Thursday, 18 December 2014

Comfort Knitting (and scrap-stash busting)

It's grey and dismal outside, damp but not cold. It's perfect germ-breeding weather. Everyone local seems to be somewhere on the scale of 'general poorliness' - some are downright ill and the rest of us are what's known as "under the weather" which is about right - I feel grey and dismal too.

If it were possible to cosy up in my favourite armchair all day then I most certainly would. With a week until Christmas and still too much to get done, I managed to sneak a half hour to sit with a mug of tea to finish watching the latest episode of The Legacy. If you don't know it, The Legacy is a Danish TV show in which there is quite a lot of nice knitwear. A long plain ribbed scarf which one of the characters wears with her overcoat has been catching my eye. It always looks so warm and inviting despite being very plain and charcoal grey. I don't have a long ribbed scarf... but I do have some snuggly scraps of Scheepjes Stone Washed XL left over from my 'leftovers' hot water bottle covers (for which I ordered more yarn - yes, such is a knitter's logic!). 
Comfort knitting
You can see how dismal the light is from the picture, but at least there are some colourful scraps waiting to be used up. The question is whether I'll have enough to make it a reasonable length or if I'll need more to finish it. Either way it's perfect comfort knitting and I'm looking forward to a night in front of the fire. Hope you're all staying cosy and well, and I'll be back soon with another new project which might even be of the hooky variety! 
Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Happy Birthday LBP!

Can you believe it's a year since I published my first 'proper' pattern? So much has happened in that time, yet in another way it feels like just a few weeks since Charlotte was standing in the cold to model it for me. LBP marked the beginning of a new phase - the start of the transition from 'knitter who blogs' to 'blogger who designs' and as 2015 looms, I have several more patterns in the works, or awaiting publication. When I started a blog about learning to knit I didn't imagine I'd ever be a 'designer' but it seems to be something that's happening accidentally, along the way. Life is funny like that, isn't it? 
As for Little Bear's Porridge, to date it has been downloaded over 4,000 times (!!) although there are only 13 projects on the Ravelry project page,  including this which makes me want a coloured one:

I've seen a few 'in the wild' which aren't on listed on Raverly - if you've made it, I'd love to see how yours turned out and whether you adapted it. This is one of my favourites - it's knit in a lighter weight yarn and makes me want to make a blanket from the motif.
For the moment I don't have time to go back to LBP - I have a friend coming over today to get photographs for a brand new pattern. Something festive that you can knit up quickly! And another idea popped into my head on this morning's dog walk which I need to swatch. I'll keep you posted... 

PS - something odd has happened to the formatting on my Patterns page, but you can still find links to my free and paid patterns there.
Wednesday, 10 December 2014


While I was away....
Christmas madness is well and truly here - I think it arrived with the elves (two this year!). I barely know which day it is with all the festive preparations, two school productions (we have a rag doll and Santa), sick kids (oh yes, since the burst eardrum incident we have had two further bouts of sickness) and a trip to Wales to see my grandparents, I'm attempting to finish off four different patterns for release. Yes, it's all gone a bit crazy. I'm on the last stretch with all of the above, but not quite there yet....
While I was away....  While I was away....  While I was away....
I had so many great plans for the blog this month, but in order to prevent complete madness on my part, I'm going to scale things back for the next week or two and catch up with myself. I'm not sure when the next post will be published here, but I'll still be popping onto the Facebook page and Instagram when I can. See you soon! 
Saturday, 6 December 2014

Free Pattern: Knits & Purls Mini Hot Water Bottle Cover

A day later than promised, here is the pattern for the Mini Hot Water Bottle Cover I made using the leftovers from my Cosy Colourblock Shawl. It's a quick knit and I think it would make a cute gift. This one took only 31g of bulky Scheepjes Stone Washed XL yarn - and the mini 500ml hot water bottles it fits are inexpensive, which is an added bonus (I got mine from Amazon for around £2 each).  

First a confession - when I started knitting this I wasn't planning to publish the pattern so I didn't weigh the amount of yarn used for each section. As an estimation, colours A and B each make up over 30% of the the total so if you have at least 12g of the Colour 3 and more of each other others, you should be fine!

You will need:
-Total of 35g of Scheepjes Stone Washed XL bulky yarn (approx 50m) 
- 5mm circular needles (or DPNs) for knitting in the round
- Needle for sewing the flap 

Skills/ Stitches Used: 
- Judy’s Magic Cast On (JMCO)
- Knit
- Purl
- K2tog / P2tog decreases
- Ssk decrease
- Mattress stitch for the flap at the top

Set up - 
  • Using Judy's Magic Cast On, and Colour 1, cast on 40 stitches (20 on each needle)
  • Round 1: *K1, p1; work from * to end, as JMCO twists half of the sts, remember to work into the back of the sts on the second needle for this round only 
  • Round 2: *P1, k1; work from * to end
Bottom section - in Lemon Quartz (yellow)
  • Round 3: *K1, p1, k7, p1 ; work from * 4 times
  • Round 4: *P1, k1, p1, k5, p1, k1 ; work from * 4 times
  • Round 5: *(K1, p1) x 2, k3, p1, k1, p1 ; work from * 4 times 
  • Round 6: *K2, (p1, k1) x 4 ; work from * 4 times
  • Round 8: *K4, p1, k1, p1, k3 ; work from * 4 times
  • Round 7: *K3, (p1, k1) x 2, p1, k2 ; work from * 4 times
  • Round 9: Repeat round 7
  • Round 10: Repeat round 6
  • Round 11: Repeat round 5
  • Round 12: Repeat round 4
  • Repeat rounds 3 to 12 once more
Middle section -  in Smokey Quartz (grey)
  • Using Colour 2, start working this section as follows
  • Round A: *P2, k1, p1, k1; work from * to end
  • Round B: *P2, k3; work from * to end
  • Repeat rounds A and B eight times
    Shaping & working the opening - to keep the pattern as simple as possible, instructions are given for each needle and repeated it twice (i.e. half of the stitches are held on each needle in an identical way, work each set of instructions twice) 
    Mini hot water bottle cover - free pattern
    • Repeat A once more
    • [P2tog, k3, *p2, k3; work from *to last 5 sts on needle, p2, k1, k2tog] twice = 36 sts
    • [(P1, k1) twice, *p2, k1, p1, k1; work from * to last 4 sts on needle, p2, k1, p1] twice
    • [K2tog, k2, *p2, k3; work from *to last 4 sts on needle, p2, ssk] twice = 32 sts
    • [K1, p1, k1, *p2, k1, p1, k1; work from *to last 3 sts on needle, p2, k1] twice
    • Switch to Colour 3 - Amazonite (blue)
    • [K to last 2 sts on needle, ssk] twice = 30 sts
    • Work in p3, k2 rib for approx 5 cm or until the front measures almost to the top of the hot water bottle lid, as pictured
    • Bind off 13 sts (= 17 sts) then continue to work back-and-forth / flat in the rib pattern for another 8 cms
    • Change back to Colour 2 to work 1 cm before bind off
    • Bind off in pattern
    • Fold the top flap over the lid and opening then use Mattress Stitch on the right side of the work to secure the flaps at either side. Work into the 'ladder' between the k2 sections of the rib - the picture below shows which stitches to work between. Sewing right up into the fold will leave a neat and almost invisible join which appears to be part of a continuous rib
    Once both sides are sewn, simply weave in the remaining ends. With the flap folded open, the top section will comfortably stretch wide enough for the empty bottle to be inserted (bend it in half), and as the yarn is washable acrylic/cotton, the cover can be removed in the same way for laundering.
    I really like this little cover. It's very tactile and snuggly - it has already come in handy as both children were unwell in the last week. After lots of requests from my friend Charlotte (you'll know her as my occasional model!) I've been making a full sized version in glorious colours (I got to use the purple at last) - unfortunately that meant completely altering the shaping and the gauge/ needles to suit the increased size of a standard bottle. If there's enough interest, I might write it up as a proper PDF pattern including charts for the patterned sections - let me know.

    The winner of the prize draw will be emailed as soon as the man and kids are dispatched. I completely ran out of time yesterday after a long drive home from Wales, and we were celebrating my mother's birthday last night - priorities! If you entered, keep an eye on your inbox. 
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