Sunday, 30 September 2007

Step by Step mini bobble hat on French Knitter/loom

1. Step one is above: one large French Knitter from Readicut at £1.79, one hooking tool at 95p from Rainbowsilk and some variegated Shoeller and Stahl cotton ,Start by making a loop and putting it over the first prong as indicated by a line on the plastic loom.

2.Step 2 is wrap the yarn from the first prong round the back of the prong on the left, between the second and 3rd prong and across the front of the 2nd prong, through the gap between the 1st and 2nd prong and across the back of the 2nd prong and 3rd prong to repeat the prvious movement for the 3rd prong , continue thus for all prongs.( all 15 of them now have a wrapped loop and the first or 16th has a made or knotted loop.

Step3: now running the main yarn from right to left across the prongs and above the wrapped stitch, lift the wrapped stitch from step 2 over the yarn sitting across the front of the prong.

Step 4 : Continue all the way around in this way

The above is the top view of how this looks and the pictures are clickable for further close-up.The above is essentially the french kntiing method, continue around, counting each time you pass the line at the front of the loom, each round done is a ''row knitted''.
The above shows the loom with about 14 rows knitted.
The finished hat is 19 rows high in this instance, the cast on border rolls naturally and attractively forming the brim.
Step 5 is the cast off: you thread a needle with the yarn, you can cut it at about 3 circumference width length when the rows are completed.
Once the yarn is cut, thread it into a needle and work the needle into each stitch in turn, going in from the top and out from below the stitch , then lifting the stitch off the loom.
When all stithces are taken off you can tighten the yarn to make the top of the hat, sew the end in securely with 3 holding straight stitches.Trim end of thread.
Step 6: You can work in the started thread by loosely stitching the brim to secure the rolled part, but do it loosely or the hat won't stretch nicely over the top of the bottle.
Step 7: Make a pom pom.
I made one using a Clover pom pom tool of 35mm diameter but you can of course use any mwthod or size to suit your hat.
Or make a tassle for the top.
Step 8: Attach pom pom ( or tassle) to top of hat and securely fnish off any remainng ends.
The finished hat!
It used 6 grammes of a 50 g skein of cotton ( probably DK) and there was 90m in the 50g skein.

Made in part of an evening while comfortably watching an Agatha Christie murder mystery......


Thursday, 27 September 2007

Innocent bobble hats: Help the Aged Fundraiser

Well, I'm back but I reckon I could get a degree, no :a Phd in the art of procrastination! I have done a little on my doorstop but I have also found trillions of other little jobs to do which always take longer than one thinks they will and so the saga -or is it a legend? -continues .
On a happy note the scarf above was knitted- yes amazingly I can knit- just a little bit- in just 2.5 hours whilst happily sipping a drink and chatting to friends in a local knitting circle, it was in a pub and very pleasant , I was so glad my husband came home in time to take over the babysitting!

The scarf is 10 stitches, all garter st, on 15mm needles and used one ball- which is all I had- of Katia : ''ETHNIC'' - the ball was about 89m long and chunky the ball band recommended a 10 mm needle size .
I didn't have one of those pairs handy and my eldest was still knitting on my 12mm so I tried the 15 mm and am very happy with the result.
More importantly my youngest was thrilled to bits and has worn it constantly now for 2 days.
And as any parent will know and undestand: THAT is the acid test and is WHAT COUNTS.

Having used a ball bought in Delft recently I was drawn to my other Dutch purchases and thought I 'd make myself a trendy little jacket from a pattern in a Dutch sewing magazine......

Well , you can see what happened: Pippa had other ideas!!!
As soon as I spread out my cutting board and the pattern paper : she was onto it!
The picture's too dark, but really she is smiling or was that a smirk ?
She rolled over but was difficult to budge, I did manage in the end and it is at present a WIP, more news to follow on that too... My third - of many more- procrastination efforts - was an idea that I hope will be very useful for lots of other people as well as- very hopefully- a class full of children!!!
In the summer my youngest- then just turned 7 - was wanting to crochet but found it very tricky - she's fine on what she calls ''finger crochet'' which is doing a chain with fingers only : no hook involved.
She can make really long leads or chains like this but what can we do with them all?
So I hit on the idea of some French Knitting and after using a small 4 or 6 pronged one she proved she was good at it and enjoyed it but she wanted to make jumpers( sweaters) for her lily dolls so I bought her a larger French Knitter ( or flower tool) from ''Readicut'': 16 prongs.
More recently I took it off the loom and realised that it could be the body or sleeve of a jumper but also a little hat....She made a pom pom with my latest beloved gadget - a ''Clover ''pom pom maker and I have just sewn them all together to realise it's the exact size for an '' Innocent ''bottle!!!!
So there it is : a 7 year old can make the hats for the fundraising campaign that Innocent are running this Autumn( Fall), they'll donate 50p for each behatted bottle sold this November!
TO: Help The Aged.
Then I was thinking : what if the entire class could make a hat each ( 30 hats!) in one of their craft/design lessons : wouldn't that be a superb fundraising idea as well as good citizenship for the children?!!
And fun to do , teaching fine motor skills and what fun you can have with a ball of wool......
You can include maths: if there are 16 stitches in a row and you'll need to do 20 rows: how many stitches is that?
If you stripe in 2 colours and do one colour 4 rows ( say blue)and the other 2 rows( say lime green) , over a total of 24 rows how many of the blue rows would you do in total?
If you need 40 cm per row: how much yarn do you need for 24 rows?
If 320 sts weigh in at 8 grammes : what can you make with 50 grammes of wool?
Etc etc....
And pom poms are fun to make whether the ''old'' way with cardboard circle-doughnuts or with crafty new tools or gadgets!
So not only did I then make a quick hat myself with some Aran yarn to see how long it would take and the rows, etc
I also e-mailed Readicut and some online yarn suppliers to see if anyone will donate the tools so the school children can have a go.
More to do on that tomorrow.

So finally : here is the'' pattern '' for people who want to use THIS method of making Innocent bottle Bobble hats.
Sorry YES the bottle is EMPTY because their fabulous smoothies do not last more that a few minutes with any one of us!!!

With Aran yarn a 16 prong French Knitter and a toothpick/crochet hook or curved upholstery needle:
Make a loop as if to start crochet and put it on a prong- preferably the one with the starter mark on the front.
Loop the yarn round the back of the next prong then across the front, round the back and onto the next prong all the way around.
Then running the main yarn across the front : pick up the lower loop on the prong and lift over the yarn sitting at the front, continue all the way around.
You can make stripes with any new yarn.
Some DK yarns or fancy textured ones work also.
The bue- mainly Aran- HAT is 24 rows high, the lime and turquoise hat is 20 rows high.
The whole hat including 45mm pom pom weighs 6 grammes.....
To cast off you cut the wool leaving a 50 cm tail, thread this into a yarn needle and run the yarn with needle into each stitch on the porng in turn, then lift them off and pull tight, VOILA A HAT!!!
Work yarn ends into hat neatly.
Make pom pom or tassle and attach to hat.
Post to Innocent hats at the address on their website:
The Big French Knitters are available from :
at only £1.79 each excluding P&P.
Readicut do pom pom makers which I haven't ever used but my Clover ones came from
I 'm hoping this will be useful for some if not many children, school classes even?
Who knows, but please feel welcome to comment.

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Monday, 24 September 2007


Here is a view of where I walk my dog every - well almost every- morning and most afternoons.
Peaceful isn't it? That's just to get into the mood as Today- and all of this week I have a target: I have to finish a project for my Diploma City and Guild's course and it's a doorstop.....
Not only that but I chose it to be inspired by the shape and texture of a chromosome.
I got the texture part from some electron -microscopic pictures in a book.
This was started in the summer of 2006 and yes it REALLY was a lovely warm summer and I made it in the state it's seen below:

I made it from jam jars filled with sand from the children's sandpit- they are too old for it now anyway- which I wired together with chicken wire and then I put a few layers of papier mache over the top.
Hence the newpapery look of it.
To allow it to stand I nailed it to a little plinth of wood but which also is to be covered in newspapers.
Funny how - just like when you have fish and chips- newspapers are suddenly a riveting read when you are supposed to be doing something?
It then spent many a month sitting on our fridge in the kitchen- well a logical place to have a fridge ..- I digress- as I couldn't decide on a colourscheme for the piece.
My original ideas and drawings had been in rich reds and blues with touches of olive green and purple but then I had my doubts.
The inspiration was turkish carpets but it just would not translate in my mind to the doorstop and I spent a lot of time in displacement activities: my crochet especially!!!
And now it is to be finished in just one week..... mainly because we may be moving to Geneva and I need to have finished this Diploma before we go.
In theory I had another 9 months or so but this has shortened to less than 3 months.
I need a sign that says DON'TPANIC just like the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy book- anyone remember that?
Maybe I should crochet myself a sign- NO I'm procrastinating again.....
I have chosen a colourscheme and a set of textile techniques and more of this tomorrow.
One of them involves metres- or is it miles?- of machine wrapped cord and this is NOT one of my favourite activities- in fact I'm always thinking of things I'd rather be doing than wrapping as soon as I've done a few INCHES of this technique, sitting behind the sewing machine.
It feels like a life sentence!!!
This afternoon I was daydreaming that I was doing a live broadcast of demonstrating the technique on a podcast to be shown/linked to this very blog- I think I 'm going mad?
To re affirm my previous sanity I end today with a picture of a mountain which is my VERY OWN handiwork: hand painted on silk and machine embroidered freehand: a mountain with lavender to calm the spirit, soothe the mind and help visualise the scenery which I might be walking the dog in after the move to the Geneva area - if it happenz....

See you tomorrow.

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Sunday, 16 September 2007

Isolation and the single yarn ball/skein....

Here are some balls of wool I bought whilst on holiday in Holland, there is this marvellous little wool heaven ( yeah shop) in Delft that stocks Lana Grossa and other yarns such as Katia and Scheepjeswol on shelves from floor to ceiling: Bliss.
They are what I'll be occupying myself with in the coming week.
So I'm aiming to finish with a brainstorm on what you can do with just one ball( I have an attic full of bags of just one ''try out'' ball of something...)

Meanwhile back to the isolation bit: I have just come to the end of an 18 month contract and my childminder's youngest has started school so she's given up childminding and is doing other - more lucrative- work.
The school will start an after school club in 2 month time so I have given myself 2 months to find a suitable next post , preferably as part of a career structure....
Hubbie is going to France for a week and here I am dreading the days and evenings filled with????? a void?????

Of course there's the house( YAWN) which needs a lot of TLC and a springclean as well as a de-clutter and there's the 2 diploma courses that I have work to do for:
City and Guild's Machine embroidery and P Turner's diploma in crochet : BUT....
I LOVED going to work in Oxford, in a large and very friendly organisation and all that fabulous shopping at luchtime....

Due to my loss of income we can't really afford a babysitter so I can't go to my crochet class or knitter's group either, I have to be home every evening....
And because of late working or meetings in London I missed the last 2-3 weeks of thise classes also and I'm beginning to feel really isolated....

Then I thought maybe this isn't an unusual occurrence and maybe there are more mums who feel this way sometimes?

Back to the crochet : The balls in the picture have a few destinies I planned as I bought them:
The pinks/beige Katia wool is to be a scarf for my youngest: 10 sts on 10mm knitting needles was suggested in the shop so I'll give that a try.

The green/purple/jade/royal blends- far left at the back on the photo below- these are 2 different yarns in a similar colourway from Lana Grossa and I'm going to make a striped scarf: part chenille , part merino wool for my eldest daughter.

The turquoise at the front is a Katia Aztec WOOL mix and varies from turquoise to a pale grey so I want to make a few crochet samples to play with stitches and tension ans see how the colours move or work out when made up.....I just HAD to have it as the colours are amazing, not really shown too well by the photo.

Then there are 2 more ( 1 omitted from photo) merino wool ''Bingo print ''from Lana Grossa and I want to play with them but not yet sure what will be the outcome, maybe I order more from Holland by mail if possible?

Finally in the photos are the Filatura mohair wound balls mentioned in my mohair scarf project , there's not much and I need to see how the colours vary , but then again you can't undo/frog this mohair so I need to get the sampels done in a way that I can join up into useful pieces later...?

Clockwise from top left- the pics are clickable, Blue/purple /green/browns wool and chenille,
by Lana Grossa, the wound Filature purples/reds mohair, the pink/beige Katia wool, the turquoise /grey Aztec from Katia, green/blues merino wool Bingo Print from Lana Grossa.

One Skein ideas: Varying from approx 160 m a ball to 80-90 m per ball:

2.Fingerless gloves
3.skinny scarf, possibly corkscrew or very lacy
4.egg cosies
5.i-pod/MP3 player/mobile phone covers
6.Doll's sweater
7.Cushion cover- possibly only one side( USA read Pillow)
9.:use in multi yarns project such as poncho/capelet/shawl/scarf/bags/waistcoat etc etc
10:Use in Freeform project : jacket,cardigan,shawl,bag of any kind or whatever.
11:Baby hats for friends or charity( soft yarns only)
12:Baby bootees : IF the yarn is very soft...
13:Part of a toy or Amigurimi or one in it's entirety? ( I fancy making an elephant or/and a dachshund)
14:Uses as stripes with another yarn or same yarn in plain or contrast colour
15:Make lots of tiny pompoms and decorate the edges of a gnirob sweater or scarf or cushion.....
16:Make into beads in crochet, stuff it and make a showcase necklace
17:Wire it up and make a tiara or crown for dressing up.
18:Make part of a slipper sock?
19:Use up the ball in french knitting and plait or knot the cord into a hairband?
20:Wire up the above french knitted cord and make flowers?OR FELT IT?
22: Make buttons- lots of them and decorate a cushion or bag or scarf....
23: make motifs and felt them for a bag or household item decoration...
24: make motifs and decorate an item of clothing...
25:Make and donate granny or other squares or shapes
26: make scarves/hats and donate to the Christmas appeal for boxes that go to the colder climates.
27: as above but for toys to fit into the Christmas boxes.
28: make hats for smoothie bottles as per appeal...
29: make a vase, a pot or a 3d item- stiffen it using Paverpol or similar product if needed.
30: make lavender sachets?
31: Make wheat bags- if the yarn can survive frequent heating in a microwave...
32: make doll's blanket or other clothing: dress,coat,skirt,hat/scarf set,legwarners etc et's
33: teddy bear's sleeping bag...
34 dog's lead or collar ( and/or) dog coat.- depends on size of dog.....
35: make lots of tassles and decorate a horse's or pony's bridle for a festive occasion....
36: PINWEAVE a panel ....for a bag or scarf or waist coat?
37: Use it to do surface crochet onto another or accessoryor furnishing..
38:Cut it into equal lengths and weave it through a crocheted mesh or lacy knit ?

And I could go on and on but this has been fun and cheered me up no end, thanks for reading.

I'd very much welcome any other ideas?


Saturday, 15 September 2007

Mohair scarf: Italian yarn:quick project!!!

Above some pics of my mohair project, probable destiny a scarf.....
It was an italian mohair purchased in 1983, yes really 24 years ago- so it's almost vintage !!!!
I bought it in London and it has travelled with me in my stash ever since, Hampshire, Canada, Wales, London, Oxfordshire you name it and it's been there!!
I thought it was high time I finally MADE something with it, at the time I thought it was a bit pricey and I can't remember the brand but think it was a Filatura Da Crosa , the yarn bands have been lost as I wound it into machine knitting balls on a ball winder many years ago in Canada( 1985 I think), it was meant to be used as the weave fibre in a woven design on a knitting machine but the samples made were dissappointing and it never went anywhere after that.
I have 2 wound balls of the pinky/orange variety and then several more balls in a more purply/ pinks /reds variety that may have been a different shade as it seems quite different.
I also still have a bag full of blue/green - mainly green mohair of the same type but different colours obviously.
I made the above piece on a 7mm hook and a 27 st base chain, then worked 4 x 5 treble fans with a single treble in between.
The colours are fabulous, amazing and the photo doesn't do it justice at all, and it's worked into a very soft lacy, loose fabric, I'm sooooo pleased with it!
I went really BIG with the hook , I think a 4mm hook was recommended ( it must have been quite fine if I'd been thinking of using it on a knitting machine!)
and initially thought I'd try a 5mm or 5.5 mm hook, but this is so much better!
It shows the yarn off as it's so open and lacy.
44 grammes made a scarf : 20cm wide and 125cm long.
4 pattern repeats of the fans in the width, 57 rows in the length.
Definate colour changes every 2 rows.
( 8'' by 49'' for one ball of 1.5 oz on a K 10.5 hook in 5 dc fans for the U.S.A. readers of this)
What do you think?
Now I have to decide what to do with the remaining ball of the same colour, the 2-3 balls of the purple version and the - yet to be weighed and counted- of the green variety!!!!