Monday, 23 February 2015

Unravel and a learning to knit pattern idea

We went to Unravel this Sunday and had such a good time I thought I'd write about it this week.  I save all year for Unravel.  I put £1 in my money box every time I take over £100 in the shop.  That way I have stash growing funds without having to feel guilty.  I went with Kay and met up with Mum, Debbie, Mandy and her friend.  Kay and I spent the day together, meeting up with the others for lunch and a well earned hot chocolate in the afternoon.  Our first sweep revealed some gorgeous yarns, beautiful fibres and an intriguing rug hooking kit.  Both Kay and I decided not to spend on the first run round.

Sunday is a nice day to go as it's not so busy.  I had time to talk to the very nice people who supply Beaker Button with Soak (the perfect stuff for washing your hand knits, delicates, holiday clothes, Dorset button jewellery, blocking.... the list is endless), and I now have a bottle of Flatter to try. Flatter is for spray blocking (if you have something to delicate to wet block), or for use when ironing quilts and fabric. It was also nice to briefly catch up with the Little Grey Sheep Co.  I even found some Dorset buttons.  Well, Mum found one lot.

Kay and I contributed to the Blue Jumper, as did Mum and Debbie later. The Blue Jumper is  group knitting project that has been going for a number of years.  The link for more information about the Blue Jumper is here. I had great fun knitting a small leaf into my piece.

I could have spent an absolute fortune, surprisingly more on fibre than yarn.  I love looking at all the different yarns on offer but now that I'm dyeing my own I feel less of a compulsion to buy.  Fibre, however, still draws me in like crack cocaine!  I came away with one of the intriguing rug hooking kits from Hooked by Design, a pattern from Purl Alpaca, some beautiful merino fibre (can't remember where from) to spin and two skeins of Swedish wool from Ulcentrum, which I'm going to knit into a striped shawl.
Eye candy below.

Easy Peasy learning to knit mittens.
I haven't done a pattern for this week but I thought I'd share my simplest learning to knit mitten pattern idea.  This is great for teaching people to knit because it doesn't matter if thing go a little awry.

Cast on 30 sts or so.  If your using thicker yarn than DK you could use less, 4ply will need more.  I tend to cast on for the length from my knuckle to my wrist.  Knit every row until your work wraps round your hand with the rows vertical.  Cast off.  Sew cast off and cast on edge together for a third of the way in from each edge, leaving a gap in the centre for the thumb.  Easy Peasy.
What's nice about this pattern is if you get holes they just look like a lacy pattern.  They don't take long to make either so you won't get bored but you do get something useful.

The Blue Jumper

My leaf

Knitting socks at lunch

Debbie, Mum, kay and Sarah from the Blue Jumper

Real old Dorset buttons

My goodies

Monday, 16 February 2015

Buttons for a change

I've been doing lots of knitting patterns in the blog so far, so this time I thought I'd give you all a button pattern.  I've just launched the first Beaker Button mini skein club, which is going great guns, and this pattern is perfect for one of my mini skeins.

The button pattern I've given you is called Simple Yarrell Pendant and a link to the PDF can be found under the photo.

Simple yarrell pendant

Click here for the PDF
last months mini skeins

I also thought you'd like to see some of the yarn bombing hearts I told you about last week, in case you missed them on FaceBook.  These were left on the bridge in Andover for people to take away.  They all had little notes saying Happy valentines.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Yarn bombing Andover and Really Easy hearts

As some of you know I belong to a yarn bombing group called the Spitfire Knitters.  Mainly we make things and hang them round the town of Andover for people to take home.  We're up to no good again next weekend so I thought I'd share some yarn bombs from the past and give you a really easy heart pattern I've written for your own yarn bombing use.  If you'd like a PDF download you can find it on Ravelry here

Really Easy Garter Stitch Heart
©Jen Best 2015

I used Adriafil Knitcol double knit for this star, and 3.5m needles. He came out about 10cm across.  You will also need some stuffing, a small length ribbon and a yarn needle for sewing up.

Make 2
Cast on 3
Kfb, kfb, K1
Kfb, knit to last 2 sts, kfb, K1
Repeat last 2 rows until you have 25 sts.
Knit 6 rows
K2tog tbl, knit to last 2 sts, K2tog
K2tog tbl, knit to last 2 sts, K2tog 
Repeat last row
K2tog tbl,  K6, CDD, K6, K2tog
Cast off and break yarn, leaving a long tail on one side to sew together. 

Sew both sides together using an over sew stitch, leaving a small gap for stuffing.  Stuff and sew the gp closed.  Thread a piece of ribbon through the top of the heart to hang.

CDD - central double decrease. Insert the needle into 2 stitches as if to knit 2 together and slip them onto the right needle, knit the next stitch, pass the slipped stitches over the knitted stitch
Kfb - knit into the front and the back of the stitch
K2tog tbl - knit 2 together through the back loop
K2tog - knit 2 together

Monday, 2 February 2015

Chilling out with Artesano's Alpaca Heather

I'm writing a new book; my third.  This one is a knitting pattern book with 10 designs, all of which feature Dorset buttons.  I plan to have the first draft finished at the end of this year, which means getting the patterns written and samples made up in at least 2 sizes.  There will also be a lot of pattern testing to be done (and if you're interested in pattern testing for this book please get in touch).  I've nearly completed the first design, a cable hooded cardigan in Malabrigo Rio Jupiter.


I was feeling great about this design.  The pattern is working out well.  The yarn is knitting up as I'd envisioned.  The cable sits well where I want it and I've taught myself how to knit a border along the side.  All was going swimmingly until I hit the button holes.  Normally I'm good at button holes but this time I could not get them to look how I wanted.  Pattern writers block hit big style.  After struggling for days I decided a break was in order.

Artesano have recently launched a DK version of their gorgeous Artesano Aran, an alpaca/wool mix.  It's a lovely soft and warm yarn with a nice halo and good stitch definition.  They have released several new patterns to support the range including Riseley by designer Anniken Allis, which I'm now knitting in an effort to break my writers block.  I'm enjoying knitting this simple cardigan so much I thought I'd share the love.

The PDF pattern link is below for anyone wanting to knit it.

Riseley Cardigan by anniken Allis