A panoply of (sometimes) lovingly handmade crud.

Tag Archives: wool and the gang

Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas included a speed knitting contest, for reasons of drama and tension I guess. Perhaps they were hoping for some shots of wooly sabotage. Speed knitting is a bit of a strange concept because there is almost never a timed element to knitting. Although that could be said of baking, or any number of activities that are subject to televised competitions. In fact, the only other speed knitting I have ever done was making my Rainbow bright jumper due to the super tight turnaround time!

It was so strange to see how they edited all the footage they took of me for the final program. It was even stranger to be referred to as ‘yarn geek Monique’ on numerous occasions. But if the shoe fits…

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I didn’t get to mention on the show that most of the clothing I wore was handmade. When I was being filmed at home, I had my better Breton sweater on underneath my favourite pinafore. During the speed knitting challenge, I wore my octopus Betty (as pictured here). And I wore my fuchsia tulip skirt with my finished jumper.

I had initially planned to make a cute mini hat to match my sweater, but I was asked to make a full-sized item. Fortunately, I had a ball of Crazy Sexy Yarn in my stash left over from a wrap I made a couple of years ago. This cowl is basically a Lil Snood Dogg. I would have preferred it to be a bit bigger, but I was limited by the amount of (also leftover) t-shirt yarn I had to cast off with for the circumference. I was then limited by time for the length.

I think it looks pretty good given that it only took an hour, and it’s been pretty useful in the current London freeze.

It was so weird that Jade from WatG was one of the judges! We’d met years ago when I did a knitting audition for them- back when they still sold items made by ‘gang makers.’ It was really interesting to hear how things went for the company.

Yarn: Wool and the Gang Crazy Sexy Wool and a couple of metres of Jersey Be Good

Pattern: Very Lil Snood Dogg

Ravelry project page

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Me Made May this year coincided with a long weekend away in Hamburg. It was nice to be challenged to wear some of my handmade items on holiday. I tend to be a bit more careful with my handmades than my RTW clothing, so it was nice to give some of them a fun outing.

I travelled in my jersey Bettine dress. My flight was after a busy day in one of my secondary schools, and the stripey dress felt smart enough for work, but was also very comfortable for travel.


On Friday, I was keen to wear my pineapple skirt. My main post contains some more pictures,  but here she is being worn while I posed with my friend Becci on a climbing frame. We were both too scared to climb any higher!

On the second day, my raindrop Bettine matched the weather better than I would have hoped! In this picture you can see the Hold Tight clutch I knitted a couple of years ago, which was quite handy for my essentials. I am just not a clutch bag person, so I have a leather strap attached to it.

Sunday was the nicest weather of the weekend. I almost wished that I had taken one of my pairs of shorts with me. In the end, I made do with my Cleo dress, which was also well-suited to travelling home. I do think I will lengthen the hem on this dress by an inch or two when I get a chance. Although it looks fine in front of the mirror, the corduroy has a tendency to creep up.

I think that incorporating my handmade wardrobe made an already-fantastic weekend even more fun. I can be very lazy about clothing and accessories, and knowing that I would be taking pictures inspired me to think more carefully about my wardrobe.

Thanks to Isie and Becci for being wonderful photographers, as well as awesome companions.


I finished crocheting my basket out of Jersey Be Good t-shirt yarn. It came out really well!

I’m not entirely sure if this object is really finished. I stopped because I ran out of yarn. The basket is big enough to be useful, so I’m not going to buy yarn specifically to finish it. The good thing about crochet is that I can leave it like this for now, and add more rounds if I decide I want the basket to be taller.

I followed the pattern pretty much exactly. Using JBG held double, this yielded a basket that is

The yarn ran out partway through row 20.

If you want to make a basket, you will need four cones of JBG, or about 400 yards total of t-shirt yarn. I think it would be a lot of fun to make a basket like this using old t-shirts. You could make the yarn thicker so that it wouldn’t have to be held double that way.

The pattern I used is okay. I spent a lot of time searching Ravelry to find a free crocheted basket pattern and this seemed like the best. My only criticism is that the bottom of the basket isn’t completely flat. There must be a different way to crochet a flat circle. This may also be a tension issue but I don’t know since I’m inexperienced with crochet. I blocked the bottom of the basket, which helped, but I wouldn’t really recommend doing this because the fabric is so thick, it took several days to dry and started to smell a bit musty.

 

Pattern: Neon touch baskets (FREE!)

Yarn: About three cones of Jersey Be Good by Wool and the Gang

Hook: 8mm

Ravelry project page


This week I won some tickets to one of Wool and the Gang’s knit parties at a pub in Islington. Anna and I got to spend two pleasant hours twisting rib and displaying our knowledge of advanced knitting techniques.

After two hours, we both had about three quarters of a cowl and I finished mine off the in the odds and ends of knitting time I had on Wednesday. I decided to feature a visible seam as I love the braided look of a cast off edge. Since this is a moebius cowl, it’s not possible to seam the twisted rib invisibly. I may even add a little colour contrast at some point.

Apologies for the overly filtered Instagram pic, but the lighting was terrible.

I’ll post some modelled pics at some point. This is a cowl to be worn with a coat, as it takes on the appearance of a collar and will prevent any wind sneaking down your neck on blustery autumn days.

Pattern: Snood Operator

Yarn: Crazy Sexy Wool

Needles: 15mm

Ravelry project page.


Now that I have a room big enough for shelves, I’m free think about handmade storage solutions. One thing in particular that I need is a better way to store my current works-in-progress, and yarn and fabric that I’m thinking of using soon. Currently they’re in a big pile on my shelf, which looks messy and is an inefficient use of space.

I’m super excited to be able to use the yarn my friend Natalia kindly brought me from Scotland. This yarn is super cool, with each ply in a different colour of the rainbow. I’m using a small crochet hook to give a stiff fabric that should hold its shape.


I’m currently at 60 stitches and I’m just going to keep increasing until the circle is the right diameter to fit on my shelf. I think I’ll block the base after that so it’s nice and flat before I make the sides of the basket. I believe that the pattern I’m using is meant to produce a flat circle, but it’s curling up at the edges. This is most likely due to a combination of my basic crochet skills and the unusual yarn/hook size combination I’ve chosen.

Update: Here the base is blocking. I increased until I had 120 stitches around and the basket should fit nicely on my shelf. 

  

I’m also using the Jersey Be Good left over from my Hold Tight clutch bag to make a second basket. I’m using a larger 8mm hook with this super bulky yarn.


I wasn’t entirely happy with this base so I decided to try holding the yarn double. Although this makes it much more difficult to crochet, I prefer the result. Both circles have the same number of stitches so you can see the difference that doubling the yarn makes.

The new technique I learned for this pattern is the awesomely named ‘magic ring’, which allows the centre of a crochet project not to have a hole in the middle. It’s pretty simple but I found a lot of the tutorials confusing to follow. This is the one I liked the best.

Pattern: Neon touch baskets (free pattern)

Ravelry project pages: Rainbow Basket, Jersey Be Basket


I’m really pleased with how my Wool and Gang Hold Tight clutch bag knitted up. I think I picked colours that go well with my wardrobe and I’m loving the neon colour pop trend. Why have highlighters trapped in a pencil case? Let them be free! Here are a couple of pics of the finished item.

Can you tell I’m pleased with it?

Jade helped bring out my inner model on the South Bank.


  

I was surprised at how long the project took overall. The bag is made with Jersey Be Good held double, which gives a really sturdy structured fabric, but is a killer on the hands!

I have a few tips for anyone who wants a double contrast trim like me.

For the binding, I found it easiest to stick closely to the pattern by starting with a WS row. I switched to CC2 (the yellow) and cast off before picking up the same number of stitches behind the ‘braid’.

  
I started the woven stitch with a RS row, I don’t think it matters whether you start RS or WS. I found the instructions a little unclear- you need to start every row by slipping the first stitch.

As other makers on Ravelry noted, the snap closure seems small compared to the size of the bag. I just tried to sew it neatly and hope it worked out, which it did.

   

I also did a picture tutorial for the cute tassels. 

    


This is a quick tutorial for anyone who want to make tassels from any kind of t-shirt yarn. I used mine to embellish my Hold Tight clutch bag and I think they look really cute.   

All you need is a couple of metres of jersey or t-shirt yarn, either handmade or bought, and a tassel end.