Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Moss Stitch Cardigan and Shoes

So a few weeks down the line and I have finished the lilac cardigan and some darling baby shoes using Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. The patterns were from her Baby Knits for Beginners book, and I found both pretty straightforward to knit. I found the stitching up to be frustrating and dull and hard to get looking nice. Not so happy with the way the sleeves set into the body, but not sure what to do about that. There are a few mistakes in the cardigan, most notably in the moss stitch neckband, but it was so complicated to pick up the neck stitches etc that I daren't unpick it and do it again. It looks OK, just not perfect ;) Oh and the other problem was that I only bought 5 buttons like a dummy, so there is a little gap at the bottom but hey ho, thats stylee, innit? I hope I and J will understand and still remain the proud recipients of my first ever garment ;)

The shoes are just so adorable. I changed the pattern to include the little strap because there is no wa on this earth that shoes without a strap will stay on a baby's foot for more than a microsecond. As it is, they will probably come off, unless they are blessed with a baby that doesnt wriggle its legs. Unlikely, but you never know. Anyway, they are quick to knit, one shoe per evening, so undoubtedly I will do some more another time. I hope A and H hurry up and find out the sex of their baby so I can get knitting. I am hoping for a boy so I can do some different colours ;)

Oh and already on the kneedles is another Debbie Bliss pattern of a 'matinee coat' which sounds hopelessly old fashioned, but looks adorable, if a little impractical. And I have a bunch of chunky wool in greens and browns coming from ebay. The plan is to knit largeish squares in different stitches and colours for a blanket for our bed. It would be a super king size...I might be finished by next winter. All this because my Debbie Bliss Cathay is on back order, so my sweater is going to have to get to the back of the line.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Debbie Bliss - Baby Knits

Oh, touching Debbie Bliss yarn in the flesh, Baby Cashmerino was fatal. And the colours. And the gorgeous photographs in her books. Now I understand what my friends were talking about when they mentioned being seduced by yarn and patterns. And out I walked from John Lewis with two Debbie Bliss books (Baby Knits for Beginners and Baby Cahmerino) and 5 balls of yarn. Yikes it is expensive!

But oh such a joy to knit. I really appreciate how awful that cheapo acrylic yarn I have been using (Stylecraft) has been, although its fine for toys I guess. So I am tackling my first garment, a moss stitch bordered baby cardigan for Ian and Jessie's baby. She is due end of Jan, so not much time, but I am loving it so far (mind you, only done the straight part of the back so far). The book is great too and I have already learned that I have been increasing stitches wrongly ;) and there are nice diagrams for stitching up, something I am keen to learn. So watch this space fo a pic once it is finished!

Oh but it doesnt stop there. I stopped by the DebbieBliss website and off I was browsing the adult patterns. After many happy hours fantastizing over the lovely knits there, then realising I would need 23 balls of alpaca silk at 3/4 pounds a ball, I got a bit disheartened. But compromised on 13 balls of Cathay and an asymmetric sweater. So also watch this space. I wonder if it will be finished by next winter ;)

And already too many projects on the line. I bought a load of cheapo pink yarn to knit a granny square blanket, might still do that if I have time. And I also have a vision of knitting a blanket for our bed. Maybe I will start stock piling taupe/beige/sage/green yarns ready for knitting up in the summer.

I can see I am going to be a busy bee....either that or all will come to nowt!

Jean Greenhowe

It started off by me browsing knitted food on ebay. I was looking for stocking fillers and fell in love with peas in a pod with googly eyes. And baked beans :) But they were going for up to five pounds each, a bit pricey, so off I went to google and find a pattern, which eventually lead me to Jean Greenhowe and her delightful patterns. I bought JiffyKnits, in which she finds amusing and original things to do with garter strips. I just love the posing of the figures in those patterns, done with real humour. Matt and I chuckled over it several times. And also her Toy Patterns which includes bunnies, chicks, elephants and more. All charming.

Coming up to Christmas as it was, I started with the snowman family, all made from garter stitch, including bobble hats and bonnets. Easy, easy, easy and my confidence grew. So I tackled the free pattern her site for rainbow babies, a bit of stocking stitch and shaping and voila. I had to knit them only in the evenings to keep them secret from the kids, although they did see me a few times. I told them I was 'practising my knitting' which they seemed to accept. These little dolls really are adorable, and the rainbow 'pouches' they sit in are fun to knit and increase the cuteness. I made one for my 'Odddaughter', Kitty, who is 20months. She was a bit underwhelmed ;)

And still there was knitting time before Christmas, so I made a chick and his little sibling, cute cute cute! I ended up having Rosie and Molly give the snowmen and chicks to each other as presents, which confused them a bit but its the thought that counts, eh?

And still more time, from about the 23rd onward, I made some stripey garter stitch ball Christmas decorations. Fun and mindless to knit, the kids loved suggesting colours and they did look great on the tree. Too late for this year, I discovered knitted crackers and other decorations in another of Jean's books (Toy Bazaar or similar) so hopefully next year I can get onto those. Maybe I can even sell them on ebay ;)

Christmas Day ended with kids in bed, a warm satisfied feeling from a lovely day, and me sitting on the couch knitting an elephant. Ah bliss. And off to my mothers on Boxing Day for a few days, but disaster! I forgot my knitting!! Honestly, I felt like I had left my arm behind, it was totally weird. So a few days off, but once back home I knitted this gorgeous little girl elephant quick smart. I was going to knit her a brother, but ran out of grey. I couldnt resist photographing her knickers. Sorry.

So one raspberry coloured bunny later, I started making mice, one for each season.
Spring is finished and I was working on Summer (a bride) all the while wondering what the heck I was going to do with them, when my new Jean Greenhowe books arrived, courtesy of ebay, the Toy Bazaar and another Toy Collection. The former of which has some lovely rainbow playballs I started straight away for my forthcoming niece. And have nearly finished another one, but got sidetracked by visiting John Lewis and discovering Debbie Bliss.....

My Knitting Blog

Well, here's a knitting blog. I want somewhere to log my progress from beginner onwards. Also to show off all the cute stuff I have been knitting. Who'd have thought the knitting would be so addictive!!

I learned to knit probably around age 11/12 from my mother. She taught me and my brother at the same time (he would have been 13 or so), and he was much more into it than me and made a glorious Dr Who scarf :) I dont remember ever managing to knit something without passing it to my mother every few rows to pick up a dropped stitch or repair some damage or other. I did manage to knit a pair of fingerless gloves on 4 needles though!

So, no knitting since then. I have several (mostly virtual) knitting friends and have been intrigued at their discussions of yarn addictions, glorious projects and beautiful end products. I even witnessed the construction of a mobius scarf once. But always busy with my crafty business, I knew I didnt have time to get absorbed in another activity. And now thats been shelved, I have time to do whatever I want. So I started knitting again at the age of 40!

So off I go to the shop and bought chunky denim wool and chunky needles, learnt to cast on from www.knittinghelp.com videos and off I went. I was pretty much a sampler in which I relearned stocking stitch, garter stitch and ribbing. It grew quickly and I wear it all the time. I must remember to thread in all the loose ends though!

Oh and heres a photo....

After that, I discovered Jean Greenhowe....a new post for that I think :)