Knitted baby blanket

IMG_6537

It’s a simple idea:

Cast-on with 51 stitches and knit in garter stitch. Every right side row, reduce the centre 3sts down to 1 by slipping one stitch, knitting the next two together and then passing the slipped stitch over. After 12 rows in your main colour, change to a highlight. When you get down to 3 stitches, purl all 3 together on the next wrong side row and fasten off.

IMG_6534IMG_6541IMG_6542

Four matching small squares are sewn together to make a big square.

Then the big squares will be sewn together to make an even bigger square!

IMG_6549

(I’m mildly concerned that my seams are a fat on the reverse, but I guess all blankets made in patches are like this. And I’m sure it’ll condense a bit in the blocking anyway)

IMG_6546

I’ve used Drops yarn for this project. Their yarns are great quality, inexpensive, washable, and varied in both colour and fibre choices. The grey is their baby merino and the highlight colours are baby alpaca silk.

IMG_6553

I’m hoping to have it finished in the autumn so I’ve got a long way to go! Perfect vacation project though, I’m sure I can bash out a fair few before the summer’s over.

Free pattern – mini rib and cable sock

This is the baby-scale version of the men’s sock pattern which I put up here a few weeks back. I bought 2 skeins of the Uncommon Thread Tough Sock for the full size pattern and had enough left over to knit these little guys plus a baby hat to match! I’ve only gotten one sock finished, but I’ve weighed the rest of the yarn and I’ll be fine. In fact I’ve got so much left that I think I should’ve made the socks a little longer in the leg.

IMG_5955

IMG_5967

The hat pattern is from Debbie Bliss’ book Ultimate Baby knits, which I’ve used extensively. I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone, but especially those in their late 20’s with a lot of heterosexual female friends – trust me, they’ll drop like flies and every pattern in here is an absolute gem. Buy yourself a job lot of baby cashmerino in grey and prepare for the onslaught.

IMG_5970

IMG_5973

These socks are carbon copies of the grown up ones, but at approximately half the scale. The proportion of the heel turn and gusset have been tweaked a little for a chubby baby foot, and the lengths of leg and foot are much smaller than 50%, but the look is an adorable mini-me of the original.

IMG_5957

 

Mini Mens Rib and Cable Sock:

Abbreviations:

sl:            slip

psso:      pass the slipped stitch over

ssk:         slip one stitch, slip the next stitch, the two slipped stitches together

k2tog:    knit two together

 

Left sock:

Cuff:

Cast on 42sts using the long tail method. 2.5mm needles.

Knit in 1×1 rib for 10 rows.

 

Leg:

Round 1: K5, p1, (k3, p1) x9.

r2:            (K2tog and k into 1st st again before slipping both off needle) x2, k1, p1, (k3, p1) to end.

r3:            as round 1

r4:            K1, (k2tog and k into 1st st again before slipping both off needle) x2, p1, (k3, p1) to end.

Rounds 1-4 form the stitch repeat for the travelling stitch detail.

Repeat rounds 1-4 twice more.

 

Heel flap:

K5, p1, k1, (sl 1 st with yarn in back, k1) x10, k1, turn.

Sl 1st st, p20, turn.

These 21 stitches form heel flap.

Right side row: (sl 1 st with yarn in back, k1) to last st, k1.

Wrong side row: sl 1 st, p to end.

Repeat these two rows until heel flap measures 6.5cm.

 

Turning the heel:

Row 1:     Knit 13sts, ssk, k1, turn.

r2:            Slip 1, p6, p2tog, p1, turn.

r3:            Slip 1, knit to one stitch before gap (the slipped stitch from previous row), ssk to close gap, k1, turn.

r4:            Slip 1, purl to one stitch before gap (the slipped stitch from previous row), p2tog to close gap, p1 turn.

Repeat rows 3 and 4 until all sts have been worked. (13sts)

 

Gusset:

Knit 13sts of heel, pick up and knit 11sts along the left side of heel flap, k21sts of instep (keeping rib and travelling stitch pattern repeat), pick up and knit 11sts along left side of heel flap (56sts)

Place the marker here for the start of the round.

Round 1: K22, k2tog, k1, (p1, k3) x3, p1, (K2tog and k into 1st st again before slipping both off needle) x2, k1, p1, k1, sl1 k1 psso, k9

r2:            k24, (p1, k3) x3, p1, k5, p1, k11

r3:            k21, k2tog, k1, (p1, k3) x3, p1, K1, (k2tog and k into 1st st again before slipping both off needle) x2, p1, k1, sl1 k1 psso, k8

r4:             k23, (p1, k3) x3, p1, k5, p1, k10

r5:            K20, k2tog, k1, (p1, k3) x3, p1, (K2tog and k into 1st st again before slipping both off needle) x2, k1, p1, k1, sl1 k1 psso, k7

r6:            k22, (p1, k3) x3, p1, k5 p1, k9

Continue decreasing in this way, decreasing 1 stitch at each side of the gusset on every other row, until 42 stitches remain.

 

Foot:

Continue working these 42 stitches, keeping rib and travelling stitch pattern correct, until the measurement from the back of the heel is 8cm (or 2.5cm less than the length of the foot of the intended wearer).

 

Toe shaping:

Using 2 stitch markers split the sock into two halves, 21sts between markers.

r1:            knit along sole to 2sts from marker, k2tog, (pass marker), sl1 k1 psso, knit along instep to 2sts from marker, k2tog, (pass marker), sl1 k1 psso, k to end of round.

r2:            knit all sts

These 2 rounds form decreasing pattern, repeat until 15sts remain between markers, 30sts total. Ending on round 1.

Next round, as round 1.

Repeat round 1, decreasing every round, until there are only 7sts between markers, 14sts total.

 

Graft toes closed using Kitchener stitch.

 

Right sock:

Cast on and knit cuff as left sock

 

Leg:

Round 1: (k3, p1) x9, K5, p1

r2:            (k3, p1) to last 6sts, (k2tog and k into 1st st again before slipping both off needle) x2, k1, p1.

r3:            as round 1

r4:            (k3, p1) to last 6 sts, k1, (k2tog and k into 1st st again before slipping both off needle) x2, p1.

Rounds 1-4 form the stitch repeat for the travelling stitch detail.

Repeat rounds 1-4 twice more.

 

Heel flap:

(K3, p1) x3, k1, (sl 1 st with yarn in back, k1) x10, k1, turn.

Sl 1st st, p20, turn.

These 21 stitches form heel flap.

Right side row: (sl 1 st with yarn in back, k1) to last st, k1.

Wrong side row: sl 1 st, p to end.

Repeat these two rows until heel flap measures 6.5cm.

 

Turning the heel:

Row 1:    Knit 13sts, ssk, k1, turn.

r2:           Slip 1, p6, p2tog, p1, turn.

r3:           Slip 1, knit to one stitch before gap (the slipped stitch from previous row), ssk to close gap, k1, turn.

r4:           Slip 1, purl to one stitch before gap (the slipped stitch from previous row), p2tog to close gap, p1 turn.

Repeat rows 3 and 4 until all sts have been worked. (13sts)

 

Gusset:

Knit 13sts of heel, pick up and knit 11sts along the left side of heel flap, k21sts of instep (keeping rib and travelling stitch pattern repeat), pick up and knit 11sts along left side of heel flap (56sts)

Place the marker here for the start of the round.

Round 1: k22, k2tog, k1, p1, k5, (p1, k3) x3, p1, k1, sl1 k1 psso, k9

r2:            k24, p1, k1, (k2tog and k into 1st st again before slipping both off needle) x2, (p1, k3) x3, p1, k11

r3:            k21, k2tog, k1, p1, k5, (p1, k3) x3, p1, k1, sl1 k1 psso, k8

r4:            k23, p1, (k2tog and k into 1st st again before slipping both off needle) x2, k1, (p1, k3) x3, p1, k10

r5:            k20, k2tog, k1, p1, k5, (p1, k3) x3, p1, k1, sl1 k1 psso, k7

r6:            k22, p1, k1, (k2tog and k into 1st st again before slipping both off needle) x2, (p1, k3) x3, p1, k9

Continue decreasing in this way, decreasing 1 stitch at each side of the gusset on every other round, until 42 stitches remain.

 

Foot:

Continue working these 42 stitches, keeping rib and travelling stitch pattern correct, until the measurement from the back of the heel is 8cm (or 2.5cm less than the length of the foot of the intended wearer).

 

Toe shaping:

Using 2 stitch markers split the sock into two halves, 21sts between markers.

r1:            knit along sole to 2sts from marker, k2tog, (pass marker), sl1 k1 psso, knit along instep to 2sts from marker, k2tog, (pass marker), sl1 k1 psso, k to end of round.

r2:            knit all sts

These 2 rounds form decreasing pattern, repeat until 15sts remain between markers, 30sts total. Ending on round 1.

Next round, as round 1.

Repeat round 1, decreasing every round, until there are only 7sts between markers, 14sts total.

 

Graft toes closed using Kitchener stitch.

Crochet elephant, another Ed’s animal

These animals from Kerry Lords’ Edward’s Menagerie pattern collection are endlessly brilliant! Previously I adapted the zebra pattern to make a unicorn, and my friend Susan commissioned two from me for her daughter and her friend. When Sooz told me she was expecting another baby it seemed logical to me that an elephant and a unicorn would make a pair, and as it happened I had this ball of grey yarn stashed which is super beautiful!

IMG_9026

It looks almost like marble when it’s crocheted up and has a very dense, cozy texture like a snuggly felt. I must confess to losing the ball band, but I think it was Rowan tweed of some kind. I went looking for some more recently but I couldn’t see the right colour way, I’m hoping it pops back up in the summer so I can make some more marble-y creatures. (Perfect for the constant stream of pregnant, minimalist, Scandi colleagues I have at COS HQ.)

IMG_9033

I crocheted the unicorns’ tail, but it went all whirly like a cartoon piglet and I wasn’t too happy with it. (Although, to be fair no one can dispute the potential accuracy of my unicorn tail, so who cares?!) To improve on that for the elephant tail I dug out a lucet. Now, I honestly try very hard not to be a hoarder; but when you realise you’ve been keeping not one but two medieval braid tools in your home for at least 15 years you clearly have a problem.

For those of you who didn’t spend your formative years accumulating the stock of every single stall at the craft fair, this is a lucet:

IMG_9031

It makes a simple square braid by wrapping yarn around the prongs and lifting the loops over, similar to a knitting dolly if I remember rightly. There are plenty of tutorials on youtube, which is how I refreshed my memory on how to use this, or you could follow a pictorial tutorial like this one from the pertinent website lucets.com.

IMG_9035

The finished guy has charmed everyone, most of whom pop their little finger up his trunk which seems faintly inappropriate. He’s also been well received at the home of new arrival Elijah Curtis and I hope he gets dragged around for years to come until he’s super gross, a bit threadbare and missing some appendages.

IMG_9028

Free knitting pattern – men’s rib and cable sock

I wrote this pattern and subsequently knitted these socks for my girlfriend Lucy’s dad, Paul. His 60th birthday was last September and finally I have gotten around to pulling the pattern together and putting it up here! But I’m actually pretty gutted that I didn’t sort this out before I gave them away, because now I’m left with photos I don’t really like but can’t retake. So please forgive the images in this one and try to trust me – these are actually nice.

IMG_7738.jpg

At the bottom of this post is the pattern, for a classic ribbed sock with a little mock-cable detail running the full length of the outside. I like to think they’re a little more sophisticated than your average handknit sock, which too often look like you’re either going to wear them to bed or on a hike. These were designed for a man who I’ve never seen wear trainers, or even slippers; so I was aiming for a sock that looked handmade and cozy, but wouldn’t be ridiculous if he put them on with Churches’. Therefore I went and chose yarn first and designed the pattern around that.

IMG_7724

This Uncommon Thread Tough Sock yarn is lovely, it’s hand dyed to a tremendously civilised shade of charcoal. There is just enough deviation in tone to make it look unique and hand crafted, but not so much to tip the scales to rustic. Indie, not hippy.

Unfortunately it’s also expensive – £21 per 100g skein. Which I bought under the illusion that I would only need a single skein and therefore might as well buy the good stuff, but the first sock took up around two thirds of that so I was soon back at the till at Loop. (The leftover should be easy to find a home for though, given that it’s superwash I think it’ll make lovely baby socks for giving away to my many breeding friends.)

In the end I was really pleased with them! They looked professional and tasteful and that ticked all the boxes. And they were very well received, although Lucy made him a proper pair of completely bespoke leather shoes, from scratch, so that pretty much blew me out of the water. Honestly, they were insane, and please don’t underestimate my abounding pride… but I basically could’ve just bought him a box of Quality Street and saved myself the time.

IMG_7538.jpg

She really is a testament to what you can learn off of the internet. There are so many talented people out there keen to share what are arguably rare and dying skills, so no matter how ludicrous your dream of throwing pots in your bedsit or soldering metalwork with zero formal training may seem – don’t write it off!

(She’s working on a little tiny kids’ pair now, which are on their way to being crushingly adorable. I’ll think they’ll deserve a whole post of their own.)

 

 

Sock pattern:

Cast on 90sts using the long tail method. 2mm needles.

 

Left sock:

Leg:

Knit in 1×1 rib until work measures 3.5cm from start.

Change to 2.5mm needles.

Round 1:            K5, p1, (k3, p1) to end.

r2:            (K2tog and k into 1st st again before slipping both off needle) x2, k1, p1, (k3, p1) to end.

r3:            as round 1

r4:            K1, (k2tog and k into 1st st again before slipping both off needle) x2, p1, (k3, p1) to end.

Rounds 1-4 form the stitch repeat for the legs, continue until work measures 20cm from start, ending on round 4.

 

Heel flap:

K5, p1, k1, (sl 1 st with yarn in back, k1) x22, turn.

Sl 1st st, p43, turn.

These 44 stitches form heel flap.

Right side row: (sl 1 st with yarn in back, k1) to end.

Wrong side row: sl 1 st, p to end.

Repeat these two rows until heel flap measures 6.5cm.

 

Turning the heel:

Row 1:            Knit 24sts, ssk, k1, turn.

r2:            Slip 1, p5, p2tog, p1, turn.

r3:            Slip 1, knit to one stitch before gap (the slipped stitch from previous row),, ssk to close gap, k1, turn.

r4:            Slip 1, purl to one stitch before gap (the slipped stitch from previous row),, p2tog to close gap, p1 turn.

Repeat rows 3 and 4 until all sts have been worked. (24sts)

 

Gusset:

Knit 24sts of heel, pick up and knit 24sts along the left side of heel flap, k46sts of instep (keeping rib and travelling stitch pattern repeat), pick up and knit 24sts along left side of heel flap (118sts)

Place the marker here for the start of the round.

Round 1:            K46, k2tog, k1, (p1, k3) x9, p1, (K2tog and k into 1st st again before slipping both off needle) x2, k1, p1, k1, sl1 k1 psso, k23

r2:            k48, (p1, k3) x9, p1, k5, p1, k25

r3:            k45, k2tog, k1, (p1, k3) x9, p1, K1, (k2tog and k into 1st st again before slipping both off needle) x2, p1, k1, sl1 k1 psso, k22

r4:             k47, k5, p1, (p1, k3) x9, p1, k24

r5:            K44, k2tog, k1, (p1, k3) x9, p1, (K2tog and k into 1st st again before slipping both off needle) x2, k1, p1, k1, sl1 k1 psso, k21

r6:            k46, k5, p1, (p1, k3) x9, p1, k23

Continue decreasing in this way, decreasing 1 stitch at each side of the gusset on every other row, until 90 stitches remain.

IMG_7249

 

Foot:

Continue working these 90 stitches, keeping rib and travelling stitch pattern correct, until the measurement from the back of the heel is 23cm (or 3.75cm less than the length of the foot of the intended wearer).

 

Toe shaping:

Add 2 stitch markers splitting the sock into halves, 45sts between markers.

r1:            knit along sole to 3sts from marker, k2tog, k1, (pass marker) k1, sl1 k1 psso, knit along instep to 3sts from marker, k2tog, k1, (pass marker) k1, sl1 k1 psso, k to end.

r2:            knit all sts

These 2 rounds form decreasing pattern, repeat until 23sts remain between markers, 46sts total. Ending on round 1/

Next round, as round 1.

Repeat round 1, decreasing every round, until there are only 15sts between markers, 30sts total.

 

Graft toes closed using Kitchener stitch.

 

IMG_7739

Right sock:

Leg:

Knit in 1×1 rib until work measures 3.5cm from start.

Change to 2.5mm needles.

Round 1:            (k3, p1) to last 6 sts, k5, p1.

r2:            (k3, p1) to last 6 sts, (k2tog and k into 1st st again before slipping both off needle) x2, k1, p1.

r3:            as round 1

r4:            (k3, p1) to last 6 sts, k1, (k2tog and k into 1st st again before slipping both off needle) x2, p1.

Rounds 1-4 form the stitch repeat for the legs, continue until work measures 20cm from start, ending on round 4.

 

Heel flap:

(K3, p1) x9, k2, (sl 1 st with yarn in back, k1) x22, turn.

Sl 1st st, p43, turn.

These 44 stitches form heel flap.

Right side row: (sl 1 st with yarn in back, k1) to end.

Wrong side row: sl 1 st, p to end.

Repeat these two rows until heel flap measures 6.5cm.

 

Turning the heel:

Row 1:            Knit 24sts, ssk, k1, turn.

r2:            Slip 1, p5, p2tog, p1, turn.

r3:            Slip 1, knit to one stitch before gap (the slipped stitch from previous row), ssk to close gap, k1, turn.

r4:            Slip 1, purl to one stitch before gap (the slipped stitch from previous row), p2tog to close gap, p1 turn.

Repeat rows 3 and 4 until all sts have been worked. (24sts)

 

Gusset:

Knit 24sts of heel, pick up and knit 24sts along the left side of heel flap, k46sts of instep (keeping rib and travelling stitch pattern repeat), pick up and knit 24sts along left side of heel flap (118sts)

Place the marker here for the start of the round.

Round 1:            K46, k2tog, k1, p1, (K2tog and k into 1st st again before slipping both off needle) x2, k1, (p1, k3) x9, p1, k1, sl1 k1 psso, k23

r2:            k48, p1, k5, (p1, k3) x9, p1, k25

r3:            k45, k2tog, k1, p1, K1, (k2tog and k into 1st st again before slipping both off needle) x2, (p1, k3) x9, p1, k1, sl1 k1 psso, k22

r4:             k47, p1, k5, (p1, k3) x9, p1, k24

r5:            K44, k2tog, k1, p1, (K2tog and k into 1st st again before slipping both off needle) x2, k1, (p1, k3) x9, , k1, sl1 k1 psso, k21

r6:            k46, k5, p1, (p1, k3) x9, p1, k23

Continue decreasing in this way, decreasing 1 stitch at each side of the gusset on every other row, until 90 stitches remain.

 

Foot:

Continue working these 90 stitches, keeping rib and travelling stitch pattern correct, until the measurement from the back of the heel is 23cm (or 3.75cm less than the length of the foot of the intended wearer).

 

Toe shaping:

Add 2 stitch markers splitting the sock into halves, 45sts between markers.

r1:            knit along sole to 3sts from marker, k2tog, k1, (pass marker) k1, sl1 k1 psso, knit along instep to 3sts from marker, k2tog, k1, (pass marker) k1, sl1 k1 psso, k to end.

r2:            knit all sts

These 2 rounds form decreasing pattern, repeat until 23sts remain between markers, 46sts total. Ending on round 1/

Next round, as round 1.

Repeat round 1, decreasing every round, until there are only 15sts between markers, 30sts total.

 

Graft toes closed using Kitchener stitch.

IMG_7736

Candlemaking

beeswax bricks 100g wax melting, jar waiting, wick prepared beeswax cadle in a jar


I made a lot of candles as a crafty pre-teen, but it’s been a while since anything other than my overgrown muff has been in contact with melted wax. I thought I’d have a go at beeswax, I’ve never used this before, but it’s supposed smell lovely and I thought that rustic, natural-looking candles might make nice Christmas gifts as well as tackling my burgeoning jar collection.

I bought four 25g bricks from The Wax Factory, with absolutely no idea what kind of capacity to expect from that. As it turns out, 100g of beeswax equals less than half of a medium-sized mayonnaise jar, so I guess I’ll be buying a few more to top it up before I actually test the burn-ability of this one.

(Apologies in advance for the crumblies on the kitchen worktop and the fairly crusty hob in the following photographs. It’s worth mentioning here that my inspiration for candle making was born of cleaning procrastination.)

 

To make a candle:

1. You will need wax, a jar, some cotton candle wick, a sustainer or some tin-foil, a saucepan and a heatproof plastic or pyrex jug which fits inside it with plenty of room to spare. (A bowl will also work, but having a handle will mean it bobs about less in the pan and also is much less treacherous to liberate from the boiling water and pour into your jar.)

2. Half fill the pan with water and float your jug on top, please note that it shouldn’t be touching the bottom of the pan. Pop your wax into the jug, put the pan onto a high heat and bring the water to boil. Keep the water at a gentle rolling boil until the wax has fully melted.

beeswax metling over pan of boiling water

3. While your wax is melting, cut a length of wick generously longer than your jar. If you’re using a bought sustainer to hold the bottom of your wick in place then apply this now. I forgot to buy these, so my lovely assistant made one out of tinfoil. This is not tried and tested yet, but it looked the part! Just fold a square of tin foil in half again and again until you have around a dozen layers, cut it into a circle 2.5cm in diameter with a hole in the middle, thread your wick through and tie a knot underneath.

making a wick sustainer from tin foil

wick with home-made tin foil sustainer

4. To keep my wick upright while pouring my candle I ran the whole thing through the melted wax to give it a thin coat and straightened it out while it was cooling.

wax melting, jar waiting, wick prepared

5. Dip the sustainer in the warm wax again and stick it to the bottom of the jar in the centre. I used two pieces of masking tape over the top of the jar to support my wick and keep it central all the way up.

centering candle wick in jar

6. Carefully remove the jug of fully-melted max from the hot water, using a heatproof glove if needed, and pour slowly into the prepared jar. With any luck your wax will actually fill said jar! Then all that’s left to do is let it cool and trim the wick down to about 2cm above the surface.

finished for now - beeswax jar candle

Ta-daaa!

I’m planning to decorate mine with a bee of some sort, and a luggage tag with string around the neck. But I’d probably better finish it first.

Tiny shed scissor keeper

Amy’s christmas present is done and given. I’ve been dying to put progress photos of this on Instagram, but then the festive surprise would’ve been somewhat spoilt.

But here you have it, retrospectively step by step. This was a Sue Hawkins kit that I bought at the Ally Pally knitting and stitching show this year. At several points I thought that I’d made the wrong move picking this and it was weird and pretty dull, but actually I loved the little guy in the end :) The colours are quite dark and as a result the backstiching isn’t as clear as I’d have liked, but in general it was a nice kit with clear instructions.

tiny shed scissor keeper flat
tiny shed scissor keeper in progress
tiny shed scissor keeper finished

I did have to buy extra thread for sewing up, whether that was because there wasn’t enough in the kit or because I’d used the wrong colour I’m not sure! But I popped accross to John Lewis on Oxford Street and I have to say I wound I really pissed at them; the lighting in there is so misleading, I left with totally the wrong colour. And I’m not much of a complaining customer, I’ll put up with almost anything, but this really irked me! The selling of that whole department is based on the selection of colour, I’m sure it doesn’t take the brains of Britain to realise they could do with natural light! I emailed them, I got a very general response, and I’m left feeling like a marginalised crafter whose work is no more important than a child making a sock monkey. Less so infact, seeing as the kids shit is next to the bloody light well. Screw you John Lewis, SCREW YOU!