The Long Slow Process of Updating Patterns

I’ve been putting off a thorough re-design of my patterns for some time, I put new covers on a while ago, but I knew more was needed. A lot of patterns have way too many pages, so I’ve opted for a 2-column design, the free patterns no longer have a cover so the pattern starts immediately. The patterns for sale now start with a picture and materials required on the first, the actual pattern starting on the second page. Some patterns have gone down from 9 pages to 4, oh my goodness, serious bloat!!

Here’s a gallery of the front covers so far…hopefully it shouldn’t take much longer, as I’m in the middle of a personal project that I can’t wait to share, and I’ve got an ever increasing list of ideas, including something to do with bat wings!!


Untamed DPN’s

Although I can knit quite easily with DPN’s (see pics above), for the life of me I cannot get started with them. I’ve seen endless tutorials with all the sticks in a nice order, and nice words reassuring me that all I need to do is line them up and knit. I suspect the pictures are the only moment the sticks are behaving, pick them up to knit and all hell breaks loose.

It could be that my DPN’s are of the wild strain of the species, if I’d spent a bit more money I might have got the housebroken and tamed strain, oh well, we live and learn!

I do however have a method of maintaining a modicum of control, I knit the first few rows on straights, then transfer them to the DPN’s, this seems to work quite well. So well in fact, that the latest design I’m working on, which involves using the full set of DPN’s, is specifically written with a straights start.

There will be those knitters who will eschew this method and insist that their DPN’s are well behaved and they can cast on and knit without a straights start, each to their own, DPN’s in the wrong hands can be a lethal weapon, mark my words!!

Oh and before anyone suggest using circs and the magic loop method, done that, been there, screamed loudly, still needs a straights start!

I’m knitting backwards for Christmas

A bit of poetic licence with the title, I must confess. Personally, I prefer to follow the forwards arrow of time. It’s actually Shana who has been knitting backwards. (If she wants to explain the details, I’ll leave it up to her 🙂  )

Basically, this backwards knitting is a way to selectively undo a passage of knitting when you’ve made a little mistake or simply gotten carried away and knitted too much. It’s a less destructive method than just grabbing the end of the yarn and pulling like a terrier chasing after a string of sausages at the butcher’s.

Anyway, Shana was helping me out a little while ago when I was knitting a scarf each for my Ma and Pa. These scarves will become one of their Christmas presents this year. They are unlikely to see this post as they are not connected to the Internet, so for the rest of the world here’s what they look like. (The scarves, that is. Not my parents.)

The one above is mother’s scarf. And the one below is my Dad’s. If they want to swap scarves, that’s up to them, but pink really is not Pop’s colour.

They are both acrylic (the scarves, that is… 🙂 ) and were knitted by me (with some weaving in of ends completed by Shana) using King Cole Big Value chunky yarn. I used 6mm bamboo needles to make Dad’s scarf, and (horror of horrors!) 6mm plastic needles to make Mum’s.  With all this acrylic and plastic around, I can see I’m likely to get turfed out of the knitting circle pretty soon 🙂

Back to Shana’s prowess at backwards knitting, though. ‘If you were to video record  me doing this and then ran the footage the other way, I would look as if I were knitting forwards,’ said Shana.

‘That’s nothing,’ I said. ‘If you were to record me knitting forwards and then played the tape, it would look like a still photograph, such is my lack of speed.’

Suddenly, Shana had a serious moment. As some of our readers know, she is allergic to acrylic yarn and if she handles it too much she can develop blisters on the  hands and will feel very unwell for a long time afterwards. ‘Do you know what to do if I go into anaphylactic shock?’ she said.

‘Not sure,’ I replied. ‘Does it involve having to throw a bucket of water over you, by any chance?’

‘Just you try it!’ said Shana, meaning the opposite.

‘Oh all right then,’ I said, starting to take the question less lightly. ‘I suppose II’d have to cook my own supper. Buttered bread crusts again, then 😦  .’

I can’t understand it though. Why can’t Shana be allergic to something normal. Like bee stings, for instance? Instead of my precious chunky acrylic?


The Great Dishcloth Challenge

Oops, with a title like that I’ve really gone and ‘bigged it up’ now, haven’t I?

It was a short but fun project though and for once both Shana and I could work on making the same thing at the same time.

And as a wise washer-upper once said, you can never have too many dishcloths. 🙂

So now to the technical details. We got a couple of 100g balls of King Cole Dish Cloth & Craft Cotton. I chose the cream one and Shana chose (ie, was left lumbered with) the other one, which is not salmon but shrimp, in case you wondered.

We cast on thirty stitches and knitted till we had roughly a seven-inch square. To be precise, when I say ‘knitted’, I did garter stitch,  and Shana showed off her stockinette prowess. But in the end, they are all the same when they get soaked in sudsy water aren’t they?

Here’s a close-up of the rough and bristly nature of the yarn itself. Not too tricky to work with so long as you pay attention to what is (and sometimes what isn’t) a proper stitch.

By the way, if you want the really itty-bitty details, I used a pair (I find it’s always better than using just one) of 6mm square needles. And Shana opted for 6mm bamboo.

Oh, and just to cement her position as  the Knitty Queen, Shana also dashed off a nifty little four-inch diameter pan scrub. I’m still working on that and am constantly irked by having a k2tog at one or either end of every row. Grrrr!

I tried the pan scrub on some plates this evening after we had jacket potatoes and grated cheddar cheese earlier in the afternoon. The plates came out really clean, so on first use I rate the pan scrub on a par with my usual pan sponges, which have a rough side on one edge.

Tomorrow, I shall try the square cloths. I might write another entry afterwards to assess their effectiveness. Unless of course someone pays me not to do so.  Ooh look, here comes Shana with a handful of coins 🙂


Denim Yacht Pot

I thought it was time to rework/redesign Granny’s Reticule, my intention was to use Twilleys Freedom Echo dk, 100% recycled cotton, I’d won the bid for it on eBay which suprised me, but I think it was because the yarn was listed as Blue, I’ve always thought of it as Denim, I’m convinced Denim sells better than Blue!!

As I worked through the design, I quickly realised that it was something new, and absolutely nothing to do with the Reticule! Initially it was going to be a bag, but that didn’t feel right, and as it slowly morphed into some kind of decorative piece, I really wasn’t sure, but I mumbled something about a pot, to which Chris smartly replied “a yacht pot.”, and so the design was born!

It’s crocheted all in one, from pot through to the liner and requires some cardboard to give it shape, charts are included, and like Pandora’s Purse, it utilises the modified single crochet stitch.  I’m quite chuffed with the end result and am now keen to design more pots!

Yes there are 3 different yachts, not two different pots!

American Crochet Terms used throughout.

DK weight yarn in Blue, Red & White
Sample used –
1 ball (50g 100m/109yds) freedom echo d.k. in Blue
½ ball (50g 115m/126yds) Gruendl Cotton Fun in Red
1½ balls (50g 92m/100yds) Stylecraft Cotton DK Classique in White
3.50mm hook
stitch marker
5”/13cm circle of cardboard
15”/39cm x 4”/11cm rectangle of cardboard

Finished Size:
Approximately 5”/13cm diameter, 4.5”/11cm high

Buy now on Craftsy

If knitting stitches were eggs

‘I’ve lost my count!’ Shana wailed. A fine time to lose count, I thought. She could have done it at some other time than while working on a  Top Secret new project 🙂

But the wailing continued…

‘I have forty-eight stitches here…’

‘Now just hold it there a moment,’ I said. ‘This isn’t going to turn into one of those math headaches like the one about how long it takes two men to fill a bath and what happens if they rope in two more workers, is it?’

‘No of course not,’ said Shana. But I was not entirely reassured.

‘And you promise it won’t deteriorate into one of those “Let x equal the number of stitches” algebra nightmares?’

‘Certainly not,’ said Shana.

‘Very well then. Go ahead and state your problem,’ I said.

‘Well, I’ve just forgotten how to divide forty-eight by twelve,’ said Shana. An embarrassing difficulty, I thought, especially for Shana, who studied accountancy many years ago when the abacus still ruled the world 🙂

‘Let’s make it easy,’ I said. ‘Try to imagine the twelve is, say, a dozen eggs. Instead of worrying about stitches, look at it as four dozen eggs. See? Your forty-eight eggs divided by twelve is four. Got it?’

‘Thanks a lot,’ said Shana. ‘You’ve been a great help.’ Shana’s subtle intonation suggested, however, that she rather thought otherwise. And that if those stitches had indeed been eggs, I would now have a bonce fairly covered in yolk.

‘You’re most welcome,’ I said, thick-skinnedly. ‘Don’t mention it.’

Now, why do I have a sudden appetite for a supersized egg and bacon omelette?