Yarn Along February 2018

What I'm reading (The TimeKeeper by Emily Rodda) and knitting at the moment

It’s Yarn Along time again! I’m really excited to share my February Yarn Along with you today, because I’ve been doing some designing of late. This is an initiative started by Ginny at Small Things, where internet people share what they’re knitting/crocheting and reading for the month. If you’d like to add your own, click on the pic below:

My Current Read

The Timekeeper by Emily Rodda

Actually I just finished this book this afternoon! Thanks to a cranky teething baby who fell asleep on me so I had some time on my hands. The book is called The Timekeeper by one of my favourite authors, Emily Rodda, not to be confused with The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom (which I haven’t read but I did love reading Tuesdays with Morrie). The Timekeeper is a kids’ book, which is often my preference for fiction (although I do enjoy a good crime novel too), and the sequel to the book Finders Keepers. The Timekeeper follows the story of Patrick, who, after discovering and befriending citizens of a parallel universe when he was recruited for a TV show on the other side (in Finders Keepers), is charged with saving both universes before a rift between the universes brings them both close to catastrophe. If you’d like to check the book out, you can see it on Book Depository by clicking here.

What I’m Knitting

My experimenting with a new mitten pattern

This is the bit that I’m really excited about. I bought some new yarn recently and I’ve been experimenting with some stitch patterns. I’ve been inspired by a pattern from the Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary by Wendy Bernard, but as you can see in the photo above I’ve been changing things up and making it my own as the swatch grows. I’m planning some new fingerless mittens because I loved designing and making the French Rhubarb mittens so much. Some variant of the pattern above will feature on the cuffs. I love these colours together and I love the feel of the yarn. I’ve also been doing a tension swatch to figure out the best needle size to use, and after that’s done I’m about ready to start pattern writing and knitting a prototype! It’s so much fun to design something new. If you haven’t done it before, I’d encourage you to find a cool stitch pattern, get your needles, and experiment with modifying it to add your own touch.

What are you knitting and reading at the moment? I’d love to know in the comments, and check out Ginny’s blog and add your own Yarn Along to the list too!

Peace,

Kat

Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means I will receive a commission if you click on the affiliate link and purchase the item.

 

White Wedding Washcloth – Free Pattern + Blooper Photo!

Photo of washcloth with text caption

I have another free pattern for you – the White Wedding Washcloth pattern! I decided to design this because, well, I needed a washcloth to use to clean myself in the shower. Shortly after I learned to knit, I made myself this one called Simple Clean, from the book AwareKnits by Vickie Howell and Adrienne Armstrong. I LOVE this book and pored over it and borrowed it several times from the library because I was a poor student and I hate spending money at the best of times. I made so many things from that book. Maybe I should do a book review on that book – let me know in the comments if you’d like me to!

That old washcloth from that book is the only one I had. I like washcloths more than a bath puff thing because a hand-knitted cotton washcloth is machine washable and lasts a long time, unlike those puffs which you need to replace often. Washcloths also dry well if you wring them out, meaning you’re not washing your body with a bacteria party every time you shower.

So anyway, that washcloth was made back in about 2011, maybe late 2010. After 7+ years of daily use, my washcloth went from looking like this one, to looking like this:

Old tattered washcloth

Yeah it’s not good. So I needed another one. Queue the White Wedding Washcloth. I think the White Wedding Washcloth would also make a beautiful yet impractical decorative handkerchief as a bridal accessory.

White Wedding Washcloth

It is a SUPER simple pattern. It uses the same stitch pattern from my French Rhubarb Fingerless Mittens. I called the pattern the Eyelet Rib Pattern, but it’s not exactly a rib. It’s yarn overs alternating with knit stitches and central double decreases. Very simple, and a good way for beginner knitters to step a tentative foot into the thrilling waters of lace knitting.

White Wedding Washcloth Black background

Why the Name?

The yarn I used is actually left over from my wedding dress! If you’d like to read about how I knitted my wedding dress, I wrote blog posts about it which you can find here, here, here, and here. I bought way too much of this yarn for my dress. I’ve already used heaps of it to make my daughter’s baptism gown and a matching bonnet, and after this washcloth I still have over a ball left over.

The yarn is called Milford Satin and it’s a 2ply mercerised cotton. I used white. It is a beautiful yarn, shiny but doesn’t boast about itself like a Lurex yarn. They have their place, for sure, but not on my wedding gown, Peanut’s baptism gown, or my washcloth. Milford Satin was perfect for it.

Blooper Photo (aka: what happens when you try to take a blog photo with a toddler around)

My little girl Peanut didn’t sleep as long as I wanted her to today (isn’t it always the way when you’ve got something important to do?), so she was with me while I quickly shot some photos of the washcloth for this post. It’s a bathroom washcloth, I thought, so why not add a prop of a nice jar of cotton balls in the frame? That didn’t work out great. As well as being a useful bathroom product, do you know what a jar of cotton balls looks like to a 14 month old? A great toy. Here is Peanut’s arm snatching the jar. I gave up on the jar after a while 🙂

Washcloth with baby hand in shot

The Pattern

Here it is! You can download the PDF here: White Wedding Washcloth

Please make sure you make a project for this pattern on Ravelry so I can see your finished product.

Needles: 3mm straight needles

Yarn: Milford Satin in white

Notions: Scissors, tapestry needle

Tension: 21sts x 28 rows in patt = 10cm2, after blocking. Note: Tension is not critical for this project.

Finished measurements: 21cm x 20 cm

Pattern

Using a long tail cast-on, cast on 47 sts.

Work 4 rows in garter stitch.

Next row: k4, [yo, slip 2tog k-wise, k1, psso tog, yo, k1], k3.

Next row: K3, P41, K3

Repeat these two rows 25 times more, or until the piece is almost square in shape.

Work 3 rows in garter stitch. Cast off k-wise. Weave in ends.

Pin out and steam to block.

I hope you enjoy knitting this washcloth, and that it lasts you at least 7 years!

Peace,

Kat

Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means I will receive a commission if you click on the affiliate link and purchase the item.

400 Knitting Stitches: Great Stitch Patterns – Book Review

400 Knitting Stitches Book Cover

Hi Friends,

Welcome to the first ever book review on Knitkatpaddywhack. I hope you enjoy it! The book is called 400 Knitting Stitches: Great Stitch Patterns, and TL;DR, I like it.

It has been a whole week since my last post. Since we last spoke, I’ve been consoling my baby girl who is teething, sick, and grumpy in the hot weather we’ve been having. She is a little trooper though, and considering all she’s going through, she has been in good spirits, and the hot spell has now passed (yay!). I hope that means I can go back to bi-weekly posts!

400 Knitting Stitches: Great Stitch Patterns, published by Murdoch Books, is a book I came across recently, though my edition was published in 2007. I can’t find anywhere online that has it currently in stock at a reasonable price unfortunately, but I borrowed mine up from my local library so you may have luck at your own. You can ask Book Depository to notify you if they do get it in, by following this link. Since I enjoyed it so much, I decided to post this little review in case any reader comes across a copy.

It’s a stitch dictionary, and it has a huge variety of stitch patterns, many of which are creative, unusual, and lots that I haven’t come across before. From basic knit-purl patterns to cables, lace, slipped stitches, twisted stitches, and lots more, there is just an abundance of choice. Is it just me, or does a smorgasbord of options set all your creative pistons firing? I’m all like “ooh, I could make a cardigan with that! And a hat with that! What if I modify this one a little?”. I’ve been trying out a few stitch patterns from the book and I’d like to share what I think of 400 Knitting Stitches with you.

Close up of Ladder Rib stitch
This stitch pattern is called “Ladder Rib” and it’s from the Slipped Stitches section of the book. I love how simple but striking this stitch is.

What the Book Says About Itself

I think this is a good place to start when reviewing a book. Let’s see what it says for itself and I can tell you if it delivers. Well, it states that its stitches can be used in all kinds of projects. Sounds good to me. It advertises that all stitches come with a close-up photo, written instructions, and a chart. This is great, although I did find one omitted chart which I’ll mention later. The book also claims to be categorised in a way that makes it easy to find the right stitch for you. This is pretty key for a usable stitch dictionary in my view.

Does it Deliver?

Yes! Well, on the whole, but I really think this is a worthwhile book to have. This is a great resource of stitch patterns, with a versatile range of patterns which can be used in a lot of different projects. Some of the patterns are kind of cute and retro, which I love, like this one from the “Lacy Stitches” section. The stitch is called Hyacinths. I could totally picture this on a tablecloth in my Grandma’s house.

Hyacinth Stitch Pattern swatch

At the same time, there are more modern-looking patterns like the one below called Woven Chevrons in the “Slipped Stitches” section. It’s subtle and unusual. It’s the kind of pattern that I’d see on a garment in a shop and stop to scrutinise it to try and work out how it is worked.

Close-up of Woven Chevron stitch pattern

I did find a pattern which didn’t have a chart. It’s this stitch pattern below, called Ripple in the “Cast-off Stitches” section. It’s not a big deal for this pattern because it is a relatively simple one, but I want to point it out only because the blurb did claim that all the patterns had their own charts.

Close up of Ripple stitch pattern

Overall Impression

I’ve had a great time with this book, and I think it’s well worth making a place on your shelf for it. It’s a shame I can’t seem to find it for sale at a reasonable price currently! I only stumbled across it one day when I took my daughter to the library to get her a few books, so I’m glad I wandered past the knitting books.

The book’s main strengths are 1) its huge diversity of stitch patterns, 2) its clear instructions, including a chart for (almost!) all patterns, 3) its clear layout which makes for easy location of the right stitch pattern. All these features make it ideal for anyone who likes modifying patterns or designing patterns from scratch.

Peace,

Kat

 

 

 

French Rhubarb Fingerless Mittens – Free Pattern

Close up of fingerless mittens with text

Important Update Jan 25, 2018: I noticed an error in the pattern and have now updated it. Please re-download the pattern if you have already printed it!

It’s warm here in Australia, especially on the mainland where my family and most of my friends are. So, I thought, what better time than now to post a pattern for mittens?! Just jokes, but maybe some of you in the northern hemisphere are looking to make some nice new mittens that will show a little skin as the weather starts to heat up for you.

I was inspired to design these mittens when I was looking through my copy of The Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary by Wendy Bernard. I love this book. Let me know in the comments below if you’d like me to do a review of it! There is a section where Wendy writes instructions on how to use her stitches to design your own garments, including a pattern for some pleated mittens. As it happened, I didn’t follow her directions and the stitch patterns I used aren’t exactly the same as any stitch pattern in her book, but she switched on my pattern-designing brain.

About the Mittens

The French Rhubarb Fingerless Mittens are simple to knit, with little scallops on the bottom edge and two bit scallop on the top of each mitten. The little scallops aren’t really scallops, but they look like them to me. They’re simply a side-effect of the stitch pattern, but I think they add a lot to the finished product.

Close up of French Rhubarb Fingerless Mittens

These mittens are named in honour of a dear friend of mine, because for some reason they remind me of her. She got married in 2015 and she wore a Georgian-inspired, lacy ivory wedding gown. It suited her and her personal tastes perfectly, and these mittens remind me of her and that gown.

Close up of fingerless mitten

A Note on the Pattern (it’s reversible!)

The main stitch pattern, which I’m calling the Eyelet Rib Pattern, was designed by me (although it’s fairly simple so maybe I’m not the first person to invent it). I think it is gorgeous, most gorgeous worn “purl”-side out, what most would consider wrong side out. So I’m leaving it up to you how you prefer to wear them, but here they are with the “knit”-side out vs the “purl”-side out. The quotation marks, if you’re wondering, are because the mittens are knitted in the round, so very few actual purled stitches are actually worked. The only stitches that you actually purl are in the edging and the casting off.

Compairson of fingerless mittens knit-side-out and purl-side-out

Before we Continue…

It’s timely that I’m posting this pattern which reminds me of my friend, whom I’ll call Rhubarb for the purposes of this post. As I mentioned in my last post, I spent a few days last week enjoying a relaxing stay on beautiful Bruny Island with my husband, baby girl Peanut, two friends who have a little girl a similar age to our Peanut, and Rhubarb and her husband. We had a lovely time despite the mosquitoes (and babies who liked to take shifts in napping so we could never go out all together). We played board games late into the night, cooked for each other, read (or knitted, in my case) on the deck, and laughed at the babies playing. Here are a few photos of Peanut on the beach. It was an unexpected beach visit due to our holiday house not being ready for us, so we wandered down unprepared, only to have Peanut run/stumble/crawl straight into the water while I frantically removed the insert from her cloth nappy before it swelled with seawater. We played this great game where I fish her out of the water, haul her to dry land, then repeat the process as she bolts for the water again. Fun times!

Baby wearing knitted hat at the beach

Yes, Peanut is wearing the last pattern that I shared on this blog, the Wiser Baby Sun Hat. That hat has had a lot of use this summer.

The Pattern!

I’m sure my neighbours must have thought me insane if they happened to look over their fence this afternoon on this hot day, to see me taking pictures of my mittened hands feeling a grape leaf. You’re welcome for the photos!

I hope you enjoy this pattern for the French Rhubarb Fingerless Mittens. I would love it if you could make a project on Ravelry for this pattern if you do make them, so I can see how they turn out!

You can download the PDF here: French Rhubarb Fingerless Mittens

Yarn: Moda Vera Biscay in White

Needles: Four 3.75mm double-pointed needles

Notions: Stitch markers, scrap yarn, tapestry needle

Tension: 22sts x 23 rows = 10cm2 in eyelet rib pattern

Eyelet rib pattern

Round 1: yo, slip 2tog knit-wise, k1, pass slipped stitches over together, yo, k1.

Round 2: P all sts.

Mittens (Make 2 alike)

Cast on 36 stitches. Distribute evenly across 3 dpns and join to work in the round, being careful not to twist stitches.

Work 22 rounds in eyelet rib pattern.

Next round: Work 16 sts in eyelet rib pattern, k4, work a further 16 sts in eyelet rib pattern as set.

Shape thumb gusset:

Work 16 sts in eyelet rib pattern, k2, pm, k2, work 16 sts in eyelet rib pattern as set.

Next round: Work 16 sts in patt, k2, sm, m1, sm, k2, work 16 sts in patt as set.

Work 2 rounds as set without increasing.

Increase round: Work 16 sts in patt, k2, sm, m1, k until next marker, m1, sm, k2, work 16 sts in patt as set. 3 sts between markers.

Work 2 rounds as set without increasing.

Repeat these last 3 rounds until there are 11 sts between markers. Work increase round once more (13 sts between markers).

Next round: Work in patt to first marker, remove marker, transfer next 13 sts onto scrap yarn, CO 1 st using backwards loop, remove second marker, work in patt to end.

Work 4 rounds in eyelet rib pattern for all sts.

Edging

Round 1: P all sts.

Round 2: *[ssk]x3, [k1, yo]x6, [ssk]x3, repeat from * to end.

Round 3: P all sts.

Rounds 4: K all sts.

Repeat rounds 1-4 once more. Cast off purl-wise and weave in ends.

Thumb

Remove scrap yarn and distribute live sts across 3 dpns. Knit 1 round, then pick up and knit one stitch over the gap where the inside of the thumb meets the hand. 14 sts on needles.

Knit 4 more rounds. Cast-off purl-wise. Weave in ends.

These mittens can be worn either side out, so be sure to weave ends in as neatly as you can.

I hope you enjoy this pattern as much as I enjoyed designing it!

Peace,

Kat

Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means I will receive a commission if you click on the affiliate link and purchase the item.

Holiday Fun – My Daughter’s New Dress by Sew What

Baby Christmas dress

Hi friends,

This is a knitting-unrelated post, but still crafty. Mainly I wanted to show you the beautiful dress that my talented friend Miss Pond from Sew What Dresses made for Peanut at Christmas time. More on that in a moment.

When you read this post, I’ll be holidaying on Bruny Island with some dear friends of ours. Bruny Island is off the coast of mainland Tasmania and I’m really excited to visit it! In the nearly five years I’ve lived in Tasmania, I’ve wanted to go to Bruny and yet never been. Like much of Tasmania, it is well known for the beauty in the nature on the island. I’ll share some photos when we get back!

Beach Times – Also I’m Old!

When this post goes live it’ll also be my 28th birthday. It’s absolutely terrifying to think that I’m that old, yet it’s also a good moment to look back on the 28 years I’ve lived so far and how grateful I am for all of it. I have a loving husband who supports me and my creative pursuits. I have a gorgeous baby girl who makes me understand why parents say that their kids light up their lives, and makes me grateful for my own loving parents. This year will also be 8 years since I learned to knit and it brings me a lot of joy to know that I have had such a stimulating outlet for my creativity. On my birthday one thing I’ll be grateful for for sure is that knitting is in my life. And yes, I know many of you reading this will think 28 is just a spring chicken, but perhaps you remember beginning to feel old around that age.

My Baby Girl’s Dress from Sew What

But now, for this beautiful dress. I was delighted when Miss Pond made this dress for my little girl. She, for her business Sew What, makes handmade dresses for little ones and they are gorgeous. Being a crafter myself, I can appreciate how much work she puts into everything she makes! Miss Pond works out of Hobart, Tasmania. Please see her Facebook page here, and if you’re ever in Hobart, she has a stall at the All Saints Market in South Hobart, held on the last Saturday of the month every month but December (when it is held on the first and second Saturday).

This sweet photo was taken by Michelle at …ish Photographics. You can find her Facebook page here.

It has a cute, unusual collar, a long zipper which is great for dressing my busy baby, and I found the dress length to be perfect for Peanut who does equal amounts of walking and crawling right now, and gets hindered by dresses that drag when she crawls. I absolutely love it, and it suits Peanut’s colouring really well. We got plenty of compliments on Christmas day at church and then at my in-laws’ place.

Close up of star detail on dress

Miss Pond also made a cute hair clip to go with the dress, which Peanut promptly removed, but here is a picture of it for you to see.

Christmas star hair clip

That’s all from me for today. I hope everyone is enjoying themselves at this time of year, whether you’re planning a beach holiday like me or staying warm inside out of the snow. Peace,

Kat

 

 

 

Wiser Baby Sun Hat – Free Pattern

Wiser Baby Sun Hat photo with text

Wiser Baby Sun Hat

I’m really excited to share this pattern with you: The Wiser Baby Sun Hat, a hat to fit babies aged around 12 months. Isn’t it cute? It’s similar to the Wise Baby Sun Hat (a newborn-size hat) which I shared earlier, and like it, I designed it for my little girl, Peanut.

Wiser Baby Sun Hat being worn

About The Pattern

This is a simple pattern, knitted flat and seamed, with a row of lazy daisies embroidered around the band (if you’re new to lazy daisies, here is a good tutorial). The hat is sweet and simple: my favourite kind of pattern. It’s knitted in a cotton yarn which is light for the summer but not so light that the sun will get through. I’m also including instructions for optional crochet ties. We need these for Peanut or else she’ll just pull off the hat and leave it who knows where.

Wiser Baby Sun Hat on child with chin ties shown

Peanut is a big girl, with a big head. There was no getting around that: big heads run in both sides of her family. The Wise Baby Sun Hat only fit her for about two weeks. So as her first birthday approached, which was two more (non-handmade) hats later, I started to notice her hat looking way too small. The brim wasn’t extending far enough to cover her face. In Tasmania where we live, once the sun comes out, you want your kids to have good sun protection. Even though it’s colder than a lot of Australia, the ozone layer is thin and the sun is still hot in the summer.

So, for her first birthday, I made her this hat.

Wiser Baby Sun Hat on grass

She opened her handmade present on November 14, her first birthday, at a small picnic in the park attended by us, her paternal grandparents, an aunt, an uncle, and a cousin, before we flew out of Tasmania for Adelaide to attend the wedding of a dear friend of mine.

Peanut got a second, much bigger birthday party, attended by many excited great aunts, extended family, and my godmother’s family and friends. Have I ever mentioned my mum is from the Philippines? This is how parties work when your mum is from the Philippines. It’s amazing that there was no karaoke.

As a wonderful coincidence, my husband’s parents were also in Adelaide at the same time as us, so Peanut got to have all four of her grandparents, much of my family, and my husband’s brother and his family there too! She was a spoiled girl, and my little sometimes-timid Peanut came home from Adelaide with much more confidence to navigate a crowd of admirers.

About the Yarn (+ substitute suggestion)

The yarn I selected is called Gelato, by Moda Vera. It’s the same yarn that is used in the Wise Baby Sun Hat, and I love it. Maybe it’s because eit’s cotton and it slips between your fingers so experty as you knit, like it knows what it’s doing. There’s something delicious about working with cotton. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me. Is it just me? Let me know in the comments if I’m weird.

This yarn is available from Spotlight stores in Australia, but I used Yarnsub to find a substitute which is available in more places. Bergere de France Coton Fifty looks like a great match, and has an average rating of 4.2 stars on Ravelry. Of course, check your gauge before you make this hat, whether or not you’re substituting yarn. Below are the closest matches I could find for colours in the Bergere de France yarn:

Pink: Bengale or Glycine

Red: Ecarlate

Purple: Raisin

The Pattern

Here is the pattern! I hope you enjoy it. If you make it, I would love for you to make a project for it on Ravelry so I can see photos and what you thought of it.

You can download the PDF here: Wiser Baby Sun Hat Pattern

Yarn: Moda Vera Gelato. One 50g ball each in Pink, Red, and Purple

Needles: 2.25mm straight needles

Crochet hook (optional, for ties): 3.50mm

Tension: 28 sts x 40 rows = 10cm2 in stocking stitch

To Fit: 12 months approx. (45-50cm head circumference)

Tip: When changing colours, leave a long tail and do not weave in ends as you go. When working the seam after the hat has been knitted, use these tails to switch to the matching yarn so the seam is less noticeable.

Using red, CO 256 sts. Work in garter stitch for 28 rows.

Next Row: [k2tog] to end. 128 sts. Change to purple.

Starting with a WS row, work in stocking stitch for 15 rows (end on WS row). Change to Pink.

Work a further 22 rows.

Decrease for crown

Row 1: [k6, k2tog] to end. 112 sts.

Rows 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12: P all sts.

Row 3: [k5, k2tog] to end. 96 sts.

Row 5: [k4, k2tog] to end. 80 sts.

Row 7: [k3, k2tog] to end. 64 sts.

Row 9: [k2, k2tog] t end. 48 sts.

Row 11: [k1, k2tog] to end.32 sts.

Row 13: [k2tog to end]. 16 sts.

Row 14 (WS): [p2tog] to end. 8 sts.

Cut yarn, leaving a long tail. Using a tapestry needle, pass tail through 8 remaining live stitches and pull tight. Using mattress stitch, work back seam (see tip at the start of the pattern).

Using pink, work lazy daisy stitch along purple band, beginning on the 6th row. Make each daisy 7 sts wide, and 8 rows high, leaving a space of 10 sts between each daisy (see chart below for guidance).

Crochet ties (optional – make 2)

Please note: The following instructions are written in US crochet instructions. A US single crochet is the same as a UK double crochet.

Using pink and a 3.50mm crochet hook, work a chain until it is 22cm long.

Rows 1 and 2: Work a single crochet into each stitch.

Fasten off. Attach each tie to the underside of the hat where yarn changes from red to purple, such that the ties hang behind the ears of the wearer. Weave in ends.

What to Keep in Your Knitting Bag

Image of Stitch markers with text

In my knitting project bag, I keep a few things. My current WIP with the appropriate needles, yarn for said project, and my craft case. I think of it as kind of like my “knitting kit” in the same way that you keep a little “sewing kit” with a little bit of this and that you need for all the common mending jobs. Do you have one of these? Let me know in the comments what you keep in yours!

My case is a little pencil case where I keep notions and bits and bobs I might need on the go while I am knitting. It’s not all the knitting gear I own by any stretch. Here is what I keep in my craft case.

Needle Gauge

I use this one, which is an Australian brand. Mine has a ruler on the sides in metric and imperial, so it is useful both for gauging needle size and measuring knitting as I go along. The fact that it has a ruler on it means it is good to have on hand when out and about. Like, say, if you’re on the bus and you won’t be able to have a steady hand to measure something with your tape measure.

I also like that my gauge has needle sizes in US, UK, and mm sizes, so if my pattern is asking me to use 3.75mm needles, I can refer to my gauge and know straight away that I need some UK 9s.

This needle gauge (pictured above) is not the same brand I use but it looks really similar, and also has Canadian sizes. The reviews look good except one reviewer found that the ruler was off so be aware of that.

A Pen and a Pencil

Or use a 4-in-1 pen/pencil like I use. It’s got three pen colours and a mechanical pencil. The kind I use is made by uniball and was given to me by a housemate of mine. This housemate is Japanese and I’ve been given a very similar pen by a family member who got it from Japan. They have such nice stationery over there! I can’t find a link to the specific pen I use but the one pictured, by Bic, looks very similar and has mostly fab reviews.

Keep one of these for sure. They come in handy when you’re modifying a pattern and have to do a quick pen-and-paper calculation. My printed patterns are covered in long multiplication sums! They’re also good for recording the number of rows it took you to get you a certain length in your piece. This is particularly crucial if you have to make two things the exact same size (like two sleeves) but the pattern just tells you to knit to a certain length.

Highlighter

Let me know if it’s just me. When I’m knitting something that has several options for sizes, I’m likely to make a certain mistake. When I’m not paying much attention, I’ll just knit according to the first size recorded, and then I’ve messed up my piece! The solution to this is to highlight the instructions that are specific to the size you’re knitting! Does anyone else do this? Of course you can’t always do it like if you’re using a library book, but it’s a great tip for patterns you’ve printed off the computer. And if you’re planning to make the same piece in several sizes, just assign one colour to each size!

Scissors

Scissors

Find good, sharp craft scissors if you can. I used to have some of those fold-up scissors in my craft case (I thought that kind were so cool when my sister got a pair for her first high school hiking camp) but they weren’t as sharp as the pair I currently have. I thought they’d be handy because they’re compact, but in the end it’s the sharpness that matters most. It’s nice to have some scissors that you know can handle your yarn.

Tape Measure

Pink craft tape measure

I often have a couple in there actually, but one will probably do. Tape measures are great (and better than rulers) for measuring long stuff that isn’t straight. The faded pink tape measure pictured may not look like much. However, it is special to me because it belonged to my Grandma, who died in 2007. When I decided to take up knitting in 2010, I went down to the shed where we were storing my Grandma’s stuff and took her needles and notions (including the tape measure) up to my room. I didn’t even know what a lot of it was, like her stitch holder that looked to me like a giant safety pin, which leads me onto my next item.

Giant Safety Pins (er, I mean stitch holders)

Stitch holders

Stitch holders are invaluable for all kind of projects like gloves and socks. Coated metal ones like the bottom one pictured are good. That kind won’t rust unless they get damaged and expose the metal underneath. They come in different sizes but I find that as long as they aren’t too small, it doesn’t matter too much what size stitch holder you use. I prefer them to scrap yarn in cases where I don’t need to hold a lot of stitches.

Actual Safety Pins

Having a couple of safety pins are useful for when you need to mark a specific stitch or row, or to mark the beginning of a round.

Stitch Markers

Stitch markers

Essential for a lot of knitting projects. I have some metal ones and ones that are just loops of yarn, because sometimes you need a lot of stitch markers. Either work fine, so don’t stress if you don’t have fancy, purpose-built stitch markers.

Some of my stitch markers (the flower one and the clear button one) are made by me. For the flower marker, I simply got small split rings (think tiny keyrings) and attached a small charm to them. The clear button marker is a loop of wire attached to a button, simple as that. Others (the heart ones) I bought from a charming little town in the UK, called Lavenham, in 2012. Lavenham is well known for its wonky houses. The place I bought my stitch markers from is called Café Knit, which you might guess is a café and knitting shop in one. The stitch markers remind me of the great time I had in England with my aunt, in the country my dad was born in.

Point protectors

For protecting points! Of your needles, that is. To be honest I don’t use these much, but they are useful from time to time, say when you’re doing a project with lots and lots of stitches that would be really hard to salvage if they all fell off the needle in your project bag. Like a big lace shawl or something, of which I have knitted several.

Mini Craft Storage Containers

I use two small, clear, stackable containers to store the small items in my knitting case (like safety pins, stitch markers, and point protectors). These are very handy and if you’re crafty you likely have plenty of these already. They come in sets of several but there is no limit to how many you can stack onto each other. I don’t know where I got mine from, but these ones look extremely similar except a bit bigger than mine and they have good reviews.

Scrap Yarn

Small balls of yarn

Scrap yarn is handy when you need to hold a large amount of stitches instead of using a stitch holder. Spare scrap yarn is also great for when you have to do a provisional cast-on or add a lifeline. It’s also a life-saver when you’re running short of a few stitch markers and need to quickly make some out of loops of yarn. I keep a couple of small balls in contrasting colours. That way I know I’ll have a colour that won’t blend in too much with whatever project I’m knitting.

Sewing needles

I keep a few tapestry/darning needles of different sizes, and a few sewing needles. What knitting project doesn’t need you to use a sewing or tapestry needle, at the very least for weaving in ends? I’d struggle without my needles in my craft case.

As a side note, I keep my tapestry and sewing needles on a very small cross stitch in a round frame. I was going to show you a photo but it’s ten years old and has been knocked around a bit so yeah, it’s not so pretty anymore. In 2008, I went to World Youth Day in Sydney. This is a huge youth pilgrimage put on by the Catholic Church which is held in different countries around the world. Prior to World Youth Day in Sydney, I went on retreat with the Passionists in Melbourne, and stayed with a lovely couple, who gave me this cross stitch to do while I was with them. I credit World Youth Day to the growth of my faith, which has brought me so many joys like a sense of fulfilment, and wonderful friends including one I later married, and I know the joys will be even greater one day. This little cross stitch frame reminds me of the great time I had in Melbourne and Sydney in 2008, and of my faith which has been strong ever since then. Do you have any little trinkets that evoke big memories?

Sewing thread

Sewn hole in couch

I find that some sewing thread in my knitting bag comes in handy for all kinds of things. Yes, for your knitting projects, like sewing buttons onto garments, but do any of you ever find a quick little sewing job around the house that just needs doing? This is my couch, which I found a tiny tear in the other day. What do I usually have about my person? My knitting, of course. So I grabbed that sewing thread and sewed up the tear and I didn’t have to worry about it anymore!

Row counter

Row counter

Self-explanatory. Once you start knitting something by following a pattern, you’ll need some way of keeping track of your rows. You can do this in several ways. You can use a row counting app, or a pen and paper, or marking each row with a stitch marker. But the best (in my opinion) and simplest way to keep track of your knitting is simply with a row counter. The kind I use is designed to hang off the end of a straight needle, but since I use circular and double pointed needles often, I actually hang mine off a string and wear it round my neck. It’s a great conversation starter too, when you wear your row counter out in public! I’ve done that many times.

Cable Needles

I keep my cable needles in my knitting case partly because it is somewhere to put them and they won’t get lost, but they’re useful for saving dropped stitches or holding just a few stitches for a short period of time, like when you need to frog a small bit of knitting to fix a mistake. You can get bendy kinds or straight kinds. I use the straight kind and keep cable needles of a couple of different sizes in my case (FYI, for really small and fiddly cable projects, try using a toothpick instead of a cable needle!).

Crochet hooks

I keep a couple of crochet hooks (3.5mm and 4mm because I’m often kitting with yarn that is a good weight for these hooks) in my knitting case for those times when you need to save a dropped stitch. They’re also useful for provisional cast-ons.

Emery Board

What?! I hear you ask. Yeah, an emery board. I didn’t even put it in there on purpose. I think I was doing my nails one day and my emery board found its way in my case for some reason. But it is SO handy! I keep my nails longish, and occasionally I get a little jagged bit, you know? And those things snag your yarn like you won’t believe. And it’s annoying. Keep a small emery board or nail file in your project bag and you can thank me later.

Calculator

I’m recommending this but I don’t actually keep one in my case anymore! It broke, but it was worthwhile keeping in there. The kind I used was a calculator and ruler in one, very similar to this one (pictured). This is only useful if you’re the kind of person who isn’t always carrying her phone. Being able to do a quick calculation to work out how big something will be or how many stitches to cast on is very useful.

Random flotsam

Little bits of random stuff that I have stuffed in there until I can put it away or throw it out, which waits in my craft case for months until I get around to putting them in their proper place. Okay, okay, you don’t actually have to have random junk in your knitting case like I do. Right now I have some bits of paper from when I took up quilling to make my husband a first anniversary present (which was a year ago). There are also a few buttons, and some short lengths of thread which isn’t useful for anything. Oh, and a label for adding to knitted gifts which has been loitering in there for a couple of years and really lives in my box of craft supplies.

There you have it, guys. I hope you enjoyed reading about what I keep in my knitting bag, and hopefully it gave you a few ideas. Don’t forget to let us know in the comments what you keep in your knitting bag!

Peace,

Kat

Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means I will receive a commission if you click on the affiliate link and purchase the item.

 

 

Knights Hospitaller Hot Water Bottle Cover – Free Pattern

Image of Knights Hospitaller Hot Water Bottle Cover with text

I’ve got a new free pattern for all those cold medieval enthusiasts in your life: The Knights Hospitaller Hot Water Bottle Cover!

Please note this post was updated on January 13, 2018 – I have now added the missing chart! Aaa I can’t believe I forgot about that!

I made this hot water bottle cover on the requ

est of my slightly nerdy husband. He also looks a bit like a crusader (big beard, long hair, wears a cross), and everyone knows crusaders like to be toasty and warm at night. It uses a chunky yarn so it’s quick to knit and will insulate your hot water bottle for longer lasting warmth on those cold nights (we get a lot of those here in Tasmania).

As a side note, the Knights Hospitaller are an order of knights who used to own Malta and offered shelter to pilgrims and crusaders. Some of you might recognise the shape of the cross as being very similar to the St John Ambulance. That’s right, The Knights Hospitaller were the inspiration for the Order of St John in the nineteenth century who started St John Ambulance. I’m not part of St John Ambulance or anything, I just find that interesting.

About the Pattern

This cover is designed to fit a standard 2 litre hot water bottle.

This pattern uses intarsia colourwork techniques, so you might want to brush up on your intarsia if it’s been a while. At a basic level, in intarsia, each block of colour gets its own ball of yarn, and you don’t carry floats behind the work.

Close up of intarsia work on hot water bottle cover

Yarn Used

The yarn I used, Moda Vera Biscay, is available at Spotlight stores in Australia. It is a bulky/12ply weight yarn in 70% acrylic and 30% alpaca. The wool-like halo makes my FO appear kind of old fashioned which fits with the theme. However, if you can’t find this exact yarn, I wouldn’t be shy about experimenting with other yarns of similar tension/gauge. I think this would be a fine pattern to use the inexpensive 100% acrylic yarns you can find everywhere.

The Pattern!

Here it is! You can download the PDF of the pattern here: Knights Hospitaller Hot Water Bottle Cover

Knights Hospitaller Hot Water Bottle Cover

Needles: 4mm straight needles

Yarn: Moda Vera Biscay. 1 x 50g ball each in grey, black, and white.

Tension: 20 sts x 25 rows = 10cm2

Notions: Stitch markers, scissors.

Image of hot water bottle cover

Pattern Instructions

Using grey, cast on 44 stitches.

Row 1 (RS): [k1, kfb] to end. 66 sts.

Row 2: P all sts.

Row 3: *k2, [k2, kfb] six times, k2. Repeat from * two more times. 84 sts.

Work rows 4-14 in stocking stitch, beginning with a P row.

Row 15: K29, pm, work row 1 of Knights Hospitaller Shield Chart, pm, K29.

Continue working in stocking stitch as set (working in grey either side of the markers and following the chart in between markers) until chart is completed, on row 58 (WS). Remove markers on the next row.

Using grey, work in stocking stitch for 12 rows.

Next row: [k2, k2tog] to end. 42 sts.

Next row: P all sts.

Next row: [k6, k2tog] seven times, k6, k3tog, k1. 36 sts.

Work in 1×1 rib for 25 rows.

Cast off using sewn cast off. With WS facing and using mattress stitch, sew back seam. Thurn piece RS out. Keeping the back seam lined up with the centre of the cross, sew bottom seam using a shoulder seam or whip stitch. Weave in ends.

Knights Hospitaller Shield Chart

Knights Hospitaller Intarsia Chart

If you like this pattern, take a look at some of my other free patterns like the Angelfish Beanie and the Wise Baby Sun Hat.

 

Peace,

Kat

 

 

The Husband of this Knitter is Sweet

 

This is unrelated to most things, but I just wanted to share something fun my husband did this morning. After my shower I got dressed and went into the family room where my husband was playing with our little girl. On the couch, set up all nicely on my knitting so I could see it as I walked in, was this:

Child's magnetic drawing pad with blog name and logo drawn on it

Isn’t that sweet? My spirits jump just a little when someone I care about shows an interest in my stuff. Like when my husband, who was then just a friend, asked me to teach him to knit.

He was very proud of the cat he drew. Actually he gave me his opinion on my blog logo (which I designed), so he knows what makes a good cat drawing. The drawing pad was a Christmas present for our little Peanut* from my mum, and she likes it. I once drew a cat on it and meowed to show her it was a cat, so now she draws random scribbles and then meows. You can’t not laugh when there are kids around. Do/did your kids ever do funny stuff like that?

Just in case you’re wondering, yes that drawing pad is like a tricked out version of the ones kids had twenty years ago (you can find one just like it here, or at Kmart in Australia). Peanut loves it and as far as electronic things for toddlers go, it looks like it’ll teach well and not overstimulate. I must say it’s a little annoying and the voice they use sounds like a bored school teacher. Also it uses American pronunciations of things which would be fine but for the fact that we pronounce a few things differently in Australia. I just wanted to be honest about what I like and don’t like about this drawing pad because that link is an afifliate link and I made a promise to you that I’ll recommend products to you like I’m a friend recommending something I’ve used.

Also if you’re interested in what’s on those knitting needles, it’s a swatch for a floral edging found in Knitting On the Edge by Nicky Epstein (I also talk about it in another post here and I’ll do a book review for it sometime soon).

That’s all 🙂 . It made my day.

 

Kat

*My daughter’s name is not really Peanut, I’d just rather not share her name on the web.

 

Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means I will receive a commission if you click on the affiliate link and purchase the item.

 

Yarn Along January 2018

Happiness Trap Pocketbook and Knitting on the Edge Book

I recently discovered an inspiring knitting-related blog and handmade shop called Small Things, written by Ginny. I’m new to the party, I know, but I hopped onto Small Things yesterday and found her post on her Yarn Along initiative, which seems to be quite a thing that I’ve been oblivious to. Knitters and crocheters share what they’re knitting and what they’re reading. So often a knitting fan is also a reading fan, don’t you find? It’s a shame the two hobbies are hard to do simultaneously! Well, I find it hard to do both at the same time. Does anyone out there read and knit together happily?

What I’m Knitting

Knitting on the Edge Book and Knitting

So here’s my contribution. At the moment knitting-wise, I’m working my way through an edging stitch dictionary called Knitting on the Edge by Nicky Epstein, swatching whatever stitch takes my fancy. I’m finding the book quite delicious – I want to try them all! Actually I’m planning to do a book review for you of this book once I’ve explored it some more, so be on the lookout for that. The edging I’m working on right now is called Blooming Flower which creates cute, large flowers using bobbles as petals.

What I’m Reading

 

My evening read at the moment is called The Happiness Trap Pocketbook by Dr Russ Harris and Bev Aisbett. It is also marketed as The Illustrated Happiness Trap, and you can get a copy here. This book and the therapy approach underlying it is big Big BIG in psychologist land (for those of you who are new here, I’m a psychologist taking some time out to be a stay-at-home mum), and is pretty popular for the general public too. Very briefly, the principle behind it is that instead of doing what we always get told, to “be happy”, and to “think positive”, we can learn to accept negative emotions and thoughts and not spend all our energy trying to suppress them, and in doing so have the time and energy to do what we value. The Happiness Trap Pocketbook summarises the principles behind the theory using easy-to-read comic strips. It’s a companion to a book called The Happiness Trap (which I also own) which is similar but with more detail and no pictures. Both books are worth a read, whether you’re feeling good or not. There are some useful skills in there that more people could benefit from knowing.

 

Please join in Ginny’s Yarn Along! Check it out here. It looks like fun and I’m going to try to do it every month.

 

Peace,

Kat

Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means I will receive a commission if you click on the affiliate link and purchase the item.