Cold hands?

It seems that everyone I know must have cold hands, which would explain the number of requests I’ve had to knit gloves / mittens / armwarmers recently. I’m always happy to knit somebody else is paying for the yarn (and new needles) and the first two pairs kept my fingers occupied while I was sitting by the Jam’s bed in the hospital.

blackmagic.jpg1. Black Magic Gauntlets for our FFF. She asked for these to keep her hands and arms warm under a coat with ¾ length sleeves. The (terrible, taken at the hospital) photo doesn’t show it because of the colour, but they are the same pattern as my Raspberry Gauntlets. (Click here for the Ravelry pattern page.)

silvercupcake.jpg2. Silver Cupcake Mitts. Made these for a friend of SiL’s. It’s a lovely little pattern and when she wore them I immediately got a request for a second pair for her friend’s daughter. (Ravelry page.)

armwarmer.jpg3. Spring Green Armwarmers for SiL. These are my WiP at the moment. I’ve finished one and am about to cast on the second. They’re part of her Christmas present and she found the pattern (which was actually called Snow on the Laurel) on Pinterest, but luckily it was linked to a Ravelry page.

4. Purple Cable Mittens #2 for another friend of SiL’s. I’ve already made one pair of these but the pattern is good TV knitting and I need to keep practising the thumbs! (Ravelry page.)

Once I’ve finished these I plan to move on to feet – baby booties and socks!

Granny’s Garden Gloves

I decided to make these over Christmas for DH’s Granny when MiL mentioned that her hands get cold when she reads. Searching for something pretty and fingerless that could be done in a soft fine yarn, I found this pattern on Ravelry. They’re probably the most complex thing I’ve made so far – knitting in-the-round on dpns, proper stranded colourwork, picking up stitches for the thumb etc – so I’m very proud of them!

What did I do with my time?

I really want to know! What did I do with my time before the Jam was around?

I ask this because I had a day to myself on Friday – DH took charge of the Jam, ably assisted by my Dad – and I impressed even myself with what I managed to achieve. Times are approximate:

  • 8.30am – got up after a lie-in.
  • 11am – got my hair dyed.
  • 12.15pm – went to Sainsbury’s and bought two bottles of bubbly for 48p. (Nectar points are awesome!)
  • 1pm – made the Jam’s lunch. (Can’t resist ‘helping’ aka interfering.)

    Birch Shawl
    Birch Shawl
  • 1.30pm – iced the last of the Christmas cupcakes.
  • 2pm – wrapped presents.
  • 3pm – spent an hour catching up with a friend.
  • 4.30pm – cooked dinner for everyone for the evening.
  • 5.30pm – played hide & seek with the Jam and DH.
  • 6.30pm – read a book on the train.
  • 7.30pm – got my legs waxed followed by a massage.
  • 8.30pm – bought the last few Christmas presents.
  • 9pm – got home, ate dinner, drank bubbly.
  • 10pm – picked up my knitting.
  • 11.15pm – finally finished the shawl I’ve been knitting for a friend.

I wouldn’t have managed that much in a whole weekend pre-Jam, so I ask again…what did I do with my time?

Warm Woollen Mittens

“Bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens,
Brown paper packages tied up with string…”

I’ve just finished watching the ‘Musicals’ episode of Strictly Come Dancing and the lyrics to one of the songs prompted this post. (Yes, it was the one from The Sound of Music but that’s probably because I’ve still got a bit of a crush on Brendan Cole so it was a multifaceted guilty pleasure.)

Somewhat surprisingly, this is a post about knitting, specifically about knitting mittens (and fingerless mitts). Though I haven’t posted much recently, I have been knitting a lot. I’ve really enjoyed smaller projects like hats and mittens – partly because they’re quick to complete and partly because they’re technically quite challenging. Here are a couple of my latest efforts:

IMG_1925 IMG_1984

The pink ones are for me and were made with the beautiful yarn Dad bought for me in Canada. It’s probably a little too soft for mitts but even if the palms end up a little threadbare from bags and the pushchair handle, they’ve lovely to wear. The purple ones were requested by a friend of SiLs who offered to pay for the wool plus a little for my time. I briefly wondered if that was allowed as it’s not my own design but I don’t think it even counts as selling. (It’s certainly no Etsy shop and as I knit in short bursts in front of the TV, the hourly rate works out well below minimum wage so I’m not making enough of a profit to bother anyone!)

The issue did get me thinking about the rules for selling hand-knitted items based on somebody else’s designs. I imagine the basic pattern for a shawl, scarf, hat or mitten doesn’t belong to anyone and many of the fancier designs (even ones that you have to buy) are simply a generic cable or lace pattern added to the basic shape. There must be a point at which a pattern becomes specific enough for someone to be able to copyright it, but does that mean they have a claim on items made using the pattern or just the instructions themselves? A quick Google search suggests the law is different in the US and the UK, but what does that mean for a English knitter using an American pattern, or vice-versa? If anyone has a clear set of rules I’d be interested to know…

MacMan Hat

knitappleAnother quick hat, this time for Dad. Done in a couple of days, though it wasn’t quite the simple project I expected. Having chosen a basic pattern, Dad then decided that he’d like a touch of personalisation, the Apple logo. No problem I thought, until I realised that knitting a single block of colour (rather than a repeating pattern) is almost impossible in the round. Having decided to knit it flat and sew up the back seam, I tried stranding the wool across the back of the logo, as I did for the Jam’s hat, but I kept getting holes where the colours met. I went back a few rows, read the section on intarsia in my Knitter’s Bible, and tried again. It turns out that intarsia is actually easier than Fair Isle once you get going!

For the knitters among you, there are more details on my ravelry project page.

Hat-fest!

I’ve finished a few knitting projects recently but haven’t got around to taking decent photos. However, I couldn’t not have a knitting post during National Wool Week so here are a couple of snaps of the winter hats I made for myself and the Jam.:

Best cure for dark circles? Photoshop....
Best cure for dark circles? Photoshop….

My hat – knitted in Rowan’s Thick ‘n’ Thin merino wool, which is great fun to use due to the unusual texture and beautiful jewel hues, some almost solid colours and some lovely combinations – I fancy trying a scarf in the purple/green basalt next. I rarely use chunky yarns, but it was very satisfying to finish something in just a few hours. The pattern is from the accompanying book, but it’s just a basic ribbed hat, knitted flat then seamed.

IMG_1891The Jam’s hat – a variation on the crown hat I knitted for him a few months ago. That was a little small, so I used slightly bigger needles and knitted an extra 1.5cm before decreasing. (I also remembered to strand the yarn really loosely this time!) Instead of the crown pattern, I made my own chart with his name and a little heart. This took rather longer than mine, but I’m proud of the results.

DIY – The Good Life…

While I was on my working-for-a-living induced blogging hiatus, ‘Prompts For The Promptless’ moved – it can now be found here. Since finishing the exam marking (which left me with insufficient mental energy for reading or writing anything else) most of my posts have been focussed on images rather than text as my brain recovers from wading through 700+ poetry essays written by 16 year olds. However, the prompt for this week fits perfectly with our activities over the weekend, so it seems like a good time to rejoin the cast.

The prompt is simply DIY (building, modifying or repairing something without the aid of experts of professionals). While I always think of screwdrivers and trips to B&Q when anyone mentions DIY, it really means doing something (anything?) for yourself rather than paying somebody else to do it or buying a ready-made version. In this sense. I’ve been trying to integrate more DIY into our lives for a while now.

apple pieThis weekend the Jam and I made our own pizzas (admittedly, the bread-maker made the dough but we shaped it, proved it and topped it ourselves.) I don’t have any photos because it disappeared too quickly, which I think makes it a success. I also made a honey and sunflower loaf (also in the bread-maker), which was lovely. My dad made an apple pie with the mystery apples from the two trees in the garden. We are now 95% sure we have Bramleys (cooking apples) and Granny Smiths. He also made custard from scratch.

americanatop

I found time to finish knitting and sew together my first ‘proper’ adult garment, which I’ve been working on recently. I’ve made scarves, hats, blankets and baby clothes in the past but completing a top for myself has been a personal goal for a while. It’s a summer top and not only is it done before the end of summer, it also looks nice and I will actually wear it!