A panoply of (sometimes) lovingly handmade crud.

Tag Archives: Xmas

My travel knitting this year has been dedicated to Innocent hats. This isn’t entirely selfless as I’m trying to write a pattern for a baby hat, and I’m testing out different ways of doing the decreases. 


You will need

3.25mm circular needles/DPNs (or similar size)

A small amount of DK weight yarn. I used Baby Cashmerino for the brown and 

  1. CO 32 sts
  2. Work 5 rounds in K1P1 rib
  3. Garter stitch for 7 rounds, ending with a knit round
  4. K6 k2tog* *repeat to end of round 
  5. Garter stitch for 6 rounds, ending with a knit round
  6. K5 k2tog* *rep to end of round
  7. Garter stitch for 5 rounds
  8. Ssk k2 k2tog* *rep to end of round 
  9. K1 round 
  10. Garter stitch 3 rounds
  11. K1 k2tog* *rep to end of round (11sts rem)
  12. K1 round 
  13. Change colours and kfb in every stitch 
  14. K 12 rnds. 


Encourage the top to curl whichever way you prefer. I’m going to work on the top part as I think it could look better, but this is just the first iteration of the pattern.

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I haven’t had a knitted FO in what feels like an absolute age! I’m still being very slow in doing all of the finishing stages on my aubergine rainbows sweater, which means that it’s been frustratingly near completion for months now. Oh well. Back to these socks.

If someone asks me to make something with wild colour combinations, I quite often end up putting together different self-patterning yarn leftovers and this was definitely the case with this project. I also did the same for the gloves I made my aunt gloves I made my aunt a couple of years ago.

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I used up a lot of the leftover yarn from the four balls of Stray Cat sock yarn I bought a few years ago. This is all that remains.

My thumb for scale. I might use these little remnants for Innocent hats.

This is a pattern I know well, and I enjoyed cranking out another pair of socks. I will try to get a picture of my uncle wearing them.

Pattern: Vanilla Latte (free on Ravelry)

Yarn: Four colourways of Stray Cat Sock

Ravelry project page


My Xmas-loving aunt requested another pair of socks for my uncle this year. I have a feeling she asked me last year as well, but I never got around to making them. My uncle is a slightly grumpy Scottish guy (note: I like grumpy people, I think they’re funny) but I think he quite likes having really bright socks hidden beneath his dull work uniform. I’m sure there’s a metaphor in there somewhere. For this year’s ocular assault, I decided to dive into my stash rather than buying a new ball of sock yarn. I’m using leftovers from my various skeins of Stray Cat Sock yarn.

I’ve just been going with my gut with the colour progression. I’m not sure this was the best idea as I feel my colour selections have been a bit off all year. I hadn’t realised that the tone or warmth of the four balls of yarn is quite different. I’m still going to keep going as I don’t think this will bother my uncle.


Making a sock seems so quick after months of working on fingering weight jumpers. I’m really enjoying this project at the moment.

Pattern: Vanilla Latte Socks (FREE on Ravelry)

Yarn: Stray Cat Sock yarn, various colourways

Needles: 2.75mm

Ravelry project page


I feel like just posting a load of emojis and exclamation marks. I’ve heard somewhere that a picture is worth a thousand words. Feast your eyes on this.

Here’s more of a close-up.

Honestly I can hardly believe I made this.

Here are a couple of pics demonstrating the difference that blocking makes.


This sweater represents about two months of significant work. I estimate that the yoke alone took 24 solid hours.

Hence the three WiP Wednesday posts (links 1, 2, 3). Several people have asked me whether I’m also going to do a Christmas jumper. The answer is a resounding HELL NO. Even if I was ready for another project this intense, I definitely wouldn’t be able to finish it before at least February.

The finishing was also a challenge. I ‘unzipped’ a crochet provisional cast on for the first time and it was s a nightmare! Definitely dropped a few stitches.

Picking up the stitches on the hem took about two hours, then the tubular cast off took at least another two hours. However, it really makes the garment look more polished so I think it’s worth it.

Happy Friday peeps!


I don’t often make gingerbread. I tend to be more likely to succumb to a rich chocolate or salted caramel kind of recipe, rather than sticking to the classics. I can’t remember what prompted me to give it a go, probably a quantum of Christmas spirit penetrating my Grinchiness.

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I used an American recipe but I weighed the ingredients so people without cup measures can try them more easily. I substituted black treacle for the molasses stated. To my taste, the treacle flavour is a bit strong so I recommend half golden syrup and half treacle. I will test these out on the people at work and see if they agree. Update: the test was inconclusive as they were all rated by parties unknown.

Ingredients

Note: This makes a LOT of cookies. Like, at least 60. Or enough for a gingerbread house.

Second note: Add whatever spices you like. Leave out the zest if you want. Don’t go out and buy any spices especially for this recipe.

  • 5 cups (725g) plain flour
  • 2tsp ground ginger
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda (leave this out if you’re building anything with the gingerbread)
  • 1/4tsp salt (add 1/2 tsp if you use unsalted butter)
  • Zest of one orange
  • 1 cup (250g) butter
  • 1 cup (250g) sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) black treacle
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) golden syrup

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Method

1. Sift together the dry ingredients and spices. Add the orange zest.

2. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, golden syrup and treacle and stir until completely blended.

3. Gradually add the flour mixture until it is all combined.

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4. Divide dough into three portions. If you want to freeze some, do so at this stage, wrapping in a double layer of cling film, or a single layer of wrapping inside a freezer safe container.

5. Roll out one portion of dough between two layers of baking parchment until 1/4in (5mm) thick, using cookie slats if you have them. Leave to chill in the fridge.

6. Preheat oven to 180C (350F)

7. Cut shapes out of chilled dough. Leave about 1cm between each cookie to account for any rising in the oven. Top tip: a gingerbread man upside-down makes an acceptable substitute for a bunny rabbit

8. Bake for 12-16 minutes, until firm and just beginning to darken at the edges. Keep a close eye after 12 minutes as these cookies can burn very quickly.

9. Remove from oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.

10. If desired, decorate your cookies. As you can see in the pics, I used a wide variety of sprinkles and writing icing as I was too lazy to make royal icing.


This weekend I finished knitting my Totoros!

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Very happy with the fit.

About eight rows in, I frogged back because I received an Instagram message from Kate Davies herself (!!) and I decided to leave my floats super long.

I included one pic from when I was carrying the floats and one where I wasn’t, and I think the latter looks much better. The fabric is a little uneven but I’m hoping it’ll block out.

Here’s the chart I made, adapted from KonaSF on Ravelry. I kept the stitch counts from size 8 in the pattern so I had 15 24-stitch repeats.

Now I just need to do the peeries above the Totoros, work the neckline and then do the finishing. I’m so excited about wearing this!

Previous posts here and here.


I’ve had the yarn for this sweater in my stash for over a year, and I’ve had the pattern saved on Ravelry for about five. So I’m pleased to have finally cast on. This is how I’m hoping the jumper will look when it’s finished.

Credit to Emmygram on Ravelry.

I plan for this to be my version of a novelty Xmas jumper. It will combine many things I love- Studio Ghibli, knitting and kitsch.

I had initially planned to use K2P2 corrugated rib on the hem, sleeves and neckline because it look so cute on my Peerie Flooers hat. However, after consulting Ravelry I was worried it might look messy so stuck with K1P1 as per the pattern and sample pic above. I think I made the right choice.

The red is my provisional cast on. This will be removed at the end and finished with an I-cord bind off either in the dark green or perhaps dark blue. I’ve got a bit of a rainbow motif going on and I loves me some rainbow.

I used the crochet method suggested by Kate Davies in the pattern and it worked really well. However, I was terrified that I might have accidentally twisted it!

I’m really proud of myself because I’ve been knitting  the colourwork two-handed! I remember reading about ‘two-fisted fair isle’ in Stitch and Bitch when I first started knitting and thinking I would never be able to do that.

Look mum, two hands!

I’m on to the endless and dull stocking section now.

Check out my floats! There are a few little mistakes I can’t quite figure out, but overall I think the wrong side is looking good.

Pattern: Paper Dolls by Kate Davies

Yarn: Titus by Baa Ram Ewe.

The green, yellow, blue and purple are Jamieson & Smith 2-ply jumper weight.

Ravelry project page