Category Archives: Knitting

Remembering Vanessa Cabban

So many people have been remembering Vanessa Cabban since her tragic death last month.  I am hoping to bring a positive dimension to our sadness with news of two projects which will keep Vanessa and her huge talents in our hearts and minds.

Firstly, Lisa of the blog, Bobobun is master minding the creation of a crochet blanket with a group of volunteers.  Lisa and I chose Vanessa colours and Lisa is scaling up the Little Squares scarf with granny squares…

Little Square Scarf - Vanessa Cabban

Little Square Scarf – Vanessa Cabban

…and co-ordinating the production of the squares which we then will sew together to make a blanket. This will eventually be auctioned on Ebay to raise funds for Vanessa’s family’s chosen charity, the Mental Health Foundation.  You can find out much more by visiting Lisa on Instagram, and I will have updates as things progress.

Secondly, I was contacted by Christina who runs the Ravelry group, A Knitter’s Life.  Christina is remembering Vanessa by hosting a Knit-along, creating a knitted cowl inspired by her beautiful Fair Isle scarf…

Remembering Vanessa - Fairisle scarf

Fairisle Scarf – Vanessa Cabban

Christina will be releasing the first part of the pattern on February 6th 2015 on Ravelry, and I will be joining in.  If you would like to take part, Christina has listed the yarn and colours she will be using and everything else you will need on her Ravelry page.  If you are in the UK you might find, as I have, that you can’t get all the colours specified.  The yarn looks lovely so I’m hoping that I can swap some of the colours without losing the ‘Vanessa Cabban‘ vibe!

I’d love to know if you decide to join in, we can compare notes!

I’ll be back tomorrow evening with the Happy Friday Linky.  I hope your week has been filled with happy moments so far!

See you soon…x

Knitting as Therapy – The Joy of Socks…

socks knitting

I’ve rediscovered the joy of knitting socks…hooray!

I don’t know why I stopped, but I started again over the Christmas holiday when the seasonal cold germ dropped in, uninvited, and ground everything else to a halt.

I was rummaging pathetically around in the studio looking for something to do which required no flash of inspiration, no tracking down of supplies, no complicated instructions to follow and there in a little bag I found…the yarn…the pattern…the needles…and one completed sock just waiting for it’s mate to be knitted up – perfect!

I’m embarrassed to say that just now whilst looking through the archives to find past sock adventures I discovered when I made the first one of the pair…2011! We were taking Aimee to Uni when I made the first sock and in the time it’s taken for me not to finish the second one she’s graduated and is well on the way to being a qualified teacher! Oh dear…

Anyway, not only has this lone sock been matched with it pair, but I whizzed out for more yarn when I was feeling better and I’ve just completed a second pair.   To add to the mix my friend Kit arrived with a little cheer up bag containing…pink and green socks, so I’m well on the way to replacing all the ones which have succumbed over the years to the four legged sausage shaped ‘moth’ which makes holes in soft furnishing and garments willy nilly.

mini dachshund asleep

The Planet Penny Moth!

...and the socks he has chewed!

…and the socks he has chewed!

So what’s so good about knitting socks?

Well, the little pattern I use is probably the most basic one you can find, it came free with a ball of sock yarn a while ago.  And when you’ve used it a few times it sort of lodges in your head, and you can trundle away, following the plot of Broadchurch or The Killing (with subtitles) without getting flustered.

It’s a bit fiddly to start off with, casting on 60 stitches and dividing them between three DP needles and getting that first rib row set up, but then you are off.  Once the rib is done you’ve got rows and rows of straight knitting, and because you are in the round, every row is a knit row and you still get stocking stitch!

I like to use the self striping sock yarn because seeing what colour is coming next gives you something to aim for, ‘I’ll just finish the blue, or the pink, or the green’…

knitting socks - yarn

Turning the heel is an event, (you should have seen the first one I ever did!) but once you see the logic of where you are going it’s a little challenge in the middle of the project to keep you on your toes. and then you are off again, round and round until the toe arrives, a simple little decrease which makes an elegant seam each side.

And then…the wonder that is Kitchener Stitch!  It’s a fabby way to end your sock, weaving in and out of the stitches with your needle to make new knitting stitches so you can’t see the join.  It took me ages to get to grips with it so don’t shudder and turn away at this point, it can be done, believe me.  I can be heard muttering ‘Front – Purl off, Knit. Back – Knit off, Purl’ a little mantra to keep me on the straight and narrow.

And then, when you’ve finished, and tenderly pressed them (about the only time I like to get the ironing board out!) you’ve got something warm and delightful to enjoy yourself or to give as a very special present.  What a joy!

If you feel like joining in with a little relaxing sock knitting therapy one of my favourite online ports of call is The Sock Yarn Shop, where the most difficult thing is choosing! This what I’m hankering after at the moment…

sock yarn knittingIt’s like a spring sunrise, something to dream about just at the moment!

Are you a sock knitting fan, or have I inspired you to have a go?  I do hope so… If you are looking for some help, the Sock Yarn Shop recommends this set of tutorials.

I’ll be back soon with Happy Friday.  I’m going to try and get it posted on Thursday evening to give more people a chance to join in so look out your happy photos or jolly moments and get ready to link up…see you soon…x

 

Simple Stylish Knitting Magazine – A Review

Simple Stylish Knitting Magazine

It’s always exciting to receive a parcel in the post, and when a copy of the brand new Simple Stylish Knitting magazine arrived in the post for me to review, along with some gorgeous yarn, I was very happy indeeed!

I’ve been knitting on and off since I was a child, and it’s definitely like riding a bike, once you’ve learned the skill you never really lose it. People often say to me, ‘Ooh, I’d love to learn to knit’, but unfortunately, I can’t teach everyone!

So I’m always interested to see what there is about to set aspiring knitters off on the right track, and this new partwork, the Simple Stylish Knitting Magazine has really clear instructions covering all the basics.  And because each issue has the yarn and pattern to make a sample square in a new stitch every week, not only do you have everything you need to start straight away, by the time you’ve collected all the issues you’ve got a gorgeous patchwork blanket.

And, of course by then you’ll be an expert knitter!

I was also sent some lovely Rowan yarn to make the Mr Fox iPad Mini case…

Mr Fox iPad Casr from Simple Stylish Knitting Magazine

…and it’s here I have to confess to being completely useless at something which is supposed to be really easy.  Is it just me?  I’m rubbish at Swiss darning, or duplicate stitch.  I wouldn’t have been fazed in the slightest by knitting the fox head using the Intarsia method, but I made really heavy weather of stitching it on.   So despite my knitting credentials, I need to practice this one!

The magazine has three projects each week along the themes of Knits for Home, Knits to Wear and Knits to Give with some gorgeous patterns to look forward to…

Simple Stylish Knitting Magazine projects

…and from 20th October to 20th November Simple Stylish Knitting Magazine have asked me to curate their Knits for Home Pinterest Board, (which is basically permission to have fun, isn’t it?)  Do call over and have a peek, and follow too if you like what you see.

Follow Simple Stylish Knitting’s board Knits For Home on Pinterest.

If you want to make sure you get every issue and the binders to keep them in then it’s easy to get a subscription from the Simple Stylish Knitting Magazine website.

Simple Stylish Knitting Magazine free yarnFinally, hello and welcome to all the new blog followers.  It’s been a bit quiet round here lately but I’m looking forward to being back here more often and keeping you up to date with my little woolly world!

See you soon…x

Baby Knits with Debbie Bliss

The rest of the world may think February 14th is St Valentine’s Day, everybody in the Planet Penny orbit knows it better as the due date for our latest family baby!  Babies, I know, have a mind of their own when it comes to their arrival time, but it’s going to happen sooner or later, so I’ve been wielding my knitting needles this week.

The Ultimate Book of Baby Knits - Debbie Bliss

I bought this Debbie Bliss pattern book at the Knit and Stitch show last autumn, but it was only last week that I headed into Norwich for some yarn shopping.  I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t done any ‘nice’ shopping for ages, and in the spirit of catching up with people in the real world rather than cyber space I was also able to combine the trip with coffee and a catch up with Lisa, whom many of you will know from her blog, Bobobun.

It’s nice that that after losing just about every yarn shop from the High Street not that many years ago, there are now more and more springing up, but it’s impossible for them to stock every yarn available so I think I shall be looking on line for some of the Debbie Bliss yarn I need for my baby knits,  However, despite not being able to get exactly the right wool for these little socks I was very pleased with the results after using this Sublime cashmere/merino/silk blend.

Debbie Bliss baby knits

baby knits Debbie Bliss

There are lots of things in this pattern book I would love to knit given the time, Debbie Bliss always comes up trumps with her patterns, and there’s a good selection for boys as well as girls which is sometimes a problem.  I love this simple little tank top…

Baby Knits Debbie Bliss tank top

And the back button opening makes it so much simple to get on and off a wriggly baby.

baby knits - tanktop Debbie Bliss

This simple tee shape looks cute in soft coloured stripes…

striped jumper Debbie Bliss Baby knitsAnd this little Wee Willie Winkie cap is just adorable, isn’t it…

striped cap Debbie Bliss Baby Knits

striped hat Debbie Bliss baby knits

And I’d quite like this teddy…

Debbie Bliss - teddy…and these coathangers for myself!

Debbie Bliss - Baby knits- coathangers

And, still in the book theme, remember I signed up for The Year in Books with A Circle of Pine Trees?   Laura’s January book is from Persephone a small publishing house I’ve long admired.  Waterstone’s quote…

 ‘Persephone is a wonderful publisher specialising in discovering criminally neglected books by wonderful female authors. Stylish and timeless – they make perfect gifts.’ 

…is very apt as nearly all the books I’ve bought from them have been gifts.  I’ve just received the Persephone Catalogue and magazine and this year I will treat myself to the occasional book (and drop large hints around my birthday!) as part of my reading project.

persephone books

Oh…whoops!

I’m sitting at the keyboard and have just become aware of a pair of brown eyes staring at me accusingly – it’s Higgins’ dinner-time!

I will dash off as required before he starts getting vocal about his hunger!

See you soon…x

 

Knitting! – A New Campaign – Age UK

Here’s a project which might inspire you, a new campaign from Age UK.  At the moment we are surrounded by images of people of all ages suffering from the effects of the current extreme weather conditions.

Age UK Warm Homes Now

It really concentrates the mind on how difficult it can be when the weather is cold, and for older people just normal Winter weather conditions make life very hard.

Age UK are campaigning for Government investment in insulating existing homes, which could help save many lives.  We all want to live in a warm home, but Age UK say:

‘This winter 24,000 older people could die from the cold. But it doesn’t have to be like this: with proper insulation nearly all homes could be made much warmer, and many deaths could be prevented. We are calling on the Government to invest in making millions of homes much more energy efficient using the money it is already receiving in carbon taxes. This would be enough to pay for energy efficiency measures in at least 9 million homes over the next 15 years.’

So we need to send this message to the government via our MPs, and what better way to do it than by knitting the message?  A great way to capture the attention!

So click on the link below and find a downloadable pattern for the square and all the details for the campaign and a form to fill in and send with your square to your MP.

Age Uk We Need Warm Homes leaflet

click for details…

It looks like a very basic pattern, a great way to polish those intarsia skills.  I’m off to ferret around in my bag of woolly oddments to knit my square tonight!

I’ll be sharing it with you in a subsequent post so if you would like to send me a photo of your own square we can have a picture gallery!

Please share this where you can, with your friends, your knitting group, and on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media site so we can spread the word and make this happen…

Happy knitting…!

 

 

Christmas Countdown – Day Fourteen

It’s Day Fourteen of the Christmas Countdown and I’m all behind!  With spectacular bad timing I’ve come down with a stinking cold and my carefully planned run up to Christmas (lots of scribbled notes on scraps of paper) has rather fallen apart. The cards are yet to be written, and my only decorations to date are the Christmas cards which other , more organised people, have sent to us. Still, not to worry, Christmas will happen whether we are ready or not and I’m sure if I can spend enough time this weekend steaming my head, drinking hot lemon and honey and cuddling Higgins (who is an excellent hot water bottle) I’ll be fine.

mini dachshund

Higgins in Hot Water Bottle Mode

Day Fourteen in last year’s Advent Calendar was Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day and I made these  from last year’s Debbie Bliss pattern, you can read about it here. Little jumpers seem to be quite popular as Christmas tree decorations, these from Ravelry are cute…

littel jumpers - Christmas Countdown Day 14

Berroco Design Team

…and I love the embellishments on  these…

little jumpers Chrismas Countdown day 14

Braybrook and Britten

This teeny tiny cardigan from Bugknits is just amazing.  Follow the link by clicking on the photo to see more views.  I just can’t imaging knitting something this small.

mini jumper Christmas Countdown Day 14

Bugknits

This little set is very sweet, but with no pattern I can track down…

Christmas Countdown

Pinterest

However, if you would like a change from jumpers, how about these adorable mittens from my blogging friend Mrs Micawber?

beadedmittenornament2

Mrs Micawber

or some cute little socks from Little Cotton Rabbits…

socks

Little Cotton Rabbits

I hope this has given you some knitting inspiration,  I’ll be back tomorrow… See you soon…x

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