Happy Hallowe’en

Ok, so the title of this post is a bit premature. But when it comes to knitting for a particular occasion it pays to be organised in advance. I’ve seen a lot of Hallowe’en patterns popping up on Ravelry and Pinterest recently so I thought I would show you some of my favourites. I’ve just cast on the pumpkin pattern below and I can already see it sitting on my desk in work.

Spice & Clove Knit and Crochet PumpkinsSo to pumpkins, my first pattern pick is the Spice & Clove Knit and Crochet pumpkins. This is a free pattern (bonus!) and comes with a knitted and a crocheted version (double bonus!). I found the perfect orange yarn last weekend at HandmAid so one of these will soon be adorning my desk.

Leaf Vine Decoration (trim only) by Rachel Le GrandSpeaking of pumpkins, I love everything about the above picture. The pattern itself is more of a mod for Saartje’s Bootees [pdf], but who cares. As well as the booties the picture, you can see the Berry Baby Hat by Michele Sabatier and the Curly Purly Pumpkin by Marnie Ann Joyce. It almost makes me wish I had a tiny person to dress up for Hallowe’en.

Little Witches by Julie HunterLittle Witches. Little witches!!! Enough said really. You could use any bits of leftover yarn for this pattern, so they are the perfect stash busters.

Tiny Ghost by Anna HrachovecThe next two patterns are by designer Anna Hrachovec, who designs the cutest miniature patterns. I used her Tiny Bride and Tiny Groom pattern for my wedding cake toppers. The first is this teeny Tiny Ghost pattern. I love these tiny patterns, so many possibilities. I bought the book a few years ago and I can highly recommend it.

Boo the Bat by Anna HrachovecThe second of Anna’s gorgeous designs is Boo the Bat. These would look so cute hanging in a window coming up to Hallowe’en, with their cute little faces peeking out at people coming trick or treating.

Acorn Ornament by Carmen Rigby-WillsonThese acorns are not traditional Hallowe’en fare, but I still really like them and they are appropriate for this time of year. This pattern is called Acorn Ornament by Carmen Rigby-Willson and I think they are really sweet.

deniza17's Halloween Devil DollLast but not least are these little devils, which can be bought as an individual pattern or as part of the Jolly Halloween collection. This would be a great opportunity to get all your Hallowe’en patterns in one place.

I have to admit living in an adult-only household with two dogs Hallowe’en has lost some of it’s magic for me. But as a child I have many happy memories of dressing up and trick or treating with my mum and friends before visiting the bonfire. Except of course for the year that I dressed as I dressed up as a witch. It turns out I’m allergic to green face paint 😦 Green face paint that I put ALL OVER MY FACE. I’ll never forget that Hallowe’en. Tell me about your Hallowe’en traditions or memories in the comments. I love to hear about traditions from other cultures.

(Permission has kindly been granted by each of the pattern designers to share their photos.)

Knitting in the Library

I wrote a guest blog post recently for my LYS This Is Knit about a feature I noticed on Ravelry. If you’re browsing knitting books on Ravelry you can now search WorldCat, a library catalogue aggregator, to see if any libraries need you have the book. In case you didn’t know I qualified as a librarian about a year ago. So this link was very intriguing to me.

Knitting in the Library


I’m not sure how many Irish public libraries have signed up to WorldCat, but Irish library users can search BorrowBooks.ie, and in some cases use inter-library loans to get a book sent from another library to their local library.

This is exactly why libraries exist – to give everyone equal access to information and education (and knitting patterns). […] If you are not a member of your local library then why not? You can find a full list on the Ask About Ireland website. Think of all the money you can save on knitting books that you can then spend on more yarn. See? Genius.

Now, off you go to read my original post on This Is Knit’s blog, then come back and let me know what you think.

Beyond In Threes

Beyond Puerperium by Kelly BrookerThis week I’ve been trying out a new baby pattern, Beyond Puerperium by Kelly Brooker. I’ve knitted several In Threes by Kelly Herdrich for various babies. But I waiting until this baby was born, and being a boy, I decided that In Threes was perhaps too ‘girly’. I hate this concept of ‘boyish’ and ‘girly’, I know that men and women are different, but the differences are not binary, not blue and pink, the differences are on a spectrum.

Knitting 195Anyway, for this little boy I decided on Beyond Puerperium. What I love about this pattern is that instructions are given for a number of yarn weights in a number of sizes. I found some superwash DK in my stash in purple and green. It knit up really quickly and is super cute. I don’t know very much about babies, but I’ve been told that the buttons down the side make it easier to dress the baby, rather than having to pull a jumper down over their heads.

Knitting 211There are a few things I’ll do differently next time (and there will be a next time). The first is the buttons. I don’t know if I placed them too far apart, but the buttons along the yoke are pulling a bit. If anyone has any suggestions on how to fix this I would love to know in the comments. Do I need to place the buttonholes closer together? Or do I need sew the buttons farther from the edge of the fabric?

Knitting 206The second thing that I would do differently is that I would knit the button band in the same colour as the cuffs, rather than having a striped button band. By slipping the stitches you get a really neat edge, but the colours kind of bleed a bit on the stripes. This isn’t a big deal, but I think it would be neater if it was a solid colour.

Book review: Woolly Woofers by Debbie Bliss

I’m not in the habit of writing book reviews, but with this one I couldn’t resist. I nearly fainted when my local yarn shop, This Is Knit, tweeted a picture of the latest knitting book to hit their shelves. Woolly Woofers is a book of 22 patterns for dogs by Debbie Bliss. See? Fainting with excitement! Two of my favourite things – dogs and knitting!! When I contacted the publisher, Quadrille Publishing, to ask about using images in a review they kindly sent me a review copy.

I didn’t realise Debbie Bliss was such a dog lover. I love that it’s so obvious from the introduction that she is a true doggie-person. And I equally love that there is advice on knitting for dogs and examples of the different types of coats to suit different statures of dogs. And and this isn’t the first time Debbie has designed clothes for dogs. Last Christmas I knit the Santa Paws jumper for Mia from the Debbie Bliss Fall/Winter 2013 magazine. There is a Santa Paws jumper in this book too, but it looks like a slightly re-worked version. I haven’t knit any of the outfits from the book (yet), but Debbie is a prolific designer so I’m taking it as given that they are as well written as her other patterns.

Wooly Woofers 047Ollie and Mia have also been leafing through the book and choosing their favourite patterns.  Mia has chosen the Puppy Polo, she thinks it looks like a good basic jumper that every dog needs in their wardrobe.

Wooly Woofers 057Ollie has requested the Sherlock Bones outfit (complete with Deerstalker). As a rule he objects to wearing clothes, but he feels this outfit would lend him an air of sophistication. I normally wouldn’t go near a tweed yarn, but I’m willing to make an exception for this pattern and for Ollie.

Wooly Woofers 061And I really think I *need* Man’s Bee Friend in my life. Mia thinks it might be a good option for Hallowe’en this year. What do you think?

Wooly Woofers 075And I think the Parka Barker is going to be one of the first on my needles. Both Ollie and Mia barked with excitement when they saw this one, so I might have to make them one each to avoid arguments. I might even fork out the €16.95 for the Louisa Harding Luzia for the trim. It just looks so amazing.

When I was doing some digging around for information about the book before buying it, I came across this Telegraph article. At the bottom of the article you’ll find the Sherlock Bones, Mardi Gras Mutt and the Highland Hound patters for free. So you can try before you buy the book! And believe me, you need this book on your shelf.

Dog jumper No. 2

Dog Jumpers 050As I said in my recent blog post, I finished two dog jumpers* in the last little while. Here Ollie models Biscuits & Bones Dog Coat by Patons knit using Cascade Yarns 220 on 5.5mm needles. It’s knitted from the top down, seamed from the neck to the belly and then the ribbing is added along the bottom edge and at the arm holes. I love the detailing on this jumper; the cables are designed to look like dog bones. However, I didn’t enjoy the double moss stitch (or whatever it’s called) and it was much slower to complete than the first jumper. Again, this jumper was easy to tailor to the size of my dogs and I think the end product is really cute.

Dog Jumpers 053I really wanted to give these jumpers a proper photo shoot. Dogs in jumpers, it kind of demands a bit of sillyness with the camera. So I packed my camera bag with treats and we headed to St. Enda’s Park for a nice walk. Padraig Pearse, one of the leaders of the Easter Rising in 1916, ran a school on these grounds and the building is now a museum. A previous owner, William Hudson, built follies all over the park. I have so many happy memories of playing on these stone structures as a child. The follies are in the process of being restored at the moment and are a really interesting part of the history of the park.

Dog Jumpers 047 squareI can’t find much online about the follies, so maybe I’ll have to go back some day with my camera and a notebook for another post. Anyway, in this case the stones made a great backdrop for my knitted jumpers. See Ollie staring off wistfully into the distance? Yeah, he’s really staring at Rossa who is holding the treats just off camera. The glamorous life of a canine model!

* To any US readers, in Ireland we call sweaters jumpers.

‘In Threes’ take four

This is going to be a quick post to share some pictures of a cute cardigan I knitted recently. I used my favourite pattern – In Threes  by Kelly Herdrich. Three reasons I love it? No sleeves so no wrestling with DPNs or magic loop, no seams and no button band to pick up and knit. You just knit it and then you’re done (except for the buttons and weaving in ends).

In Threes Cardigan 005I wanted to make a preemie size cardigan for a special little lady. The pattern recommends aran weight yarn on 5mm needles. In order to make a smaller size I chose to knit the 6-12 months size using 4ply yarn on 3.5mm needles.

In Threes Cardigan 006This was a really quick knit, despite the small needle size. It took me around 4 days total, with maybe an hour or two knitting on each day. As I really have no concept of what size any babies are I can only hope for the best with this cardigan.

I doubt I’ll ever get bored knitting this pattern, but just incase, what’s your favourite baby pattern?

Dog jumper No. 1

Dog Jumpers 041I finished two dog jumpers* in the last few months, but because the weather has been seasonably warm (i.e. hot in Summer, which is surprisingly rare in Ireland) I haven’t had the chance to photograph them yet. It really didn’t seem fair to put the dogs in wool jumpers during a heat wave**. The temperature has dropped in the last week or so which meant that I could finally photograph these two jumpers without feeling guilty.

Dog Jumpers 036Mia models the Dog Sweater by Red Heart Design Team knitted in Cascade Yarns 220 on 5 and 5.5mm needles. I loved this top down pattern. It was a really quick, straightforward knit and a great base for experimentation. You just have to look through the finished projects on Ravelry to see what other have done with this pattern. It’s also very easy to measure and tailor the pattern to your dog as you go along. I would definitely knit this one again.

Dog Jumpers 005Now, I know what you’re going to say. She has finally lost her mind knitting jumpers for her dogs. And you may well be right. But I have my reasons.  Both dogs are long haired dogs and as such need to be groomed every 3 months or so. When we get their hair cut they tend to feel the cold and need a bit more warmth for about a week until they aclimatise to their new haircut. Image getting your hair cut very short, you might find that you need a hat. Well, that’s my excuse anyway and I’m sticking to it!

And, here is Ollie modelling his jumper.

* To any US readers, in Ireland we call sweaters jumpers.

** To any non-Irish readers, the temperature reached the mid to late-20s (celsius), which to us is pretty hot.

A faux library card catalogue

I posted recently about my top gifts for librarians. The top item on that list was a card catalogue. When I posted about my desire for a card catalogue on Facebook a few months ago a friend sent me this link to an Ikea Card File Drawers Hack from The Painted Hive. What I really want is a real, live card catalogue that was actually used in a library. But until I can get my hands on one of those I decided to make my own one.

The next time I was in Ikea I picked up a Moppe set of drawers. I can’t find them now on the Ikea website just now, so I’m not sure if they’ve been discontinued. Maybe I got mine just in time. Anyway, I had some leftover stain from my shawl display, some teak oil that I use to annually oil the kitchen table you can see in the photos and some sandpaper in the shed so I set to work.

Crafty Projects April14 077I bought the drawer pulls on Etsy. For my purposes these are a little small, I would have preferred them to be a bit bigger, but they’ll do. I followed the instructions on The Painted Hive pretty closely, except that I glued the drawer pulls on. They didn’t come with nails and I couldn’t be bothered trying to find tiny nails to match. Overall, I’m pretty happy with the result.

My bead stash now lives in the drawers. It previously lived in (cleaned) plastic takeaway trays stored in a large Tesco bag, so this is a big improvement. I still want a real card catalogue, but this will do for the moment.