there was a small brown box. The little girl turned it over and over, and shook it to hear what was inside. There was no sound, so she opened it slowly. A look of terror crossed her face and she let out a small gasp and snapped the box firmly shut. She raced from the room and from that moment on she never played with her mother's jewellery again.

Some years the later the mother of the little girl sighed heavily, she knew the time had come for her to choose which of her three daughters would take on the curse. It wasn't her fault, in her youth her evil step-mother had cursed her with The Claw, and now she must pass it on.... She chose the youngest, the bravest, who could bear the horror well. The strange thing was, no longer scared by The Claw, the little girl (now grown) wore it with glee, knowing the torment it would inflict on all who saw it.....

She also knitted this natty shrug to go with it.

I was laughing my head off in this pic as Scout was biting my fingers.

Mine is a slight variation on the Craftster Circular Shrug. A very easy garment to make, basically a long rectangle sewn and stretched over the shoulders. I decided to put a pattern onto it rather than working in mock rib all the way up (enough to send me mental!) so I went for this lattice stitch from Odhams Knitting Encyclopedia.

I do like it, but initially wasn't overjoyed with the fit. I would prefer the rib to start closer to my waist rather than higher up my back. I'm very aware that I have a short torso and try to choose clothes that don't highlight it. I love the high collar. This was an experiment more than anything and I think I would knit another, but would go for more length in the pattern part. I did consider cutting off the rib and elongating it (as per Areli's fantastic tutorial), but I was a bit bored of it by that point and gave up. I used about 250g of DK acrylic for it. This was actually supposed to be my Olympic warm-up, but I couldn't get the right lilac in time and ended up buying the green for the cabled cardi on a whim. That will be seeing the light of day again shortly. I can definitley see this getting a lot of wear this summer.

Psst, my mother's step-mother wasn't really evil - just as mad as a box of frogs with poor taste in jewellery. The Claw is actually a decorative kilt pin based on the traditional Scottish grouse claw pins worn way back when.

Thank you

I have been overjoyed and overwhelmed with the response to Ruby. I wanted to say a heartfelt thanks to all of you that left comments, and everyone that linked to it or told the world you liked it. My visitor count has gone through the roof.

My England Football Jumper pattern has also had a mention on 'The Guardian' website in an article about Knitting and the World Cup.

I'm constantly working on new ideas and this has been a fantastic confidence boost at just the right time. I'm really pleased you enjoy my designs and I hope to provide more in the near future.

Thanks again. You lot rock!

Friday, June 02, 2006


Size: 3-6 (6-9) months
Foot length: 3.75 (4.25) inches


Red - Tivoli Luxor (56% Polyamid, 26% Viscose, 18% Dralon; 109yd/100m per 50g ball)

White - King Cole Smooth DK (100% Acrylic; 236yd/216m per 100g ball)

Black - King Cole Smooth DK (100% Acrylic; 236yd/216m per 100g ball)

Note: This pattern will work with any DK weight yarn; only a small amount of each colour is required, I had enough of the red to make 3 pairs. GGH Mystik shade 25 is a good alternative for the red sparkly yarn although is handwash only.

3.25 mm /US 3 and 4 mm / US 6 .
3 stitch holders, safety pins or waste yarn
Tapestry needle

Tension 22 sts/30 rows = 4" in stocking stitch on 4 mm /US 6 needles


2x2 rib = * k2, p2. Rep from * to end of row.

Stripe sequence = in stocking stitch starting with a knit row [RS] * work 2 rows in Black, work 2 rows in White. Rep from * for required number of rows. Carry the yarn up the side of the work.

M1F = From the front, lift loop between stitches with left needle, knit into back of loop.

M1B = From the back, lift loop between stitches with left needle, knit into front of loop.

3 needle cast off = with an equal number of sts on each needle, fold the work so the right side faces inwards. Using a spare needle, insert it into the front of the first stitch from each needle and knit both stitches together. *Work the following stitch the same and pass the first stitch over the second. Rep from * to end and draw the yarn through the final st. If you do not have a spare 4 mm / US 6 needle then exchange one set of sts to a 3.25 mm / US 3 needle.

Corrections shown in red.

No babies were harmed in production of this pattern.
Worked in one piece [make 2]

Using 3.25 mm / US 3 needles and White cast on 28 (32) sts.
Work 2x2 rib for 4 rows.

Change to 4 mm / US 6 needles and work 18 (18) rows in stripe sequence.
Break yarn.

Place 11 (13) sts on a holder or some waste yarn.

Keeping stripe sequence correct join in White to RS and work 6 (6) sts.
Place the remaining 11 (13) sts on a holder or some waste yarn.

Working on the 6 (6) sts turn and continue in stripe sequence for 8 (10) rows ending with a knit row.

Next row: p1, p2tog, p2tog tbl, p1

Place the 4 (4) toe sts on a holder or some waste yarn.


With RS facing and using Red
Place 11 (13) sts from 1st holder onto 4 mm / US 6 needles and knit.

Pick up and knit 9 (11) sts along instep at each row end starting at the first White row
K 4 (4) toe sts from holder
Pick up and knit 9 (11) sts along instep at each row end.

K 11 (13) sts from remaining holder.
44 (52) sts.

Purl 1 row.

Shoe shaping

Row 1: k19 (23), M1B, k6 (6), M1F, k19 (23).

Row 2: Purl.

Row 3: k19 (23), M1B, k8 (8), M1F, k19 (23).

Row 4: Purl
Row 5: k19 (23), M1B, k10 (10), M1F, k19 (23).
50 (58) sts.

Row 1: k1, k2tog, k17 (21), k2tog, k 6 (6), k2 tog, k17 (21), k2tog, k1
Row 2: Knit
Row 3: k1, k2tog, k16 (20), k2tog, k 4 (4), k2 tog, k16 (20), k2tog, k1
Row 4: Knit.

Row 5: k1, k2tog, k15 (19), k2tog, k 2 (2), k2 tog, k15 (19), k2tog, k1.
38 (46) sts.

Work 2 rows in garter stitch.

Next row: k19 (23) sts, leaving the remaining 19 (23) sts on the right hand needle.

Cast off using the 3 needle cast off method.

Join sole and back seam using mattress stitch.

Weave in the ends.

If you have any problems with the pattern please don't hesitate to get in touch.
A huge thanks to Pam for contacting me regarding a pattern error.

© Rain 2006. This pattern is provided free for your own non-commercial use. This pattern may not be reproduced online in other locations, in E-Books or in hard copy to be sold or distributed without the permission of the owner (that's me!). This copyright notice must remain intact with the pattern. Failure to comply will result in a hex being put on you and your offspring for all eternity.

667 - The Neighbour of the Beast

If your little madam isn't quite the devil incarnate, but not far off she needs some Ruby slippers. Or maybe it's Mum who needs them to wish herself away......hmm, I'll have to make a bigger pair.

I made these wee booties for Scarlett ages ago and have finally got round to putting the pattern up. I'd like to thank Scarlett for the use of her feet and Dave for taking the photos (even this one). I drew the line at a circular saw with ketchup splatters. I don't advocate chopping childrens' feet off, although I do think they should be kept on a lead in public.

Dave's website is well worth a visit, if only for a warning of what middle aged men with a mid-life crisis get up. He has some spectacular photos of Europe on there.