A finished baby blanket

As I mentioned in my last post, I managed to summon up a burst of knitting energy recently and finish off the blanket that I started about three months ago for the impending new arrival (aka sproglet mi).

Knitted baby blanket | Wolves in London
I’m loving this snuggly blanket a lot…

After sewing in all the ends (oh, such a tedious process, I always put it off and off and off for days…) and blocking overnight, I took a few photos this morning.

Knitted baby blanket | Wolves in London
A little close up of the pattern

A few knitting notes for anyone who might be interested… The pattern is the heirloom blanket by Madeline Tosh. (Costs $4 for an instant download on Ravlery. Well worth it, in my opinion.) It’s the second time I’ve made it and I think it’s a lovely pattern; difficult enough to keep you interested, simple enough to memorise.

Knitted baby blanket | Wolves in London
Just showing off my neat edges…
Knitted baby blanket | Wolves in London
…and my neat stitches

The yarn is Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino and sadly you can’t reach into your computer screen to give the blanket a stroke because it is soooo deliciously soft and stretchy and generally just the perfect thing for putting against a newborn’s skin.

Knitted baby blanket | Wolves in London
Sooo soft and squishy.

Full project details over on Ravelry as always: Blanket for bump.

In other knitting-related info, thanks so much for everyone’s comments and advice on my quandary in my last post. You made me realise that, yes, I really did feel like knitting something and I cast on that very evening. In fact, a bit of a knitting frenzy has since ensued and I am half way through the project already. Will share more details and photos once it’s finished and given away!

Related articles:

  • This blanket was the first thing I’d cast on for a while, back when I started it, and reminded me exactly why it is I love knitting: the joy of knitting.

 

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The joy of knitting

Now that my exams are over, I am itching to tackle my gigantically long to do list. And the very first thing at the top of the list is to knit a blanket for the impending arrival of sproglet number two…

Knitted blanket beginnings
Fresh on the needles. Ahhh, the relaxation of some good knitting…

What with one thing and another* I’ve hardly done any knitting for almost a year. I managed to whip up a bobble hat for my sister for Christmas, but, I have to confess, really disliked the whole process. I used cheap wool (we had a fixed budget for presents last year, I’m not just a total stinge-bag) that was horrible to knit with, on needles that were too small and from about the second round in already knew I wasn’t happy with how the end result was going to look, but had no time to frog and start again on a better pattern.

So it was, I had rather forgotten about the absolute joy of knitting.

This new project is made from some really nice Sublime yarn in a merino cashmere silk mix with a mellow taupey-mushroomy-grey colour. The wool is stretchy and soft and feels lovely, so I’m enjoying knitting every single stitch.

Sublime wool
Sublime in name, sublime in knitability

The pattern, Heirloom by Madeline Tosh, is one I have knitted before and that I know will look good when finished. It’s complicated enough to keep me interested, but not so difficult I worry about going wrong or checking the pattern all the time.

Knitting a blanket
Three repeats down, 24 to go…

But most of all, there is a huge pleasure in being able to quickly get my needles out and knit a few rows here and there when the sproglet is napping or temporarily distracted by Rastamouse. I had forgotten the enjoyment of a craft you can easily pick up and put down without having to get endless supplies out (or clear them away at the end).  One where the pleasure isn’t just in hurrying up and getting to the end result (being impatient, I tend to feel that way about most things) but in just slowly enjoying the making process.

Knitting a blanket
It’s going to be lovely when it’s finished.

So, knitting, welcome back to my life. It’s good to see you again…

As ever, project details for this are over on Ravelry if you want to see more: Blanket for the bump.

*Things = the exhaustion of pregnancy combined with looking after a toddler, revising for exams, not living in our house and trying to oversee a building renovation from far too far away…

Related articles:

  • I was more on the ball with knitting this time last year. Take a look at some knitted goods I made for Christmas presents or this rather nice lace scarf
  • If you’re after more inspiration for baby knitting, or baby presents in general, I put together a nice little homemade gift box for my nephew in the summer. Which, of course, also included a knitted blanket.

Five woolly baked delights

Which came first: the scheduling for the Great British Bake Off final or National Baking Week?

(I ask this rhetorically, simply because I am too lazy for the three second Google search that would undoubtedly give me an answer…)

Whichever it is, with two such prestigious events in the space of a fortnight, this is a big time for baking. It would seem churlish not to get with the action and join in.

But, just as I was heading to the kitchen to get out the Kenwood, it dawned on me that it was also British Wool Week this week too. Aha! Surely the chance for a double celebration here.

And so it is, I present to you my choice of five delicious-looking woollen baked goodies.

Since my current making schedules are running about six months behind, it’s unlikely I’m going to get any of these actually finished before the week is out, but I’ll definitely be pulling out my needles for the Bake Off final next Wednesday and knitting along.

I’ll show you the results, hmmm, probably sometime next year…

1. Knitted cupcake pincushions, by Little Cotton Rabbits

knitted cupcake pincushion by Little Cotton Rabbits

The first knitted goody has been in my Ravelry queue for some time now. These amazing knitted cupcake pincushions are designed by Little Cotton Rabbits, aka one of my very favourite knitting blogs.

If your knitting mojo is lacking, or you’re looking for knitspiration (sorry!), or you just want to look at some beautiful photographs and read a blog by a brilliant writer, then I recommend a visit over to Little Cotton Rabbits.

Oh and I almost forgot to talk about the cupcakes themselves. Well, take a look at the photo, they’re adorable, aren’t they?

You can buy the pattern here for £2: knitted cupcake pincushions.

2. Crochet jammy dodger, by According to Matt

Crochet jammy dodger

Despite not knowing how to crochet, it seems that I pin some amazing crochet project or other on a weekly basis, each time making me declare that it really is time that I learnt.

The latest was this quite, quite delicious looking jammy dodger, from the blog According to Matt. The tutorial is free and to my non-crocheters eyes, it looks really simple to follow.

Take a look here: crochet jammy dodger.

3. A slice of cake, by Bitter Sweet

Slice of cake

Another free pattern, this slice of cake tickles me something rotten. It’s a slice! With a candle! All knitted from wool!

I’m not entirely sure what you would do with this, once you had knitted it. Perhaps just display it proudly on your kitchen table for all eternity. It’s from a cooking blog called Bitter Sweet, by Hannah Kaminsky. If you’re less a fan of knitted goodies (though if you weren’t a fan, I doubt you’d be reading this far) and more a fan of the genuine article, then this is the blog. Loads of recipes for delicious looking cakes and pies and bread.

Find the free knitting pattern here: a slice of cake.

4. Crochet Battenburg, eBay

crochet battenburg pattern

I’ve got to admit, I prefer buying my patterns through Ravelry, individual designers, or Etsy, but when I came across this crochet Battenburg on eBay, I couldn’t resist including it. Those little pink and yellow squares were just calling out to me…

The seller has an absolute wealth of other knitted food patterns too. Spend too long browsing here and you risk falling down a rabbit hole and emerging on the other side with a knitted cup of tea in your hand, wondering where the past few weeks went. You have been warned…

Find the pattern here on eBay for £1.50: crochet Battenburg cake.

5. More cake, I need more cake! Etsy

Knitted cake selection of patterns

And if you just simply can’t pick just one solitary little knitted piece of deliciousness, then cakescakescakes over on Etsy has six different patterns available, including chocolate eclairs and raisin buns.

Choose a selection of three for £6.34: various knitted cake patterns

So there you have it, a tasty selection for a Saturday morning. If you know of any other great patterns I should have included, do drop me a message in the comments.

Have a great weekend!

Related articles:

  • Find these ideas plus many (many, many) more planned craft projects on my Pinterest board I could make that
  • You know, it’s not just knitted foodstuffs that rock my boat. I have been known to make food from felt too, like this Breakfast fry up for Bacon week. (What can I say? I love a good “week.”)

A very important arrival

Last week I became an Aunt for the very first time.*

One of my sisters had a baby boy and I can report, completely objectively of course, that he is one of the cutest little babies ever to be born.

I’d been knitting a blanket for the new arrival for a ridiculously long time, but of course it still wasn’t finished when he arrived, so I did a bit of frantic knitting while we were staying in Shropshire and managed to finish the second half in approximately one hundredth of the time I did the first half.

Together with the blanket, I put together a whole little new baby present pack. Here’s a photo of the whole thing.

Homemade baby present box
A bunch of homemade clothes for a very special baby. (Not the shoes, though. I bought them. Though I have always wondered how hard it would be to make some of those little leather slip-ons…)

I made three little babygrow tops, in the same style as the baby carrot set I made for my own sproglet, and using my tried and tested method of iron-on transfer paper. (I’ve got a step by step tutorial for doing this, if you’re interested: how to transfer images to fabric.)

homeprinted babygrows
Good lord, it’s hard to photograph white babygrows, please excuse this over-exposed shot. Does anyone have any tips? I don’t think the white background helps, but when I put them on other colours, the contrast is too strong…

I used a vintage bicycle image (which you can find at the Graphics Fairy: vintage bike) because the baby’s Dad loves to cycle. I love the caption underneath: “the dandy horse.”

Home printed babygrow
The dandy horse

For the second babygrow, I found this lovely balloon image, with the word “TOYS” emblazoned across it (also from the Graphics Fairy: toys balloon). Perfect for any child, really…

Homeprinted babygrow
A hot air balloon and the promise of toys!

And the third babygrow reads, “D is for the dirigible, a motor driven balloon.” The baby’s name starts with D, as I’m sure you guessed, and this was far more appealing to me than “D is for dog”…

Homeprinted babygrow
D is for dirigible, not dog or drum or door…

Then I made another pair of the baby trousers in the same elephant fabric I used recently for Laura’s baby. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, I can’t stand the persistent blue-for-boys and pink-for-girls, so I always like to use any other colour that I possibly can.

Homemade baby trousers
Stomp, stomp stomp

And, in an amazing instance of learning from my own mistakes, I lined the elephants all up in a straight line this time, so none of them were diving off a cliff. Look, look!

Hem of elephant trousers
All in a straight line, yay me!

Finally, the blanket. It’s called the baby chalice blanket and is a free pattern by Karen S. Lauger. You can see full details on my Ravelry page: baby chalice blanket.

chalice blanket close up
This is a close up of the pattern

The pattern is really beautiful, when finished. Intricate, but yet quite bold too. I found it less pleasing to knit than my previous shale baby blanket which was exceedingly simple to remember, but the overall result is really lovely.

chalice baby blanket
Believe it or not, this is the photo I took after trying to arrange the blanket in a perfect rectangle. Perhaps I really needed to block it once more!

I used a Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino yarn, which is just lovely to knit with (though not cheap…) I think I could have used a slightly smaller pair of needles, actually, but it’s  never worth worrying about that sort of thing at the end of the knitting.

Chalice blanket
Just one more so you can see the pattern repeats again

She was pretty happy with the box, I think. Lots of things to dress my tiny nephew in, when he gets a little bigger…

*If that wasn’t exciting enough, I’ll also become a double Aunt in a few weeks. When I get married, my partner’s niece will officially become my niece too. (I already call her my niece, in fact, but if I do so in his earshot, he always says to me, “She’s not your niece, she’s my niece…”)

It’s been a little while since I’ve joined up with any link parties, but I’ve just seen a new one that’s started on one of my favourite blogs, Dream a Little Bigger, so I’m joining up there this week. Also back to my old favourite, Brag Monday at the Graphics Fairy. And finally remembering to link up with Handmade Monday, A UK-based link party (hooray! they are few and far between) on Handmade Harbour run by the very lovely Wendy Massey who I met earlier this year at the Pinterest party.

Related articles:

  • If you’re looking for something to make a new baby, I’ve got a free tutorial and pattern for a baby bib
  • Or take a look at my tutorials page for more projects that use lovely vintage images

Doggy draught excluders

You know how it’s scorchingly hot at the moment?

Dog draught excluder
Brrrr, feel the breeze from under that door…

Well, in a moment of topical genius, I’ve chosen today to talk about cold weather. About draughts, to be specific. Remember them? The whistling cold wind burrowing its way under your doors to negate any good your central heating is doing…

Sounds quite pleasant right now, in this sticky, muggy weather, but, no, dragging my brain back to wintertime I can just, just, remember that draughts are no fun whatsoever.

Draught excluders, on the other hand, are very huge amounts of fun.

Always one to overstretch myself, when I learnt to knit three years ago, one of the first things I made was not the obligatory scarf, but a dog draught excluder for my dog-obsessed sister. Did her doors have draughts? I neither knew nor cared when I came across the knitting pattern.

knitted dog draught excluder
Guarding the door like any good knitted dog would

Project details on Ravelry, for anyone interested: Dog draught excluder.

She has since got a real dog, but the draught excluder still has pride of place on her bed (he was never allowed onto the floor, he was too nice for that, she said…)

Then, a few months later, I found that my flat had a genuine draught under the door of my sitting room. It was like the arctic was entering the room under that door and the little tiny radiator could do nothing in defence.

The draught excluder had, of course, taken me a very, very, very long time to knit. (I think this was my introduction to all my homemade presents always being late.) So I decided to have a crack at sewing for the first time since I was a teenager.

I bought what I believed to be a legitimate vintage sewing pattern on eBay, which arrived and turned out to be an illegally photocopied pattern, with some greaseproof paper pattern pieces drawn in pencil. I would complain, but boy oh boy did I love the dog it made…

Dog draught excluder
Woof, woof. What a noble doggy face…

His body is from some gorgeous V&A quilts exhibition fabric (sadly no longer seems to be available online). Then I used an old red top to make the underside of his ears. It took me an hour or so and I couldn’t believe how quickly and easily I could rustle something up compared to the hours needed for a knit project.

The little dog got lots of compliments, including one from a friend who had always been tempted by a Cath Kidston version but never wanted to pay the money for it. When she got married last year, I made another dog as a wedding present, just the same as this one, but with the bride and groom’s initials in felt stitched under one ear and the date of the wedding under the other…

And I’ve just completed a third doggy too, this time for my niece, another fan of the original mutt. This one is made from a different pattern from the same V&A quilting fabrics collection (this brown leaf design). He looks a little more genuinely doggy with the brown fabric, but I’ve put that lovely red under his ears as well.

Here he is snuggling up to a radiator.

Dog draught excluder
The warm sun, the warm radiator. This is a happy dog

Here is a glimpse of his ears:

dog draught excluder
What beautiful ears you have, my dear…

And here he is with his older, wiser friend…

Two dog draught excluders
Two friends together, just hanging out…

They’re cute aren’t they? I don’t think he’ll be my last one…

I wish I could even point you in the direction of the genuine pattern, but my photocopy is so bad I can’t tell where it is from. If by any weird and wonderful chance someone knows the answer, please do post a comment!

Related articles:

  • I’ve got to say, I think this is my favourite sewn thing ever, but if you want to take a look at some others, there’s a whole bunch of things in my sewing category

Falling water scarf

I love it when a knitting pattern has a good name.

My (relatively) recently completed Wurm hat carries a great moniker. Even though I had little to say about the project itself (“Knit a hat. Finished it. It is nice.”) I was tempted to write a blog post about it, just so I could call it A “wurm” and fuzzy feeling. Ha ha, I know, a comedian in the making right here.

Other great names I’ve knitted include the Shale baby blanket, the name of which manages to sound rugged and rural at the same time as cosy and warm. Oh, and if anyone out there is looking for a baby blanket pattern, I recommend this one.  Definitely the best one I’ve come across and it’s proved amazingly versatile and useful in the first six months of my little sproglet’s existence.

Shale baby blanket
Detail from my shale baby blanket. The daddy of all baby blankets (metaphorically speaking, I don’t think it’s actually spawned. Or if it has, it’s been very discreet about it…)

The Star crossed slouchy beret brings a touch of Shakespeare and ill-fated love to the otherwise prosaic act of keeping your head warm. (Though, sadly, I didn’t display similar levels of  genius when knitting it, instead messing up the cables…)

And it was partly the fabulous name of the Arsenic and old lace shawl that convinced me to cast on and tackle something way out of my knitting league. (Which reminds me: must dig that out of my project box and have a crack at finally finishing it…)

More successfully knitted than the last two examples, but just as pleasingly named, is the star of this post. Fresh off the needles, this falling water scarf.

Falling water scarf
Little droplets cascade down the scarf

This is a belated Christmas present for my godmother and I’m pretty pleased how it’s turned out. In my usual style, I woefully overestimated the amount of time I have for knitting and cast on in January, thinking I’d have it finished in a week, tops. Yeah. Five weeks later I’ve just sewn in the last end and blocked it.

I wouldn’t choose a brown for a scarf myself, but I know she wears browns and oranges the most, so I hope she likes it (and doesn’t think it’s too poo-coloured, ha ha…)

Falling water scarf
Please excuse the creases on my bed sheet behind the scarf…

The pattern, by Bonnie Sennott, is really simple to understand and quick to memorise. And, the staple of most good patterns as far as I’m concerned, free on Ravelry.

My yarn choice was probably a bit off. The last lace scarf I made ended up too fluffy, because I used wool with a lot of alpaca in it. This time, in response, I seem to have swung widely to the other extreme, choosing a crisp cotton glace by Rowan. The stitch definition is very clear but it’s not as soft (nor, I suspect, warm) as it would be if I’d stuck to wool.

You can see all the details at my Ravelry project page: falling water scarf.

So, now this is completed, I’ve got time to start on one of the excellent patterns in the retro Knitting in Vogue book I found second-hand. But which one, which one?

This article is linked up at today’s creative blogCRAFT, Keeping it simple crafts, the Shabby Nest, Romance on a Dime, Katie’s Nesting Spot and the Shabby Creek Cottage. Head over there to see what others have been up to this week.

Knitting in Vogue

When I moved south of the river last September (I mention this move a lot, don’t I? I clearly haven’t quite come to terms with being a South Londoner yet), I was somewhat disappointed to discover that there was not a single second hand bookshop in walking distance from my house.

Yes, I have two amazing independent book shops, so I’m not really complaining, but what with the whole maternity leave, not-earning-any-money malarkey, I did miss the brilliant, cheap second hand bookshop on Stoke Newington Church Street.

So, you can but imagine my delight to discover a teeny, tiny second hand shelf in Rye Books. (Which is, itself, something of a tiny, but absolutely excellent bookshop.)

Whatever delight you originally imagined, now double it, nay treble it, nay multiply it by a hundred, because this was what I found on said shelf:

Knitting in Vogue
Best second hand book find ever…

Knitting in Vogue, volume 2, from 1983. “Patterns from the ’20s to the ’80s for men and women.” And all fronted by what seems to be a dewy looking Andie MacDowell in a pastel pink number. Perhaps she knitted it herself?

Want to take a look inside? Of course you do…

The inside cover shows you how well-represented the 1980s are going to be, with this fetching pair in their fetching polo-necks:

Knitting in Vogue retro book
But you mean if I knit myself a polo-neck, I could look as glossy and in love as this? Let me at my needles now!

In fact, every pattern has the original photo from the decade it was released, along with a re-shot 1980s photo where the knitting has been “brought right into the current era” (okay, despite the quotes, those are still my words, but I bet it’s what they said to each other as they were brainstorming the photoshoot…)

Knitting in Vogue
But you mean this jumper could look as fashionable as this if it was worn by… …by a woman?

Needless to say, I prefer the original photos, especially those from the 1920s to 1940s. Especially those with dashing men riding bicycles in knitted wonders, looking catalogue-tastic.

Vintage knitted jumper
“This jumper? Oh it’s just something my wife made me while I was out cycling through meadows, what what…”

The big delight of the book though, wasn’t just how wonderfully retro all the pictures are, but the fact that I actually want to make every single pattern. There’s not a dud in here. Say what you like about the ’80s, but they clearly knew how to pick out a good knitting pattern. Here are a few more that look outright amazing…

Vintage knitting pattern
Awesome leaf pattern knitted cardie
Retro knitted twinset
Everybody needs at least one twinset in their life
Vintage aran jumper
The jumper, the belt, the bag – there is nothing about this I don’t love

Knitting in vogue? I certainly think so.

But tell me, which of these patterns should I cast on first?

Christmas knitting

The last few weeks in the run up to Christmas were filled with hectic present making. I ask you, what sort of moron decides it’s a good idea to make Christmas presents for every member of their family, when they have a four-month-old baby and a partner who is working late every evening? Oh. This sort of moron, it seems.

My Christmas good cheer was a little lacking, it has to be said, in the face of the crazed present making attempts. I would have thrown in the towel half way through, except I thought the people who landed homemade presents would be jealous of the people who got bought presents that would have been nicer.

Anyway, as is so often the case, despite despair during the making stage, I was pretty pleased with the end results once it was all finished.

Next year, though, I plan to avoid the late nights, strops at the sewing machine, cricks in the back, callouses on the fingers and general Grinch-like mood that started to appear when I realised I simply couldn’t finish everything on time, by saving the homemade presents for birthdays, so I just need to make something for one person at a time.

(I had briefly flirted with the idea of starting straightaway on next Christmas this January and trying to make one present a month in 2013 so I had a big stash by December time. Then I realised I didn’t want to be that person…)

All that said, I was pretty chuffed with the actual results of most of the presents I made, so I thought I’d share some details, photos and tutorials here over the next few weeks.

To begin with, a few pictures of my favourite part: the Christmas knitting. Ah, I love a bit of knitting and managed to rustle up three knitted presents that were finished on time. (Though there is a final one still on the needles.)

There must be something about Christmas and cabling that go together in my subconscious because I realise now that all of these are cabled patterns. What can I say? Snug and toasty always appeals in December.

If you like the look of these, I’ve put links to my Ravelry project pages for more information, as well as links direct to the patterns.

Hot water bottle cosy

Knitted hot water bottle cosyI am most delighted with this little cutie from all my festive knitting. Simple cable pattern and I tied a white ribbon on the top as well (but didn’t photograph that for some reason). It knit up really quickly and looked nice and professional by the time it was finished. Though there is often a pleasing “homemade” look when something is, erm, homemade, I do like things to look as if you could buy them in the shops as well. Or at least, not like they could have been made by a five-year-old. This definitely passed both those tests.

If you fancy trying out a hot water bottle cover, I did make a few modifications to the written pattern, see my Ravelry hot water bottle cosy page for more info.

The pattern is available for free on Ravelry and is by Christiana.

“Bella’s mittens” for my sister

Bella's mittens knit by Wolves in London
There was another one, of course, but my other hand was busy taking the photo

I thought these mittens were quite awesome and should keep my sister’s hands warm when she’s out walking her dog. I hadn’t seen the sort of horseshoe cable pattern before but loved the end result. The wool isn’t the most glamorous (it’s quite a cheap acrylic one that I’d had in my stash for a while as I was trying not to buy any new yarn for these presents) but the colour is lovely and quite heritagey and it’ll be easy to wash too. Oh and I’d made her a teapot cosy in the same wool a few years ago, so as an added bonus she can be matching to her tea cosy, ha ha. Always essential.

More pics on my Ravelry Bella’s mittens page. The pattern is available for free and is by Marielle Henault.

I’d had this pattern saved in my Ravelry queue for quite a while now (and mentioned it as one of my planned projects to make in my Top 20 tutorials for Christmas presents) so I was delighted these turned out so well.

Cabled hat for my other (soon-to-be) sister-in-law

Slouchy cable hat
A little snap of me modelling the cable hat

I knit this cabled slouchy hat in a nice aran weight wool in a sort of sea blue colour, picked up at my local wool shop.  (Incidentally, when I say “sea blue” I mean UK sea blue, not tropical sea blue. It’s a lovely deep grey-blue that looks like it could sit moodily at the bottom of some English cliffs.) The colour is stunning, but I did actually mess up the cables a bit, so they’re not quite in the right places. That’ll teach me not to bother to look at the pattern after the first repeat. I’m not overwhelmingly happy with it, as a result, but I didn’t have time to frog and re-knit. This was definitely my biggest knit disappointment, as I’d spent a while trying to choose the perfect pattern and the perfect yarn, only to knit in a far from perfect way. Sigh.

More info on my Ravelry page for this Star crossed slouchy beret and again this pattern by Natalie Larson is available for free on Ravelry.

His birthday scarf

It was an uphill slog at times, but I did manage to finish the birthday scarf on time for my partner’s birthday, hooray. (See my original post, Three secret projects, for the very beginning of this project…) Of course, almost every day I regretted having chosen a moss stitch pattern. A moss stitch pattern, I ask you, from someone who has limited amounts of time and is far from the world’s quickest knitter.

I tried to put in a pattern repeat a day, once the baby was in bed and before Jamie got back from work. This meant I didn’t do anything useful like clean the house, do the washing up, move the baby toys off the floor. Nope, I just sat there, furiously knitting knitting knitting, stuffing the scarf under a sofa cushion to hide it as soon as I heard the door opening.

But as I sewed in the last end yesterday, I knew it had been worthwhile, for this is one beautiful, luxurious, heavenly-detailed scarf.

Purple knitted scarf
The completed scarf: lovely detailed pattern and the actual wool colour is a little richer than it seems in this picture

The Debbie Bliss cashmerino aran is absolutely gorgeous too, so soft and warm. I can’t speak enough praise of the pattern by Monika Steinbauer, it really looks elegant and yet somehow a bit manly too.

I think if I made it again, I would be tempted to lengthen it, as it is quite short. In fact, I was tempted to lengthen it this time, but ran out of yarn and time, so left it as the pattern instructed.

It’s about to get wrapped up in time for his birthday on Saturday. Fingers very tightly crossed that it will be a hit…

Knitted scarf
Lovely intricate geometric pattern. Best of all, you only need to know how to knit and purl to make it

There is more info on my Ravelry page and the pattern, by Monika Steinbauer, is here: “His scarf” the cashmere one.

Of the other two secret planned projects, the lunch bag has been a no-go. In fact, I have to admit, I had even forgotten I was planning on making it until I read back on the original post before writing this tonight. The best laid plans of mice and men, eh?

But the T-shirts are still in the pipeline: I’ve bought three cheap T-shirts from Primark, ordered myself some transfer paper and, ahem, am currently awaiting delivery of a printer from Amazon since I didn’t actually have one in the house before. Yes, that’s the sort of level of optimism I have when I set out planning these projects: aim to make something you don’t have the basic equipment in place for.

Still, the printer is due to arrive tomorrow (Friday) and his birthday is the following day, so I am hoping I can master everything I need to know in time. Watch this space…

Three secret projects

As well as my homemade Christmas, I’m working on some other homemade presents too, these for my partner’s birthday in November.

This is proving trickier than it used to be, as my time for making anything during the day is a bit limited. Somehow, looking after the baby, taking a walk and remembering to get washed and eat lunch seem to easily take up 12 hours. So I really only have the 30 minutes or so between putting the baby to bed and Jamie getting home from work to actually get anything done.

Still, as ever undaunted by the genuine lack of time to finish what I’m planning, I’ve got three secret projects that I want to make him by the time his birthday arrives in the middle of November.

The first is a knitted scarf, smart enough for him to wear to work when the winter starts to get cold. I’ve found a free pattern for the appropriately named “His (Birthday) scarf” (pattern found through Ravelry, but I’ve linked direct to the blog it appears on). I’ve splashed out on some Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran yarn – normally I’m too mean to buy Debbie Bliss yarn as I do think it’s very expensive, but since this is for a special birthday present I thought I could give it a whirl. And oh my goodness, having knitted the first four rows, I am amazed at how gorgeous the yarn is… Really soft, but it doesn’t split while you’re knitting at all, and it’s lovely and solid on my bamboo needles. I’m using a 4.5mm needle, though the yarn calls for 5mm and the pattern for 4mm (I thought I’d take the middle road, sounds sensible, no?) So far, it’s looking gorgeous, will update on progress…

The second project is to go with some bento boxes that I’ve ordered him through Amazon. I thought that the boxes are all well and good, but he’ll still want a bag to put them in, rather than just sticking them straight into his rucksack. So, at the moment, I’m torn between two different patterns that I’ve got pinned on my Pinterest boards. The first is a bag from the long thread and the second is a similar version but made with oilcloth by Tonya Staab: handmade lunch bag. Ordinarily, I’d go for the oil cloth version without thinking, but I do know that I want to make this for him with my Spoonflower fabric, so I’m umming and ahhing over this.

The final project is the most fun: ironing on some sort of awesome old-fashioned marine related picture to a T-shirt. Something like this, from the New York Public Library archives.

Octopus image from New York Public Library digital archive
Love the vintage marine vibe going on here

Awesome? Awesome.

If I get these all finished, I’ll update with more info and pictures.