Tag Archives: misc makes

knitting teacher

This is just a quick post to explain why there have been no posts recently.

In September I started training to become a secondary school* science teacher.  The course is as time-consuming as it is rewarding, leaving me with little ‘spare’ time to knit, blog, read books not on reading list, see friends, talk to family or do housework (ok no change there for the last one).

But knitting time can be justified if it’s spent making teaching aids …
teaching aids

Top Row: Microbes 1. bacterium (e. coli), 2. fungus (penicillin), 3. virus (common cold), 4. bacterium (TB),
Bottom row: Invertebrates, extinct & extant 5. belemnite, 6. cuttlefish, 7. trilobite, 8. ammonite and belemnite

…  or school-teacher-appropriate knitwear – my angostura is finally finished!
Angostura frontAngostura back
ravelry project page

And yes my classes did love the knitted fossils and mirco-organisms.  I see the time spent making them an investment – hopefully I’m going to be teaching for lots of years so they will get a lot of use. Now I’m off to look for a mole pattern ….


* secondary school = high school, ages 11 – 16 (or 18)


ging gang woolly

Can’t remember whether I’ve mentioned it here before, but for the past couple of years I’ve been involved with Girl Guiding. Or rather re-involved – I was a Brownie & a Guide myself, and now its fun to help give girls the chance to take part in the fun experiences & opportunities Guiding can provide.

So far I have failed to get any of our girls interested in learning to knit, although I am hoping to run a spinning session at camp next year (I did have to explain to someone that it’s this kind of spinning not that kind of spinning – I prefer to do my cycling out in the fresh air).  But of coure I take my knitting along to do in rare quiet moments in meetings, and have made some “Guidey knits” this year.

Emergency Poppy

remembrance day poppy, for church parade
Guides & Scouts go to church parade for Remembrance Sunday.  I know that we had at least two poppies in the house but on the night before church parade I could only find one. Son needed that to pin on his Scout shirt, luckily I managed to find this pattern and crochet one for myself.
ravlery project page

Bear Sock

bear cast sock
A cast sock for one of my Guides who broke her leg & so couldn’t come to camp.
raverly project page


trefoil detail
I love illusion knitting, so this was was a perfect knit for our Unit Leader & my leadership mentor. The pattern was written by a Brownie leader to raise funds for her unit, so do get one if you have Guides to knit for.
ravelry project page

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

finished at last

The Never Ending Crochet Blanket of DOOM, it has ended
pattern: Wavy Blanky by Stephanie Gage; yarn: Creative Yarns Style DK; hook: 4 mm

I do love this pattern, it was just a bad decision to make a single bed sized blanket in dk yarn.sock yarn squares If I ever decided to make another blanket, remind me not to use anything thinner than aran weight. Oh except for the sock yarn squares blanket but that is a loooong term project.

Anyway I had much of the blue yarns left over so I made son a matching Manchester City cushion cover. The pattern for a patchwork cushion is from a book, and I used Rhonda White‘s charts for the letters.
pattern: Patchwork Cushion by Jane Crowfoot; letters charted by Rhonda White; yarn: Creative Yarns Style DK; needles: 4 mm

Looking at the flickr bar on the right, I see that all my recent projects have been blue. And so is my main WiP, a lacy(ish) jumper in bamboo tape which I am making up as a I go along based on a jumper I already have.
It’s been a bit stop-start because I don’t always feel up to calculating shapings, so I put it aside and knit something with a pattern instead. It’s not the actual calculations that put me off but the decision making process. With a pattern, someone else has decided where to place the sleeves and what size the neck should be and so on, so I can blame them if I don’t like the end result. But with this jumper I will only have myself to blame. Eep.

life long learning

I took my chemistry-with-hard-sums exam last week.  Now I have no studying for a couple of months, until my next course starts in February (although I may do a little light reading in preparation for it).   Even though my chemistry studies are over for this year, I still have plenty of new things to learn.  I’ve cast on for my bountiful bohus cardigan.  This features a couple of techniques I’ve not done before – short row shaping and steeks.

I have done short rows before, but not for shaping a garment.  The pattern does give some shapings but I’m going to recalculate my own, as well as tweaking other parts of the shaping, using my hard-won mad algebra skillz. If  I can apply the steady state approximation and understand the Langmuir adsorption isotherm then I can damn well work out where to put a couple of bust darts.

Steeks, though! Steeks are a different story.  You want me to cut my knitting?  I think I’d rather derive some more kinetic equations, thanks.  Cut. My.  Knitting! ?  This is terrifying.  But I know lots of knitters who have done it and survived, and they assure me it’s not that difficult but even so, I’m scared.  But ’tis a long way off yet.  I have started with the sleeves, by way of checking my tension calculations (my yarn is knitting up looser than the pattern so I am following the instructions for a smaller size).   I’ve made the sleeves narrower than the pattern has them – I already have one cardigan with big sleeves, don’t really need another.
cardigan sleeve

I did finally finish my summer school shawl, and wore it during my exam – it gets quite cool in the exam hall after 2 or 3 hours sitting still.
bidentate shawl, for mebidentate shawl
pattern: Litla Dimun by Cheryl Oberle (from ‘Folk Shawls‘)
yarn: Jamieson & Smith 2 Ply Jumper Yarn, shade 1403 (the red is slightly deeper/darker than it shows in these photos)
needles: 4 mm

I love the finished shawl, the Faroese shape really does stay on well. And I love the yarn, in all its crispness and slight roughness. This feels like the kind of shawl my great grandmothers would have worn. Airy lace and softy delicate yarns are good for dressing up, but this is an honest, everyday working shawl.  Although I wear it for working in  the library, rather than the fields or mills.  Ah, which reminds me …
Poetry Society U
I kniktted this ‘U’ for the Poetry Society’s Knitted Poem.  They asked you to tell them your favourite poem.  One of mine is Digging by Seamus Heaney

But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I’ll dig with it.


sari for lack of posting recently, but here’s updates on some current projects:

Granite Socks

granite socks, for Rob
pattern: Baby Cable Rib by Charlene Schurch (from Sensational Knitted Socks)
yarn: Regia Line Steps Color shade 5371 Granite
needles: 2.5 mm bamboo dpns

Finished at last, after being on the needles for over 2 months.  I don’t think I’ve ever taken so long to complete a pair of socks, they were sidelined by the pressures of various presents.  I like this pattern and will probably make it again, good for man socks (just don’t tell them the name of the stitch pattern has ‘baby’ in it).

GM Mouse

gm mouseSparky kills the Giant Mouse

pattern: based on Easy Peasy Catnip Mouse Toy by Meelai
yarn: Patons UK Spirit, shade 4503 Bracken
hook: 5 mm

Because Sparky seemed to like playing with soft toys as big as himself

Shap Blue Socks

wild knitting

We went to Rivington again this weekend and I got some knitting done under a tree in the Japanese garden.


Body & sleeves finished, now just the button bands to do (ugh) and the sleeves to seam (once I’ve learned mattress stitch).  I have gnawing doubts about the fit but won’t find out until it’s all blocked …. fingers crossed.

bang for your buck

I can’t in all conscience claim that knitting your own things saves money.  Even with the cheapest nastiest baby-melt you’d be struggling to make a jumper for less than you’d pay for a new one in Primark.   And let’s not dwell on the economics of sock yarns.  But when it comes to gift-giving, knitting makes your money go further with the addition of your time and skill and lurv *.   Some things I have given to people recently ….

Owlie Owlings
owlings1owlings detailowlings3

pattern: Owlings by Kerrie James
yarn: Green Eyed Monsters GEM Squirrel in owlie-brown
needles: 3.25 mm bamboo dpns

Made for my sister, with some very gorgeous squishy yarn that lovely Kate dyed to the perfect greyey-brown for me.

Green Fluorescent Jellyfish
gfp jellyfish, for Karlgfp jellyfish, for Karl
pattern: Juvenile Sea Nettle by Hansi Singh
yarn: Rowan Pure Wook DK in Cloud and Cedar; Bernat Glow-in-the-Dark Green Glow

Made for my dear friend and unofficial chemistry tutor, because last year’s Nobel Prize for Chemistry was awarded for work on green fluorescent protein, originally extracted from jellyfish (and yes, someone has made green fluorescent sheep so all-natural glow-in-the-dark yarn should be on the market soon).

Tasteful House-Warming Gift
loo roll loo roll cover with tasteful doillyloo roll loo roll cover with tasteful doilly
pattern: Toilet Paper Roll and Kitschy Doily by Denise Plourde

*At least I fondly imagine this is so (and ignore any nagging thoughts in those wee small hours that my nearest and dearest dread unwrapping the next ‘soft’ present I give them).

I’ve said it before

and I’ll no doubt say it again, and it can never be said enough:

I bloody love ravelry

I’ve been swapping again, and received the most amazing box of lurv from my swap partner, including yummy sock yarns cute stitch markers, a squidy bag and a gorgeous hansigurumi octopus.

old maiden aunt shade K1citrus markerssquid baghansigurumi octopus

I love cephalopoda so much, must get around to knitting up the hansigurumi squid pattern I have.

My partner in the same swap has now received her goodies from me and loved them too, and now I can share a couple of small makes I did for the swap.

seaglass pouch
pattern: Deep Sea Flower Dice Bag by Nina Hyland
yarn: oddment of Noro Kureyon

made for swap and various other cats of my acquaintance
pattern: Easy Peasy Catnip Mouse by Meelai
yarn: random oddments

In between the sewing, I have managed to get in some knitting time too, enough to finish son’s bee socks:

bee socks, for Owen
pattern: basic sock, 54 st, leg in k7p1 garter rib
yarn: Opal Rainforest shade 1613 Bee
needles: 2.5 mm dpns

turn the heel on my second bamboo sock and cast on a new pair of socks for DrM. And I am desperate to cast on a pair of Owlings, after meeting Lucyvanp’s cashmere pair at knit night. I have a single ball of alpaca from a swap, and some matching beads.  When my bamboo socks are finished my Owlings are starting.

because it’s there

For the first 25  or so years of my knitting life, I was content with the skills I learnt from my mum and the odd book.  It’s not that I stuck to simple things – I did cables and fair isle and intarstia – but I didn’t try new or different ways of doing things.  Mostly I didn’t know there were different ways of doing things. Until I took up knitting again with a vengeance a couple of years ago  and discovered the knitting internets, I genuinely did not know that there was any other way to knit than the way I was taught (which I now know is ‘English’ style).  I had no idea there were so many different ways to cast on and cast off, and I’d never knit in the round.

Now I enjoy the challenge of learning new techniques when I need them.  I’ve learnt new cast ons and cast offs, become a sock addict, taught myself to crochet, read lace and cable charts, learnt different ways to increase and decrease, and more.  But one thing I’ve never done is entrelac.  I just don’t particularly like the effect and so have had no desire to knit anything in it.  Then last week, someone brought along a hand-knit entrelac cardigan to knitting group and asked how it was done.  And while I could seen in principle how it must be done, I had to confess I didn’t know exactly.

Well now I do, for I have knit this entrelac tea cosy.

entrelac tea cosy

pattern: improvised, first two sets knit in the round, middle section knit flat with decreases, top section knit in the round, I-cord loop
yarn: ancient dk acrylic from stash
needles: 4 mm

Can’t see me wanting to knit entrelac again, all that going back and forward and picking up stitches is a right pain and I don’t like the effect enough for it to be worth it.  But at least I now know how it’s done and the cafe where we have our knit nights has a new tea cosy.  Actually they have 3 new cosies because I fell out with my current wip socks and wanted some simple makes, and because it seemed to me that a cafe that’s often full of knitters really should have knitted tea cosies

strawberry cosy
pattern: Strawberry Tea Cosy by Katya Frankel (available as a free ravelry download)
yarn: stash acrylic dk, used doubled

bobble cosy
pattern: improvised, crocheted in treble crochet (US = double crochet), retro-fitted with bobbles
yarn: stash acrylic dk, used doubled


or more accurately, copy-cthulhu.  I signed up for a Ravelry Rubberneckers Swap, and my swap victim aliseknits likes dice.  Oooh, I know someone who made a geek-tastic glow-in-the-dark dice bag recently, that’s so a good idea.  So I made one too.
dice bag, for aliseknitsdice bag, for aliseknits
pattern: Chthulu Dice Bag by A. A. Leavitt-Reynolds (mods: knit the base smaller and the body over 50 st instead of 70)
yarn: King Cole Fashion Aran in black, Bernat Glow in the Dark in Green Glow (the glow is much more impressive than the picture shows, but it turns out to be really difficult to photograph)

needles: 4 mm

And I received an amazing swap package from CodeCrafter, stuffed full of yarny chocolatey gorgeous goodness, including LittleFreak yarn, a brilliant knitting mag and the cutest project bag that she made herself.
swap box

In other news, my calorimetry love goes on. Friend liked her Christmas one in Kureyon very much and asked if I would do her a more conservatively coloured one for work, which gave me a good way to use up the bit of BfL aran left over from dad’s scarf
chocolate calorimetry, for Topsy
pattern: Calorimetry by Kathryn Schoendorf (96 st, 4.5 mm needles)
yarn: Violet Green Hand-Dyed Bluefaced Leicester Aran in chocolate

And then I realised I want one too, and I haz a ball of Kureyon in the same shades as Vladi’s one, so am knitting that now ….