Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Owls knitalong: knitting in the round with DPNs

So I've finished the body section of the owls jumper and am just starting the sleeves using double pointed needles.

Front and back divided

When I first heard of DPNs I was quite scared of them. But after knitting my Miette cardi sleeves on them,  the fear factor was removed so I'm not sure I'll bother to learn the newer alternative Magic Loop method. Anyway, just wanted to share my experience and a great resource for those of you who are thinking of taking the plunge...

When I did my Miette sleeves, I was working top down and just had to transfer the top part of the sleeves from a circular needle to DPNs which was very straightforward. This time, however, the owls is worked bottom up and the sleeves are knitted separately and then joined and grafted onto the body. So there was a lot of head scratching (and maybe a bit of swearing...) when I tried to work out how on earth to cast on to DPNs. Luckily YouTube came to the rescue and I remembered this video from Gail that is excellent:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13W0z2FK-Zw

Transferring the cast on stitches between DPNs

Basically I followed her advice and cast all the stitches onto one DPN then just slipped them onto the other needles to distribute evenly. I feel a little bit cackhanded knitting with three needles rather than one circular but it really is quite simple when you get going.

Here is also another video that shows just the casting on method in a little bit more detail:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mcb9kR_7yT0

The start of my sleeves

Seriously, though, Gail's video is everything you ever need to know about knitting on DPNs, I'm not even going to try and show you myself as there is no point when a master can show you so clearly...

What it looks like side on

Go and watch it then you're ready to conquer the world of DPNs!

Oh yes, just one more little thing -  I was gobsmacked to discover that I now have 100 followers on Bloglovin' - so I'll leave you with this:


and this:


Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Owls knitalong - knitting in the round with circular needles

Hello all! I'm so excited to say that the owls jumper KAL is underway! It's being led by Kat and myself and we have four other lovely ladies joining us. If you are not in the least interested in knitting then switch off now!

The pattern is owls by Kate Davies:

Beautiful isn't she?

I have to confess I'm a bit late with this post - I'm already a little bit behind everyone else as  I had to wait for my yarn to arrive so I'm not sure my contribution is even needed! But I thought some links would be useful.

I spent a large part of Sunday gone making gauge/tension swatches and trying to work out what size jumper to knit. The recommended gauge is 13 st x 20 rows over a 4" square. Now the recommended yarn is a bulky one and I've gone for Cascade Eco+ which claims it's bulky but actually I think it's more a heavy worsted/Aran (ie thinner). My gauge using 6mm needles was 15.5 st over 4" (working out to 3.875 st per inch). If I had got the correct gauge, I would have knitted the size 2 jumper as written in the pattern, but alas it always seems more complicated than that! Using Gail's amazing Miette KAL posts I did some maths to work out how many stitches my gauge would give me for my desired bust measurement and compared it to the owls pattern. To do this I took my desired bust size (32" when taking into account the 1-2" negative ease) and multiplied that by the number of st per inch that I got from my gauge. I came up with 124 which is only 2 st away from the 126 st mentioned for the size 4 jumper. Therefore if I knit the size 4, it should give me a finished result of a size 2 jumper....

The colour is cinnamon, a lovely rust
colour in real life, not as bright orange
as it appears here

Everyone with me so far? Let's just hope I've worked it out correctly!

Anyway, back to my take on knitting in the round. It's actually very simple once you get the hang of it. I've used the long tail cast on method, just because I find it neater than the knitted on method. Here's a link to how to do it:


Once you have cast on, make sure all the stitches are even distributed around the needle and not twisted. The loops should be on the outside edge of the needle and the cast on edge should be in the middle, like you see in my photo:

Sorry, it's a little more blurred than I thought...

One thing to mention is that circular needles come in a whole variety of lengths (as well as the standard needle sizes) and ideally you need to pick one that is shorter than the circumference you want to end up with. This is because otherwise the stitches won't be evenly distributed along the needle and the whole thing will end up stretching and becoming misshapen.

To join in the round, you pick up your needles so that the needle with the tails of the yarn is in your right hand, put a place marker at the end of the needle then pick up and knit the first stitch on the left hand needle. For the first couple of stitches I used both tails of the yarn to knit with and then dropped one to carry on knitting with the working yarn (which is the yarn attached to the ball). I knit in the English method but if you work continental, you may use the opposite hands for all of this!

I've added links to a couple of videos which should show things more clearly than my garbled explanation and also some still photos if you prefer that to videos.


Once you've joined the two ends, it's as simple as knitting round and round and round and round.... you get the picture! If you want to do stocking stitch, you just knit all the time, there's no purling at all which makes it so much easier. Every time you come to your place marker (PM), you can think of that as the end/beginning of a row (although in reality, you are knitting a spiral and instead of calling it a "row", you call it a "round"). The best bit about it is that you end up with a seamless tube that you don't have to sew/seam together. Simples!

So, that's my mini guide to knitting on circular needles - written as a relative beginner so forgive any glaring mistakes please!

Right, let's get knitting!

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Finally I've made something - my Miette cardigan

This post has been a long time coming... It's been nearly three months since I last blogged! 


It's not because I haven't bothered to make anything. It's because I've not been up to making much recently due to feeling unwell.

I started knitting the Miette cardigan back in October with a deadline for the New Year, but alas I had to stop working on it for two months over winter as it was taking all my strength just to go to work and back. Most nights I was fast asleep on the sofa by 7 o' clock!

Luckily I started feeling a bit better a couple of weeks ago so I finally have a finished garment to show. And I am so chuffed with it - my first, proper knitted garment!


I made a few modifications with the help of Gail from gksagenda - without her, I don't think I'd have even got past the first few rows so a big, fat THANK YOU!! And thanks also to Jo from makingitwell for the inspiration and tips!

- I moved the bust darts to the side seams (I'm very glad I did this as I think it may have looked a bit weird worn unbuttoned with the "bust cups" on show!)
- I lengthened the body and the sleeves a little (I wish I'd made the sleeves longer; even tho I tried it on as I went along and thought they were full length, they've turned out to be three quarter length)
- I did plain 2x2 rib rather than the twisted rib in the pattern


I learnt so much new stuff doing this - new stitches, how to make buttonholes, how to make changes by calculating the differences between what the pattern recommends for gauge and what I actually knit, how to use DPNs (double pointed needles), how to steam block and lots of other new techniques.

Talking of buttonholes, I made them just as told only to find that the cardi doesn't actually do up as it's a teeeeny bit tight across the bust. Oops! So I only put the top button on. To be honest, it doesn't matter a jot as I never wear cardis done up anyway.


I love this cardigan, it's great for wearing with dresses and skirts and very comfy. I think I will almost certainly be making another one in a different colour! Oh yes, the yarn is Kirkton House aran weight, funnily enough from Aldi of all places!!

Right now I'm making myself a new hot water bottle cover (my current one is a bit holey) while I wait for some yarn to arrive. Kat and I are going to do a little knitalong together next month using the awesome o w l s jumper pattern from Kate Davies. If anyone else fancies joining in, let us know!


At some point I will do some sewing too but I'm easing myself back into crafting with knitting at the mo... I have some plans which I will share over the coming months!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Itty bitty kitty booties

My friend's baby came early. By about 3 and a half weeks. I hadn't even started knitting the booties that I had planned, thinking I had loads of time, the baby was bound to be late, right?, seeing as it was her first... How wrong I was! So I had to rush. And I made mistakes and had to start again. And again.

The pattern is a freebie on Ravelry and lots of people have made it already. Everyone said theirs turned out way smaller than they thought - as in too small for a baby and only just big enough for dolls! So for my first attempt, a practice run, I tried bigger needles and Aran weight yarn. I only did a few rows and thought, "this looks great, I'll start the proper ones now". Or, as the case may be, I didn't think...


I used a lovely green tweedy yarn with flecks of pink. Gorgeous. And 5.5mm needles. No, I don't know why either - I'm a newbie, I wasn't thinking! I got two thirds of the way through knitting the first boot and realised it would end up being big enough for a two year old! I had to frog...

For the final attempt, I switched to 4mm needles and the result is so much better. The buttons are my favourite bit - tiny, little, pink kitty faces that perfectly match the pink flecks in the yarn. They were only 15p each from the rag market!


How cute are they? I'll definitely be making more, they're perfect for new baby gifts.

Now to get back to my cardi...

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

MIA again

This is just a very quick check in. I've not had much time to do anything much these past few weeks. But I thought I'd upload a couple of wip photos. I'm afraid I'm going to have to neglect my blog for a while longer but I am keeping a sneaky little eye on everyone else's to keep the creative juices flowing! Hope to be back soon(ish) xx

Miette cardi

Brasilia dress pattern testing