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We have a winner!

21 Nov

Hello my lovelies. Sorry not to announce this sooner. It’s amazing how silly little things like sending a magazine to the press can get in the way of the best laid plans!

Anyway, to keep it short and sweet, we had 17 lovely entries to the Blue Sky Alpacas yarn giveaway and I’m happy to say that ‘stormandateacup’ (who made the 6th comment) is the winner.

Obligatory random number generator shot;

And here’s a wee reminder of what you’ve won…

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Nom nom nom!

Thanks to everyone who entered. You all rock!

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Pumpkins and yarn: Giveaway

4 Nov

Why hello there!

How was your Halloween? Storm still hasn’t worked out that she can go trick or treating, so we had probably our last year of staying home, pumpkin shining outside, to welcome the neighbourhood ghosties and goulies.

Instead of being dragged around the streets in the pouring rain, we handed out sweets (Storm dressed as a witch) to the small number of kiddos who darkened our door.

Woooooooooo!

Witchy!

During the day Storm had one of her friends around from school, and we got the little ‘uns to draw their idea of a perfect pumpkin, which we then carved out.

Mine was OK I think…

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…but I should have got a pic of the pumpkin wee Frankie’s dad carved. He’s a model sculptor for animation and honestly, I have never seen anything like it!

Anyhoo, as it’s Halloween (well, was) I have a little giveaway of some pumpkin yarn!

The nice peeps at Blue Sky Alpacas are offering the yarn to make one of my Popsicle Shawls

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…in a suitably seasonal colour.

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Normally this yarn  – yummy Organic Cotton Worsted – comes in hanks. I wound it up to make a third shawl for Mollie Makes, but ran out of time when a deadline moved.

So, rather than hoard it, in the spirit of minimalism, and sharing, I’m giving it away!

For a chance of making it yours, just leave a comment below and I’ll draw a winner at random on November 10.

Happy hauntings!

Popsicle Shawls in Mollie Makes

28 Sep

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A little over a year ago a pretty little craft mag was launched. Mollie Makes has taken the making world by storm, with its heady mix of beautiful projects, inspiring features and one to ones with some of the world’s top crafters.

I was a subscriber from issue one, so I’m absolutely chuffed to say that I’m in the latest issue. Hurrah!

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My Popsicle Shawls are a fresh twist on a classic – a mini shawl that thanks to a little clever shaping, won’t fall off your blinking shoulders!

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I wanted to create a design that was easy to wear, simple to make, and grew quickly. You can knit up a Popsicle in a couple of evenings, and all the stitches are very straightforward.

The yarn is Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton Worsted (nom), and the pattern uses 6mm needles so blink and you’ll miss it!

The first one I knitted – the lime shawl, started life as a mini strip of garter stitch. I was trying (again) to teach my daughter to knit, and this is what we ended up with after a little while.

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But she quickly lost interest (she’s allowed, she’s four) and I sat and stared at this 2cm strip for a few minutes, thinking, ‘well, I’ve knitted that, I don’t want to undo it, what can I do with it?’

Then I remembered a neat technique to pick up around the 2 short sides of a rectangle, and knit out to create a shawl shape. So I looked up Elizabeth Zimmerman‘s Pi Shawl formula, which I’d been wanting to try, and started from there, developing the shape to fit around the shoulders properly.

The increases are all partnered with dropped stitches to create long eyelets, and add a bit of interest, but unless you’re an absolute beginner, this shouldn’t be beyond you!

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Once I’d made the lime shawl, I had another go with blue, and refined the design a bit, to make the lower edge more ruffled. A bit girlier perhaps.

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I roped in my stylish friend Helen for the photo shoot (check out the feather necklace) and her hubby Tim helped out with holding reflectors and gave me some tips for getting the best shot (he is a much better photographer than me).

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We also had two pint-sized helpers – Storm (mine) and Jet (Helen and Tim’s little girl), plus their new baby. We were quite a sight!

We shot in front of a wall painted by Bristol street artist Inkie, who you might have heard of in connection with Bristol’s famous street art gallery See No Evil.

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And if you haven’t encountered See No Evil, look it up – it’s amazing.

Ttfn and happy knitting!

New designs in Simply Knitting

7 Aug

 

Oh hello there! I’ve been a bit busy of late, hence the tumbleweed blowing across your screen for the last little while.

Here’s why…

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The new issue of Simply Knitting is out this week and I’ve got three patterns in it. Huzzah!

First up is Zest, an ombre cushion, with a flash of colour just for fun.

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It’s knitted in Rowan Big Wool on 10mm needles, so it goes super fast – the whole thing took just a couple of evenings to knit. You start from one corner with just 3 stitches and increase out to the widest point, before decreasing again.

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The back is envelope style, which means no sewing on buttons or any faffing at all really.

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If you want to make the whole thing in one colour it takes less than three balls.

Also in this issue is Play Time, a dress for little girls, modelled by a familiar face, if you’re a ‘regular’ here at Nana Taught Me How…

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I used PeterPan Sweetheart DK, which is machine washable (hurrah!) and super-soft against young sensitive skin.

It’s sized from 9 months to 6 years, and the smallest size is quite a bit shorter than the others so your crawling tot won’t get tangled up in a long skirt.

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I bought dresses for Storm she never got to wear because she was a late walker – crawling and long skirts do NOT mix.

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Thanks to Frances Jago for her sterling knitting, Phil Sowels for the lovely photography of lil’ Storm, and Sarah Clark and Al for helping me wrangle her on the shoot. That lollipop was the only thing keeping her from escaping!

Last, but not least is Happy Days, a cheerful polka dot cardigan with cute picot edgings.

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The magazine has helpfully included a step-by-step tutorial for Fair Isle knitting in case you’re new to it.

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And it’s on the cover. Whoop!

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So, a busy month!

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I’ll have more design news very soon. Ttfn!

Isla dress: New child’s dress pattern in The Knitter

15 Jun

Word up peeps. Just dropping in to say I’ve got a new pattern out this week in issue 46 of The Knitter, whatevs.

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Isla is a kiddo’s dress in Rowan’s lovely new Wool Cotton 4 ply, which is a fantastic yarn for spring/ summer, and most importantly for the Head Laundryperson in your house if you have a nipper, it’s machine washable.

It’s sized from age 2 to 10 and doesn’t take much yarn – even the largest size is 5 balls of the main colour, with tiny amounts for the colourwork.

Storm was kind enough to lend her modelling skills to the shoot…

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With hindsight, I should have added extra length to her ‘sample size’ as she is way taller than an average 3 to 4 year old – so it look super short. But it’s easy to lengthen if, like me, you’re the proud parent of a baby giraffe!

Look, matchy matchy!

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The bottom section is knit in the round and there’s hardly any shaping so it’s a great first Fair Isle project too.

Most exciting for me, this pattern is now available online to buy from The Making Spot, along with some of my old designs. Welcome to the 21st century peeps! Not that I’m saying don’t buy the mag, but, if you want to cast on, like NOW, you can – hurrah!

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More design news coming up really soon…

PS. Thanks to Al, James and Sarah for helping Storm have a great time on the shoot, Frances, for her amazing knitting, and Phil for taking such lovely pix.

Ma’am Mat: New design in The Knitter

12 May

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Apparently it’s the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this year. Did you know that? Me either 😉

Anyhoo, to celebrate, I got all patriotic for a little design for The Knitter which is out about now.

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In the mag it’s known as the Jubilee Placemat, but I would have loved to have been able to call it the Ma’am Mat. As in Ma’amite. Arf.

It’s knitted in Excelana‘s new DK weight yarn which comes in some lovely vintage colours.

I had great fun finding the props for the photoshoot – the mug was my fave (from Cancer Research UK – £3!) and is now residing in my kitchen cupboard, where it has become my ‘mug of choice’. (Minimalism alert – Al managed to break my purple Pantone mug about a week after I bought it so we are on an even keel mug-wise, you’ll be relieved to hear.)

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The mat is worked flat and then the edging is picked up and worked in the round. It would probably take a couple of evenings to make and uses less than one ball of each colour – you’ll have plenty left of the red and the white, not so much of the blue.

Annoyingly, I brought it home and now can’t find it, so for now I’m stuck admiring these brilliant pictures (styled by Sarah Clark at The Knitter, who is just top at that kind of thing – thanks Sarah!).

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I suspect on Jubilee weekend itself a lot of peep’s breakfasts won’t be quite as civilised as this one, what with the four day holiday, ahem.

Happy knitting!

Buttons. And a Lisette pattern review (Simplicity 2211)

2 Apr

Do you like buttons? Me, I LOVE me some buttons.

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I am quite restrained when it comes to collecting them. For ages my button collection fitted in an old Altoids tin. There are a few too many now to get in the tin, but I try to keep it reined in.

This week though, was time for a button splurge. After much procrastinating (waaaaaay too much stocking stitch for my liking) I finished my Chickadee cardigan this weekend.

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I’d already lined up some stunning buttons from The Makery Emporium, which has become my go to place for pretty Japanese painted wooden buttons. I bought nine of these large chintzy ones..

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…and also, some tiny ones with tropical looking orange flowers, to decorate a blouse I just finished in time for our mini heatwave.

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The blouse is by Lisette for Simplicity (pattern 2211, view E) and this was a dry run for some Liberty Tana Lawn which was too perfect to risk on a first attempt. It’s just as well I did the dry run – I managed to sew the collar on inside out (duh) and had to cut it off and bodge the neckline.

And then the sleeves turned out to be smaller than the armholes, which made it kind of hard to gather them in, as per the pattern – definitely a grading error as I followed all the seam allowances exactly. Luckily my lovely repro feedsack fabric was 130cm wide, not the standard 115cm, which meant I had a little spare, so I recut a new pair of sleeves two sizes larger and used those.

Voila…

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Shame about the ‘wasted’ fabric. It’ll go into a quilt one day. The blouse only needs a metre of 150cm wide fabric if you fancy making it (a little more if you use quilting width).

I do have some glorious vintage glass buttons, which I bought at the first Knit Nation. They are from L Nichols, a company set up by the daughter of buttonmaker Lionel Nichols to sell off her huge collection of buttons he made in his lifetime. She releases them in collections a couple of times a year. Each set is totally unique and priced accordingly. Ahem.

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Nearly two years on, they still haven’t found their perfect project. They nearly went on the feedsack shirt, but it just wasn’t quite right.

Their time will come…