Author Archives: pennygj

And the winner is…Daylight Lamp

This grey and gloomy day seems a very good time to announce the winners of the Daylight Lamp Giveaway.  It’s going to brighten the days of the two lucky recipients Gail and Pauline!Smart Light D20 - Daylight company Daylight Lamp

The main prize was won by Gail.  I love her description of the sort of winter days I enjoy most…

“I live in a town called Horsham, in the south East of England. The thing I love most about winter is the frosty mornings, when all the cobwebs are highlighted in droplets of water, when you  can see frost patterns on the window panes and best of all when you see the children on the way to school breathing out just so they can see their breath. It’s just magical.” 

…I just hope we get a few of these mornings soon and not the wet and windy gloom which we are currently enduring in the UK… I think Gail is going to need her Daylight Lamp!

If you have noticed I have been conspicuous by my bloggy absence, please forgive me. We’ve had a special delivery in the family, my very first granddaughter, and I’ve been somewhat distracted…

crochet blanket

I can only take credit for the blanket! crochet blanket - Daylight Lamp Giveaway

See you soon…x

Pondering on Autumn days…

Autumn Days in Norfolk

Autumn in the UK is a constant source of surprise.

One day it feels like the sun hasn’t even risen, the gloom and rain is unrelenting and all you want to do is to snuggle up inside by the with a hot drink, a good book and a little woolly project. Oh, and in my case, a warm dachshund!)

And then another day will dawn and all you want to do is to dash of to the beach – again with small dog in tow – and breath in some fresh air and listen to the waves shooshing on the sand.

So this has been the week on Planet Penny.  The wet days and the gloomy days have made persuading Higgins out of the door quite a challenge and I don’t think he appreciates the delights of the autumn hedgerows AT ALL, but I do…

Autumn hedgerow - Nightshade berriesAutumn leavesMin dachshund in coatBut then the sun came out, and after a couple of hours battling with a large overgrown honeysuckle in the garden, Higgins and I headed off to the seaside to catch the last of the Autumn light…Autumn on the Norfolk coastWaxham 6It’s amazing to get there when it’s completely deserted, just me and a little dog, who just runs and runs and runs, and get a bit frustrated when I don’t join in!

miniature dachshundI spend a lot of the time with my head down looking for treasures, sea glass which is a rare find here…sea glassBrightly coloured seaweed…seaweed on the autumn beachjust appreciating the colours of the sea…Waxham 4The clocks go back this weekend, I hate losing the evening light, don’t you, so these Autumn excursions will become even more precious.

And talking of the dark evenings, have you entered the giveaway for the Dayight Lamp yet?  I’ve really enjoyed reading your comments about what you love best about Winter but there’s still some time left to join in, just enter HERE for a chance to win.

Here’s sending you sun filled Autumn days, and cosy crafty Autumn nights by the fire!

See you soon…x

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!

 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. You can download the Crochet Sweater Crib Sheet here

Have fun…!

SUBSCRIBE,  and never miss out on new patterns, ideas and inspiration!

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

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