A panoply of (sometimes) lovingly handmade crud.

Tag Archives: craft

I finished knitting my Paper Whales sweater and I have to say that I think baby jumpers are the way forward. So quick and a great way to use up yarn left over from adult garments. I think this one turned out really cute.

I felt like there was still a long way to go after my last post, and I even envisaged doing a few posts about the sweater as I did with Paper Totoros. However, knitting the sleeve caps was super easy (just a couple of hours each) and then the yoke was so addictive that I nearly completed it in a weekend.

Here she is on the blocking board

The only change I would make would be to have the zigzag design both below and above the whales. The design is quite bold overall so having the more delicate fade design above the whales looks a little out of place.

Some notes for any future Paper X sweaters:

  • Knit ribbing on 3mm needles and body on 3.25mm
  • When decreasing, do so on colourwork rows (if alternating colour and resting rows) where possible to keep colours evenly spaced

I can already see myself making more of these for friends’ kids. I have nearly a skein of Titus in grey and I’m starting to picture a Paper Elephants…

I really wish I had weighed the yarn I used for this project. I even forgot to weigh the end product! I less than a skein of the main colour (I started out with a full skein plus some odds and ends).

I actually finished this sweater well over a year ago but didn’t want to post about it until I gave it away. I’ll leave it to the reader to decide if they think the gift ended up with the recipient I had in mind when I started out! I think baby knits are a gift that need to be given in person (not least because I am rubbish with sizes so tend to have little idea when they will fit). My friend sent me a picture and I was relieved to see that the sweater fit her elder kiddo (though perhaps March isn’t the best time to be given a jumper 🤪).

I also have to trust that my friends will be happy with my colour choices. I am a firm believer that clothing does not have a gender and I think this little sweater would be adorable on any baby.

Yarn: Baa Ram Ewe Titus

Pattern: Paper Dolls by Kate Davies (smallest size)

Ravelry project page

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I finished knitting the modified spindrift shawl I’m making for my aunt with the yarn I picked up at Countess Ablaze when I was in Manchester last year. I decided to omit the eyelet rows because I didn’t want the shawl to look busy. I think the yarn speaks for itself. However, it did mean that knitting it was unbelievably boring. I just don’t like knitting stocking stitch flat, but I do really like the way that it looks.

I took these pictures when I was at Hampton Court Palace for my embroidery workshop.

I ended up doing quite a few rows of garter stitch for the border since I had quite a bit of yarn left. I didn’t want to risk running out of yarn but I needn’t have worried. I actually finished the knitting and cut the yarn in Finland, before realising that I didn’t have a darning needle with me for the sewn bind-off.

I have no recollection of how I did it the last time. I’m fairly sure I used this technique on my Bad Day shawl, since I got the idea from looking back at the boneyard shawl pattern. I used this technique. It took HOURS.

Anyway, I hope that my aunt will appreciate this gift and get a lot of use out of it.

Pattern: Spindrift shawl (modified)

Yarn: Viscount of Spark by Countess Ablaze in Bienvenue

Ravelry project page

Cost: £20


Last Friday was Lates night at the Tate Modern. I haven’t been to one of these events in a long time. They are normally good fun, but can get really busy since they are free.

We managed to get tickets to the keynote discussion featuring Susie Orbach. Hearing her speak really took me back to my days at the Tavistock studying psychoanalysis. I will definitely be looking out for her books in future.

The real clincher that got me to go along was a vagina embroidery workshop.

As Anna pointed out, this could definitely be used as a ‘tag yourself’ meme.

Once Paula and I braved the crowds to get hold of some embroidery hoops, we used stamps to put the designs on our fabric.

I kept it quite simple and did a chain stitch design. Here we are with the progress we had made after around an hour of work.

I decided to finish it up when I got home, since I had taken some extra thread with me.

There is another design (the same as my friend’s in the picture of us) in the shirting under the hoop. Maybe I will make it up one day, but to be honest I’m not entirely sure what I will do with one embroidered vagina, so I don’t think I need two yet.

I’m really glad I went out even though I wasn’t feeling too well on Friday. I’ve been feeling for a while that I would like to get more into embroidery, so this was a great way to dip my toe in the water.


I get quite a lot of wear out of my League sweater. I like to throw it on with jeans for work when I’m doing paperwork in the office. It’s great to wear under my raincoat in winter (and autumn and spring, let’s be real). The wool means that it’s nice and warm on chilly days, but I don’t overheat too much on the tube because it’s breathable.

However, I’ve never been thrilled with the fit. The length and shape of the sweater can make me look a bit boxy. I realised (18 months after finishing it) that I might be able to improve the fit by simply shortening the sweater- it’s kind of A-line and the pattern encourages blocking the hell out of the bottom ribbing so that it doesn’t cinch in.

The ribbing measures 4.5cm and I planned to shorten by 10cm, starting the new ribbing around 20cm below point of white.

I already wrote a post about my work on this sweater. I got held up for a while because I was worried I had made the front too short. I left it on the naughty step for a few months while I worked on my She Loves Wool sweater.

Method 1

Unpick one side seam below the waist

Pick up all stitches on a needle at the level you want the ribbing to start. Use separate needles for the front and back

Unpick the other side seam

Cut off the bottom part of the sweater

You might want to do this step for the front and the back at the same time so that you can skein, wash and ball both sections of yarn at the same time (I didn’t do this).

Unravel

If your harvested yarn is very kinky, you may want to skein, wash and hang it up to make your knitting more even. See this blog post for more details about this step.

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Attach the yarn you harvested and knit the ribbing

Remember to count your stitches! Many patterns have some decreases after the ribbing so be sure your numbers match those in the pattern before you start knitting.

Checking the length for a final time

Tubular cast off

After trying my sweater on once I’d shortened the front, I realised I wanted a split hem and to have the back a little longer. I had forgotten how fine the yarn and needles were for this project and the front running had taken a long time. So I used a different method for the back.

Method 2

Insert a long needle a couple of inches above the ribbing. Cut the sweater below the needle. Unravel down towards the ribbing until the sweater is your desired length. Pick up the stitches on another long needle.

Count the stitches on each needle and ensure you have exactly the same number. Adjust if needed.

Attach the two sections using Kitchener stitch.

Block

I blocked at this stage because the grafting was a little uneven.

Re-do the side seams

Block, if desired

Overall I am happier with my sweater now than I was before. However, I am a bit worried that the front is too short and the back is too long. I will wear a few more times before making my final decision, but this may not be my final post about altering this sweater.


I’ve been working on a shawl using the skein of yarn I picked up from Countess Ablaze when I was in Manchester a few weeks ago.

It’s very hard to capture the colour of this yarn on camera. This shawl is going to be a present for my auntie but it’ll be late for Xmas, partly because I’m working with a broken finger.

The shawl is growing quite slowly. It’s been a while since I made a plain stocking wrap like this. The last time was probably my stormy skies one. It’s pretty dull knitting but I think the final result will be worth it.

Pattern: Spindrift shawl

Yarn: Viscount of Spark by Countess Ablaze

Ravelry project page


I’ve been working on a dish cloth using the hemp yarn I picked up in Kangasniemi.

I saved a few dishcloth patterns on Ravelry. My favourite was this one, which cost $2.50.

Deb Buckingham Designs

Although I believe in supporting designers, I also felt that it would be pretty easy to improvise my own similar pattern, so I did.

I think the dish cloth is too wide and I’m not sure about the gauge (might be better on 3.5mm needles). But then I’m planning to use this cloth to scrub my dirty plates so does it matter? I genuinely can’t decide and so I vacillate between starting again and continuing.

I’ll probably write up a pattern at some point. It’s been a very long time since I published a knitting pattern. My last one was this cute baby hat. I check Ravelry intermittently and there are 37 projects on there! It blows my mind that at least 37 people (not everyone maintains their Rav as religiously as me) have made hats based on my pattern.

Yarn: Java

Ravelry project page


I managed to see another inspirational exhibition in Helsinki. My flatmate and I were visiting our Finish friend and I read that we were just in time to catch the Grayson Perry show at the Kiasma gallery. I went to see his exhibition when I was in Bristol for a conference less than a year ago but was still keen to see more.

Kiasma in Helsinki

Folk Wisdom contained some different pieces to the last Perry exhibition I visited. Again, I was impressed by how prolific he is as an artist and how he brings methods that might be traditionally regarded as craft into the realm of high art.

I love Perry as a cultural commentator. The image below is just part of one of his huge tapestries, itself part of a series. However, it really captures an issue that comes up a lot in my work as a psychologist.

I’ve been noticing how artists that inspire me have included my current interests in their work. For example, the textiles on show at the Frida Kahlo exhibition I visited. Similarly, I was taken by the garments Perry had made.

I have been getting more interested in beading since doing some work on the vintage jacket I picked up. I’m hoping to do an embroidery and/or beading class at the Royal School of Needlework soon. I noticed that part of one of Perry’s tapestries was beaded.

While in Helsinki we were staying near an adorable LYS called Snurre. Of course I coudn’t resist possing in and my flatmate was very patient while I looked at every single skein in the shop. I had hoped to get yarn that was linked to Finland in some way but they were a little low on stock. I ended up getting this, which I plan to use for some new fingerless gloves/mittens to match my planned Kelly anorak, if I ever get around to making it. I impulse-bought the buttons, which are made from coconut husk and would be perfect for a cardigan.

I also picked up this hemp yarn at the local craft store in my friend’s hometown. I’m planning to use it to make some plastic-free kitchen scourers.

Finally, we managed a visit to the national craft museum in Jyvaskyla. I highly recommend it. It’s got lots of interactive exhibits, which are always a plus for me. I resent not being allowed to touch stuff in museums. I tried my hand at the loom pictured and I’m even more sure that I want to have a proper go at weaving.