Lamenting the loss of my knitting mojo

You may have noticed that things have been a little quiet around here lately. One of the reasons for this is because my knitting mojo seems to have taken a sabbatical. In fact my creativity full stop has gone on holidays so I haven’t even felt much like writing.

But I am determined to break through the barrier and get back to my knitting and my blogging. Because even though I don’t really feel like doing either I still miss them.

Cadeautje by Ysolda TeagueSo what have I been up to? Well the last project I actually finished were a pair of Cadeautje by Ysolda Teague for the Knitmas swap I took part in before Christmas. I finished those at the end of November and I didn’t even have time for a proper photoshoot before posting them. Since then I’ve started several projects but have yet to come even close to finishing any of them.

Awaiting finishing are:

  • Cladonia by Kirsten Kapur. I’m about a third of the way through the picot bind off on this one, and it’s been sitting waiting to be finished since about mid-November I’d say.
  • A second pair of Cadeautje by Ysolda Teague for my sister-in-law. I finished one slipper in time for Christmas but the second has yet to materialise. Sorry A! I had also planned on knitting a pair for my husband and a pair for me. I’m not holding my breath.
  • Mug Sweater by nawano. I had a great idea to knit mug sweaters for each of my colleagues for Christmas, I think 15 in total. I even knit, blocked and seamed about half of the bodies and bought the little clasps for the hands, but that’s as far as I got. Maybe for Easter?
  • Bronntanas by Ysolda Teague. This was for a special friend who agreed to do some graphics for my blog. I’m a couple of rows past the brim. I’m using my favourite Coolree yarn and it’s a really straight forward pattern so I don’t know what’s holding me back. Sorry Y!
  • Super Easy Baby Blanket by Purl Soho. God! I haven’t even started this one, but did choose the pattern as well as some yarn I picked up at HandmAid. I know at least 3 people who are pregnant at the moment so this was planned to be for one of these new humans.
  • Chevron Baby Blanket by Espace Tricot. I bought the yarn for this blanket in the sale in This Is Knit just after Christmas, again planned for one of three new humans. I even mananged a few stripes before realising I had cast on too few stitiches it was too narrow. I need to rip this out and start again.
  • in threes: a baby cardigan by Kelly Herdrich. I’m actually making some headway with this one, mainly because this fourth new human has actually arrived. Having said that though progress is still slow.

I am a monogamous knitter so this does number of WIPs does not sit well with me. At all. But I have a plan. My plan is to finished the In Threes cardigan for the newly arrived new human. Then I’m going to finish my Cladonia (that I cast on in October!). Then I am going to knit my SIL’s second slipper. Then I’m going to reassess if my knitting mojo has fully returned and see where I go from there.

As I mentioned there are three new humans on the way over the next year, and each of them belongs to a close friend or family member so I suspect there will be much knitwear needed. And that’s ok, because until my knitting mojo returns with gusto small, easy projects are probably all I will manage. I have a feeling 2015 is going to be a year of baby knitting for me and that’s ok.

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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.

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.

#IrishArrowKAL

We’re one week into the Follow Your Arrow KAL and I have literally just finished clue 1 as clue 2 was released this morning. By the way the hashtag in the title is the hastag the Irish knitters are using on Twitter for the KAL. I had planned on being very good and not peeking at any spoilers before I started but that went pretty much straight out the window. Clue 1A is a kite shape, with clue 1B being semi-circular. I opted for A because it was something new to me, while I already have some semi-circular shaped shawls.

IrisharrowKAL 014I’m trying to blend two yarns so I’m doing the colour changes as written. You can kind of see the stripes in the picture above but I don’t think you’ll see it from a distance.

On to clue 2, the first option (A) involves lace and option B involves short rows. I’ve taken a peak at the spoilers again and I think I’m going to do the lace. Hopefully I’ll have a bit more time for knitting this week and I’ll get finished the clue in plenty of time.

A New Year Knit-A-Long

Happy New Year everyone and I hope you had a lovely Christmas. I had a wonderful two and a bit weeks off, eating and drinking and relaxing and eating and drinking some more. I spent some lovely evenings with my family and with my friends and I slept, a lot. It was wonderful.

Just before heading back to work there was some chatter on Twitter about a new mystery knit-a-long (KAL) run by Ysolda Teague. I really enjoyed last year’s Colour Affection KAL, it was fun to be working on the same project as my knitter friends, but I’m sceptical of mystery KALs. What if I don’t like the pattern? But the twist to this one is that for each of the five clues there are two options, making 32 different options, so I’m sure I’ll knit a shawl I’m happy with. And I know Ysolda’s patterns are really well written. So I gave into (the nice kind of) peer pressure and signed up for the KAL.

followyourarrow_square_medium2So with the pattern purchased it was time to turn to yarn options. The pattern requires 622m of fingering weight yarn, which means two skeins of most yarns. I bought some delicious Coolree merino/silk at the Knitting and Stitching show in a colour called Baltic. It’s a divine blue green depending on what light you look at it in, but there was no more of this colour on the Coolree website. So I headed into  This Is Knit today to look at some options.

HokusaiI ended up picking up some more Coolree merino/silk in a colour called Hokusai’s Wave, which I already had a skein of at home having ripped out my Renita shawl. But when I got home I realised that it’s actually the same as the Baltic rather than my other skein of Hokusai’s Wave, which I bought over a year ago now. So yay! I’m delighted because it really has the most amazing teals as well as blues in the yarn, it’s really beautiful. I won’t be at home in the daylight again until Saturday (goddamn you January) so the photo above is from the Coolree website. Even this photo doesn’t show off the beautiful teal-y blues of the yarn.

I’m really looking forward to casting on next Monday and I’ll try to keep my blog updated with my progress. Is anyone else joining the KAL? What yarn have you chosen?

Cute baby stuff

The title of this post is fairly self explanatory. I finally finished my  the bulk of my Christmas knitting and it only took me until January 2nd to get it all done. I didn’t even have that much to do but it seemed to take longer than I expected.

First up is a cardigan I began at the beginning of November. This was knit for a friend’s sister who had a baby at the end of November, but before I managed to finish it I was distracted by the Santa coat for Mia. I finally finished it last night. It seems quite small so I hope it will fit the little boy in question. The Baby Sophisticate cardigan wasn’t meant as a Christmas present, it just ended up that way. I love the collar on it, as the name suggests it looks so sophisticated.

Baby stuff 004Baby stuff 001The second project is a pair of mittens for a toddler. These were knit using leftovers from my own mittens and knit at a pretty tight gauge. I had hoped I’d have enough yarn left to do an icord string that could connect the two mittens but I barely had enough to finish the mittens themselves. They look so small and I really have no concept of how small a toddler’s hand is so, again, I really hope they fit.Baby stuff 019

Lastly is a hat for a newborn. I had seen this pattern on Ravelry many times, but wasn’t sure I liked this pattern until I saw it on a baby’s head. Then it looked so cosy and cute. The hat is designed using short rows to create the curved shape of the head. It’s really clever and very effective. It’s also designed to cover the ears and there are a few options for fastening it. I chose icord strings and I wasn’t mad about the button to the side option. It’s also really tiny but I got to see it on the recipient this afternoon and it fit her snugly. I’m not sure how long it will fit for, but she’ll be a super cosy baby while it does.Baby stuff 023Phew, after all that I’m knitting only for me for the whole of January at least.

Happy Christmas from CraftyTails!

Are you ready for this? The cuteness that is my gorgeous girl Mia in her new Christmas jumper (even if I do say so myself) ? Christmas jumper are *everywhere* this year so it’s only right that Mia has one of her very own. I intend on knitting one for Ollie too but he hates wearing clothes, absolutely hates it. Mia is such a little girl though, she loves dressing up.Santa Coat 009The pattern is from Debbie Bliss Fall/Winter 2013 magazine. The instant I saw the pattern I knew I was destined to make at least one of them. The yarn is Garnstudio DROPS Nepal that I bought at the Knitting and Stitching show from Winnie’s Wool Wagon. It was on sale and cost less than €2 per ball from memory. In the end I bought enough for about 4 coats I’d say, I ended up needing far less yarn that the pattern suggested, less than one ball of each colour for Mia’s coat (she’s a Yorkie/Chihuahua cross, so pretty small).

Santa Coat 020This pattern is great as it’s very easy to tailor to your own dog, I just had to keep measuring it against Mia as I was knitting. The cables felt like they were taking FOREVER, but in the end they add great stability around the neck, and also on the belt. You can barley see the cabling on the belt because it’s black but it’s a lot more structured than garter stitch would be. I love it, and Mia loves it. She gets so much attention when she’s wearing it and she loves that too.

Happy Christmas everyone!!

Icord jewellery

Necklaces 001*taps screen* Is there anyone out there? Hello? I know I haven’t been here for a while but I hope there are still a few people reading.

The last few week seem to have flown by and all of a sudden it’s nearly Christmas. As I’m currently working as a Library Intern and disposable income is somewhat scarce, I decided to put my thinking cap on and come up with a gift idea that would be economical, quick and easy but with a bit of a wow-factor.

Necklaces 004My LYS started stocking Embellish Knit which allows me to knit icord really quickly and an idea was born. I had already played with icord necklaces but I wanted to try something a bit more complex. I can’t claim this design as my own because I’m using tutorials written by someone else, but I would like to think I put my own spin on them.

Necklaces 009For the necklace I used a little under three metres of icord and this tutorial for a knotted necklace from Operation DIY. For the bracelet I used about a metre of icord and this tutorial for a knotted cord bracelet from Katrinshine, except that I used one continuous piece of cord rather than two separate pieces. Both necklace and bracelet are secured at the back using a crimp clasp with a lobster clasp. The teeth on the crimp clasps grip the yarn well and feel very secure. I then put a few stitches in the knots to hold them in place and buried the ends on the icord.

Necklaces 007I’ve experimented with different types of yarn and have discovered that not all work. I thought this would be a great way to use up ends of my precious Coolree fingering weight yarns, but alas the resulting icord is too slinky and won’t hold it’s shape. One yarn that works really well is Louisa Harding Orielle. I suspect the 3% Metallic Polymide gives a bit of extra stability (and a gorgeous sparkle to the jewellery too). The necklace and bracelets in the photos are knit in Ice.

I also had some Zettle Panda yarn from Lidl, which works well too. This yarn also had a lovely sheen to it, I have some deep pink and a lovely cornflower blue, but I think I’ll be picking some more up the next time my local Lidl have it in stock. Right, now I’m off to what feels like miles of icord to get all my Christmas presents made.

Are you doing any Christmas knitting? If so what have you chosen and why?