1 Dec 2016

Tick, tick, tick...


December is upon us! I can't believe how this year is speeding past. If that makes you fret because you haven't finished all the items you want to make for presents, then don't worry - there is still plenty of time for some great Holiday knitting. 

So I am going to write a series of blogposts with some ideas for items you can start right away. Today, I'm going to feature three small items that are quick to make and light to post.



The first one is one of Anna's patterns, the Apple Pocket. I use these knitted phone covers all the time and find that they really hug your phone well. 

There are two versions included in the pattern - a slim-line case that easily fits into your pocket or a slightly thicker version which gives some extra padding. 

For more details about the Apple Pocket pattern, please see Anna's website.



The second idea is for some bracelets made in i-Cord in a zingy cotton yarn. The Ryedale Bracelets are worked in the style of the ever-popular paracord bracelets and are fastened with easy-to-use side release buckles. They would make wonderful presents for teenagers but are also useful for medical alert bracelets.

I also use mine as a holder for my spare double-pointed needle when I am knitting socks. It's always useful to have an easy place to store your spare needle while you count stitches!

The i-Cord can even be produced using a cord knitter, so this is a quick project to complete. For more details about the Ryedale Bracelet, please see my website.


And the last idea today are these super-cute lavender sachets. This is another of Anna's patterns, Lavender Fish. They can be worked in a single colour or with bands or stripes, as in the photo above. Make a few to hang on clothes hangers or slip into a clothes drawer. These would make a lovely gift by themselves but could also be paired with a block of hand-made lavender soap or lotion for a gift set.

To see more details of the Lavender Fish pattern, please see Anna's website.

Have fun making some of these lovely gift ideas. Next time, I'll have a look at some fun ideas for knitted bathroom accessories.

Happy Knitting!

27 Nov 2016

Brrrr - that's a cold draught!


I've written about my flat in Beckenham, Kent before. I don't think I've ever felt so cold and been inside at the time! It wasn't just that the floor was icy, the chairs felt damp and the window rattled with the bitter wind that blew incessantly. It was the draught that came under the door. 

It whistled across the floor taking out every last degree of temperature the coin meter had just put in. I would sit down in the evening with my knitting and feel first cold, then colder, then frozen.


It was at that point that I started knitting a draught excluder. My fingers worked stiffly to complete the item, but on the first evening after it was finished I felt warmer! It was remarkable that something so small could make such a big difference! My heating bills were much lower afterwards, too. 

I have been wanting to make a new version of that life-saver for some time, and when I felt the first cool draughts of winter creeping under the door in Massachusetts, I decided that the time had come. The pattern for the Rothay Draught Excluder is now available on my website, so please go and have a look at it there.

The draught excluder is worked in an Aran weight / Heavy Worsted yarn in Valley Yarns 'Amherst'. I love this yarn as it is so soft yet with a great stitch definition. The yarn is 100% merino wool and with a recommended gauge of 18 sts per 10cm/4ins using 5.0mm/US #8 needles. However, if you can't get that yarn, then you could use any other yarn with a similar gauge.


The pattern features Olive Stitch, another stitch from our new E-Book Reversible Knitting Stitches. This is an easy stitch to work but the results look quite complex, with waving undulations running down the length of the fabric.


The Rothay Draught Excluder can be worked for both inset doors and flush doors so that every cold draught is kept at bay. Tailor one to fit your draughty door and you will be cozy in no time!

For see more details about this new pattern, please visit my website.

Happy Knitting!

Moira




23 Nov 2016

A big thank you!


Perhaps it's because I'm a Sagittarius, but I love transition times in the year - trying to catch the last of the previous season before it slips into the next.

In the woodlands right now, the autumn leaves are ablaze with colour and a riot of red, yellow and orange is carpeting the forest floor. 


Soon, the leaves still on the trees will also drift down to join the others on the path, then perhaps the first few flakes of snow will arrive shortly afterwards.


I suppose it could feel a sad time, but to me there is always a lot of excitement surrounding this change to winter. 

For a start, there are so many events lined up for the next few weeks. It was our anniversary two days ago, and then in only a few days it will be my birthday. And in-between those two dates there are major holidays in both the USA and Japan.


In Japan, today is Labor Thanksgiving Day which replaced the earlier Harvest festival held at this time. Then in the USA tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. Both celebrate the harvest, the work of the last year and peaceful times.

These festivals give all of us a great opportunity to say thank you to the people who matter - those who have worked hard to make our last year happy and healthy.

So may I take this opportunity to thank all of you! To everyone who has read this blog, connected with me on Twitter, Instagram or elsewhere, to all the lovely folk who have purchased or downloaded a pattern and to the many, many people who have sent both Anna and I such great messages about our new book, Reversible Knitting Stitches - a most heart-felt "Thank you". You have all made 2016 such a memorable year.

So to say "Thank you", I would like to offer a 10% discount on any of the items on our website. The includes all the pdf patterns and the PDF E-Book too! This week-long sale will end on Tues 29th Nov 2016 and you can use the discount code as many times as you like. Just enter the code: THANKYOU10 at check-out.

And I need to add one last thank you - and that is to my husband Tim for his wonderful photos. I know many of you enjoy his photos too and I am always happy to be able to share them with everyone here.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Moira






. 27/11/16

18 Nov 2016

Keep them warm this winter


 It's a funny thing but when you feel cold, you tend to grab a scarf or a thick pair of socks to protect your extremities. However, most country folk know that what you really need to do is think about your core temperature - keeping your head, heart and lungs warm. 

As children, we would all be firmly layered up with a warm wool vest, shirt, sweater and gilet jacket as we set out to play in the snow. The hat and scarf added as an after-thought might end up on the snowman but the other items did the job of keeping us the right temperature.


A gilet jacket is great for this as it protects the shoulders and mid-section while leaving your arms free to move - essential for a decent snow-ball fight! 

So here's a gilet jacket that you could make now to keep little boys and girls warm during their winter play-time or when they are walking to school. This is the Hebden Gilet Jacket and is sized for kiddies aged 2-8. 


The essential of a good bodywarmer or gilet is that the fabric should trap pockets of air. These air pockets insulate the body, keeping the warm air inside and the cold where it belongs.

The gilet here features a lovely double-sided stitch from our new E-Book, Reversible Knitting StitchesThe stitch is called Imitation Lattice and produces an almost quilted effect, with rugged diamond motifs standing out against a purl background. 

The photo above shows the Right Side/RS of the stitch pattern on the left and the Wrong Side/WS on the right. The WS photo shows the deep texture in this stitch pattern, and it is this that gives the fabric its warmth and insulating properties.


The Hebden Gilet Jacket is made from a soft and cozy merino yarn, Lang Merino 120, and features large snap-fasteners for an authentic gilet look.

If you would like to see more information about this knitting pattern, then please click here. The pattern in available in a choice of formats: a PDF file from the website, a Kindle version from Amazon Kindle and an iBooks version from the iBookstore.

Until next time - Keep warm!

Moira





Next Up: A big thank you!






. 18/11/16

10 Nov 2016

Lazy summer days now just a memory


We were in Cambridge a couple of months ago. It was one of those lazy summer days when the most energetic thing we wanted to do was walk down from the restaurant through the Grantchester Meadows to the river below. 

The sun was shining and the punts were meandering slowly along the river, picnickers were feeding the ducks, or just sitting with their feet dabbling in the slowly-moving stream.


Ah, if only one could bottle days like that... The gentle breeze rhythmically blowing the tops of the grasses into waves of movement, the buzzing insects busily visiting the nodding purple heads of clover.

Pink Floyd wrote a song about this very place:

See the splashing of the kingfisher flashing to the water. 
And a river of green is sliding unseen beneath the trees 
Laughing as it passes through the endless summer 
Making for the sea. 


and before them, Rupert Brooke wrote his poem, The Old Vicarage, Grantchester in nostalgic mood from his sick bed in Berlin. It ends: 

Yet stands the clock at ten to three?
And is there honey still for tea?


But, no. Summer has gone and a chill east wind has been bringing down the last of the autumn leaves. The snow that has been in the north this week hasn't arrived in Grantchester yet, but it certainly looks as though it might arrive soon. 


About this time last year, I was knitting a stitch pattern from our new E-Book, Reversible Knitting Stitches, and made what proved to be a super-cozy scarf. As soon as I put it on, I felt warmer and my mind immediately went to the cold, swirling winds of Cambridgeshire. So I named it the Grantchester Scarf.

The stitch pattern is called Ribbon Basket Pattern and is one of my favourite reversible stitches from the book. I love the way the rib and garter patterning make the design move so that the surface becomes covered with deep rugged folds. 

If you would like to see more details about the Grantchester Scarf, then please see my website. It is available as a PDF pattern and also now on both iBooks and Kindle too.

Many thanks once again to Tim for his photos. I wouldn't get half as much knitting done without being able to sit and knit while he is taking his great photos! If you'd like to see some more of his work, then please have a look at his Flickr site.

Until next time - Happy Autumn Knitting!

Moira




Last Blogpost: Vera calling




. 09/11/16

4 Nov 2016

Vera calling


This time of year is all about layering - adding an extra something to keep you warm when it is a little chilly. This is especially important now that the clocks are going back, and your journeys home suddenly seem darker and colder than they were before. 

So here's a great idea to brighten those gloomy waits at the train station while the November winds swirl around - a scarf with a hood attached! Pull the hood over your ears when you are out in the cold, then drop it neatly back onto your shoulders when you get to somewhere marginally warmer.

This is Anna's Vera Hooded Scarf - a quick and easy pattern that will have you wrapped up in no time at all. 


The scarf was inspired by a most fortunate swap shop find some years ago and has been keeping both Anna and myself warm ever since. 

The pattern is worked in a lightweight yet chunky yarn which really highlights the texture of the stitch. There are some wonderful bulky yarns around right now and each year sees new ones being featured in the shops, so it would be easy to find something in your local yarn store to get knitting straight away.


The great thing about this scarf is the way it sits so comfortably around the neck. That's partly down to the reversible stitch that Anna has used for the design, Irish Moss Stitch, which is one of the stitches in our new E-Book, Reversible Knitting Stitches.

This is an old and well-loved stitch pattern but it works especially well for the Vera Hooded Scarf because it gives such a pleasing weight and texture. The scarf just nestles around the neck and keeps out every last puff of breeze. 


If you would like to see more details about Anna's Vera Hooded Scarf knitting pattern, then please visit her website. And if you're needing a scarf right now and don't want to wait to knit it, then she has a couple of Vera knitted scarves for sale on her Etsy shop.

The new Reversible Knitting Stitches E-Book is available on the iBookstoreAmazon Kindle and from our website.

Happy Autumn Knitting!

Moira





Last Blogpost: Time to wrap up
Next Up: Lazy summer days now just a memory

E-Book: Reversible Knitting Stitches

Anna's website: www.annaravenscroft.com




. 10/11/16


21 Oct 2016

Time to wrap up


It's getting decidedly chilly in the evenings! Definitely sweater and scarf weather, and perhaps it will soon be time to bring in the firewood for a cozy log fire. Yes, the evenings are drawing in and Autumn is upon us.

So, I am starting a series of blogposts with some great ideas for this year's Autumn and Winter knits, starting with one of Anna's wonderfully colourful designs, her Autumn Scarf. I love Anna's sense of colour - she brings such a fun element to all of her knitting patterns and the Autumn Scarf is no exception.


The scarf is worked in Berrocco Vintage Chunky yarn, a wool / acrylic mix which is soft, warm and knits up quickly. 

The design is simple yet bold. With its diagonal colourblock pattern and irregular spacing, the effect created is eye-catching and can look very different depending on how the scarf is worn. The scarf measures 150cm / 60 ins long so is a great length for either draping round the neck or wrapping once or twice around for extra warmth. 

See my earlier blogpost, How long shall I make this scarf? for more info on scarf length.


The Autumn Scarf is one of the many patterns showcased in our new E-Book, Reversible Knitting Stitches, and features Garter Stitch - one of the first patterns that every beginner knitter learns to use. The stitch is truly reversible and works well on its own or as a border.

It is a beautifully flat stitch so is a great choice for a scarf such as the Autumn Scarf. It does need to be worked at a consistent tension to look really neat but is easy to work and gives a lovely warm finish.


If you would like to see more details about Anna's Autumn Scarf knitting pattern, then please visit her website: www.annaravenscroft.com

The new Reversible Knitting Stitches E-Book is available on the iBookstore, Amazon Kindle and from our website.

Next time I will be looking at another scarf, but this time one with a cozy hood attached!

Until then, Happy Autumn Knitting!

Moira





Last Blogpost: What time is it?
Next Up: Vera calling

E-Book: Reversible Knitting Stitches

Anna's website: www.annaravenscroft.com




. 4/11/16

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