Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Gloves for Genevieve

I really hate the fact that my blog has been so neglected over the past few months. I'm not going to promise any over night miracles, where I blog every single day, and I finish projects every week etc etc... all I'll promise is that I'll try to get it all back on track. My depression has been getting worse since June, and now it is very bad indeed, so I've lost interest in absolutely everything. Knitting? meh.... Blogging? certainly not. Spending time with my friends? hmm if I have to.

And I hate that I feel that way. Just this spring I was so excited about casting on new projects, finishing and gifting projects, and writing all my escapades down on this blog so you could share my joy and excitement. I want that feeling back, so I thought if I sink my teeth into blogging again, perhaps the constant writing about knitting will get me excited about the craft again.

So, today I am going to tell you all about a pair of lacy mittens. Ooooooooh!

My friend, Gene (Genevieve - such a beautiful name!), has been such a lovely friend to me over the past year. So, to say thank you, I am making her a little parcel of goodies. In that parcel is going to be a pair of mittens, as not only is the cold weather on its way, but she also suffers with quite severe arthritis so keeping her hands warm is very important!

I found a pattern called Della Mitts by Holly Terrell, which is a really cute mitten with a variety of stitches. If I tell you the honest truth, I was originally making these for my friend Sarah, for the Hand Warming Swap I am hosting over on the Ravelry group Wish Upon a Star, but I then decided perhaps they weren't for her, and continued them for my friend Gene.

I'm using two yarns: Life 4ply by Stylecraft in Melon, and Sirdar Town & Country 4ply Sock Yarn. The former is leftovers from the Delicate socks and Horseshoe Lace Cowl projects I made last year, and the latter yarn is a very small skein that my Nan gifted me from her stash. I thought these two yarns complemented each other well, and gave this pattern a bit of a 'twist'.

The pattern is very simple, and the only modifications I've made is that I accidentally did two garter ridges rather than three, when separating the lace cuff and the lace hand, and that I used two colours rather than one. Other than that, I have been following the instructions to the letter. I'm now onto the body of the second mitten, and I'm hoping that I'll have them finished by the weekend! :D

 Until tomorrow, dear friends. Until then, why don't you check out some wonderful posts by the rest of the WIP Wednesday gang? I promise you won't regret it!!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

The Cheater's Guide to Gauge Swatches

This guest post is brought to you by the lovely folks from the 30 Day Sweater Challenge (which I'll tell you more about this weekend, so stay tuned!!).

Ask any knitter that has ever tried to knit something in a very specific size (like sweaters) if gauge is important and you'll get a resounding "YES!". However, most knitters grimace at the very mention of the 'G' word. 

Personally I think we have it all wrong! The gauge swatch is like our infantry, the little guys that get no love for their service. They go ahead and scout what it might be like to move ahead. The swatch tells you if you have the ideal conditions to commit and how successful you'll be when you decide to go for the whole shebang. He is our first line of defense against a poorly fitted sweater. When we swatch it is like sending out the scouts to see if that yarn is really the perfect one for your project. Maybe your little swatch is just trying to tell you that you don't like the way the yarn feels when it's knit - but instead getting a big thank you just rip him apart. Perhaps he is trying to tell you that the coast is clear and everything will turn out perfectly. This little guy has got your back. 

Or maybe you should think of swatching as going out on a date with your new yarn, getting to know each other a little bit before you commit. I just like to think of swatching as an extra opportunity to play with yarn. Who doesn't love to play with yarn?

Now let's get realistic, there are ways you can "cheat" at knitting gauge swatches by making the process simpler but in general you can't cheat your way out of knitting a swatch entirely (unless you want a poorly knitted sweater). Knitting a gauge swatch is important because it plays a huge role in the size and fit of your sweater and how the fabric itself feels and drapes.

Today we'll look at correcting gauge and predicting if you'll need to go up or down a needle size, using alternate blocking methods to get knitting faster and learn which projects gauge is imperative for (and which projects you can skip the swatch). 

For those of you who have never knit a gauge swatch before, check out this tutorial over at New Stitch a Day

If you are one of those fortunate knitters that get the exact gauge you're looking for at first, congratulations! This almost never happens for me so here is how to adjust your gauge so you do get the perfect gauge.

If you're not getting the correct gauge it doesn't mean you are a bad knitter or even that you are doing anything wrong. It just means that you and the designer of the pattern do not knit at the same tension.

I get a lot of new knitters asking if they should just try knitting tighter or looser to get gauge. Quite simply, you do not need to change your knitting, as long as you are knitting the stitches correctly, you shouldn't worry about knitting tighter or looser. Knit how you are comfortable knitting and how you will be knitting the for rest of your project. Trying to correct your gauge by knitting tighter or looser might work for a while but tends to be very inconsistent over the course of an entire project. 

The easiest way to get correct gauge is to switch the needle size you are knitting with. When a pattern suggests a needle size it is just a suggested start. It means that the designer used that size of needle to get the specified gauge for the pattern. But if you knit tighter or looser than the designer you will need a different size of needle to get the same gauge.

If you are not getting enough stitches per inch that means your stitches are too big. Try going down a needle size. 

If you are getting too many stitches per inch that means your stitches are too small. Try going up a needle size.

As you work on your next few projects, make a note if you had to go up or down a needle size. If you are consistently going down two needle sizes from what is recommended I suggest you might try swatching with the smaller needles first on your next project. You may be pleasantly surprised to find yourself with spot on gauge first try. I find that I almost always need to go up one or two needle sizes so whenever I check gauge I start with the needles one size larger than recommended and I usually end up with almost perfect gauge.

One step a lot of knitters like to skip is washing and blocking your swatch before you measure your gauge because it takes some time. Luckily there are a couple of ways of blocking that can make this step go a bit quicker. I do recommend fully washing and blocking like you will treat your finished garment but if you are knitting with delicate fiber or a fiber that you will not be getting entirely wet you can try spray blocking or steam blocking. These methods dry faster and you will get on your way quicker than wet blocking.

So you may be asking, "is it ok to not make a gauge swatch?"

Technically you should always swatch. However, for some projects the gauge is less important like scarves and baby blankets since they don't need to be a specific size. Or if you often knit with the same needles and the same yarn, you may not need to check your gauge as it will be the same. However, if you plan on using the "same needles, same yarn" route I would recommend checking gauge every so often as your tension can change over time or even depending what mood you're in.

There you have it, three ways to simplify the swatching process to get knitting quicker! You can use your recent projects to predict which needle size you'll need, use an alternate blocking method to speed up the process or choose a project where gauge isn't imperative. 

If you'd like to learn more about making a gauge swatch and the other steps that go into preparing a sweater, download our free Sweater Planning Guide. In this guide we talk about choosing a suitable yarn, how much yarn you to buy and how to plan a sweater that you love! Did we mention that its free?

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Exciting News!

Hi guys, it is so great to be back for good! :D I have loads of projects to share with you, plus a secret project that involves YOU and knitters around the world... but I can't tell you anything about that until September! (ssssh, don't tell anyone I told ya that much already! ;)) Today though I am launching a new endeavor!

drum roll....

I launched my podcast! I've been thinking about the idea for a long time now, and finally I have the time to make it a reality. It is called An Accidental Knitter's Podcast (guess how long it took me to come up with that one!) and it will be a weekly audio show. I won't be spamming you all with the shownotes of each weekly episode on this blog, instead I have made a blog just for the podcast and the episodes shownotes. At the moment you can only listen on the blog and via RSS feed, but iTunes are currently reviewing the show and you should be able to download via iTunes by tomorrow night :)

The pilot episode (like all pilot episodes) is a little shaky, but I really hope you'll stick with it and in time the show will become more polished as I practice. Today I am going to create a Ravelry board for those who read the blog, listen to the podcast and who knit my designs so we can all hang out together, have a chat and hopefully do a KAL/CAL together :D 

I'll be back tomorrow for WIP Wednesday for a 'proper' update, I have a really pretty project I'm looking forward to sharing with you all. 

Have a great day guys, and THANK YOU to everyone who listens to the pilot episode, I love you all xxx

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Can I Have One?

Hi guys, I hope you're all OK! Today I thought I would do something a little different... so here is my Vlog post! I am hoping to do a Vlog post a couple of times a month ^-^ Enjoy!

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Back in Town

Well hello there, my lovelies. I'm sorry I haven't stayed in touch over the past couple of months. In March, my little sister who you all know is in and out of hospital, became seriously ill and had to be rushed to a specialist hospital in Kent. After a couple of weeks, they managed to find her a place in a specialist hospital near us, and that is where she still is. She has improved, but is still very poorly, and will be in there for at least another 2 months, most probably she'll be there until the end of the year.

So, that is the reason behind my disappearance.... I stopped knitting in March, and didn't pick up my needles again until the very end of May. I just couldn't seem to concentrate for long enough. Now that I know that she is a little better, my concentration has improved and I've been able to start knitting again - yay!

In the couple of weeks I've been knitting again, I've knitted a pair of socks, a kindle cozy, lots of hexipuffs, 1 plain sock, 1 nutkin sock, and a fingerless mitten. Not bad for 5 weeks of knitting, eh?

To get me back into the swing of things, I knitted a few hexipuffs, and after that I started a pair of plain socks. The pattern used was 8 Stitches per Inch by Ann Budd, from her book, Getting Started Knitting Socks. Which is my most loved, and used, knitting book :) The yarn I chose was Nina by Zettl. A cotton/wool sock yarn given to me by my eldest sister Sara, a year or two ago. The yarn came in a pack of 4 (you could buy this yarn at the supermarket!), which meant I had over 800 yards to play with!!

I've finished the first sock...

And am now onto the second...

Hopefully by Friday I'll have a pair of finished socks to show you! I probably won't be around for WIPW next week, as I'll be working on two super secret projects - a test knit for my incredibly lovely friend Fleur, and a gift for my friend! For now though, head on over to the lovely Tami's for more WIPW posts :D


Tuesday, 5 March 2013

This Spring's Hot Trends

This Spring season contains a wealth of new fashion trends, many of which you will find hidden away in your wardrobe. Here are 5 of the latest Spring 2013 fashion trends, and their knitted or crocheted partners.


Source: ©Vladimir POTOP

Star Pattern:

Source: ©Knitscene, Accessories 2012

Another great pattern is Envy Checked Mittens by Sarah H Arnold!


Source: ©Vladimir POTOP

Star Pattern:

Source: ©Val Love

Another fantastic pattern is Bomber Baby by Patty Davis!


Source: ©Vladimir POTOP

Star Pattern:


Another great pattern is Windsor by Marie Wallin!


Source: ©Vladimir POTOP

Star Pattern:


Source: ©Vladimir POTOP

Star Pattern:

Source: ©fuzzysox

Another great pattern is the Kimono Wrap Cardigan by Hilary Smith Callis!

So those are just 5 of Spring 13's fashion trends, I hope you've found some inspiration for future knitting and crochet projects. Pop on over on Saturday for the article "Knits You Need in Your Wardrobe this Spring!"

Monday, 4 March 2013

Knitwear of the 50s

The 1950s has to be my all time favorite decade. I love it for it's films and music, but I love it most for it's fashion. Dior challenged the world with a 'new look', which focused on women. He got rid of the military-like clothes, and brought in full-calf length voluminous skirts, strapless boned tops with full skirts, fitted jackets and straight fitted skirts to the knee called pencil skirts.

Coco Chanel introduced the Chanel Suit, which played an important role in 1950s fashion. The boxy jackets and slim skirts gave the wearer a slim silhouette. One of the largest trends that emerged in the 50s was the circle skirt. Teens embraced the bright colours and prints, layering a stiff, crinoline petticoat underneath to make the skirt stick out.

The main staple of the 1950s though, was the twin set. It compromised of a short or long-sleeved sweater and a matching cardigan. The actress Lana Turner brought sweaters back into fashion when she was nicknamed 'sweater girl' after her role in the film 'They Won't Forget'.

This season Pringle (the fashion designers, not the crips!) have said it is inspired by the 1950s sweater girls; such as Grace Kelly, Lana Turner and Margaret Lockwood. So we can expect twinsets to come back into fashion - yay! And do you know what that means? More knitting projects!

This is the Twin Set - Cardigan pattern by Patons UK, which was originally released in the June 1952 issue of Stitchcraft. It was knitted in lace (!) weight yarn, on 3mm needles. Can you imagine how long it would take to knit that?! 

Scouring Ravelry I found some lovely 50's inspired twinsets, but with a contemporary twist, such as:

by meghanballog  Flickr

© Kollage Yarns

I can't wait to get started knitting Molly's cardigan, which is also 1950s inspired! If you haven't seen it already, I'm going to be making Peggy Sue by Linda Wilgus using Stylecraft Special DK in Emperor (1425), as Molly looks gorgeous in purple!

After looking at it for a little while, I am starting to worry that you won't be able to see the cables because of the yarn colour, but we shall cross the hurdle when we get to it! I can't wait to cast this project on, it'll be my first "adult garment". 

So, question time. What is your favourite fashion era/decade, and why? x

Sunday, 3 March 2013

And the Winner is...

Last week Lisa Millan and I held a giveaway for one knitty person to win a washcloth pattern of their own choice. The giveaway is now closed, and the winner has been chosen thanks to

And the winner is...

                                    C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S   T O   D E B B I E !

Well done Debbie, you will be the proud owner of Angel Kitty washcloth pattern, I hope you have fun making it! I will message you on Ravelry with the details on how to receive your prize.

Big thank you again to Lisa for allowing me to ask her questions and offering the giveaway, it was very kind of you!

Friday, 1 March 2013

Would You Like a BonBon?

I've been so busy casting on projects lately that I don't actually remember the last time I finished something. This week though, I finally have something to show you! :D

Last week my friend bought me a pile of vintage (and modern) patterns, which I will show you next week, there are some lovely patterns! So because she got me such a thoughtful gift, I thought the best way to say thank you would be by knitting her something.

It's still pretty cold here at the moment, so I thought I'd make her a pair of gloves. I wanted to try something new with this project, so I thought I would give my first thumb gusset a go. I can't believe this was the first time I've knitted mittens in the round, I always thought knitting flat and seaming was the easiest way to do it. How wrong I was!

The pattern I chose was BonBons by Susanna IC. I was going to use a different pattern and DK yarn but my stash is running thin for DK, I have plenty of Sock yarn though, which is why I chose this lovely pattern.

The stitch used is Eyelet Mock Cable, a really simple stitch pattern that I've used in a few of my own designs (Twisted Sister, and the other is to be published soon). No cabling is required, you just twist stitches and use yarn overs, which makes it a great substitute if you're not a fan of/never tried cabling.

I really enjoyed knitting these, I didn't want to finish actually. The yarn I used is RICO Design Superba Chinée, a yarn I got given a few years ago by my Nan. It was originally for my first pair of socks, but I didn't like them so they got frogged. And since Amy is more of a Tom-boy, I thought a dark purple would suit her tastes. It's not the nicest yarn I've ever worked with and I doubt I'd buy it again, but I did like the end result!

Thumb gussets were so simple, I'm not sure why I thought they were so complicated. I whipped each mitten in a few of hours, but it was spread over the course of a few days.

Knitting these mitts has inspired me to do my first "in the round" mitten pattern, which I've already designed and look forward to knitting it up soon. I think it'll be my best pattern yet, if it works, and I can't wait to show you :D

Head on over to Tami's for some FO goodness, and I hope you have a lovely weekend :) x

Thursday, 28 February 2013

How to: Make an Awesome Project Page on Ravelry

One of the features I use most on Ravelry is my Project Page, I think it is brilliant! If you put in the few minutes it takes to keep your project page updated, you really will be thankful in the long run! For example, you may make a few changes to a pattern you're working on, adding these changes on the note section of your project page will help you next time you, or someone else knits/crochets up this pattern (like this, for example). Here is my guide to creating a perfect ravelry project page!

You Will Need:

  • A Ravelry Account (if you don't have one, you can create one here)
  • A Project
  • Stashed Yarn *(Optional)
  • Photographs of your project (*Optional)
Let's Get Started! (don't forget, you can click each picture to make them larger!)

Step One:

Log into your account, and click Notebook

You'll then find yourself at your Project Notebook

Step Two: 
Click Add Project

Step Four:
Fill in as much information as you can!

Then click Continue

Choose the correct pattern

Step Three:
Fill in as much information as you can! 

Click Save Changes

The following steps are all optional, but if you can, please follow them!

Add Your Yarn!

                                                           Click Add Stashed Yarn

Add your yarn from the stash, when you find the yarn you want, click Use

Repeat this as many times as needed

Then write down how much yarn you've used (if you can!)

then click Save Changes

Option 2:

If you don't have your yarn stashed, don't worry! Just add it on the project page like so:

Click Add Yarn

Fill in as much information as you can!

Click Save Changes

Add Your Photographs!

Click on Add Photos

Add your photos, in whichever way you want!


You have created an awesome project page on Ravelry!!

That is this weeks tutorial, next week we'll be learning How to: Use the Ravelry Pattern Search!

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Granny Square Eyes

Past few days I've been very ill indeed, but I'm slowly on the mend. I've managed to come off two of the 4 mega painkillers, so I'm just dealing with two now. I'm still on a puree/very soft food diet, but I hope to be able to eat some normal food tomorrow. I have been far too sick to knit, unfortunately. So, I've been sat watching Lost! I don't sleep much, so I'm already on Season 3 ep 3, and you could say I am a little  addicted. I love all the characters (except Ana Lucia, she was a pain!), but my favourite has to be Jack. I found myself sobbing at 6am this morning as I watched Jack go through his divorce. Now, whether it was because I was emotionally unstable from being weaned off a load of medication, or it is because Matthew Fox is an awesome actor, I'm not sure. Probably both. But what it does mean is, I really need to start crafting again.

So today, I did a couple of rows of the Seven Seas Blanket. I'm now onto a new colour, and what I've realised is this baby isn't going to be wide enough. I should have done two balls of each colour for the stripes instead of the one, I never realised it was going to be this wide! So, I'm thinking of adding more colours, but I'll have to talk to Mum again and see what she thinks.

The yarn is King Cole Big Value DK in Pot Pourri (296), which Deramores no longers stocks unfortunately. It has a slight wooly feel to it despite being 100% acrylic, and knits up nicely. 

And now it is time for a first on An Accidental Knitter - A crochet project appearing on WIP Wednesday! *trumpet fanfare, squeals and giggles of happy children sound all around* Hurraaaaaaaay :D

I would love to master the basics of crochet so I can move onto a 'proper' project, so I thought the best way to begin to learn, is by making a granny square blanket. I love granny squares. I love how they look, I love creating them, and I also love how quick they are to make! (I think my high score so far is crocheting one in 15 minutes). So today, after a few episodes of Lost, I had a dig through my stash box and bagged up most of my DK scraps (I have a few more looming near the bottom, but by the time I got there, the temptation to start making something was just too strong). 

Most of yarn in the scrap bag are remains from previous projects, some are skeins of yarn I hate (but I can never sell/throw yarn away, I have to make something with it), and the rest are tiny skeins of acrylic crap I got in magazines. I really want to use it all up, so I have more room in my stash, so I thought I would use these scraps for my crochet blanket endeavor.

I made 5 of these granny squares today, which brings my square count up to: 7. I'm going to try and make one or two a day, and see how that goes. I've noticed that it is a brilliant way to test out colour combinations! I'd like to make no two squares the same, but I can't see that happening somehow.

My Mum has said she'd happily sew them together for me in the evenings while she watches telly, and as you know I am rotten at sewing up so I quickly jumped at her offer.

So that is all from me, before I send you packing to Tami's, just a little reminder that I have a giveaway going on my blog, so you should go check that out!

Hope you all have a lovely evening x

Monday, 25 February 2013

I Wish I Could Cast On... The BFF Cowl

BFF Cowl
© Marc Smollin
If I could cast on any project today, it would have to be the BFF Cowl by Ysolda Teague and Stephanie (from Tiny Owl Knits). These two clever gals took the concept of a friendship bracelet and completely ran with it; the finished result is a gorgeous interlocking cowl I would both knit and wear any day of the week.

How does it work? Well, you knit both link designs in your colour, then your friend does the exact same but in a different colour. You swap a link each ,then graft them together and hey presto! You have a gorgeous BFF cowl to treasure forever.

I'm fortunate enough to have two best friends, both of which can knit. One can knit jumpers (she is making one in a gorgeous brown colour, she's been working on it for years, I can't wait to see it finished!), and the other is just learning (she's making her own brain fog blanket, designed by moi - yay!). Neither of them are up to the challenge of a lace cowl, parts of which even I find rather daunting (grafting, for example). So, if I were to do this project, I'd have to knit them by myself. Not that I'm complaining, I'd love to take up the challenge!

If I were to make BFF cowls for both of my best friends, it would mean: 4 different colours, 6 different links, and a lot of audiobooks to get me through it!

M O L L Y   &  C H A R L Y 
B E ST   F R I E N D S  F O R E V E R

The two colours I would use for this BFF Cowl, would be Artesano Aran from Dragon Yarns in two colourways: Birch (left) and Laxford (right). I am quite into earthy tones, such as Birch, and Molly, well she just looks stunning in purple! I will be looking for substitutions for these two yarns, as I would need 2 skeins of each, and that would end up costing £34.76 for one project - yiiiiiiiiiiiiikes!

A B B Y  &  C H A R L Y
B E S T  F R I E N D S  F O R E V E R

I adore these soft tones, they work perfectly together! Abby and I both suit soft pink, which is why I chose Adriafil Carezza from Dragon Yarns, in Ecru (left), and Rose (right)! 

As soon as I get the chance, I will make these cowls, they would be such wonderful knits to wear! If you could cast on any project today, what would it be? Tell me in the the comment section below, or even write your own blog post (if you do, don't forget to leave the link in the comments below)!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...