Thursday, 28 November 2013

A final post...

Hi I've had a quite a few messages (not all of them polite) asking me to sort out the errata on 'A grey loop'. Sorry to say that's not going to happen, I no longer knit for pleasure. (I could it happen!) I'll leave the blog up here (Yes I did take it down earlier in a momentary hissy fit at a rude message ;D shame on me) but please understand my life has moved on and it's not something I can help with at all :)x There is however a feast of helpful information on the Ravelry finished projects pages, and even an amazing (much better way of working it) description from a helpful knitter in the comments section. I never ever intended it to be viewed as a 'pattern' there are thousands of amazing proper grown up patterns out there and I'm so honoured that so many people attempted (and managed) to knit my rickety old tutorial. So Thank you for the good times Knitters, I hope one day to return to your Malabrigo clad bosom xxx *Hangs up circs and switches out the light....*

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Cast off loosely...

In my last post I alluded to the difficulties I've had focusing over the past year.

I've actually never been a particularly focused person...well not sustainably focused anyway.
My hopes dreams and wishes have bounced around in a carefree manner. Tomorrow was an absolute and so comforting. I sometimes wondered when I'd feel like a grown up, and almost instantly dismissed the thought as unnecessary.

Then I got the call.
The defining moment. The dark line that gouged it's way across my life, clearly showing the before and after.

The call was from a paramedic, telling me my Mother had passed away.

I don't think I could have been more shaken to my core than at that moment. You see my Mum was to me, immortal, vibrant and constant.

I won't go into details. But the line was deep and wide, and over the past year I have longed for the before.

So what does such a huge life changing event have to do with knitting or crafting? It may seem inappropriate to even put them in the same post.

But knitting and creating are me. They were seeds that were planted by my Mum, the ultimate home maker.

Recently a new line has begun to paint itself across my life.
Not a deep dark one, but a dancing colourful affair, with carefree splodges and smudges along the way.
It snakes across the gouge and leaves it's colour in the darkness, so finally I can smile when I think of my Mum, instead of pushing her from my thoughts.

My knitting aspirations are reflecting the change in me.
I have over the past year, derived much comfort from knitting a well written pattern, from following the carefully thought out route that a talented person has mapped out.
They've soothed me, quenched my need to make, and allowed me what I've really needed...a place to rest my mind.

There are an awful lot of patterns I want to knit now.
Though no longer for the sanctuary that they've offered, instead purely for the result.

Thankfully, an old desire has recently re surfaced. The desire to just make.

To trust myself, my choices (and far more risky, my maths skills!)
So I have decided to begin a project that sprang to mind last year.

On Ravelry I called it 'Probably a cardigan'
Look, I even made a swatch!


Well I can say it will definitely be a cardigan, Knitted from the bottom up.

I decided to crunch numbers for a circular style yoke as well as a set in sleeve style, just to make allowances for that flittering mind of mine.

It's feels good to have it back.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

A Grey Loop

It feels like such a long time ago that I knitted this for my daughter.


In fact it was only in March, but time has been a funny thing this past year, seemingly standing still and thundering past simultaneously.

Recently time and life have been falling back into a more familiar and comforting rhythm. I've decided to take full advantage of this by catching up on things I'd let slide...this dusty blog being one of them.

So, without further waffle here is how I knitted Poppy's Grey Loop...I wouldn't dare call it a pattern, It's just a bare bones 'how to'

I hope it suffices...

Yarn Used : Rowan RYC Extra fine Merino 3 balls (I had some leftovers)
Needles : 5mm - US 8 Circular (I used an 80cm)
Tension : I just liked the fabric and kept knitting :)

Cast on 210 sts, pm and join in the round. (Please double check for twists, I had to re-do this a couple of times whimper)

Work a few rounds in garter stitch (to do this in the round - knit 1 round to marker then purl 1 round to marker, and so on...)

I worked 4 rounds and it does flip...which isn't a problem for me on this piece like it would be on the hem of a cardigan.
However if you detest the flipping...I would suggest working more rounds and possibly using a smaller needle for this part only) I have no idea if this would eliminate the flip, but have a go and improve away...:)

Errata It is now glaringly obvious that I made a mistake of epic proportions on possibly the most simple 'pattern' ever written. That is quite a feat, and not one I'm proud of!
Sorry Knitters!
As I think I mentioned, I wrote this after the loop had been finished for a while, and looked at what I'd done, rather than referred to eloquent notes on scented paper (I'll post a pic of my 'notes' one day, for your amusement and general boggling)
Ok, if you follow the eyelet section as written above, you'll have a large hole at the marker. I'm guessing what happened was as I was knitting, my marker slipped under a YO and a 'deliberate' mistake was born.
Some people on Ravelry have just worked either row one or two exclusivley with fab results! If you prefer this to following the random methods of an idiot, It will look great :)...either way I hope you have a F/O you can love and snuggle in. xxx

Eyelet section

Rnd 1: Yo, K2tog to marker (remember to slip the marker)
Rnd 2: K2tog, Yo to marker

Repeat rounds 1 and 2 one more time, then work round 1 again.

Solid section

Work 5 rnds in stocking stitch (knit every round)
Purl 1 rnd
Work 5 rnds in st st.

Work eyelet section

Work solid section

Work eyelet section

Work garter stitch edging to match the beginning of the piece (remembering to change needle size if you did that initially)

Cast/Bind off loosely

Block and enjoy!


Here it is looped around 3 times.

Saturday, 25 September 2010



This is what has come to be known in Knitting circles as a 'recipe'. It's a guide, a 'how to' and is not going to provide you with row by row instructions.

However it is in my very humble opinion a truly wonderful and liberating way to knit!
I believe that if you love to knit for a finished product, then learning to knit around your body (and I am very much still learning!) is an exciting thing to try.

I'm sure all of us have been frustrated with the fit of a shop bought item, or perhaps loved a particular shape, but the colour or fabric wasn't our preference.
That's the real beauty of knitting to me, The endless possibility!
The chance to create something that is completely to my specification, whims and loves.

Of course you could only ever knit from well written patterns, perhaps without modifying a thing, yet still produce wonderful unique items, unlike anything you can buy in a shop.
You only have to look at the yarn substitutions and different colours chosen for a popular project on Ravelry to see the scope available to those of us under the spell of the needles.

Wren is a really simple shape.

The yoke is knitted side to side, then the body is picked up and knitted down.

I think it's a very forgiving way to dip your toe into the world of winging your knitting if it's new to you.
For anyone who's modified or made changes to patterns already this will be nothing extraordinary.

You will need...

The patience to knit a tension square/Gauge swatch. (I was lazy with mine, and was lucky!!! Don't be a fool like me)

Tape measure


Pad and pen

Circular needles (80cm)

Waste yarn or Stitch holder.

Stitch markers.

Yarn (vague I know)

You will need to be able to...

Cast on

Knit (a lot)

Purl (not very often)

Decrease and increase.

Cast/Bind off.

One more thing to bear in mind is your chosen yarn.

I'm fairly sure I'm not the only person who's chosen completely the wrong yarn for a project! ;)
It's very important to (Using your swatch) get to know how your fabric behaves.
The sideways garter stitch will grow when the weight of the body is added.
How much? Well honestly I don't know.

My fabric was quite drapey (as you can see on my shoulders the fabric opens up a little and hangs nicely)

I used 4mm needles for the Garter stitch. 3.75mm for the stocking stitch body and 3mm for the ribbing.

Also the yarns I used, Posh Yarns Sylvia - 50% Merino 50% Silk and Posh Yarns Miranda 70% Baby Alpaca, 20% Silk and 10% Cashmere, were a factor in how the fabric behaved.

So knit your swatch and give it a gentle tug at either side. Does it stretch a lot? Not much? You will need to be aware of the give when you decide it's time to stop increasing.

I'll explain how I decided I'd done enough in the notes....

The Notes! (Finally)...

Let's assume you've knitted your tension square/gauge swatch to the generally recommended 10x10cm in your preferred yarn/needle combination for a pleasing fabric. Measure your stitches and calculate how many sts you have to 1”. Write this down.

I used 4ply/fingering weight yarn and 4mm needles and got a tension of 6sts and 5 rows to 1” in Garter Stitch.

Next decide where you would like your sleeve to hang? Cap? Long? Midway like I chose?
I used the highly technical method of looping the tape measure around my arm at this point.
I knew I wanted it to be loose, so I looped loosely. :)

You (as a far more patient person than I) could do it properly and measure your actual width at the chosen point and then decide on ease.
3” positive? More? Less? Simply multiply this number in inches by your stitches per inch.

So for example (working with my final numbers) if you had an actual arm width of 10” and you wanted 3” of positive ease and your tension/gauge was 6sts to 1” you would multiply the numbers.
So (Even I didn't need a a calculator for this) 6 x 13 = 78....and that's your cast on! (well it was mine)

So I cast on 78 sts, insert your number :)

I then worked straight. Knitting two rows with each yarn then swapping.
For 14 rows.

On row 15 I increased 2 sts.
I K1 then kfb, Knit to last 2 sts, kfb, k1. This is how all increase rows were worked.

I increased in this manner every 6th row a total of 5 times. (Total sts 88) Then (as I'd had my aha this knitwear will grow under it's own weight moment)
I increased in the same way every 12th row for a total of 3 times. (Total sts 94)

Now this was when I decided I'd increased enough. I know this is vague and I am sorry, but I can't see your fabric...or boobs! :)

I have (as you can see) a very understated bust-line! The difference between front and back does not reach double figures (by a long shot)...a source of self consciousness as a teenager that morphed into relief as a knitter! ;) All I can do here is tell you how I determined I'd increased enough


I folded my sleeve in half and balanced it on my shoulder. :/

There I said it!

My lack of technical skills are embarrassing to share. ;}
In my defence I wasn't sure how many sts I'd cast off for the neck at this point. I did eventually decide on 4.

So lets assume you'll be casting off 4sts too If you want a neckline similar to mine. Simply put loops of waste yarn either side of those 4 sts and use those as a way checking the piece is...erm...centred on your shoulder correctly.

The piece now reached around nipple level.
Of course nipples can be all over the place!
So to be slightly more specific, just over 3” from where I wanted the garter stitch to hang to.
This worked out perfectly for me when the body was attached. My garter stitch fitted under my bust just where I wanted it.

When you've used your crazy knitting intuition (or a more logical approach...please tell me) and you have enough sts, is your sleeve long enough?
Mine wasn't so I worked 33 more rows straight before I divided for the neck.

The Neck...

I wanted a wide neck so I decided to make my opening from between boney tips of my shoulders, so my bra straps would be just covered.

On the RS I knitted across 45 sts, cast off 4sts, then (and It gets a little foggy here) I believe I worked to the end, and then across the WS to complete my 2 row stripe. I then slid the sts to the other end of my circs and slid the 45 sts (Without yarns attached) onto a holder. Just my way, you can do it how you prefer of course.

Then I simply knitted straight until the neck was at my preferred Length (width). Broke the yarn, Popped those sts on hold and repeated for the back.

When both are the same length you need to knit across, cable cast on 4 sts and knit the 45 sts that were on hold.

Now you simply have to mirror your first sleeve to finish.
Using k2tog 1 st from either edge in place of the increases.

You'll need to measure around your bust to decide how far to seam each sleeve. I left a little bit of ease.

Seam them!

Okey dokey, Now you need to calculate your stocking stitch section. Again swatch, measure and note. I dropped to 3.75mm needles for this part, as I didn't want as much looseness as in my garter stitch.

I can't tell you my numbers, because I was clearly giddy with confidence at this point (read lazy) and I made no more notes...however my ability to retain random information tells me that I picked up a stitch at the end of every row of garter stitch
(ooh you could calculate this by counting your garter stitch rows before seaming your sleeves to get the correct number! Brainwave...goes for a lie

So I picked up my sts and magically had a good number for my body (measured under bust and multiplied by tension as before)

Then in my darker Sylvia yarn I purled 1 row, then began my 2 row striping as before.
(Pur-ling? What is this purling?)

I added some waist shaping.
Again, you need to measure and calculate. I could have got away with no shaping, but I live for such periods of excitement.

Then it's just knit to the finish line!:)

Only you know where this is, and where to begin (like me) your 2x2 ribbing or the hem of your choice (remember to make sure your numbers work!)
For me the end was simple...I didn't want to break into any more yarn. I made mine from 2 skeins, (to a few yards)

In true vague style I can't say how much yarn you'll need. Your body is unique to you.

...However if you are also a flat chested short-arse, 2 skeins of fingering might well be enough!)

If you have any problems I'll do my best to help, but I think you may have come to realise I'm not really a logical sort of thinker. So be brave cast on and have fun!

Happy Knitting! xxx

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Something for the big kid...

Whew, The lasts few weeks have flown by!
I'm taking Shannon Okey's (Knitgrrl) designing 101 online class, and it's really eating into my knitting time! (In a good way of course!)

I'm still working on the dress pattern. I have to leave it every now and then, just so it stays fun.

I have one finished item to share though! (hurrah) I didn't think i'd get it done in time but once I got stuck in it just came together :)

It's this guy, Made for my husband Paul's 36th birthday!


For those of you who aren't familiar with gaming, It's Eleanor's Big Daddy doll from the fantasic Bioshock 2.

Once i'd started him I found that you can buy an amazing plush replica from places like Tenacious toys (U.S) and Play(UK)

He's made of various bits and bobs from my stash, and was a real pleasure to create.
I could say Paul was enraptured with him...but that would be corny.

Oops! :)

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

How not to not Knit.

So the dress pattern writing is taking a lot longer than I (naively) anticipated.

It appears that customising a knit to fit my body is fairly straightforward.
Making said design fit the 'standard' is frankly turning out to be a pain in the rump! (who'd have thought!) :)

There will have to be changes. However I'm striving to keep it's original simplicity.

In order to get this done I enforced upon myself a 'knitting ban' while I try to work this out.

When I say 'knitting ban' I mean no more new projects.
Not even swatching for that jumper that's knocking around in my head
(always at 3.45am why? why?)

So how does a Knitting addict cope in times of drought?
(especially when casting on the yoke for the 5th time just isn't particularly alluring)

I sort of bent/broke my own rules and had the knitting equivalent of a marathon!
Like when I decide to cut out sugars and spend the next week living on Galaxy bars!

I don't know how it happened (maybe I blacked out) but I made these 3 neckwarmers
It appears I also managed to bend the space/time continuum to spin the yarn for this one...


Which was actually how the full blown knit-gorge began.
I was window shopping some online yarn shops and saw some felted yarn.
You've probably seen it, used it, got the jumper etc... but it was all new to me.

So I figured that making my own felted yarn was within the rules. (right,right!)
I had dyed up this merino...

...a while ago, and I decided it would be perfect for my little experiment.

I spun it thick and thin on my drop spindle.
Which even with a roman spindle weight attached (a gift from a metal detector/treasure hunting friend) was too light to 'drop spin' so I just rolled it down my thigh to get the twist.
At times I did feel like I was wrestling an anaconda, but can you really think of a better way to spend a few hours? :)

When It was spun I soaked it in a bowl of hot water (as I would to set the twist) then I plopped it into a sink of cold water (giving it a bit of rough treatment while it was submerged)
I did this repeatedly and unsurprisingly It worked! (surprisingly It was nice too)

Here it is before I knitted it...

And that was the catalyst.
I mean, how could I not knit it?
As punishment it turns out the colours do not suit me at all (hence Poppy doing the modelling) so I decided to pop it in my etsy shop...
....but hang on, I can't put just one in there...that would look erm, unprofessional?
(and of course If I don't sell them I can keep them! Guilt free!)

So cough cough these two somehow appeared...



I don't think I have ever been so productive.

It's just a shame it wasn't my dress I was ploughing away at.
But hey ho...I did at least have a new idea for the increases while I was sewing on a ribbon.

Three cheers for not knitting!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Glad of Cake

Today was great!

I decided to cast on for my 2nd Glad mini dress and start getting the pattern written up.

Of course for such a venture one needs cake.
Chocolate cake.
Luckily Henry got right to it for me :)


Can you guess what the secret ingredient is?...:D


I actually iced it myself as Henry was still running laps around the living room...


So with cake at the ready, and gallons of tea I'm ready to tackle writing out my first pattern!

Here's my first pic of the new project...


I love the colour and I'm so excited to be getting on with this.
It's the same yarn as the original was knitted in. Twilleys Freedom Gorgeous, a bamboo/nylon blend.

As well as the cake, I'm also getting help and support from the wonderful Christine, a truly generous, enthusiastic all round good egg!
Her blog is here where you can see her fab new designs in progress.

Time for tea...