Friday 27 February 2015

Mummy, can we make cupcakes?

The cry of my three year old just as I'd put tea in the oven on Wednesday evening. Baking has taken a bit of a back seat over the past few weeks as my daughter has become increasingly mobile and less sleepy, so I sad yes, of course we could make cupcakes.

We didn't have any terribly exciting ingredients in the cupboard, and as dinner was in the oven I didn't want to go to the shops, so I had a hunt through the cupboard and pulled out the selection of food colouring tubes. We had the option of red, yellow, blue, pink or black. My son went for black, which I vetoed as no one wants to eat grey cake. He had another look and went for red.

As this was just a quick bake we went for a basic one egg cake mixture (50 g margarine, 50 g caster sugar, 1 egg, 50 g self raising flour, all mixed together and cooked at 180 °C for about 20 minutes), with a big squirt of red food colouring. My son was delighted as he saw the mixture turn red, "Yay, it's going red, I love red." Then thought for a moment and said "Mummy, it's not red, it's pink." He looked thoughtful and finished with "It's ok, I love pink!" Mixture made, we selected pink cases to match the mixture.

While the cakes were in oven we made some basic icing (just icing sugar and a splash of boiling water, with more red/pink food colouring). Unfortunately my hand slipped with water, so I had to scoop loads out, then add more icing sugar, but we got there in the end. The cakes were finished with cute rice paper decorations from my friend Fluffy Owl. We only had three of the rice paper decorations, so we added glitter to the other two cakes. Perfect for pudding.

Tuesday 24 February 2015

Just another manic Monday

Monday was one of those days. We were late for playgroup as when we got to the car park my son decided he didn't want to go to playgroup after all; I forgot to return my library books, even though they were due back last Friday; my son fell over twice; when we got to the end of our lunch my son then complained that I hadn't shared my scone with him, so we had to buy another scone to share between the three of us... And the weather was horrible. And to top it all off, I accidentally ate a one mouthful of a Maryland chocolate chip cookie, so have failed on one Lent resolution (I shall continue not to eat chocolate until Eatser, but it is not good to have failed so soon. Turns out I think those cookies are more biscuit than chocolate).

So by mid-afternoon I decided I was in need of a treat. Earlier in the day I had been browsing chunky weight patterns on Pinterest and found a cowl that I thought would be perfect for my February yarn box yarn from Devon Sun Yarns, the Accidental Cowl by Elizabeth Trantham. A super-easy cowl, just double and half double crochet to make a long double-looped cowl. So when we got home from our supermarket shopping I fished the yarn out of the cupboard and wound it into a lovely soft squishy ball.

I then set about crocheting a couple of tension swatches. The pattern called for a 9 mm hook, but I only had a 10 mm hook, so I made a small circular swatch, then measured it. The pattern itself doesn't state gauge, but it was easy enough to calculate at about 5.75 sts to 4 inches. My tension was nowhere near: 8.5 sts to 4 inches. So I went to find my next biggest hook, 15 mm, which seemed excessive, but worked pretty near perfectly, with 6 sts to 4 inches. I suspect this yarn will stretch on blocking, but didn't want to cut it, so am risking the stretching - it's for a cowl, so size really isn't critical. I recalculated the stitch count based on my gauge to be 81 sts, and put the yarn in my bag ready for my Monday evening knitting group.

Swatch one: 10 mm hook
Swatch two: 15 mm hook

While I was making tea I thought I'd try something new and use a foundation-chain-less foundation chain as several friends have said it's much easier than working into the chain. I found lots of tutorials, but some were distinctly lacking on detail. After a bit of playing I got the foundation to work by following Purl Bee's tutorial. But that was a single foundation row, whereas I needed a half-double foundation row, so I worked through a set of written instructions and my test cast on worked first time!

I started the cowl at my Monday night knitting group (which I love; the people are lovely and we're all very good at encouraging each other, and most weeks there is pudding!), and while the cast on was much faster than crocheting into the chain, it still wasn't quick to cast on 81 sts! I got there in the end. The cowl was quick and easy to work up, and I loved watching the pattern from the variegated yarn appear. I didn't quite follow the pattern, and actually alternated double and half-double crochet (I had done the tension swatches wrong accidentally, but liked how the fabric turned out). I didn't quite get the cowl done before I went home at 10, but I did finish once I got home; I worked until I ran out of yarn, so my cowl has 6 rows, finishing on a double crochet row.

The cowl is simple but effective. I love the drapiness, and it being wrapped double means it's really cozy. I'm skipping the blocking step - I put it on to take photos and haven't got round to taking it off again!

Friday 20 February 2015

February 2015 WIP month

Earlier in the month I told you that this month's mission was to empty the box of unfinished projects. Well so far I have made good progress.

The cardigan that was never going to fit has been unravelled (ably assisted by my son, who was delighted at turning knitting into 'noodles') and bagged up ready to go to a charity shop. While the yarn was nice (Stylecraft Kon Tiki, long discontinued, 50% cotton, 50% acrylic), I never want to see it again, so someone else may as well gain from 600 g of it.

The scarf was finished in time to give to my husband for Valentine's Day.

I asked my mum whether she wanted the squares, and while she wasn't that enthusiastic when I said they were on the loose side, she did say that she would take them off my hands, even if she had to unravel and re-knit them (aren't mum's great?!), so they've been wrapped up and posted off. I threw in the flower squares too, even though I'm certain they'll be unravelled.

Just a dinosaur and a baby jumper to go from the original box; I have however remembered several other homes for unfinished projects: there's a project bag containing various parts of a tiger stripe cardigan. It's something from just before I started writing patterns and is essentially a Sirdar baby cardigan pattern that I overlaid intarsia tiger stripes onto. While it's cute, my tension has changed significantly since I started knitting it, and the effect is just not worth the effort, so it's going in the bin. A bit sad, but at least I get the project bag back - it's a nice one!

A lovely piece of intarsia, but realistically it's never going to be finished.
In the top of the wardrobe is a jumper I knitted for my husband. The jumper is entirely super chunky 1x1 rib, and did not work at all! He wore it and within minutes it had stretched to become too big. It was relegated to the cupboard in disgust and has remained there ever since. It's been put in the unravelling pile as I want to turn the yarn into something he will actually wear. I'm voting for something not ribbed.

Never really worked as a jumper...

So progress has been made, and by the end of the month the box might even be empty. And while I've been enthusiastic about finishing things off, I've been working on the wedding blanket, but that can have its own post when it's done!

Thursday 19 February 2015

The trouble with socks: Part 5

I had hoped that sock post number 5 would be a triumphant 'I have a pair of socks!' post. But it's not. I do have two socks, but not a pair exactly.

After I knitted my first sock I quickly cast on the second and knitted away furiously, before stepping back and thinking a bit harder about something that had been niggling for a little while: all my shop-purchased socks are a bit smaller than my actual foot, i.e. they have negative ease. My first knitted sock is the exact same size as my foot, so while it fits well, if I walk around in it for any period of time it will stretch a bit and fall down, which would be annoying. So I Googled negative ease and socks to see if there was a consensus about how large you should actually make a sock. Skimming a few blog posts (this one was my favourite) told me that for a sock to fit well it should have about 10% negative ease. I sighed and unravelled what I had knitted of the second sock.

Good progress...
...Goodbye progress

And then I sat down and wrote some notes:
  • Aim for 10% negative ease in width and foot length
  • Width measurement without ease, 9.75 inches
  • Width measurement with negative ease, 8.775 inches
  • Gauge, 7.25 sts per inch
  • Number of stitches, 63.61875
  • Rounded, 64 sts
  • Retain sock leg length, 14 rows of 2x2 ribbing, approx 83 rows of stocking stitch
  • Target foot length from heel without ease, 10.5 inches
  • Target foot length from heel with ease, 10 inches
I then sat down and cast on my second sock (again). It took me a few attempts to get the cast on to sit totally within a section of green yarn as it's rather more difficult to measure pre-knitted yarn than stuff straight from the ball, but I got there in the end, and then I knitted, and knitted... And now I have two socks. Not a pair, but definitely two socks.

I'm not quite ready to pull out the first sock yet, but will do shortly and re-knit it. Time learning is not time wasted (especially as I thought to get my husband to try the first sock on and it fits, except for the foot being about half an inch too short, and now I know how large to make socks for him, should I ever wish to do so), and knitting two socks in slightly different sizes does mean that I now totally get the maths of socks - I almost think I could knit one without any instructions, apart from the lengths required for the different sections. And soon I will have a pair of socks. And they will fit. And I will be able to wear them with pride!

Wednesday 18 February 2015


Today marks the start of Lent, and I have decided that this year I will try my hardest to give up two of my biggest vices: yarn and chocolate. So from today until Easter Sunday I will not by buying any yarn* (if you've been following me for a while you will know that this will be a struggle), or eating any chocolate (and by chocolate I've decided I'll be including Nutella, which I eat pretty much everyday, and anything containing cocoa powder).

In the spirit of Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), I did do some pre-Lent yarn purchasing - I discovered Araucania Ranco a few weeks ago and it is lovely, but discontinued. I bought a couple of skeins in my local yarn store last week at full price, but then saw some on eBay for under £3 a skein, so bought another skein of red and three undyed skeins, which I'm hoping to dye using Kool Aid in the garden in the summer with my son (how much mess could we possibly make?).

And possibly less in the spirit of Mardi Gras (I think the point of Mardi Gras is to use up what you already have rather than going out specially to buy some!) I bought some Mini Eggs yesterday to get that final chocolate fix for a few weeks.

Mini Eggs: the best Easter chocolate!

Wish me luck!

* I need to add a disclaimer here. I will still be receiving my March and April yarn club boxes from Devon Sun yarns, but they will both remain sealed until Easter.

Tuesday 17 February 2015


You may have noticed something slightly surprising in my December round-up: a ruffle skirt. I am not a fan of novelty yarns; I have knitted with bouclé (I had know idea how many stitches I had at any point, and when I needed to rip it out to start again I had to abandon it and just start again as the yarn had essentially glued itself together irreparably), snowflake yarn (which feels weirdly plastic-y when you're working with it, and it really doesn't sew up well); and have made my mum knit me all sort of things made of multi-coloured slightly bobbly yarns, and super fluffy mohair-like yarns (I think I was forgiven for that though as I wore both insanely fluffy mohair-esque cardigans forever!). And to be honest I haven't found any novelty yarn which has given a pleasurable working experience, so what on Earth made me want to work with ruffle yarn?

Ruffle yarn totally passed me by at the height of its popularity. I wasn't keen on the scarves it made, and I prefer my projects to take longer than one sitting (it gets expensive otherwise). But towards the end of the trend I did see a ruffle yarn pattern that took my fancy: a ruffle-y ballerina skirt. To me this was the perfect use for this yarn.The yarn comes in lots of little girl appropriate colours, and what girl doesn't love to dress up as a ballet dancer? At the time I didn't have a daughter, so I considered making a skirt for a friend's daughter, but the ruffle yarn was still of the order of £10 a ball, which seemed a bit steep for something that would only ever be worn as a novelty item (especially as the pattern entry was a bit vague about the amount of ruffle yarn needed, so I was going to have to buy two balls just to make sure I had enough), so the idea got shelved for a while.

Fast forward a few years, when, just before Christmas I had an email from Deramores advertising a clearance sale, including a ruffle yarn (James C. Brett's Can Can) at only £1.49 a ball. So for some reason I remembered the ruffle ballerina skirt, and, now having a daughter as an excuse to make a skirt, I ordered four balls [yes, I did need four (600 g total), two each in two different colours - dark red, and shades of purple - you can see how my stash has become so large!]. 

As it was close to Christmas I decided that I would make the first skirt for my friend's daughter rather than for mine. The design is crocheted, so I'd thrown my crochet hook holder in my yarn bag before we went away, then tried to get gauge, which I couldn't, even with the largest hook I had with me. So I improvised. I calculated that if I knitted the 1-2 years size it would come out at the 6-12 month size, I then followed the length instructions for the 6-12 month size, which sounds complicated, but really isn't. The instructions were really straightforward (except when I forgot that the pattern is in US terms, so had to redo the waistband as I'd gone for UK trebles, which didn't leave anywhere for the ribbon to go), but I will confess that I struggled with the ruffle yarn. Essentially the ruffle yarn is made up of a net, and to crochet it you have to open out the net, then crochet only the edge. This requires quite a lot of concentration!

I love how it turned out. The ruffles are lovely and ruffle-y, and they're nice and dense in their layers (possibly more dense than the pattern intended owing to my tighter than written tension). My family also had great fun trying it on - my daughter in the conventional manner, the rest of my family as a hat... The recipient is delighted with it, which is always good.

And will I be rushing to make a second? Well, I have plenty of yarn left - the skirt only took 60 g of ruffle yarn - so there's plenty of opportunity, but I think I will wait until I've forgotten how annoying the yarn was to work with! Anyone want some spare ruffle yarn?

Sunday 15 February 2015

Valentine's surprises

Yesterday was Valentine's Day, which is not something we normally bother with, but this year we both managed to, although somewhat accidentally! Last week I told you about the scarf that was hiding away in the box of unfinished projects; well it is unfinished no more! I only had to knit a foot of it (not that I had written any notes to go with the project, and had started it before I joined Ravelry, so had to guess at which needles I'd used - the ball band said 5 mm, so I went with those and you can't even see a join!), and had handily knitted the ends in as I went, so finishing it was pretty easy (although I did have to pull back the first bit I knitted as I made the first blue stripe the same length as the light grey stripes when it should have been twice as long). I even managed to keep it a secret by knitting it at my Monday night knitting group and washing and blocking it while my husband was at work, so even better than a Valentine's present, this one turned out to be a Valentine's surprise. And he likes it, which is even better.

When I handed my husband his parcel he looked surprised, but said that there was something in the kitchen for me that I could have as a Valentine's present if I wanted. Obviously I don't generally turn down presents, so went to investigate and found a lovely bright yellow notebook and pen holder (the stitching on the pen holder is yellow so it matches). I'm not normally a fan of yellow, but am currently obsessed by it (I think it's the long winter; yellow is so cheerful), so am really looking forward to using it, especially as the paper has dots rather than lines - excellent for doodling on!

Friday 13 February 2015

When life gives you lemons, make...

...Lemon cake!

I realise it's been a while since I did any baking. Not quite the same as saying that no cake has been eaten; we've been to rather a lot of groups recently that meet in lovely coffee shops, so most of my recent cake has been from outside the house, no complaints, but it's definitely time to bake something.

One Monday I picked up a couple of lemons and some butter from our local shop with the intention of making a lemon cake. Then somehow the days passed and still no cake, so yesterday I finally got round to whisking together all the ingredients and putting them in the oven. I love lemon cake. To me it's the perfect balance between sweet and sharp, and the crunchy lemon and sugar topping makes for good texture variation. I used to use a very basic 100g butter, 100g sugar, 2 eggs, 100g self-raising flour and the zest of one lemon recipe, with 100g sugar and the juice of a lemon for the topping, and it was good. But one day my friend Fluffy Owl (not an actual owl) introduced me to Annie Bell's recipe in her book Gorgeous Cakes, and I haven't looked back. The cake is so much more moist, and wonderfully crumbly. It is delicious. And my husband was pleased to see a lemon cake, it's been a while! Even my son eats it, in spite of the lack of icing. The perfect cake.

And while we're on the subject of things lemony, I was very excited to see Mr Kipling's Easter selection in Sainsbury's yesterday. Mr Kipling's French Fancies are one of my guilty pleasures, but my favourites are the lemon ones. In a standard box of 8 you only get 2 lemon ones, and they always go first, but during the lead-up to Easter you can buy boxes that contain only the lemon ones. So obviously a box ended up in the basket. Might finish eating the lemon cake first though!

Thursday 12 February 2015

The trouble with socks: Part 4

In my last sock post, I left you with a heel, well now, drum roll please, I have a sock! One whole sock! Let me tell you all about it.

My first sock!
After knitting the foot, you get to the toes, so far, so straightforward. But there was a bit of a leap of faith involved; in the book no row tension is listed, just the stitch tension (which, you may remember, I was ignoring and just using the instructions for the stitch count for my tension). The book said that the toe adds 2.25 inches to the length of the foot. Would this be right for my knitting? My feet are apparently slightly shorter than the book suggests for my shoe size, so I targeted making the foot before the toe shaping the length of my smaller foot, minus 2.25 inches (8.25 inches, or 50 rows, more numbers for the post-it note!).

When I was nearly at the right length I measured my knitting every couple of rows - I didn't want to make the foot too long. Why does knitting two rows make no difference when knitting towards a target?! A watched pot never cooks, but eventually the foot was the right length. At this point I decided that the sock looked sock-like enough for me to try it on. It fits! I gave an involuntary delighted whoop, which did result in a confused look from my husband. Once I'd explained, he declared my excitement to be cute. 2.25 inches for toes seems about right. In the moment I tried the sock on, I suddenly got why people knit socks. The sock is so cosy, and fits perfectly. I have a feeling these may not be my last hand-knitted socks (so much so that I might already have purchased more sock yarn...).
I had to reinstate my stitch markers for the toe shaping as it referred again to needles 1-3, but the toe shaping was easy; I've shaped plenty of mittens and other bits and bobs using the same approach. I even enjoyed the Kitchener stitching of the toe, not always my favourite task (I still have to look it up every time I do it), as finally I have a sock. And it only weighs 45 g, which means I have enough to make two, even after winding off the excess so they match.
Rather than put the sock to one side and allow second sock syndrome to set in, I cast on my second sock immediately. I will not be beaten!

Tuesday 10 February 2015

Downtime Tuesday

For the past couple of weeks I've been getting a little overwhelmed by all the stuff I have to do, so after getting lots of the more important things sorted out, I decided that today would be a day for me. I started by watching Sunday's Call the Midwife while snuggling my daughter and knitting some of the scarf from my box of unfinished projects. She then decided to have a nap in her cot, a very rare event, so I took some time just to watch her sleep and cherish her little baby toes, which are getting bigger by the day.

While she slept I sat down to get my first commissioned pattern since her arrival written up, and got the complex bit out of the way before she woke up.

My yarn club box from Devon Sun Yarns arrived yesterday afternoon, so this morning I spent some time squishing the lovely chunky alpaca. They're not colours I would necessarily normally choose, but I love the combination, and am looking forward to casting on a cowl with it some time in the next few weeks. The box also contained a cute keyring with a knitted yarn pattern, a yarny postcard (which will possibly go to my mum for Mother's Day next month) and a cute red heart stitch marker. My son saw the stitch marker and declared that it would look lovely on his crane, so I think I might have to hide that somewhere. He also pointed out that it would make a good earring! So pleased I signed up, yarny parcels are always exciting, and this one was really well presented.

The box also contained the sock yarn I ordered last week. It is as beautiful as Daisy's picture of it. It captures all of my favourite colours, and is too beautiful for socks - it even contains a sparkly thread for extra loveliness. I'm going to make it into a Sockhead hat for myself.

After some more sofa snuggles and a chat on the phone with my mum, I decided that the early spring weather was too good to miss, so we went for a walk on a hunt for spring flowers. We found some snowdrops and crocuses, and while there was still frost on the ground in places, the low sun and clear skies were very welcome, it really felt like spring might be round the corner.

Baking a cake had also been on my list for the day, but we ran out of time. Instead I had an important date with Marks and Spencer's café's cappuccino cake, a coffee and some sock knitting. Happy times!

Sunday 8 February 2015

Teddy needs a scarf

For months now my son has been asking for a scarf for his teddy, imaginatively named Teddy. So this weekend I finally relented and agreed to cast on a scarf. I'm a bit of a sucker for magazines that come with 'free' yarn, not that I ever buy them full price, and in the past six months I have managed to buy three magazines, each with 6 balls of yarn for only 50p each, so decided that my son could choose his colours from this little yarn stash (experience tells me not to give a three year old too many options). He had 15 balls to choose from, and I let him choose 10 colours (I had suggested 5 so that I used up most of each colour in the scarf, but he decided that more colours would be better; he is three after all).

I love getting the kids involved with my crafting, and considered letting my son choose the order the colours were going in, but that risks some truly awful colour combinations, so I decided instead that he could choose whether the scarf would be knitted or crocheted, and how many rows there should be in each stripe. I've done this before for squares for blankets and it's good fun as, if you stick to what he says, you can't predict what the item will look like.

Can't resist a rainbow

My son chose crochet (and then knitted. Apparently Teddy needs two scarves. I'm not totally sure my son knows the difference between the two fabric types; he definitely knows the difference between the two types of tool though). I arbitrarily let him pick 17 numbers between 1 and 10 so the stripe repeat didn't match the colour repeat, hopefully resulting in a very multicoloured scarf. He came up with this number list:
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. 10
  11. 11
  12. 12
  13. 13
  14. 14
  15. 15
  16. 16
  17. 17
Which reminded me (again) that three year olds don't always do what you want. So instead I used the random number generator in Excel to tell me how many rows to do in each colour, between 1 and 5 in each.

And then I cast on. As the yarn is DK weight I used a 4 mm hook and a starting chain of 21 (20 sts plus one for turning). I crocheted for an entire episode of Breaking Bad (yes, I am a little behind in my popular TV viewing. Don't tell me what happens!), then went to bed. When I looked at in the morning I decided that it was all wrong, much too tight - it was curling up on itself - and decided to go up to a 5 mm hook and a starting chain of 13 (12 sts), much better [although still a little curly - I'm much more used to doing knitting, where I know which stitches curl and which don't; apparently single crochet (US; double crochet, UK) does... It's a scarf for a bear for a three year old, I am certain he won't care].

4 mm hook - a bit curly

The scarf didn't take long to crochet, and I really liked all the random stripes appearing. I did four colour repeats; the first two repeats are much shorter than the second two, and green doesn't really get a look in (randomness is clumpy), but I love it. I think I might use the random stripe width approach for my next ripple blanket. Darning in the ends took a while (of course I left them all until the end), but once it was done my son was delighted. He has requested that he should get one too, which I'm up for, but I might go for 8-row garter stitch knitted stripes instead. Hopefully I'll have enough yarn left from this scarf.
Rather a lot of ends
Ends all gone...
...into my son's cooking pot. Apparently they're noodles
Teddy likes his new scarf

Saturday 7 February 2015

The home for unfinished projects: February 2015 WIP month

For several years now I have had a wicker basket in my wardrobe with a sticker stuck to the front. The sticker says (somewhat disparagingly) 'Unfinished projects'. Or it did until the label fell off a couple of years ago never to be replaced.

The home for unfinished projects

Encouraged by the Knitting for Boys group on Ravelry,* who declared February to be Works in Progress month,  I decided that in February I would see what was actually in the box...

I knew the box contained a cardigan I had started probably 8 years ago when I lived in Cambridge. Fishing it out of the box I was surprised to see that I'd actually completed the knitting part and just had a couple of seams to go. But, for several reasons this cardigan is never going to be finished! Firstly, it's too small; secondly, it's not a style I'd wear these days (I'm a bit sceptical that I would  have worn in 8 years ago); thirdly, it's cream! So it got put into the pile for unravelling.

Long-abandoned cardigan

Next up, another project I knew was in the box: a dinosaur for my son. I started this when I was pregnant with him, and was almost finished one evening when I decided I was too tired to finish it well, so put it upstairs and said I'd finish it in the morning. I went into labour 10 minutes later and the dinosaur has not left the box since. Definitely one that can be finished. I think my son might even like the dinosaur's fluffy snugglyness.

Snugglesaurus Rex. Well, nearly

Third project, a hoodie for a friend's son. The hoodie is in 6-9 months size (I hope anyway, I might have to do some measuring to check that, apparently I didn't have the foresight to note the size down anywhere); my friend's son is now 21 months... Only the sleeves to go on this one, so I'm not totally sure why it got abandoned - I remember doing a very large portion of it on a train to Oxford the November before last, so it's entirely possible that I just got caught up in Christmas things and this got put to one side. I know plenty of people who're expecting at the minute, so getting the sleeves done would be a pretty easy win.

Nate, fresh from the box
A more complimentary photo of Nate, before its abandonment

Fourth project: a scarf that I have no recollection of. It's clearly for my husband, I suspect to replace the one I knitted that I didn't like once it was done (I ran out of the original yarn so had to pull the whole thing out and start again adding stripes of something else that was not the same composition and didn't knit to the same tension; I'm fairly sure he still has the scarf but there are too many errors for my liking). The scarf is actually almost finished (I can totally see why I abandoned it though, miles of 2x2 rib, no thank you!), but with no handy hints about what size needles I used. I think I might try and get it finished in time for Valentine's Day, although for that to happen I might have to get a move on!

Err, when did I start this?
Project five: another dinosaur. I know that's what it is, but the pieces are unlabelled and I'm too lazy for finish it, so that one is going straight in the bin.

Projects six and seven: blanket squares. A friend gave me a beautiful blanket when my son was born, perfect variegated yellow squares with textured flowers knitted into them. The blanket has had a lot of use, so when I found the pattern for it at my parents' house I thought I'd make one to give to someone else when they had a baby. Six squares in and I was very very bored with it! So it got put in the box never to be seen again. There's nothing wrong with the squares, so I'm wondering whether they could be put to another use, but there is no way I am finishing this blanket, there are too many other things I'd rather knit, and knitting is meant to be fun. So these squares are going back in the box while I decide their fate. Project seven is some colourful squares, some tension squares, some intentionally knitted squares for a patchwork throw like the ones my mum makes. But I don't actually have the patience to make a patchwork throw that grows organically, so I gave up. I might pass the six inch squares on to my mum and she can add them to one of her blankets, but they're a bit looser than I'd like, so I'll have a think. The 4 inch squares might get stitched together and sent off to the charity Knit a Square as they collect 8 inch squares. But I don't really want to post one solitary square to South Africa as that's not very cost-effective, so those might have to wait too.

This many squares does not constitute a blanket
I shall keep you posted on the progress of these projects over the next few weeks, but fingers crossed, by the end of the month the box should be empty...

*Note that you have to be logged into Ravelry for this link to work. Membership is free.

Thursday 5 February 2015

Knit Now's Patterns of the Year

Thank you to everyone who voted in Knit Now's Patterns of the Year that I posted about a few weeks ago. My copy of issue 44 came through the letterbox on Saturday morning and I was delighted to see that my Fantastical Fox set came joint first in the accessories category! It's wonderful to receive such recognition, and I'm really excited that someone other than me likes my patterns!

Fantastical Fox set
As well as coming joint first in one category, my Fluffy White Clouds blanket and Spring leaves cardigan were runners-up in the home and baby categories, respectively.

Fluffy White Clouds. Image copyright Practical Publishing
Spring Leaves. Image copyright Practical Publishing

Want to knit your own? My Fluffy White Clouds blanket is available now in my Ravelry store. I'm currently working on adding the other patterns to my Ravelry store (and I'll let you know via this blog when they are available), but you can still buy a back issue or electronic copy of issues 34 (Spring Leaves cardigan) or 39 (Fantastical Fox set, note that this pattern was featured in the supplement that came with issue 39 and may not be included in the electronic issue) direct from the publisher.