Saturday, 19 October 2013

For your chilly handed friends.

The problem with starting a knitting blog at this time of year is that some of the things I'm knitting I have to keep secret, or there wont be any christmas surprises.  I'm sure there are a few of my family and friends that may think there isn't a lot more I could knit for them, but thats where they would be wrong. From bookmarks to slippers, scarves to doorstops, there is always something. So I thought I would share my super easy Fingerless mittens pattern, they are a perfect christmas gift, and knit up so quick there is time to make lots of pairs for all of your chilly handed friends. 

I've used this really cosy Drops, Eskimo Tweed yarn which I bought in the summer and have been really looking forward to using, it's one of those wools that you can't stop holding it's so soft. It's quite chunky and using it with 4mm needles creates a really warm and dense fabric. 

I have knitted this exact same pattern with an 8 ply - Double knit yarn and a 10 ply - worsted weight yarn and it worked just as well.

You will need:
2 50g Skeins of Drops, Eskimo Tweed.
1 pair of 4mm needles
1 stitch marker / 1 wool or darning needle /  a set of pins


Cast on 38 stitches

We start by knitting a Rib stitch. This give a great stretchy edge that doesn’t curl up.
Row 1 to Row 10 - K1, P1; repeat these two stitches to the end of 
the row.

Knit Stocking stitch
Row 11- K all stitches
Row 12- P all stitches
Repeat these 2 rows for Rows 13- Row 16; the last row will be purled,

Increasing the number of stitches

I have put a picture tutorial of knitting a stitch Front and back  (K1 FB) at the bottom of the pattern.

Row 17 - K3, K1 FB, knit all stitches to the last 4, K1 FB,  K3
Row 18 - P all stitches
Row 19 - K4, K1 FB, knit all stitches to the last 5, K1 FB, K4
Row 20 - P all stitches
Row 21 - K all stitches
Row 22 - P all stitches
Making the Thumb
Row 23 -  Cast on 2 stitches.  Work these two new stitches as follows - K1, K1 FB, Place marker  K to  the end of the row.
Row 24 - P all stitches
Row 25  - K1, K1 FB, K1,   Knit to the end of row
Row 26 - P all stitches
Row 27 - K1, K1 FB, K1 FB, K1, Knit to the end of the row
Row 28 -  P all stitches
Row 29 - K1, K1 FB, K1, K1 FB, K1, K1 FB, Knit to the end of the row
Row 30 - P all stitches
Row 31 - K1, K1 FB, K1, K1 FB, K1, K1 FB, K1, K1 FB, K1, Knit to the end of the row. There should be 13 stitches in front of the marker.
Row 32 - P all stitches
Row 33 - cast off 13 stitches and remove the marker. Knit to the end of the row.
Row 34 - 38 continue in stocking stitch

You have created this little fan shape for the thumb.

Finish with Rib
Row 39 to Row 43 - K1, P1, repeat these two stitches to the end of the row.
Cast off all stitches leaving a long tail.

Creating the seam:

It’s a good idea to pin the seam so you leave enough room for the thumb hole.

With the long tail from casting off, sew up the mitten with a darning needle 

Tie in all loose ends

You’re Done!!

Knitting a stitch Front and back (K1 FB) 
This is an easy way to increase stitches without creating holes in the fabric.

Knit the stitch as usual 

 Do not remove the stitch off the left needle. 

knit into the back of the same stitch. 

You can now remove the stitch from the left needle. 

If you do have a go at these mittens it would be great if you could share it on my Ravelry pattern page:

Happy Knitting!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

War-time knits and Innocent hats.

It’s been more a week of discovery than actual knitting, but just as much fun nonetheless. I stumbled across a collection of old war time knitting patterns this week that I had been given a few years ago by my friend Nicky and I’ve had a great time looking through them again and uncovering some great pattern ideas and some insightful articles about the war-time woman.
 These ideas for Christmas patterns could be in a knitting magazine now.

I just thought this was a beautiful and classic picture. 

There was a series on the BBC recently called ‘The Fabric of Britain’ which looked at the history of British knitting and touched on the importance of it during the war. Not only providing supplies of socks and scarves to the troops but also having the ability to create new clothing from worn out pieces, which is why the fashion for shorter cardigans and tighter jumpers took off through the war as there was simply less wool as you recycled an old jumper again and again.

I love these children’s patterns. I’d like to try converting this girl's cardigan up to my size purely for the shoulders, I've been trying to find a modern pattern like this for a while now.

They obviously didn’t scare easily back in the 40’s, as some of the children are terrifying.

This fringe article was on the back of a knitting pattern from 1943 titled “Even in War-time you’ll long for a new hat when thinking of spring”.

I Just like picturing this woman steaming her brown bread, wearing her fur collar and sipping a Martini.

After removing my fur collar and putting down my Martini I did manage to do a little knitting myself this week.

I thought I would try my hand at knitting some hats for the ‘Innocent big knit’. You may have seen the adverts on TV. They put the hats on the little bottles of smoothies and money from the sales goes to keeping older people warm this winter. They are really fun to make and there are patterns to follow on their website You maybe able to tell that I came up with the rabbit hat as I went along, Which is all part of the fun of it. I just hope someone will take pity on his terrified little face.

And of course we just couldn’t resist this.

Happy knitting!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

My first offering.

Having finally got my initial post out there I’m so excited to actually start sharing my patterns.

Last week I posted a picture of my black Tassel Cowl. I came up with it just for myself at first and I
then took it along to my Learn to Knit class as a way to introduce texture. It’s a great quick knit for a rainy weekend. It’s also knitted flat, then seamed. So if you want to knit a cowl but haven’t got to grips with working in the round, this is just the ticket. To make it even more convenient, this week I’ve been adapting the original pattern so that it just uses one ball of wool. You could use any Chunky yarn; as a guide this particular wool is 167 yards/ 152 meters to 100g.

You’ll need:
1 ball of King Cole, Big value chunky, Black.
1 set of 6mm needles
wool/darning needle for seaming.

Tassels - It’s a good idea to make these first.

You need to make 14 tassels.

Cut 14 strands of wool 6.5 inches long to tie the tassel through the top and onto the cowl.

Cut 14 strands of wool 5.5 inches long to bind the top of tassel.

Stage 1 - For each tassel wrap the wool loosely 8 times around a card such as a bankcard.
Stage 2 - Tie your 6.5” strand under the wool at the top and tie tightly.
Stage 3 – Remove the tassel from the card and bind close to the top with the 5.5” strand.
Stage 4 - Cut through the loops at the bottom to create your tassel.

When you have 14, set them aside till later.

Cast on 90st

You can use whatever cast on method you are confident with. I have started using what’s called ‘Long tail’ or ‘Double cast on’; it’s really stretchy, neat and once you have the technique it’s really quick. There are loads of good videos on this – my favourite is this one:

The cowl is knitted in English Moss stitch It is really simple, really cosy and doesn’t make the piece curl like some stitches do. Just remember, it’s worked over an even number of stitches.

Row 1 – Knit 1, Purl 1  repeat these 2 st to the end of row.
Row 2 – Purl 1, Knit 1  repeat these 2 st to the end of row.

Repeat these 2 Rows for approx 48 rows or until you have the desired size, leaving enough to cast off and seam ( I Left approx 36” ). 

Bind off all stitches.

Lay the piece flat and evenly space the tassels along the bind-off edge. Remember, the ends meet so only put a tassel at one corner.

You can now start tying the tassels in place, and threading the ends back into the tassel.

When they are all in place, fold the two sides into the middle of the piece and seam up.
Feel free to seam up with what method you are confident with.
If you haven’t used ‘Mattress stitch’ before it’s worth looking it up so the seam is invisible.

Sew in all the loose ends and it's done!

You can also find the pattern at and add pictures of your finished cowl. I’d love to see what variations you come up with.

I made this cowl as a variation for absolute beginners. It's the same method of cast on, with 90st but it's knitted in Garter stitch and I thought the blue would go better with these Pompoms. 
I’d love to see what variations you come up with.

Happy knitting.