Hello and thanks for visiting my blog. I have been knitting on and off for 50 years and I recently learned to crochet. I love looking for wool bargains and making them into something useful. I mainly knit for charity. I occasionally knit for myself and family members if I find a really good pattern or if they ask nicely!!

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

The Precious Moments Gift Bag......

This is a quick and easy knitting pattern.  I have enjoyed writing it and am giving it away to knitters all over the world.

My gift bag measures 11cm x 12cm and used a very small amount of yarnI include easy instructions for making the bag wider, narrower, longer or shorter. 

Gauge is not important and any ply yarn can be used with the appropriate size knitting needles.
Skills needed:
The only skills you will need are:

        Cast on
    Cast off
    Knit stitch
    Purl stitch
  Knit 2 together
   Yarn forward
   Sewing side seams

Supplies needed:
The supplies you will need are:

 4 ply yarn
  size 3.25mm knitting needles
  0.75 metre of 7mm ribbon.  You could use less ribbon if you want a smaller bow. 

You are going to knit one piece, fold it in half and sew the side seams. 

Cast on 29 stitches.  Increase or decrease the number in multiples of 4 stitches to make the bag wider or narrower. (Every 2 stitches makes 1 eyelet.  You need an even number of eyelets on both sides of the bag for the ribbon to thread evenly.  That is why you increase or decrease by 4 stitches.)
Rows 1-4:  [K1, P1] repeat to last stitch. K1.
Row 5:  Knit all stitches.
Row 6:  K1, purl to last stitch, K1.

Row 7:  Knit all stitches.
Row 8:  K1, purl to last stitch, K1.
Row 9:  Knit all stitches.
Row 10:  K1, purl to last stitch, K1.
Row 11:  Knit all stitches.
Row 12:  K1, purl to last stitch, K1.
Row 13:  Knit all stitches.
Row 14:  Knit all stitches.
Row 15 eyelets: [K2tog, yarn forward] repeat to last stitch, K1.  You should have 14 eyelets.  If you have fewer eyelets, you may have omitted a yarn forward.  NB: there is a yarn forward before the last K1 on this row.
Row 16:  Knit all stitches.

Repeat rows 7-16 as many times as you like.  This is where you adjust the length of the gift bag.  For my bag measuring 12cm  I repeated these rows until I had completed 8 eyelets rows ending on row 16.

Repeat rows 5-13.
Repeat rows 1-4.
Cast off.

Fold in half, right sides together.  Sew seams being careful to match the eyelets rows on both sides of the bag.  You should still have 14 eyelets on each side of the bag.  The eyelets on the end of the rows might be small.  But remember not to sew them into the seam.

Thread ribbon through the eyelets and tie in a bow.
This is a close up of the gift bag showing the ribbon before tying it.  :

….and finally.  Why is this pattern called The Precious Moments Gift Bag?  I was inspired to write this pattern to celebrate the life of a special person.  Life is precious.  Many moments in life are precious…..the birth of a baby, the wedding of a happy couple, anniversaries and birthdays.  The list is endless.  These little gift bags add a personal touch and are just right for holding small gifts and keepsakes. 

This pattern is also available free on Ravelry  here.



Saturday, 26 July 2014

Queen Victoria's crochet scarf.....

We decided to escape the exhausting London heatwave and went to visit Dover Castle.  The temperature there was a lot more pleasant and there was plenty to see and do.  One of the highlights for me was seeing a scarf that was crocheted by Queen Victoria.  I was dumbstruck when I saw this scarf as it just oozes history.

Please excuse the terrible photo.  The scarf was in a glass display case in a dimly lit room.  The shade is really a khaki green.  It is 5 feet long and 9 inches wide with a fringe at both ends.  It seemed very well made to me, though I'm hardly a crochet expert!

Apparently Queen Victoria made 8 of these scarves and they were given to soldiers in the South African War.  They were worn like a sash over one shoulder then across the chest and buckled at the hip.  There is more information about them here.

A clever crocheter has written a pattern for her version of the scarf and it can be found here.

No scarves were injured during the writing of this blog post.  There were no signs banning photography and I made sure my camera flash didn't come on.  I thought I was very restrained as I managed NOT to open the case and stroke the scarf!  

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Busy busy busy....

I am insanely busy at the moment trying to do 100 things at once.  But there is a saying "If you want something done, ask a busy person."

This is just a quick post to show my latest 2 creations.

I bought a remnant of material and made this t-shirt pour moi.  I used a Burda Easy pattern and it lived up to its name.  I'm pleased with how it turned out and I still have loads of material left.....just need to decide what to do with it.

Then I knitted a child's hat to go with the scarf I blogged about recently.  I combined 2 yarns and love the result.  I also followed 2 different knitting patterns.....1 for the crown which is nicely shaped (though it doesn't show up well in the photo) and 1 for the rest of the hat.  I think this would suit any child.

Both projects were very quick.  They were also easy to make in this heatwave we are having at the moment which makes big, heavy projects unappealing.

Well, it's nearly midnight and I had better recharge my batteries so I am ready for the next deluge that life wants to throw at me!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

First ever shorts.....

I just had to blog about the first shorts I have ever sewn.  They should fit a 2-3 year old and are destined eventually for Sew Scrumptious.  Their "Dress A Girl Around The World" project is well known and they have distributed over 10,000 dresses to Africa and India.  Shorts for boys are also in demand but fewer than 1000 have been distributed. 

Having made my first ever pair of shorts, I am converted and will concentrate on these in future.  I have the material already waiting to be recycled and I recently bought a big roll of good quality woven elastic which is perfect for waistbands.

I have many old t-shirts like this baggy, shapeless horror:

I use them for exercise classes and keep them far longer than I should because I can't bear waste.  Now I can give them a new lease of life and buy some new ones.  Woo hoo!

I used the following free pattern and tutorial.  The pattern is one simple piece approximately resembling an inverted T.  You cut two of these shapes, do quite a small amount of sewing and ...hey have a pair of shorts.  I opted to make the 3/4 length shorts, though the pattern is easily adjusted to make long trousers or shorter shorts.

I can make age 2-3 years shorts from my old tops and when Hubby throws out his t-shirts I will probably be able to make age 5-6 years shorts.  In fact most t-shirt material is just the right strength for these shorts and it usually doesn't fray so is easier to finish.

I noticed that this particular t-shirt had a nice notch detail at the side seams.  So I decided to incorporate this into the legs.  Laying the pattern piece on the material wasn't as straightforward as I expected so the side seams have ended up slightly more to the front.  But I don't think this will be too noticeable when they are being worn.  Actually, I was making things more difficult for myself.  The pattern doesn't require outside leg seams.  The material simply wraps around the leg and is seamed on the inside.  In future, I will follow the pattern unless there is a really special detail on the side seams.

I liked the little appliqué detail on the t-shirt.  It ended up on the unused part of the material but I didn't want to throw it away.  So I added it to the hem of the shorts.  It is a nice little decoration and acts as an aide memoire to little boys trying to tell the difference between the front and back of their shorts.  It also draws the eye to the notch detail which I liked and wanted to use.

A skilled sewer could make these in an hour.  I took my time but still finished them in an afternoon.  I'm pleased with how they turned out and there will be lots more to come.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Cats and sewing machines....

Sewing machine experts should look away now!  This machine is nearly 30 years old, but it works and I know how to use it!.  The cat behind it is Fleur and she is 11 years old.  She is really very well-behaved.  She sits next to me when I am knitting and watches everything I am doing with great curiosity.  But she has never pounced on the wool or on what I am making.  If she decides it is time for some attention or food, she simply pulls my arm gently but repeatedly until knitting becomes impossible.  Funny Fleur.

This week I decided to do some sewing.  Fleur has been watching from a distance. Today, I had just wound the bobbin and put it into the machine.  I was concentrating so hard that I didn't even notice Fleur jumping up onto my sewing table.  When I finally saw her, I couldn't resist the photo opportunity.  I wonder what she is trying to tell me!!

Monday, 14 July 2014

Easy one-row scarf...

I read a while ago that Operation Orphan needs more children's scarves.  As mindless scarf knitting appeals to me at the moment I was happy to find
a pattern that is simply a repeat of the same row throughout.  I was even happier that this pattern is by Yarn Harlot who I see mentioned a lot in Blogland.  Here is the scarf pattern.  It makes a lovely warm scarf that doesn't curl at the edges.

To make this scarf, I knitted with 5 ply yarn and 4 ply yarn held together.  I have had the 4 ply yarn for quite a while.  The 5 ply yarn was sent to me by Joanne of the Cup On The Bus blog.  It is called Borgs S. N. 2 Garn and is a pure wool yarn from Sweden.  It is a lovely quality and a pleasure to knit with.  At first it threw me because I am not used to knitting with 5 ply yarn and I don't have the right size needles.  Then I had a lightbulb moment and decided to knit it together with other yarns.   

As this scarf is for a small child, I cast on 22 stitches which produced a scarf measuring 5" wide.  I knitted for 48" as the rule of thumb is that a scarf should be the same length as the height of the child.  I am amazed at how little yarn this scarf used.  I have lots left to make a matching hat and possibly a cardigan or jumper when I have more free time.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Buttons galore...

Look what arrived in the post this week!  I love buttons.  I remove them from any clothing that is so past it that it has to be put into the recycling bin.  I very occasionally buy new buttons and I have a small collection of antique buttons.  So this parcel from Joanne of the Cup On The Bus blog was a lovely surprise.  

Amazingly, I didn't have any wooden buttons.  Now I have several hundred in 2 different sizes.  I should have taken a sideways view photograph as there really is a small mountain of buttons here.  

These coordinate very well with the yarn Joanne sent me a few months ago and they are the same good quality.  They will look great on the children's cardigans I am planning to knit soon.  Some measure 2cms in diameter and some measure approximately 1.5cms in diameter.  So they will suit a wide range of sizes.

Joanne has kindly given me permission to share these goodies.  If any bloggers in the UK can use some of these, just contact me.  Sorry about limiting the offer to the UK, but postage rates here are really extortionate!

Thank you, Joanne.