Archive for June, 2013

DSCN0199These are not the best quality photos.  My camera is out of batteries, I don’t have the spare cash to replace them and just today managed to scrabble for a couple with just a little juice left by scrounging up every battery-operated item in the house and testing them in turn.  Once I found a pair that had enough juice to turn the camera on, I didn’t dare turn it off again so just grabbed a few photos as quick as I could before the camera died again.


DSCN0200As you can see, I finished the construction of the body since my last update, and have made good progress on the edging.  I think I’m about 30-40% done with the edging.  I’ve finished it along the length of the left wing, at least.  It’s actually really quick and satisfying at this stage – the edge pattern is simple and repetitive enough that it didn’t take long to commit to memory, leaving me free to watch whatever shows I feel like while I work.

DSCN0198Of course, the shawl is going to be big,  Which is just how I wanted it.  The standard pattern creates a shawlette just large enough to drape the wings around the chest.  But my version?  The wings were each as long as my arm and hand before I started the edging, and I need to block it after that, as well.  I wanted something generous that I could pull around myself and know that the back was reaching at least my hips, and I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what I’ll get.

DSCN0205I really like how the shawl is constructed.  There is almost no cast-off edge anywhere on it.  The raw edges of the centre circle are taken up by the wings and connecting wedges, and the raw edges of those are taken up into the border, which is taken up along the length.  The edging is worked perpendicular to the body, picking up a stitch every right-side row, with just a few cast-off stitches here and there for shaping.  The result is no right areas, no tension changes and a very smooth, open shape that will probably only need minimal blocking.  I can’t wait to get more done.

Freebie Friday rules are a little different to Ravelry Monday rules, and are as follows:

  • The pattern needs to be free.
  • The pattern does not HAVE to be a Ravelry download, but must be listed on Ravelry.
  • The pattern must have a photo clearly showing the item.
  • The pattern still needs to produce a professional looking item and have the necessary information for potential makers.
  • Clothing for adults must still be available in plus sizes.
  • An item showcased on Freebie Friday may still be showcased on Ravelry Monday, if it fits the brief for that day.

Ah Knitty, how you like to torment me.  I spent most of this last week growing concerned that I wouldn’t have any great free patterns to share.  That’s not to say there weren’t any released, of course.  Plenty of free patterns were uploaded to Ravelry.  But a lot of them felt too similar to patterns I’d shared on here before, and others didn’t meet my rules.  Then, yesterday, Knitty released the June 2013 edition of their free, online magazine, complete with twenty gorgeous free patterns.

And I found myself torn.  Each Knitty pattern is created by a different designer, but they are all in the same publication.  Would I be adhering to the spirit of my rules if the entire post for this week consisted of Knitty patterns?  Or merely the letter of it?

In the end, I decided it was fine.  The designers are each unique in terms of how they construct their patterns and the style they like to emulate, and how often do I get the chance to share this many sweater patterns in one go?


QR Key

The first Knitty pattern I wanted to share is this rather awesome example of technology and crafting coming together.  The QR code on this scarf isn’t just decorative – it can be read by a mobile phone, and directs people to the Knitty pattern page for the scarf itself!  What a great way to share the pattern!  It also leaves me wondering what else you could do.  I already know a cross-stitched QR code can be read, as well as a code written in rolled icing on a cake or cookie.  Maybe people could design their own knit accessories with their own, custom QR codes on?  This scarf pattern is available for free on Knitty, and a link to the pattern is available from this Ravelry page.



Lewis is a lovely, light Summer sweater with an attractive and comfortable wide, elbow-length sleeve and a pretty bit of lace at the bust.  It’s knit in fingering weight yarn, making it a comfortable top for wearing in warmer weather, and I love it.  The neckline is perfect, sweeping in a low, deep V to show off a bit of décolletage while the delicate clasps prevent it from being immodest.  The hem sits at just the right length for me – low enough to just barely reach the hips with a sweeping curved front and back,  It’s a very pleasing shape that sits loosely across the hips and stomach rather than stretching across them, and I imagine it’s very cool to wear.  Like all Knitty clothes patterns, this has a decent range of sizes and is available up to a 58″ bust!  This pattern is available at Knitty and a link to the pattern can be found on this Ravelry page.



Now here’s another great item, and with a more classic style that can be modified to work well whatever you’re likely to wear it with.  A worsted-weight knit jacket with sleek shaping, 3/4 length sleeves and lots of little professional touches like icord edges that give it a really high quality shape and finish.  Another generously-sized pattern available up to a 54″ chest and with a whole host of shaping options to ensure a perfect fit.  Once again, this free pattern is available at Knitty and a link to the pattern can be found on this Ravelry page.


There’s a whole load more patterns in the latest Knitty, and I recommend you  check them out for yourself!

This is Ravelry Mondays, a weekly event where I pick three-five patterns seen on Ravelry that week, and share them on this blog.  Some weeks will be themed, and there are some rules.

In order for a pattern to qualify it must:

  • Be on Ravelry
  • Be available for download either on Ravelry or from another website – no patterns only available in print or magazines, but it doesn’t have to be free
  • Have at least one photo clearly showing the item as a whole
  • Have at least one photo where the item is not being manipulated, so we can see accurately how it hangs and fits
  • Must have the necessary minimum information on the ravelry page – sizing info where applicable, yardage, yarn weight, etc
  • Clothing items will only qualify if they are available in plus sizes*
  • Only one pattern per designer per week

*And the plus sizes given must have MEASUREMENTS.  Calling the sizes XS-XXXL means nothing if you never tell us what XXXL is.  I’ve seen a 40″ bust called that, before!

There’s been quite a broad variety of patterns offered up on Ravelry this week, and it’s making it harder to choose themes!  With that in mind, my only limit for this week’s theme has been how much I personally like the pattern.  There’s some gorgeous bits on offer this week, and I hope you like them as much as I did!


Plain and Fancy Knitted Bunnies

These knitted bunny stuffies are almost unbearably cute.  Knitted toys can often suffer a bit from odd shaping or wonky proportions, but these are just gorgeous.  From the careful placement of eyes and nose, to the chubby bellies, these worsted-weight toys could be knit up using all kinds of leftover yarn, and are infinitely variable.  I could see the larger ones being filled with sand bags in the bottom to act as doorstops or book-ends, and you could probably knit up a whole bedroom worth of cute things for a new baby, using the pattern as a base.  At under £4 for a pattern that includes three size variations and knitted clothes, this represents great value and is available for download on Ravelry.


Fox Love Jacket

I love foxes.  But if there’s one thing I love more, it’s great knitting patterns with generous size ranges!  And this bulky-weight pattern, available from 38 to a whole 60″ bust, is definitely one of the more generous patterns out there.  It’s sadly rare to find pretty patterns in sizes about 54″, so to find something as versatile, cute and young-looking as this up to 60″ is a real treat!  The thick yarn means this is a quick project to knit up even at larger sizes, and should be extra warm and snuggly for Winter.  The colourwork pattern is simple and attractive, and could easily be modified to showcase different animals by playing with different colours.  The pattern costs under £5 and is available for download at Ravelry.


Gingerbread Armwarmers

A gorgeous, colourful pair of long armwarmers in fingering yarn, with a fun striped pattern and additional fair-isle colourwork at the wrists.  I adore this pattern.  The armwarmers are long enough and thin enough that they could be worn under a fitted sweater or layered under a second pair of thicker gloves to increase warmth in cold weather, but light enough that they could be used to keep a mild chill off during cool Autumn evenings, too.  At under £4, this is a nice, low-cost pattern that looks gorgeous and could make a perfect gift, knitted up in the recipient’s favourite colours.  The pattern is available for download at Ravelry.

Sadly, the samphire I recently fell in love with is no longer easily available in my area, limiting my choices for delicious seafood dinners.  However, smoked mackerel fillets are still available for ridiculously low prices and I’m determined to get as much oily fish nutrients in my system as I can while the opportunity arises.  Necessity is the mother of invention, and today I came upon another delicious pasta recipe using smoked mackerel.  You could also substitute baby new potatoes for the pasta, and it’d be just as good.

No pictures of my finished dish, as I need new batteries for the camera again (it’s a hungry camera!), but I’d love to see your own finished versions of the dish if you make it!

Smoked Mackerel and Bacon Warm Pasta Salad

Serves 2

A warm pasta salad with a simple sauce and runny egg topping, served over crisp watercress.


1large or 2 medium fillets smoked mackerel

6 rashers streaky bacon

1 onion

1/2 cucumber

2 cups dry pasta

2 large eggs

1 knob butter

1 tbsp dijon mustard

salt and pepper to taste (note that the bacon adds quite a lot of salt – do not season until you’ve tasted the dish)

a couple large handfuls watercress


Bring a pan of water to the boil and add the pasta.  Roughly chop the onion and bacon, and add to a hot pan.  Do not add any oil, as the runoff from the bacon will be enough to prevent ingredients from sticking.  Once the bacon is basically cooked and starting to crisp up, peel the skin off the mackerel fillets, roughly pull the meat apart and add to the pan with the bacon, stirring well.  Cook for a couple of minutes, then remove from the heat.  Chop the cucumber portion into small cubes and stir into the mixture.  Remove the pasta from the hob once al-dente or cooked to your preference and drain.

Bring a second, small pot of water to the boil.  In a separate, small pan, quickly melt the butter and whisk the dijon into it.  Toss the pasta, bacon/mackerel mix and dijon butter together until well blended.  By now, the second pot of water should be boiling.  Crack the eggs into it carefully, and let them poach just a minute or two while you plate up the food.

Scatter a generous handful of watercress onto each plate and top with a portion of the warm pasta salad.  Place a poached egg on top of each serving, and crack the egg open, to allow the warm, runny yolk to ooze over the pasta.  Serve.

I really need to do a better job of watching Ravelry sales more closely.  Ravelry designer Schneckenstrick has a special offer – buy any two patterns, get a third free!  Sadly the gorgeous adult-size clothes patterns Schneckenstrick offers aren’t available in plus sizes, but they do have some lovely kid’s clothes patterns to choose from.  Just put three patterns in your basket and enter “schneckenstrick” at checkout.

Oh, and because I’m bad at keeping an eye on this stuff… the final date of the offer is 9th June 2013.  So, y’know, today.