Friday, 28 September 2012

Nothing like #FO Friday - A few crochet snowflakes...

So, this is what I've been doing recently - making Christmas decorations. The pattern will follow - now I've done six of them, I think I've got it sorted out! I'm sure it counts as a #FO, even if only one is technically finished (all those ends....!).
These are made with more DMC Natura cotton - I love this stuff. It's the same as the cotton I used for the crochet collars in my earlier posts. It's not too shiny, and isn't so fine that it's fiddly. These work up quite quickly; I think I made three during Downton Abbey ;)
Oh - and a couple of pictures from the fantastic 1940s weekend in Sheringham, North Norfolk, earlier this month. Creative Crafts, Sheringham's wool shop, had a fabulous themed window, in which my mother recognised various styles of outfits she had worn as a child! Sadly no knitted swimsuits (yes, she wore one of those) were on display, but there were plenty of 1940s patterns to see:
She pointed out that she still has the Crochet Stitches booklet you can just see in the bottom right hand corner here  - though sadly no patterns like these, for Fair Isle berets. Mum remembers having one my Grandma had knitted her, but sadly the patterns are long gone. We both loved the vintage-style jumper you can just see in this shot:
Now, I'm aiming for ten snowflakes, so must get back to it  . . . .

Monday, 17 September 2012

Handmade Monday's "Barton" Pencil Case Knitting Pattern - I Want One!

I mentioned my latest knitting venture in an earlier post: knitting a pencil case for my Nephew for the new term. Here's the pattern - just right for Handmade Monday. It looks quite wordy, but there are pictures too, and I have tried to give really clear instructions - so don't be put off by the amount of text!

“Barton” Knitted Pencil Case Pattern


Final measurements: width = 24.5 cm (hence 23 cm zip) and height = 17 cm.

You will need:  less than 100g of DK in two colours, pair of 3.25 mm knitting needles; sewing needle, tacking and sewing thread, pins, zip of about 23 cm - BUT, if possible, buy the zip once you have knitted the case. This will make it much easier to fit the zip if your tension differs from mine. A piece of material for lining, measuring at least 27 cm wide and 34 cm long.

To make:

First, you will knit a long, stripy oblong.

Take one of your colours (Colour A) and cast on 48 stitches. Work in stocking stitch for 6 rows, beginning with a K row. Don’t cut Colour A! Just leave it hanging by work.

Row 7: Join in Colour B by simply using it to knit the first stitch. Use Colour B to do this Knit row, and the following 5 rows.

Leaving Colour B attached to work, work six rows in Colour A. Twist the two colours together once or twice at the side of the work to keep them neat.

Work in this way until the piece measures 36 cm. In the last band of colour, work 5 rows in stocking stitch and then, for row 6, cast off.

(I had, at 36 cm, 8 grey stripes and 8 blue stripes.)

Now, you will work on the seams and the lining:

Putting right sides of the knitted panel together, tack the pencil case into shape. As in the picture below, make an envelope shape by folding over about 1”, or one stripe, at the top, then bringing the bottom edge up to meet it. Tack into place.

Then, measure your pencil case. Cut the lining fabric to size by measuring the width of your pencil case. That is how wide your fabric will need to be, with a small seam allowance. Then, measure the height of the pencil case and times it by two (to allow for front and back). Then add 2 cm for seam allowance. So, for mine: width of knitted panel = 25 cm + 2 for seams = 27; height of case when tacked into shape = 16 cm. 16 cm x 2 = 32, plus 2 cm seam allowance = 34 cm.

Now fold the lining into the same shape and tack it into shape along the two ends.  I ironed mine, too, to keep it in shape. Turn the tacked knitted panel the right way out and tuck the lining into the case, making sure that the wrong side is against the knitting.

Now: measure the gap where the zip will go  - & get your zip. NB: It is far easier to sew a little of the gap together if your zip is a little short, that it is to fit a zip that is too long.

Open your zip and pin it between the edge of the knitted panel and the lining: the zip should be in a fabric sandwich. Tack it in place. This is your last chance to make adjustments...

Sew it all into place. I sewed the knitted panel into shape using wool, and the lining & zip using sewing thread. Use a little scrap of each colour wool to make a tassel in the zip fastener.



Ta-Dah! Cram with your pens and go back to school with pride.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

A Lovely Cromer Cafe, a Bit of Knitting, and a Great Use for a Jam Jar

Ah - the end of the summer over the North Norfolk coast. As the sun went down, my fab Lady Friend pulled two lovely, icy G & Ts from her bag - making use of the jam jars from our delicious Staverton ewe jam. This is made in Suffolk - hurrah! - and we buy it in the lovely Coffee House near us. I was quite impressed with her upcycling ;)  Needless to say, like all food outside, they tasted just delicious.

This was our view:

The weather then turned a little bit chilly, so we went to Norwich and Cromer, rather than trying to sit on the beach. I managed, as always, to buy some lovely Sirdar Click DK wool for a Bronwyn Lowenthal jumper I will start soon in Jarrolds - where this sweet sign demonstrates their knitting skills:

More to come on the new DK jumper soon - my mum is making one first! Spotted this great piece of graffiti near St Peter Mancroft church, near the market:
We also discovered a *fantastic* cafe in Cromer, called Huckleberries. Here is my mughugger paying a visit:
This is one of my better BlackBerry photos: we're outside, here, having just eaten a scrumptious piece of caramel shortcake (in fact, only my mum's is better). The coffee was really good (by which I mean a two shot cappucino and nice and strong) and the tea cosies, for tea-drinkers, were knitted! Love it.
So, er, not so much knitting in this post.I have finished my Sarah Hatton jacket... but just as I'd officially finished it, I realised it is so bulky that I have to sew the cuffs in their turned-back position and buy a button or pin to keep it closed. I tried to show it off at Stitch n Bitch, but it was rather unwieldy and, I fear, it looked as though I'd wrapped myself in the dog's blanket ... but cuffs, and a pin, will sort this out, I'm sure! Wish me luck ;)

Sunday, 2 September 2012

One Normal Knitted Pencil Case and An Exhibition

My 7 year-old nephew has grown up being showered with knitting by many of his relatives... so when he was asked what kind of pencil case he wanted for the new term, he said, "Just a normal, knitted one."!! So it fell to me to produce the pencil case. As always, this was more difficult than it sounded, as it needed a zip (tricky, fiddly) and a lining (tricky, fiddly) but I am really pleased with the results:

It's made of very cheap, squeaky DK so the wool panel wasn't terribly enjoyable to knit. But it didn't take long to make - though fitting the zip and lining seemed to take a whole day! Perhaps I've misremembered that, but they certainly took a *very* long time - endless tacking, and retacking... I don't think I'm a natural seamstress. But now I don't really want to give it away .... Pattern to follow!
I went to see the Transformations exhibition at Smiths Row last week. Many of the exhibits make use of textiles, sewing and stitching; my eyes lit up as I saw some knitting across the room. This piece is by Freddie Robins:

I must say, I felt a bit more ambivalent when I saw the noose-style hanging of the piece and the stab-style knitting needles. You can see from this close-up that the bodysuit reads Craft Kills:

Why Craft Kills? A problematic slogan, in my opinion (though it's available on badges in the gift shop!). If Robins believes in the power of craft (as the blurb suggested), then it's a shame if she automatically conflates power with killing. However, I'm sure craft has its darker side, as anything one 'makes' or crafts could be dangerous or harmful - people don't just craft doilies and baby clothes - but I am nevertheless uncomfortable about this piece. Hm.
Still, I uncomplicatedly like this piece by Susan Collis:
This isn't a terribly good photo because it doesn't show the detail of the marks on the boiler suit - which are machine-embroidered onto the cloth. I really like this because it reminds the audience that 'mistakes', blotches, splashes, are part of making things. Also, in a way, perhaps that art leaves its mark on the artist? Perhaps I'd better take off my Art Critic Hat there! It's a thought-provoking and beautifully laid out exhibition in the lovely setting of Smiths Row - well worth a look.
Now, to write up the pencil case knitting pattern....