Gracie Baby Blanket

First of all, thank you all so much to everyone who contacted me regarding the baby blanket.  Your support was overwhelming, I was so taken aback that I had to have a little re-think on this pattern.

I have made a few changes that make me feel better and have re-listed it as you all requested.

Daisy 1

As you can see from the title of this post, the blanket also has a new name, the Gracie Baby Blanket.  The lovely lady who I first designed the blanket for has now had a beautiful baby girl whom they have named Gracie. As I was making other changes, I thought it would also be nice to call the blanket after the little one who inspired the making of it.

New baby blanket.

New baby blanket.

So, once again it is available.

And, in honour of the new baby Gracie, the pattern will be available for free until the end of February, just put in the promo code gracie at the checkout.

blanket8Once again, thank you all so much for your kind comments and support over this, you are wonderful!

Mindie

 

Daisy Baby Blanket

I know that I promised a give away for the baby blanket pattern but, well, I can’t, I can’t even sell you a copy, and this is why.

Before I write-up the pattern for something I have designed, I do a good deal of research to make sure that there is not too similar a pattern already available.  This is harder than you might think as there is an abundance of knitting patterns available from spinners and indie designers all over the world. Some designs are similar, but also, some things that look similar are in fact very different in terms of construction etc. It can take hours of scrolling through pages of designs all over the net to check them all out.

However, this is one time I have had my fingers singed a little.  As you know, I’ve been working on baby blankets lately and wrote up a pattern for one that I recently gave as a baby shower gift.

This one.

New baby blanket.

New baby blanket.

I had spent hours looking at blanket patterns and not once did I come across one  like this one, not even similar. So, after checking and editing the pattern I uploaded it to Ravelry as usual with a promo code which made it free for a month. It’s a very simple pattern and I only charge a nominal fee after a while as I’ve been burnt with free patterns before. Some of you may remember the original Duffers pattern fiasco! Anyway, all uploaded and everything hunky dory until I went back to check the listing to make sure that it was working and…. when I put in the search what pops up but a very similar blanket, too similar for my comfort zone. Of course I prefer my version, but I’m allowed to aren’t I?

I just can’t do it. Sorry. I have removed the listing, but it is still showing at the moment.  I assume that it will disappear over time.

blanket8

If you want a similar blanket to this one you’ll just have to purchase the other pattern.

Autumn

I sit beside the fire and think
Of all that I have seen
Of meadow flowers and butterflies
In summers that have been

Of yellow leaves and gossamer
In autumns that there were
With morning mist and silver sun
And wind upon my hair

Part of a poem by J.R.R. Tolkien
 

It has been a beautiful summer here and I find it is much easier facing the cold mornings and evenings now, having had some warm summer weather between winters! Over the last few years here, our winters have more or less run straight into the next autumn without a summer in between!

Our mornings here have been looking very much like this,

Autumn

and the evenings have just been beautiful,

Autumn Evening

today we have cloud – back to normal then!

The chilly mornings have had my thoughts turn to warmer garments, as I know the whole knitting community is, and I have been swatching in some cushy wool / alpaca yarn.

Something textural with just a little colour I thought, and after a while came up with two interesting but slightly unusual stitch pattern combinations that compliment each other well.

Sample

I changed the colour to something a little more seasonal and let it take shape as I went on.

Patterning

Working bottom up, I am nearly up to the point where I need to knit a couple of sleeves to join with the body.  I have put in a rather large front pocket with plenty of room to warm your hands in and have a nice idea for the collar too. I hoped to be further on than I am but have also been tempted by this yarn that I found at my local LYS that is just calling out for some more attention.

Tweed yarns

It is a lovely tweed yarn, 97% British wool (spun in Yorkshire) with 3% viscose which I assume is the tweed neps. This yarn has very little spring to it but has a beautiful crisp handle that I find irresistible. I couldn’t resist buying one ball in each colour just to try them all out and keep thinking that they may look good all together in one garment, but that may change.

I blame the autumn weather, you just want to be able to knit everything at once.

I picked a whole host of wild blackberry’s and made one of my favourite desserts, blackberry and pear crumble.

Blackberry and Pear Crumble

Blackberry and Pear Crumble

I am still working on the final recipe for the topping.  I am intolerant to oats, even gluten free ones, so have been looking for a good alternative for my usual gluten crumble.  I’ve tried all the usual suspects such as quinoa flakes, which I like, but we here are partial to coconut and this latest version has dessicated coconut along with some chopped nuts to give it extra crunch.  The coconut toasts beautifully but I think I need to increase the fat content a little as this was quite crumbly and I also like my topping to ‘stick’ together a little. Fussy eh?

Cyclamen

Cyclamen

I am also working on the final draft of the Hathor pattern while the test knitters finish theirs and hope to have it ready to publish soon. The colours they have chosen are just beautiful and are up on the pattern page if you are a Ravelry member.

Mindie

How time flies

when you’re having fun…. or whatever is happening really..

I can’t believe that it has been over eighteen months since I shut down my blog and left just the pattern pages standing.

A great deal has happened since then.  I’ve been else where, being someone else and doing other things. Not exactly in a spy/clandestine way you understand, just not being quite myself or doing my usual things; it sure felt as if I was someone else for a while.

Unfortunately, I’ve also been unwell for the last year. More about that later, but suffice to say that my cooking has taken another turn. I used to post gluten and dairy free recipes here. Now I cook without even more; corn, soya, yeast, oats and sometimes eggs and fruit to name a few. It gets interesting and I am having fun (if you can call it that) exploring the vast array of new blogs and books out there dedicated to the subject.

But, I have never stopped knitting, (gasp in horror at the thought)  I’ve been designing too, so I’ve kept my hand in.

Hopefully now though I am able to come back and bore you all with my activities. I don’t expect that I will re-instate the original pages that I removed, a new start with a fresh look is called for I think, but for those of you that remember what the original blog consisted of I expect this will look similar. For those who don’t (and why would you in all honesty) I drivel on about knitting and other crafts such as spinning with a generous sprinkling of gardening and cooking thrown in for good measure.  With a fair wind behind me I also hope to be posting some reviews on various knitting and cookery books and reviewing allergy friendly and not so friendly recipes. I shall also be putting some new patterns up and discussing design ideas for others too.

So, an exciting time ahead. Hope you will enjoy it as much as I will…it’s nice to be back!

Happy Days

DUFFERS revisited

Duffers – revisited   The new version of the felted slipper pattern is now done and up.


From its small beginnings, just three sizes over two pages, the pattern has now grown into an absolute monster running to 16 pages.  Don’t worry though, you should never have to print them all out, not unless you want to.

The pattern now covers sizes

UK: 2, 3, 5, 6-7, 8, 10 ½

US: 3, 5½, 7½, 9½, 10½, 13

EUR: 33, 35.5, 38, 39-40, 43, 45

I give these sizes as a guide only.  As I said in my last post re. the Little Duffers, finding exact shoe sizes and foot lengths on the net was difficult.  It is better for a more accurate size guide to go by the finished foot lengths.  These are:

INCHES: 8½, 9, 9½, 10, 10½ & 11

CM: 23, 23.5, 24, 25.5, 26.5 & 28

Each of these sizes can be knitted in Standard, Wide and Extra Wide width fittings.

Each width fitting adds approx. 1″ to the circumference of the slipper.  The smallest three sizes start at a foot circumference of about 8-8 1/2″ so the wide version comes in at 9-9 1/2″ and the extra wide at 10-10 1/2.  Similarly the largest three sizes have foot circumferences which start at about 9 1/2-10″ so the wide is 10 1/2-11″ and the extra wide 11 1/2 – 12″.  These sizes do of course depend on how hard you felt the slippers and your yarn, but with the slippers felted to the correct length these are about the sizes you should expect to be getting.

Just to add to the mix, on top of all those sizes, the pattern now covers knitting the slippers flat and then seaming or knitting them seamlessly.  The seamless version uses Judy Becker’s magic cast on which means you don’t even have to seam the bottom when you are finished.  You can Judy’s article covering her fantastic method on Knitty here.  I don’t cover it in the pattern, there just isn’t room to put anything more in, but if you don’t want to use this method, you can still knit the slippers in the round. Just cast on with a long tail cast on and join for knitting in the round as you would with, say, a top down sock and sew up the bottom seam when you’ve finished knitting.

The pattern consists of written patterns covering different sets of sizes ( there are two sets, the smallest three and the largest three sizes),  different widths and methods of knitting.  Each of these patterns has a page of its own with blank spaces where the number of stitches etc. should be.  All figures for the different patterns are in chart form and there are two charts.  The pattern page for your chosen size, width and method will tell you which chart you need the figures from.

To make up your pattern all you need to do is print the one pattern page that shows your size, width and method of knitting.  Then take the numbers from the appropriate chart and fill in the blank spaces you are then ready to start knitting.

The pattern is so huge and along with the  Little Duffers covers every size you should need from 4″ to 11″ in half inch increments.

It is now available from Ravelry for £ 3.75

I hope you like them!

Little DUFFERS

It feels like an age since I came by here to put together a proper post.  Life has taken me through more twists and turns, ups and downs this year than I would have ever thought could be packed into such a short space of time, which is why I haven’t been around much.  But all that aside, finally, I’ve finished working on the children’s sizes of the Duffer pattern.

Little Duffers

Sizing the Duffers down to children’s sizes ended up being more involved than just a quick change of yarn or stitch count.  There was a scale issue that I hadn’t considered when I first started, mainly due to my wish to have seven sizes.  The baby sizes were one thing but once I started to add length I found that I also needed to add width.  Simple? Not so on a three-dimensional item.  The way that the Duffers are engineered means that adding stitches on the bottom adds length and width issues you may not want in other areas and vise-versa.

Still, after what has turned out to be in excess of 100 hours work and more single miniature slippers than I can shake a stick at, (I still have no idea what I’m going to do with them all!) I think I’ve finally got to a point where I am happy to call it a pattern.

The Little Duffers pattern consists of seven pages.  Four of them contain written patterns, one a chart and the other two have general information.  As someone who uses a lot of ink and paper, I’m aware that this is quite a lot to print out so I have put each part of the pattern onto a page of its’ own.  This way you should only have to print out those parts of the pattern that you need at any one time.

As I said, there are seven sizes of Little Duffers.  Starting at a finished foot length of just 4″ (10 cm) they go up in 1/2″ ( approx. 1 cm) increments to 7 1/2″ (19 cm). As a guide this covers shoe sizes UK 0 to 10 1/2,  US 1/2 to 11 and EUR 15 to 28 1/2.

It was very difficult to get exact conversions between shoe sizes and foot length. The information on the net, wonderful as it is, was conflicting to say the least.  I settled on an average in the end but please use the shoe sizes given as a guide only referring, if you can, to the finished foot length to determine the size you need to make.

The pattern calls for a worsted weight or heavy DK weight yarn, 100m to 50g.  This time I chose to knit my samples using Cascade 220 yarn.  Mainly because it is easily available, felts well and comes in a myriad of colours.  You can use anything that pleases you, as long as it felts and gives you a gauge of 4 sts per inch pre felting. You will only need small amounts for these children’s slippers.  The smallest sizes require only 20g – 40g of yarn per pair and the largest only 50g – 60g per pair.  Remember, all yarns are different and felt at different rates so proceed with caution if using a yarn you have not felted with before and are unsure as to how it will felt. Once I actually managed to get what should have been an 11 inch slipper to felt to just 8 inches, in one wash.

I almost have the adult version written up too.  It will be a few more days or so yet, but I am at last happy with the larger wider sizes that I’ve been working on. They will be 1″ wider than the standard fit, making them suitable for men, and ladies who like a little more room in their slipper. Just for fun, here’s a photo of the smallest Little Duffer and the largest Duffer to give you an idea of the size range we are now looking at.

Joking aside, there are a couple of notes regarding sizing that I’d just like to outline here.  The opening on the Little Duffers varies by only a few stitches each time the size goes up, but, it does make quite a difference to the opening.  The smallest pair has quite a small opening deliberately to keep them on little feet. Cast these off loosely.  Similarly, with the largest children’s size the opening is as I originally intended them to be, a sort of ballet shoe design.  This may not suit everyone so, if it doesn’t suit you, feel free to add an extra row to bring the opening closer.

Finally, a big thank you to MidlandSpinner on Ravelry who gave her unquestioning support and technical help just when I needed it.  Thank you.

I hope you like the Little Duffers.