Sunday, 13 March 2022

Daily Cleansing Pads - a crochet pattern to raise funds for Ukraine


Thanks for stopping by and I hope you're doing OK.

I'm really pleased to share my latest crochet pattern with you, which has been waiting in the wings for quite a few years! 

It's my 'Daily Cleansing Pads' crochet pattern for a circular wash pad and they are really quick and easy to make, using oddments of left-over cotton yarn.

I use my own cleansing pads daily without fail and I can't remember the last time I bought throw-away cotton pads or balls, so these little pads are a great eco-friendly option.

To use these pads, you simply wet them with water and rub onto a bar of soap or add a few drops of your liquid body wash or face cleanser, then gently wipe and rinse. 

They will last indefinitely as they're made from cotton, and you can wash them over and over again.

You can use double knitting, 4ply or aran weight yarn and needle sizes are included, as well as UK and US crochet terms and a full page chart.

Also, I have added a printable sheet so that you can make a wrapper in card and give them as gifts with a nice bar of soap.


This is the first of my fund raising patterns and all proceeds will go to the British Red Cross for the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.

The link below will take you directly to the Ravelry pattern page and you don't have to be a member of Ravelry to buy. When the page opens you can click the 'buy it now' button and you will be prompted to choose Paypal or your credit card. Then you can pay with your desired method and instantly receive the downloadable pattern by email.

Click link to buy pattern

I'm using Ravelry as it's the best way for me to keep track of sales and share funds raised with you. Also, Ravelry fees are incredibly cheap compared to Etsy (there wouldn't be much left on Etsy after their high fees).

For transparency, I will take screen shots of sales and then share screen shots of donated funds with you.

Thanks so much for helping my fund raising efforts, which will be truly appreciated. 

Huge thanks to you all, Lynne xx

Monday, 31 January 2022

Have you ever wondered how your yarn will look when knitted up?


Sometimes it's really hard to judge how your yarn will look when it's knitted up into a small circumference like a sock or a mitten.

When yarn is sold in a 100g skein or ball, the way the yarn is wound can make it look very different to how it will look when knitted up and it's hard to see whether it will be deep stripes, narrow stripes, speckle or highly variegated with lots of different areas of colour that are more likely to create puddles or pools of colour.

You would never know that this gorgeous skein of multi-coloured yarn would knit up into these amazing stripes.

sock on a sock blocker and a skein of colourful yarn

Usually, if the yarn is striped, it will say on the ball band, which is helpful (it would say self-striping yarn), and some manufacturers also include an image of the stripes which is even more helpful. 

But, if like me, you have lots of yarns in your stash that you just bought because you love the various colours, then I hope this post will help you to see how the yarns in your stash might look when knitted up.

5 socks in different hand dyed yarn options

photo credit Jason Jenkins (David and Charles Publications)
from The Sock Knitting Bible by Lynne Rowe

You will need:

Yarn from a ball or skein;

A yarn winder and yarn swift (optional).

Method:

Option 1: If you are winding from a ball or skein by hand, then wind your yarn as you normally would but change the direction of winding after every 8-10 wraps. 

So wind the yarn around the ball approximately 8-10 times and then stop and turn the ball a little bit towards the left so that the next 8-10 wraps are sitting in a slightly different position than the previous wraps.

This will help to see if you yarn will stripe or whether it's speckled or highly variegated. 

This is yarn form Liz (@theyarnbadger) and it's wound into a gobstopper using the above method, which shows off the gorgeous pastel stripes of the yarn.

self striping yarn wound by hand showing stripes


knitted socks with self striping yarn

Option 2:
If you have a yarn winder and a yarn swift, you can wind your yarn into a yarn cake. At this point it is still difficult to see how the yarn will look when knitted up.

Next, unravel 5-8 meters of yarn from the yarn cake and start to wrap in around the cake from top to bottom around the cake (so this is in the opposite direction to the original winding).

Take care to lay each strand of yarn neatly next to the previous strand so that there are no gaps. 

As you wind, you will start to see the patterns being created, which will indicate whether the yarn is striped, speckled or highly variegated.

Self striping yarn cake showing how yarn looks when knitted up
Whilst it's not an exact science (because you are not using quite as much yarn as you would in a round of a knitted sock or mitten), it does give you a really good indication of what will happen when you start to knit.

Plus, it's really great fun and you might get some really nice surprises.

hand knitted sock cuff with speckled yarn
Also, the winding of the yarn shows off the different colours within the yarn so you can start to see which contrast colours will work really well for your cuffs, heels and toes.

There's nothing worse that starting a sock with a contrast heel or cuff, only to find that when you switch to your main yarn, that the colours don't work that well together. 

So this winding method will help you to see which colours will work really well with your main yarn.

pair of hand knitted socks on sock blockers
I hope you have great fun with your yarn winding. It's a fun way to switch off and focus on a fun exercise that is also helpful and satisfying. I got a bit carried away with my winding, but I found some really gorgeous yarns that I can't wait to start

cakes of hand dyed yarn with ends wound inn opposite direction to show stripes

Happy yarn winding, Lynne xx

Thursday, 13 January 2022

Stepping boldly into 2022 with a bright and cheerful knit

I've welcomed in the New Year by casting on a fabulous new sock. I waited patiently for the Winter Haven KAL (knit along) by Christine @winwickmum so that I could knit her striking new pattern.

Doesn't it look amazing!!!


Although, I must confess that there was quite a bit of dithering about my colours.

My intention was to use Christine's Wild Flower colourway from her first collection with West Yorkshire Spinners, which is a combination of purple, pink, blue and green. I intended to pair it with a dark purple from Opal, which looks just stunning here on my shade card.


But when I came to knit it up I wasn't sure if the purple created a bold enough contrast and I wanted to do justice to the pattern, which it so well deserves. 

So I decided to take my own words of advice:

"If you're not completely feeling the love, 

frog it and start again"

So I tried two other options:

  • Christine's Spring colourway in shades of green from her latest collection, combined with Cream.
  • Her Summer colourway in shades of red, orange and fuchsia, combined with Black.

And the latter won my heart.

I knew as soon as I started the mosaic section that the pink/orange/red/black combination would make me happy each day as I sit and knit for 10 minutes or so. 

The pattern itself is so relaxing and mindful and also slightly addictive - I really don't want to put these gorgeous socks down, but life beckons, and work must be done, and when my 10 minutes are up I slowly return to the chores and deadlines of the day, feeling somewhat refreshed and energised by my little knitting break.

The colours remind me of a warm summer sunset sky and I look forward to the longer days when I can sit outside and knit in the sunshine.

This stunning photo perfectly reflects the warmth and mood of my new socks with its fiery red and orange sky - by Mike Aunzo (@michaelsonewhere) on Unsplash.com (free to use under the Unsplash license). 



I have popped the link to Christine's blog below if you'd like to join in too. I'd definitely recommend it as there are lots of benefits of joining a knit-along or crochet-along:

Five positive benefits of joining a knit or crochet along (also called KAL or CAL)

  1. There is a great sense of community and you can create connections with other knitters/crocheters.
  2. It encourages you to start and finish your project so that you can share you Finished Objects.
  3. It's great to see the colours of yarn that others use, which is a great source of inspiration.
  4. You feel a huge sense of pride as you share your Works in Progress and Finished Objects.
  5. You can ask others for help and advice.

I'd love to hear if you've joined a knit or crochet along and whether you've started a new project yet for  2022.

I hope you enjoy every stitch in the year ahead.

Lynne xx


Links to @winwickmum Winter Haven Kal:

Week 1 blog post

Free Pattern and Tutorial for Christine's Easy Mosaic Socks


Monday, 18 October 2021

Blogtober Day 18 - free knitted pumpkin pattern

Welcome to Day 18 of #blogtober2021. Yesterday I visited mum and dad and enjoyed  good catch up with mum as we finished off a pile of handmade pumpkins for my sister-in-law. She has a stall at a fayre very soon, so fingers crossed they will be popular.

Whilst the pumpkins I made were neither handknitted nor crocheted, they were still made with yarn and were super quick to make too.

But I haven't recorded a tutorial yet to show you my little secret, so instead I'm sharing my free knitted pumpkin pattern from last year which is just as nice.

These pumpkins are so cute and slightly addictive, but most of all they’re great fun to make, and before you know it you’ll have a whole pumpkin patch.

Like most of my patterns, I aim to keep things simple so that you can really enjoy the flow of your knitting. With just a few basic stitches (knit and purl) you will able to create your own pumpkin in no time at all. 

I used a 50g ball of yarn and I used it held double to create a really squishy fabric. I only needed one 50g ball to make the large pumpkin and so it's a good economical make. It would make a great gift and you could use a cinnamon stick instead of a yarn stalk to make it smell really nice. Just push it firmly into the little indent/hole at the top of the pumpkin.

You can also dive into your stash and find those gorgeous autumnal left overs and the great thing is that you can use any yarn at all. Whether it’s Chunky or 4ply, Aran or Double Knitting, Wool, Cotton, Mohair or Acrylic - absolutely anything will be perfect. And if you don't have any thicker yarns, just use a thinner yarn held double.

All you need to do is to make sure that you use a smaller needle size than you would normally use for the yarn, so that the stitches are slightly smaller and tighter (so that the stuffing doesn't show through).

I found the best options were Chunky/Aran yarn, or Double Knitting yarn held double.

You can find the pattern over on Ravelry (the link will take you directly to the download).

Click to download your free pattern

I would absolutely love to see your pumpkins, so feel free to share them on Ravelry or on Instagram (@the_woolnest) or Facebook (@thewoolnest).

Happy pumpkin knitting and have a fab October.

Lynne xx 

Links: 
Find me on Instagram
Find me on Facebook

Thursday, 14 October 2021

Blogtober Day 14 Celebrations and Super Fast Pumpkins

It's day 13 14 of blogtober and at lunchtime I caught up with the other blogtober bloggers (and friends) whose blogs I love to read: Christine over at www.winwickmum.co.uk

and Lucy over at www.attic24.typepad.com.

Workwise, I'm on catch up this week as well as trying to organise lots of birthday and anniversary family celebrations as we have a flurry of activity in October and November. 

We missed mum's 80th last year due to COVID but this year it's mum and dad's 60th Wedding Anniversary which is fantastic and definitely cause for celebrations. The cake is ordered and a meal is booked, so we're getting there. 

It's hard to believe that it was 10 years ago that we celebrated their 50th wedding. Sadly, there are lots of relatives no longer here, and our little ones have shot up in the meantime. My little nephew and son are all grown up now and have left school. My son is in his third year of work which is crazy!! Time flies.


In other news, in the few moments that I can find, in between work and home life, I've managed to make a start on pumpkins for mum's local Sale of Work. As a child I would love this Sale of Work. There were so many stalls and fun things to buy and to take part in and every year I would buy homemade toys and cakes and enjoy the various raffles and tombolas. It was always held in St. James's school which was a huge part of my life as I went there for brownies and guides, pantomime practice, Sunday School and all sorts of fun events like barn dances and beetle drive nights. I remember that I use to be petrified of putting the chair away in the lock up room as it seemed so spooky - as did the toilets. No doubt my over-active imagination getting to work and imagining ghosts and ghouls and all the scary things.

Nowadays the Sale of Work is a much smaller affair but I'm still looking forward to going in a few weeks. I've already passed on a few bags of yarn to the various knitters who knit the cutest toys and I've started to make few pumpkins for their stall, as it will take place before Halloween. I'm thinking of putting a pumpkin and a wheel of pins into a bag to make a pincushion - this will be a great use for my left-over stock of pins.


Now, I have also managed to also make quite a few slightly different pumpkins but there is a difference with them.

They're not handknitted and they're not crocheted. I can make one in about 5 minutes, followed by around 10 minutes of making up, which is quite a miracle. If I'd attempted to knit or crochet these I would probably have only made one by now. Whereas I currently have 8 from just a couple of hours work.

I'll leave you guessing as to how I've made them, but I can see it's a great way to munch through my yarn stash, which is exciting. 

I'll tell you soon how I made them, but I can assure you that it's great fun.

See you tomorrow,

Lynne x

Monday, 11 October 2021

Blogtober 2021 - oops I fell off the blotober bandwagon - Day 11


Well I didn't think it would take me such a short time to fall off the daily blogging bandwagon, but there you have it!! Sometimes life (or work) throws a little curve-ball and all you can do is concentrate on the critical things and try to get back on track.

So here we are with a new week and it's such a lovely day here in Congleton, and it's a smallish town situated in Cheshire. We've lived here for almost 20 years now and this year we had a true 'staycation'. 

So instead of a holiday, we took time off work and visited our local surroundings, including a long walk around our town, which is only a short walk away.

I thought I would share my photos with you but I'm embarrassed to say that despite regular visits to town, I hadn't seen some of our local points of interest before. We have some amazing buildings that are hundreds of years old, and also some brand new statues which honour those lost in war, all of which were a joy to see and to take in. 

I love living here and I hope you enjoy my photos too. 

We have a craft shop although I confess I've only been once as it's more a general craft shop than a yarn shop, but it could be handy for those knit/crochet essentials that we often need from time to time, like sewing needles and buttons or zips.

We have a beautiful bowling green that I’ve never seen before. I used to sometimes play bowls with my mum when she was part of a ladies bowling club - perhaps I should rekindle my skills at some point and venture onto the green.

The town centre is situated along one main street, with useful shops as well as really nice cafe's and bars to rest your feet for a short while and enjoy a coffee or tea with a homemade slice of cake (all with gluten-free and vegan options too which is fab).

Just off the town centre is my favourite street because I love the colourful town houses. The remind me of a dolls house my daughter once had.

Our town hall has a fab information centre where you can also book tickets for local events.

Lest we forget our soldiers and animals lost in battle.



This charming house dates back to 1671 - which is amazing. I'd love to go inside and have a nosey!!

The main part of this quaint pub was built in 1834 and I love it's slightly tilting front. 

Our local park is always full of families with picnics and we've spent many an afternoon here on the swings with the children over the years.


The pavilion is a great place to eat when it's open.


I love these houses that overlook the park. I'm sure they were considered very posh back in the day with their beautiful view!!


And finally, the sun setting over the mere which is at the bottom of the road and perfect for an evening stroll or jog as there is a pathway all around it.




Our long day out made us really appreciate the wonderful things we have on our doorstep. 

I'd love to hear if you found new places to visit recently and if you ever pass through Congleton, there's always plenty to see and do if you have time for a short stop-off.

Have a fab week,

Lynne xx

Tuesday, 5 October 2021

Blogtober 2021 - Day 4 - Just Another Manic Monday

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

It's Monday and the start of a fresh new week, and my goal for this week is to make effort to catch up with work.

I don't know about you, but sometimes things have a domino effect where you get behind with one thing and then suddenly everything is piling up and you don't know how it happened.

Today I spent the morning recording an audio module for my membership group called Yarn Industry Insiders. I have created a subscription programme for aspiring designers and tech editors as I really want to share my experience and knowledge of the yarn industry and how it works, so that other designers and tech editors  will have a head start because they understand how the industry works.

It's exciting and nerve wracking at the same time, as I haven't created a course like this before. But fingers crossed it will be a huge success as I have so much knowledge to share. I'm so keen to share it all before I retire, and despite people telling me it's too early for me to retire, the thought is there every day in the back of my mind, and so I think it's where I seem to be heading (and it's an exciting prospect too). I have just over two years before I'm 60 so I think that seems that a good age to aim for.

So the current module I'm writing about is all about how to write a great knit or crochet pattern, so that as a designer, your readers can re-create your design so that it looks exactly the same as your original sample. 

It's a huge module, with lots of informative details, but if you're a knitter or crocheter, you will know how much those little details really help. If, for example, you wanted to substitute the recommended yarn and use something different, you would need to know all of the information about the yarn from the ball band, including metres/weight/yardage/fibre content/basic tension, so that you could calculate how much yarn the project uses up and therefore how much yarn you need to substitute. So all of this needs to be included in the pattern in a simple way, so that it doesn't all become overly complicated too. If this information is missing, then there's no real way to work things out, other than to guess, which isn't good.

It's been a learning curve for me with the technology of recording and I'm still not able to take off the background noise completely, which is a little annoying, so I have a lot more to learn, but I'm sure I'll get there in the end.

Our knitting and crochet is perfect for learning more too, with all the different stitches and techniques that seem to be in abundance and every-growing.

Photo by rocknwool on Unsplash

Life is a constant learning curve isn't it. I absolutely love learning new things - it seems to keep me happy and helps keep my brain alert - although sometimes I feel my brain is asking for a little break.

How about you - do you like to learn new things?

Credit: the photos used in today's post are free images from www.unsplash.com and each photographer is credited below the image.

Sunday, 3 October 2021

Blogtober Day 3 - what I’m working on



Today I’m blogging about what I’m working on, and as most of the projects are top secret, I’ll show you a Work in Progress (WIP) instead.

I have to confess I have a gazillion WIPs but this one was closest to hand and is almost finished so I’ll tell you all about it. 

I was recently selected from a competition entry to win one of the 165 Scheepjes Lucky Yarn Boxes to celebrate their 165 years of being in business.


Now I must confess that Scheepjes are probably my favourite yarn company because I love all of their yarns and they also have great environmental credentials which is really important to me. I’m a firm believer in resource efficiency and prevent/reduce/reuse/recycle and Scheepjes tick all of these boxes in their production processes. Not to mention they produce their gorgeous yarns in such a wide range of amazing colours. 


So I was over the moon to be picked as a winner and I received my box to make my projects for my recipients. I intended to make a bag but I couldn’t get the shape right so instead I’ve made a few alternative projects including this flower cushion. 


This is one of my designs that I’ve adapted from the original cushion design that was first published about 9 years ago and as I was crocheting I realised how versatile the pattern is and how it could be a great stash buster project too. It's easy to forget about past designs, so I'm really glad I've remembered about this one. 

Luckily I had the little circular cushion pad in my stash so I had everything I needed to get started. 

I still have the final round in black to complete and then I’ll be finished. But as usual, even though I only have about an hour of crochet left in this cushion, somehow I keep leaving it for projects all shiny and new. I seem to be very good at leaving the last bits of a project unfinished, even though, in reality, I only need to find a small amount of time to complete it. 

But I know that as soon as I can finish it off I can gift it, so I’m intending to make every effort to get it done this week. 

The texture created by the stitches is amazing and really sumptuous and tactile. It’s hard to believe that it’s just a treble crochet base and double crochet ‘petals’. Such simple stitches, yet by combining them in a very specific way creates a very different end result and much more than just trebles and double crochets. I’d love to make one with sock yarn oddments too - but perhaps I just finish off all my gazillion WIPs before I start another.

I wondered if you do the same as me in leaving those last little bits of a project unfinished, then suddenly, before you know it you have a great big piles of WIPs?

I hope you’ve had a good weekend, Lynne xx

Saturday, 2 October 2021

Blogtober Day 2 - What I do when I’m not working


Just lately, with working and decorating and general household daily jobs, I’ve struggled to find time to do a great deal, which is a bit rubbish really because one thing. I love to do is keep fit. 

I think it’s because as a child I loved athletics and also went to dance classes. So I don’t do the fitness for weight loss purposes, I do it just because I really enjoy it and the feeling it brings when I’ve finished my exercise routine.




But without the spare time and also with lockdown, I haven’t been going to the gym much at all, although instead I have managed to get out for a run.

I have a couple of running routes  that are 6k and then if I want to go further I have a longer route, and although I sometimes stop and walk to take a drink and catch my breath, I think overall for a 58 year old body that I’m doing ok with keeping it up. I just have to make sure I have good trainers otherwise my back starts to hurt.

When I’m running, I take my phone and listen to music which is also something I love. The familiarity of a favourite song can really lift your mood and I usually listen to 1970s songs - either ‘All Out 70s’ or ‘Alternative 70s’ (and 80s) or ‘1970s Love Songs’. I absolutely love some of the songs and artists who just ‘scream’ 1970s - Carly Simon with You’re So Vain; Roberta Flack with Killing Me Softly and and Barry White with his stream of hits - not to mention Punk and the New Romantics. They remind me of the era I grew up in and I seem to know all the words as Mum would always have the radio on at home, which always created a great vibe in the kitchen.

I often think about my first best friend who was also a runner like me - we ran like the wind, as fast as our little legs would carry us and we were always happy to come second to each other - sometimes I would win the race on sports day and sometimes she would win - usually with just a split second between us. But we’d have great fun practising and competing. 



But then, one day my best friend didn’t come to school. We were told she was poorly and in those days without communication it was quite a few weeks, maybe even months before I realised she wasn’t ever coming back to school. She has been diagnosed with early onset rheumatoid arthritis at just the age of 8. I had no idea what that meant at the time but I can remember how upset I was when I eventually saw her - so poorly and in so much pain. So when I’m running now, 50 years later, I often think of my little friend who is no longer here but definitely not forgotten. I run for both of us and although I often shed a tear or two, I’m grateful for the memories I have of the two of us running and laughing together as fast as our little legs could carry us.

I still have a couple of medals to remind me of our running days.