The Natalie jumper from “Knit Vintage” is finished. It took me over 4 hours to sew up – always the least attractive job. I love the look of it but I’m worried that the yarn is too soft to be hardwearing, now that the grease has been washed out of it. This is definitely not a sweater to be worn while gardening, playing with the cat or doing anything else that might result in the fabric catching and creating a hole. I’ll save it for best, which won’t be difficult because it’s a sight more elegant than most of my knitwear.
Knitted egg cosies
I’ve temporarily filled the yarn-and-needles-shaped hole that this completion has made in my life by knitting egg cosies. They will be filled with fair-trade chocolate eggs and sold in support of the Joanna Project in the run-up to Easter. Quite a few local knitters are making the cosies and some people have been incredibly creative. Like the Innocent hats, it’s surprising what you can achieve with a few grams of yarn if you have an artistic bent. I, unfortunately, have an engineering brain not an arty one. Show me something and I can generally work out how it’s constructed, but I have to rely on others’ talents in the creativity department. I usually just follow the instructions and maybe tweak them a little to make my project unique.
I’ve been tempted by some fabulously quirky egg cosies from Twins but I can’t justify buying the pattern for $8 US when it’s a charity project, I’d rather give the money to the charity. Instead, I’m having a go at knitting something similar instead, from my own design – how difficult can it be? Probably very and there’s a distinct possibility I’ll produce malformed cosies that languish unsold despite their child-friendly filling, but I feel I must have a try.
The bunny egg cosies provided an opportunity to give my new all-the-way-from-China bobble makers a trial run. The process of making each bobble was amazingly quick, I wish I’d spent my £1.89 (or whatever it cost for several different sizes of the things) years ago. Honestly, it’s worth it even if you think you’ll never need to make another bobble, for the aggravation it saves. The experience was so pleasurable and stress-free that I’m looking around now for other things I can sew bobbles onto. There’s a deer that has moved into a wooded area about 20 metres from our back door and every time I walk that way I think it’s moved elsewhere until it leaps up virtually at my feet and bounds away, white tail bobbing. A deer egg cosy would give me a reason to make more bobbles, but I think that’s beyond me.
Maybe a frog would work, I have lots of green yarn left from last year’s Tour de France bunting, and yellow chicks could be on the cards too. The red and white would make a fly agaric toadstool.
I was wondering how to knit the almost-spherical frog eyes from the Twins froggy egg cosy. A lace shawl specialist in my knitting group suggested looking at the disappearing loop cast-on. I consulted my new circular knitting book, Circular Knitting Workshop, which mentions it but disappointingly doesn’t show how to do it. It only provided a link to a TECHknitting tutorial, which I couldn’t follow at all. I generally prefer a written tutorial with photos or drawings to a video, it’s quicker to follow and there’s no need to keep stopping and re-running the video at the tricky bits – not easy with a needle in each hand. But it does depend very much on the quality of the tutorial, and I’ve never had problems with TECHknitting before. Maybe it’s just me, but after 10 minutes of studying the instructions and trying it out with needles and yarn I still couldn’t get it to work.
I resorted to googling for Youtube videos and found one that shows both the Techknitter-style disappearing loop cast-on and a very similar one. Best of all, it shows the two techniques clearly and repeatedly, and I was able to follow it with no trouble. I love this closed cast-on! After getting a couple of rounds in, you just pull up the “tail” and the hole vanishes completely, provided you have cast on using needles a couple of sizes smaller than the rest of the knitting. I will use it for top-down hats and bottom-up bags.
The black pupil is embroidered on afterwards, in case you’re wondering. The white side is the cast-on side.
Ever since I attended a wonderful Saturday workshop at Bradford College about 10 years ago, I try to make the greetings cards I send to family and close friends. I made my first pop-up one last week, using a tutorial I found in the Flowerbug’s Inkspot blog. It’s a very simple concept but quite effective, I think. Unlike so many card designs, it’s suitable for boys and men, and because it only needs small quantities of the patterned papers it’s good for using up scraps. I’ve added it to my repertoire of the designs that I make repeatedly.