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    Entries in free pattern (6)

    Friday
    May012015

    Yarn Shop day & Daisy pattern

    Tomorrow is Yarn Shop Day - it's a Let's Knit initiative & this is the 2nd year it's been going.

    As you might know, I both teach & work at The Wool Stop in Thornbury. We have lots planned tomorrow including a knitting surgery (that should keep me on my toes!), 10% discount, goodie bags for some lucky customers, spinning, a raffle & yarnbombing which everybody can get involved in.

    Our chosen charity this year is in memory of Daisy, who died last year on the night following her 7th birthday. The charity is Funding Neuro, and the money will go to the team in Bristol who are so close to giving parents hope in the fight against DIPG. The methods they are trialling offer hope for treating things like Parkinsons too, so it's important work.

    The day is supposed to be a fun, community focussed day. Everyone is welcome, whether you can knit or not - you can make a pompom & add it to the yarnbombing outside the bank, buy a Daisy pin, have a cuppa & some cake. Maybe try knitting/crochet or spinning & see if it might be your next hobby! Maybe you think knitting is just for white haired old ladies - come along and enjoy having your preconceptions busted! 

    In the meantime, I've been crocheting some daisies to add to the yarnbombing, to remember Daisy. It's especially appropriate as this weekend last year is the weekend she became ill. From a healthy 6 yr oldschool girl to a death sentance in just a few days. Heartbreaking. In case you want to make your own flowers, here's the pattern that I've improvised. Unlike my published patterns, I haven't had it tech edited or test knitted, so if there are any errors, let me know. It's only meant to be reminiscent of a daisy, not an attempt to exactly reproduce a flower, so feel free to make as many or as few 'petals' as you like. I have used UK crochet terms.

    Daisy - Use any yarn you have, and work at a tightish tension. You will need a tiny bit of yellow yarn and a few metres of white. Use a hook that's a little smaller than you would normally use. I used dk yarn and a 3.5mm hook.

    White 'petals'

    Ch8, slip stitch together to form a ring.

    Rnd 1: Worrking in to the ring, 1dc, *ch 15, dc; rep from * 11 times or as many as fits comfortably into the ring without overlapping. Do not turn.

    Rnd 2: Ch15, sl st into ring through petal, in between dcs. Repeat around until each 'petal' has another behind it. Sl st to join and fasten off.  Set aside.

    Yellow centre

    Rnd 1:Into magic ring (also known as disappearing loop), ch1, dc6

    Rnd 2: 2 dc into each dc (12 sts)

    Rnd 3: dc into each dc, sl st to dc, fasten off. Leave a long tail. Use the tail to stitch the yellow centre onto the centre of the white ring.

    The daisy will look very curly. Soak and lie flat to block, or steam block. The bottom flower in this picture is pre-blocking. Top is blocked. It doesn't take much effort and it makes a big difference! Just arrange the petals by brushing them out flat with your fingers, no need to pin.

    If you like this pattern, consider making a small donation to the fund, or maybe use it to do some fundraising yourselves xxx

    Sunday
    Dec212014

    Free pattern - Christmas Snowflakes

    I designed this snowflake for a crochet class, and have really enjoyed making them for the christmas tree & to give to friends. So I thought I'd give my readers a little gift and share the pattern with you!

    They are quick to make and only use a little yarn so there's plenty of time for you to whip some up to gift. Make them teeny tiny in lace weight or as a window decoration in bulky yarn. The one pictured was made with Rico bamboo yarn - dk  - with a 3.25mm hook.

    6 point Granny snowflake:

    Rnd 1: Into magic loop, 3ch, 2tr, 2ch, (3tr,2ch) 5 more times, sl st to join (6 clusters)  

    Rnd 2: sl st along to ch sp, ch3, 2tr, 2ch, 3tr into 2 ch sp, (3tr,2ch,3tr) into next 2ch sp 5 times, sl st to join (12 clusters)

    Rnd 3: sl st along to ch sp, 3ch, 2tr, *picot, 3tr into 2ch sp, sl st into sp between clusters, (3tr,*picot,3tr into 2ch sp, sl st into sp between cluster)  5 times, sl st to join. 

    *Picot: Ch4, sl st into back of 4th st from loop, ch4, sl st into same st as before, ch3, sl st into same place. Yes, I know that looks wrong - but it makes the most even looking picot loop.

    Hanging chain: For one of the picots, extend the centre ch4 to around ch25 (you don't need to be exact, just long enough to be a practical loop) before working the sl st into the same st as before.

    To stiffen decorations

    Decorations are best made at a tight tension. Use a smaller hook than recommended for the yarn.

    For the star shown I used clear children's glue. I got a pack of glues from the pound shop & one of the clear glues had a small circular sponge applicator which makes it quick to apply the glue exactly where it's wanted with minimal mess! PVA glue works well - dilute slightly to make it easier to paint on. I sprinkled some fine silver glitter over the stars after glueing & pinning. Because - sparkle!!

    I used some dense foam chilled food packaging as my blocking board for this, not wanting to get glue on my good blocking mats. I also found that the foam discs from pizza packaging works well :)

    Other ideas:

    Spray starch. Quickest option. Spray starch onto surface of decoration and press with iron. Most suitable for natural fibres - it is easier to melt synthetic yarn! Several thin layers are easier and more effective than saturating then ironing. Remember to spray both sides.

    Sugar solution. Make a concentrated sugar solution by heating a small amount of water in a saucepan and adding sugar until no more will dissolve. Soak decoration in solution, pin & leave to dry.

     

    Thursday
    Sep262013

    Clara Hat - Free pattern

    Sometimes, a design hits just the right chord when it is published, and it takes off. Sometimes it just doesn't, and it's often hard to know quite why it missed. 

    Clara was published in Knit Now, as part of the designer challenge. This is a section where 3 different designers are given the same yarn (normally 1 ball) and asked to make something with it. It's always interesting to see the different designs that appear, and Clara was my pattern for Colinette Prism. This is a chunky wool/cotton mix yarn that is quite slubby and uneven. It was surprisingly lovely to work with & Clara was a breeze to make. Quick, simple, and exactly as I planned. Perfect for spring or autumn, when you don't yet need winter coats but a little hat that fits in your pocket is a handy thing to have.

    But the pattern hasn't (as far as I know) been made. And that's a pity, because it's actually one of the ones I wear most. So I thought I would make a gift of it to you. It is fast - can be made in an evening - and versatile, as you can wear it as a close fitting cloche style or further back on your head as a slightly slouchy beanie.

    Materials needed:

    Chunky yarn - I used Colinette Prism in Dali Heaven's Above. The M/L size took just over 50g yarn ( about 65m)

    6mm needles - double pointed needles for knitting both flat & in the round

    3 x 1cm buttons

    Sizes available:

    Women's S-M/ M-L to fit head circumference 18-20"/20-22"

    The pdf is available here.

    Enjoy!

    Thursday
    Oct112012

    Tutorial - sew a Kindle/iPad/tech cover

     

    These make great gifts, and have been one of the most popular items that I have sold at craft fairs. They are super simple to make & can showcase a great fabric. They are slightly padded to protect your gadget. I took photos as I made one and will show you step by step how to make your own.

    Materials: 

    Exterior fabric - this is the bit that people see. In these photos I have used an Alexander Henry fabric that initially seems to be a basic camoflage print, until you look closer and realise the shapes are silhouettes of nude ladies.....

    Medium fusible interfacing. I use a woven fusible interfacing on the exterior fabric only. This adds rigidity and stability to the end product. If you are using a reasonably sturdy fabric you can probably miss this out.

    Interior fabric (fleece is ideal, otherwise I use fabric & fusible fleece or wadding to provide a little padding)

    Hair band in a complementary colour. The ones without a metal join are ideal - cut out the metal bits if you get normal hair bands. This makes the closure loop.

    1 Button - again to complement or to contrast with your exterior fabric

    ALL seam allowances are 1cm

    Instructions

    Step 1: find out the size of the thing that you are covering! I have cut out templates for small e-readers, Kindle 3G & Fire (and most 7" tablets) and iPads. If you have the gadget to hand, measure it! If not, the measurements are easily available on the manufacturer's web sites.  

    Step 2:

    Once you have your measurement, add AT LEAST 5 cm to both the width & the height. Cut out 2 rectangles of this size from both the fabrics & the fusible interfacing. If your exterior print is directional, consider how to cut the rectangles so both sides will be right side up. Iron the interfacing onto the wrong side of the exterior fabric.

    Step 3: 

    Attach the hairband to the top short edge of one exterior panel. Fold the panel in half so that both long sides match, fold to find the centre & mark with a pin or disappearing fabric pen. Using a wide zig zag with a very short or zero stitch length, sew the band close to the edge as in the photo above.

    Step 4:

    With Right sides together, attach the top short edges of an exterior & a lining panel. Pin and sew 1 cm in from the edge. Iron, pressing the seam allowances to either side. Repeat with the other panels.

    Step 5:

    Edge stitch either side of the seam to secure the edges.

    Step 6:

    Attach the button to the exterior panel that does not have the elastic band attached. Find the centre line as before. Decide on how far down to place the button by holding the folded panels together, exterior panels out. Fold the band over the front panel and attach the button at the level of the bottom of the loop.

    Step 7:

    Open the panels out and pin together with wrong sides out. Leaving a gap at the base of the lining panels, sew around the outside of the panels as shown. Cut diagonally across the corners being careful not the cut the stitches. This reduces bulk. Trim the edges to around 0.5 cm.

    If you are using a very heavy or thick fabric (like velvet or cord) it can be easier to round the corners. To do this, draw around a cup for a nice round line, sew along that line then clip into the seam allowance approx every cm.

    Step 8:

    Turn the cover right side out by pulling it through the opening in the base. Poke the corners out using a chop stick or similar sticky thing. Sew the base shut carefully by hand of machine. Push the lining into the exterior and.....

     

    admire your cover!

    Hope you enjoy making  your tech covers. I would love to see photos of any you make xx

     

    Monday
    Aug062012

    Teaching children to knit - with free owl patterns

    Eccentric Owls - pdf available for download here


     

    My son Billy’s first knitting project (http://www.ravelry.com/projects/curvyjax/billys-first-knitting-project-age-7) started as a scarf, but he managed to increase his stitches so dramatically as he went that it became a sort of wool-alpaca collar that, with a little bit of ribbon became a birthday present for Grandma. Bless her; she still wears it with pride – even outside the house! His triumph at producing this holey piece of love made my heart sing – and it just took a little bit of time and some leftover yarn.

    Teaching your child to knit can be a really great shared experience. Or it can be fraught with frustration and flared tempers. I’ve picked up a few tricks along the way to help you have a good time with it!

    The perfect time to start is when your child shows an interest! Finger knitting can be a good way to start, but lots of kids want to learn ‘proper’ knitting. Most children will have enough dexterity to learn between the ages of 5 and 8 years old.

    Start with a dk-aran weight yarn and 4 or 5mm needles. Children’s hands are smaller than adults, so bigger needles can be hard to manipulate.

    Let your child choose their yarn. Colour changing yarns are great as they keep interest going, waiting to see what colour comes next. Steer them away from eyelash or furry yarns until they have the basics down!

    Wood or bamboo needles are ideal as they grip the yarn but plastic is good too. Straight or circular are fine. Don’t worry about them holding the yarn ‘correctly’. Let them do what feels right.

     

    • Four reasons to get your child knitting:
    • Improves handwriting (according to Joe)
    • Improved concentration
    • Practical, everyday maths skills – addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, percentages……there’s a whole lotta maths going on in knitting!
    • You can do it anytime, anywhere – even in a power cut, which has got to beat an Xbox hands down!

     

    Embrace the eccentricities inherent in first knitted projects. Their owl may look ‘unusual’, but that just makes it unique.

    I’ve taught both boys and girls to knit, and found that often the kids who have the most trouble sitting still were the ones who picked up the skill quickest. In fact, hyperactive kids often find that they can learn better with their hands busy knitting – it occupies a different part of the brain. All the kids I’ve taught loved to make something – anything – to give to family and friends

    So what should they knit? I’ve designed three owls that are quick to knit and each adds a new skill. You can knit along with your child so if either of you get stuck you can help each other out! The first just needs the knit stitch, the second adds purl and the third is knit in the round. Casting on and off can be done by you or your child – by the time they get to the third owl they will have acquired enough skills to do it all independently. Don’t worry about little mistakes – they add to the charm!

    We used 2 balls of Noro Kama, Aran weight yarn and 5mm needles.

    Small Owl (used 20g yarn) made by Joe Harding, age 10

    This is the most basic owl, and uses knit stitch only. You will probably find that the width of the knitted strip varies as they progress and their tension evens out; luckily garter stitch is very forgiving. You can make the owl any size – don’t force a child who has lost interest to keep going to a given length. Joe’s little owl measured roughly 3.5” - 4” wide x 9” long.

     

    Cast on 14 stitches. Knit until the work measures around 9” or you run out of yarn/interest. Seam using whipstitch, and turn so the seams are on the inside.

    This is the ideal time to let your child’s imagination run riot with decorating. Hand sew the features to the body. Or, if your children are like mine, reach for the glue gun! Stuff with polyfill and sew the opening shut using mattress stitch for the neatest effect or a whipstitch. Celebrate!

     

    Medium Owl (used 30g yarn) made by Billy Harding, age 10

    By this time, your child is pretty much the master of knit. So now, the owl is made from a rectangle of stocking stitch. Billy’s owl measured around 5” x 11”, and his gauge was fairly consistent.

    Cast on 22 stitches. Work in stocking stitch (k 1 row, p 1 row) until the work reaches approx. 11”. Bind off. As stocking stitch curls, sewing is easier if you press the work. With the work reverse side up, cover with a tea towel and gently press/steam to persuade the work to lie flat. Fold the rectangle with right sides together, then seam as before. Turn right side out and decorate with gusto. Stuff and sew up. Cuddle.

      Large owl; made with 50g yarn and 5mm circular needle, 40cm long

    I knit this alongside the boys so I could always demonstrate a stich to them – and so we could all knit and chat together.

     

    Using circular needles, cast on 60 stitches. Join to work in the round, and knit until work measures around 24cm. To close the top, turn inside out and do a three needle bind off.  (Or use Kitchener stitch as I did for this owl). All good knitting books will show you how to do this, or you can look for tutorials on the web. Alternately, you can cast off the top and seam. Push right side out again, and stuff. Seam the bottom of your owl, weave in the loose end, decorate the owl, and bask in the knowledge that you and your child are pretty much equipped to tackle any knitting pattern now – it’s all just knit and purl!


     

    Eccentric owls in the wild with their bigger cousin, Owly.

    Owly will soon be available as a knitting pattern to download from Ravelry  

    Note: The article & patterns were first published in Knit Now Issue 5.