Category Archives: Craft

Wedding badger

Some old friends of ours are getting married today. The logistics of getting us all to England for the weekend proved impossible, so the T-boy set off on his own at an ungodly hour this morning.

I’m not an enormous fan of sending bought cards; they can be ridiculously expensive for a start and you know that they’re likely to be duplicated by other wedding guests. So I made our own. I had a phase of paper cutting a couple of years ago when it was all the rage in the online craft community, but haven’t done any for a while. This weekend’s wedding has a ‘vintage’ theme (eloquently described by the groom as ‘bunting and an old dress’) so paper cutting seemed like the perfect fit. I did it all with a craft knife but on reflection it might have been quicker to use scissors for some bits.

I should probably explain that the bride likes badgers.

Wedding badger

Congratulations guys.

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Hers and hers fingerless gloves

The littl’uns’ school is out in the country surrounded by fields. An idyllic spot with plenty of fresh air; just sometimes there’s a bit much fresh air when the wind comes straight off the north sea and blasts across their playground. Big littl’un’s skin is suffering and her hands are splitting and bleeding, poor love. She’s not a big fan of full gloves, they impede climbing and playing on the monkey bars, so I’ve made her a pair of fingerless gloves to protect her wee hands a little bit. Made some for myself too in the hope that I’ll soon be out doing some gardening.

These are remnants of sock yarn – there’s some Regia in there but I can’t remember the others – bad bad knitter, must start project notebook and keep yarn bands. Mine were two semi-solid yarns but the littl’un wanted a semi-solid mixed with a variegated yarn.

Knit in the round, I started with corrugated rib cuffs; knit stripes for a wee while then increased for a thumb gusset. The ‘jog’ on the stripes on the small pair is pretty noticeable, so on the bigger pair I had a go at jogless stripes. It’ll work on stripes 2 rows or more deep – knit the first round as normal, then when you get back to the first stitch of the second round, slip it purlwise. Carry on as normal for any remaining rounds until your next colour change then repeat.

I continued stocking stitch stripes for a few rows above the thumbs then finished with corrugated rib on my pair, a standard 2×2 rib on the littlun’s for a bit more elasticity.

I think they’d be improved by a bit of palm shaping – whatever the opposite of a gusset would be  – a pleat? A few stitches decreased between the cuff and the palm for a snugger fit anyway.

Little littl’un has suggested that it is her turn to be knitted for. Don’t let me forget. (She won’t.)

The sewing machine is still out

The sewing machine is still out from the superhero episode. We’ve moved on to getting going with the girls scrap quilts. Little littl’un is getting hers first; she wanted squares, Big littl’un wants triangles. Start easy and progress to the more difficult I thought.

IMG_8705So far it’s all going pretty well. Stacking up the squares as I cut up their old clothes was very satisfying. There’s such a mix of print sizes and colours in the fabric that I decided to place the squares completely randomly. It’s not a perfect job – some of the hems don’t line up exactly. I confess I’m not looking forward to quilting it; there’s no way I’ll be able to get it through my sewing machine so it’s going to have to be done by hand which I suspect is going to take a month of sundays. But when it’s done it’ll be pretty, and warm, and full of memories, so I’m happy.

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Blocking

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I properly love blocking knitting. That slightly alchemical process of wetting a crinkly bit of fabric; carefully, carefully spreading it out and pinning it; then going back to admire it, gently touch it and assess how dry it is … magic I tell you. The lovely smell of damp wool too; sure, it’s probably not everyone’s cup of tea and I don’t think I’ve ever seen it as a perfume ingredient, but for me it’s up there with hyacinths and hot bread as one of my most favourite homely smells.

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I got new pins too. Lovely round-headed pretty little things. They don’t just look nice though, they’re much easier to grab from the box and harder to lose if they’re dropped on the carpet. Form and function. Perfect.

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I’ve heard great things about blocking wires. Think I’ll have to put a set on my Christmas list.

This bit of lace is going to be a cowl. I started knitting it over a month ago but ran out of yarn and then had what might be described as issues getting a new ball. Buying the wrong colour once was a bit daft, buying the wrong colour twice was plain idiotic. The third ball I managed to get right though. At the moment it’s just a flat piece of knitting; once it’s dry I’ll decide how to finish it off. I’m thinking a button fastening all down the short edge, but we’ll see how it pans out. I started calling this my snaw-day cowl when I cast it on and it’s forecast snowy here for the next few days at least so it’ll still be a valid name when it’s done.

Wearing pants on the outside

Turn away knitters, there is nothing to see here.

Sewing has been the craft of the week. The littl’uns needed superhero costumes to wear to school for Comic Relief day but our dressing up box wasn’t delivering the goods. I’m not a big fan of bought costumes – the fabric can be cheap and scratchy and the clothes don’t usually get worn very often. Don’t even think about trying to wash them. So we went down the home-made route and turned three long-sleeved t-shirts and two pairs of leggings into costumes which can be worn again as everyday wear (though perhaps not as an ensemble). Much better value for money, which pleases me greatly.

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Big littl’un wanted a lightening bolt on her top, a cape, eye-mask and pants on the outside. What is it with superheros wearing their undies on top? In every other walk of life it would be frowned upon. Give yourself a fancy name and special powers and pants on top becomes obligatory. Her entire costume started out as two t-shirts and a pair of leggings (plus thread, a bit of interfacing and some knicker elastic. New, not used.). Her cape was the back and neckline of one shirt, the pants were made from the front of the same shirt and the eye-mask and lightening bolt started out as the sleeves.

Little littl’un’s superpower was story reading, so she just wanted a book on her top. Once she’d seen her sister’s eye-mask she wanted one of those too.  Her t-shirt design was bits of old fabric I had lying around the house (totally validating my tendency to hoard old clothes rather than recycle them). Her cape previously belonged to Little Red Riding Hood and her pants are half of big littl’un’s bikini.

They proclaimed the results AWESOME and I remembered how much I enjoyed using my sewing machine, so everyone’s a winner. Big littl’un even kept her whole outfit on to go to athletics after school – cape and eye-mask and all.

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Mindless Scarf pattern

Mindless Scarf

Here’s my finished Mindless Scarf. I’ve made mine in cotton so I can wear it through spring (and summer in Scotland) all year round! The cotton gives a good stitch definition too; the fabric is quite crochet-like. It could be made in any yarn you like though; just knit a swatch first to work out your finished size. The colour I used is discontinued (why are my favourite colours always discontinued? Yellow and orange yarns never seem to get shelved).

Mindless Scarf

The details:

Yarn 4 x 50g balls Debbie Bliss Cotton DK; 100% cotton in colour 13003.

Needles 4.25mm straights (approx. US size 6)

Gauge 22 sts, 27 rows to 10 cm in pattern (but gauge not vital)

Cast on 30 sts. (I used a cable cast on.)

Row 1 (and all WS rows): p2, (k2, yo, ssk) x3, p2, (k2, yo, ssk) x3, p2.

Row 2 (and all RS rows): k2, (p2, yo, p2tog) x3, k2, (p2, yo, p2tog) x3, k2.

Continue in pattern to desired length (mine is 1.85m long, 12cm wide). Bind off. Block if necessary/desired. (Mine is unblocked in the photo.) Wear with pride.

(Abbreviations explained in my ‘Knitting Abbreviations’ page.)

Mindless scarf on a banister

So what’s a knitter to do when it’s too dreich* outside to model a finished scarf? Use the banisters of course.

Mindless scarf

This was such an easy knit, it’s been my mindless knitting for the past week; picked up and worked on for a row or two whenever there’s been a spare minute – waiting for the kettle to boil or the bath to fill – all those little bits of time that add up to hours and hours over seven days.

Having yarn-overs and decreases on right- and wrong- sides makes it interesting enough not to become tedious, and a great project for anyone wanting to practise wrong-side lace work (that would be me).

I’ll write up the pattern (all two rows of it) once the weather cheers up enough for a photo shoot without risking hypothermia.

* Driech = Scots term for miserable cold wet weather. Wikipedia calls it “Fit tha wether is like in Ab’rdin. Ispecially whun they hiv haar which is like fog but bluidy worse.” They’re not wrong.