Friday, 11 December 2009

Hope the knitted horse

I've been very busy working lots of hours lately, but still managed to finish this in under a week. It's a knitted version of my sister's new pony, Hope. I have made one of these before, in January, and it seemed to take forever, mainly because my increases were really tight which made for hard work for my fingers. This one's turned out better, mainly because I used less stuffing (the legs are still a bit stretched though) and because I've got better at knitting and seaming.

I used less than one ball of the Mystery Mohair I bought in Abakhan Fabrics, I am going to have to make a lot of monkeys to use up the rest... the pattern is Claire Garland's Basic Horse, which I found via Ravelry.

Here's the previous version, done in cheap yarn from the market:

now just another labrador and to finish off a knitted cat for Christmas and I can kick back with some mince pies and crap telly.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

I knitted a doggie!

I got asked by a girl at work to knit a labrador. I tried looking for labrador patterns everywhere but all I could find was Alan Dart's gorgeous labrador puppy- great pattern but a big commitment this close to Christmas for someone who isn't family!

So I improvised this little guy.

I'm planning to type up the pattern to publish on Ravelry... when I find time between my two jobs and all my Xmas knitting. All comments and suggestions welcome!

Saturday, 14 November 2009

finding knitting time

My knitting time's being severely curtailed at the moment- I start a new part time job tomorrow so will be working about 55 hours a week, my colleague in my main job's been off sick for two weeks so I've been doing her job too, which means no real lunch breaks to knit in- and now my evil cat Betty has slashed my left palm (well the ball of my thumb) deeply enough to make knitting painful. Not really her fault, her claws are really long and sharp, she got stuck in my jumper and panicked- and she REALLY doesn't like you touching her paws/legs. Ouch.

So I still have a load of Xmas decs to finish, also a labrador puppy for someone at work (the only pattern I could find was Alan Dart's and they need longer than a week in my experience, so I am making it up as I go along EEK!). Still got to Swiss darn the markings on to Binford the Cat, and haven't even started knitting ponies yet.

Still, this time last year I'd never have thought I'd still be knitting now- here's what I was making then:

These were some of my first knitted toys, really simple jelly babies. They ended up being included in a present for my friend's 40th birthday- as he lives in Florida the package didn't arrive until well after his birthday because I am really disorganised when it comes to posting stuff in time. He's a pilot so I also made this plane (couldn't find a pattern, so had to improvise)

Managed to get a total of 40 things for his 40th birthday- not all knitted- and the package cost an absolute fortune to post, but it was well worth it when I got his thankyou- he is a big kid and was especially pleased with the crocheted 'juggling boobs' which I won't post here as they were incredibly crap.

So anyway, going to try to knit tonight when my hand's hopefully not quite as sting-y, got stacks to do!

Thursday, 12 November 2009


funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

I actually have a Yarnia, it's a 'secret' room you get to through the wardrobe (yes really) and among other things, my yarn lives there. So this made me laugh

Tuesday, 10 November 2009


My best friend and her husband are currently on a giant road trip across the US, to their new home in San Francisco, which is where I have wanted to live since reading Tales of the City. Their Facebook posts and photos are just making me green with envy, my Facebook posts recently have been about sick cats (my little kitty has been unwell), the weather here in the UK, and generally being miserable. I really need to cheer the hell up.

So here's something I made (much) earlier:

It was my first ever no-pattern toy (other than tiny dolls) and it's supposed to be a boxer dog, that looks like my sister's giant slobbering bundle of love. It's a bit crap but makes me smile every time I see it.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Back to Xmas knitting

My little brother left last night after a week with us. He's incredibly handy, and has fixed a load of niggling little things around the house as well as building us a cabinet for our oddly-shaped bedroom... YAY shoe storage!!! (and freed up some boxes for yarn storage too)

So, back to knitting Xmas decs. I knitted all 24 of Alan Dart's Advent Calendar decs and a friend took them off my hands- having posted pics on Facebook I got an order for another 31 assorted decs, so here is my progress so far:

They are lovely to knit, but some of them are a bit fiddly and have 6 or more little parts! So I've got the fiddliest ones out of the way first.

It's finally got cold here, after some unseasonably mild weather and then a week of pouring rain. Have a couple of chores to do today (baking bread for one) but then I think some serious knitting. I have a labrador to knit as well as some ponies once the decorations are done!

Found a shop in Liverpool that had some knitted toys for sale- a couple of Jean Greenhowe clowns, some Alan Dart dickensian mice, and some cakes and fruit and veg. Sadly the owner was on the phone the whole time we were there and we didn't have time to wait so didn't get to ask about them. I don't know what the copyright rules are about selling in shops, but there weren't hundreds of them! I think it was this shop- Retro 49 Lark Lane, Liverpool, Merseyside, L17 8UW. e-mail: Email:

Thursday, 29 October 2009

The Joy of Knitting

Got a message from my friend Sallie today, saying how she never thought she'd be a knitter- me neither! If it hadn't been for my redundancy I'd never have discovered the sheer joy of making something from scratch, especially when it's for someone else. But there's also the benefits of the actual process of knitting. I have a really overactive mind and always found it hard to just sit and watch a film. My mind would wander and I'd find myself planning the next incentive for my staff, or reminding myself to add something to the shopping list... anything but focussing on the film. With knitting in my hands enough of my mind is occupied so that I can really enjoy a good film!

Also, I've spent a lot of time in hospital waiting rooms over the last year. Knitting is so much better than reading for hanging around- I find myself hoping that I'll get another 5 minutes rather than wishing the doc would hurry the FiretrUCK up. If I could, I'd travel to work by public transport for more knitting time. And knitting at work at lunchtime has ended up bagging me some commissions that have earned me YARN MONEY!

I now carry some needles and yarn everywhere. A trip back home to Scotland resulted in a lovely stuffed elephant, which I will post pics of when I have the laptop back (my OH has it with him at rehearsal).

In the meantime here's a pic of my adorable, sorry evil, cat Nuno with an unfinished knitted version of my Dad in the background. He ended up looking like Susan Boyle in a boilersuit but that's for another day.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

I am so nice... another free pattern

I really hope I've done this right- by clicking on this link you should be able to see my pattern notes for Jack the Pumpkin King as seen in my previous post.

I can't guarantee the results as I've only knitted him once, but it doesn't take long so won't waste much of your time!

Monday, 26 October 2009

Free Halloween Pumpkin Pattern!

Disclaimer- this is my first attempt at setting down a pattern I made up. Sorry about that- and the rubbish picture! I'm only doing this because Sallie asked- I am soooo not a designer.



UK size 9 or 10 needles

Small amount orange DK

Small amount black DK

Darning needle

Stocking stitch throughout

Cast on 9 sts, leaving a long tail, and ss 2 rows

Row 3: inc 1 into every st (18 sts)

P 1 row

Row 5: (inc 1, K1) to end (27 sts)

Ss 3 rows

Row 9: (inc 1, K2) to end (36 sts)

Ss 9 rows

Row 19: (K2 tog, K2) to end (27 sts)

Ss 3 rows

Row 23: (K2 tog, K1) to end (18 sts)

P 1 row

Row 25: (K2 tog) to end. Break off yarn, leaving a long tail. Sew thread through all sts on needle, draw up tightly and fasten off.

To make up:

Using the long tail from the drawn-up end, mattress-stitch edges together leaving a gap large enough to put stuffing in. Stuff fairly tightly (not so much that the stuffing shows through) and mattress stitch rest of side seam. Sew through every stitch on cast-on edge and draw up tightly and fasten off.

Now, using the long tails sew through from top drawn up edge through pumpkin to bottom and draw up tightly enough to form a segment. Repeat until you’ve used up all the long tails, or have enough segments to look suitably pumpkin-y. Fasten off yarn securely.

With black yarn and using satin stitch (or whatever you feel like) sew facial features. This is not my strong point, but for pumpkins it doesn’t matter so much!

Continue until heartily sick of orange and black.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

More Halloween knitting

The halloween knitting continues to overtake the Xmas knitting, of course halloween is closer but really I think I like knitting scary stuff. Sorry for the poor quality pic, I took a quick snap on my mobile.
I've done 8 pumpkins so far, the ghost is based on Alan Dart's Santa from the Advent calendar. The spider is awaiting some more legs- I am not enjoying making the i-cord for that. We have to decorate our desks at work on Friday so I'm going all out, unfortunately if anyone asks for a pumpkin i just can't say no because I love to hear people loving my knitting... I'm so shallow.

Compare these to last year's halloween efforts, when i'd only just started knitting-

This is meant to be the Hitcher from The Mighty Boosh. He's dangling from the stairs to entertain my cat.

I also knitted a skull-and-crossbones teacosy from the fantastic Anticraft website:

That went better but I can still see how much I've improved over the year!

Anyway, probably no knitting today as my hands hurt (I do it to myself, I do...) so can't even take advantage of the extra hour of weekend. The rest of my pumpkins and ghosts will have to be knitted at work at lunchtimes.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

It's just gone too far

OK, my friends on Facebook are getting really bored of me posting about knitting, and Ravelry (while it's fantastic) has its limitations, so I'm going to start recording my obsession on a blog.

Here is the latest picture I posted on Facebook, it's all the Xmas decorations from Alan Dart's A
dvent Calendar, finally finished and ready to be sent off to London, where they will end up on a really lovely tree.

I started knitting 'properly' about a year ago, after being made
redundant. I'd knitted a bit as a child, but didn't have the patience for knitting even the smallest items of clothing (not even scarves and hats) and even now, the thought of knitting socks leaves me cold... but I found out I love to knit toys.... like REALLY love it, probably too much. I discovered Jean Greenhowe, and then Alan Dart, and now I am properly obsessed. I've started knitting without patterns too... when the Xmas colours got too much I made this Jack Skellington which is my proudest achievement to date!

I have a form of arthritis which affects my hands mostly, so the knitting could be seen as physiotherapy but really I just love producing toys. I'm hoping to post some of the toys I've made over the last year and show how I've improved, and also to publish some of my own patterns... but first I really have to get the hang of this blogging thing. It doesn't come easily to those of us who went to school when there was a class called 'computers' which had about 3 BBC Micro B computers and when everyone still thought that the future of computer use involved us all being programmers... still, I came to terms with Facebook so I'm sure I can manage this.