Here we go Looby Lou…

When I was a kid I wasn’t really interested in dolls, especially Tiny Tears who leaked everywhere, I was quite relieved when my cousin pulled its head off. However, my next doll was something special, she was called Looby Lou, I think that was the type of doll it was, I wasn’t big on naming dolls! This is similar to the one I had.

I’ve lately been overwhelmed by waves of nostalgia and thought it would be nice to find another Looby Lou doll, mine disappeared a long time ago. Then I had a John Zaffis moment and realised it may not be the best thing to buy someone elses childhood doll, who knows what memories might be attached.

So the only sensible option was to make my own, not too hard, but there is an awful lot of sewing involved, and as I still haven’t mastered my sewing machine, that left me with crocheting a doll, or knitting one. Crocheting one would be easier for all the shaping that’s involved, but I wasn’t happy with the look, so I had to step up to the plate and knit myself a new Looby Lou, sometimes I have the stupidest ideas.

I can’t precisely remember when I started knitting because I did a lot of ‘scrap’ pieces to work out the feet and hands. But I do know I purchased a very large amount of Rico Cotton Aran at the beginning of September 2017. And I haven’t stopped knitting since, and re-knitting, and frogging, and re-writing, and reordering colours, and completely re-knitting the doll 3 times before I was happy.

Louby Lou measures approximately 28″ in height, and within my limited knitting knowledge, I do not feel I could have knitted her any better.

The body is knitted in Aran, but using 3.00mm needles to give it firmness, I also used ‘non-carded’ filling which isn’t as fluffy and gives better shape definition. Her hair is a mixture of mohair and fine alpaca, very fine in fact, but interestingly, after giving it a good comb through, it feels and smells like my original dolls hair.

That was probably the biggest project I will every work on…but now I have a happy 🙂



I got a knitting machine

Instructions: Take title of this post and sing repeatedly to the tune of ‘Silver Machine‘ by Hawkwind.

Seriously though. the industrial revolution has just arrived at the CraftShack (two hundred years late, but better than never, and in any case they never had much in the way of Internet services back in the 1790s 🙂 ) Yes, Shana has acquired a Knitmaster knitting machine. It will be tested and put through its paces hopefully later this week. Should I consider my role as a part-time dilettante knitter under threat? I don’t know. I doubt though whether the Knitmaster will ever manage to be such a grumbler as I (I think I’ve dropped a stitch about five rows back, can you help? or Oh no, I’ve miscounted this row of eight, or Can you help me to untangle this yarn barf?) No, I reckon the Knitmaster has its work cut out if it wants to be even half as good as a real human knitter 🙂

Enough from me though. I’ll let Shana report further when there’s something to report.

The fine art of knitting

Knitting. It’s not just a skill: it’s an art. But what happens if you are one of those multi-creative types who just can’t make up their mind whether to craft a beautiful sweater or churn out a few watercolours?

As you may have guessed, I have the perfect solution.

With a smattering of primary colours on standby (or in my case a few tubes of dried-up gouache) and your favourite plastic palette, you can safely grab a ball of artistic chunky acrylic and a couple of art brushes and start knitting away, safe in the knowledge that you can frog your boring yarn project whenever the call of the post-Impressionists reaches your artistic ear.

I did a few rows of what I have dubbed ‘artist’s two-by-two rib’ before I realised I was destined to be the next Monet. Being a typical artistic rebel I used two different brush sizes: number five and number three. Is that radical or what! 🙂

Waffle Scarf

Not sure if she was inspired by my incessant verbal waffling. (Unlikely 🙂  )  Or by my enjoyment of toasted waffles for breakfast. But whatever the reason, Shana recently treated me to not one, not two, but three whole 50g balls of Sirdar ‘Husky’ Super Chunky waffle yarn. Shana thought the white flecks were little pieces of marshmallow, but perhaps she was feeling hungry when she looked at the yarn. Like the starving character played by Charlie Chaplin in silent classic ‘The Gold Rush’ when he ate his own boots, sometimes almost anything can look like food. But if I find Shana eating my most recent project, I shall take immediate umbrage. Marshmallows indeed!

Anyway, as it was proper man-sized yarn I could hardly knit little pieces of chunky lace patterns, could I? So I did what any super chunky yarn is meant for: I knitted a scarf. I did it (in proper fisherman’s rib stitch, no less) using a pair of 150mm wooden needles. Did I say 150mm? Well that must be either a typo or a telegraph pole. Figure that out for yourself (consider it a bonus Craftshack puzzle, why not?).

For stats obsessives, I just measured the scarf and it is easily eight feet long. And if Shana helps me put it on and stands of one end of it,  she can probably get it quite tight too. That should keep me warm when the Arctic blasts arrive 🙂

Twas the wreath before Christmas


Not long ago I wrote about how I had made my parents a scarf each for Christmas. Well, that wasn’t all, because I also collaborated with Shana to make them a Christmas wreath too. No point reinventing the wheel though (or in this case, the wreath) so Shana found an excellent set of instructions in a book called ‘Twas the Knits Before Christmas by Fiona Goble (Ivy Press, 2011). The link, by the way, is just a straightforward link. In other words, we earn nada, zip, and doodly-squat if you click on it, so boo-hoo for us but buy the book anyway ‘cos it’s good.

Anyway, I knitted all the various shades of green for the base colours on this ten-inch masterpiece. And Shana did the bird and the flowers and petals that adorn it. Finally, I hopped onto my trusty lucet and magicked up a goodly length of hanging cord so Ma and Pa can dhow it off to all and sundry, or just sit and wonder at it themselves.

Aren’t they the lucky ones? 🙂

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!!