Sunday, 28 April 2013

Domino Baby Blanket

18" x 24"
Skills required - Knit, Pearl, knit 3 together (K3 tog), pick up and knit, 2 needle cast on.  All are easy enough to do and if you are not sure, lots of examples are shown on youtube.
3mm knitting needles
1 100g double knit yarn (acrylic is fine) in white (75g will do it)
1 100g double knit yarn (acrylic is fine) in cream (75g or a little less will do it)
pair scissors
yarn needle

With domino knitting, so long as you have an odd number, it will work.  For this baby blanket, I started with casting on 41 stitches in the white.  Using the shortened code (the letters in bold above) create your first square.

Main Pattern
1st row 41 stitches - k19, k3 tog, k19
2nd row - k all the way across
3rd row 39 stitches - k18, k3 tog, k18
4th row - k all the way across
5th row 37 stitches - k17, k3 tog, k17
6th row k all the way across
7th row 35 stitches - k16, k3 tog, k16
8th row k all the way across
continue with this pattern (k one less either side of the k3 tog on each odd row) until you are left with 1 stitch, snip the yarn about 10cm or where you are comfortable, and thread through last stitch, pull.
Now that you have 1 square, to create the second square, change colour to the cream, pick up and knit (i.e place the needle into a space, wrap yarn over needle and pull it through the space, therefore creating a stitch on your needle) along the left side of the square you have just created until you have 20 picked up stitches, cast on 21 stitches (41 in total).  Knit one row.  Follow the main pattern.
For the third square, continue with the cream, cast on 21 stitches, pick up and knit 20 along the top edge of your first square, knit one row and follow main pattern.
For the fourth square, pick up and knit 21 along the left side of the third square in white and 20 stitches along the top of the second square.  K one row, follow the main pattern.
You will soon discover a ridge running from the bottom right hand corner to the top left corner and that the direction i.e the weft and warp of the stitches run in different directions making this a strong blanket.  I have numbered each square in the order you may want to follow.
Squares 3,5,7,9,11 and 13 running along the right hand side of the blanket will need 21 stitches cast on before picking up the other 20 on the square underneath.

Squares 2,15,17 and 29 require you to pick up and knit 20 before casting on 21.  All of the other squares require pick up and knits along the corresponding squares.

This blanket is great to do in between other projects as it's a bit of a gym work out for your fingers and quite repetitive which suits whilst watching telly or having a good natter at your craft group.

When you've made all 35 squares, using the white, pick up and knit along the long side of the blanket (it means squishing the stitches/blanket closely on the needle).  Knit 1, pearl 1 all the way along.  If you end the row on a knit, start the next row with a knit - if you end the row on a pearl, start the next row on a pearl.  This is the moss stitch.

Make several rows measuring as you go along (18" across with the other side included).  Cast off.  Repeat for the other long edge of the blanket to measure an equal amount of the moss stitch rows to the other side and so that the blanket measures 18 inches across.  Pick up and knit along the top of the blanket, make several rows with the moss stitch. Repeat for the bottom edge making sure to make equal rows as the top and for the length to measure 24".

An alternative would be to cast on several stitches, do the moss stitch for required length and sew onto the relevent edge.

With a yarn needle, sew in all ends into the ridges created on the wrong side.

 Donate to a family member or to a charity!

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Pom Poms and other Projects

When was the last time you made a pom pom?  Have you ever made one?  Homemade with Love magazine has an article which tickled my twirly girlyness and so I thought... why not?!  The more I thought about it the more I loved the idea and so did one of my daughters.  We gathered some scraps of wool and together we created this...

Word:  Happy or
It's mainly her work but when her fingers got tired, I took over and at the end when it was time to snipping around the edge and tieing it... the cardboard ripped and it nearly exploded on me.  So by shear determination, inner swearing and a sweat on my brow I fudged it and managed to hold it together. I breathed a sigh of relief as it had taken allot of hard work to make.  Tip: use strong card when making large pom poms.  Word: Happy or Tuttifruity?  I'm going to make some more... why?  For a pom pom blossom festival of course!  Yes, but why?... I hear you cry again.  At the end of the project, all pom poms will be sold to raise money for charity.  Read the blog on the previous link and you'll see why.  On a more personal note, for me, it's about connecting with other pom pom people (smile), creating something larger than it's smaller parts and yet each small part is an important part of the whole.  It's about sparking an idea with a 'word', what does the word mean to you?  It's contemplation, creation for creation sakes (and not for vanity or to line our own pockets) with strangers and with loved ones if you so wish.  Pom poms rock!
I must say, once I got thinking about the projects in the Homemade with Love mag, I wanted to make alsorts!  Inspirational.  I've just finished decorating my living room and am seriously thinking of using the 50's scientific stencil for my kitchen (maybe with blue walls).  It would work perfectly.  I'm also wanting to use felt for some sewing projects too as that would be a great start for a beginner hand sewer.  I haven't got a sewing machine so the Flower Girl Hoop project is another possibility (though I may choose an illustration to suit my mood).  I love the washi tape article... some other designs can be found here and here oh and here.  Oh the possibilities!  But I best get some of my other projects finished first.
I'm presently making a baby blanket to measure 18" x 24" for charity.  I didn't know where to start.  I searched and searched for alsorts of patterns and nothing really clicked with me (or was the right size) so whilst flicking through The Knitting Answer Book by Rita Taylor, I came across instructions on how to do Domino knitting.  With this in mind and 2 donated balls of wool... one cream, one white I decided to alternate the colours for each square made.  With a set of 3mm needles and the double knit yarn, I made a start...

I've calculated 5 squares across, 7 squares up will work and with a moss stitch edge to make it up to the correct size will complete the blanket nicely.  It's definitely one for doing whilst telly watching or having a good natter to (craft groups are ideal).  I will include full instructions in my next blog.

Another project under way is a pair of socks.  I picked up some double knit yarn (£2.59 for 100g) which is self striping, found an excellent free beginners pattern at Canadian Living and I made my very first sock...

Instead of 4mm double pointed needles (dpn's) I used 3mm as this was at hand plus my knitting is slightly loose, followed the 2nd size and ended up with a really nice size 5 (uk) sock.  I've just got to knit the other one now! giggle.  I am so chuffed!  The instructions were easy to follow and you can see the detail in the heel...

and the decreases in the toe

If knitting with dpn's are new, just make sure you divide the stitches as instructed, pull taught/close between each needle (comfortably not like you're strangling a cat... not that I would strangle anything but you know what I mean), and for the toe the following youtube clip will help you in the kitchener/grafting stitch (I was mighty impressed with how mine turned out).  There is a little mistake in the instructions which states....
Rnd 1: First needle: Knit to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1. 2nd needle: K1, sl1, k1, psso, knit to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1. 3rd needle: K1, sl1, k1, psso, knit to end of needle. Knit.
Rnd 2: Rep last 2 rnds 4(4,5,5) times more. 5 sts now on first needle, 10 sts now on 2nd needle, 5 sts now on 3rd needle. Knit sts from first needle onto 3rd needle. Break yarn approx 30 cm/11-3/4 ins from last st.



Rnd 1: First needle: Knit to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1. 2nd needle: K1, sl1, k1, psso, knit to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1. 3rd needle: K1, sl1, k1, psso, knit to end of needle.

Round 2: Knit.

Rep last 2 rnds 4(4,5,5) times more. 5 sts now on first needle, 10 sts now on 2nd needle, 5 sts now on 3rd needle. Knit sts from first needle onto 3rd needle. Break yarn approx 30 cm/11-3/4 ins from last st.

As you can see it's just a simple mis-type of where the 'knit' goes.
Just pick up a cheap ball of wool, some dpn's and give it a go!
My 3rd project is another pullover, slightly more complicated than my last and this is definitely for me!  Another pattern from Simply Knitting which can be found on The Making Spot by Amanda Jones.  I got a little bit scared about button holes but after placing a query on the Ravelry Simply Knitting group, Amanda Jones helped me out and from that I was able to figure out that I could make the jacket with 6 buttonholes instead of the 5.  I've also chosen a much cheaper yarn... it cost me £10 for 800g... is that wrong?  I don't know but it seems to be working out...

Bright and cheery for spring!  Once completed I'll strike a pose.

Oh my such allot to do.  I've also enrolled in a Craftsy course on how to design jumpers.  Looks fab.  So when I can make the time, I will be creating my ideas onto paper and taking it from there.  It was a birthday treat in February.  My daughter made me an on-line voucher for me to spend how I pleased.  Sweet!

I will now end with a story about a badge... or rather the story behind a badge.  It has been made my Dean Bradshaw, who, with enthusiasm and a bundle of care about a boat called 'Framar London' hopes to raise some funds to maintain and make repairs to a 1930's boat.

Even if it's not your thing, I was moved by how much this means to Dean and how much he wants to share the skill, workmanship and care with others.  Such allot is meant by a little badge which he has crafted himself.  You can check out his blog on and if you need to check out the youtube clips, you can mute the music on the right side widget (though it suits the style of the boat).
I hope not to leave it so long until my next blog and maybe make more bitesize pieces rather than a large chunk like this.  Catch ya later alligators. 


From Winter to Spring

I can't believe that the first few months of 2013 have past!  So, as I munch away at an egg sarnie, I  shall type up my first blog since Christmas.  I am shockingly bad at keeping everything up-to-date. Tut tut.
I've discovered since Christmas that I can't stop knitting.  It's an addiction I'm sure!  The love of knitting is due to it's technical and design variations that spark the creative side of my brain.  It's about small achievements which roll over into other small achievements which in turn, lifts confidence and happiness levels then become a heady high.  When the harsh realities of life keep head butting you in the face, it's sometimes nice to sneak away into la la land. 
I have my local craft group to thank for the encouragement and friendship they've given as I've pearled where I should have knitted and nattered when I should have slip one pearled one, giggle.  Mostly I have to unravel what I've created so the moral of that story is is don't take anything too complicated to a craft group! 
One such project I've completed over the first few months of the year was another simple, first pullover project.  It's the same pattern as a previous pullover (which was too big so went to a sister) but with smaller needle size and I used a cream 100% acrylic, brand Stylecraft (Baby) which was super smooth as opposed to a superwash merino (my favourite).  It's worked out a treat....

The Twist

In the blue superwash merino
Another project which I've completed in the first few months of the year is a set of dog coats.  Previous dog coats have gone to the charity shop due to not fitting my sister's Jack Russell.  So I tried again but this time I've followed a pattern that fits over the head of the dog (called Maggie).  It's from Complete Guide to Knitting & Crochet by Nicki Trench which doesn't have a great review on Amazon but because it had a pattern (the book was a gift so pattern was free for me) on dog coats I thought I would give it another go.  I'm sure if Maggie had skinnier legs it would have fitted wonderfully but unfortunately, Maggie is a little rotund and therefore I could have done with extra space for the legs.  Hurrrumph.  I made a small and a medium size and converted a snowflake pattern from a bag.  Here's the result...

So someone, somewhere may have a dog who may have worn these little dog coats.  The idea makes me chuckle for at least someone's dog/s will be warm and benefit from such a striking pair of dog coats!
And finally, I am still making the springtime blanket but it may be finished in Autumn at this rate.  It's such a long project with a few mistakes in the pattern from the Simply Knitting magazine.  I will get it finished.... eventually.