Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Le Knitting Francais

As long as I remember I’ve owned a pink plastic French knitting spool. I’ve always been able to do it, I learned so long ago it’s almost as if I’ve known how to from birth!

How I wish I had one of these instead of my pink plastic one:

When I found my 14 year old square blanket I also found the French knitting spool along with a couple of metres of rope I’d obviously intended to edge it with. I chose a crocheted edging in the end but didn’t want to destroy the hard work I’d put in on the pink spool so decided I was going to carry on.

But, what do you do with French knitting? Other than make several meters of brightly coloured rope?! I’ve started joining it together into another blanket (you know where you are with blankets) with a crocheted slip-stitch but other than that I’m at a loss.

I’ve had a look on the internet and came across this site which has lots of lovely spools but not much to do with the. Does anyone out there do French knitting?

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

I'll Have To Get Used To It

Today is a day of mourning. What I’m mourning has something to do with this:Don’t worry Johnny Depp fans, he’s not dead. Let me explain: I’ve always fancied men with long hair, I’ve always liked the rugged biker look and I found my other half I was completely contented. The other half’s been moaning about his hair for a while. Granted, it was knotty but still a trim would quite happily sort it.

We’ve had the following conversation in the past:

“My hair’s getting on my nerves, it’s all knotty!”
“Well get it trimmed then”
“What if I get it cut short?”
“I’d be upset - I like it long”
“Well what if I get it like Johnny Depp in that film where he loses his eyes?”
“Once upon a time in Mexico? Yes, that’s not too short”
“Ok, that’d be better…”

Short back and sides later we are now having this conversation:

“Why are you upset?”
“I don’t like it, I preferred it long.”
“But why are you upset?”
“Why are you surprised? I told you I would be… you had the Captain Jack Sparrow thing going on, it was sexy. Now you have the random bloke in the street haircut that everyone has”
“So-and-so likes it”
“So-and-so isn’t going out with you…”

I’m looking for hat patterns…

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Weekend Yarn Fun

I'm addicted to buying yarn and every lunchtime I have the choice of 2 routes, past the cshop with the banjo in the window or past the wool shop. Both are as dangerous for me, I'd really really like a banjo but I haven't actually mastered the guitar yet so lately I've been choosing the wool shop route.
Here is my most recent purchase - hooray for pink! I have no idea what I'm going to make with it I just liked the colour, I'm like a yarn magpie!

I've also sorted out a frog pile:
There's a green vest jumper which I made stripey, it was meant to be a whole sweater but I got bored as it was using the tiniest knitting needles ever invented. It was from a seriously 1980s knitting pattern book my grandma gave me.

There's a pink crochet halter top which I made out of wool as I didn't have any cotton. The ideas right but it doesn't fit at all. I would be willing to post it to any brave people/strippers out there... 

There's a purple vest top I knitted from a pattern I got off the internet. Sometimes you can see why these patterns are free...

Then there's the knitted vest top I made, the colour of which can only be described as vermillion.Frog time methinks.

As well as frogging I've also been making, these crochet baby slippers.
I used the Crochet Flower Slippers pattern from Leisure Arts but in tpical Louise style totally changed it! Being a recent convert to crochet from knitting I still have issues with the fact crochet items can have huge holes between stitches. This pattern called for using a 6mm crochet hook with quite thick yarn - I didn't think that was right as they'd be a bit drafty and no-one likes drafty feet.

I started with a larger foundation chain and much smaller needle (4mm) and adapted the pattern as I went along to make more snuggly crochet slippers. I think they turned out great.

I'm now going Frankenstein some of more of Leisure arts  free patterns which you can find here!

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Chunky Knitted Hat

As soon as I saw someone with a massive pompom on their head I knew I had to join the club (if that club doesn't exist already I want to make it!) so I got my 4mm knitting needles and some yarn I'd bought on the spur of the moment and set to work.

I am thrilled with the result, it's by far the warmest hat I own. It's also really thick as I've used small needles compared to the chunky wool I used. Every time I wear it people complement me on it - plus, as you can see from the picture it also serves as a useful tool for finding out which way the wind is blowing! I've had a request for another one and this time I'm taking extra special note of how to do it - I've even made a note of the yarn I'm using. Once I've made it and written up the pattern I'll post it here. It's actually quite easy, the hardest part really is attaching the strings for the pompom. I have encountered a small problem though; my needles just aren't quite long enough. Once I get to the end of a row it's becoming a real a battle to keep the stitches on the needles (which is why I sometimes prefer crochet). As a result if I want to put it down I have to stop knitting in the middle of the row which just drives me insane (I think I'm ever so slightly OCD)!

Why are knitting needles all a standard length anyway?

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

It's Cooking Time!

Valentine's Day is always a little sedate in our house. Neither of us do the huge fake romantic gestures so we usually end up just going somewhere nice. This year we went for a drive round and ended up looking at the Salmon Ladder at Boroughbridge and two very romantic looking swans.

When we got back I decided I was going to make some rum truffles using a recipe my sister had found. She said it was easy and delicious. It didn't disappoint. These are the remaining truffles - I didn't coat them in chocolate which is why they look so messy but they really are scrummy.

The recipe is so easy I jotted it down over the phone. The list read:
  • chocolate: bowl, small
  • double cream: heat
  • pour bowl
  • whisk
  • add rum
  • fridge
  • ball
For those of you that don't speak Louise, you need double cream and an equal quantity of chocolate (ml to grams) your chocolate needs to be 70% - 80% cocoa solids. Grate your chocolate into a bowl. Heat your cream until almost boiling. Pour the cream over the chocolate, whisk together. Add a dash of rum (or other liqueur). Stick it in the fridge until it sets and then ball it.

Easy peasy.

I've also used this book
To make these
Mmmmmm biscuits! Well actually chocolate chip biscuits and orange shortbread.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Longest Knitted Project Ever

It has taken me 14 years to finish but I got there eventually. Last night at 11.30pm I looped my last half double crochet edging and it was complete. The patchwork blanket which I started when I was 14.

Don't worry, I'm not the world's slowest knitter, it hasn't taken me 14 years to knit 180 squares. I am, in fact, the world's laziest sewer. The squares have sat in a bag for 14 years, screaming at the back of my mind "join me up you lazy cow!" but only this winter has it been cold enough to motivate me to do it.

I must say I'm quite pleased with the result (it also contrasts quite well with my Stashbusting Crochet Cushion which is making a guest appearance in the bottom right of this photo:

This is essentially another stashbusting project. I used 3.5mm needles, casted on 20 stitches and knitted 20 rows (I impressed myself when I remembered how many stitches I used after all these years when I needed to make a couple more to finish a row). I knitted hundreds of the bloody things, packed them away for 14 years then got them out and sewed them together (I really hate sewing).

I love all the colours, the image is slightly blurry as the flash has gone bonkers. Plus I was very tired at 11.30pm

For the edging I went round once with a single crochet in a nice purple I had left over but it wasn't quite thick enough. I then went round with a half double crochet to make it thicker. I'm pretty pleased with it.After temperatures over the last couple of weeks that never reached zero degrees celcius I was looking forward to snuggling up under the blanket, but today is one of the mildest days we've had in ages. 13 degrees. Typical. I should have packed it away for another 14 years!!

Monday, 16 February 2009

Knitted Skull Phone / iPod Cosy

As I mentioned in a previous post I've been going crazy making phone cosies. Which is crazy as I only have one phone and I already have a cosy for that one!.

Here is one design I particularly like. It was also one of my first attempts at knitting a piece with 2 different colours in.

I thought I'd try sharing the pattern with you, hopefully it's clear enough (bear with me it's my first pattern and to make matters worse I think I'm coming down with a cold).

If you want to make a phone cosy it's pretty easy. You work a rectangle, fold it in half and sew up the sides and bottom. You are going to start at the bottom of the piece and work upwards.

Firstly cast on 26 stitches with 4mm needles (this is the pattern I used for my Samsung phone - you may need to alter it slightly to get it right for other phones).

Work 9 rows; knit one row, purl the next row, then using the chart below work in the following colours (continuing to knit one row then purl the next).

You will need to repeat this chart once to get the full 26 stitches, or, if like me you prefer to be a bit awkward do the chart once and then the next 13 rows in plain black stitches.

If you need to add any more rows adding them in black after the skull will probably give it a more balanced look.

Knit 4 rows in lack then change to white, knit 4 rows in white yarn. Then change the yarn back to black and change to smaller needles and do 6 rows in k1 p1 rib. You can then finish it off with a crocheted chain of about 30 chains using a 4mm crochet hook.

Monday, 9 February 2009


I have water! Actual running water! The pipes are unfrozen and the toilet flushes. Today is surely the greatest ever day!
It only takes a week without running water for you to appreciate the smaller things in life.

Just in case you were doubting how great today is I've also been to the dentist and my toothache is just sensitivity caused by my stupid wisdom teeth (no fillings, yippee!!) and on the way back to work I spotted a lovely warm jumper in a charity shop for just £4 - it's orange and warm and feels just how I do now I have running water...

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Hand Knitted Phone Covers

I only ever wanted one phone cover but once I'd devised this pattern I found I couldnt stop myself. I used 3 1/2 mm needles and whatever yarn I could get my hands on to make them. You only need a tiny bit of wool (about a golf ball sized ball) and you can use whatever stitches/patterns you like to create them.

I've taken them as an opportunity to practice knitting with different colours and shapes. Below you can see a selection of my designs - I'll be posting pictures shortly of them individually.I cast on about 20 stitches, knitted a rectangle in k1 row p1 row until it was the desired length then finished it with 5 or 6 rows of k1 p1 rib for the sock edging. I then crocheted a chain of about 30 stitches as a handy loop to pull it out of the bottom of my handbag! 

I'll pay more attention next time I make one and post the pattern properly soon.

I've been away from the PC lately due to the weather. It's been really cold and snowy and out water supply has frozen up. As a result it's been too cold to sit typing. I've been under a blanket knitting another blanket - I'll post pictures once it's finished (I'm currently joining knitted squares and I've still got to do the edging).

6th Picture Challenge

I've been challenged by Ciaran here are the rules:

1. Go to your pictures
2. Take the 6th folder
3. Choose the 6th picture
4. Show the picture on you blog and write somethingabout it.
5. Invite 6 new people to this challenge.
6. Link to them and let them know they are challenged.

This is the view from my caravan, I live in a caravan as I can't yet afford a house. It has it's drawbacks - such as the fact I have had no water for a week, but as you can see in the summer it's very pretty.

I will tag Riohnna, MyissaG and Krystal - I'll do 3 rather than 6.