The long-term project.

This is my granny square blanket, est. 2006.

6 years in and I’m halfway through :)

But that’s no bad thing. It wasn’t meant to be some flash in the pan idea to keep me busy on a rainy Sunday. In actual fact I was going to Australia to see a friend and was travelling alone; I needed a project to take which I could work on in a confined space when my brain wasn’t at it’s sharpest. I bought 1 ball of each a few different yarns and just went for it. Each square is different and as time has gone by I’ve picked  up more yarns, always just one-offs in the same muted colour palette. It’s growing slowly! I think 15 squares by 10 would be nice, should be the right sort of size for throwing over the back of a sofa to snuggle up in if it gets a bit nippy.

work in progress
sewn up so far, plus extra completed squares

mixed mag of yarns

Autumnal hat, great for chunky handspun

 

Skimming Stone is a simple hat pattern. It’s entirely knitted in rib, so is very comfy and stretchy, worked with needles of two different sizes to keep the cast on edge fitting the head while the back of the hat softens and slouches. Included is a short guide to translating this pattern for any individual yarn. This is a basic shape which is open to creative interpretation :) knitted in a finer yarn on 10mm needles, or bigger even, this would take on a lovely, loose, lacey feeling and a completely different character. I know it’s not easy to drag yourself out of bed on autumn mornings, but maybe a fancy hat would add some novelty value? For one day at least.

Apologies, of course, for the long absence. I was getting laid.

Cloud baby cardigan

This one skein pattern cuts it a bit fine! I did knit the whole thing from a 100g skein, but I had to sew some of the seams with normal thread because I just couldn’t stretch the yarn any further… I could’ve just not mentioned that, but the guilt would’ve haunted me. The stitch pattern is the main culprit, it does increase the consumption, but makes for a much more interesting texture on an otherwise very plain little cardi. (And considering it’s really only 2 rows of garter stitch alternating with 2 rows of 1:1 rib it looks a whole lot more complicated than it really is, so it’s totally worth it.)

This will make a lovely gift, I’ll be doing a couple of them for expectant friends over coming months. As soon as one of them produces said offspring I’ll try to have the cardigan modelled, but for now the utmost I could possibly do is try to squeeze the cat into it and she doesn’t like me much at the best of times. There is no grading included because this is intended for gift-giving purposes and therefore I only need new-born size! But it’s a very simple shape and I encourage you to buy 2 skeins instead and try increasing all the values to make it to fit an older baby.

‘China’ bowl… knitted crockery! (see what I did there?!)

China is a knitted bowl essentially made by turning two sock heels one after the other so that the knit direction curves around 180 degrees. A 100g skein will easily make a pair of bowls; use them for dressing-table things or sweets or whatever comes to hand :)This banana fibre yarn from Prick Your Finger is really lovely, it’s firm so holds its’ shape well but still has a lovely lustre and a soft character to it.

And I’m sorry it’s been a while! I have been distracted from my purpose and had my resolve questioned by larger projects – yes, I can, and do, indulge in the occasional multiple-skein item! Shocking, I know. But I can put that behind me now and regain my focus :)

‘Bone’ clutch bag using pre-beaded silk yarn.

I did have some trouble putting this together, which I probably shouldn’t admit to given that I earn a living by my pattern cutting and sewing skills. But the frame was a tricky little so-and-so and I can’t say I’m 100% pleased with the results. On previous projects, like the Elephants’ Breath mini-purses, I’ve had frames which just require gluing in, and although I have my concerns about the durability of that at least the finish looks absolutely perfect. But this particular hinged clasp, the only one I could find of the ideal size, has holes punched for sewing on.  I will admit from the start that this method isn’t for the messy stitcher! Just sewing the lining to the frame took the entire duration of Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ (bless my friends for not moaning about me keeping the spotlight on, I don’t think they’d expected our night of nostalgic cinema to be floodlit). Infact, my advice to you all is this: if you’ve done little or no sewing before have a little look around for frames before you start, and if the size you want looks too tricky omit the lining. Or even better, find someone who can give you a hand when you get to the construction part and learn something new :)

One other thing, this yarn is lovely and super-pretty, but be careful not to hold the yarn with too much tension as you knit: the beaded thread and the yarn will stretch at different rates and after a while you’ll end up in a tangle with excess beaded thread hanging around. I know I did.

Tallow, a loose wrap cover for a Moleskine diary

I love a new diary. I relish filling all the info and convince myself every time that I can colour code my life and keep the whole thing neat and beautiful. I managed one week before I was scribbling in whatever writing implement came to hand and sticking post-it notes all over the show. Moleskine is an addiction, this is my 3rd year of this notebook style diary. I wanted the black one, but the black one is soft cover; the red one is a hard cover, but it’s red. So I covered the red-ness with knitting and now I’m a happy camper. Grey I like :)

I bought this yarn from a remnants bin. It was a pound :) Any 4 ply sock yarn which knits to this tension would  be fine, and it’s a cute way to use up yarn which wouldn’t stretch far enough for a pair of socks.

I apologise for the tecnical problem with the lace chart. I can’t get it to fit all the way across in one table, it keeps cutting the last ten columns off. I’ve done a small survey and 2 out of 2 people agreed that this was readable. If you feel it isn’t please email me at milkbottleknits@gmail.com and I’ll send it to you as an excel file. Promise.

(PS. new camera is AWESOME.)

Boot toppers… like leg warmers without the 80’s flashback

Boot toppers are essentially just tubes designed to look like socks when worn tucked into tall leather boots or wellies. Not that I have anything against socks, I love socks! But as a general rule I buy boots to fit my feet, not my feet plus a good centimetre or so of wool. And as much as I complain about London weather it isn’t that cold and I do spend the majority of my time indoors. So… I want the look of a chucky, rustic sock with none of the hassle of limping or breaking a sweat.

This pattern is called String. It is knitted on double pointed needles, in the round with no seam, but if you’d prefer you could quite easily break the pattern down and knit it flat. I’ve used Carpet yarn which comes in an array of colours from Prick Your Finger in Bethnal Green (which is lovely, by the way, every should go. Right now.) It’s quite rough which was great for the country-bumkin look I wanted, but these would be gorgeous in something softer which would slump down and feel more cosy.

I apologise profusely that there isn’t a photo of them flat. I have no camera and I’m struggling to make do! I think I’ll treat myself to one of these swanky ‘compact system’ numbers, they look vey shiney. I’ll hold my hands up and confess: my knowledge of technology is summed up by shininess. New things work better, new things are shinier, therefore shinier things must work better. No?

Well, we will all soon see because my next sample is knitted and ready for it’s close up…

And lo…

… the angel appeared unto them.

And about time too, completing the set of Christmas tree decorations. For the angel there is no seam between the skirt and the body, both pieces are knitted separately up ot the waist and the stitches from each are then knitted simultaneously to continue on up to the head. The necklace and wings could easily be left off and replaced with a scarf from one of the charaters to make a child (with or without skirt). Would be cute in pink for a ballerina :)

3 more sleeps ’till Christmas and I’m still at work, as I’m sure many of you are too. I’ll be flogging the dead horse that is my day job until Friday afternoon, when I will be released onto Oxford Street a free woman for the following 4 days! So long as I can make it though the throngs of frenzied, panicing, last-minute shoppers alive I’m sure it’ll be a wonderful weekend :) (Not least because I haven’t eaten meat in 10 weeks now and I plan to fall off the wagon with great enthusiasm)

Seasons’ greetings everyone, and best wishes for the new year.

Is it over yet?

A couple of months back I was more festive than Mariah Carey holding her royalty cheque. Now I’m so over it. I’m getting grumpy. I want my coffee in a normal take-out cup again please.

But I’m happy to be posting the pattern for the robin, the penultimate tree decoration! I hope you’ve all been following along at home, Blue Peter style. In a day or two we’ll do the angel, and then Christmas will pass and we can all get on with our lives.

The man himself

Santa has now been added, arguably the main man of the contemporary faith-neutral ‘winter festival’.

This installment of the christmas decoration series comes to you from the desk of Offset Warehouse (shameless plug: http://www.offsetwarehouse.com), a luscious company about which I have endless nice things to say! But I don’t have time to say them tonight because Charlie, proprietor of the aforementioned fashion extravaganza and general good egg, is hosting a celebratory soiree which I am anti-socially excluding myself from right now. It’s a bring-and-share for which I’ve rustled up some rather fantastic individual vegan banana loaf cakes, if I do say so myself :) So I’ll love and leave you.