more knitting and my unbirthday in August.

I’ve been on a roll with my knitting needles. Funny really, because I never thought I’d be knitting so much in the hot summer months . . . but with the fan on full blast, it’s what I’m enjoying the most at the moment.  After the top I knitted for Daisy doll, following a King Cole pattern, I cast on and have begun knitting the cardigan version.

The back is done and I’ve started on the left front.  It looks skinnier than it is, in the photo, because the rib pattern pulls it in.  Am loving how the pink yarn is working up.  It’s going to be very girly.

I also had a very quick knit, using some sock yarn.  I did buy the sock yarn with a view to knitting more socks, but when hunting in my stash for the following project, it seemed the best option.

This is a pattern available for free on line.  Written specifically for 20cm Corolline Corolle dolls.  The sock yarn was perfect, when knit on 2.75mm needles and the colour changing means I didn’t bother following the striped version of original pattern.

I also had an unbirthday in August – yay!  A surprise parcel arrived from my friend, Avis.

Avis knows I love binge-watching DVDs when I knit, so I’ll be chuckling  with “Car Share”.  Avis also sent the more adorable coaster because she knows I’m an endless coffee drinker too!

And some surprise mail from Stéphanie as well!

Thank you ladies !

happy dancing with Daisy doll

Last month, I started a knitting project to finally use up a yarn cake I’d had in my stash for a while.

It’s a cotton/acrylic mix which knits up a bit hairy . . . and label had tension at something between DK and 4-ply . . . so I figured I’d take a chance anyway and try out this King Cole DK pattern I bought a while back.  It has 2 designs: this pretty top, and a more simple short-sleeved cardigan.   With my 150g of yarn cake, I reckoned I should be able to knit the top in size 3-4 years.  And I did.  Although it turned out more a size 3 years than 4.

Daisy doll is approx 90cm tall, so she’s an average 3-year old in size.

Almost had a massive fail on this knitting project because of my yarn not being DK and because I was too lazy to knit a tension swatch. I just cast on and hoped for the best.  Width was looking good.  Length from armhole cast off appeared good.  I knitted along merrily, and soon had a back & front.  It was after sewing shoulders and finishing off the neckline that I realised what had gone wrong.  The neckband didn’t have enough stretch for me to get the thing over Daisy’s head. Arggghhh!

I almost binned the project there and then but after a good night’s sleep . . . I found a solution. I unpicked one shoulder seam, and fudged a button hole.  So . . . one shoulder unbuttons, to allow the top to go over Daisy’s head . . . and it’s not neat enough for me to show you lol. But at least the top fits and looks pretty from a distance.  If any of you have a doll phobia, it’s time to look away now, because photos of Daisy modelling in the garden follow. (Note: if anyone is interested, Daisy is, in fact, a “Chantal” model by the doll artist Monika Levenig).

I think I will be tempted to knit this pattern again, but using 100% cotton DK.  In the meantime, I have plans to start the cardigan version from the same pattern.

seeing double (albeit a few years late)

I was browsing on the internet, as we crafters love to do, having fun drooling over lots of yarny supplies, and (I’ll admit) keeping my eyes open for inspiration.  Mrs Tattoo has just finished knitting her summer top (photos of the two of us modelling those very soon, I promise) and I was also trying to help her decide on a new project.  Anyhoot . . . I was browsing on the official French DMC site.  Cross stitchers will know DMC for its skeins of embroidery thread, but DMC also specialise in yarn and knitting/crochet. Mrs Tattoo rather liked this pattern.

Which happened to be available as a free download on the DMC site . . . and ordered in the recommended yarn: DMC Knitty4 so she could start her new project.  I, meanwhile, continued browsing, and visiting UK sites too, which is when I started seeing double because . . .

Same pattern, except it’s branded as Sirdar Hayfield, requiring Sirdar Hayfield Bonus DK.  Hmmm! That’s strange, methinks.  So I continued browsing and

Found this one (for free, in French) which requires DMC “andes” yarn.

Whereas for English speakers, it’s branded as Sirdar, requiring Sirdar “Saltaire”.

Another free DMC pattern, requiring DMC “pirouette”.

For English speakers it’s using Sirdar Jewelspun.

I could go on and on because I found dozens of examples.  Now . . . being curious, and also sensible enough to realise two such huge companies couldn’t be flaunting copyright laws and copying each other, I googled. To discover this:  Back in 2016 a company called BlueGem Partners bought up DMC and Wool and the Gang.  Then in 2017, BlueGem also bought up Sirdar.  The group was originally called Craft Group Holdings, but has since been renamed the DMC Group.

That’s fair enough.  Companies are being bought up & merged all the time these days,  but, as a crafter . . . I can’t help but wonder about the “labelling”.  If I buy one or the other, am I getting a French product? from DMC, “established in 1746”?  Or am I getting a British product? From “West Yorkshire – British design expertise and craftmanship trusted by generations of hand-knitters, established in 1880”?

I don’t suppose I’m actually getting either.  I don’t have any of the Jewelspun/Pirouette, Saltaire/Andes yarn in my stash but I do have Hayfield Bonus DK and DMC Knitty4 . . . and when I read the labels it clearly states:  “made under licence for Hayfield in Turkey” on the one, and “made under licence for DMC in Turkey” on the other.  So all I can assume is: everything is made in the same factory in Turkey, then labelled up differently and shipped . . . leaving British knitters under the impression they’re buying British, and leaving French knitters under the impression they’re buying French.

 

 

this & that (plus an unbirthday) in July

It’s been too hot this month to really concentrate on anything much.  I did get organised and sent off an unbirthday gift for a blogging friend.

The lucky lady for July was Angèle.  Angèle does all sorts of crafts including diamond painting, knitting, & cross stitch.  I sent her 4 home-made fabric coasters and an Isabelle Vautier xstitch kit.

I have managed a few more rows of knitting, so things have progressed from

to this

I’ve also been buying a few books to add to my shelves.  You know I am a doll fanatic . . . so I was very pleased when I found some books on @m@zon with a few marketplace sellers who specialise in secondhand books.   The following all date back to the 80s but are in very good condition and only cost a few euros each.

These two in French.  “Les Poupées – une histoire millénaire”, as its title suggests, a look at the history of dolls with lots of colour photos and interesting facts.  And “Un amour de poupée” – autobiographical, by Catherine Refarbert who is the founder of the French company Corolle. Fascinating read, sadly only a few photos in b&w.

These two in English.  Both on the life of Käthe Kruse and the history of her doll-making. I’ve only had a flick through so far, but both books are filled with lots of photos and I know I’m going to enjoy reading them.

And last, but not least, a brand new copy of “Doll Studio Boutique” with patterns for 14″ dolls. Patterns designed for Ruby Red and Wellie Wishers, but should fit the 13″ and 14″ dolls in my collection with a few minor ajustments.  Just need to find time to sit down and sew.

 

cast off, cast on

Happy dancing here last week, with the finish of a summer top for yours truly.

It’s knitted following this pattern

“Melody – Lace Summer Top” by Sarah Hatton.  I swapped the recommended yarn for OnLine Linie 107 Supersoft.  I used 6 x 50g.  While the yarn I used is a cotton mix, it’s still a bit warm here to be wearing a knitted top. Should be good for September though.

And in the meantime, no sooner had I cast off, than I cast on!

I’m using  a yarn cake (cotton & acryllic mix) bought in ACTION on a whim because of the pretty colours. Bought on a whim probably a couple of years ago, and been sitting in the cupboard ever since. Yarn is knitting up prettily but ever so hairy – I wouldn’t expect a young child to want to wear a top knitted with this yarn but I’m giving it a whirl just because.  I’m not even going to worry about matching up the colour morphing on front & back – this project will be for Daisy doll.  If I like how the pattern knits up, I’ll buy in some decent yarn to make again for Little Miss Viking.  There’s also the pattern for a cardigan in the leaflet, which is ever so pretty.

summer top progress

I don’t have too many crafting projects on the go at the moment: just a cross stitch piece for the SAL, still crocheting sprites, and a knitting project to make this gorgeous summer top.

Pattern is called “Melody” it’s by Sarah Hatton and is available for sale on most yarn sites, including Ravelry.

After a mis-read and need to frog/tink at beginning of armhole shaping on my first side, I soon got back on track and am pleased to say my summer top is over half done.

In fact, the second half is already well under way!  While I’ve been busy on my knitting, Mrs Tattoo has been working on hers. Knitting the same pattern, in a smaller size, and in “pistachio” colour.   She’s just reached the armhole shaping part, so I have given all the help I can there, writing a stitch by stitch chart, to help keep count of things with the 8 row pattern repeat, while decreasing on both edges.

She’s doing so well though!  She only picked up knitting needles last year and I’ve really thrown her in at the deep end with this project.

 

arrggghhh! need to frog.

I’ve started a new knitting project (and Mrs T is knitting her own version as well).  The pattern is “Melody” by Sarah Hatton.

 

It’s to make a “lace summer top” and pattern is written for a WYS yarn, but I’m using a different yarn. I chose the brand: ONline Linie 107 supersoft. It’s a  60% cotton/ 40% acrylic DK mix.  Advantage, compared to the recommended yarn a) I was able to buy it in France. b) it’s machine washable and c) it cost 2.95€ for a 50g ball (I need 7 x 50g for my size), so makes for a not too expensive knitting project.

It wasn’t until I’d paid for and downloaded the pattern, that I realised, this top is knitted with the purl side facing outwards. ie, the “wrong” side is the “right” side. This took some getting used to.  Anyway, photo above, with flash, to try and show you the colour I’m knitting in (although it’s actually lighter and more like the pink on pattern photo).

 

And second photo, without flash, so you can see the stitch detail, which is basically lots of tear drop shaped holes.  Sadly, I got as far as the beginning of armhole . . . did my first cast offs to begin armhole shaping . . . 2 more, with more decreasing and then had an “arrggghhh!” moment.  I misread the pattern and only cast off 6 stitches each side, when I should have cast off 10.  So . . . I’ve got 4 rows to frog, and get myself back on track.

the “almost matching” socks

The other day I showed you a photo of the latest sock project.

Knitting with a ball of Lang Yarn Super Socx in “Caipirinha” (their cocktail range) and following a pattern by Alex Parker Mooney (available for free download on Ravelry).  Many hours (and days) knitting later, I have my first pair of adult sized socks. And they almost match – yay!

I say almost . . . yarn colour changing seemed to do something a little different by the time I got to the toe of my second sock, despite having managed to get colour sequences more or less lined up throughout.

Colours were (strangely) less vivid in some places on the first sock (one on the right) . . . but I’m probably the only one who will notice.

And toes didn’t match. But honestly, who will see the toes when I’m wearing shoes or slippers?  I’m really pleased with how they turned out.  I cast on 72 stitches on 2.5mm DPNs and each sock took 44g of yarn.   This yarn is 75 wool, so a little warm for the summer weather on its way. I think I’ll cast on and knit another pair in a cotton mix!

on a roll

I’d been eyeing up some ideas for storing knitting needles, namely double-pointed needles.  Saw a couple of nice rolls on-line, and used photos as inspiration to design my own.  The nice thing about taking up knitting after having learned how to sew is that something like a needle roll is a very quick & simple project.

It was a stash-busting project.   Using a couple of small pieces of cotton print from the drawer.  Finished size when rolled is 10″ x 3″ and approx 1″ thick, so it’s not too bulky.  It’s for my 20cm DPNs.

The husband came up with an idea, when I was unrolling to show him my finished project (and needles almost fell out onto the floor – you’ll see why later) so I added a couple of poppers to the finished pouch.

When unrolled, it looks like this

And the poppers, on either end of the flap stop needles from sliding out if I hold the thing upside down.

I made 8 little pockets, for 7 sets of DPNs and a wider pocket for my needle gauge.  I don’t actually have a set of 2mm needles in 20cm yet, but thought it was sensible to provide a pocket in the eventuality I need to buy some. My sewing machine has embroidery options, but no decimal point.  However, the numbers embroidered are good enough for me to know which needles should go in which pocket.

In case you’re wondering whether I’ve been doing any knitting of late . . . yes I have!

 

inconclusive socks knitting

Hmmmm . . . needles have been smoking, but I can’t say I’m a fully fledged sock-knitter yet!

The other day I boasted about my first ever pair of socks in toddler size, and had immediately cast on to make a pair for myself, using the same pattern in adult size.

This was my beginning, following a pattern by Shaina Scott and using a cotton blend sock yarn bought in Lidl.  I had measured my foot, calf etc, and cast on to make the largest size.

I had got thus far, trying the sock on for size every now and again. Now, I know I have very “hobbit-like” feet.  Not something I’m proud of, but not something I can do much about either . . . but this sock was obviously knitting up much wider than I needed it to be.  My tension was good, so I decided it must be the yarn, that honestly doesn’t have much elasticity to it (only 10% of the stretchy stuff in the mix) and the cotton majority just seemed to make the sock go big & floppy.  So, rather than continue, I frogged.  Found another pattern, measured my foot again (in the hope it had grown slimmer in the meantime – yeah, right!) and decided to apply the “-10% negative ease” rule.

The second pattern attempted is this one: Vanilla Latte Socks.  Pattern has a bit of texture to it, which I hoped would give fabric more stretch, and I cast on for the 72 stitch size.  It finished up looking so fat !!!  Although it could probably have done with a few more rows in length before the toe.

Now, the sock fits and I do love the pinks & greys in the yarn.  My only problem . . . while I thought I’d measured foot length correctly, before shaping the toe, the sock fabric stretched out even more as I put it on, making the sock itself looser, and therefore making the “toe” part a bit snug.  The knitted fabric feels very fine too . . . my big toe is going to make a hole in no time at all !

I also found that, when standing, the sock wrinkles around my ankle.  If the fabric feels so loose now, when the sock is brand new, I wonder how it will feel after it’s been worn and washed?  I’m even thinking I could have knitted the next size down, because of the way this cotton yarn seems to behave.  Which is why I’m going to take a few days off sock-knitting while I decide what to do next.

I have two options. 1-  I can start a second sock, with the Vanilla Latte pattern, making the next size down, with a 64 stitch cast on.  If it works, I can then frog the first sock and knit again.  Or . . . 2-  I forget about my Lidl cotton yarn for the time being, and make a third attempt with a wool mix yarn (containing 25% of the stretchy stuff).  I have a ball of Lang Yarn, Super Soxx, in the most gorgeous colour.   I’ve proved to myself that I can follow a pattern properly and knit a sock. Maybe it’s time to stop using my cheap Lidl yarn and use some of the good stuff?