Friday, 26 February 2010

Chick hat for children

Five quirky children's knitted hats from what looks like the early 1960s (or, to be precise, four quirky hats and one standard pom-pom hat).

The yellow chick embellishment is incredibly cute and easy to make - make two yellow yarn pom-poms, one small one for the head, and a larger one for the body. Sew the head onto the body then trim to give the chick a good shape. Work two french knots in black cotton for the eyes and add a tiny pointed piece of black felt for the beak. Sew a few loops of yellow wool to the back of the body, making each one about 1 inch in length, then cut the loops to make a tail.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010


I do llike llamas. If I was a Harry Potter character, I'm pretty sure that my patronus would be a llama. An eight-foot tall one with laser eyes.

This one is smaller, and without the lasers, but the important thing is that I designed and knitted him myself without a pattern. His main body is knitted in loop stich chunky yarn and his legs and neck are acrylic double knitting. He has a thin wire frame inside to keep those spindly legs stiff. And luckily, he doesn't spit.

Now for sale on Etsy!

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Emu teenager's cardigan

"Oi, Sharon!"


"Yer cardigan's on back to front."

Poor Sharon will never be a member of The Crochet Set.

Monday, 22 February 2010

The Crochet Set

She's young... she's beautiful... she's looking very smug... she's definitely part of The Crochet Set.

And her baby pink crochet dress (worked in Lister Bel Air 4 ply) can only be worked up to a 38 inch bust size. It's skinnies only in The Crochet Set, sorry.

Buy a copy of this vintage 1960s crochet pattern for £1.50. You'll receive a link to download a high quality PDF document of this pattern upon payment. Pattern is for 34 - 38 bust.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

It's raining cute

Howie Woo creates gorgeous amigurumi works of art. Check out his latest public project in Vancouver: 14 different cat and dog raindrops, each named, all hanging from a trellis in the Davie Village Community Garden.

Howie says: "As all eyes focus on Vancouver for the 2010 Olympics, I hope these raindrops show that we Vancouverites can be proud of the rain that makes our streets shiny and our lush trees grow". Bless.

Many more photos on Howie's Flickr page.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Embroidered tablecloth

Another creative idea from The Book of Creative Crafts - a tablecloth complete with machine-embroidered place settings.

Divide your cloth into an even number of squares for place settings, and mark them with tailor's chalk. In each square lay a place and draw round the cutlery with the chalk, then sew round the outlines in zig zag stitch, using a contrasting thread.

Felt applique quilt

This felt applique bedspread from The Book of Creative Crafts (1978, Octopus Books) is a wonder to behold. The quilt motifs are taken from 18th and 19th century stencil and patchwork patterns, and then worked in brightly coloured felt. The headboard is made out of more felt applique: some of the motifs have been gently stuffed to give a 3D effect.

The naive style of the stencils, coupled with the brightly-coloured 1970s felt, makes for a colourful folk art explosion - I think I'd find it quite hard to sleep in this bed.

Felt is easier than other fabrics to use in applique, because you don't have to turn over the raw edges, but even so, designing, cutting, and hand-sewing 56 squares full of peacocks, strawberries, flowers and maidens to complete your bedspread is a big undertaking. What a bedspread...

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Health and safety scarf

There's some dangerous crochet patterns being aired at Liza Smith's Fluffycloud Studios blog.

Liza has carried out a risk assessment on this airy 1970s crochet scarf and come to the correct conclusion that it is too dangerous to make, due to the excessive length. Our health and safety officers have cordoned off the offending item, and may be carrying out a controlled explosion in due course.

We should just be thankful that the tassels on that waistcoat don't dangle all the way down to the floor.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Crocheted zombie wedding cake

Why say it with boring red roses this Valentine's Day when you can say it with a crocheted zombie wedding cake?

This marvellous calorie-free confection is from Corinne and Jesse's Alice in Wonderland Zombie wedding, which you can read all about on Offbeat Bride.

I think that Corinne and Jesse's cake is adapted from this pattern at Berroco, so if you fancy a crocheted wedding cake of your own, with or without the living dead, give it a whirl.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Lucky stones

A stone with a hole in it is technically known as a "lucky stone" down here on the the South Coast. They're supposed to bring you luck and good fortune. I hope the same applies to oyster shells because I found three lovely holey ones on the beach, along with a chalk lucky stone, and I've crocheted them together with gold thread into this window hanging.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Berets for All

When I am Prime Minister, this will be my rallying cry to get this once-fine nation back on its feet again - Berets For All.

And some cake.

This is one of my very favourite knitting books from the late 1940s or early 1950s. Berets for all ages, and almost every hat is a classic. They are really hard to knit though, most are knitted in 4 ply or 3 ply (eek!) on tiny, tiny needles. I tried to make the bobble stitch white beret ("An Unusual Crochet Design Consisting of Pretty Clusters") but gave up after a couple of months, only a quarter of the way in.

My favourite beret is the gentleman's bicycle beret, "A Special for Sportsmen". It's described as "a Beret That Every Cycling Enthusiast Will Want" but this is a lie. I've offered to make this for a couple of gentlemen cycling friends but both politely declined. I think gentlemen are generally a bit scared of this hat. Tough luck, chaps. When I'm Prime Minister, it will be compulsory head wear and you'll run the risk of a spot fine if you go without.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Spring cardigan with crochet flowers

I have just finished knitting this spring cardigan for my little girl. It's adapted from a pattern in Candi Jensen's Knitting Loves Crochet book. The main body of the cardigan is knitted in a soft and bobbly blue acrylic and wool DK mix, and is decorated with a pretty crochet picot trim and crochet flowers.

Crochet flowers are so fun and quick to make, and they certainly made this cardigan look very special, for very little extra work. I'm now thinking about adding some to a charity-shop jumper or two - all the fun of making the flowers, without having to actually knit the jumper in the first place.

This cardigan is officially a Triumph of Thrift, as the main bobbly yarn was a bargain Ebay purchase (£3). The buttons came from my enormous stash of second-hand buttons. I was going to splash out on some delicious wool for the trim at Worthing's delectable Wool Bar but then visited a charity shop en route and snapped up 8 balls of various blues, pinks, and purple yarn for 10p a ball. Sorry, Wool Bar.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Mr February - Gyles Brandreth

Gyles Brandreth claims that this photo from Knitability is "inspired by the temptation of Eve", and that he's "trying to look wonderfully wicked in this strong and stylish sweater".

He's definitely working that "bad boy of knitting" look to the max, and looks like he will hit me over the head with that ladder if I say anything snippy about his jumper. Which is why I'm awarding him the title of Mr February and quickly leaving before he makes a lunge.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Knitting sleeves

I hate knitting sleeves. I haven't knitted a jumper with sleeves for about five years, and I'd forgotten just how much I hate knitting the sleeves.

The front and back pieces of a jumper seem to take no time at all, and you're pleasantly distracted near the end of it by all that interesting shaping you have to do for the neck and sleeve lines. Once you've done the front and back, you think, "Ooh, nearly finished - this won't take long now".

But then come the sleeves. For some reason, the area of fabric needed to cover the human arm seems to be roughly the same dimensions as the entire country of Luxembourg. Sleeves are huge, long, and never-endingly boring to knit.

I have knitted one sleeve, and am half-way through the final one now, gritting my teeth and facing the knitting equivalent of the marathon runner's wall. The crowds are cheering - the finishing line is in sight...

Monday, 1 February 2010

Sweaters for the Well-Built

A glimpse back to a time when the phrase "plus size" used to be the coyly descriptive "well-built".

Sweaters for the Well-Built by Patons and Beehive offers classic jumper patterns for sizes 46 inches and upwards.

The male model on the left is a wonderful mix of John Prescott and Rab C Nesbitt. He has a perfect BBC sitcom face. In fact this photo could be a rare still from the first (and only) season of 1965's That's My Geranium. Will these gentlemen find out who has been tampering with the vicarage plant stall cuttings before the Rector arrives?