A chunky, earthy toddler jumper

Handknit chunky boys jumper, free pattern
Breadstick: model’s own

Handknit toddler jumper, free pattern

Never has anything I’ve knit been met with such enthusiasm as this chunky green and mustard jumper.

Before I had even got the wool on the needles the sproglet was already endearingly excited about the prospect of a new jumper.

Me: “Sproglet, would you like it if I knitted you a new jumper this winter?”*

Sproglet: [face lights up with look of utter delight and disbelief] “A jumper?! For me?! Wot you would knit me?! Really?!”

Me: [slightly disarmed by enthusiasm] “Erm, yes, shall we choose a pattern together?”

Sproglet: [flings arms around me in joy] “Oh yes please Mummy, that would be brilliant!”

Handknit toddler jumper, free pattern

After such an unexpectedly amazing first response, I thought things could only possibly go downhill from there (you know, with a finished result of a jumper that was absolutely never taken out of the drawer) but every few mornings he would ask to check on my latest knitting and say endearing things like, “Oh Mummy, I love the back!” as I showed him each part.

The finished result was just as appreciated and after he tried it on for the first time (and told me how it was his favourite thing ever) he asked, “Am I really allowed to keep it and wear it?” as if I might have just given him something incredibly precious to touch for a few minutes before whisking it away back to a vault somewhere.

Handknit toddler jumper, free pattern

Now, whenever he is wearing it (which is most days) and someone compliments him on it, he always, but always replies, “My Mummy knitted it for me” with a big proud smile on his face.

Adorable. Unexpected. And utterly adorable.

Anyway, a few notes on the jumper itself for any other knitters out there.

I followed the Nantasket pattern by Berocco, which is free and available here on Ravelry. I’m also pretty pleased with the end result: the stitch pattern on the torso looks fabulous, it’s a (fairly) good fit and looks really lovely and like one of those handknits that you could have potentially bought from a very expensive shop (rather than the kind of handknits that you might have bought for 30p from a charity shop because someone’s Granny made it for them in the 80s, badly, and they never wanted to wear it. I have made a few of those in my early knitting days…)

However, though I was pleased with the jumper once finished, I did have a few issues with the pattern.

Firstly, it is by far the vaguest knitting pattern I have ever read. It includes such useful instructions as, for example, “purl the next row, decrease by 28 stitches”, with no indication of where to make the decreases. Which meant I spent ages trying to work out how frequently to purl stitches together in order to make an even decrease from 77 to 49 stitches.

Overall, I spent quite a lot of time figuring out exactly how obey the instructions in the pattern, when I would have much preferred everything to be written out properly for me. But then, that’s what you get with a free pattern I guess…

Handknit toddler jumper, free pattern

Handknit toddler jumper, free pattern

The arms also came up very skinny – I had to frog the first one and re-knit because it just looked like there was no way I could get them round a toddler’s actual arms, and a skinny toddler at that.

And the neckline is pretty tight, though that could well be a problem with my casting off too tightly.

Other than that, I followed the pattern pretty much exactly, though I made the ribbing at the waist, arms and neck a contrasting yellow, which looks rather brilliant (she says, humbly).

Back of a handknit jumper, free patternHandknit toddler jumper, free pattern

As for the yarn, that is absolutely stunning, soft and delicious. It’s Wendy Aspire Chunky, which is 80% pure wool and 20% alpaca and you can really feel it. It’s knitted up thick and soft and made the perfect cold weather jumper. The colours are rich and earthy (they haven’t come out as nicely in the photos as they actually look in real life). But it is very prone to pilling – most of these photos are from the second wear and you can see the little bobbles covering it already. Not the end of the world, but it does mean I spend a lot of time trying to get rid of them…

I’ve gone into even more detail about the exact changes I made to knit the jumper over on Ravelry, so if you want even more details then head over there: Nantasket jumper

Now, I have a hat to complete that I promised someone before Christmas and then I think I’m going to try out a blanket from We Are Knitters to go with our new sofa.

Knit, knit, knit, knit, knit, knit…

Are you working on anything nice at the moment?

* No, you’re right, I don’t actually call him that to his face…

Homemade birthday T-shirts

The sproglet turned two at the weekend and I couldn’t resist making him a birthday T-shirt.

 

Homemade 2nd birthday t-shirt | Wolves in London
Two today!

(Is this an addiction? Quite possibly. But one I just can’t seem to beat…)

We had a brilliant party in the local park, with a gazebo bedecked with bunting. I felt I was fulfilling my SE London parental duties correctly. (If you walk through Peckham Rye Park on any weekend day in the summer, all you see are children’s parties, the park festooned with bunting, gazebos and balloons. I once even saw someone erecting a bell tent in the arboretum for the afternoon.

I did, actually, forget about balloons, so we walked to our chosen party spot with the sprog pointing at all the other birthday children’s balloons on the way going, “Oh! Balloon! Balloon!”

I made a mental note for next year.)

The sprog wore his T-shirt all day long, spilling not one little drop of drink or cake on it all day.

I thought he might recognise the number 2 on the front, but he didn’t really. But all the grown-ups complimented him on the lovely Quentin Blake drawings.

Homemade Quentin Blake birthday t-shirt | Wolves in London
Who doesn’t love Quentin Blake?

I made the image using one of the free colouring in templates on the Quentin Blake website.

(I found out about these in a great post with links to loads of kids’ colouring in resources on the beautiful blog Kate’s Creative Space.)

I used the central part of the image, put it into a simple black square frame and then just stuck in a giant number 2 into the blank space in the font Curlz MT.

I then used my beloved transfer paper following the method outlined here. And I was pretty pleased with the result…

I thought about writing “2 today” but decided that rather limited the usage (or at least gave the wrong impression for any other day) so I just stuck with a simple 2.

In case anyone else fancies making one, you can use my template here and just insert the appropriate number in place of the 2. This is, ahem *hides face with shame*, a Powerpoint file so it’s super easy to edit…

Download a template for a birthday t-shirt | Wolves in London
Click here to download the template

Copyright of the Quentin Blake picture is obviously Quentin Blake’s, and these can’t be used for commercial purposes. See more on his copyright on his original colouring-in sheet.

I think I’m going to make this an annual tradition; a new t-shirt every year.

Just nine months to go til the baby has his first birthday — I might start planning the outfit now…

Related articles:

I’ve made a fair few different t-shirts now.  (I even have plans to start up my own little shop selling things like this…)

Take a look at the following (all include links to the images I’ve used):

Homeprinted carrot babygrow | Wolves in London
Carrot babygrow
Homemade Russian doll babygrow | Wolves in London
Russian doll babygrows
Homemade elephant T-shirt | Wolves in London
Elephant T-shirt
Homeprinted dog T-shirt | Wolves in London
Vintage dog pic
Vintage image babygrows | Wolves in London
Three vintage babygrows
Homeprinted tomato t-shirt | Wolves in London
Er, tomatoes?!

Box of delights: gift box template and tutorial

Waaaay back in December I told you about some homemade soaps I made for Christmas presents. I said I had great plans for the packaging, which I was planning on sharing if they came off.

Well, I’m sure you’ve hardly been able to concentrate in 2013 for wondering, nay, worrying if it all came together in the end. Perhaps you took my silence on the matter as a bad sign. You feared, I am sure, some packaging catastrophe had occurred, the memory of which was so upsetting for me, I couldn’t bear to re-live it on my blog. (“It’s a safe place,” you wanted to reassure me, “you can share anything here…”)

Worry not, though, my boxes came off a treat – better than I could have hoped.  My wait was just because I wanted to pester my partner into helping me get a template for them into pdf form to share with you all… (I’m a bit of a thicko when it comes to any sort of design work on the computer, so even this basic use of lines was a bit beyond me…)

So this was the final result:

Handmade box template
A ribbon and a personalised label: my go-to wrapping favourites

Attractive, no?

I’d tried a few other templates I’d seen first, but none worked properly for the size of my soaps.

So I drew the dimensions I wanted on a piece of A4 and, a bit of head-scratching later, realised that you actually only needed to make four straight cuts to create a box and decided to just make my own. Away I went…

I bought some nice ocean coloured card to make the box with and used one of my favourite vintage labels, which are free to download at the World Label blog. Obviously, the ribbon was the final touch…

But back to the present day. Two months later, with the template finally ready to share, I tested it out by making a second box.  For this one, I used a sheet of A4 printed one side with this gorgeous feather image, from the Graphics Fairy blog, and on the other with my template.

All went well! So the suspense is finally over and the tutorial and template follow, in case you’ve got a hankering to make your own gift box too…

Gift box template and tutorial

Supplies

  • A printer
  • A piece of A4 card or paper. As the side you print the template on will form the inside of the box, you could use some coloured card, or simply print a nice design onto the other side of the paper.
  • Glue or sellotape
  • This pdf gift box template

What to do

Step 1. Print out the template onto the blank side of your A4 sheet of paper or card.  Most printers automatically put a border around the outside, so select “Actual size” as your print setting.

Box template
Of course, you won’t have two separate sheets of paper, I’m just demonstrating both sides…
Box template
The template so complicated I couldn’t transfer it to the computer on my own. Ahem.

Step 2: Cut along the thick black lines marked with scissors (you could have figured that out on your own, couldn’t you?)

Make your own gift box
Snip, snip, snip

Step 3: Fold all of the dotted lines inwards, so the fold is towards you.

Make your own gift box
Fold, fold, fold

When you’re finished, it will look something like this:

Make your own gift box
Creased and crumpled and almost there…

On the two long sides, you now have an overlap at the left and right hand corners:

Make your own gift box
But what to do about those overlapping edges? Hmmmm…

Step 4: Fold the long side flaps towards you at a right angle for each of the four corners

Make your own gift box, free template
Aha! Fold the edges inwards, to create the corner

And the whole thing will look like this:

Make your own gift box
Not quite there, but it’s starting to take shape…

Step 5: Lift the short side flaps up and insert the long side corners underneath them.

Handmade gift box template and tutorial
Fold them under the short end flap
Homemade gift box template and tutorial
Hold in place.
Homemade gift box template and tutorial
Fold the short flap over the top…

Step 6: You now have your basic box, though the inside flaps are a bit, well, flappy still:

Homemade gift box tutorial and template
Confession, I left my box looking like this. But I know you’re less slapdash than me, so we’ll move onto step 7…

Step 7: Glue or sellotape into position.

Make your own guft box: template and tutorial
Since I didn’t actually glue my sides in place, I’m just pretending to use the Pritt Stick here

Which gives you nice crisp corners

Make your own gift box
Nice crisp corners

Step 8: Turn over and you’ve finished the top of your box!

Homemade box lid
Tadaaaa!

Step 9: Take a moment, if you like, to admire the lovely details of your chosen images.

Box lid detail, make your own gift box
Of course, this isn’t a step at all, I just wanted to show you a close up of this gorgeous design

Step 10: Repeat all the same steps on a piece of plain paper for the bottom of the box, and place the top over it…

Make your own guft boxes: template and tutorial from Wolves in London
Top and bottom together
Make your own gift box: template and tutorial
The finished box. I know this looks pretty much the same as the photo in step 8, but if you peer really closely, you can just see a sliver of the white box bottom underneath…

This template will make a box of 19x10x3cm, but of course you could alter the dimensions and make a box of any size you need.

Enjoy! And if you do make up one of these, do post a comment to let me know how it goes…

Related articles

Update: I’m chuffed that this was chosen as a feature at the following blogs:

mop it up mondays feature