This was my first ever knitting project! I could still only do knit stitch (I hadn’t learnt how easy it was to purl) and the components were still in squares and rectangles with no increases and decreases. I was really chuffed having made something 3D. I practised sewing too, and learnt very quickly that I hate hand sewing… and still do. I bought a pack of cheap buttons and ribbons to decorate him and he looks great!
Pattern: Craft Creatures by Jane Bull
Winter Bobble Hat
So, I learnt how to purl! Suddenly, the whole world of knitting opened up in front of me. I thought I’d dive in and knit a winter hat to go with my new scarf. My mother warned me that I may have chosen a pattern too advanced for me… too advanced!? It was difficult to knit but that was because I was a novice at reading knitting patterns and had to keep looking up simple terms, like k2tog. I’ve worn this hat quite often, with its sort of corresponding scarf, and I’ve had some great responses.
Pattern: King Cole 3071 DK & Chunky, Hat no.2
Garter Stitch Blanket
I had been making this blanket for years! I’m not quite sure why I made this except to practise knitting. However, I did end up with a completed project of my first knits (this was started before Lil’ Ted). As you can see, the sewing is dreadful, I hadn’t overlapped the edges and I used cream yarn throughout. But I am proud of my work, it shows how I have progressed and where I begun! Plus, it’s brilliant as a throw over my cabinet to hide unsightly extension cables, guitar strings and craft boxes.
Pattern: I simply casted on 40 stitches of DK yarn on 3.75mm needles and knitted in garter stitch until work measured 20cm (8″). I made 30 squares in total to make a 5×6 blanket but you can make as many as you like.
Demi Chevron Bookmark
I’ve caught the knitting bug! I had made a Big Ted, some more Lil’ Teds (I experimented by not padding the legs out so much and adding some small stones to the bottom of the body so they would sit on my cabinet…. didn’t work) and a scent cushion. I found this pattern on Pinterest and I loved it. A lot of knitted bookmarks were cluncky and boring, but these looked elegant. I made these two for my own use and made three more for my mother’s 50th birthday, along with homemade shortbreads.
Knitted Phone Case
Can you tell that I love the duck egg yarn? There’s a simple explanation for this, I bought an iPhone and completely forgot to buy a case for it, so I made one. Tada! This pattern introduced me to the i-cord, which you can see at the top of the case in cream. It sounded technical at first, until I realised that you just knitted on a double pointed needle, pushed the work to the other end and carried on knitting until you got the required length. I loved it actually and even made some bracelets in i-cord. I found a pack of cheap vintage-looking buttons, it matched brilliantly. The case served its purpose beautifully.
Mr and Mrs Owl Knitting Kit
I got the Mr and Mrs Owl Knitting Kit from my youngest sister-in-law on my birthday. They looked cute on the kit photo, shame that they didn’t once I made them! Mr Owl looks high as a kite and Mrs Owl seems stoned and paranoid. Anyway, someone did love them and they have now gone to a loving home. I must admit, this was not an easy pattern to read, I thought it may have been my mild dyspraxia but the more I read it I found the instructions on the stripes overly complicated for what is a simple stitch. It was very fun to make and I would happily knit from a kit again.
Pattern: Mr and Mrs Owl Knitting Kit
A friend at work asked if I could make Ratatouille for her. I couldn’t find an actual pattern for it, but I did find a simple rat pattern and adapted it. He has safety eyes (rather small ones at that) and is holding a dolls house wooden spoon. I can’t remember how I made the hat. I think I knitted a rectangle and square, the rectangle was sewn into a cylinder and the square sewn on top to create some sort of chef’s hat (it’s a shame I hadn’t taken a proper picture of it). She loved it!
Pattern: Still searching for it…
Super Soft Cuddly
I was pregnant with my daughter when I made this. I found this beautiful baby snowflake yarn at a knitting and sewing convention. I hadn’t realised at the time (let’s blame baby brain) but the weight was too big for the needles in the pattern when I realised the work was coming out quite rigid. I persevered and hoped that it would soften in the wash. I did bugger up one of the ‘hands’ when I dropped a stitch and couldn’t find it amongst the snowflake mess, however the beauty of the yarn meant that you couldn’t notice the mistake.
When my daughter died I was adamant that her teddy stayed with her all the time, and it did. I hope she is still cuddling him in heaven….
Pattern: Art of Knitting ‘Knits to Gift’ no.21
Raspberry Tea Cosy
After losing my daughter, I needed a project to keep my mind active. I found this. I didn’t need a tea cosy, I just wanted something to make which was further along the difficulty spectrum which required yarn I already had. It was a challenge. Normally, the textures are knitted on the ‘knit’ rows of projects, instead this was on the ‘purl’ rows. I had to p3tog and increase on those rows. It did feel disjointed but that was because I was used to those techniques in knit. I love how raspberry-like it looks. I gave this to my auntie, she loved it.
Pattern: Art of Knitting ‘Knits to Gift’ no.27
Mesh Mini Dress
I needed another project to keep me occupied. My mother, aunties and cousins went to another knitting and sewing convention where I found 4x100g of this teal yarn for under £5! OK, it’s not the best quality yarn ever, but after washing it it turned out really well. The dress was worked in a 4 row repeat pattern. At first, it was difficult to concentrate and keep on track, every time I got distracted I had to start ALL OVER AGAIN! It didn’t take long to memorise the pattern and recognise the stitches on my needles. I haven’t actually worn this yet, I really should!
Pattern: Art of Knitting ‘Knits to Wear’ no.43
The Big Knit for Age UK
After the dress, I started a cross-stitch pattern (which I bought at the convention with the yarn) so I didn’t knit for months. When I picked up my needles again I decided to make these little Innocent hats. They were so quick to make, just over an hour each depending on complexity. The bird was really difficult to make, I had never knitted intarsia before and I never plan on knitting it ever again! Maybe if a project was bigger and required intarsia I might consider it. I think out of all of them, the fez is the cutest, it’s certainly my favourite. These are great to knit on a time and supply constraint and they go to a fab cause.
Art of Knitting Throw
This is my biggest and greatest project. For those unfamiliar with the Art of Knitting, you sign up to a subscription where you receive a magazine and small ball of yarn. Each magazine contained patterns to wear, have around the home, to make as gifts and a square of the throw. After 90 issues, and 90 squares, you create this beautiful throw and a pattern for the border. You had a choice of two borders, knitted or crocheted. This sparked my crochet bug as I wanted a neat border, so I had to learn to crochet. It turned out to be really easy to do and actually resembles the famous granny square pattern. This is now hanging over my sofa, bringing colour to the living room. (I am not endorsing Art of Knitting)
Pattern: Art of Knitting ‘The throw’ no.1-90
Lacy V Neck Cardigan
After finding out that my friend at University was pregnant I went straight to my yarn basket and pattern folder! This pattern was given to me by my mother-in-law when I was pregnant with my daughter, I always liked this one, compared to the others anyway. But it was a right pickle to make! I’m not sure if it was me or the pattern but I really struggled to understand some of the paragraphs and I just had to fluke it. There was even a few mistakes that only intermediate/expert knitters would notice. I chose the lacy pattern, instead of the simple stocking stitch version, because it looked nicer and would give me a challenge, but I learnt that it was incredible difficult to keep to the lacy pattern with the various increases and decreases and you had to be very familiar with the pattern to know what to do. Nevertheless, she liked it!
Pattern: ‘Lacy V Neck Cardigan’ from Patons (code: C 7954) smallest size. I made some variations to the pattern:
- After working the sleeves I cast off the 5 stitches
- I worked the button border as: 1st row – (k1, p1) x3, k1 – 2nd row – (p1, k1) x3, p1
- With the buttonhole border, I kept to the pattern in bullet point 2. I measured it against the button border with the buttons in place to know where to make the buttonholes, fastened them to the button and carried on. For me, the buttonholes were worked after every 4 rows.
Heart & Sole Socks
My mother-in-law gave me this yarn, with the pattern on the label, to encourage me to try knitting in the round again, with the attempt to convert me! Previously, I had tried knitting in the round and did not enjoy it so, reluctantly, I gave it a go. I don’t know what changed, but I enjoyed it… to a point. Knitting the leg was fine, the heel was fun, but the toes were a nightmare! I misread the pattern, dropped stitches and struggled to knit in the round with only three needles (compared to four needles elsewhere). However, I loved the yarn! I love the colours and how they created this striped pattern, even on the heels, and they feel super soft. They are very warm and will come in handy over the winter.
I am not completely discouraged from knitting in the round or socks, but I may need to try another pattern in the future. I have my eye on a DK/chunky sock pattern on Pinterest.
Pattern: Heart & Sole sock pattern on the label of Sirdar’s Heart & Sole wool rich 4 ply sock yarn, 100g, 75% wool 25% nylon (Shade: 0164).