22 Oct 2015

New pattern - Tromso Rug

When I was a child, our house was unheated and there was a lino floor in my bedroom. I can remember the shock of cold every morning if my feet touched the floor rather than my bedside rug. However, since the rug was where my cat used to sleep I often didn't have much of a choice about this. There really wasn't much square-footage of rug left after she had claimed it as her own! 

Of course, with the perversity of a cat she would then stretch, wake up and follow me out of the door ever-hopeful for an extra saucer of milk.

That memory of cold has always stayed with me and even though we now have the luxury of central heating I still like to have a rug by my bedside. So I suppose it's no surprise that I have a couple of rugs already in my pattern collection, namely the Rare Earth Rug above and the Ocean Currents Rug below.

However, this time I wanted to make an extra-thick rug, quick to work up and just a nice small size so you could use it in many situations. 

Do you have a place in the house where your feet feel chilly in the winter? Standing by the counter peeling potatoes...? Sitting knitting by the window so you can catch the last of the winter light...? Me, too! Wooden floors can be very cold when the temperatures dip.

So that's where the Tromso Rug comes in. There are three different sizes included in the pattern:
Small: 50 x 75 cm / 20 x 30 ins.
Medium (pictured above): 60 x 90 cm / 24 x 36 ins.
and Large: 70 x 105 cm / 28 x 42 ins.

Another great feature of this rug is that it's reversible. If you have a look at the top photo you'll see the "right side" featured, and the photo I put in last week's blogpost and reprised above shows the "wrong side". You actually don't need to decide which side you're going to use until the very end, and then if you're careful about finishing off the ends invisibly you can always turn it over later on. 

The Tromso Rug is worked in a reversible stitch taken from our new book, Reversible Knitting Stitches. This is Rib and Garter Stitch, which is an easily-worked pattern with a clean, modern look.

I used Patons Classic Wool bulky yarn for the rug. This is 100% wool and super-thick so it works up quickly. You'll need just 5 balls for the small size, 6 for the medium and 8 for the largest size, so it won't be long until you have a new rug or two in readiness for the next cold snap.

The pattern is available for instant download from my website – please click here for more details.

Happy Knitting!


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15 Oct 2015

Norwegian Wood

Wooden floors are such a feature of Scandinavian homes and are easy to sweep clean, which is a real bonus when you have a spinner in the house. I have a constant circle of fluff around my wheel when I am spinning yarn, but a quick whisk around afterwards and it's all clean and tidy again (or so my husband tells me — housework is not one of my strong points...)

In the summer-time wooden floors are cool to the touch and wonderfully pleasing to look at. However, when the winter comes along then you see one of the drawbacks of this type of flooring — it can be very chilly underfoot. You can wear socks and slippers in the house to keep a bit cozier, but even that doesn't seem to really help. 

What you need is an extra layer underfoot such as a lovely thick rug. Of course you could go out and buy all the rugs you need from a carpet store. However, it is much more satisfying to make your own so you can choose your own colours and sizes. So here's this week's #KnittingAhead idea: make some extra rugs to keep you warm as the winter weather really starts to take hold.

There are lots of areas where a rug or two would make a big impact:

Kitchen: Make one rug so you can stand on it while stirring a steaming pot of winter vegetables, then another in front of the sink.

Bedroom: I've written before about the joys of stepping onto a cozy rug as you get out of bed first thing in the morning. It really does allow you to wake up slowly rather than with a shock of cold as your feet touch the chilly floor. It would be great to have another right by your dressing table, too.

Basement: A large rug by the sofa would be so welcoming when the men in your life settle down to watch the next big football game.

Sitting Room: And don't neglect yourself! Make another rug to keep you comfortable when you sit in your favourite chair. Now your feet will stay warm while you knit your next creation, gazing out at the beautiful fall foliage outside (aren't those colours wonderful right now...)

Did you also know that if you have lots of nice rugs around your home you can reduce your winter heating bills? Yes it's true — you feel warmer so you can turn your thermostat down a degree of two. I read that every 3 degrees less on the thermostat saves you about 10% on your heating bills, so that's a really good incentive.

I have just uploaded a pattern for a new rug, the Tromso Rug, which includes three different sizes so you can make a good selection of rugs for the whole house. I will put all the size and yarn info into the next blogpost.

Until then, wrap yourself up warm — some places have already had their first snows of the year!

Happy Knitting!


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3 Oct 2015

New pattern - Winsford Stroller Blanket

October has arrived! And with it the scent of wood smoke in the air as the first fires of the year are lit to ward off the evening chills. There are more scarves in evidence on the streets, and I think perhaps I was the only one not wearing a jacket yesterday (my mistake — that wind had a distinctly cool edge to it!)

Here's something else I have seen this month — an increase in the number of little pumpkin figures on all the backpacks. We are in Japan right now and most of the girls have some kind of soft animal attached to their school bags at all times. Well, to be honest there's also a fair number of boys' bags with something attached too! But today, I saw Pooh Bear on a pumpkin, a super-hero-style teddy with an orange cape and several other ghouls, ghosties and other figures in Halloween outfits. 

Yes, Halloween is only 4 weeks' away and creeping up fast!

So, here's the blanket in pumpkin colours I promised last time, the Winsford Stroller Blanket. It features a most pleasing stitch, Wide Garter Columns, from our book, Reversible Knitting Stitches. This stitch has a wonderful interplay between the two yarn colours yet is easy to work. The blanket works up fast, so there is time to make this ready for baby's first Halloween outing!

The pattern comes in two sizes — a Stroller/push-chair size and a Toddler bed size. The Stroller blanket is a square pattern measuring 90x90 cm/36x36 ins, with rounded corners as an extra feature. The pattern is completely reversible too, so it is easy to put into position without having to worry which side is showing.

The Toddler-bed size is a little wider and longer (100x110 cm/40x45 ins), so would be perfect to keep your little one warm when they get back home again.

I used Knit Picks "Wool of the Andes" for this pattern in Colours #24655 Orange and #24650 Caution (an amber/yellow shade) and I love the way these combined together. However, any type of worsted-weight yarn would work if you already have something suitable in your yarn stash.

The pattern includes stitch charts and full line-by-line instructions and is available for instant download from my website — please click here for more details.  

Enjoy the build-up to Halloween! (And where can I find one of those little Pooh Bears on a pumpkin.....?)

Happy Knitting!


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