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.