adventures in knitting design (and other craftiness…)

‘Not good enough for Pinterest’ advent calendar

As an avid Pinterester, (mainly “Oooh”s and “Wow”s and never getting round to making any of the things) I have been meaning to make my own advent calendar for a few years now. But December 1st just seems to creep up so quickly. Then I quickly rush out and buy a cheap chocolate thing. Our one from last year (Peppa Pig) is actually still sitting behind the wine rack in the kitchen. With chocolate still in. That’s how rubbish cheap advent calendar chocolate is. And also how rubbish I am at tidying up but never mind that.


Somehow I managed to (almost completely…) make one this year – before December! Hooray! It’s a bit rubbish in places but we’re quite happy to have it up on the wall! (Just not the Pinterest wall – because that’s more important obviously.)


The almost good advent calendar!

The almost good advent calendar!


Jumbly numbery

Jumbly numbery


17! (This is my favourite - don't know why)

17! (This is my favourite – don’t know why)


December 1st!

December 1st!


Take the picture already so I can have my treat

Take the picture already so I can have my treat


You may have noticed not all the days of the month are represented… yes, I ran out of bags. Got 20 more days to add the last few though eh?


Final word of warning if you’re thinking of making your own advent calendar (Quick! It’s December already!) – you will find yourself searching around for small toys/treats/something other than chocolate for every bag…and end up spending even more than you would on one of those expensive Playmobile things that you shake your head at for being an expensive luxury…

Scotland, Halloween and more MITTS

I took The Wee Man to visit relatives in Scotland recently, mainly my Mum as she has been a bit poorly and hasn’t managed to visit us this year. The Wee Man had a great time seeing all his cousins and being thoroughly spoiled by Nana…

We searched for Nessie at Loch Ness. (Didn't find her)

We searched for Nessie at Loch Ness. (Didn’t find her)


We ran from the waves…


At Lossiemouth’s West Beach


We climbed and played at Carrbridge’s Landmark Centre


And we were very spooky at Halloween


(Yep, another home-made costume – just can’t bring myself to buy one…)


We had great fun dookin for apples at Granny’s house

But it’s back to school, work and the old knitting grind now…here’s my latest pattern.

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They’re Gabla Mitts and you can buy the pattern in my Ravelry Store. Or have them made to order for you from my Etsy or Folksy shops.

Happy knitting everyone!

A damn fine idea

Great Northern KnitsGreat Northern Knits2

My favourite pastime and my favourite TV programme have come together at last!

This looks like a fabulous knitting project. It has no less than two (Two!) Log Lady (my favourite TP lady) patterns.

The designers, Leah Coccari-Swift and Teresa Gregorio, are running a kickstarter campaign to fund the project if you are interested in becoming part of it… I know I am.

The owls are not what they seem.


Got some good brambles while out cycling today…



Question is…what to make them into?

Warm and sunny days

Hello from beautiful Cyprus!

View of Pafos

View of Pafos

This is my knitting view at the moment. Not bad eh? The Big Man, Wee Man and I are on 2 weeks holiday in lovely Cyprus. Don’t be too envious though as I’ve been suffering with a cold since we got here. I’m trying to shake it by doing lots of sitting around and reading…it also meant I couldn’t accompany the Big and Wee Men to the waterpark today unfortunately (can you feel my disappointment?) The Wee Man thinks the waterpark is the main reason for coming here.

I’ve managed a wee bit of knitting while here…

Cooking up a new design and some new freckles at the same time!

Cooking up a new design and some new freckles at the same time!

I haven’t done much knitting in this kind of heat before but it hasn’t been too troublesome. Mostly because I’m using lovely light linen/cotton yarn and it hasn’t got to the bulky stage yet. The thing I’ve had most trouble with is the working yarn getting all stuck in between my sun creamed/sweaty fingers…

I also wanted to show you the holiday bag I finished ready for our trip.

Holiday bag!

Holiday bag!

I’m really happy with it – I even managed to sew a lining with a phone pocket into it – and a zip too! I’ve used it every day so far. (Well, every day that I haven’t been sitting about here looking at the view that is.) I haven’t decided whether to write up the pattern or not yet.

I hope you are all having a wonderful summer and have managed a wee holiday too.


Submission fever

I took a couple of days off from knitting this week. It used to be that I would often go days without knitting and not notice but these days it seems that my hands are constantly itching to pick up those needles. But for the last couple of weeks I’ve been so busy finishing off two (two!) design submission ideas at once that once it was done I took a breather.

Then another submission email dropped into my inbox and my brain was off again. A third submission has been sent off – 3 in one week! I may have submission fever…

The thing is, I’ve not had a submission accepted yet but I’m starting to actually enjoy the process of it and the ideas that it generates without being so bothered by whether my ideas are accepted or not. If they’re not right then I have some new designs I can do myself. (A few too many at the moment!)

One of the aspects I’m trying to improve with each submission is my design sketch. I tend to make it a bit basic with some colour and texture as appropriate just to convey the idea of the design. With the last one though, one of the designs was for a top and as it was my first time submitting a top design I tried to make my sketch look a bit more natural as it would look on a person. I found the easiest way to do this was look at a photo of a real person wearing a similar shape and copy the form then adapt the shape of what the form is wearing to my design. I did find while I sketched this time that I felt like a ‘proper designer’. Which was fun.

Maybe one day I’ll have enough sketching time/talent to do one like these I found on pinterest.

I think this is my favourite:

Knit draw

(Alexandra Liss)

You never know, maybe I’ll be back to tell you one of my feverish rash of submissions was accepted. After recovering from falling off my seat.

Happy knitting!

I’m not scared of arms anymore

I have finally made something that isn’t an accessory! (Runs round in circles and pats myself on the back).

Ok, I’ve definitely eased myself in to the whole ‘lady knitted top’ arena…and have to confess I’ve been a bit scared by the whole armholes/sleeves/set-in/drop/raglan etc etc etc area of tops. Buuuut…I think I may tackle it yet. I didn’t do it with this one, as it’s a straight up with added bit of armhole ‘trim’ but soon…

I did discover that knitting summer tops/t-shirts is a good way to get yourself into the whole knitted top universe. I feel I could tackle something more complicated now. I’m not scared of arms anymore!

Although, I have to say, this one wasn’t as simple as it looks or sounds. I tend to design things kind of on-the-go, I like to see how it’s turning out as I knit it and make decisions as I go along rather than designing everything to bits before starting. It bit me on the bum here.

The problem was: it’s a circular knit, bottom up, stripey top, with a 10-row repeating stripe pattern. Fine when I knit it for me and it fits perfectly. Then I go to size it for other people…(starts tearing hair out). I got there eventually, but trying to figure out how to adjust length for different sizes when you can only add/subtract 10 rows at a time to make it end on the right row…is tricky. Why can’t everyone be the same size and shape as me? (be a bit boring maybe…)

So, here is my first lady top thing…I called it Maidencombe after the beach we took these photos on…

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You can get the pattern on my Ravelry page.


I’ve already started on my next summer top. They are the new wrist warmers!

Happy knitting … tkm x

Bovey Tracey Contemporary Craft Festival

I haven’t been for the last couple of years but this year I decided to make the effort to go to the Bovey Tracey Contemporary Craft Festival as it’s always full of wonderful beautiful things and talented craftspeople. It’s only 8 miles away but I decided to cycle there and back (it took me an hour each way!) So, even if I had hundreds of £££s to spend (I didn’t) I couldn’t take anything large or heavy or breakable back with me. And I could have spent hundreds of £££s – there were so many beautiful things there…   This was my favourite stand… Cups-and-hooks-2.600   Helaina Sharpley I couldn’t stop staring at her wirework – it was amazingly strange and lovely.   I only found one stand selling hand knitting – the lovely, friendly Belinda Harris-Reid. And that’s where I found my one wee purchase – a lovely turned wood yarn bowl… DSC_0067 I’ve wanted one for ages but it felt like too frivoulous and luxurious a thing…maybe I should get a second one for when I’m knitting in two colours?…   (BTW – the knitting in the picture above is the latest design I’m working on and it’s *gasp* NOT an accessory!)   If you can get to the Bovey Tracey Contemporary Craft Festival next year – I highly recommend it.   TKM x

Something new…

My first bag pattern is up on Ravelry!

It is called Picos as I started the design when I was on holiday in the Picos de Europa (which was beautiful).

There are two versions – stocking stitch or garter stitch. I can’t decide yet which is my favourite…

DSC_0079 DSC_0074 ASW_2723 DSC_0060 DSC_0052 Bum shot! ASW_2696 ASW_2728 DSC_0065

You can find the pattern for free at the Ravelry link above – but if you are a non-knitter I will be posting them for sale as made to order items on Etsy and Folksy soon.

Happy knitting folks!

I’m from further north than you

I have been having a little difficulty translating the scarf design I showed a peep of here into a pattern. It consists of many diagonal stripes which stop and start randomly across the scarf so there is no easy repeat to write or chart. (I tried to do both and ended up turning the air blue) – it is just too unwieldy to write out.

So, I am going to use this post as a ‘recipe’ for the scarf and it can be up to the knitter where they start and stop the stripes.

First, here’s a proper look at it…

DSC_0032 DSC_0036 DSC_0012 DSC_0016ASW_2176

It’s called ‘I’m from further north than you’ after the Wedding Present song I was listening to while wrestling with the pattern writing.

Here is how you do it:


Regia 4-fädig Tweed – 3 x 50g

Around 5 yards each of 2 colours in 4ply or finer for stripes


Length: around 154cm

Width: around 24cm

(I found this to be the right length to double the scarf and tuck the ends through the loop as in the last picture above. This means you can see the garter stitch diagonal at the end and the coloured stripes in the main part round your neck.)


This is not too important as long as your garter stitch tension is not wildly different from your stocking stitch tension. If so, your ends will be a lot wider than your middle… you could use a smaller needle to start/finish but be aware that the garter stitch and stocking stitch sections do merge together for a number of rows.


Cast on 56 st in main colour yarn

Work in garter st for 23 rows

Row 24: P1, K to end

Row 25: Knit

Row 26: P2, K to end

Continue in this way, adding an extra purl stitch on every even row until you have reached 10 purl stitches (or 10st in stocking stitch)

Next row: K to last st, P1

Next row: P11, K to end

Next row: K to 2nd last st, P1

Next row: P12, K to end

Keep going like this, adding another P stitch on the right side for every 10 stitches across the stocking stitch pattern and shifting it one stitch to the right every row. At the same time, continue adding another purl stitch on the wrong side for every row until the garter stitch section ends. You will then be continuing in stocking stitch with purls instead of knits every 10th stitch on right side.

In this way, you will be creating diagonal trenches in which to crochet a chain of coloured stripes afterwards. Once you have finished the garter stitch section you should have a purl trench every 10th stitch of your row.

Now, here is where it becomes a ‘recipe’ rather than a pattern…

Sometimes, don’t start doing purl stitches when you get another 10 stitches across, start them further up on a later row (you will have to work out where they are in the row but it will be easy enough – 10 stitches from the last purl trench). Sometimes, stop one purl trench some way up it and restart it again after several rows so you create a two part stripe. Sometimes, finish it before it reaches the other edge of the scarf. The stripe pattern is really up to you – I tried not to make too many gaps close to each other – mix them up a bit. Although I made sure my first and last stripes were full length.

Tip: if you slip stitch the coloured stripes into the trenches as you go along (once a trench is finished) you can see better how the colours/gaps look and this can help you decide what to do later. You can also use two colours for one stripe if you have a gap in the middle.

Once your scarf reaches around 130cm long, begin another garter stitch diagonal by knitting on both sides instead of creating another trench – one stitch extra of garter for each right side row. Continue until the entire row is garter stitch. Knit in garter stitch for 23 more rows. Cast off.

Surface crochet stripes: Using a small crochet hook and your choice of coloured yarns, make a slip knot, insert the crochet hook through the first stitch in purl trench and catch the slip knot on reverse side. Pull loop through to front side, insert crochet hook into 2nd stitch of trench and loop yarn round on reverse side. Pull hook through to front and through previous loop. Continue until you reach the end of the trench or a gap. Cut yarn, pull through last loop in front then using a darning needle, pull end through to reverse (over end of last loop) and sew in yarn end on reverse.

Tip: As the scarf is mainly stocking stitch it will curl at the edges without blocking. I found that the Regia yarn responded well to a steam iron on the reverse side to prevent curling. Please check your yarn ball for ironing instructions.

That’s it! Enjoy your scarf! Happy knitting!

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