Monday, 29 December 2014

Winter plans and a free hat pattern

I'm making my first New Years resolution early this year.  I feel very much that I neglect my blog, and having been told by several people that they do actually read it (Hi Y'all) I've been examining why I don't write more.  I went through all the usual excuses, like lack of time, too much to do etc. and decided that they were all bumpkin.  What is really going on is that I've got no interest in it.  So to combat this apathy I'm making it a seasonally themed blog with a new entry every week.  There will be patterns, including knitting, crochet, button and lots of other crafty stuff, recipes, poems, stories, in fact anything I can include within the seasonal theme.  Starting with winter obviously.  So Happy New Year everyone and hope you enjoy this weeks free hat pattern.  I've included a free PDF download for this hat on the Beaker Button Designs Ravelry page here.

Remember Me Hat
©Jen Best 2014   

Tension: 10cm x 10cm square =  7 sts x 10 rows in stocking stitch, size 10mm needles or appropriate size to achieve the correct tension, cable needle, yarn needle for sewing up, Super Bulky yarn 200g, 116m approx.  Pom Pom maker or card for making Pom Poms.  
I used DMC Aurora in the sample but it would work well with Malabrigo Rasta or your own super bulky art yarn! 

This hat is knitted sideways with a cable.  The rib is picked up around the bottom and knitted, then the whole sewn up the back and gathered at the top.  The Pom Pom is added last.  It was inspired by a hat I saw in the BBC drama Remember Me.

Cast on 20 sts.
Row 1: P2, K6, P4, K6, P2
Row 2 and all wrong side (even) rows: K2, P6, K4, P6, K2
Row 3: P2, Cf6, P4, Cf6, P21
Row 5: P2, K6, P4, K6, P2
Row 7: P2, K6, P4, K6, P2
Row 9: P2, K6, P4, K6, P2
Row 10: K2, P6, K4, P6, K2

Repeat last 10 rows until work measures 58cm (or required width for head) ending with a right side row facing. Cast off in pattern but don't break yarn.
Pick up and knit 30 sts (adjust if you’ve changed the width of the hat) across the bottom of the hat. 
Row 1 of brim: (K1, P1) across the row.
Repeat the last row three more times. Cast off very loosely in rib (I cast off using Elizabeth Zimmerman’s sewn cast off).
Sew up the back using whip stitch. Sew the top together by making a running stitch round the top and pulling it tight.
Make a few stitches to close the hole.

Using the remaing wool make a pom pom and sew it to the top.  I made my pom pom by wrapping the yarn loosely round my hand.  I used the yarn tails from the hat to tie round the middle of the wraps very tightly and then I cut through the ends of the wraps to make the pom pom.  Wear with pride!

Friday, 5 December 2014

Dorset Buttons with a Twist

Right.  I realise it's been awhile.  I've been designing, going to shows and writing a book.  So this blog post is a shameless plug for said book.

It's called......................(that was a drum roll in case you missed it)

Dorset Buttons with a Twist.          Ta Da!

For more information on the book have a look here

It has 10 designs inspired by button brooches made in the 1930s and 1940s.  Each design is a piece of wearable art.  There is a brooch, hair grip, scarf ring, bracelet, shawl pin, pendant, key ring and a button.  I've posted photos below of each project.  It's available as an instantly downloadable PDF for £9 here  (Beaker Button's Etsy shop).

I'm also running a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to do a print run.  There are some great rewards on offer so if you'd like a hard copy or you simply want to support us (and thank you so much) have a look here (kickstarter page).

Button eye candy below.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

How to Yarn Bomb your Car!

It was Yarn Shop Day today, and in true Spitfire Knitters fashion I decided that we'd celebrate by yarn bombing my car.  Let's face it, that particular yarn bomb has just been begging to happen.  So, for those of you who are also that way inclined I've complied a little photographic guide for covering your car with woolly stuff.

You will need:
One car with plenty of space around it.

This is Katy Best by the way.

A whole pile of woolly stuff to play with

Scissors, string and coffee.  Well, fancy fruit tea for me...
A big pile of blankets

Willing helpers/minions (not that I have delusions of grandeur or anything) 
Cover the back of the car with the blankets.  We tied ours on
Using some of your woolly stuff arm knit nets to drape over the front and top of the car

More draping and blanket tying

At this point it's useful to press gang more minions.  Coffee and cake helps persuade them
 After that:
Add bits and pieces to the sides

Both sides for balance but that's optional

Add a tail to the back (not optional)

Knit mouths, crochet flowers, make pom poms and tie them to the nets.  

                   Drive it up around the car park because it's the only place you're allowed to.

Take it all off to go home.  Well, most of it.  I kept the wing mirror Granny squares.
Huge thanks to everyone who came and supported us today, especially those who thought they were just coming to spend money and got roped in to yarn bombing.  And the biggest thanks of all to Heidi and Kay who made the cakes, and Mum for being the General.
P.S. The blankets will go to our local Dogs Trust.  The rest will find it's way to the outside of the shop.  No waste!

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Flower Button Ring, just in time for Mother's Day!

I've been meaning to post this tutorial for a while, and this morning as I was lazing in bed I thought 'Ah ha, I could post that Ring tutorial for Mother's Day!'  So here it is.  Plus I get to use it as a blatant plug for our spankingly brand new button yarn, hand painted in my kitchen!  
P.S. we have rings on our website if you can't find any ;-) 
Thank you to Noelle for modelling the finished ring.  
Flower button ring tutorial.

1 brass ring about 1.5cm across, approximately 2m of Beaker Button hand painted button yarn, blunt ended needle, scissors.

There are four stages to making a Dorset Button on a ring.  Casting, Slicking, Laying and Rounding. 

Change the amount of petals by varying the amount of spokes.  Remember that you must have an even number of spokes.

Have a length of yarn approximately 2m long.
Tie the yarn round the ring in a single knot, leaving a tail of about 1cm.
Stitch round the entire ring in blanket stitch, covering the tail as you go.  Bring the needle towards you through the ring and pass it away from you through the loop created.  Make sure to cover the whole ring, moving the stitches along the ring so there are no gaps. 
the first knot
blanket stitch round the ring
cover the tail as you go
Turn all the stitches so that they face inwards, leaving a smooth edge to the button.   The thread should drop from the back of the button at the top.

twist your stitches to the middle
When laying the spokes make sure the spoke you are laying is perfectly in the centre of the ring at the front.  Don’t worry about the back,it will not be central.  The holding stitches you put in will pull the back spokes into place.
Bring the yarn towards you under the ring then back up.  This forms one spoke. Turn the ring to the left wrap again until there are several spokes around the ring.  The spacing should be even.  For a flower button 10 spokes looks good (gives you five petals).  Make two stitches in the centre of the wheel to hold the spokes in place, being careful to catch all the threads from the back into the middle.  I make my second stitch across my first, so they look like a cross. If your spokes are not central and you want them to be, firmly tug the middle until it’s placed centrally, using the side of the needle.  

first wrap down and back up
next wrap to the left
and back up over the centre
first holding stitch from the back 
to the front
second stitch over the first
Round 1: bring the needle up through the button from the back.  Pass it down through the button clockwise (right) two spokes.  Bring it up through the work anticlockwise (left) four spokes including the two spokes you stitched over first.  I think of it as over two, under four.  Continue in this way until you have reached the first stitch.  You should have five stitches.
Round 2, 3 and 4: repeat round 1 following the same stitches.

two spokes clockwise
four spokes anticlockwise
two spokes clockwise
first complete round
four rounds complete
Finishing and making the ring bit of the ring
Thread the needle through the back of the button.  Start at the opposite side from the tail and bring the needle out by the tail.  Pull the thread until you have a loop big enough for a finger (you choose the finger).  Repeat this so you have two loops.  Stitch round the loops in the same way as you cast round the ring to start with, a blanket stitch.  Once you've covered the whole back loop thread the tail through the back twice to secure it and trim.  

making the first finger loop
finger loop
two finger loops
casting round your loops
like this
all the way round
thread the tail through the back to secure and trim
Wear it out and show off to all your friends.

Noelle :-)

© Jen Best.
This is a free tutorial, and I don't mind if you make rings to sell.  Please don't reproduce these instructions for sale though and don't forget to tell people where you got them.  Many thanks.  Jen :-)