A knitted bunny!

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This is our bunny Coco. She’s not very sure about her new bunny friend…

A very lovely friend of mine just had a baby and I wanted to make her a present. I wanted to make something a bit different so rather than the usual booties or little cardigan I had a go at making a toy!

I found this super cute pattern on Ravelry. It’s called Maxine the rabbit and its by Janice Cyr. Her version is adorable.

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This is so much better than mine! She is a very talented lady.

My version is a little more questionable….It turns out that making knitted toys is much harder that I thought it would be. The actual knitting bit was really easy and super quick but the sewing up and stuffing was a right pain. I just couldn’t get it right….either I was over stuffing or under stuffing…… I couldn’t quite figure out how to sew the parts of the body together and then I got a bit frustrated, didn’t bother to tack anything first and made it all worse.

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I rather like him but I don’t think he’s good enough to give away. He is MASSIVE! He’s about twice the size of Coco so he would be far too big for a tiny child. Also his feet turn in (that’s my questionable sewing up) ,  he can’t actually stand up on his own and his head is very floppy……oh…and I’ve sewn his little face on a bit strangely.

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I used some Garnstudio DROPS Nepal that was left over from my creature comforts cardi and Beatnik. It took me a little while to track down stuffing. I’d planned to order something online but I couldn’t find anywhere that didn’t charge about £15.00! In the end I found it in Ultimate Craft in Stoke Newington for about £3.00 which was much more in line with what I was expecting to pay. It was a ginormous bag of stuffing though which was very tricky to shove into my bike bag to get it home!

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I don’t think I’ve totally given up on the idea of making a knitted toy (and not just because I now have a big bag of stuffing). Maybe I just need to save the sewing up until I feel super awake rather than after a stressful day at work.

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Finished Beatnik!

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I have finished my Beatnik– hurrah! Its just got really cold again so its perfect timing. I really hate the cold so I’m always looking for ways to keep warm.

Somehow I’ve managed to buy more wool than I need again. Either it’s got something to do with my loose knitting or designers are a little over cautious with their estimates for how much wool a pattern will need. It worked out pretty well that I had extra wool though as it meant I had enough to make the sleeves full length. In this sort of big cozy jumper I prefer long sleeves. It seems a bit weird to have a warm body but cold wrists…even if it creates a nice shape.

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The jumper is knit in the flat and sewn up at the end. For some reason the pattern suggests that you only sew up the shoulders before you pick up the stitches along the neckline rather than completing all of the seaming. I like to get all the seaming done before picking up the stitches as I feel like I’m much closer to being nearly finished.

This kind of thick jumper is never the most flattering item as it adds bulk and doesn’t do great things for your stomach but when it comes to being warm I don’t care!

While I was finishing this off I was having a look over other people’s projects and started to wish that I’d made a cardigan version. This one from Kayrine is particularly awesome and gives details about how she altered the pattern. I’m very tempted to make another version in a cardigan.

On the whole I’m pleased with this jumper. It’s keeping me toasty and warm and I love the colour and the cable pattern.

 

Lots and lots of cables

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The cable pattern is very pretty as you can see!

Before Christmas I made a start on a Beatnik by Norah Gaughan. I’m using Garnstudio DROPS Nepal which I got for £1.50 a ball from The Crochet Chain which was an awesome bargain. Also the pattern is free on Knitty so I didn’t have to pay for that either (not that patterns are hugely expensive).

Quite a few of my knitter friends have either made it or are in the process of making it. Plus,  I like the 60s styling and it looks super warm so I thought I’d give it a go.

I’m loving the colour and the wool but its taking me forever to finish making this….. I think it’s mainly the cables. In general I don’t mind cables especially when they are repetitive and I don’t have to keep checking the instructions. I think that’s because I am lazy and also its annoying to have to carry the pattern about with me all the time and try to balance it on my knee when I’m knitting.

For some reason this pattern only has a chart for the cables and  I really don’t like charts. I much prefer written instructions (Maybe everyone else really likes them and it’s just me? ). I’m not entirely sure why I don’t get on with them…..I think it’s all the checking keys and remembering to read it from right to left and then left to right..Far too much hard work for my liking! This chart has caused my little brain particular confusion as the instructions that go with the key are actually on a different page which means I have to be able to see both at the same time (so two bits of paper balanced on my knee). Also you actually have to pay attention to the wrong side rows rather than just lazily purling which you usually get away with on a cable pattern. There are also a lot of symbols which are only slightly different from each other and that means I don’t seem to be able to remember any of the symbols (other than knit obviously).

To try to make it simpler I colour coded the chart, the key and the instructions with various coloured pens. This was working pretty well until I  ran out of pens and I had to start using symbols (which has proved a little confusing.). With my little colour coding system things are a little easier to follow and I’ve made quite a bit of progress. Yesterday I was talking to a friend about it and she mentioned that she’s seen a colour coded version. So I looked again at the pattern and felt a bit of an idiot when I realised that there is indeed a colour coded version on the pattern….. However it was heartening that the editor put it together as she was also in need of some extra help! If you’re starting to make the pattern I suggest that you use it!

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This will look even better when its been blocked.

I’ve finished the back and I’m three quarters of the way along the front. As you can see the cable pattern is looking lovely and is well worth all of the effort! The jumper is looking a little long and the cables are super stretchy so I am hoping that my giant knitting isn’t striking again! If that does happen it shouldn’t be that bad with this jumper as it will still look nice a bit baggy where as it would look pretty bad if it was too small (emphasising every bit of cake that I consume!).

All I need to do now is finish the front and make the nice easy moss stitch arms and then I’m finished (probably just in time for the weather to turn warmer which will serve me right for making it so slowly!)

My awesome creature comforts cardigan is finished!

I look a little bit like I am trying fly in this photo

I’ve finished my creature comforts cardi by Madelinetosh and I am very pleased! It’s been a simple and enjoyable knit with lots of stocking stitch to give my brain a rest. It was also really quick as the wool and needles were nice and chunky. I knit in 4 ply a lot so it was amazing to see it grow so quickly.

I get very cold in the winter and I am a massive fan of layering knitwear to keep me warm (I live in London which isn’t actually that cold. I’m not sure how I’d cope if I had to live somewhere that is properly chilly….) so the really awesome thing about this cardigan is that it is massive and can be thrown on over the top of whatever else I’m wearing for a bit of extra warmth.

I’ve used DROPS Nepal which was a pleasure to knit with and is super cozy and warm. It’s knitted up in a cardigan which is  really snuggly and comforting. It’s also a decent price (£2.00 a ball).

The cable looks amazing; it’s a really clever pattern. Easy to knit but very pretty.

The construction is very simple. It’s basically just a big rectangle with the cable in the middle. I was tempted to leave it as it was and have it as a blanket.

Here it is blocking out on the spare bed

To put it together you sew the short sides together leaving a hole for the arms. The final bit is to pick up stitches for the cuffs.

Here it is before I picked up the stitches for the cuffs

I’m a bit lazy about checking my gauge but I imagine if I had I would have noticed that this wool is a bit off gauge as the fabric is a little too dense for the design. Ideally this top should be really drapey so that it hangs nicely . The one I’ve made is a little chunky. I suspected that this was going to be the case as I was making it so I’m not too bothered.

The only real problem with this cardigan is that I won’t be able to wear it with any of the coats I own as it doesn’t look like it will fit underneath any of them….As this is the kind of cardigan that you snuggle up in around the house on a chilly evening I don’t think that will be too much of a problem!

My boyfriend tries to make me laugh when he’s taking pictures……Not a very flattering look!

 

 

Second time lucky

After a slight disaster trying to make Idlewood by Cecily Glowik MacDonald I’ve started a new project with the unraveled wool.  I really like the wool and I didn’t want to feel like I’d wasted my money on it so I wanted to start making something else with it straight away.  I found various lovely things (including Aidez by Cirilia Rose and Beatnik by Norah Gaughan) but in the end  I opted for creature comforts cardi by Madelinetosh.

The reviews on Ravelry are a little but mixed and the wool might not be quite what the author of the pattern intended but I think it should come out pretty well. In my head it’s going to be a big relaxed cardigan which will be super snug and warm. It’s basically one big square with ribbing along the outside and you fold it up and sew the sleeves. Some people have described it as a ‘shrug’ but I don’t think that’s quite the right description because I think of shrugs as teeny-tiny small and slightly pointless cardigans, that don’t keep you warm, and this is going to be huge (see photo above).

The cable along the back looks fairly complicated in the pictures on the pattern but it’s actually really simple. It’s looking pretty good so far and it will look even better when I’ve blocked it out. The awesome thing about it being a big square is that I don’t need to worry too much about measuring things and I can just knit away. I’m enjoying knitting it looking forward to finishing it.

 

A gauge based mishap….

Here’s all the wool I unravelled……

A little while ago I started an Idlewood by Cecily Glowik MacDonald. As the summer started off as a bit of a damp squib I wasn’t too concerned about starting a winter project. In fact I was wondering if I’d actually be wearing it fairly soon! Luckily we have seen some sun now so I am feeling much more optimistic!

All started out fairly well. I’d seen Hoxton’s version which I really liked and was planning to copy the mid-length sleeves. I was very excited. As always with my slightly hap hazard knitting I didn’t bother with gauge and just made a start with a 5.5mm needle. I hoped that the slightly smaller needle would make up for my loose knitting.

I knitted for a while on the cowl part. I went round and round in stocking stitch and found it a rather nice antidote to a 4 ply cable project I’m working on. I was so hypnotised by going round and round and round that I didn’t actually stop to check out the size of what I was making. When I finally did I realised that it was HUGE! I had made a ginormous tube. I tentatively tried it around my neck and found that yes, indeed, it was far too big! I went back to the gauge and found that it was massively off and when I looked at the dimensions it was about 10 inches too big! Urgh!

I got out all of my needles and set about a proper swatch but no mater what I did I couldn’t get the gauge. It kept coming out too big even with a 4.5mm needle. As the 4.5 was a real squeeze with the wool and a really uncomfortable knit I decided that Idlewood just wasn’t meant to be for me. 😦

So, then I had 12 balls of lovely soft grey Garnstudio DROPS Nepal which needed using up. Even thought the pattern didn’t work out I had really enjoyed knitting with the wool so I wanted to start a new project with it straight away. A quick trawl through Ravelry came up with creature comforts cardi by Madelinetosh. I am loving this pattern! It has a beautiful leafy cable across the back and a loose fit.  It looks like it’s going to be nice baggy cardy to sling on over things and snuggle up with when I get cold. 🙂 It’s going to be a great project to knit while I’m enjoying the Olympics and Paralympics (although I am still upset for poor Mark Cavendish who totally deserved a win after all his hard work for team Sky at the Tour de France).