Category Archives: knitting

Knitting for a new arrival!



Soon after hearing that friends would be expecting a new arrival, I began planning my knitting projects around the happy news. I’ve never knitted for a baby before, so I hope my efforts turn out okay! I’ve been using a book called What to Knit When You’re Expecting by Nikki Van De Car. (Here’s a link to her blog.) It’s a cute book, with lots of sweet patterns. I couldn’t resist starting on the booties first. I have a feeling I’m going to end up with a rainbow selection of these cuties…


I’ve discovered that I love knitting baby clothes! It’s amazing to watch the pieces come together so quickly. And I like that these are knitted in the round, so I could watch an actual tiny shoe forming. The patterns in this book are clearly laid out and easy to follow. I even got to learn a new cast on technique, which I probably find way more fun that any sane person should… =P



Another thing about knitting this, is that it’s almost impossible not to think about the new life that will be wearing the booties. So every stitch is made with thoughts of health and happiness for the baby and parents. =]


Gothic Knitting Books

In my teenage years I was a goth and a knitter. Now in my twenties I still knit, and although I may not dress the part anymore, the goth subculture is still close to my heart. To  me, knitting is the perfect gothic craft. The act of knitting itself is soothing to the angst-ridden soul, and it allows the knitter to create something as beautiful and unique as they are. Knitting is subversive and can be challenging to those who don’t understand its appeal. So here are my top 5 goth knitting books. And one crochet book for good measure.


1. Gothic Knits by Fiona McDonald

Create a host of adorable dolls from the brooding Violetta to the flamboyant D’Anton. The book contains patterns for nine dolls, complete with individual outfits. Making the dolls covers a range of non-knitting skills that are explained at the beginning of the book, including embroidery and making hair pieces. The effects are amazing! The knitting skills required are probably beginner to intermediate, but because of the detail that goes into these dolls, I think you would have to be confident with a sewing needle. Which is the reason I haven’t made any of these dolls yet, but I still enjoy looking through this book.


2. Knit Your Own Zombie by Fiona Goble

Stitch together your very own zombie horde! This book also utilizes skills outside of knitting, instructions for which can be found in their own chapter. The best thing about this book for me is that although there are nine zombies, all their parts are interchangeable, allowing the knitter to create their own custom zombie. Fiona Goble suggests four of these ‘mash-ups’, including an adorable biker chick zombie. Because of all the small,  fiddly parts, I’d recommend this book for intermediate knitters.

Image3. Evil Knits by Hannah Simpson

I love this book! So far I’ve knitted the creepy clown cushion cover and my beloved clockwork monkey, but I plan to make so many more. Each pattern starts with a short piece about the inspiration behind it, which is especially fun to read if you are a horror buff. This is such a fun book and the projects covers a range of household objects such as hand puppets, cat toys and iPad covers.


4. Domiknitrix by Jennifer Stafford

This book will take knitters through from beginner to expert, covering objects for the home, accessories and garments. I knitted my  first sweater from this book – the big bad wold pullover. It also has patterns for some very cute hats and hoodies I want to get my needles into. I’d recommend this book for its wry humour and its range of patterns and abilities.


5. Vampire Knits by Genevieve Miller

I don’t have this book, although I would love to own it along with Genevieve’s upcoming book Once Upon a Knit. The patterns range from the elegant ‘pulse protectors’ to the cute werewolf hat. The projects are inspired by the Twilight films, although if like me you’re not a fan, this shouldn’t put you off. These patterns are beautiful. As a bonus, Genevieve also has a blog with WordPress!

ImageAnd for the crocheters…

Creepy Cute Crochet by Christen Haden

I’ve never been able to get the hang of crochet, but this is the book that makes me want to persevere. The little creatures would make such cute gifts and ornaments. Again, it covers a range of skills with each pattern listed as beginner, intermediate or ‘epic’. My favourite are the Day of the Dead couple and the adorable grim reaper.

FO: Scarf!


“Knit me a scarf for the winter times?”

How could I resist when that message from my sister flashed up on my phone screen? I headed straight for Ravelry and searched for scarf patterns. I settled on the Cranberry scarf designed by Kirsten Hipsky. I chose it because it’s knitted in chunky wool, so I knew I could get it done quickly, and it was a simple pattern to follow.

You can’t really tell from the picture (red never photographs well), but it’s a dark red, knitted using Cygnet chunky. It was knitted on 6mm needles, cast on sideways. It was a bit of a struggle to fit all the cast on stitches onto the needle, but I just about managed. When I cast it all off, I thought that I should have cast on more than the pattern suggested, as it seemed a bit short. But now that the sister has been wearing it for a few days it’s stretched to about normal scarf-length.

The pattern was just the same line repeated, so it was quick to pick up and I didn’t have to concentrate on it. For a few days it traveled around everywhere with me. It even watched the Doctor Who 50th anniversary show with me. It made me think about how much knitting can become a part of you, especially if you’re the type of person who takes knitting around with you. It becomes a part of your life, almost an extension of you, so when it’s finished and you give it away as a gift, it really is like giving them a part of yourself. I think that’s why I like knitting gifts so much.

So I guess I really should get back to all that Christmas gift knitting I still haven’t finished…


Beyond the Sea Set


There was a point when I thought the wristwarmers in this picture weren’t going to get made. I was following a pattern from a Simply Knitting magazine and had misunderstood it, so (very reluctantly) I ripped back what I had done. Only somehow, a giant tangle had happened in the wool I’d already knitted with. That pink section? It used to be a lot bigger, I had to cut most of it back. Not to be deterred, I asked the Simply Knitting team about the pattern on their Facebook page. These wristwarmers wouldn’t have gotten done without them! They got back to me the next day, clearly explaining where I had gone wrong. It gave me the confidence I needed to wade back in there and get the wristwarmer and its companion done.

But the wristwarmers needed something more. After all, they were intended to be sent to my friend in Canada. As much as I dislike sewing, I submitted myself to a few hours of stabbing myself in the fingertips, squinting and huffing in order to get some beads sewn on. So pleased was I with the results, and because I still had some of that beautiful King Cole Riot left over, I decided to make a matching hat. I followed the stitch pattern from the wristwarmers, adapting a tea-bag style hat pattern. I just love the colour changes in this yarn, I love watching them fade into one another. The yarn itself has a kind of fluffy, mohair-esque feel  to it. It’s good to work with, even if it does have a tendency to split. Best of all, it’s relatively cheap.

The hat sewn up, the last of my yarn used, I once again forced myself to get some sewing done. Fortunately, the hat beads were sewn on whilst an episode of The Walking Dead was showing, so I was able to keep myself distracted from the gory bits. Wanting to add an extra touch of cuteness to the hat, I made some pom-poms. I had none of my King Cole yarn left over, so I just chose (hopefully) complementing colours from my stash. I’m really pleased with how this set turned out, especially considering that at one stage I was convinced that it was a cursed project!

The hat is super-cute and I think it will look adorable on my Canadian friend. The Sister is kindly modelling it for me in the picture, she looks adorable too. I’m kind of tempted to make one of these hats for myself… Any excuse to get more yarn, I guess! The colour used for this set was The Deep, but there are loads of other colours for King Cole Riot that I would like to try out. Because the set is going across the ocean to my friend, and because of the name of the yarn, I’ve taken to referring to the hat and wristwarmers as my Beyond The Sea set. 🙂

It’s a rocket, man


‘Tech Knits’ by Sue Culligan (also published as ‘Knits of Tomorrow’)

Why this book isn’t talked about in hushed whispers in awed whispers in every corner of the internet inhabited by nerdy knitters, I just don’t know. Sue Culligan doesn’t seem to have much of an online presence and most of the patterns in this book aren’t on Ravlery. Steps must be taken to rectify this! The twenty patterns in this book range for the adorably kitsch – flying saucer paper weight – to the incredibly classy – radio mast socks and circuit board fingerless mitts.

So when my brother, on being asked what he wants for his upcoming birthday, said he wanted a rocket, I knew it was to this book that I must turn. The space rocket desk tidies were just the thing I was looking for to give my geeky, artistic sibling. I nabbed a jar from J’s glass recycling box and got to work.


The rocket wasn’t an overwhelming success. The patterns calls for the rocket to be shaped to the jar and it turns out I’m not quite the pattern-adapting wunderkind I thought I was. The rocket hangs baggy on its jar, but hopefully not too noticeably. And then there was the whole porthole fiasco. The portholes are crocheted. I hadn’t touched a crochet hook in years, not since the thimble-sized hat incident, which still haunts me to this day…. I exaggerate. But not when I say that I don’t understand crochet at all.


It’s crochet Jim, but not as we know it.

Refusing to be daunted, I nicked another jar and immediately began work on another rocket. This one turned out better.


I even started to get the hang of crocheting and I don’t think the portholes on this one… okay, I don’t think the top porthole on this one is too abysmal. And now my brother gets to have two rockets for his birthday!

This was a quick project, but with lots of techniques to keep it interesting. I got to work in the round, pick up stitches, use short row shaping and colour work. The pattern was well laid out and easy to follow.

Blast off!…. Or should I say cast off?


Updatey goodness

So here’s what I’ve been working on knit-wise the last week or so:



A crab hat for my sister on her birthday. Knitted from ‘Animal Hats’ by Rachel Henderson. Love this book, I think I’m going to end up knitting most of the hats in it. 



A tea cosy. Well, cup cosy really, since I don’t have a teapot.



The first of (hopefully) many Christmas presents to come – a sock monkey hat. Knitted from ‘Animal Hats’ again, but I was inspired by Misha Collins’ hat:


 The present is for the sister. She introduced me to Supernatural and we’re both Misha fans.

Aaaand I started work on….



A birthday present for my brother who said he wanted a rocket for his birthday. It’s a desk tidy rocket from ‘Tech Knits’ by Sue Culligan. The pattern wanted aran weight yarn and 4mm dpns, but since I’m trying to use up my stash it’s being knitted with dk weight. But I’ve never listened to what a pattern tells me to do anyway. The pen and paper you can see in the picture is me working stuff out to adjust the pattern to the different yarn weight and the jar the knitted piece is going to cover. Fun stuff.

And finally, the first roses have come out in my garden! I feel super-proud, even though it’s nothing to do with me really, and all down to the plant.


Skyfall Beret


Knitting Vintage by Claire Montgomerie is a knitting pattern book worth having for the pictures alone. The patterns, photographs and design drawings are all beautifully laid out. The book is split into chapters by decade from the 1920s to the 1980s, each with a few pages of information about prevalent trends of the time and how knitting was regarded. At the beginning of each pattern, Montgomerie writes about the inspiration and original piece of fashion behind it. I’ve read through Knitting Vintage and gazed longingly at the pictures so many times since buying it, but last weekend I finally picked up my needles and began a project from it.


This is the Hollywood-Style beret (modeled by my lovely sister), knitted with some King Cole Galaxy DK wool that I was given for Christmas. The original pattern was knitted in pink and white, but I thought my Galaxy wool was perfect for a hat. It’s knitted on 5mm dpns.

The wool, whilst being one of the prettiest yarns ever, is also the most infuriating. It had a tendency to split and slide off the needles, so I lost a lot of stitches off the ends of my dpns. Most of them I was able to catch before it was too late, but some were lost and had to be sewn in at the end during the making up stage. Since my number of stitches never matched up with what the pattern said they should be, I’m surprised that my lace pattern looks as regular as it does. I was expecting it to be horrendously wonky! I’m really pleased with how this turned out, it’s just so gosh-darn cute.

Blocking it was fun. As per the instructions in the book, I stretched my weirdly-shaped creation over a large dinner plate and sprayed it with a light mist of water. I then gingerly pressed it with an iron and left it to dry for a few hours. When I took it off the plate, I had something that looked like an actual beret.

I’m not usually in the habit of naming hats, but I’ve called this one Skyfall. Partly because I had the theme song to Skyfall stuck in my head most of the time I was knitting and also because that’s just what the wool reminds me of.


Now working on: A birthday present for the sister.

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