The Complete Beginners Guide to Knitting

If you’ve always wanted to knit but don’t know where to start, or if you have a friend or family member begging to be taught, this handy infographic sent to me by Clippers Ireland, The Complete Beginners Guide to Knitting might just be what you are looking for!

(And it’s pink!)

beginners-guide-to-knitting-clippers-ireland-infographic6inchYou might have to zoom in a bit, but I hope you find it useful.

I’m away for a few days now, off to the seaside, (hooray!) so I’ll be packing my crochet and my knitting to keep me busy.

I’ll be back soon…x

All lit up – with a Daylight Lamp and a giveaway!

Smart Light D20 - Daylight companyIf you’ve been visiting Planet Penny for a while, you’ll know my main gripe about the autumn/winter period is the lack of daylight.  I don’t think I actually suffer from full blown Seasonal Affective Disorder, but I do get rather grumpy, and those gloomy days when you think the sun hasn’t actually risen at all make creating and photography jolly tricky.

So I was very happy to be sent a couple of lamps from the Daylight Company to try out and review, and I know for all you knitters, crocheters and stitchers out there a good daylight lamp is a really necessary bit of crafting kit.

The first one is the Smart Lamp D20 and I love it!  It’s light and portable, but the base is heavy enough for it to be really stable so you can adjust it over your work area without worrying about it toppling over.

I’ve found it particularly useful in the evenings by my chair when I’m multi tasking with some crochet, the television and a cup of tea because the light can be angled.  In fact it does all this!

  •  It changes colors for improved contrast when reading and colour matching
  •  It is dimmable, allowing you to set the light at the brightness level you require
  •  It is portable, light weight and foldable so you can take it anywhere
  • It is USB compatible allowing you to plug into the AC Adapter (included) your computer or phone charger.

And then there is the baby brother, the Yoyo light.  It arrives looking just like the yoyo it is named after…Yoyo magnifying light - Daylight company…but opens up into a handy little magnifying light, perfect for keeping in your workbox when you need to get up close and personal with your work.

And this is what it does:

  • Compact foldable pocket LED magnifier
  • 3 bright LEDs
  • 5,5cm (2.17″) lens – Magnification 8D (3,0X)
  • Ideal to use when out and about
  • Comes with a wrist strap
  • Requires 3 x AAA batteries (not included)

Yoyo light - Daylight companyDaylught Company Yoyo light(This one gave my camera a funny turn trying to focus!)

I really enjoy finding things which I know will make things just that little bit easier for us creative peeps, and it’s even better when I can offer you the chance to win one of your very own – for FREE!

I have a Smart Lamp D20 worth £65.00 and a Yoyo Magnifyer Lamp worth £15.00 as a giveaway on my latest newsletter.  All you have to do is sign up via the PINK BUTTON below and let me know what you love best about Winter VIA THE NEWSLETTER.  The Smart Lamp is only available in the UK I’m afraid, but I’m happy to send the Yoyo lamp to any part of the world where you can buy AAA batteries!

So click on the Pink Button for a chance to win one of these fabulous lamps to keep you bright this Autumn! subscribebuttons - Daylight lamp

Looking forward to hearing from you…x

crochet sweater without a pattern

Crochet Sweater Crib Sheet

May I present, as promised, the Crochet Sweater Crib Sheet…ta DAH!

There will be a printable PDF as soon as my ‘pooter and I have sorted out our differences and it does as it told!

 Making garments using basic squares and rectangles is how we first clothed ourselves, and crochet is particularly suited to being a bit experimental.  With knitting, you have everything bunched up on the needles and have to wait till casting off to see exactly what is going on.  With crochet however, you can stop at anytime to make decisions and adjustments.

I’ve made little garments for little people this way before, but this is the first time I’ve made something my size, and it worked well.  (I’m wearing my sweater as I type!)

So this isn’t a pattern, it’s a crib sheet.  I hope it sets you off experimenting with different yarns, and shapes and sizes.  This particular crochet sweater was made using Aran weight yarn, a 5.5mm hook using a treble crochet stitch (US double crochet) but as long as you stick to the basic rules with your tension square and some basic arithmetic you could use any yarn, any stitch for any size.

Be prepared to buy enough yarn to finish the project.  I admit you have to guess, my version took 16 and a half balls.  It all depends on the yarn.  Be on the generous side and you can always make a matching hat!

It all hangs on the tension: match the yarn to the hook, choose your stitch and work a tension sample , not too small, about 30 stitches (I know, I hate tension squares too but it must be done!)The most important measurement is the width – the length is decided by the number of rows worked.  From this you can see how many stitches there are per inch/cm.

tension - crochet sweater crib sheet - no need for a patten

Draw a plan.  The garment is based on rectangles so draw a simple design as shown:-

crochet sweater crib sheet - no need for a pattern

Take some measurements:  The simplest way is to use a garment you feel comfortable in around the hip and shoulders, lay it flat and measure this across its widest part; this will give you the width of the garment.  Don’t forget, it’s meant to be loose, casual and slouchy! Write this on your plan.

Do a sum!: For example…If your sample shows you have 12 stitches per 4”/10cm and your required width is 24”/61cm then 24 ÷ 4 = 6 and 6 x 12st = 72st.

Back: Make a chain of your number of stitches plus 2. Miss 2 ch and work in treble crochet (US double crochet) to end, turn.

Starting with 2ch on each row and working the last st into the top of the 2 ch continue to crochet until the back is your desire length.  Fasten off.

Front: Work as back until 4 rows short.  Work 22 tr, turn and work the last 3 rows on these stitches, decreasing at the neck edge twice.  Rejoin the yarn on the other side and repeat.  Fasten off.

Stitch together the front and back at the shoulders and slip over your head.  Ignore the comments about Clint Eastwood.

Decide how deep you would like the armholes to be and mark with a pin.  Remove the sweater, then stitch together from the armhole to the bottom edge, leaving a slit of a few rows if you like.crochet sweater without a pattern

Sleeves: With right sides facing and starting at the under arm with 2ch, crochet round the armhole as before and join with a slip stitch. (with treble crochet it works out about 2 stitches in the side of each stitch)  Turn for next and subsequent rows as this forms the texture to match the body of the sweater (working in rounds looks very different) Keep on working until the sleeve is the desired length (just keep trying it on till you are happy with it) work a bit more if you like a turn back cuff. If your armhole is quite deep as mine was, work a couple of decreases in alternate rows at the start just to narrow the sleeve slightly.

Then make the other sleeve just the same way.

Neck: Pick up and crochet a couple of rows round the neck edge and try on.  You might like it wide and slouchy in which case 2 rows may be enough. I went for 6 rows and then finished with Crab Stitch.  This is double crochet (US sc) worked from left to right rather than right to left. It’s a little awkward to start with but not difficult.  It’s one of my favourite edging stitches.  There’s a useful You Tube video here:

crochet sweater crib sheet - crochet a sweater without a pattern

I hope you enjoy being a bit experimental with your crochet sweater or whatever else you choose to make…

Have fun…!

Crochet sweater - Planet Penny

A crochet sweater for Autumn

The autumn equinox, the first day of autumn…It seems a really good day to unveil my hunky, chunky crochet sweater!

As mentioned in my last post, this crochet sweater was inspired by a Frank & Olive Crochet pattern. However I had different yarn, I was making a different size, I wanted a different neck and longer sleeves and so I had to basically make it up as I went along!

The yarn is  Merino Blend Aran superwash wool (anti tickle too!) by King Cole in a gorgeous shade of Aubergine, bought from the Wool Warehouse. (I love buying from the Wool Warehouse, the yarn arrives in a gauzy drawstring bag which makes every purchase feel like a pressie!)

So there isn’t a pattern as such, but if you would like a crib sheet of how I worked it out I’m very happy to share so please let me know if you are interested.

crochet sweater detail

neck – edged with crab stitch

crochet sweater detail - side slits

detail – side slits

crochet sweater - Planet PennyIt’s exactly what I need for cold winter days in the studio, and there’s just about room for Higgins too!

So do leave a comment if you want to know more.

And I’d also like to ask for a little feedback from anyone who has subscribed to follow Planet Penny by email.  The widget appears to be misbehaving!  If you have arrived here because you’ve received the email, brilliant, can you tell me it’s working for you? If you have been expecting an email, haven’t received one and have arrived accidentally to see where I’m hiding, can you tell me that too?  I will need some ammunition so I can go and moan at someone! Thank you, lovelies…

I shall be back here soon with a review, and news of a super duper giveaway on the newsletter so please sign up for that.  I know that bit is in good working order!

See you soon..x

Edited to add: link to the crib sheet here

Spring cleaning…in September!

September sunshine - Norfolk UKThat September ‘new term’ feeling never goes away really, does it?  All those years of seeing the ‘Back to School’ displays in the shop windows, the new school sandals (yuk!) and the new pencil case.

So it always seems a good time to start something new, or give something established a freshen up and that’s what I’m working on with the blog at the moment.  I’ve been blogging now for seven years, I can hardly believe it… there are 569 posts!  Because the whole thing has grown up a bit piecemeal over time I need to have a tidy up.

But it’s a bit like deciding to sort out the box of photos under the bed.  I’ve got right back to the beginning re-reading every post, it’s a lovely trip down memory lane!  I’ve gone back to past holidays, the arrival of Higgins and all the cute baby pics, the building of my studio, the passing seasons…It’s such a lovely record of my life and I’d never have done it without the blog.

I’m sure you’ve noticed the new Planet Penny header.  There’s so much going on here that than just wool so although I’m very fond of my sheep, I hope the new look encompasses the fact there’s a lot going on, and it’s all colourful!

But as well as beavering away at the computer I’m trying to make the most of any September sun which comes our way, (which, alas, has been a bit elusive.  I’m listening to the rain as I type!) I’ve been in charge of dog walking this past week so my camera has gone with me, and also a little friend of Higgins called Coco.  I’ve had my hands full.

mini dachshunds in September sunNorfolk UK - SeptemberThe hedgerows are full of berries this year, I don’t know when I’ve seen so many.  It’s a sign of bad weather to come so they say… memo to self: Knit more socks!hawthorn berries - Norfolk UK - SeptemberJust such a fabulous colour, aren’t they?  I always think the Nightshade berries look like necklaces the way they twine through the hedgerows…

Nightshade berries - September - Norfolk UKHaving a supply of poo bags when out for a walk is jolly handy if you want to do a spot of spontaneous blackberry picking…blackberries - SeptemberBut there are still summer flowers…scabious2015-09-19 16.26And bees…

2015-09-19 16.09and a fairy ring…Fairy ring - September - Norfolk, UK toadstools toadstools2But the fairy dogs weren’t interested…Mini dachshunds Higgins&Coco3…until I mentioned the word T-R-E-A-T-S…mINI DACHSHUNDS Higgins&CocoHiggins gets quite bossy about treats!Mini dachshunds - September -Norfolk UKMeanwhile, back home and I’m crocheting up a big warm sweater with cold days in the studio in mind.  After my lovely weekend at the Crochet Retreat with Frank & Olive I was inspired by Ruby’s big chunky crochet creations and so I was delighted to find that the issue of Simply Crochet magazine I bought last year (because I’m in it too!) had Ruby’s jumper on the front.Crochet Entrepreneur in Simply CrochetI’ve customised it (because I’m not a sylph-like twenty year old) and I think it’s going to be very cosy.  It’s a brilliantly simple pattern, no shaping and only the one stitch all through.  What can go wrong? Picking up the wrong hook and doing half a sleeve with it before noticing, that’s what went wrong!  2015-09-20 10.11

So, not quite finished yet.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my September ramblings, do you spring clean in September too?

I’ll be back soon…x

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Crochet Hearts forThe Peyton Heart Project

I came across the Peyton Heart Project on social media this week quite by accident , and it touched me so much I felt I wanted to take part and to share it with like minded people.  I believe that’s all of you who visit Planet Penny…

This, from their Facebook Page, will explain the inspiration behind the project:

We have officially launched the #PeytonHeartProject. This project is one that is very important to us. Our project is named after Peyton James, a 13 year old teen who, in the fall of 2014, died by suicide after years of being bullied. We know far too well what the negative effects of bullying are on a child and how difficult it can be to believe that it will ever get better. Far too often bullying leads to depression, self-harm and even suicide. So, we would like to take these delicate yarn hearts, each one made by hand and each one perhaps representing the delicate heart of a life lost to suicide, and attach inspiring quotes to them. We plan to leave them in public places for people to find during their everyday lives. We hope the hearts cause people to stop for a moment and reflect on a young life lost to suicide, on bullying and on the fact that everyone’s life matters. We want to leave people with a feeling that there is still good out there in the world and we would like to inspire others to join us on our mission of kindness. If you would like to help us spread the Peyton Heart Project and its message in your town please email us at and let us know.

We would like to thank Peyton’s parents, David James and Jacki James, for allowing us to use Peyton’s name for this project.

If you find one of our hearts in your travels please post a photo on our Facebook page or post it to Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #PeytonHeartProject. Let us know where you found it.

Taking part in the Peyton Heart Project is so simple, and yet this small, simple act can raise awareness of young people suffering from the effects of bullying, which can lead to depression, self harm or even suicide. A little token to raise the spirits and spread kindness in the world.

All you have to do is to knit or crochet a little heart with an oddment of yarn and attach a small tag with an uplifting quote and the hashtag #PeytonHeartProject.  Then leave it in a public place where it can be found…Peyton Heart Project

There are lots of links to knit and crochet heart patterns available on the Peyton Heart Project Facebook Page and I’ve also written a crochet especially for this post.  If you don’t knit or crochet there are ideas for making a yarn wrapped heart which you can find here.  A file of quotes and tags is available by emailing

Crochet Heart Pattern for #PeytonHeartProject

Planet Penny Heart Pattern

I used Planet Penny Cotton Colours and a 3mm hook. The pattern is written using UK crochet terms

The heart measures  the required 2.5″ x 2″ 

Work 6 dc into a magic circle, join with a ss and pull up the tail to close the hole.

Round 1: 1ch, 2dc into each st (12 st) join with ss.

Round 2: 1 ch, 5tr into next st, ss into next st, 5tr into next st, dc into next 4 st. Make point by working 2tr, 1ch, ss into top of tr, 1tr, all into 1 st. Work dc into next 5st. Join with ss into 1st tr.

Round 3: 2ch, 2tr into next 3 st, working 1htr, 1dc, ss into centre top of heart, 1dc, 1htr, 2tr into next 3tr, 3htr, dc to point working 2dc into picot dc along 2nd side to last 3 st, work 3htr and join with a ss.  Fasten off and darn in end.

Add an 8″ length of yarn at the top to attach the tag and make a hanging loop.

Do let me know if you decide to join in.  This an ideal project for knit and crochet groups, and if you are not able to distribute the hearts yourselves, there is an address on the Peyton Heart Project Facebook Page to which you can send them.

See you soon…x



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