Sunday, 25 January 2015

Baby Blanket

This is the third project I have made from leftover jumbo yarn from my cable knit throw, although it was never intended to be used at all! I had some of this unusual yarn that I was really unsure how it would knit up. It's a Moda Vera Hue Bulky 12ply acrylic & wool mix yarn in the color 'Pastel Mix'.

I wanted to make a baby blanket for an expecting friend, who is having a girl, so I thought all the purples and pinks through this would keep this a girl friendly color without being typical plain baby girl pink.

I used a 4mm crochet hook and started making a basic granny square;  3HDC, CH1 along the sides and then 3HDC, CH2, 3HDC at the corners. To finish a round/start a new one;
CH4, 3HDC (this is the new corner) crochet round, when you get back to your CH4; 2HDC, slip st into 2nd chain, slip st into corner space.

The colours looked really cool, but I used up all the yarn really quickly before the blanket was big enough, so I decided it would be cool to continue with a really plain neutral colour. Luckily for me the Pastel Mix had a lot of stoney tones which matched the colour of the leftover jumbo yarn. When I changed over to the jumbo yarn, because it was thicker, I switched to 3DC instead of 3HDC. I continued in the new colour for a few rounds, then decided to block it out so I could get an idea of size.

Blocking made a massive difference, at this point the blanket was about 20"x20", which I still wasn't happy with, so I kept adding until the blanket measured roughly 30"x30".

I am really happy with the way the blanket has turned out, and I love the cool mix of colours with the plain neutral border to calm it down and stop it from being too garish.

As it is my first gift of 2015, I am using my gift tags for the first time; I think they add that perfect personal finishing touch! I can't wait to wrap this little package up and post it to my friend… in fact I can't wait to see her little bundle of joy wrapped up all snug in this blanket!

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Unisex Slouchy Beanies

Although Summer seems to finally be in full swing here, I am from the northern hemisphere, so I am used to this time of year being cold! So here are two really quick and easy slouchy beanies, one is knitted and one is crochet.

I found this really cute pattern for a slouchy knitted beanie, and I had loads of leftover yarn from my cable throw, which I thought would be perfect for a hat. The pattern is quite vague and tells you to cast on the appropriate number of stitches for your yarn and needles to fit your head; I used chunky yarn on 8mm needles and cast on 52 stitches. It took me a few attempts to get the right size, but once I had it worked out the hat knit up really quickly and I finished it in one day.

Slouchy BeanieSlouchy Beanie

You can do the whole thing on circular needles because you draw up the end with over 20 stitches rather than reducing down really small. I really like the way the hat looks on, and I love that the pattern is so adaptable, you could easily keep going for a couple more/less inches if you want the hat to be more/less slouchy.

Slouchy BeanieSlouchy BeanieSlouchy Beanie

Next I found this slouchy crochet beanie pattern which is so short and simple I took it as one of my 'pick up and go' projects on my camping holiday. I searched through the worsted weight yarn in my stash and found a gorgeous deep turquoise colour; there was no wrapper on the yarn so I have no idea what the name of it was, but it is definitely acrylic.

I finished this hat in two short sittings, it is super quick and really easy. I did however have to make some amendments to the pattern towards the end because I found the rim too loose for the hat to sit comfortably on my head;

Round 18. *sc6, c2tog* rep * to end (63 sts)
Round 19. *sc5, c2tog* rep* to end (52 sts)
Round 20-25. sc each st (52 sts)

The fit is really comfy and the hat is really slouchy, almost like a beret or rastacap! I would probably choose a different colour if I had a male recipient in mind, but I don't think it is too girly so I will still class this as unisex.

The knitted hat is definitely more wintery and warm, but the crochet hat is a lot easier to make. Both are comfortable and functional as winter hats or just to style a particular look.

I had a third slouchy beanie I started, but I am waiting until I get my new dpns because it is just too fiddly trying to do it on circulars, so I will update you when I have finished that one.

Both of these hats can be found on my Ravelry project page.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Oswald the Owl

It seems like a long time ago now already, but for Christmas santa brought me a crochet kit for this gorgeous toy owl.

Owl Toy

I have named him Oswald, after my family name, and I love him! I am a real sucker for soft toys, and he is the perfect size for cuddling; I have already had to pry him out of a few pairs of tiny hands... he is just too cute to give away!

Owl ToyOwl Toy

The kit contains two balls of patterned yarn, one ball of white yarn and the pattern. To complete the project you need a 3.5mm hook, two buttons for eyes and toy stuffing. It only took me a couple of days to finish and says on the packet that it can be done in a weekend.

It is the same brand as the knit kit I got for my teddy bear back in April (A Teddy Called Doodles); the teddy came out a few cm taller than the 23cm it said in the instructions but I had only used half the yarn. The owl was supposed to be 26cm, so I was expecting it to turn out just a little bigger, but he stands at 38cm tall! This time I used up all the yarn, but I didn't check my gauge with either kit, so sizing probably would have been more accurate had I done this.

Owl Teddy

I think the finished product looks quite different from the picture on the kit, especially as you have the freedom to position the eyes wherever you wish. For some parts of the pattern I questioned whether the owl on the front of the kit had even used the pattern, but in any case I actually prefer my finished owl to the one on the packet.

Owl Toy

[Kit produced by Saleutions Pty Ltd & Passioknit | 
Purchased from Spotlight | Pattern free with kit]

I would definitely buy one of thee kits again in the future, it's quite fun putting the toy together and seeing it take shape, they are also fairly inexpensive, they are around $12 but usually go down to $5-$6 on sale.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! I hope you have enjoyed the Christmas period,  maybe had time with loved ones, a break from work, lots of great food or if you are really lucky, all of the above.

2014 was a great year, in April I started knitting, it has been a great big learning curve, I have improved on a lot of things, overcome my fear of 'bigger projects' and started building up a better quality needle and hook collection. This year I also started this blog, which has been a lot of fun and I have discovered a lot of other knitters through doing it.

Here are some of my favorite knits from this year:

Patchwork Blanket Cable Knit Throw
                                      Patchwork Blanket                          Cable Knit Throw

Poloneck Poncho Cheeky Monkey Hat
                                               Poloneck Poncho               Cheeky Monkey Hat

Two Very Hungry Caterpillars

I was reading a recent blog post over on Wollen Wilderness (post here) where she counted the number of projects she had done that year and what percentage were gifts, and I thought this was a fun idea, so here are my 2014 knitting statistics: 

I have knitted 24 projects over 9 months, an average of 2.6 projects per month. 16 of these projects were gifts, so 66% of my knitting was gifted. 

To be fair though a lot of my gifts were small (hats, gloves, toys etc) and a lot of the things I kept for myself were a lot more time consuming (poncho, throw etc) so I would say my knitting hours would probably be more selfish!

KnitPro Sock Needles
In 2015 I hope to venture into sock knitting; and to encourage myself to keep my resolution, I have ordered the KnitPro Nova Metal 15cm Double Pointed Needle Set!

I am also pretty excited to knit up more gifts this year, especially since I received this gorgeous personalised stamp set for Christmas:

Personalised StampPersonalised Stamp