Sunday 31 January 2021

The Sky Blanket - January


I had big plans for 2021!  This month I turned 40 and I had planned to use the whole year to celebrate by doing some new activity each month.

Of course with the country going into lockdown I failed at the first hurdle, with a tropical holiday cancelled and other activities not possible, even a walk on the beach.

But I had been aware that this might be the case and had a Plan B. 


I've decided to make a sky blanket.  This means knitting a square of 'sky' every day for the year and sewing them all together to make a blanket.  Each square is knitted in the colour of the sky for that day (recorded at lunch time) giving you a representation of the weather for the year in a blanket.

I first saw the idea on the Bugs and Fishes blog and kept it as an idea for a time like this.

Laura isn't really a knitter (check out her felt makes - they are amazing) so she kept it simple knitting all her squares in garter stitch.  She used 2 strands of DK yarn which gives greater flexability over the colours and a nice chunky square.


But while I liked her chunky squares I'm not a massive fan of garter stitch and so made a few modifications for my own blanket.

A star button to mark the first square

Firstly I've been learning to meditate over the last year.  One of the examples they use is that the sky is always there and your thoughts are like the clouds that come and go throughout the day.  I find this a really useful thing to remember when I'm struggling and so in my blanket I wanted the sky squares - the days were there isn't a cloud in the sky, to be more solid than the garter stitch which I do think lends itself to clouds very well, so I decided to knit them in stocking stitch.

The second square was inspired by this

Secondly I was struggling a little about what to do on those days were you've got a lovely blue sky but a little cloud (see above image).  Could I combine the stocking stitch and the garter stitch?  Talking to my friend Katie, she suggested I try chatelaine stitch which gives little lumpy clouds.  With a little modification with the colours I got a square that had both stocking stich and garter stitch.

A couple of days looking for bits of blue big enough to make a sailor trousers

 But then I wasn't sure if it was quite right, but again talking to Katie she reminded me that its only a representation and as we talked more we agreed that is also kinda based on how it made me feel.  So a couple of days have been knitted in dark grey as they were dismal and wet, although they might not have been any greyer than other days.  And a couple (so far) were knitted solid blue even though it had been cloudy in the morning, as I took Milo for a walk in the blue bit.

A day of snow and a day of sunshine

It's an interesting project and I'm curious to see how it progresses throughout the year and what modifications I might need to make as we move from cold wet January to something a little warmer (hopefully!).

Saturday 23 January 2021

Basic Norwegian Star Hats


I thought it might be nice to knit everyone hats for Christmas this year (2020).  It took me ages to find a pattern that I liked, but I finally found one on Ravelry.

Then I just had to work out what colours everyone would like and get knitting.

I used Paintbox yarns in Simply Aran.  The yarn is soft and easy to use and comes in some amazing colours - really bright.

My first attempt against a proper sized hat

I didn't bother with a swatch, which meant the first hat came out massive!  So I down sized my needles and tried again.  This time the result was exactly what I was looking for so I got on with knitting the hats.

I started with one for me to make sure the pattern really worked.  I'd decided on yellow to match some gloves I wanted to make, but they had to wait until Christmas gifts were done.

A started hat and a broken needle

I then got cracking with gifts for my parents, sisters partner and 'im outdoors.  However I hit a bit of a problem when Milo stood on and broke one of my needles half way though my second hat!


Luckily the internet saved me and the new needle was with me within days, giving me time to finish another project while I waitied. 

The hats also gave me a reason to get a set of pompom makers, which are so easy to use I wish I'd bought some years ago!


The only problem left was getting presents to recipients when most of the country is locked down and we are encourage to stay home.  Royal Mail to the rescue.

Saturday 16 January 2021

Yellow Fingerless Gloves


Last September as it started getting cooler in the evenings when taking Milo for a walk, I found myself thinking about a pair of yellow fingerless gloves I was given for my (10th?) birthday.

I seem to remember that I wore them until they had holes in them and had to be thrown away.  I also remember they were perfect for riding my bike! 


Anyway, I decided that I'd like to make myself a new pair and set about finding a pattern.  I then promised myself that I would knit them once I had finished all my Christmas knitting.  This took much longer that I'd thought and so it is only now that I've finally done it.

And they are so perfect.  I managed to find just the right coloured wool - Paintbox Yarns Simply DK in Mustard Yellow.  And although bigger than the originals they look just the same. 

The pattern was knitted flat, which was a bit of a shock having spent the last couple of months knitting in the round, but they were easy to make and once I made sure to cast off really really loosely they came out great, with only a little bit of sewing up. 


I'm tempted to make others in other colours.  Black might be sensible, seeing as I have a black dog?

But they are also perfect as this month I celebrate my 40th birthday; life after all is a wheel.

Saturday 9 January 2021

Fugue Hat and Mittens


I thought it might be nice to knit everyone hats for Christmas this year (2020).  While I knitted quite basic hats for everyone else I wanted something a little bit special for my little sister.  Kate Davies Fugue design seemed the perfect solution.


It consists of a hat (or tam) and a pair of mittens.  Each incorporates a vikkel braid, something I had not tried before, but as is always the way, was much easier than it looks. 

Vikkel braid

They were all knitted in the round and I really enjoyed making them.

When I came to the last mitten I was concerned that I wouldn't have enough of the dark wool, so I switched the pattern round using the lighter coloured wool as the main colour.  I actually think they make a lovely pair.

I used Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash Sport which is a soft yarn but it did separate a little bit when I was knitting with it meaning you had to be very careful about catching all of the yarn you were working with.  But it is washable, important for something like this.


I'm very pleased with the end result, I love how complex the pattern looks, I just hope my sister likes them too.

Saturday 2 January 2021

Black and Silver Kumihimo Bracelet


I've had an idea in my head for a new Kumihimo bracelet for ages.  So with Christmas coming I got all the things together that I'd need and set about designing it.

I really wanted to see how contrasting colours could work together, in this case black and silver to make a design that runs along the bracelet.


My first design wasn't quite right, but thats the beauty of the computer programme that helps me with them, it's very easy to start again without too much bother. 

Once I had the design sorted the next thing was working out the length.  I'd taken wrist measurements earlier in the year but with the magnetic catches knew it needed to be a little longer.  A little guess work and I have to hope it's the right lenght.  (guessed wrong but we live and learn.  I can make another one.)

It's a really pretty bracelet and I hope she likes it.  It's certainly very satisfing when something works out as you had hoped.