Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Not just a knitter.

Yep, that's right, I do actually do other things. I have made sock monkeys for a few years now. These ones are special. They are travelling sock monkeys. They like to go on holiday and have their snap taken. They can then post them on their very own facebook page. I am going into sock monkey retirement though. I plan on making the ones I promised. I will then make more until all my supplies are finished. People can claim these other sock monkeys so long as they donate to my friends charity. Once that's done I will only make mini ones to sell at craft fairs. The money for these mini ones will also go to my friends charity.

I opened up my own folksy store under my craft name Karensi. I have even managed to sell one of my sock key rings on it (and a few others from friends seeing it). I have been wanting to try my hand at making stitch markers and so made these the other day. It didn't take long at all but had to put the price up on them as the materials were expensive (it's what I get for going for the pretty beads). I haven't decided on whether or not I will make more.

These are my favourite though. I have decided to make ranges using some of my favourite things as a theme. The first is these little mushroom houses. I designed the cross stitch myself and then made them into little pin cushions. No sales so far but I only posted them yesterday. I have more plans for these mushroom houses and then lots of other things in the pipeline. As I am still building this up though it will take time. I hope to sell some of my own charts too. Just need to work out how.

I haven't completely forgotten about my knitting. I have been commissioned to make some baby socks. I just need to pick up the yarn for those. I have also been working on a wedding shawl for my friend and a pair of socks for my gran.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Something For Me!

Many moons ago I promised to show something else I had learned during the weekend away. One of the girls taught us to crochet granny squares. I have always wanted to learn how to do it. I love the look of them. At one point I would constantly google images of granny squares I was so obsessed (and came across a room covered in them). So when one of the girls said she was willing to give a class on how to do them I jumped at the chance. All those hours of trying on my own have resulted in a lot of tangles yarn and frustration. One quick lesson and I was off. I first of all did a few squares for charity as a practise run. The next step though was to do a blanket. This time it would be for myself (I actually rarely make things for myself these days).

However, I didn't want to do lots of little granny squares. I wanted to do one big one. The images I loved the most were of blankets done this way. I loved the way people played with the colours. Even the ones where colour was random as their makers just used up scrap yarn. I had picked out my colours though. I decided on purple and green as I have always loved those colours together. I also picked out white to break it up a bit. I made a start on it during the weekend and have been working on it in between other projects every since. This weeks goal was to finish it off which I did today. I think if I was to do another for myself I would maybe make it slightly bigger. Over all I am happy with the result and think it's not bad for my first granny square blanket.

My sister spotted me working on it though and asked if I would mind making her one. I took her to the store so that she could pick out her colours (all pinks funnily enough). I made a start on it today although it will be a while before it's finished as I will be working on other things that have deadlines too.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

First Fete

If you remember I was making these key rings to sell at a local fair at my friends church. My knitting group was given the opportunity to have some space. We didn't sell as much as we may have hoped as it was fairly quiet. The sunny weather kept most people away. There were also a number of schools also holding sales to raise money today. We still had fun though and it gave us a taste for this sort of thing. We will more than likely do this again.

I was quite pleased with the end result. I managed to sell 10 key rings out of the 19 I had made. Not bad going considering how quiet it is. I did buy a lovely cover from my camera from one of the girls and in the end I maybe made £1. Not the point though. It was good fun. Anyway, I am going to set up a page on folksy soon and sell them that way. Fingers crossed.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Two Finishes In One Day!

Yep, I actually have two finishes today. Believe it or not I have been doing other things like Birthday present shopping. I finished the last sock of the entire set today. I am pleased with the way these socks have turned out. They are knitted using Rowan DK cotton which I think will make them more hard wearing. Plus, it's machine washable which is always a good thing when it comes to babies clothes. A few people have suggested that I make these for sale. I am thinking of making up little sets for craft fairs. I have a few projects I will need to get out the way first but it means I can look out little girl colours too.

This little bear is my second finish. In case you don't know there is a charity called Teddies for Tragedies and it basically sends off teddy bears made by others to kids who need them. They have a specific pattern for you to follow so that all the bears look the same (using any colour is fine so long as it's bright). It means every child gets the same kind of bear. The pattern itself is very easy to follow and very easy to knit. The result is a very cute bear. A friend of mine is collecting them for her church. The Boys Brigade there are going to Uganda to build a secondary school and are hoping to take 300 bears for the children's hospital. She asked if others in the knitting group would mind helping out.
I have plenty of leftover DK yarn from other projects and so it was easy to pick out colours for it. It really doesn't take up much. The pale blue was for a baby set I had planned to knit a few years ago and never did. I think it makes him look like he is wearing jeans. The red and skin tone was leftover from Jedward. The only downside is the sewing in loose ends and stitching the bear. I hate that part of all projects. In the end it was worth it, especially if a child loves him.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Baby blanket mark II.

You might remember that not so long ago I knitted the tweed baby blanket by BrooklynTweed. I love his patterns and I especially loved that one which is why I bought it. However, I wasn't happy with the colours I picked out. I had my heart set on navy with cream edging. The store didn't have those colours and so I knitted in natural and green. My mum likes it but because it wasn't what I wanted I have never been entirely happy with it. The morrow of that story is don't settle. I had plenty of time to order it. Anyways, three weeks ago my mum had bought some yarn to knit up a couple of baby jumpers. The lighting in the shop showed the colour to be different to what it actually was so I bought it off her and decided to use it to do a second baby blanket for my friend. I saw on ravelry that someone had knitted the ballband dishcloth from the Mason-Dixon books as a baby blanket. I loved the look of it and this was what I used the yarn for.

I clearly don't like making things easy for myself. I had three weeks to knit this baby blanket. Plenty of time I though. Then I remembered that I had to do the challenge piece so the blanket was put down. I picked it up again and almost finished all the yarn I had. Instead of going shopping and getting back to work I waited until less than a week was left until the baby shower. So I have spent the last few days knitting furiously. I am very pleased with the end result. To do the blanket all you need to do is cast on 129 stitches and then follow the pattern in the book. It's fairly easy to do and in the end I found it quite boring. I love the effect though and it does make for a thick blanket. If I had the patience I would have done each row of bricks in a different colour.

Oddly I actually like the back of the blanket as much as the front. It looks like waves of water.

The book I got the pattern from is "Mason Dixon Knitting" by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne and is not long out in paperback. I love the patterns in the book and there are a few in it that's on my 'to do' list. That's not what makes it such a great book though. It is also a great read. There is lots of advice in there for knitters and each pattern comes with a story.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Gran's Birthday socks 1

I finished one of many gifts I have been working on. These socks are for my gran whose birthday is at the end of the month. They are the first of two pairs. I had planned to knit her some socks for her birthday for months. I just didn't know what colours to use or what pattern to do. Her favourite colour is green but I have knitted so many green things for her I though enough was enough. I then remembered this lovely lobster yarn in my stash by Colinette. It was in the very first batch of sock yarns I bought online after I knitted my very first pair. I loved the yarn but just didn't know what pattern to use it for. I knew it was too special to use on a basic sock which was why it was left forgotten for so long. Luckily my gran likes this colour too and the yarn itself is just so lovely to knit with. It feels like cotton but it's actually 100 % merino wool so it doesn't have that awful splitting cotton has.
The pattern I got from "Favourite Socks" which I have mentioned here before. As soon as I saw it I knew this was the pattern for my gran and the one for this yarn. It's called Meida's Socks and I shouldn't have been surprised to see they were designed by Nancy Bush. I love her designs and there is another pair by her in the book that I have on my to do list. I even have a couple of her books on my shelf. She is a fantastic designer and her patterns themselves are so easy to follow. When I decided to move on from the basic sock it was one of her designs I tried. The heel, gusset and toes are not much different from the basic pattern. If you have those down you can't fail to follow her instructions. I can't recommend her highly enough.

There is also no grafting involved in the toes. If you have a problem with that (which many people do, my mum included) then all the more reason to try it. I think though if I was knitting it myself I would graft the toe just so that it's a little wider. In the case of this pattern I would also use a larger set of needles. The design makes the sock a little tighter which is fine for my gran who has slim ankles. When I get round to knitting this for myself I will need the ankle to be slightly wider. It's easily fixed though and I am more than happy with the way they turned out. The heel I especially like as it will last longer than most.