Tag Archives: Knitting



“The most powerful thing about knitting is that it makes you happy to be in your own company”

~ From an interview with Kaffe Fassett

Thanks to Parlour yarns for the video link.

Then I found these 

clever-crafters-guide-to-wool_ 1

clever-crafters-guide-to-wool_ 1

Buffy you are safe, your coat is short!



Imagine:- it takes 4.2 sheep to make a sweater!






Playing with yarn

My yarn stash never seems to recede and I keep seeing exciting new varieties in the shops but being the good girl that I am, I refuse to purchase any more until I used at least half of what I have!

I had an idea 💡

Extreme knitting

Extreme knitting


Back in March I had the opportunity to try extreme knitting – using several strands of bulky yarn and very large needles. Naturally I wanted to give it a try myself but needed to find a way without using long needles.

I've got the hang of it

I’ve got the hang of it

These needles were not for me, I would end up bruising myself so I finally found a solution!

My KnitPro cable needles.

interchangable needles

interchangable needlesK

Once I had that sorted in my head it was a matter of choosing the yarn.  There were oddments of ‘hairy’ and ‘knobbely’ yarns begging to be used  so sorting through them I chose eight and rolled them into one large ball. I repeated the exercise several times more using different colourways.

eight strands per ball

eight strands per ball

New knitting project

New knitting project

This is where I am at the moment. really relaxing and it saves my sanity when My eye objects to any more reading.

What will it be? Who knows. A cushion cover perhaps, a knee rug or even a back warmer! I’ll let you know when I finish the yarn!

What have I been up to?

Posting has been very light over the last week or so. Life has been busy.

You know I was decorating my bedroom AND the radio!

Since then, I have watched the paint fall of the wall. Really!

Did the paint fall off

Did the paint fall off

Maybe this is the reason for the colour change:

This might be the reason

This might be the reason

It actually givesa very comfortable and restful light effect.

One dark & dreary wet day, I finished the base fabric for another project. The exciting part might happen next week. 😀

I finished the base fabric , now for the fun

I finished the base fabric , now for the fun

Wednesday was glorious.with blue skies and sunshine, so I headed to Carrickfergus. Sitting at the mouth of Belfast Lough, you can smell the sea!

Carrickfergus Castle

Carrickfergus Castle

What is that chap up there doing?

He has me in his sight

He has me in his sight

Looks like he has me in his sight.

Meet Peter Pumpkin

Meet Peter Pumpkin

The latest Toyboy in my life – Peter Pumpkin – He was finished at 6am, yesterday morning. He is sitting on my spectacles case, so that gives you an idea of his size!

Peter has a wicked smile

Peter has a wicked smile


Not bad for a first attempt.

Yes, Elly. I hear you!

Just because….

I cannot find the ripperuppertingyamagig, it does not mean my hands are idle.

No way.

I am knitting scrambled egg!

Work in progress - knitting scrambled egg!

Work in progress – knitting scrambled egg!

No. Do not ask me.

I’ll answer that question when I decide what it is going to be. The ideas are still whizzing round in my head. At least it is keeping me out of mischief! 😉

For Cathy

Cathy left a comment on my post on Wednesday about the knitted cowl I featured. I decided to answer her questions here in a separate post.

Now that looked like an awful lot of stitches to have on the needles at one time. How long did it take to do one round? For years I just used a piece of contrasting wool for a marker, then some swish plastic things, then discovered something similar to Elly’s creations that are so much nicer (and for some reason easier) to use. Will you be using them again soon?
An old knitter here – my fingers never got the hang of that crochet lark. Or maybe it was my mind that couldn’t cope with the different method and process.

First off. I will certainly reuse the stitch/row markers that Elly made when knitting in the round. The more traditional stitch markers will be used for marking increase(s)/decrease(s) in forward and backward knitting.

I was never a fan of the traditional long straight needles. I always manage to bump them against my upper arms leading to a multitude of bruises. Not a pretty sight!

One year Elly gifted me with a set of interchangeable circular needles from KnitPro™, for Christmas, and I never looked back. The detachable cables range from about 30cm to 120cm and with a set of cable connectors, they can be joined to suit any number of stitches and make for very smooth knitting. The actual ‘needles’ fit neatly into my hands and are warm to the touch and very comfortable for anyone with arthritic hands.

For the cowl

Cathy, I regularly get an idea and see it in my head, in 3D. Most of my best efforts are worked that way. It may float around in there (plenty of empty space to do so! 😆 ) before I begin to play about with it, making the pattern up as I go along.

A year or so ago, I saw a lady across a crowed café with a softly draped silk scarf, and it gave me the idea for the cowl. I was working without a pattern and wanted to knit the cowl in the round, using a random rainbow yarn. As you can see from the photo below, I had a selection to choose from, most were single skeins that I had inherited.

Rainbow random tones

Rainbow random tones

I chose the middle one, They are all the same brand and suitable for needle sizes 4mm/3.25mm. A skein is – 100g/300m.

Bliss Baby D.K. in blue and beige

Bliss Baby D.K. in blue and beige


I had to think about the number of stitches I used…… One hundred and ninety, I think. #190. I become so engrossed when I begin a project, that I forget to write down the details.

The stitch I chose was stocking stitch throughout – changing from plain to purl stitch after about five rows – on occasion I worked ten rows before changing. The plain rows of stitches allow the fabric to curl. The purl stitches curl in the opposite direction.

After about four groups of pattern, I reduced the number of stitches evenly around the circle of stitches. I think it was one stitch in every ten at the end of a plain pattern group. Does that make sense?

By turning the cowl inside out, it takes on a slightly different look

Cowl_right side out

Cowl_right side out

Cowl inside out

Cowl inside out

The tiny scrap of yarn above the cowl is all that I had left over from the skein.

Cathy, you talk about having difficulty with crochet. I too, had trouble in the beginning. Holding the yarn in my left hand while working the needle in my right proved to be a total disaster. Eventually I mastered the craft by holding the yarn as I would for knitting!

In 2011, I made three mini videos, to show how I go about it. You can see them here:

Crochet Grannymar Style 1

Crochet Grannymar Style 2


Crochet Grannymar Style 3

This one might be helpful for Joining yarn with a knot in either knitting or crochet:

I hope this answers your questions.


“In. Around. Out and off! That is how you make a stitch.”

“Use your finger. Use your finger girl! You are not driving a car around a corner, you are wrapping the yarn around the needle. Keep your elbows close to your body and hands on the needles!”

A few sentences drummed into my skull as a young junior school girl. I was learning to knit. It was a long slow struggle, I seldom had the same number of stitches in any consecutive row. Mind you, I was an expert on lacy knitting, pity the holes were unintentional and grew by the hour!

I remember one winter’s afternoon that mammy sat patiently by the fire with me, struggling to show me how to go about the task. The weeks of belittling in school had me so tense that the stitches were too tight to move along the needle, never mind from one needle to the other.

One of my brothers (two years older), came to ask a question, but became intrigued as he watched what mammy was doing. He eventually slipped quietly out of  the room and headed for the kitchen. Ten minutes later, as I was still struggling, he returned to ask “Is this the way to do it mammy?”

He found a ball of twine and two wooden skewers, then set up about twelve stitches and arrived back with about six inches of perfect garter stitch!

I eventually succeeded but preferred to crochet, it is less of a problem losing stitches or having to rip back if an error occurs. Knitting has made the slow comeback for me in recent years and I am enjoying that form of needlework right now.

In Dublin last week, I was playing with a cowl worked in the round. While decreasing stitches, I struggled with the stitch markers I had. I think Elly was frustrated with me constantly counting stitches so she appeared with a beaded stitch marker that she had made and asked if it would help. It was just perfect for slipping over the needles so next day she made a selection of them for me.

stitch markers

stitch markers

Beaded stitch markers made by Elly

Cowl knitted in the round

Cowl knitted in the round

Finished circular cowl.

While browsing online the other day, I came across this: Knitted Glass

Maybe this time, I will sit on my hands and leave the hard work to Carol Milne.

What next?

I finished a couple of knitting tasks at the weekend.

My sister passed on two packets of yarn, each with a full ten skeins. She had purchased it at the Knitting and Stitching show in Dublin, last year. She did not like the feel of the yarn in her hands. It was not a yarn I would normally pick, but the challenge was how best to use it.

Eyelash yarn in random shading

Eyelash yarn in random shading of mint green & white

I began with a crochet needle, but found it very difficult to actually see the stitches for the first row. I began again with a larger needle, it did not work.

Then I tried knitting with the suggested size needle, but that did not work either. 😉 I could not find the stitches. It was like I was back in junior school all over again. Grrrr!

I tried bamboo, plastic and metal needles, but they did not help because there was little contrast between the yarn and the needles.. At this rate, it would take me a year to knit a dozen rows and only in bright daylight. Bright daylight is for exploring the outside world and not sitting indoors knitting..

Then I had an (idea)

Knit Pro interchangeable needles and cables.

Knit Pro interchangeable needles and cables.

I would try my largest Knit Pro™ interchangeable needles. The needles are coloured and Bingo – I was away in a hack!

I had no pattern, just an idea inside in my head, but when did that ever stop me? I knew what I wanted so decided to use the circular needles but knitting back and forward, I added extra cables as the number of stitches grew and was happy as a lark with the bundle growing to warm my knees on a couple of cool evenings.

So what did I make?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I wanted it knitted in one piece. It worked. The only seams were from the cuffs to the mid lower arms. It took five and a half skeins to complete.

Not sure what to do with the remaining skeins from that bag, I found a pattern for another wrap. This time it was a rectangle, so if it did not work, I would have a cosy knee rug for the winter. 😉

It worked.

Not very different from the first one, but this time I used four skeins and a little of the already opened fifth one.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The bulk in the base of the cape is a folded towel, there to hold out the garment so you can see the opening for hands. This one is cosy, but I think I prefer the first one!

So what next? With rain promised for the remainder of the week, I need to do something colourful…

Rainbow colours

Rainbow colours

Bright random coloured yarns.

Needles & pins

I found a pattern that I fancied. It would help lower my yarn mountain.

The item I chose was worked in one piece, using two yarns and two different sizes of double ended needles.

I needed to work out the pattern. My double ended needles are fine and 30 cms long. Remember I am practising this new pattern…

I have my needles, the yarn and the printed pattern with the picture of what I am trying to achieve…. It has no seams, in other words worked in the round.

It begins:

Using double ended needles, cast on six stitches. There is a reminder to keep all the stitches right way up. So that sounds like I should have two stitches on each of three double ended needles, with the fourth waiting to begin working the next row.

Row one: Knit.

Al-right, go ahead and laugh. Long arms. Long needles. Six stitches. I felt like I was back in Primary school learning to knit all over again. I was trying to knit in the round and it was proving ridiculous. The shops were closed, so there was no point in going out to purchase a shorter set.

Feelings of frustration were hovering about, so I decided to down the needles and make a cup of coffee. Having something to nibble on, always helped with the thinking… so I opened the pantry door.


I found an answer, even if only temporary.

A tube of cocktail sticks!

Stop laughing, you will make yourself sick. If my brother taught himself to knit (as I struggled) with two wooden skewers from the butchers, and a ball of twine, then I can do it with cocktail sticks!

I filed down the sharp points when coffee time was over and went back to work. It helped, but as Fagin sang…

I think I’d better thing it out again!

UPDATE 22:50 hrs

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Knitting with cocktail sticks. The little red item is a stitch marker, only there to give you an idea of size. At this stage there are 36 stitches in total, spread over three needles

Not perfect, but I know where I am going!


I know that is not a word to be found in a dictionary or thesaurus, and they might try nudging me to the word starving!

Starving, I know.

In fact I am very often starving (I have hollow legs!) and looking forward to my next meal or searching the cupboards for treats to nibble at.

I have been SCARVING: Making scarves! Blame my post on Pom Poms. Well, you know me by now, find a new way to do something in the craft field and I am off to try it out!

I delved into that hoard/treasure chest of wonderful yarns that Brighid sent me. which one would I pick…..? A couple of pompom ideas were floating round in my head.The yarn I chose suggested large pompoms and thankfully there was some more in the same tone, but a different texture to go with it. 😀



Two large pompoms from the velvety yarn on the left and I crocheted the long scarf in the fine yarn to go between them. It will be very soft & cosy in the winter.

Then I began playing with the shaded pink ribbon. I used 15mm knitting needles and it will make a triangular scarf, again using two balls of yarn.

I began with one stitch and increased to three stitches for row 2, then continued increasing one stitch at each end of every row. In the photos you will see that I have used almost one ball so far, but the tension is loose and I like the effect. I will continue until I run out of ribbon/yarn.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.