Wednesday, 7 February 2018

A little bit of everything

Today was a working day and, with so many projects on the go at once, I decided to do a little bit of everything, sorting them out as I went. First of all, I finally cut out lots of small felt circles and started sewing them to the back of my crochet Spirograph circles that I showed you a while ago.

There are rather a lot of them as you can see. I've made 24 (so far) with eight different patterns. As the backs are messy I'm going to back each of them with felt. This also makes the circles lie flat.  Then I'm going to string them together in various combinations ... I think. What puts me off simple sewing projects like this isn't the actual sewing but having to collect together all the bits and pieces; it took me ages just rooting out eight reels of thread in the right colours.  I've backed four so far so only another twenty to go. 

That big one at the bottom of the picture is an experiment with 24 holes round the edge rather than 12. I did it just for fun - I may or may not include it in the finished pattern. This project has turned out to be a lot of work and I suspect it will sink without trace when I finally publish it. Never mind, I like this sort of oddity even if nobody else does and it's been fun to do.

The next two projects could both come under the 'winter warmers' heading - mittens and legwarmers. I've knitted a pair of basic red mittens, using a broken moss stitch pattern and now I'm starting on another pair which will be a bit different. The yarn and stitch pattern are the same but the second pair will have no thumbs and the top will curl to match the relaxed shape of a hand - go on, hold your hand up and you'll see what I mean. These were inspired by Elizabeth Zimmermann's jogger's mittens in Knitting Around. Hers are sewn together at the tip; I'm hoping to shape mine with short rows.

As you can see, I've made a start on the second of my legwarmers too. These were going to be in shades of brown and gold but it looked too 1970s for me so I've used two close shades of red instead. I'm using a slip stitch pattern for these to make them extra warm (and because I love slip stitch).

I've talked about my design for a traditional leaf blanket before. Well, I've tweaked my pattern a bit so I'm happier with it. The one on the left is the original, the one on the right is the new version. What do you think?

The main difference is the eyelet section. I didn't like the original spacing so I've put them closer together and made the whole section bigger. I also made some complicated changes to the bells ... which are virtually invisible. Never mind, I know the pattern's better for them.

My original notes were full of crossings out and re-writings so I typed them up. I'm knitting the next square from the typed draft so I can check the instructions as I go.

I'm looking froward to having four squares done so that I can sew them together and see how the patterns look as part of a big block.

All this sorting out of projects was starting to feel good so I pulled out two blankets that I started working on last year and which have been hiding since Christmas. First there was this box ...

These are the blocks for what I'm going to call my Helicopter Blanket. This is another garter stitch design based on a Quilt block and yes, I know I haven't sewn the ends in - that's because I'm hoping to use them to sew the blocks together. Want to see what they're going to look like? Of course you do.

It's meant to look three-dimensional; I think it does if you squint at it. Each block is made up of three identical shapes, each one knitted in a different colour. You pick up stitches for the second and third of the shapes so there's no sewing. So far I've finished 33 blocks; they're not very big so I need to knit a lot more. And no, I have no idea what shape the finished blanket is going to be (or what I'm going to do about the edges). I expect it'll come to me eventually.

The other blanket project is what I call vanilla knitting. Simple garter stitch using lovely colours - the sort of thing that you can do when you're feeling a bit tired and fragile and anything else seems too difficult.

Aren't they pretty? I think the shade of King Cole Riot I'm using is called Caribbean but I may use other shades as well. Now that I've found these blanket projects, I must get on with them.

Before I go I wanted to show you the Dorset Buttons I made with a kit I got for Christmas (thank-you Pat). The kit was from Beaker Button and came with yarn, rings and instructions for five different designs.

The blue buttons on the right were made with the yarns in the kit. For the others I used various yarns from 21st Century Yarns.

Dorset Buttons were a thriving cottage industry, employing numerous families until the advent of the button making machine made their skills redundant. They're now popular with craftspeople and artists. You could use the basic technique to make giant circular wall hangings or just use the yarn you've knitted a cardigan in to make a set of perfectly matched buttons.

There's lots of wonderful stuff on the Beaker Button site, including a tutorial for the most common type of button, the Crosswheel Button. All you need is a metal or plastic ring (a curtain ring is ideal), some thin yarn or embroidery cotton and a needle. I really enjoyed making my buttons and am going to order some more rings in different sizes so that I can experiment a bit more. I fancy turning some into jewellery.

In the meantime, the basic weaving technique has found its way into another one of my projects (I'm so easily influenced).

These are knitted Mandala Stones and yes, they are in fact stones with knitted covers. My daughter says one day she'll come home for a visit and find everything has been covered with knitted cosies. I enjoyed knitting these with odds and ends of sock yarn and then added a bit of Dorset Button style weaving to each one. I'll write this up as a pattern soon - just in case anyone else feels the need for some woolly stones in their life.


  1. Hi Frankie, you have been busy! Love the Spirograph circles, they would be beautiful coasters. I'm going to try the Dorset buttons, I've made Crochet buttons before but these look interesting. Love the Mandala stones whe I first saw them they reminded me of the hexipuffs used in the bee keepers quilt..

    1. I'm glad you like the spirograph, yes, they're just the right size for coasters. Have fun with the Dorset Buttons, I think they're great. You can even weave little pictures on the buttons. Isn't that good?

  2. Hi Frankie, I love all of your are a real inspiration. Thank you for all of your interesting posts...I love reading them. Evelyn x

    1. Thank-you Evelyn. I don't get many comments as most people talk to me on my ravelry group so it's lovely to hear that you're enjoying the blog. I have lots more things I'd like to write about, just not enough time!