Tag Archives: patterns

Monroe and Marilyn

For quite some time now,  Summer’s Grandad has been telling her stories about a small mouse named Monroe and his wife, Marilyn, who live in their home and have fabulous adventures.

As a girl with a wide creative streak, she is entranced by these tales.

Whilst I was making Spencer the Pug for Dylan (who’s now called Robertson, for reasons that escape me), it seemed a fine opportunity to make Monroe and Marilyn for Summer.

Obviously, for a project such as this, there is only one designer you need…Julie of Little Cotton Rabbits.  I’ve waxed lyrical about her delightful family of woodland creatures before, so this was a complete no-brainer.

Julie’s patterns are not a quick make.  They are beautiful heirloom knits and as such need a little work.  But neither are they a difficult knit.

You just need to pay attention to her scrupulously written pattern and all will work out.  She holds your hand all the way, not just with the knitting but with the sewing up and stuffing too!

And at the end of it you get these magical little animals to delight someone special in your life.

Project notes:

Pattern: Boy mouse with a cabled sweater

Mouse girl in a flowered dress

Pattern cost: £6.75
Yarn:    Bergere De France Calinou
Colourway:  Bleu Nuit & Lac
Purchased at: John Lewis
Yarn cost:  £7.00

Kim socks

Who ate all my time!  I can’t believe it’s over a month since I last posted.

Life here is super busy.  Isn’t everyone’s?

After many years of battling we finally have some support in place for the children, so have social workers, family support workers, and conferences and workshops coming out of our ears!  Funnily enough it’s also led to a friend (also an adoptive mum of a chap with additional needs) and I to realise that there is a huge hole in the market for a one-stop-website for parents and guardians like us.

Over coffee one day, lamenting the lack of such a resource, and wondering why somebody didn’t do it….we realised that we were just the people to fill that gap.  Now we are working hard for an Autumn launch.   Its exhilarating and exhausting in equal parts, and the steepest of learning curves, but we’re only a month in and getting great feedback, so watch this space.

With all this going on, you can imagine that crafting time is limited….I haven’t looked at a tapestry sheep in weeks, and my sewing plans are gathering dust.  I’m slowly working on a waistcoat for Dave, but I’m awfully glad he’s patient!

Thankfully, I have been knitting.  Most recently finished are these beauties.

Look at those colours!

Look at those perfectly matched stripes!

Sock perfection!  And a happy husband.  I’ll take that win!

Of course I have another pair of socks on the needles, for conversational knitting occasions.  But I also have Galaxie from Quince & Co. for evenings in front of the TV.

Image copyright Quince & Co.

I’m knitting it in Finch in the colourway Stream.

Image copyright Quince & Co.

Both the pattern and the yarn are sublime.  I’m happily doing a few rounds a night and enjoying the making.  I’m usually a product driven knitter, so this is a lovely change for me.  And it’s nice to be knitting a garment other than socks!

It’ll be ready for Autumn too.

Project notes

Pattern: Regia 4ply sock pattern
Pattern cost: Free
Yarn:    Zwerger Garn Opal
Colourway:  Kim
Purchased at: Black Sheep Wools
Yarn cost:  £7.99

Newlook 6217 – my first TNT

This post is so overdue it’s ridiculous.  And it’s all been hanging on photographs!  Yesterday Summer agreed to take a couple of quick snaps as I was wearing my favourite of these tops, so here we go, at last.

I’ve already covered the fitting changes I made to this pattern here and, I’ll be honest, I’m still wearing that top on a regular basis, despite it’s imperfections.  It fits better than pretty much anything I’ve bought from a shop and is great to throw on when I’m running around the house with a pair of jeans doing chores.

I have, however, since then made 4 other versions, with varying degrees of success.  The success or failure of the finished garment has been purely down to fabric choice.

First up my favourite. This is a lovely sheer, lightweight cotton that has almost a cheesecloth texture to it.  The print is delicious, and it’s cool and lovely to wear as we head into warmer weather, but also a great layering piece with a cardigan for us women-of-a-certain-age!

The fabric is from deep stash and was gifted to me by my friend Christian, who is a seamstress with impeccable taste!  I’m glad I’ve finally got this one in my wardrobe and its in heavy rotation.

Second favourite is another fabric from deep stash, which I purchased yonks ago from Abakhan.  it’s a printed cotton jersey, and it’s my favourite for when I just need something comfy for dog walking or housework.  Love this top and it proves that this pattern is great for knits as well as wovens.

The first of the unsuccessful tops is this one.

The fabric is from the wonderful Stone Fabrics in Devon.  I bought this on holiday a couple of years ago, so again it’s good to get it out of the stash.  I’ve checked their site and the don’t seem to have any of it left.  Which is a shame because the fabric is beautiful, and the print is lovely.

Unfortunately I look like an extra from the Walking Dead in it.  It’s a really bad colour on me.

And finally is this lovely blue print.

Which is all the colours that look amazing on me.  But the fabric (a bargain bin purchase from Abakhan for very little money) is awful.  And clingy.  And just plan old nasty.

So I can happily say I’ve now got my first TNT pattern.  It’s such a useful little top I’m sure to make more.  However, on the sewing table at the moment is a Harris Tweed waistcoat for Dave, and the Imogen top in its second iteration with an FBA.  As the kids are back at school next week, I’m hoping to get some sewing done on both of them.


Toft Studio and Spencer the Pug

I know I’ve been teasing you with my visit to Toft and the pug I made for Dylan for Easter.  Both my kids are nosy, so I didn’t dare put anything up anywhere they might stumble across it before Easter Sunday.  We’re safe now, so here goes the first of two posts about impossibly cute woolly animals.

Just after Christmas my friend, Julia, and I had a bit of a road trip to the Toft Studio in Warwickshire.  We headed off on the Saturday afternoon, and after a lovely pub supper, a ridiculously early night, and a full English breakfast we didn’t have to cook ourselves, we had a crisp and sunny country drive to Toft.

The setting for the Studio is impossibly bucolic. Classic English countryside, red brick houses and a beautiful building that is home to the studio, shop, and a very warm welcome.

We did two workshops.  One amigurumi and one on stripy blankets. Both were for complete beginners, and I came away confident that although I’d never crocheted anything before I could happily complete the white rat that I’d started.  I didn’t….I poached the yarn for the wee mice I made for Summer!  But I did also purchase the yarn and pattern for Spencer the Pug for my pug mad boy.

And I did complete him.

The hardest part of this project is remembering to count!  I’m not a confident enough crocheter to try and do this and watch a film.  But it’s amazing what you can accomplish with a little quiet concentration.

Dylan is so delighted with him.  Spencer has joined Margaret, the knitted pug, as his favourite companions.

Although now, obviously, he’s not called Spencer.  A new name has yet to be decided on.  But with toy pugs already named Margaret and Phillip Reeve, who knows what we’ll end up with?!

I’m feeling decidedly accomplished and planning other projects as soon as I’ve worked through some more stash.  I can, however, highly recommend Toft workshops.  And the yarn is simply sublime!  I want to knit All The Things in it now.


Flamingo legs (and a denim jacket)

Whilst the husband, Dave, has always been a big fan of the hand-knitted sock, the rest of the family is starting to get in on the act.  Most recently, the lovely Miss Summer.

As she’s growing like a weed at the moment, I decided to go with a tube sock.  With no heel, not only are these a ridiculously simple knit, they also last longer as she grows.

These are knitted from the toe up, so although they’re simple, it was a new technique for me.  Not a difficult one at all.

And as you can see from the pictures, these are well worn.  Summer absolutely loves them and is clamouring for another pair.

**********

To complete the flamingo love, I embroidered the back of a store bought denim jacket for her.

I didn’t have much choice.  Whilst we were out shopping she said how much she loved the jacket, but that it would be so much better if only it had an embroidered flamingo on the back.  And that would be something I could do for her, wouldn’t it?

You can’t argue with a 10 year old!  She’s got the skills of a Hague lawyer, that one!

Project notes:

Pattern: Tube Socks For Kids by Jane Richmond
Pattern cost: Free
Yarn:    Jawoll (not sure which one)
Colourway:  Pink
Purchased at: No clue!
Yarn cost:  Who knows? Who cares? 😉

Sew Me Something Imogen Top – wearable toile

The Sew Me Something Imogen Top has been on my sewing list for what seems like forever.  And as I’ve a few lengths of pretty prints in my stash that are perfect for this top, I decided to make a quick toile to see what it looks like and fits like.

Fit is still a massive challenge to me, but for this top I decided to compare the measurements to a RTW blouse that gets heavy rotation.  Although the fit on the RTW blouse isn’t perfect, it’s still good enough, and it’s one of my favourite wears.

Taking some measurements from the RTW blouse, I decided to cut a straight size 20 and added 4″ to the length.  I’ve made no other adjustments to the pattern.

As you can see, it’s come up a bit long.  I will go back at some point and chop probably a couple of inches off the length.  That’s an easy enough fix and due to me being overly cautious – you can always shorten but it’s tough to add length once you’ve cut.

The bust is the problem area.  You can see drag lines pointing clearly to the bust, indicating that although, theoretically, this top fits around the circumference, it does need a full bust adjustment (FBA) to make it hang nicely.

I like the gathered neckline and elasticated cuff.

All in all, I really like this top.  It’s an easy wear and, although it’s been very shoddily sewn, as it was intended only to be a toile, it’s had several outings and a compliment every time it’s worn.

Construction wise, it’s simple enough, apart from the placket.  I couldn’t get my head around the instructions, but that could just be user error.  I’ll let you know the next time I make it.

For the next iteration, I’ll go do an FBA and the shorter length, and see what I end up with.  If it’s half as wearable as this toile version, then I’ll be a happy sewist!

Project notes

Pattern: Sew Me Something Imogen
Pattern cost: £16.00 (£9.00)
Fabric:    Blue print poly
Purchased at: Birmingham Market
Fabric Cost: £3.00 ish.  Not very much at all.
Photographs by Miss S. Jones iPhone 8


Twiglet Mitts

I’ve had some lovely red yarn in my stash for years.  Since my last visit to Yarndale, in fact.  Which was, according to this wise old blog, in 2013.

High time it was knitted up, I think.  Especially as I’m all about the stash busting this year.

I had planned to make it up into the lovely mitts in The Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible, but they called for DK, and this was most definitely 4 ply.  (In hindsight, I had enough yarn to use double, but there we go!)

So I put the Ravelry Pattern Search feature to work, and spent a happy while looking at pretty mitten patterns.  So. Many. Pretty. Mitts.  It was a dirty job but someone had to do it!

In the end, I stuck an imaginary pin in the screen and chose Twiglet Mitts by Martine Ellis. How could I resist this all over lace pattern?

It turned out to be such a good choice.

These were a joy to knit, and are equally joyful to wear.  The colour is a deep saturated burgundy red, that goes with all my coats.   They are lighter weight than the Kindling Mitts of my last post, but perfect for warmer days when you still need something on your hands.  I added a few pattern repeats to make them longer on my wrist.  An easy enough modification.

I was always rather resistant to fingerless mitts, no matter how pretty.  But as a dog walker, unless it’s so bitterly cold that you need your fingers covered so you don’t part company with them, fingerless mitts are a joy.  Clipping leads off and on (not to mention fiddling with little plastic bags when nature calls) is so much easier.  I’m a convert!

And if you knit these mitts, I think you might be too.

Project notes:

Pattern: Twiglet Mitts
Pattern cost: Free Ravelry Downlad
Yarn:    Drops Baby Alpaca Silk
Colourway:  Red
Purchased at: Yarndale
Yarn cost:  Who knows? Who cares? 😉

The Kindling Mitts of Kindness

Still harping on about the Christmas Lurgy, even though we are racing towards the end of February, but it’s all relevant to this  story with another happy ending.

Whilst I’d been really sick the week before Christmas, it was Boxing Day when the flu took hold of The Husband.  Although born in Somerset, he’s a Northern Bloke by heritage, and made of stern, manly stuff.  For him to actually take to his bed when ill is unheard of in the 12 years we’ve been together.  For him to be in bed for nearly 4 days was like stepping into the Twilight Zone.

The kids were under the weather and I was still reeling from it, so we hunkered down and worked on getting well.  After a few days of this, though, Cabin Fever struck and my cherubs morphed into obnoxious little hellions!

By the evening they’d shredded even my last nerve and I’d sent them to bed, poured a stiff drink and turned to Instagram for solace.

Kristin (@kristinm100) had posted the most adorable pair of mittens, and they hadn’t been lost in the craziness of Instagrams algorithms!  I commented and asked if she could share the pattern name.

5 minutes later my inbox pinged and there was the pattern for the mitts.

I’ll admit to being rather overwhelmed by the kindness (although it’s not the first time Kristin has done something lovely for me.)   That little pattern, sent across the miles from Canada by the magic of the interwebs, from a woman I consider a friend, but whom I’ve never met, absolutely turned a truly shitty day into a positively magical one.

I instantly set to work to source the perfect yarn, and came up with Blacker Yarns British Classic DK knitting yarn in Grey.  This is a crisp, hardy yarn, in the fashion of Shetland wool.  The colour is the perfect grey, and whilst I wouldn’t knit this as a sweater next to my skin, for mitts it is cosy, and warm, and, I suspect, will take a bit of a beating!

Now obviously I had to wait for the yarn to arrive, it being the holidays and all, but that didn’t matter.

I was making friendship mitts.  Mitts that every time I wore them I would think of Kristin and her kindness.

I’ve got other mitts like this.  My lovely Goats of Inversnaid mitts were a yarn and pattern gift from my friend Christian (who lives considerably closer than Kristin).  And the hat that goes with them has been commandeered by Miss Button, who also gets to share the love.

It strikes me as nothing short of miraculous that such a simple act of kindness and friendship can result in bonds forged in the shared love of an age old craft.  Bonds that transcend age, race, background, education, socioeconomic status and good old fashioned geography.

That a few clicks of a keyboard can lift the spirits of someone thousands of miles away.

They say that random acts of kindness can change the world.  That you never know, if you do something small, how big an impact it can have on the recipient.

I have a pair of hand-knitted mittens that are testament to the veracity of that sentiment.

They are a happy blessing indeed.

Project notes

As an aside, this pattern is so beautifully written.  Every row is clearly detailed, so even an relatively inexperienced knitter could make these.  Those of us with a few yards of yarn under our belts can whip these up in no time, but still feel a happy sense of accomplishment.

Pattern: Kindling Mitts
Pattern cost: £3.90
Yarn:    Blacker Yarns British Classic DK
Colourway:  Grey
Purchased at: Blacker Yarns
Yarn cost:  £4.80

His Simple (Christmas) Socks

Phew.  A New Year is upon us and I’m glad.  Christmas Chez Stitches was immensely quiet, mainly due to us all contracting flu (including the grandparents) and after opening gifts and eating the feast, we all retreated to our beds.

I didn’t even have the energy to knit, so spent the time between coughing and nursing everyone, curled up on the snuggler with George and some simple embroidery.  It’s been most therapeutic and I can’t wait to share with you soon.

However, first up is the only Christmas gift I made last year.  Another pair of His Simple Socks by Elizabeth Seidle.  I love this pattern so much.

This time, although I used the same 3 ply yarn as the last pair, I knitted on 2.75mm needles, and am so happy with the result.  The fabric is soft and elastic and just all round much nicer that before.

The colours are much more subdued too. But these are for Grandad, and he has more traditional taste than Hubs!

Although, to be honest, if he hadn’t liked them as much as he did, I think they’d have had a home here, subdued colours or no!

Project notes

Pattern: His Simple Socks by Elizabeth Seidle
Pattern cost:  £3.50
Yarn:    Bergere De France Goomy 50
Colourway:  Bleu
Purchased at: John Lewis, Liverpool
Yarn cost:  £4.50/ball

 


Tiny Terrapin

For her birthday, we bought Miss Button a pack of bulky yarn, as she’d said she wanted to learn to knit.

I’m fairly sure I don’t need to tell you what happened to that yarn…..

Yep, I knitted it.

There are surprising few patterns out there for tweenagers that require bulky yarn.

Funny that!

But I came across this pattern for a shrug and set to.

It’s a lovely pattern and a quick and simple knit. I’ll admit it’s a tad roomy for Miss B at the moment, but that’s not a bad thing.  She’ll get lots and lots of wear out of it.  It’s a great throw-on for cooler days that don’t yet need a coat.  And, for a girl with a passion for all things flamingo, it’s just the perfect colour.

I altered the neckline so that there is a defined top and bottom to this shrug.

The yarn is squooshy and soft and reminds of that Minky fleece fabric.

Not something I’d want to wear, but a hot pink, squooshy, fleecy shrug is quite the thing when you’re 9 and 3/4s.

Project notes

Pattern: Tiny Terrapin by Sara Gresbach
Pattern cost:  $6.60
Yarn:    Rico Essentials Big
Colourway:  Neon Pink
Purchased at: And Sew What, Chorley
Yarn cost:  £3.79/ball