Tag Archives: hats

new old pattern: Into the Valley

A couple of years ago, I wrote a pattern for this beanie & it was published in Bobbins. Now I’m finally getting around to releasing the pattern into the wild. It’s a cabled man’s beanie, knit in aran weight, and available as a free ravelry download .

(if you’re not on ravelry you can download a copy by clicking here instead but you really should just join ravelry).

20th August 2012: as Julie kindly pointed out in the comments, there was error in round 4 of the set up rounds (written instructions). I have corrected this in the latest version. Thanks Julie. 


spinning yarnz

For the past two years my bff has been threatening to teach me to spin. I couldn’t risk letting her – there was no way I would ever graduate if I got another fibery habit.  But having completed the final course for my degree in October, I found a spindle in my Christmas stocking
new spindle

along with a pair of hand carders and some merino tops. So I spent Christmas day (and many days thereafter) playing with my presents, and eventually (and thanks to various online tutorials and videos), made yarn!


I have already managed to make Real Yarn, plied and everything.  All the tutorials caution new spinners to make sure to add enough twist; I think I took this too much to heart and ended up with very twisty yarn.  But it’s still yarn, and I think I have enough of the green merino for fingerless gloves.
first plied yarntwisty merino handspun
So mostly I have been spinning since Christmas, not much knitting except for sshhh sooper seekrit project for Purl City Yarns design contest).

There was however much knitting and other crafting at the end of last year, here’s a quick catch up on some recent(ish) makes, including Christmas knittings
Christmas & other makes
1. Tavish’s booties, 2. Fagin Gloves, for DrM, 3. beanie, for son, 4. day of the dead bag, 5. Ishbel, for mum, 6. limpetiole, for sis, 7. dolls house shawl, 8. cats’ Xmas present, 9. Lennard-Jones socks, for Ethel

last weekend

My Open University project report is submitted at last. I am so used to spending my weekends hunched over books & netbook, watching the sunshine through the window, I hardly know that to do with a free weekend. We can even go away on the odd weekend (when son can be torn away from capoiera, MC club, drama group, rugby and D&D).

So last weekend we headed up to the North East to stay with my BFF and help another Dear Friend celebrate his birthday. Major baking was in order; I am all about the muffins and have even started experimenting with savoury ones.
We went to the coast, to the gorgeous Marsden Bay and its very lovely limestone, ideal for DF to try out the pirate hat I made him.
pirate hat
piratespattern: We Call Them Pirates by Adrian Bizilia (free ravelry download); yarn: James C Brett Pure Merino shades PM9, PM7, PM10; needles3.25 mm, 3.00 mm; ravelry project page.

I was a bit worried about the tension on this, as I do knit slightly loose anyway and was using DK instead of sport weight, but it came out perfect.

I do love knitting hats, you can just spot a couple of others in this picture.
looking out to sea
(that’s a Guimauve and an Into the Valley).


I have a new cardigan, complete with zip.
kool kotton kopy kat kardigan
pattern: improvised; yarn: James C Brett Kool Kotton shade KK12; needles: 3.25 mm & 3.75mm rav project page

I made it up as I went along, trying to copy an old cardigan I already own. One of my favourite features of the old cardigan is the two-way zip. After reading up online and with plenty of virtual handholding, I installed my first-ever zip-in-knitting.
zip bottom zip top
oh and that on my head is my new beret. I have fallen in love with wearing slouchy hats in summer-ish yarns, this latest one is Phannie crocheted from Kool Kotton.


Right now we are on holiday in Ireland, visiting Rob’s family.  It takes about 10 hours to get here, by car and ferry,  so I decided to see if that’s enough time to knit a new summer beret.  Turns out, it is.
journeywoman hat
pattern: improvised; yarn: James C Brett Kool Kotton shade KK9; needles: 3.25 mm & 4 mm; rav project page
26/07 – edited to add some better photos, taken on the beach with a real camera rather than in the bathroom on an ancient phone
new hatnew hat, side view
and a gratuitous pic of my menfolk on the beach

finish line

ravthleteI won a nice batch of medals for my winter olympics projects, pictures to follow once the pre-gifting embargo is past.  I had to withdraw hurt from my main event, the WiP Dancing, when I discovered one of my contrasting colours for fair isle was insuffiently contrasting. However I have now finished the WiP in question, my Bohus cardigan. After the steeking, doing the button bands and spending 3 days waiting for it to dry, at last I get to try it on
pattern: Bountiful Bohus by Chrissy Gardiner (from ‘More Big Girl Knits’ or available free online)
yarn: Jamieson & Smith Shetland Aran, shades BSS15, BSS16, SS3

I’m happy with it, but I’m not sure yet whether I love it.  It’s a bit too big, and also the neck line is too wide (despite my adding extra short rows to bring it in.  I’ve decided I don’t like short row neck lines).  I think it’s going to be more of a jacket than a cardigan.

This year is going to be the year of the jumpers, I think. My next big project is a fair isle jumper for Rob. I have half the yarn (Dale Garn Falk) and have been knitting fair isle hats to check my tension
fair isle beanie in dale garn falkFair Isle baby beanie

I’d forgotten how much I love knitting fair isle. Looking forward to buying the rest of the wool next pay day so I can get it cast on.


Bobbins, the lovely new knitting/crafting mag curated by RubbishKnitter, is out at last and includes a pattern by me. Into the Valley is a man’s cabled hat and this is what it looks like as properly photographed in the mag
and this is what it looks like as photographed by me, one on Rob and one on Frankie (the valley boy for whom the original was designed).
Bobbins includes other fabbola patterns, articles and cakes. Yours for just four British pounds, get one now.
Bobbins Mag


I finished my hat and gloves for the Big Issue knitting event
patterns: glittens – improvised; hat – Turn a Square by Jared Flood
yarn: King Cole Fashion Aran (blue) & Patons Diploma Gold Aran (purple)

I’ve been wearing glittens myself during the winter and love how handy it is to be able keep your fingers warm most of the time but have them free when you need, eg to use a camera.   I thought the same would apply if you’re standing around outside selling the Big Issue, you’d want to have cosy hands but still be able to handle money.  The hat is the first Turn a Square I’ve made and I love it, I can see this becoming my default basic beanie pattern.

The colour scheme was accident not design.  These are two of my favourite inexpensive arans (although the Paton’s has now been discontinued, unfortunately), soft, hard wearing, machine washable.  I had part balls of each and wasn’t sure if there was enough of either for the glittens, hence the stripes.  It was only when I was half way through the first one I realised I need to hope for a Big Issue seller who is a Burnley fan.  Or West Ham, Aston Villa, Port Vale, Scunthorpe or even the bluagranas themselves, Barcelona.  Or just someone who has no interest in foopball but wants warm head and hands.

beginnings and endings (and carrying-on-ings)


On Sunday I started another pair of glittens, this time for a homeless or vulnerably housed person, as part of the Big Issue Knit .  Which was a great fun afternoon out, too, and amazing to see so many knitters in one place.
big issue knit

100119And it being January, another Open University course is about to begin. This is (fingers crossed) my final course for my degree and is a literature-based research project. Which is scary,100126 being left to myself to turn out 5000 words by September. I’m probably going to concentrate on physical organic chemistry, but the past year of studying physical chemistry has pushed all the organic I knew out of my brain.

most importantly: buy more knitting patterns!

I’ll be starting lots of new beginnings soon with all my new knitting patterns.   Lots of lovely designers are contributing money from their January pattern sales to the Haiti relief effort. So if there’s a pattern you were thinking of buying anyway one day, have a look if the designer is taking part in the Help for Haiti efforts and buy it sooner rather than later.


potions class socks, for mefinally, at long last, I have finished my potions class socks.I really don’t know why it’s taken me so long, except that they got pushed to the back of te work in progress queue. I love both the yarn and the pattern and am very happy with the finished socks.

pattern: Hallows and Horcruxes by Kate Heppell
yarn: Old Maiden Aunt Merino Superwash 4ply shade K1

I’ve also finished some glittens I promised my favourite small girl, an experimental short row slouchy hat, and (with a lot of help and advice from my mum, ravelry friends and the nice lady in Leon’s) sewed myself a bag organiser and a top.
mosaic for blog


I’m still pushing on with my Bohus cardigan. I finally got the waist decreases to work out for me, and am just about to start the short row shaping for the bust. After that I can join in the sleeves and start on the colour work, which will be a relief from all this stocking stitch.

And the never ending crochet blanket of DOOOM is continuing in occasional fits and starts. It seemed a good idea when I started, to make son’s blanket full sized so he can use it for a long time, but I am regretting it now.

crochet 2, audrey 0

I am not one of nature’s artists.  I know I can’t draw or paint, but sometimes I delude myself about my ability to undertake other creative tasks.  Take for example the time I decided to bake my son a train cake for his birthday, like the one my friend made for hers.  Baking cakes I can do, and she said it was easy to make the carriages & engine from sponge cake.  At 3 am, surrounded by bits of sponge cake hacked into random shapes and soggy with tears, I found out that her definition of ‘easy’ was different to mine (and then went to the 24 hour supermarket to buy a damn cake).

This is a lesson I seem to need to keep relearning, apparently.  I can crochet, so I can do knock up an amigurumi Darth Maul for my nephew, based on this cute pattern.  Right?
amigurumi FAIL
I don’t know which aspect of this is worse, my inability to crochet tightly enough for amigurumi (despite using big yarn and little hook) or my attempts to embroider the features on to it?  On balance, I think the embroidery is the biggest fail.  The tension I can work on (as a self-taught crocheter I can probably learn from some RL crochet gurus) but the embroidery I think falls outwith my creative sphere.

So then I decided to crochet a hat.  This also went sadly wrong, managing to be both too tight at the brim and too floppy on the crown.  Luckily however I found someone it fit perfectly.