Hope chest


I’m working on my “hope chest”. The last few weeks I have been crocheting a baby cot blanket. I know they have only been married for 2 months and you should not start making things before the time, but I can’t help it. I’m in granny mode! I bought a bunch of flannels to crochet borders around and …., don’t get me started. Let me tell you about the blanket.

I bought 5 colours of a bamboo cotton yarn from a local supplier “Nurturing Fibers” called “Eco-Fusion”, the yarn is available on line from “Be Inspired” or you can visit Chantal at 18 Msinsi Road, Kloof, South Africa on a Thursday afternoon, 1pm – 3pm or Saturdays 9pm – 12pm.

The quantities and colours are as follows – 3 balls of Bessy (yellow), 3 balls of Anvil (grey), 3 balls of cornflower (blue), 3 balls of Lime (green) and 8 balls of vanilla (white), they are 50g balls.

I used Angie from “Le Monde de Sucrette” V stitch stripes (version 2) pattern, chaining 148 (49 x 3 + 1), using a 3mm (11UK) crochet hook. Crochet in the following order – 4 rows of cornflower, 2 rows vanilla, 4 rows bessy, 2 rows vanilla, 4 rows anvil, 2 rows vanilla, 4 rows lime, 2 rows vanilla starting again with cornflower. I didn’t start or end with the vanilla. The border was crocheted out of “Around the corner – Crochet Borders” by Eddie Eckman, border number 27 on pgs 74 – 75 using the vanilla. Finished size 35”x 46” (89cm x 117cm).

Happy hooking! 😜

Love
NikkiM

Stripes


Remember my post of May 22, 2015, “Still knitting”? Well I was buzy knitting the cable border just before I left and I managed to finish the knitted blanket this week. I have knitted the stripes before in my post “Satisfied Saturday”, Jul, 26, 2014 a year ago.
I will give you a quick rundown of how I knitted this striped blanket. Here it goes.

Using whatever yarn thickness you like, with circular needles, size and length that will suit your project. My first “striped” was knitted with sock yarn using 2.75mm needle with 40”/100cm cable, the second one was knitted with a 6mm needle with a 47”/120cm cable.
When choosing your colours you need two main colours i.e. blue/green and red/pink. You can use as many colours as you like in these two colour ranges, go for more variegated colour and restrict the solids to about two in each colour range. This is a nice way of getting rid of leftover yarn.

You can cast on as many stitches as you like, I casted on 212 stitches. Knit one row and purl the next (garter stitch).
Now this is the part that I hope I can explain to you. Looking at my striped crayon drawing knit two (garter stitch) in any of your blue/green yarn choices, this colour you are going to repeat another 9 times (10 blue repeats in total). Do not break the yarn. In the picture it is the dark blue.

Now add a yarn from your red/pink yarn choices and knit two rows (garter stitch). Repeat this yarn choice another 4 times alternate with the blue. Totalling 5 pink repeats and 6 blue repeats.
Keeping the blue yarn and breaking the pink yarn, add another yarn from your blue/green yarn choice, in the picture it’s the light blue. Remember the blue is repeated for 10 times and this point you would have only repeated it 6 times.

Now you are going to repeat the light blue for another 5 times and the dark blue for another 4 times. Totaling 10 dark blue repeats 5 light blue repeats.

Keeping the light blue yarn and breaking the dark blue yarn add a colour from your red/pink yarn choice; in the picture it’s red.
Now you are going to repeat the red 6 times and the light blue 5 times. Totaling 10 light blue repeats with 6 red repeats.

Keeping the red yarn and breaking the light blue yarn add a colour from your red/pink yarn choices in the picture it’s the pink again.
Continue in this manner until you reach the required length.

The cable border I saw the first time in Konrad’s blog “Knittingkonrad” he did a knit-a-long afghan with Martin Store, the pattern is available from the Rowan site, the only thing is you have to register.

I hope this is as clear as mud! I love this way of knitting as it is mindless and I can do it anywhere, especially in front of the television watching (listening) to another car/fishing program.

Happy knitting.

Love
NikkiM

Needle turn


Do the words “needle turn appliqué” strike you with horror? Well they do for me, but I must say, not anymore, since I discovered this amazing technique called “Apliquick”, invented by a Spanish lady called Rosa Rojas. Please have a look at this video, it’s amazing. It makes appliqué so much easier and faster and you can make the smallest shapes and designs with ease.

Rosa came to South Africa and was a vendor at our local quilt show that was held in Durban from the 3 – 7th July 2015.

When I got home I just had to try this technique, as I had spend a fortune buy all the gadgets. Well I must report it works extremely well. Every piece of equipment from the scissors to the two metal rods has been properly thought out, for example the scissors is designed that you never bend your hand downwards, as you do so much cutting out of little pieces of fabric.

The quilt I’m making using this technique, is Raiko Kato’s Mystery quilt for 2013, it was published in the Quilt mania, issues 93 – 98 if you do not have these issues you can purchase the pattern from the Quilt mania shop. I have completed block 6 and currently I’m working on block 1.

Guess what I will be doing this week coming?

Happy crafting.
Love
NikkiM

Rams and Yowes


I found this amazing “Rams and Yowes” pattern on “Ravelry” towards the beginning of 2014. The pattern is written and knitted by a Katie Davies from “Katie Davies Designs” She has the most amazing story.

She lives in Scotland and is in her late 30’s. In 2010, she suffered a serious stroke.

Apparently knitting is a good treatment in the recovery of people with slight brain damage and have the ability to use both hands, as you use your left and right hand and this exercises the right and left brain.

Well I didn’t knit my shawl with the recommended wool, as I had to order it from the UK and our postal service is not very reliable and I can’t afford to have it couriered as some time the courier fees are more than the items themselves. As the shawl is made up of naturally coloured wool I started looking for something locally.

This I found from Mukuti Stud Alpacas. After purchasing the required colours and quantity, I was ready to knit, more research revealed that alpaca is not recommended when knitting a “steek”, a steek enables you to knit in the round and you never have to purl, then you cut the tube open to make a flat item.

I’m sure you are all having a fit on hearing this, but think about it. How does knitting unravel, horizontally or vertically? Horizontally. Well you are cutting vertically. Why natural untreated wool works the best when knitting a “steek” is because it is “sticky” and wants to hold it shape. So when knitting a “steek”, you need to use natural untreated wool made up of short strands and not Alpaca that are made up with long smooth fibers. Oh sugar! Stronger words were used!.

Did more reading and research then decided I’m going to use the alpaca. The patterns “steek” is knitted over 5 stitches mine was knitted over 9 stitches then I crocheted on either side of the middle bar, then I got nervous and zigzagged next to either side of the crocheted rows using a sewing machine.

If you would like to read more about a “steek”, go to Katie’s blog and read the following posts; What is a steek, Steeks 1: introduction , Steek 2: reinforcing and cutting, Steeks 3: the sandwich and Steeks 4: your questions answered.

I absolutely love everything Katie knits. I’m a bit of a groupie.

Love
NikkiM

I’m back

At last I’m back. Thanks for all your lovely comments. The wedding was amazing and exhausting! Sorry I have no photographs other than those horrible cell phone ones, as soon as I get some “professional” ones, I will share some with you.

Well I hit the ground running, then I collapsed with a bad dose of the flu and middle ear infection, I had the mid ear infection before I left and at this point, had 3 doses of antibiotics and decided to just boost my immune system, stay in and sleep and have as much vitamin C, fluids and homeopathic remedies as I could handle for 10 days. Glad to report it worked.

I haven’t been idling since we last spoke as I finished and started few knitting, crochet and quilting projects. A lot of knitting was done as I spent a lot of time in a car, in airports and airplanes. I bought more fabrics, yarns, books and some gadgets.

I will share all of these with you in the next few weeks.

It’s really good to be back.

Love
NikkiM

Fair Isle world ….


About a month ago, I decided to enter a Fair Isle knitted cardigan for a 3 year old into our local Craft show. As I live in “Fair Isle world” – In my mind, I have 5 non interrupted dreamy days to knit this lovely pink creation. What a breeze ….. Well Nikki, you live in the real world! Reality – 5 days to knit a Fair Isle cardigan? Not going to happen. Well it happens, but not in “Fair Isle world”.

My pattern is from Debbie Bliss – Family knits – 25 Handknits for All Seasons on pg 69 – Fair Isle cardigan. The yarn I used was not the recommended yarn as the entry forms specify a local yarn brand called Elle, I used their Pure Gold DK. After doing a test gauge and changing the needle sizes, I had to adapt the pattern so I ended up using the 1 -2 year size for the cast on stitches and the biggest size for the length and therefore I ended up with a cardigan for a 5 year old.

I used the following colours: – 2 balls 100g – 206 Blossom, 1 ball 100g – 149 Limeade, 036 Ivory, 040 Riviera, 087 Glamour, 008 Catalina, 4mm/US 6/UK 8 knitting needle, I have a fair amount of leftover yarn.

I didn’t have a problem in knitting the first pattern chart, but can’t say the same for the second flower like pattern chart, I need more practice. After I had knitted and blocked all the pieces and was about to sew up the shoulders together to start picking up the neckline, I discovered that I missed two rows of the flower pattern on the left front panel. Oh No! Threads are being sewed in and it’s blocked. I grabbed the scissors and just cut the knitted piece off, unraveled to the problem area and started again, lucky for me it was just before you cast off for the neckline.

Handed in my entry with no time to spare. Did I win? No!. Did I learn a lot? Yes!. Will I remember what I learned? Hell no!

I’m off to New York for my son’s wedding so you will not see me for about 4 weeks, but I will blog some pics.

Love
NikkiM

Socks and more socks ….


The past few weeks I have been knitting socks, very small ones and not too small ones.

The very small blue ones are for a little boy that was born on Monday, and the purple green ones are for one to be born this Wednesday, don’t know what this one is going to be. I used Regia – “My first Regia” sock yarn and The Rock’s Baby socks pattern designed by Jeanne for Jimmy Beans Wool.

The not too small ones with strips were knitted for a two year old using Regia Design line by Kaffe Fasset, the green fleck ones are also for a two year old, here I used some leftover sock yarn that I don’t have the label for any more. The bigger blue pair is knitted for a three year old little boy, again using leftover yarn, no label. For this I used The Purl Bee – Toddler socks pattern, instead of knitting the whole leg in rib pattern I knitted a cuff for about 1½” (± 4cm) then knitted the remainder of the leg in stocking stitch till the required length, I just used one colour yarn.

Oh, I also entered two pair of socks on to our local Craft show and won a first prize for both of them, an adult pair and a pink pair for a two year old little girl.

I’m still knitting my strips, hope to show you soon what I’m up to.

Happy crafting

Love
NikkiM

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