Monday 24 April 2017

My First Quilt Finish of the Year!

Simple baby quilts are just the best!!

This one was a request from friends of friends. It is made up of sixty four 5" finished squares of organic cotton prints taken from my stash. Oddments left over from previous projects.

I was careful to arrange them so they faced all different directions.
I love those animals!

The backing is not organic, but it picks out the orange and deep turquoise colours quite nicely I think.

I debated how to quilt it for quite a while. I wanted something modern, and I didn't want to quilt too heavily. I wanted it to stay nice and soft and drapey. In the end I settled on a chevron pattern with 1" spacing.

I made 2 bibs and 2 burp cloths to match. Again made with organic cotton. The towelling backing is a mixture of bamboo and organic cotton, which I have used before and I know dries quickly. Need to keep these items practical as well as decorative!

I have a lot of projects on the go at the moment, but they're all long term, slow sewing things. It was nice to have a quick finish!

Thursday 3 November 2016

BC Garn Semilla Organic Yarn

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I have finished this cowl neck cardigan for my little grandson.
This was my first foray into designing larger baby items.

And choosing to start with a cowl neck was probably not the most sensible decision!
But it's done and I'm very happy with it.

I would like to be able to say the pattern will be available soon, but that day is still a long way off. Designing one size was hard enough. Grading it for more sizes just isn't top of my "to do" list right now.

But what I have discovered is that BC Garn Semilla organic wool is a total dream to work with.
So much so that my stash of it is growing!

This is my DK weight collection. I have quite a bit of that lovely moss green left over and it goes very nicely with the greys and navy. I have plans for knitting some mittens and baby leggings with this.

Although this is a double knit weight yarn, I've found that if I use 3.5 mm needles I get a sports weight tension and the resulting fabric is still nice and drapey. 
So I think my collection of this will be growing over the next few months!

Although this is a hand wash only yarn, this is not a problem for my family.
My son and daughter-in-law have tried to dress their little one in predominantly organic clothing, particularly if it is next to his skin.
With careful planning and buying only basic items that all go well together they have been very successful in this aim.
They are quite happy to trade a bit of hand washing for the knowledge that the items are made of natural organic fibres.

DC Garn also produce a 4 ply and a chunky weight organic yarn.

I chose this combination of 4 ply. I'm thinking it will make a lightweight cabled sweater, predominantly grey with a red trim around the neck and cuffs.
I don't think I'll be casting on just yet though. The mittens and baby leggings are more urgently needed!

BC Garn organic yarn can be bought from LoveKnitting and with 35 shades to choose from, I'm not going to run out of ideas any time soon!

Saturday 29 October 2016

It's Been Way Too Long

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What can I say? I guess if you have followed this blog in the past you will have thought I had given up on it. I wouldn't blame you.
Truth be told, I have been on a 6 month photography course that I have poured my heart and soul into. And it's just finished!

The course was recommended to me by my daughter-in-law. She had heard of it through her own online market place communities and had heard extremely good reports. 
It's not just any old photography course. Its specifically a product photography course for designers and makers.
100 lessons that you can work through at your own pace over 6 months. 
Well as someone who had bought a DSLR camera in order to photograph products but hardly knew which way was up, my pace was very slow!

The course is run by the most patient teacher ever, Lyndsey James.

You can find it here

We covered a lot more than just photography skills. We looked at defining our customer, product styling, using props, and creating sets.
On more than one occasion my neighbour came over intrigued as to why I was sawing and painting wood in the garage. And probably even more intrigued when I told him!!

Lyndsey is a natural teacher. She encouraged when needed, found different ways to explain things if we didn't understand and was always there for us in the online forum, no matter how busy she was with other students.

We learned to tell stories with our photos.

To get ourselves in the shot without anyone as an assistant.

How to master creative blur.

Cosy festive shots and a whole lot more.

Now all those ideas spinning around in my head can begin to become a reality. I can hopefully get the shots to do them justice.

I have learned so much, but I'm fully aware that I'm only at the start of the journey. A lot of the photos in my patterns, both knitting patterns and quilting ones, now need re-doing.
That will be a mammoth job!

So, you can expect to see me back here much more regularly. I already have a new knitting pattern and tutorials that are almost finished.
The quilt patterns will come next. I'm prioritising knitting at the moment. Firstly because its the right time of year to cosy up with needles in hand and secondly because its also the right time of year to get photographs of my grandson modelling my creations!

Quilting may be on hold for the moment, but its only temporary, I promise!.

Friday 22 July 2016

Portholes Log Cabin Blanket - a new pattern

Ta Daa!! I have designed a new blanket pattern!
This has been soooo long in the designing stage and quite a while in the making stage too! Although once I actually knuckled down and worked on it properly, it only took about a week to make - and that includes all the fastidious note taking, note checking, weighing of yarn, doing the maths and checking the maths........all the little things that if you forget to do whilst making the sample, you end up making another sample!!

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This really is a very simple blanket to knit. It is worked entirely in garter stitch and the blocks or squares are modular, which means you join sections as you go. This does mean you have to pick up stitches, which I know some people don't like doing, but its pretty straightforward and by the end of a few squares you'll be an expert!

I thought about calling this post "When Knitting Met Quilting" as the quilters amongst you will know that this is a variation on a traditional log cabin block.

I have given instructions and yarn amounts for 3 sizes in the pattern:
Baby size: 32" x 32" (81 x 81 cm)
Throw size: 60" x 46" (152 x 117 cm)
Bed size: 74" x 60" (188 x 152 cm)

Its really easy to make it any size you want though!

I originally hadn't intended to give it a border, but I'm so pleased I did! It really frames the design so nicely.

I picked 12 colours of Stylecraft Special DK for my version (11 colours and a white for the background) - a deliberately chosen colour palette.
The shade numbers are all listed in the pattern if you want to replicate it.
When knitting the squares though, I just randomly picked colours from those 11, being mindful to try and not overload on my favourites!
If you were knitting this entirely scrappy, I think a mixture of neutral low volume shades for the background would look awesome!

If you start the plan the colours though, a whole new design appears!
If every square is knit to the same colour plan then you get a pinwheel effect.

Or maybe try knitting 2 adjacent sections the same colour:

Or having a dark background:

Maybe knit all the sections in one square the same colour. I love pastels!

If you're feeling like starting a longer project the throw size might be for you.

Or maybe, just maybe you're so adventurous you want to start a bed size version!

You know, in my head I want to knit ALL these versions! And my family would say I have enough of a yarn stash to do so!! But maybe I'll start with a pastel colour blocked version.....its kinda my favourite right now.
You can find the pattern for sale on: Ravelry    Etsy  or  Craftsy
Make sure you post a photo of you blanket progress on Instagram or Facebook and use the hashtag #lovefibrespattern I love to see what you're making !

Sunday 26 June 2016

Blue Sky Alpacas Skinny Cotton - A Review


A few years ago I became very interested in trying to use organic cotton whenever I could. At the time there were several yarn companies producing a fairly impressive range of organic cotton yarns, but very few fabric companies had taken the plunge at that time and their range of designs was very limited. 
Over the last few years the tide seems to have changed completely. You can now easily buy organic cotton fabric in a wide range of types and a mulitide of designs, but several of the yarn manufacturers that initially started an organic line have discontinued them. 
To the best of my knowledge Debbie Bliss Eco Baby is the only one remaining from those early days.
I can't even begin to guess at the reasons for this, but it has meant that whilst my stash of organic cotton yardage continues to grow and be used, my yarn organic yarn stash is now almost totally used up.
So a few months ago I tried really hard to find some new organic cotton yarn supplies. 

I purchased a few and today I shall review the first one that I found - Blue Sky Alpacas Skinny Cotton
Knit on 3.75mm needles I achieved a double knit tension of 22sts to a 4" square 
It comes as a 65 gram skein and is hand wash only. 
At £12.25 a skein it is definitely a luxury yarn.
There are 22 colours to choose from, and the shades are modern.
I chose to use Squash (shade no. 306)

Both the cost and the hand wash criteria made me hesitate for a while, but I'm glad I took the plunge and tested this yarn.

I can honestly say is a dream to knit with - and I don't think I've ever said that about a yarn before! It is so, so soft and did not make my hands ache, which some cotton yarns do. It did not split at all, gave brilliant stitch definition, and held it's shape well

I think that the hand wash only factor would be a deterrent for some knitters if they wanted to use this yarn for baby items. Babies are prone to a lot of unpredictable spewing, after all!
In my experience, however, mothers who want to avoid traditionally grown cotton close to their baby's skin are quite prepared to trade a little hand washing for the knowledge that their baby is not being exposed to unnecessary chemicals.

The pattern is Sirdar 1238 from the booklet Cosy Little Knits.
The model in the top photo is my grandson!

Would I use this yarn again?  Yes! Most definitely - provided I knew the recipient appreciated organic cotton and was prepared to hand wash their garment.

Friday 20 May 2016

New Website

I've been busy over the last couple of weeks, but in a tech way, rather than a creative way.
I now have a website specifically for my knitting patterns and pattern related tutorials.

You can find it here

It still needs a lot of tweeking and the banner is only temporary until I can make a better one, but it serves the purpose I wanted it for - to have all my patterns in one place, both the freebies and the paid for ones. The tutorials will be added gradually. I'm hoping they will become a sort of reference library where you can check out any techniques used in my patterns. I know some people like to have the tutorial right on the page in the pattern, but other customers find this makes the pattern unnecessarily long, so hopefully this will be a good compromise.
If you have any suggestions as to what to include in the tutorials, please let me know. 

At present the photos of the patterns link to my Etsy website, but I could easily change the links to other platforms that I sell on if I wanted or needed to.

After wrestling with all that technology, I'm really looking forward to a bit of time relaxing with my knitting!

Tuesday 19 April 2016

Tiny Knitted Bunting - a Free Pattern

 I am taking part in the 100 Day Challenge over on my LoveFibres Instagram page. I have challenged myself to knit something very small, or part of something very small every day for 100 days.

I shall have to cheat a little on this as today is Day 1 and it goes right on up to 27th July. I shall be on holiday and have family staying before it ends so I intend to stockpile my progress reports so I can post them in groups when I can't commit to a daily routine.
My necessity these have to be very small items. Im thinking tiny toys, finger puppets, egg cup cozy etc (if you have any ideas, let me know!). I shall probably also knit some squares for a little blanket.
For today which was Day 1 I started on a high and knit some tiny bunting. I have put the instructions in a PDF which you can download from Dropbox HERE

The pennants are about 2" wide,  2.5" deep and take just 4 metres of yarn each.
I think the best thing about them is that they have eyelets at the top and are threaded onto bakers twine. This way, if you want a different size bunting, or a different colour combination, then you just re-thread them to suit the new location.

The next 99 days will not be so adventurous, but if you want to follow my progress, it's on my @LoveFibres Instagram page.

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