Craft News 16th April 2017

Hello!

Happy Easter Weekend! I hope you’re all having a glorious day. Shame the weather is much greyer than last weekend.

Now that the new website is up and running (HURRAH!) I’m going to try and do a fortnightly post called ‘Craft News’. This will be a collection of my favourite craft news from around the world.

So for the first Craft News EVER, I bring to you…

BABY RHINO BLANKETS!

BlanketsForRhinos

I first read about this on the New Zealand Herald website. It’s actually a really sad story. The baby rhinos are made orphans by poachers killing their parents for their horns. Baby rhinos can’t regulate their own temperature and so people from around the world have been knitting baby rhino blankets for them, to help keep them warm during the night!

If you want to get involved there is a Facebook group called Blankets For Baby Rhinos. Photo taken from The Dodo.

My next favourite crafty article from this week is about a proposed 3D knitting machine. Yo’ve probably all heard about 3D printers and how they recreate three dimensional objects by ‘printing’ them out of plastic, well Kniterate is a similar concept, but creating designs out of wool rather than plastics.

Kniterate

The idea is that you enter into the machine a design you want to create, and it then knits it for you. I think the concept is similar to a snazzy embroidery sewing machine, but for knit wear.

I was very sceptical at first, surely this is just a posh knitting machine, but after watching the video on the Kniterate website, I can see that it is quite a cool idea and would definitely benefit smaller companies and independent knitwear producers. A Kickstarter page has been created to fund Kniterate. With pledges starting at $4,499 though it certainly isn’t cheap, and whilst it is really cool, I think I’ll stick to knitting things the traditional way, with needles and lots of patience!! Picture taken from the Kniterate website.

My third crafty article this week is about a group of women in Massachusetts who are crocheting matts for homeless people from plastic carrier bags. I originally read about this on the Patriot Ledger website and was keen to find more information, as plastic carrier bags are such a nuisance and as they aren’t easily recyclable I have real guilt about what to do with them.

After a minimal amount of searching I found this video on YouTube about how to make Plarn (what a cool name!) and then this brilliant article on the website 1millionwomen.com that gives much more detailed instructions about how to make the matts and the plarn. Photo taken from there too! I’m definitely going to give this a go in the near future.

The_Wil-Mat_project_fb_page

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the first ever Craft News! Get in touch if you have any craft news you’d like me to cover!

Bye for now, I’m off to eat chocolate!

Woodland Yarn Bombing

Lovebirds

A while ago, through Twitter, the lovely Anne Clark asked me if I’d be interested in helping out with a yarn bombing in Belper, which is in the county of Derbyshire. Of course I said yes (complete no brainer!!).

The yarn bombing was for ‘Woollen Woods’ and was part of Corridor Arts ‘Here and There’ art walk and also Belper Arts festival.

I got so excited about the project and downloaded loads of patterns from Ravelry, and then in the end only managed to knit the two birds above, which was a bit disappointing. Still, I’m REALLY glad I got involved, and it was actually really lovely to think that something I had knitted was hanging in woods in Belper!Birds in The Woods

Here is a picture of my birds in the woods, kindly taken by Anne! The pattern I used is a free from Ravelry called ‘Bluebird of Happiness‘, and is designed by Sara Elizabeth Kellner! It’s knitted on DPNs and was REALLY easy to knit! The only bit I struggled with was getting the picked up stitches to align with the already knitted stitches, which I realised I’d previously been doing wrong! I found a fab post that helped me and I’ll be blogging about that, hopefully next week!

After the installation was taken down, some of the knitted items were kept to go on show in Ripley for a weekend in July and will then be travelling to the Just So Festival in Cheshire in August to join other knitted things from Woollen Woods!

To have a nose at some of the creations, check out this video by Ablewild entitled ‘Belper Woollen Woods 2015’!

I hope you like the birds! Please share any yarn bombing you’ve been doing, I’d love to see them!!

P.s. do you recognise the wool?? It’s the pink wool left over from the Christmas jumper, also used to knit a boob beanie! I WILL use up my stash!!

Charity Shop Pattern Finds #2

Soooo I’ve been at it again (searching charity shops for awesome knitting patterns that is!) and this time I think I’ve found some real gems!

You may remember my previous post Charity Shop Pattern Finds, where I found Spot the Dog patterns, a lovely crocheted dress and patterns for Father Christmas jumpers, the latter of which I actually managed to make for J this Christmas!

How is it possible to top such delights, I hear you ask? Well I’m pleased to say it is possible with these amazing vintage patterns I managed to dig out!

The styling alone on these patterns makes me gloriously happy (especially the dapper gent in Patons Capstan!!), and I think its an interesting insight into the cycle of fashion trends! I’ve seen some jumpers recently which are very similar to the Robin jumper, and I have already added this to my ‘in the pipeline‘ page (although I think I will opt for a DK instead of a 4ply, and will probably make it slightly oversized with a larger neck)!

I love each of these patterns, and can see me making mittens, an Aran cardi and the mohair jacket (although maybe not in mohair as it drives me crazy!) in the very near future!

I hope you like them too! I’d love to see your vintage pattern finds, it’s really exciting to know what’s out there!

Have a great break, I hope the Easter bunny leaves plenty of chocolate treats!

Christmas Jumper, Yey!

A while ago I blogged about some patterns I had found in a charity shop (Charity Shop Pattern Finds). One of these was a set of Raymond Briggs Santa patterns. These caught the eye of J, and a request was made for me to knit a face-palming Santa in time for Save The Children’s Christmas Jumper Day.

Ally Pally Haul

I bought the wool (Bonus DK) from the Sirdar stall at the Ally Pally Knitting and Stitching Show. The staff at the Sirdar stall were REALLY lovely and helped me select the best colours for the patterns, which I really appreciated, as I was feeling a little overwhelmed after a day at the show! I wouldn’t normally choose pure acrylic yarn to knit with, but I was really impressed with how soft it was, and how well it knitted up. When I wore it to work before Christmas, I was also impressed (and surprised!) with how warm it was, and it wasn’t sweaty at all!

I had done a really small piece of colour work before and at that time had researched how to change colours etc, but I’d never worked from a chart, and as the yarn was DK and with the deadline of Christmas Jumper Day on the 12th, I knew I had to get a wriggle on so started straight away (literally that night when we got back from the show! I’m such an addict!!)! Part way through I did a brief calculation on how long it would take me to knit the jumper, and realised I needed to increase production, so ended up knitting on my commute to and from work. I was dreading this in case it prompted awkward conversation, but apart from a briefly embarrassing episode when I had to rush off the train to catch my stop and then almost got my trailing ball of wool stuck in the doors (fastest way to rip knitting??) my knitting commute was without comment, phew!

I was fairly pleased with the progress of the pattern, but I noticed a definite decrease in speed as the number of coloured sections increased. The pattern gave the advice that each different section should have a new strand of yarn, and I wish I’d stuck to that more rigidly. For some areas, such as around the ear, I tried to ‘borrow’ a black strand from a different section, which didn’t really work, and ended up with the fabric looking puckered. I noticed a similar effect around the cheek bone. I don’t think its too noticeable to the untrained eye, but I wont be making that mistake again!

Rolled Neck BandFor the neck band the pattern instructed to knit about 3 inches and then fold it down to the inside of the jumper and sew to the edge of the neck band. I wasn’t too sure about this, but one of the lovely ladies from the crafty group at work advised that she had finished an item in a similar way and that it looked really good, so I decided to persevere, and I’m so glad I did!! It looks fab, and it made the neck a bit smaller, as it was quite large without this! I tied in the ends as I went along, which I don’t normally do, but in this case I felt it was a necessity! I didn’t think I could have coped with tying them all in at the end!

Overall I’m really pleased with the jumper and I’ve learnt some really valuable lessons, not least of which was working form a chart!! My lessons learnt were:

  • Always add new strands for new sections, regardless of how tedious tying in all the ends might seem!
  • Never carry strands across more than 4 or five stitches.
  • Routinely count how many stitches you have in each section and don’t just rely on the number of stitches around them! Ripping colour work is annoying and I don’t want to have to do it again!
  • ALWAYS check the finished sizes before committing to a pattern size!

I have mentioned this last point sooo many times and I never seem to learn! The jumper has ended up way too big. In part this is due to the 90’s styling and batwing sleeves, but it is also because I picked the wrong size to knit. I’m very slowly beginning to understand how important sizing is to the finished look of a garment. This probably seems very obvious, but for some reason its taken a while to sink in!

Anyway, I hope you like it as much as I do! Happy knitting!!!

Charity Shop Pattern Finds

Over the weekend J and I did our usual charity shop rummages and look what I found! These amazing vintage patterns were tucked away in a corner, found after some serious rummaging!

These patterns made the grade:

Spot The Dog, Raymond Briggs Father Christmas, Vintage  Jumper, Vintage Crochet Dress
Spot The Dog, Raymond Briggs Father Christmas, Vintage Jumper, Vintage Crochet Dress

 

J has requested a Father Christmas jumper, and I can’t wait to knit a small person a Spot The Dog jumper!

These, although awesome, didn’t quite make it home!

Celebrity knitting patterns, what a genius idea! Not sure how much input Billy Connolly would have to his knitting pattern though!!