Monthly Archives: April 2008

More fun with the sewing machine

I have been playing with the sewing machine again, and finished a needle roll for the three sets of bamboo circulars I have. I bought these from the Bamboo Knitting and Crochet Centre, and I have the 50cm set, the 80cm set, and the 100cm set. I thought these would cover most eventualities 馃檪

I have used the same idea as I did with the roll for the dpns. There is a pocket for each size of circular, then a flap which folds over and press-studs down to hold all the needles in their pockets, and the whole lot rolls up and fastens into a roll with another press-stud.

I am very pleased with it and it seems to do the job well. I am slowly becoming more organised!

The other excitement of this week was the arrival of my books from Iva Rose.

I have been having a very fun time reading through these, and am planning which things to knit first 馃檪 I am particularly taken with a couple of circular designs from the 1890s. They are designed as doilies I think, but would be great as a shawl if worked in thicker yarn with larger needles. I think I am gearing up for a lace phase.

Teal Top Finished!

I finished the Teal Top on Saturday but it has taken until today before the weather has been decent enough for a photograph.

Apologies that it looks a little wrinkly, I had just sat in the car for an hour on the way back from knitting group.

For a quick re-cap:

The yarn used is Paton’s Washed Haze DK, 50% cotton, 50% acrylic, bought from the Interknit Cafe in Farnham. I used 3.75mm needles. The pattern is called Go Vertical by Classic Elite, but I re-calculated the whole pattern, due to achieving a different tension with my yarn to that called for in the pattern, and me being a different shape and proportion to any of the pattern sizes.

All in all, I am very pleased with how it has come out. The yarn was pleasant to knit with and feels nice and soft once knitted up. The only problem I had with it was a slight tendency for the yarn to un-spin while I was trying to sew the seams. I am pleased with the fit, and it has been a good opportunity to test drive the set-in sleeve calculations that we have been learning in City and Guilds class. After all the worrying about whether I would have enough yarn, in the end I only used about 8 1/2 balls, so I have one full ball left over and once partial ball. I have been wearing the top all today and it is very comfy so far!

Knitting needle storage

A few weeks ago I bought a bargain set of bamboo dpns from the Bamboo Knitting & Crochet Centre (thank you Jo for letting me know about them). Ever since they arrived I have been meaning to make a case to keep them in, and yesterday I finally got round to it.

The material is some bargain furnishing velvet I have had kicking around for ages. It came as a pack of 5 different colours, I think for something like 脗拢5, the only disadvantage being that you only got about 0.5m of each colour. I originally got it thinking I would make some cushion covers, but there is plenty enough for a needle roll and several big cushion covers too.

There are 15 sets of 5 needles (I got the longer length of dpn, which are 8 inches long, they sell a 5 inch set as well), and they range in size from 2mm to 10mm. The whole lot rolls up and fastens with a press-stud.

I am quite pleased with it 馃檪 I also got three sets of their circular needles (in different lengths) and am contemplating the best way to make a holder for them too. I have some nice dark browny-red velvet earmarked for that.

The difficulty I am now contemplating is the best method of storage for all my needle sets, and other assorted loose needles. So far they have been stored in a tool bag from B&Q, but it isn’t nearly big enough, so the overflow is stacked on the top. Also in order to get at a particular needle, I need to unpack the whole bag, and then re-pack it, not exactly convenient. So I have been trying to think of a better method of organisation. I have a lot of needle sets, two packets of Knit Picks (one for the interchangeable set, one for fixed circulars), 2 Denise sets, a Boye set, a small set of crochet hooks, a small set of long straight needles, a bag with assorted circulars in, a bag of assorted straight needles, the new sets I just mentioned, and a few odd bits which don’t seem to fit in anywhere. So, how to store them so that they are all easily accessible and reasonably tidy? Also since I do most of my knitting in the lounge, and it would be handy to store my needles there so they are easily to hand, it would be nice if the storage is moderately attractive. If anyone has any ideas I would very much like to hear them!

Ravelry pattern shop

I now have a Ravelry pattern shop! You do need to be a Ravelry member at the moment to access this, although you can buy patterns using the direct links in the blog even if you aren’t a member. I have become totally addicted to the download statistics of the shop, and not just because it is in a shockingly bright shade of orange and green 馃檪

Talking of Ravelry, Sunday was the meet-up of the Surrey and Hampshire Ravelry group in Guildford. There were 6 of us altogether and we had a lovely time. There was much knitting, chatting, and admiring of projects, and a moderate amount of drinking, although I am still not convinced by the carrot and apple juice I had. It was an interesting idea but tasted rather of soil and vegetation, a little too organic for me 馃檪 It was a fantastic shade of bright orange though so that nearly made up for the taste.

Apologies that the photo is a bit blurry, I think it was a little dark for my camera.

One near-catastrophe of the meeting though was that I ran out of knitting after only 2 hours. Usually I am the person who has at least 2 back-up projects where-ever I go just in case of such eventualities, but on Sunday I looked at my sleeve and thought there was no way I would ever finish the other half of the sleeve cap. What I had failed to realise was that due to the inherent shape of a set-in sleeve, if you knit from the elbow up to the shoulder then the rows will get shorter, so the second half of the sleeve cap (this is half the number of rows, not half the area 馃檪 ) will be considerably quicker than the first half. If I had a brain, I could possibly be dangerous. Luckily I was saved from my own stupidity by Melanie. She had spent the previous couple of days sorting her stash, and had catalogued it beautifully in a notebook. So I spent a very happy hour examining it all, and drooling over her new Jordana Paige bag (very nice, lots of good pockets, I may have to drop some birthday hints to the other half).

It was great to see other people’s knitting – I am so nosy, and I think it was the first time I have been recognised by the jumper I was wearing 馃檪 Good fun all round, we will have to have another one soon.

A result of all this gadding about to knitting groups at the weekend is that I have finished the knitting part of both sleeves of the Teal Top. I have sewn in one of the sleeves, and had a quick try-on. It fits well, which is a relief! I still have the neckline to pick up and knit, but I think I will do a bit more of the sewing up first.

Emerald Beaded Bracelet Pattern

This pattern was originally published in the March 2007 edition of MagKnits.

This easy and fun bracelet is quick to knit up in an evening or two. It would make a great last minute surprise gift for a friend, or make one to go with each of your outfits for parties.
I love knitting with teeny little needles and fine thread, and experimenting with the different shapes you can create by adding beads to basic garter stitch. The beads are all prestrung before the knitting starts, and all rows are knitted, with the same number of stitches in each row. The shaping is produced by varying the number of beads in a row. This bracelet makes a great introduction to the fun that is knitting with beads.

Skills needed

脗路 Cast on

脗路 Cast off (bind off)

脗路 Knit

脗路 Place a bead between knit stitches (instructions included in pattern)


脗路 1 x 10g (82m / 91 yds) ball Anchor Pearl Cotton No. 8 (also called Coton Perl脙漏) in colour 100 (purple) (One 10g ball will make several bracelets)

脗路 1314 (approx. 15g) x size 11 seed beads in colour silver lined emerald rainbow

脗路 Two 1.25mm (US Size 0000) knitting needles

脗路 9mm (3/8 in) press-stud (snap fastener)

脗路 1 beading needle and length of sewing thread to aid threading of beads

脗路 Tapestry needle

Yarn substitutions

Any other crochet cotton of a similar thickness would be appropriate. A non-stretchy yarn works best for this design since otherwise the weight of the beads would distort the bracelet.

Finished size

The finished bracelet measures 17cm (6.75 in) long, and is 3cm (1.25 in) wide at the widest point.

Tension (gauge)

Approximately 60 stitches and 120 rows to 10cm (4 in) in garter stitch (knit every row) without beads using 1.25mm needles.

The tension (gauge) for this pattern is not critical since plain knit rows can easily be added in. Add more rows immediately after the cast on before the pattern begins, and add a similar number of rows immediately before the cast off. If the bracelet is coming out too long, simply omit 2 rows (or 4 if it is going to be really long) from each section of the pattern.

This pattern is available free as an electronic file in PDF format. File size is 754 KB. The pattern has 5 pages.

Download pattern now (This is a link to Ravelry but you don’t need to be a member to download the pattern)

Copyright Notice

All rights reserved. This pattern is for personal use only. This pattern, items made from this pattern or any portion of pattern or item may not be resold, or otherwise used for profit without express permission from the designer. This pattern may also not be distributed for free by any individual or shop without permission.

Bizarre Weather

We seem to have had all the seasons in the last week. Last Friday was beautiful, and warm enough that I didn’t need a jumper. Saturday was windy and later wet. We went to Knole and then down to Pevensey, I did take a couple of pictures but they were awful and dark so I wont subject you to them. Then on Sunday morning we woke up to a light dusting of snow! It is the first time this winter we have had snow that settled, admittedly only about an inch though, and it was gone by the evening. This week has been cold but clear so far. In a fit of pique last week I turned the heating off but on Sunday I had to give in and put it back on again.

This is also a week full of knitting things. On Tuesday morning I went down to Farnham for a talk by Joyce Meader on Commercially Printed Knitting Patterns from 1840 which she gave to the West Surrey Guild of Spinners Weavers and Dyers. The talk was fascinating and hilarious. The men’s string vest and matching pants (that is underpants for those across the pond) had to be seen to be believed! Joyce is a great speaker, and she kindly brought along some of her collection of historic knitting patterns, and also garments she has knitted from them. As well as original knitting patterns, Joyce also brought some facsimile editions produced by Iva Rose Vintage Reproductions. Amazing patterns, and a lot of them are surprisingly wearable today. I love old patterns, particularly those from the 30s and the 50s. 6 books from Iva Rose are already winging their way over the sea to me 馃檪 Including two from the 1890s.

Talking of vintage patterns, I have recently got a bee in my bonnet about knitting at the Great Exhibition (Crystal Palace) of 1851. I know that there was knitting exhibited since I have seen it mentioned (I think in the V&A – which incidentally was set up with items from the Great Exhibition). Iva Rose Reproductions don’t go back that early, but according to Joyce commercially published knitting patterns exist from as far back as 1817. I would love to know more both about the knitting that was actually exhibited in 1851 and also what was going on in the craft at the time. If anyone has any pointers I would love to hear from you.

To continue my busy knitting week, the Reading group has its April meeting on Saturday, and then on Sunday, the Surrey and Hampshire Ravelry group are meeting in Guildford. This is all shockingly sociable 馃檪

Progress is being made on the Teal Top too. I have now finished the front! and the shoulders are connected with a 3-needle cast off.

Teal Top Body

I am cautiously optimistic about the yarn quantity situation. I am now on the first sleeve and am on ball 8 (out of 10) but things are looking quite good.

Once I completed the 3-needle cast off to join the shoulders, I pinned the sides together and had a quick try-on. I think it is going to be good, although it is hard to tell properly without the seams sewn and the sleeves in. I have been using the instructions Fiona gave us in City and Guilds class for calculating a set in sleeve garment, and it has been useful to be able to give it a dry run before I try it out on my assessed project. So far so good.

Apologies that the Emerald Beaded Bracelet Pattern isn’t up yet. I have been having some computer difficulties. I’ve lost track of how many times I have rebooted over the last couple of days! After many rude words and several cups of tea I have now managed to upload photos to the blog again (oh the delights of upgrading), and literally as I am typing this I seem to have cracked my pdf upload problems (although I’m not sure how, I wont argue though). So the pattern will be available in just a minute.

Trekking socks and adventures with contact lenses

Yet more socks! These ones were knitted out of Trekking colour 100. This colour was very popular some time ago but for some reason I missed it then. After seeing the yarn actually being knitted, I knew I had to have some! It is definitely one of those colours which looks much better knitted up than it does on the ball.

Trekking socks

Yet again the pattern is my basic ribbed sock pattern, these were knitted in my tired-and-brain-dead phase 馃檪 I do love the colour, just putting them on makes the day a little brighter.

As well as my nice new glasses, I have been trialing contact lenses for the last week. It turns out that I am probably the most inept contact lense wearer on the planet. Never mind the first hurdle, I fell before I had even got out of the starting gate. The poor assistant who was teaching me how to put the lenses in and out had to put up with me taking nearly an hour to manage it, and then throwing my right lense on the floor. It turned out that that was the only one in my prescription that they had in the shop so they had to order me a new one. I脗聽am improving脗聽and have got it down to only (!)脗聽20 minutes now, although I did spend 2 hours on Monday with my left lense inside out. These are toric lenses so I think this is actually quite an achievement!脗聽I am persevering (or possibly just very stubborn) and after my appointment today they are ordering me in another set of lenses in what I hope will be a slightly better prescription than the trial set. All good (moderately) clean fun 馃檪

The teal top is jogging along, I will try for another photo or two tomorrow. I am hoping that the sun will come out (the eternal optomist that I am). It is lovely now that the days are getting longer. It makes so much difference to my enthusiasm to actually do things, although a bit of sun too wouldn’t go amiss. I have been a little distracted from the knitting by the yummy looking silk and bamboo yarn that Elann has on sale at the moment. Both Cassis and Arles Teal have been looking at me since yesterday and my will is weakening, the only decision left is how much to order? I think it would make a gorgeous lacey summer top.