Category Archives: Knitting

Moths *are* wankers

My wedding plans have hit a slight bump in that Ricky’s suit has been eaten by moths. Luckily it was only cheap, but still bloody annoying – if only because I’m going to have to make him go shopping for a new one (a task that he views with as much anticipation as intensive dentistry).

As I’ve previously mentioned, we are plagued by the furry little bastards and I live in fear of them getting into my knitting cupboard. They’ve already ruined the carpet in our bedroom and a pair of socks made with insanely expensive yarn (Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock! It costs £15 a skein – I cried when I found the holes).

So I was overjoyed to find a badge that summed up my feelings towards the shiny fuckers:

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These are from Prick Your Finger, for the princely sum of £2 each. Buy yours now and join the crusade against the little bastards.

Previous anti-moth ranting:

Hot Little Hands – fingerless gloves with free pattern

To be honest, there hasn’t been much knitting going on around here lately. I’ve cranked out a few pairs of socks, and embarked on a slightly ridiculous cabled bag project, but Igot distracted by knitting simple fingerless mitts out of a gorgeous ball of yarn I picked up on one of my Canadian trips:

It's the reddish one in the middle labelled "Fame Trend". Terrible name.

They’re called Hot little Hands because I swear I thought the label on the yarn said “Flame” rather than “Fame”. Doh!

I turned the single ball into two pairs of mitts – one that comes almost up to the elbows, to avoid that unpleasant chill-up-your-coat-sleeves feeling, and a slightly shorter pair.  I’ve still got  a bit of it left, maybe enough for some socks for my little niece – talk about value for money!

Hot little hands - short version

Short version - wrist length

Hot little hands - long version

Long version - almost to the elbow

Here’s a rough approximation of the pattern. This isn’t terribly clear, but experienced knitters should get on OK with it:

Hot Little Hands mitts (short/long version, ladies one size)

Any sock yarn will do. You’ll need roughly 50g per pair of mitts. You will also need a set of 2.5mm double-pointed needles and a set of 2.75mm double-pooints.

  • With 2.5mm double-pointed needles, cast on 52 stitches. Join in the round and work K2 P2 rib for 25 rounds (long version) or 20 rounds (short version).
  • Switch to 2.75 mm needles. Knit 60 rounds (long version) or 25 rounds (short version).
  • Start to make thumb gusset: Next round (thumb round 1) increase 1 by knitting into the front and back of each stitch (Kfb). Place a marker after these 2 stitches and continue to knit around. Knit 2 more rounds.
  • Next round (thumb round 4), Kfb twice (ie into the 2 stitches before your marker – you should now have 4 stitches before the marker). Knit 2 rounds.
  • Next round (thumb round 7), Kfb, K2, Kfb (you should now have 6 stitches before marker). Knit 2 rounds.
  • Continue as established, knitting into the front and back of the first and last stitch of the marked section and knitting 2 rounds in between each increase round until you have 24 stitches in the marked section (75 stitches in total – 24 thumb stitches and 51 hand stitches). Once you have reached 24 stitches, knit 2 rounds after the increase round as per established pattern.
  • Next round, slip these 24 thumb stitches onto some waste yarn and knit across the gap, pulling the yarn tightly to join between the end of the last round and the first stitch past the thumb. Knit 1 round.
  • Next round, when you come to the “gap” where the thumb stitches are, pick up the small strand of yarn across the gap between the needles and knit into the back of it (i.e. twisting it to avoid making a hole), increasing 1 stitch and tightening up the inevitable slack yarn across the gap (total of 52 stitches in hand section).
  • Knit 20 rounds.
  • Switch to 2.5mm needles. K2P2 rib for 10 rounds. Cast off.
  • For thumb, transfer thumb stitches onto 2.5mm double-pointed needles. Rejoin yarn and knit these stitches, picking up and knitting extra stitches as necessary in the gap to fill in where the thumb meets the hand. I usually pick up about 6 stitches here.
  • Change K2P2 rib, decreasing where necessary to get down to 24 stitches. This takes a bit of figuring out – for example, if you’ve picked up 6 stitches, you’ll need to do something like K2tog, K2tog, P2tog, P2tog, K2tog, K2tog across the bit where the thumb meets the hand (6 stitches decreased).
  • K2P2 for 8 rounds in total (including decrease round). Cast off.
  • Weave in ends, tightening up any holes where the thumb meets the hand.
  • Put on and snuggle!

A surfeit of socks

There hasn’t been much knitting content on the blog lately, but that doesn’t mean I’ve not been knitting – far from it.  Over the past few weeks I’ve managed to churn out three pairs of socks, and I present them here in all their glory.

First, a pair of Bimbling socks (free pattern and mini-cable tutorial here):

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Next, a two-colour, trying-to-use-up-the-leftover-balls-of-yarn pair:

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And finally, a rather lovely stripey pink pair. I’ve got enough yarn to make another pair of these, so watch this space for details about how you can WIN THEM. Oh yes.

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Sock for the day

Sock for the day

Sock for the day

Twitter is a funny thing.  A week or so ago I found myself in the Green Room at Radio 4, in my day-job capacity as a spokesperson for Cancer Research UK.

As is my habit, if I have any downtime (in this case, waiting for BBC Radio Berkshire to get their act together…) I’m usually found with some knitting in my hands. On this occasion, it was a rather fetching dark/pale green striped sock.

Unbeknowst to me, this led to the following tweet from Radio 4’s Nick Sutton (editor of World At one, among other things): “Just popped in to the @r4today green room to find a bishop and a lady knitting a sock.”

Having established that I was the knitter, rather than being the bishop, the Radio 4-following Twitterati then demanded pictures of the sock, updates on the sock’s progress, hand-knitted socks of their own, and even the replacement of Thought For The Day with Sock For The Day.

Sadly even at my prolific speed, I can’t knit a new sock every day. However, the stripey socks are finished, along with a lovely mint-humbug-coloured pair for Ricky (which ended up being knitted twice – long story, can’t be bothered to explain but it involves blind optimism and bad maths).

Socks socks socks

More socks - not quite one per day though

At the top of the pic, you can see the embryonic form of the next pair. These are going to be Bimbling Socks – although checking against the pattern, I see I’ve already made them too wide. Damn.

Crafty Christmas

Just a quick roundup of some of the crafty gifts I gave this year at a lovely dinner party hosted by our friends Paul and Megumi.  So much absolutely amazing home-cooked Japanese food (and plum wine) that we practically rolled onto the bus home.

Socks for Amy:

Socks for Amy

Socks for Naomi. These were knitted right down to the wire – I was literally out the door to catch the bus the second I had weaved in the ends:

Socks for Naomi(possibly not the socks’ – or Naomi’s – most flattering angle. Really need  blocking too. Naomi, not the socks.)

A cute crochet hat for Megumi:

Megumi and Naomi

Marzipan moons (marzipan discs dipped in melted Maya Gold chocolate):

marzipan moons

Apologies for the slightly fuzzy pics. I blame the surfeit of Japanese plum wine and hot sake…

EXTERMIKNIT! The awesome knitted Dalek

This is probably the coolest thing I have ever made in my entire life:

Knitted Dalek

EXTERMIKNIT!! EXTERMIKNIT!!!

I knitted the cuddly evil overlord for a friend’s child – who is apparently a Dr Who obssessive – from this awesome pattern by Penwiper. Turns out there are plenty of Dr Who fans on Twitter as well (who’d have thought it?!) and my Twitpic of it got a huge response.  If only I’d known that the way to generate a huge following was not to witter on about music and cakes, but to post about Wanky Balls and knitted Daleks…

Anyway, this was a fun but tricky knit, with a whole bunch of techniques thrown in – provisional cast-on, corrugated (2-colour) rib, bobbles, i-cord, grafting, knitting a plunger and so on.  It took 2 balls of King Cole Merino (one blue, one black), 4mm needles (16 inch circular and dpns) for the body and 2.75mm dpns for the appendages. Be warned – there was barely any of the blue yarn left by the end, and luckily I think I accidentally missed one of the long blue rows at the beginning, otherwise I might have run out.

The finished Dalek is impressively large, standing at around 9 or 10 inches high, and he looks even more awesome in real life than in the pics.

Happy Christmas, Lucas – hope this brings you much joy 🙂

Knitted Dalek 2

I love the expression on his furry, evil face

PS: No, I’m not selling them. No, I won’t knit you one. Knit your own, or bribe another knitter to do it.

Fakeisle socks

I can’t quite believe how long its taken me to finish this pair of socks. I started them way back in the early summer, but stopped knitting for a while when I started having problems with my hands. But according to my specialist, knitting is apparently OK! Still took me several months to get them done though…

Mum's Fakeisle socks

The pattern is loosely taken from Wendy Johnson’s new book, Toe Up Socks for Every Body. I personally don’t much like toe-up socks, so I adapted the pattern to my usual toe-down method. I wish I’d done a different heel though, as the standard heel flap/gusset technique I usually use looks a bit flabby. And nobody wants a flabby gusset now, do they?

I also whipped up a  pair of plain ol’ vanilla socks. I’m quite pleased with the way I managed to match up the self-striping yarn in both socks.

Mum's socks

Both pairs were destined to be my mum’s new welly socks  – she’s modelling them in the pics above.

My parents recently suffered a house fire, and in the ensuing damage, chaos and cleanup, the last pair of welly socks I made her went missing. The whole family is still coming to terms with what happened. New socks aren’t much, but I guess they’re a start.

A hat for Duck

More knitting – this time in the form of a hat for my housemate Duck. There’s a back story here, because Duck’s mum bought him a nice warm knitted hat for the winter. It was a bit baggy, so Duck (for some inexplicable reason) decided to iron it. It didn’t help, and the hat ended up impossibly big and unwearable.

So I agreed to make a copy. Ta da!

Duck hat

Cosy!

He’s under strict instructions not to iron it 🙂

Here’s a rough approximation of the pattern:

A hat for Duck

Requirements:

  • King Cole merino DK – 1 ball each in black, clerical and aran.
  • 16 nch 4mm circular needle
  • 1 set 4mm dpns

Pattern:

  • Cast on 120 stitches in aran.
  • K2p1 rib for approximately 11.5cm (roughly 36 rows).
  • Reverse direction (ie so it looks like it’s p2k1 on the outside), switch to clerical and knit around for roughly 9cm (approx 26 rows).
  • Switch to black. Knit around for roughly 8.5cm (approx 24 rows)
  • K2tog all the way round (60sts remain)
  • Knit 10 rounds.
  • Switch to dpns. K2tog all the way round (30sts remain).
  • Knit 5 rounds.
  • K2tog all the way round (15sts remain).
  • Break yarn and thread through remaining stitches, pulling tight to close.
  • Sew in ends, sew on bobble pilfered from original hat.

Bimbling socks – with pattern

I finished these socks a while ago but forgot to blog about them. Because they were mostly knitted at the Sunrise and Meadowlands festivals earlier in the summer, I’ve called them “Bimbling socks”, after the Bimble Inn stage at Sunrise.

Bimbling around

Here’s the pattern, hope it’s at least vaguely accurate. It’s pretty easy if you’re familiar with socks, and the mini-cables are fun.

Bimbling Socks, by Kat Arney

To fit an average lady-foot.

You will need:

  • 100g sock yarn (I used less than this)
  • 1 set 2.5mm dpns
  • 1 set 2.75mm dpns
  • Embroidery needle

Mini-cable:

Knit into the second stitch on your needle, then manoeuvre your needle round and knit into the first stitch (without slipping any stitches off the needles in the process). Slip both stitches off the needle togther. I’ve done a few pics at the end of the post to show the process.

Abbreviations:

  • K=knit
  • P=purl
  • Sl=slip 1
  • K2 tog=knit 2 together
  • SSK= Slip 2 stitches as if to knit, then knit those 2 stitches togther
  • P2tog= purl 2 together

Instructions:

Cast on 64 stitches onto 2.5mm dpns, join for knitting in the round.

K2P2 rib for 25 rounds

Change to 2.75mm needles

Knit 2 rounds of K2P2 rib.

Next round, mini-cable, p2, repeat to end.

K2P2 rib for 3 rounds

Repeat pattern: 3 round of rib, 1 round mini-cabling until leg is as long as you want – I did15 repeats of the cable pattern.

Heel flap: Shuffle the first 30 stitches of the round onto one needle – you’ll do the heel flap on these. Put the other 34 stitches on another needle and ignore them for a bit.  On the 30 heel stitches: Sl1, K29, turn; Sl1, p29, turn. Repeat for a further 28 rows.

Turn heel: K17, SSK, K1, turn. Sl1, p5, p2tog, p1, turn. Sl1, knit to 1 stitch before gap, SSK, K1, turn. Sl1, purl to 1 stitch before gap, p2tog, p1, turn. Repeat in this way until all stitches are used up. You should have 18 stitches left from the heel flap, ending with a purl row.

Pick up and knit 20 stitches along the side of the heel flap (I like to pick up quite a few in the ‘gap’ between the gusset and the instep), knit 34 stitches of cable pattern across instep (maintaining pattern as before), then pick up and knit another 20 stitches up the other side of the heel flap (92 stitches).

Gusset: Knit to 2 stitches before the first purls of the cable pattern, K2tog. Knit 34 stitches of cable pattern, maintaning pattern as set, SSK, knit the rest of the round.

Next round: knit all stitches of sole and gusset (split across 2 needles), knit 34 stitches of cable pattern across instep (on 1 needle).

Continue as set, decreasing on alternate rounds until you’re back down to 64 stitches in total.

Continue for foot, plain knitting over 30 stitches of the sole, and cable patterning over the 34 stitches on top of the foot until the foot is about an inch or so shorter than the foot of the intended recipient, ending at the end of the cable pattern section.

Decrease for toe: Shuffle your stitches so that the first and last purl stitches of the cable pattern are moved onto their neighbouring needles. You should now have 32 stitches on the needle for the top of the foot, and 16 on each needle for the bottom of the foot.

Beginning with the last purl stitch of the cable pattern, (K1, SSK, K26, K2tog, K1) twice. Knit 1 round. (K1, SSK, K24, K2tog) twice, knit one round. Repeat decreases as set to 32 stitches (16 on top needle, 8 on the other two – move these stitches onto 1 needle, so you have 16 on each).

Graft toe stitches (see instructions here) and sew in the ends.

Knit second sock to match, obviously…

Mini-cable mini-tutorial:

Knit into the second stitch on your needle first - it's a wee bit fiddly, so make sure you've gone right through the stitch

The second stitch has been knitted - don't slip any stitches off the needle

Then manoeuvre the point of your RH needle round and knit into the first stitch as you would normally

Both stitches have now been knitted (the new stitches are on the RH needle). You can now slip the two 'used' stitches off the LH needle

Ta-dah!!

Gothy gloves for Emily

I know there hasn’t been a lot of knitting content on this blog lately, but that’s not to say I haven’t been busy with the ol’ sticks and string.

I’ve got a few projects to blog about over the next couple of weeks, starting with these rather lovely fingerless two-colour gloves that I made for my friend Emily:

Emily's gloves

Emily's gloves. A little bit gothy, I think, but in a nice way.

The picture in the background is one of her masterpieces (NB she’s a nanny, not a faux-naif painter), along with the assorted heaps of shabby crap that adorn my house.

No pattern for this, I’m afraid, as I broadly made them up as I went along. They’re based on another pair I made-up-as-I-went-along that I use for playing the harp in draughty studios and at chilly wedding receptions. If I get round it it, I’ll write one up.

I made them out of the leftovers of another knitting project (more of that later), using wonderful King Cole superwash DK merino from Texere. It’s pure wool, but you can bung it in the wash. How good is that?

And when I say leftovers, I mean leftovers. It was a close run thing finishing these, and I had to do a certain amount of unravelling and reknitting of the thumb and hand cuffs to eke out enough light grey. Here’s the entire final remains – less than a metre or so of light grey left:

leftovers

The leftovers

Emily is a very lucky lady. Not only has she got some toasty handknitted gloves, but we also played The Cure for her in the latest Shady Ladies podcast. You owe me cocktails, lady 🙂