Sunday, 8 March 2020

Knitting up some bunting - a free pattern

Hello dear readers, how is March treating you? I was hoping for a change in the weather and although it feels slightly warmer, it's still very wet and windy here in the North West of the UK. 


The daffodils are springing up and I'm slowly catching up with myself. I haven't been able to find a huge amount of time for personal crafting lately, so my 'Find it, Finish it or Frog it' campaign (#fffalong2020) for 2020 has been slow during February.

But I did frog a couple of projects; firstly an unfinished first sock because I know I will never, ever knit the second sock for because it was a really large size and taking me forever. Now I will use my special edition 'Marie Curie' yarn for smaller socks that I at least have the chance of finishing!!

I also frogged a granny square baby blanket that I wasn't feeling the love for and maybe I can use up the yarn in a pair of scrappy socks.



Looking on the positive side, I've managed to finish off my Winterhaven socks. I joined a fab sock-along by Winwick Mum (Christine) for January (link is below) and knitted up her 'Boxy Rib Socks' that were featured in Knit Now Magazine in January. I used up my 'Seascape' West Yorkshire Spinners yarn, along with a contrast heel and toe in Blueberry Bonbon. My feet will be toasty and warm in these and I love them. 


Also, I have knitted up a little string of bunting, which I hope to use outside in the garden, just as soon as the weather picks up enough for us to start sitting outside.


Everyone loves a bit of bunting, don't they. Colourful strips of evenly-spaced colourful triangles are practically compulsory at a street parties, weddings or public events and are often seen as a symbol of celebrations. 

It doesn’t matter if your sewing skills are minimal because a few sheets of coloured paper combined with string and glue can create a line of bright and cheery bunting. And if you can knit or crochet, you can use up those scraps of yarn and create some for any occasion – Birthdays, Weddings, Baby Showers,  School Fetes or Christmas. 

If you’re a regular visitor to the annual Yarndale craft event, you will have seen the spectacular bunting display, created from hundreds and hundreds of lovingly made triangles from all around the world - 6,000 triangles in total, which is quite incredible. Craffting is the perfect way to bring people together.


And so 'without further ado' here is my free pattern for the knitted bunting. I was sent the yarn as part of the King Cole Ambassador Programme as so in return I'm passing on the free pattern and the review below is entirely my own thoughts. I've knitted up the flags and put together this blog post and free pattern in my own time, which took around 7 hours. You can find your nearest King Cole stockist here.

I have used King Cole Cotton Top DK, which is a standard double knitting (light worsted) weight yarn with 22 stitches and 28 rows to 10 x 10cm.You can wash it at 30 degrees maximum and it has 22% cotton content, mixed with acrylic, so the stitch definition is lovely and crisp. There is a little fleck of white running through each ball so it knits up with a pretty and mottled effect. 


The shade range covers white and cream, pinks, lilac, greens and greys and my favourites are Rose (a lovely pink) and Mist (the dark grey). There is a lot of meterage (260m) per 100g ball so you could make a small baby cardigan from just one ball, which is great. 

Bunting Instructions:
Yarn:
King Cole Cotton Top DK (100g/260m; 78% Premium Acrylic/22% Cotton)
1 x Mist Shade 4223
1 x Lilac Shade 4225
1 x Teal Shade 4224
(approximately 15g is used for each flag including pompom)

Other Materials: 
4mm (US 6) needles
Approximately 1.5-2m of 10mm wide ribbon

Wool needle

Finished size:
Each flag is approximately 16cm long and 14cm wide (at the widest point), including pompoms. 


Tension: 
Isn’t critical for this project.

Abbreviations:
k, knit; p, purl; st(s), stitch(es); m1, make 1 stitch as follows: insert left needle from the front into the horizontal strand of yarn sitting between the two needles then knit into the back of the loop to create a twist in the stitch that avoids making a hole; garter stitch, every row knit; stocking stitch, knit 1 row, purl 1 row, repeated; yfwd, yarn forward to make 1 stitch (bring yarn forward between needles and over right needle) ready to knit the next stitch; k2tog, knit 2 sts together to decrease 1 stitch. 

Instructions: 
Using 4mm needles cast on 3 sts (starting at the bottom).
Row 1: Knit all stitches.
Row 2: Knit all stitches.
Row 3: K1, m1, k1, m1, k1. (5 sts)
Rows 4-6: Knit 3 rows (garter stitch).
Row 7: K1, m1, knit to the last st, m1, k1. (7 sts)
Rows 8-10: Knit 3 rows (garter stitch).
Rows 11-54: Repeat Rows 7-10, eleven times more. (29 sts)
Rows 55-56: Knit 2 rows (garter stitch).


Picot Edge:

Rows 57-62: Starting with a knit row, stocking stitch 6 rows.
Row 63: K2, [yfwd, k2tog] to the last st, k1.
Rows 64-68: Starting with a purl row, stocking stitch 5 rows.


To Finish:
Cast off loosely knitwise, leaving a long tail end of yarn. Fold picot edge in half and slip stitch in place with long yarn end. Do not close the side seams of the picot edge as this will create a channel for your ribbon. Tie off and trim all loose yarn ends. Make three flags in each colour in total. Make a small pompom to match each flag and attach to the tip. 


Thread the ribbon through the channel at the top of each flag, alternating the colours of the flags as desired. 


I hope you enjoy making your own pompom bunting.
Happy crafting,
Lynne xx



Links:
King Cole Stockists
Winwick Mum for sock tutorials
West Yorkshire Spinners sock yarn (affiliate)
King Cole Cotton Top (affiliate)
Clover Pompom maker (Amazon)
Yarndale

Thursday, 13 February 2020

A Free Knitted Heart Pattern for Valentine's Day


Hello dear reader, how are you? It's February already and Valentine's Day is upon us. Can you believe that Valentine’s Day has been celebrated around the world for hundreds of years by sweethearts, lovers and courtiers who exchanged amorous greetings with a hand-written note or poem, often decorated with romantic symbols including flowers and lines of poetry or a cryptic puzzle. A great deal of effort went into their creations and they were secretly slipped underneath doors or tied to a door-knocker, with the sender remaining anonymous. How exciting and intriguing!!! This cute little box of chocolates reminds me of those days gone by.


Nowadays however, Valentine’s Day is much more commercial and is promoted as a day to give more expensive gifts like jewellery, along with flowers and chocolate. 


But there’s no reasons why we can’t raid our yarn stash to create our own hand-crafted Valentine mementoes. You could attached a little message to each one to brightened up someone's day.

I was gifted the yarn from King Cole as part of their Ambassador programme, so in return I'm passing on a freebie too.

I've used King Cole Stripe DK which is super soft and lovely to knit with. It's a standard double knitting (light worsted) weight yarn with 22 stitches and 28 rows to 10 x 10cm.You can wash it at 40 degrees maximum and there's a handy little image on the ball band to show how the stripes knit up. It creates a nice plump stitch and so the fabric has a squishy, cosy feel.


I chose the red to fit with Valentine's Day and I really love how the pink tones blend into the deep red. The yarn is slightly mottled, which gives a marled effect, almost as if you're holding two strands of yarn together. I love it. 

And here's the free pattern so you can make you own knitted heart:



Knitted Heart:
Materials:
King Cole Stripe DK in 4509 Red Stripe (100% Premium Acrylic;100g/290m)
(only a small amount is needed)
3.75mm knitting needles
Toy filling or lavender
Wool needle

Tension: isn’t critical; just make sure that your stitches are tight so that the toy stuffing or lavender doesn’t poke through. I used a slighter small needle than recommended to achieve this (3.75mm)

Finished Size: approximately 13cm high with 3.75mm needle.

Abbreviations: k = knit; p = purl; m1 = make 1 stitch by inserting the left needle into the loop lying between the needles and knit into the back of this loop to twist it (this avoids making a hole); p2tog = purl 2 sts together to decrease 1 stitch; k2tog = knit 2 sts together to decrease 1 stitch.

To make:
Cast on 3 sts.
Knit 1 row (right side).
Purl 1 row.
Increase row: K1, m1, knit to last st, m1, k1. (2 sts increased).
Next row: Purl.
Repeat the last 2 rows until you have 28 sts (ending after the purl row).
Stocking stitch 6 rows.
K14, turn and work on these stitches only for first hump.
Next row: P2tog, p to end. (13 sts).
Next row: K to last 2 sts, k2tog. (12 sts).
* Next row: P2tog, purl to last 2 sts, p2tog. (10 sts).
Next row: K2tog, knit to last 2 sts, k2tog. (8 sts).
Repeat last 2 rows, once more. (4 sts).
Purl 1 row.
Cast off. *

With right side facing, continue on remaining 14 sts and knit to end.
Next row: Purl to last 2 sts, p2tog. (13 sts).
Next row: K2tog, knit to end. (12 sts). 
Repeat from * to * as for first hump.

Sew pieces together with right sides outermost and using mattress stitch, leaving a small opening to fill with toy filling or lavender, before closing the seam completely. Weave in ends and fasten off. If desired you could add a hanging loop or a little note for someone special.

Happy Valentine's Day and happy knitting and crocheting,
Lynne xx

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Is it February already??


Hello dear reader and welcome to The Woolnest. I can't quite believe that we're already into the second month. It's flying by already!!

I've started off the year by announcing my intention to finish off all my Works In Progress (WIPS). Gosh I have so many; honestly - they're everywhere. Each time I open a cupboard or a bag I come across a little something that I started with great gusto and then the enthusiasm must have trailed off along the way. I wonder why this happens? Does it happen to you too? Take this pretty piece of crochet for instance - I started it almost two years ago and I don't even know what it's to become? A scarf? a bag? who knows? I can't even frog it because I've woven in the ends (very securely too)!!


But instead of letting my WIPS get the better of me, I want to celebrate all things wonderful and woolly in 2020 and appreciate my crafting skills and the joys they bring. But sometimes I feel weighed down with my stash and with all the WIPs that are lying around (I have found about 20 so far and still counting!!!). But I know I can change this and turn my stash and my WIPS into a well-organised and positive curation of gorgeous things.

So I'll be working on this during 2020 and you are all most welcome to join me. I'd love to hear about your stash and your WIPS.

One of the things you can join in with is:

Find it - Finish it - or Frog it
#fffalong2020



I've created the #fffalong2020 so that I can find those WIPS and either finish them, or frog them and use the yarn for something else. I would like to be more resource efficient with my yarn, so I'll be using what I have this year and not buying more. I did this last year and only bought a few of my favourite skeins and balls of yarn (mainly to support my friends - so I think I can forgive myself for these little purchases). But this year, the only new yarn that will enter this house will be work yarn for my commissioned designs and books. I'll let you know if I (accidentally) stray from my intentions.

If you feel in the same situation as me, then you can join in with my #fffalong2020 on social media and I will share your progress too. Just tag me @the_woolnest on instagram and @thewoolnest on facebook and twitter and use the hastag #fffalong2020, then we can record how many things we managed to complete. I'm feeling positive already!!
Each month, for my #fffalong2020, I will work on one or two WIPS to finish them. For January, it was a pair of socks for my daughter (an unfinished Christmas present), a work WIP that has been going on for way too long (thank goodness its finished now) and my Winter Haven socks that I'm also using a WIP for. If I just concentrate on finishing two or three WIPS I think I have a chance of winning.

I loved knitting with this 'Uneek' sock yarn from urth yarns. They plant a tree for every pair of socks knitted (www.urthyarns.com).



I also frogged 4 projects: 2 corner to corner scarves, a pair of toe-up socks and a one single toe-up socks. I really prefer to knit from the cuff down so have no desire to finish these, hence the frogging.


Here's the progress on my Winter Haven KAL socks. This is knitalong by Christine Perry (www.winwickmum.co.uk) and Christine has written a series of fabulous blog post all about looking after ourselves and keeping ourselves cosy during these colder months. I have my little haven all set up, along with my essentials - my chair in the lounge by the fire, cosy chunky blanket, squishy cushions, a lovely candle that smells divine, my sock project, a few nibbles and a yummy hot chocolate. 


With this in mind, I've chosen POSITIVITY and my word for 2020. I'm aiming to stay as positive as possible, and have a few things in mind that I know will help me. I thought that if I share them with you too, then I can spread the positive vibes.



So that's my January round-up. I'm keen to share some free patterns this year, so keep watching and I'll get them out asap.

Until next time …….

Lynne xx