Welcome to my blog. I live, knit and craft near the Northumbrian Coast (but not too near – the waves won't be splashing my knitting!).There's a story in every stitch, every grain of sand, every blade of grass. I thought I'd blog about it…
We had a lively online get together on Friday and as usual there were some beautiful projects in progress and recently completed.
Pictured above are some silk/mohair socks that Y is making as part of her charity challenge for Versus Arthritis – she’s being sponsored for the number of socks she can make in a given time. The socks are promised to the person who supplied the yarn (I think it is handspun – it looks very warm and cosy). She also just completed this children’s cardigan from materials that arrived as part of her Knit In A Box subscription.
R finished her pink cardigan.
Her next project planned is this lovely Fair Isle design cushion.
L has mastered cable as part of her jacket – the cables run up the front edges.
G just cast on with this pretty variegated yarn she bought recently – It’s going to be a baby top.
Last week T acquired a long, narrow hot water bottle – such a practical shape. It’s going to be so much nicer to use now that she’s crocheted a cover for it.
I just started another alpaca hat with a twisted rib edge.
We are a busy lot!
Are you managing to keep in touch with your knitting friends?
The group met again on Friday . Here are a couple of screenshots of group members’ recent projects.
The beautiful lacy baby blanket is now finished, Last week we were talking about how the maker was going to do the edge and she’s chosen this pretty scalloped crochet design. It works beautifully.
She’s also about to start a knitting challenge to raise funds for the Versus Arthritis charity – this will involve knitting as many socks as possible within a set time period – she’s planning on using a silk yarn, so they are going to be very luxurious socks. She’s got her teeshirt to wear during the challenge!
With her pink cardigan almost done except for the sewing up, this member has returned to the sparkly ombre scarf – up to the pale stripe now.
I’ve been working on a project in handspun undyed alpaca. Can you guess what it is?
Friday was the first meeting of the year for our online knit and natter group. As always there were some lovely projects in progress.
My fellow spinner finished these pretty striped socks during the session.
Before Christmas she was running out of yarn for a green sweater she was knitting for her son – she ended up having to spin 200g more, but got it finished. She’s also been crocheting some cute little dolls to go in a dolls house.
She is selling one of her traditional spinning wheels and I am very tempted to buy but I really need to think about space and weight before I buy a traditional wheel – I’ll stick to my little Electric Eel Wheel Nano for now. It easily fits in a drawer so no storage problems.
Having made a load of Christmas decorations in December this member is now back to her waterfall front cardigan in this gorgeous pink shade.
This blanket is progressing well in beautiful vibrant raspberry shades – it’s a really stunning variegated yarn.
I’m finishing off a cabled hat made from my handspun alpaca. I just need to attach the pompom – I’ll used a press-stud so it can be removed for washing. This is going to be lovely and warm to wear.
It was good to see everyone after the Christmas break. We talked about how well the COVID vaccine is being rolled out in this area – local sessions are working really well. Jane from the Social Prescribing team at the GP practice, who runs our Knit and Natter sessions has been helping to run the immunisation sessions. I hope that everything goes to plan and those concerned are able to work through the different age/risk groups and get to me – I can’t wait!
A few years ago a lovely friend of ours gave birth to a daughter. I usually knit clothes for new babies but this time I decided to do something different. I thought it would be fun to make a soft toy. The new mum has been a keen horsewoman since she was a little girl and has several horses. I thought I’d make a toy horse and make it as much like her favourite one as possible. I found a crochet pattern on Ravelry but adapted it quite a lot, changing the hooves, legs and ears significantly. That’s how I came to make a toy version of Mr Messy the chestnut cob. He’s very showy with a blonde mane and tail. I copied his white feet, crocheting them in white yarn – this worked at the second attempt. I was working from a picture of Mr Messy that had been taken after he’d been through some mud so I didn’t realise he had any white on his legs at all! I used beads for eyes, sewed on a felt patch for his white face and embroidered on his other features then attached a fringe for the mane and some longer strands for the tail.
When our friend had a second child, a boy this time, what could I do but make a version of her second favourite horse, Hettie the black mare.
Having seen the two I made for the babies, another friend ordered one of each of her two horses, a couple of hunters, both bay geldings, Roper and Toasty. I only have a picture of Roper here. but when I made these two I became aware of just how many different browns there are. At one point daughter was following a horse around holding up three balls of yarn so she could find the best match. I only make them now and again, but if I ever set up a business doing these I’d have to call it “Fifty Shades of Bay”!
Before long that baby girl I first made a horse for was big enough to be riding a pony of her own. Here she is with Tansy the Exmoor pony.
Around this time I’d learnt how to do needle felting, and this seemed like a great way to do facial details so I surface felted the little white star or Tansy’s forehead, her nostrils and the lighter colouring on her muzzle.
The other detail I always add are the horseshoes, like on the latest mini horse that I just finished last week – a nice finishing touch!
They are fun to do (though I wouldn’t want to be making them full time) and once you’ve overcome the initial colour matching challenge they come together quite quickly. They’ve always gone down really well with their new owners, a sort of cartoon miniature version of a much loved horse or pony.
Many thanks to A Heatherington and A Straughan for the photographs of their children and horses!
There were more lovely projects on show at Friday’s online Knit and Natter session, which is organised by the social prescribing teams at GP surgeries here in Northumberland. Our big news this week is we’ve had a write up in the UK national knitting press! This follows a request for more information about the group from Simply Knitting magazine.
Christmas knits continue with this cute little snowman….
…and a pair of Christmas angels.
This Fair Isle project is getting bigger. I absolutely love the duck egg/teal colour combination here.
If my memory serves me correctly, this next project is a baby jumper. The central panel with its lacy design is just gorgeous.
One of our recently joined members has taken knitting up again after a break and though it took her a while to get hold of needles and yarn during lockdown, she is now steaming ahead with charity knits including these two lovely baby hats.
The crocheted elephant that was still in pieces last week is now all done, complete with pink toenails! I think we’ve all fallen in love with him/her, especially having seen him come together over recent weeks.
One of the ladies from the Berwick group joined us on Zoom for the first time this week. She is a keen spinner too. I loved being able to talk to her and her husband (who is also a spinner and joined us briefly). Since I started spinning in September this is the first time I’ve actually had a conversation about my new obsession to a fellow enthusiast! They told me about some great sources of equipment and supplies. She is taking part in a Mystery Knit Along which has been organised by the Macmillan Cancer Support charity. In return for a donation to the charity, sections of a pattern were released gradually over 4 weeks. As the project is well underway now I don’t think it would be spoiling the mystery too much if I show a screenshot of her work on this.
Click on the link above if you’d like access to this lovely pattern by donating to a very worthwhile cause.
I think this was one of the best supported sessions we’ve had since the Zoom group got underway. It’s such a friendly group and I always look forward to Friday lunchtimes and seeing what everyone’s been up to.
I finished off a couple of projects this week which is always satisfying.
I crocheted this horse – a commission from a friend who will be giving it as a Christmas gift to a horse owner.
He’s a sort of caricature of her actual horse and I’ve replicated the colour and markings. His eyes are glass beads and the details are needle-felted. He’s wearing horseshoes embroidered in metallic thread.
I’ve made several of these over the last few years. One of the hardest things is finding the right colour yarn. I’ve modified the design from a pattern I found online and have refined it a bit more every time I’ve done it.
The second item I completed was a pair of brioche hand warmers for K. They will be part of his Christmas present. He’d requested some similar to some I made for myself a while back, but he wanted them in a much more neutral colour than the bright pink and grey stripes I used last time. He intends to use these for fishing – hopefully his hands will stay warm and his fingers will stay unencumbered for tying on lures and so on. I used this from my stash. It’s lost its band but I think it’s Stylecraft Special DK 100% acrylic. Most importantly it’s machine washable as, depending of how successful the fishing is, could potentially end up slimy, wet and stinking of fish after every wearing!
With a knitted project done I had nothing cast on so I’ve started some socks for myself – the pattern was given to me by a friend at one of my knit and natter groups – I’m using the version with the contrasting welt, heel and toe and using more yarn from the stash – I have a feeling both may be from Flying Tiger. I’ve bought all sorts of crafty things from the Newcastle store in recent years but I hear that this branch has now closed – I’m quite sad about that.
I’ve also been prepping and spinning alpaca fibre. I spun some I prepped a while back. The three larger skeins are 2ply, each about 100 yards. The smaller skeins (the white is more alpaca and the blue is merino) are my first attempt at chain plying, using some singles left over on bobbins after plying. I felt that this got better as I went along, but I must remember not to overtwist next time.
I washed a batch of the alpaca fibre I skirted last week and hand carded it. I’m improvising with pet grooming brushes until I get proper carders (I have it on good authority that Santa Claus is bringing me some…if I’m good). I’ve braided the roving as I intend to dye it eventually. It does look rather messier than the braids of fibre that you buy, but in it’s current undyed state I thought it resembled the hair of Elsa from Frozen. I promise not to put it over my shoulder and start singing Let it Go!
Some great projects were in progress at the Zoom Knit and Natter Group on Friday. This colourful crochet blanket is now finished and the bold diagonals look great.
For a complete change, this group member is now moving on to pink patchwork hexagons.
Also completed this week are some Christmas Tree decorations.
The Christmas stocking and tree have now been decorated with sequins. You can never have too much glitter hanging on the Christmas tree!
We’ve seen our beginner knitter’s grey stocking stitch rectangle get longer and longer over the last few weeks. We talked about how that is now big enough to become a cosy cowl. She’s going to check out some You Tube videos before she casts off and sew the ends together.
Speaking of cowls, look at this colour work one, knitted in the round. Lovely isn’t it?
I’m working on a soft toy – can’t say much yet as it’s a gift.
Our newest member has been given some yarn and needles and has completed this lovely baby hat. She’s now on to another – they are to be donated to a hospital baby unit.
This Zoom group is an amalgamation of two knit and natter groups from Alnwick and Berwick run through GP surgery social prescribing. With hopeful news about COVID vaccines this week, we were speculating about the future. When we go back to our separate face-to-face groups and cafes reopen we could perhaps arrange a halfway meet. 2021 has so many possibilities.
We had another fun session at Friday’s Knit & Natter on Zoom. Some newly completed projects were on show, including Santa’s washing line (above) – It’s brilliant – down to the Y-fronts!
With that finished this clever knitter is now concentrating on Christmas tree decorations.
The maker of this stunning Fair Isle Headhand kindly modelled her work for us.
Her original plan was to make it even warmer by adding a fleece fabric lining , but the double layer of knitting is proving to be quite warm enough. She’s had some requests to make more of these and was working on one in a lovely teal colour with the design in black.
The crochet baby blanket is coming on well, in a beautiful variegated yarn in soft pastel lemon, lilac and white.
I’ve was working on baby items too, but I’ll share that in a separate blogpost once the baby and her mum receive them.
Our new knitter’s work is still getting longer and neater.
There was an elephant in the Zoom Room too, or at least its feet!
When he’s complete, he will look like this.
The pink toenails are crocheted (like the rest of him) then sewn in place). He’s going to be amazing!
We were also joined by Evie the cockapoo. She’s adorable, though is not showing any interest in leaning how to knit or crochet just yet!
Have you been involved in any online knitting activity recently?
In these difficult times, we grasp the little things that make us smile. Children everywhere are painting pictures of rainbows and putting them in a window. It’s become a lovely symbol of hope and positivity.
My cousin, who is a Crochet Queen (we were both taught to crochet by our grandmother), has just returned home to Australia after a trip to New Zealand with her partner. They had stayed longer than originally planned as it became harder to get a flight after travel restrictions to combat the spread on COVID-19 were imposed. Now safely back in Canberra and in self-isolation, she shared a post from the Just Pootling blog with a free pattern to make a crocheted rainbow – we are so glad they are back home.
A while back I saw these packs of cotton yarn in Flying Tiger and thought they’d come in useful for something, though at the time I had no idea what. It turns out that they were just perfect for this little project.
It was easy to do, with concentric circles of the rainbow colours, folded in half. You can get the pattern here, I added a loop I can use to hang it in a front window and hope it makes somebody smile when they walk past.
Earlier this evening, I enjoyed a “Pop and Prosecco” informal singing session online with The Singing Elf – over 20 of us joined the informal session, which started with a warm up and a mashup of Price Tag, Living on a Prayer, Call me Maybe, Firework, Paparazzi, and Someone Like You! We also had a music quiz and ended with a rousing rendition of Earth, Wind and Fire’s September. These are now a regular part of my Friday nights.