Tuesday, 26 October 2010

FREE Pattern: Baby Beanie

While the chicken stock is bubbling on the hob, and a new sock has sprung onto my needles (the twisted sock wasnt working, so has been ripped in favour of a plain sock knitted with the rest of my crazy zauberball sock yarn...), I thought I would share this with you.

It seems too grand to describe this as a pattern, but rather it's one of those unvented and unoriginal set of instructions for a wee hat.

To fit: 0-3 months
Needles: 2.25mm dpns
Yarn: 4 ply/sock yarn, you'll need roughly 25g
Gauge: 13 stitches to 5cm (knit in the round)

Cast on 100 stitches, divide evenly between needles and without twisting, join the first round.

If you would like to make a stripey hat using the grumperina technique (e.g. stripes with no jogs), then I use both colours for the cast on, alternating colours for each new stitch. Work the first round in the colour of the first stitch, and then when you return to the place at which the second yarn is languishing, pick that up and work a round with that instead. As always the rule with grumperina stripes is to always work with the *lowest* yarn available. If you dont want a grumperina stripe then knit plain or patterned as you will.

Knit in stocking stitch until the work measures 11cm or so, then start crown shaping. You can work the decreases in any way you like (e.g. ssk), but I have written it here as k2tog.

round 1: [k8 k2tog] rep till end, 90 stitches
round 2: knit
round 3: [k7, k2tog] rep until end, 80 stitches
round 4: knit

Continue in this vein until you are decreasing every 3 stitches (e.g. your decrease round is going k3, k2 tog). From this point on, decrease on every round.

Work until 4 stitches remain.

Now work a short i-cord stalk to finish the hat. Transfer all of the stitches to one needle, and work until the i-cord measures the desired length - I normally aim for about 8 cm which allows me to make a single knot. You can stripe your stalk, or leave it plain.

Cast off and weave in loose ends. Wash, dry gently and apply to the first wee head that crosses your path. Enjoy!

 [This pattern is shared in the spirit of craftivism, stash busting and generally living a goodly life. Please do *not* use it for commercial gain or profit. Thankyou]

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Paring back...

For all sorts of reasons and in all sorts of ways, I in the midst of a process of paring back.

Firstly, I am trying to pare back the wheat and gluten in my diet. I have been gluten free a couple of times before and on both occasions I felt very well. This time the motivation is different and purely driven by me; the other times it was to do with the country I was in and breastfeeding a fussy baby... I've been doing it for a couple of weeks now and I quite like the way it's going.

Second, I am trying to pare back my wardrobe. I was reading about blogger Sooz's decision to stop buying commercially made clothes and the liberation that came with sitting down to think about a wardrobe of garments that worked together, and a lightbulb came on in my own head. I have too many clothes (dont we all?) and although I am making an effort to wear more of them, there are still many things that no longer fit, have never flattered or which just dont work. So, I have started to write a list of all the clothes that I own; to think about the colours and styles that suit me best; to be honest about the things which do and dont fit; to assess which things might be refashioned (for me or the children) and which things it would be better to donate to a local charity shop. I'm excited about this. It feels grown up and organised and good and I'm looking forward to the actual sorting/off loading and refashioning that will result.

Third, I am thinking about the way in which we can pare back the carbon that our family consumes/relies on: the way that we travel; the way we use energy in our home; the things that we eat. You know, we might not have long to get to grips with climate change and we can all play a part. 74 months left

Monday, 18 October 2010

He is gone

Little Elias has lost his battle for life. Please pray for his babylost family. Rest in Peace little man.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

FO: Freddie (Kim Hargreaves, Rowan Junior)

Freddie is done. All sewn up and ready to go off to little Elias. we can only hope that he gets well enough and big enough to wear it and grow out of it. Get well little man.

Pattern: Freddie from Rowan Junior (Kim Hargreaves)
Yarn: Patons Diploma Gold 4 ply
Mods: intarsia snowflake omitted; no other mods

Next on my list are two v small jackets for the twin girls that arrived a week or so ago. They are both well, now out of incubators but still in special baby care doing their best to grow big enough to go home! Grow little ones, grow.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Tutorial: Dribble Bib (aka Bibble)

It seems that the height of bib fashion (who knew there was such a thing as bib fashion?!) is currently a triangular neckerchief with a popper fastening, and which snuggles beneath the chin to catch the dribble that flows from teething babies/toddlers.

You can find oodles of these dribble catchers in the shops, including some very fancy ones with waterproof innards and velour layers, although they do cost anything up to £8 each! But they are a doddle to make from recycled/upcycled fabrics and here's a short tute to prove it.

You will need:
  1. some thin card to make a template
  2. some absorbent fabric for the backing (e.g. terry, towelling or fleece)
  3. some fabric for the top (e.g. t-shirt material, dress fabric)
  4. press stud or fastener
  5. scissors/thread/needle

1. Using an old bib as a guide for neck length, make a template for the bib using the card. You will need to draw a right angle triangle with a long edge that corresponds to your old bib (in my case, measuring approx 40cm/15").

 2. Use the template to cut backing material. Here I am using a well used bamboo terry square.

3. Use the template to cut the fabric for the top of the bib. Here I am using a plain (but rather bright!) t-shirt...

4. Next stitch the two layers of fabric together. Because I am not a very accomplished sewer, I simply topstitch about 1/4" from the edge, leaving the edges raw. Alternatively you could zigzag or overlock the raw edges together OR sew together with right sides facing (leaving a short gap) and then turn right sides out and finish by top stitching. If you are making these as a gift, then you might also consider finishing with bias tape to make them really neat.

5. Add your fastener/popper at the appropriate places. Some of the commercial bibs have two poppers so that length can be adjusted.

6. Add bib to baby and smile.

Monday, 4 October 2010


On Saturday I took myself and my knitting into town. My main purpose was to donate blood and I thought I would take my twisted sock with me to work on while I waited. The weather was dry and bright; a lovely autumn morning. I arrived just after the donating suite opened and only managed one or two rounds of sock knitting before filling out my questionnaire and going through to give up some claret. As usual, the staff were cheery and chatty and nothing short of lovely. As if that weren't enough, the Scottish Blood Service includes Tunnocks tea cakes amongst its offerings for donors.

Baby Elias is still rather poorly, so although we are very far away from his hospital bed, I thought it was a good thing to do with him in mind. Get well little man; we are all thinking of you.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Babies: one, two, three

My old friend has had her baby - Elias arrived in fine style slightly earlier than planned, as he decided not to wait for the scheduled c-section, but started making his way into the world a day early.

Yesterday I heard that little Elias - now two weeks old - is very sick, and now in Great Ormond St Hospital in London. His heart has been affected, and his chances of recovery are not known. We are sending all our love and prayers in his direction, and of course to his parents and brave big sister. I will be sending them some more practical help too, following the advice in indietutes blog. I can send his Freddie too, once I've sewn it all up (I finished the sleeves whilst watching Spooks on i-player).

This morning I heard that my cousin is due to have her identical twins by c-section TODAY! They will be arriving a few weeks early, but we are keeping our fingers crossed that they are a good size and do not need much help once they are born. Once I know their gender/names/size I can whip up something for them too.
ETA: Little Girls arrived! Well done Emma and Paul. We are thrilled for you!!
Because all babies are precious: here is a picture of my two gorgeous babies.