Posts Tagged ‘crafts’

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.

I swear I tried to keep it simple, this time.  Honest.  Serious.

I swear it.

While I was browsing fabric bundles for my knitting needle roll WIP, I came across a couple metres of some nice, drapey, heavy microdot jersey fabric for next-to-nothing on Ebay.  Not having the income to buy new clothes, and not wanting to miss the opportunity to create something using polkadots – one of my favourite patterns – I snatched it up!  I figured I could make a pretty dress of some sort without too much trouble, jersey being a little tricky to sew but nice and stretchy, so easy to fit.

Keep it simple, I told myself.  So I looked online for some simple sewing patterns that wouldn’t require me to spend money.  Not easy when you’re plus size, as it seems the selection of clothing patterns to fit you is extremely limited even if you’re paying for them, let alone looking for free.  Not like with knitting, sadly.  The simplest design seemed to be this:  Four rectangles, sewn together, with arm and neck holes left open and then hemmed.  Of course, it needs something doing in the waist to shape it.  The usual way with this pattern is shirring.  You can’t really add shirring to a stretchy fabric like jersey, though.

You can smock it, of course…

But then I remembered that smocking, depending on the way you do it, can be much less stretchy than shirring, so the pattern would need modifying.  Instead of adding shirring all the way around the body below the bust, it’d be best to just add two smaller panels of smocking – either one at the front and one at the back, or one at each side.  And the way smocking works means I’d need to use more fabric than normal, but since I’m not smocking all the way around I’d need to work out how large I want the panels to be, multiply that by 2 and add that number to the width of the dress body to make sure I had enough fabric for 3x the width of the smocked panels.

I remembered I have some lovely polkadot picot bias binding in the craft box that’d make a lovely hem for the dress.  Of course, I’d need to do something to tie the picot edge in with the rest of the dress, since there isn’t enough to do the neckline and the hem.  I could always do proper embroidered smocked panels, smocking in thread the same colour as the picot edging and using a smocking pattern that would in some way emulate the picot shape.

Oh!  And of course dresses need to have pockets!  Nice, simple, uncomplicated patch pockets.  Nice patch pockets with a bit of the bias binding at the top, to tie them in with the hem.  Nice, smocked patch pockets with a bit of bias binding added.

So I’ve gone from a simple rectangle-based dress I could probably machine sew in an hour to an embroidered English-smocked dress with matching patch pockets, that will need quite a lot of hand stitching and probably take me a few days to make.

Watch this space…

Just a bit more yarn porn for you.  I’ve started plying the ravenwing singles, and took them out for some photos.  Yes, yet more photos.  I know I’ve been going camera mad with my current handspun project, but I love spinning and, in case I haven’t said it enough yet, I love this fibre!

I finally managed to get one photo, the first ever, that actually shows the real colour of the yarn to some appreciable degree, and it’s this one:

DSCN0492And now for a whole bunch of artsy fartsy fancy photos of my lovely, pretty yarn.  These photos are all comparing a singles skein with a plied one, and the colour looks different in every single one.  I blame the shiny silk in the fibre.  Enjoy.

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As much as I love knitting and crafting things for myself, it’s immensely satisfying to be able to make things for others, as well.  I’ve finally managed to get some decent photos of the Opposite Pole I knit recently for my MIL, and thought I should share them with you!

I love the colour of this one, it’s so bright and vibrant, and it’ll suit her more olive skintone perfectly.  The yarn is a simple, but soft and wearable, aran weight wool/synthetic blend, so it should be machine washable as well.

No more commentary with this, I’m just going to show it off!DSCN0464DSCN0468DSCN0459DSCN0455

I may have developed a high tolerance to the cold but at a balmy, sunny 10C I felt warm enough to take my fibre outside to play with.  It was a little windy, but that turned out quite useful for my silk spinning, since it allowed me to let most of the piece I was working with float out of the way, and avoided it sticking to my skin most of the time.


As you can see, there’s a decent variety of fibres to play with.  I decided to try that loose clump of fibre sitting loose on the paper in the photo above, first.  I didn’t know what it was at first, but liked how it complimented the purple custom blend.


Photo above shared for two reasons – firstly to demonstrate how the colours look together.  Secondly, because that is the first photo I’ve taken of my purple fibre that looks true to colour.

Anyway, I opened up the clump of sticky, delicate silk to discover that it was actually a stack of about 4-5 silk hankies!  Albeit rather messy hankies, distorted from being in the container for, presumably, longer than intended, but silk hankies nonetheless!


I’m afraid I don’t have any pictures of my drafting and spinning the hankies.  The process was too fiddly and the hankies too light for me to stop mid-work to take a picture.  But I basically followed the technique demonstrated here.  I had never worked with hankies before, so I don’t know exactly how they are supposed to feel, but mine seemed messier, fluffier and more brittle than the ones I’ve seen people use on youtube.  Not surprising, since the little packet of samples I bought was being sold by someone clearing out their stash, but something for me to keep in mind for when I buy hankies properly.  The first couple, I tried to draft into some of my merino and spin the two up together.  In the end, the merino was so much shorter and softer that I found it easier to draft the silk and then just hold some merino in my hand as I spun, pulling it out and letting it catch onto the sticky silk threads.  What I ended up with was a messy, but interesting, tiny little mini skein. Click the pictures to embiggen!

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I only made a tiny little sample, but I think it’ll be nice to try using it as an art yarn for embroidery, and try incorporating it into my samplers for February.  The rest of the caps/hankies I spun on their own, and I plan to ply them with some merino when I get the chance.  I was amazed at how thin and smooth a yarn I was able to spin from the silk, considering how inexperienced I am.  I imagine with better quality hankies it’d be possible to produce something quite lovely with relative ease.  Click the pictures to embiggen!


I have a few different fibres left to play with, and I’ll post about them as I work with them.  I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do with the different fibre types, especially the carrier rods and throwster’s waste.  Click the pictures to embiggen!


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