Thursday 11 November 2021

Wee Houses


It's cast on day for the Wee Houses scarf and cowl in the Stylecraft Yarns Make Along Group. Both the scarf and cowl are knitted in the round and are suitable for knitters with some experience with stranded knitting where different colours of yarn are 'carried' across the back of the work.

You can find the pattern on Ravelry and lots more details about it. If you join the Make Along Group you will find a discount code valid for use on Ravelry from 1st November to 30th November 2021. The pattern is also available from Etsy (but no discount code).

The scarf and cowl both use Highland Heathers DK, which currently comes in a range of 19 rich, tweed effect shades.

The scarf pattern gives the opportunity to use up lots of small quantities of spare yarn...

...decorated with pom poms.

The cowl is a shorter wider version of the scarf. It slips on over the head and is worn snug to the neck. Thanks to the lovely Juliet Bernard for knitting and choosing the colours of this cowl. 

The lovely Fiona of Yarn Etc knitted this great cowl using her alternative colour choices which have an autumnal theme. Thank you Fiona.

The Wee House pattern is the latest and most colourful in a number of designs which have been inspired by a little red roof croft house on the Applecross Peninsular in north west Scotland. 

It seems a long time ago since the Red Roof Croft House was published in 2010.

Then followed the Mini Red Roof Croft House knitting pattern in 2011.

The Home Sweet Home Tea Cosy in 2012 featured a house motif which forms the basis for the scarf and cowl. This design is further developed in 2013 on a cushion cover (see further down). 

'Home' Cushion September 2013. The house motif from the tea cosy in 2012 is repeated in rows of neutral shades of grey 'strips' across the cushion with dots of different colours added along the 'window lines'. More photos and different views of the cushion are on Flickr here.

The Wee Houses pattern combines elements of the Home Sweet Home Tea Cosy and the Home cushion striping effect. Some solid lines were included between the rows of houses to add more colour contrast. 

For more information about the Stylecraft Make Along check out this link here.

Sunday 24 October 2021

Transitions Shawlette Pattern update


There's an updated version of the Transitions Shawl pattern.  New instructions have been added for a Shawlette. It's a smaller version of the original asymmetric shawl but long enough to wrap around and secure with a loose knot.

Knitted with a new yarn called Charm, which I received from Stylecraft as a sample. It's a blend of acrylic, wool and mohair with colour swirl shade changes. I love the colours of this particular combination called 'Spring Dawn' and enjoyed seeing the changes as the knitting progressed. Charm is a 4ply, light and soft yarn perfect for knitting shawls and accessories. There are 5 more different shade combinations in the range.        

The main part of the shawl is knitted in garter stitch with a simple eyelet edging, finished with a picot cast off. The colour changes are most evident and effective on the edging detail, see the image below.

The edging detail is also featured on the original shawl, seen below. 

Ever tried a picot cast off? 

There's a tutorial for a knitted picot cast off, you can find it here on my blog. Alternatively, there's a short video on my Instagram account - @handknittedthings showing the technique in detail.

The updated knitting pattern for the Transitions Shawl and Shawlette can be found in my Ravelry and Etsy shops.

Wednesday 10 March 2021

Knitted Toys and Smaller Needle Size

There's a lot written about gauge and tension in relation to knitting which can be quite intimidating to the beginner knitter. Where toys are concerned, the good news is, you don't have to worry too much about gauge and tension except where you want something to be a specific size.

Generally, for toys the most important consideration is to prevent the stuffing from coming out or showing through the knitting. Using a needle size smaller than the one recommended for the size of yarn is the most popular way to achieve a closer knit fabric. There are other factors which can influence the end result of a piece of knitted fabric, for example, how tightly a person holds the yarn, how a person holds their needles and the type of material the needles are made from eg. metal, bamboo, wood, plastic.  

For this experiment I used Naturals Organic Cotton double knitting by Stylecraft who kindly sent me samples. The cotton is washable, has a lovely bounce to it when knitted up and there are 38 gorgeous shades. I particularly love the pretty sample colours and how they worked together: Rosewood (purple), Sage (pale blue) and Bone (white). (The embroidery on the houses is the same yarn and gives a hint of the other lovely shades in the range).

I used my pattern Mini Red Roof Croft House and chose three smaller size needles than the 4mm recommended on the yarn ball band

For each main house colour (seen on the walls) a swatch was made in stocking stitch and the number of stitches and rows were counted.


House Number One...

Even though I'd used a 3.25mm needle the gauge was very similar to the one recommended on the ball band. So the way I knit was influencing the end result. That said the fabric created was great for my toy. I could see a tiny bit of the filling through the garter stitch roof but none through the stocking stitch sections. (Gauge was 22st and 34 rows over 10 cm). House approximately 13 cm wide x 10 cm high.

House number Two...

This was knitted with 3mm needles and turned out slightly smaller than the first (purple) house. (Gauge was 23 stitches and 36 rows). House size approximately 11.5 cm wide x 9 cm high.

House Number 3...

The third house was completed with 2.75mm needles, the result being definitely smaller than my first (purple) house. The white house has the tightest fabric and had the best surface for sewing the embroidered flowers on the front. Finished house size 10 cm x 8 cm.

The size of each house reduced by about 1cm in hight and width each time the needle went down a size.

In summary, a tight fabric is good for toy making. Experiment yourself with a smaller needle size to see how that affects the end result.

Enjoy your knitted toy making!