Valiant Cowl Shade 16

I love my first valiant cowl so much that I have knitted up another.

Originally I purchased 3 balls of the Noro Tokonatsu yarn all in the same colour shade 7. When I discovered this fantastic pattern by Doris and Wilfred Designs and found out I only need 1 ball to make it I went back and exchanged the other 2 balls for different colours. This is shade 16. I love this colour (perhaps even more than the blue) It is this really deep rich burnt orange, generally I am not an orange person but this colour is gorgeous. Once again I did add the extra pattern repeats to what the original pattern says, this just make it a little bit longer. It is so soft and squishy. I have been wearing my blue one a lot so I know it will be nice and warm.

This is a great little pattern and if you ever do want to spoil yourself grab a ball of this yarn and whip this up in no time.


Sunny Log Cabin Progress

So after not working on my blanket for many months last week I decided to start joining the squares together and before I knew it they were all done. Just like making a traditional log cabin quilt you first needed to join the squares to form rows and then join all the rows together. They are joined with whip stitch not crochet so you get mostly invisible seams that sit pretty flat. The colour yarn you use depends on what squares you are joining, the instructions have you use a colour that matches the side of one square. The only time you may see a few tiny stitches is when you are joining the vertical end columns in the block as they don’t match your yarn colour. My gamble of not blocking the squares did actually work. Each square is the same amount of stitches on each side so when you are matching up your seams if you line up your stitches they come together, I didn’t have to really pull or push any to make them fit.

My next step is to do the border around the outside. I’m glad these are finally joined. You can actually see the pattern now formed by the different columns of colour. I haven’t taken the labels off each square yet although I could take off the ones in the middle and just leave the outer 4 squares so I know which way I am going for the border. They have waited this long they can wait a little longer.


UFP – Sunny Log Cabin Blanket

Last year I was all excited about Lucy’s Sunny Log Cabin blanket, I did all the individual squares then just put them aside.

I needed to block them as per the instructions, when I finally got foam matts and pins I blocked my first set of 4 blocks… and I’m embarrassed to say for the last 2 months they have sat pinned to the matts on top of my tumble dryer. I don’t know why I never got back to them. They actually became annoying as I was having to move them if I used the dryer in case the top of it got hot. I was inspired by my friend Kylie who did a podcast last week mentioning she was going to finish a blanket to get in and work on my own unfinished blanket.  I always have a lot craft projects on the go but I can’t bring myself to starting another blanket for myself if I have one unfinished. If a blanket is for someone else than I don’t have a problem with having 2 on the go but if it is for me I can only do one… and I have about 4 blankets on my todo list so I really need to finish this one. After much thought I have decided to take a short cut, this may come back to bite me but it can’t hurt to try. I’m not going to block the remaining 3 sets of blocks which form the rows of the blanket. All the squares are roughly the same size so I am just going to fudge it and make them fit. As I mentioned this blanket is just for me so if it isn’t totally perfect it isn’t going to matter, it will be still be functional and most importantly it will get finished. I’m a bit worried that if I don’t just jump in and start assembling it I’ll be still sitting here in another 6 months time with 16 crocheted blocks hanging out on my craft trolley and I’m sure by then my blanket todo list would be even longer.

Let’s hope my short cut doesn’t cause too much pain


I have finished my first ever crocheted toy a little football.

I was wanting to make a football for a newborn gift. I knew I could sew one but I wanted to try making one out of yarn for a change. I searched online and found a great little pattern on Interweave. It was in US terms and I am used to using UK terms so it took me a little bit to get my head around which stitch they were referring too in it. It is a very simple pattern and worked up pretty quickly. The only thing I found a little confusing with the pattern and I’m not totally happy with is the top laced up section. The pattern just says to refer to a picture on the page on how to lace it up but the picture doesn’t give you a good indication on how you actually do it. My one doesn’t look too bad but it would have been easier with actual instructions. The yarn is Stylecraft Special DK which is an acrylic and I used a 3.5mm hook.

I had never done any form of shaping before in crochet. This was a really great pattern to start on. The ball in made up 4 pieces that are joined to form the oval shape. All but one turned out the same size, I have no idea why but one was a little larger and I can’t remember if it was my first one or second one. It all joined up the same and you can’t notice on the final piece. The only thing I did differently to the pattern instructions was they said to slip stitch around the edge of each piece and I did a UK double crochet instead. Once I joined all my pieces there was a gap in either end which I closed up using some of my end tails. All other end tails I didn’t weave in I just left them long inside. I was fastening off each time I joined a piece I just wasn’t cutting the yarn so it is secure and shouldn’t unravel.

I’m now inspired to try doing other crocheted toys. I did each panel in sections and marked every 10 rows so if I did have to frog back I had row placings so I could keep count. It was fun to do but was something that had to be done with total concentration, no talking, no tv.

I would like to mention that Interweave had really good customer service. There was a mix up and I accidentally purchased 2 copies of the pattern at once and due to trying to work out the exchange rate in my head I didn’t notice until I got my receipt emailed to me and saw the quantity as 2. I emailed Interweave and explained what had happened, they replied back very quickly and refunded the cost of one pattern within a couple of days. They were wonderful.


Wool Scrap Cakes

Using my ball winder I have gone and made yarn cakes from my remaining balls of wool scraps so that I can use them in WIRES pouches. If the balls were fairly solid still I didn’t bother rewinding them up into cakes (why reinvent the wheel so to speak) Having the balls in this format means I can easily use them on my yarn holder as they have the hole in the centre, when you rewind balls without the centre hole you can’t spear them on the spike. To join the yarn I just knotted them together the same way that I have always done. I will knit over my ends to secure them in.

I can see why everyone would be excited about using variegated coloured yarn cakes, if you were making a piece up you wouldn’t know how your colour changes will turn out. On the left are my balls of Bendigo Woollen Mills yarns, I have never made pouches from these before but they are suitable yarn (correct ply and composition) so there shouldn’t be a problem. I have a fair bit of leftover Bendigo yarns from the various blankets I have made. On the right the top one is leftover from when I made my Tunisian scarf, I need to double check the composition of this yarn but I am sure it is 100% natural just from different animals. The bottom right it made up from scraps of the regular brand yarn I normally use (Lincraft Cosy Wool) It will be good to use these up on pouches, a practical way to use up scraps.


Pink Swirl

I made the Pink Peppermint blanket using some spare balls of pink yarn I had in my stash but I was left with small scraps of leftovers from it. If I didn’t have enough yarn to do a row I started a new ball so I ended up these odd size scraps. I decided to knot them all together and make a yarn cake with them using my electric ball winder, variegated or multi coloured yarn cakes are very popular at the moment so why not make you own from scraps.

I decided to crochet up a granny square as they are the easiest to make when you don’t know if you have enough yarn. Granny squares also make great toy blankets. The random colour lengths were due to the length of scraps I had, confession as I was making up the yarn cake at one point I did cut one colour as it seemed to lot of it and tie in the other colour so there is a little human intervention in this. The final blanket has turned out to have a bit of a swirl shape which I think was due to each round I wasn’t tying in a new colour I was just chaining up and starting the round, also I wasn’t turning my work I was just going in the same direction each time. I’m not worried about the shape, it just adds to the fun of it. This blanket will go to my nieces so their dollies can have a matching blanket to theirs.

It was a fun experiment to make up my own yarn cake from scraps. I’m going to do this again with leftover wool scraps from the various blankets I’ve done as gifts so I can make WIRES pouches from them. I don’t care if there are knots in my yarn as I’m working (some people don’t like knots in the middle of rows) I have lots of scraps and it will be good to use them up


Knitted WIRES Pouches

I have been knitting the outer pouches for WIRES for a number of years. The outer pouches need to be made from 100% wool so that the animals once placed in cloth pouch linings can still breathe inside this outer pouch. A rescue career only goes through about one of these outer pouches a day per animal as opposed to the 5-6 they go through of the inner pouch linings.

I could never find set a knitting pattern only guidelines on finished size and needle size so over the years I have been knitting these various ways. I started by knitting 2 squares and seaming them along the 2 sides and bottom to make up the pouch until I realised if I knitted one big rectangle and folded it in half I wouldn’t have to do a bottom seam only side seams. Over the years the way I do my seams has changed I have tried whip stitch, blanket stitch, backstitch and in recent times I have been crocheting my seams together with a chain stitch. I have a tendency to knit my rectangles and once the piece is off my needles place it in a bag waiting to be seamed. I only remember to the seams when I’m due to send of some of the cloth linings off and scramble to see if any of the outer bags are complete. I thought there has to be a better way.

Over the last couple of months I have been doing a lot of knitting and searching out knitting patterns when I started thinking about the way the pouches are constructed and wondered if they can be done on circular needles. I did a quick google search and it turns out yes someone has now put instructions on how to do them on circular needles!

I had some cable needles in my stash but unfortunately they were too big (I didn’t know about the magic loop method) Once I cast on my stitches I couldn’t easily join them in the round as my cable was too long and my needles kept getting in the way. I went to Morris and Sons to see if they had smaller cables. They suggested I try a 40cm Knit Pro one with smaller length needles

The needles are so tiny only measuring just over 6cm from the cable connection point. The shop assistant warned some knitter’s don’t like using them as they are so very short. This is when she mentioned the magic loop method and demonstrated it for me. I decided to try the small needles and cable and turn to magic loop using my existing cables if it didn’t work.

Once you cast on your stitches it looks like it won’t fit around to make the loop easily but remembering knitting stretches and these are tiny needle it works. There looks like there is a small little gap when you join your loop but they that closes up once you get into your second round.

When I knitted my pouches previously I knitted over my tail end in the second row so it was one less end to weave in at the finish. You can do the same thing with this method. Even though your working on a small cable and shorter needles it isn’t fiddly. I like the feel of it in my hands. Every so often you need to slide the work around the cable when you feel like your starting to pull the stitches, that is easy to do and you get in the habit of regularly doing it even before it starts to pull.

The reason I decided to try circular needles was so I only had one seam to do at the end which was the bottom seam to close the pouch off. The amazing shop assistant suggested I could do a 3 needle bind off which avoid having to do a bottom seam. I couldn’t believe it I could actually make a pouch in one hit with no additional seams at the end!

Comparing the 2 methods of making the pouches the circular needles are defiantly the method I am using now. I must admit previously I was probably making my pouches a little large as I wasn’t sure how much they would come in once my seams were done. With straight needles I occasionally loose stitches or gain stitches the rectangles are not always straight therefore once seamed sometimes looks misshapen.

With no side seams or bottom seam they are much lighter and less bulkier. The top of my pouch has curled a little and just reading the instructions now it says to purl so many rows at the start I’m guess that would so stop the curl. To be honest I am probably not going to do that. One of the reasons why I love knitting pouches is that you can go on auto pilot and you only have to measure once you know it is coming to the length you need. The curl is only small and doesn’t really make that much of impact.

Pouches on circular needles is a life changer for me. I am actually doing more knitting of them now as I can pick up the needles and do a few stitches any time I have free. I don’t have to worry about finishing at row or turning my work. One thing I did find was it was easier to cast on my stitches using the cable as one needle and using the 3rd needle as a second needle to cast on. The way I see it is that I’m going to be casting off one pouch and casting on another immediately so that 3rd needle is out anyway. I still have a few rectangles that need to be seamed up but all future pouches will be made this way. I may even invest in a second set of these smaller needles so that I will always have a pouch at a stage where I can just knit and not have to worry how long until I need to cast off, this is particularly important if I am taking my knitting out to a café or events with me.