Thursday, 27 March 2014

Coffee Mug Sleeves

Knitting all sorts of mug sleeves and mug hugs for one's favourite cups has been very trendy lately. I keep seeing lots of projects like these around in books, magazines and on the internet. I'd been thinking of having a go at it so not so long ago I knitted one for myself and recently I've knitted another one :)

Basically the story is: at work for the children's safety we have got to use the so called safety cups (they can be plastic or ceramic, anything as long as it comes with a lid) so I got myself a "hearty" ceramic mug and knitted my first mug sleeve using a knitting magazine. The turquoise colour was a random acrylic yarn I took to knit "a prototype". It looked acceptable so it stayed and I started using it. The mug despite the double walls which are supposed to act as insulation gets too hot to hold it in hands so a coffee mug sleeve proved to be very much needed. In the meantime my bf presented me with another lovely ceramic coffee mug with a knitted pattern on it (!!!) Collection: The Nordic Pantry from Sainsbury from around Christmas last year. (He knows so well what I love! Bless him! x x) 

My cat, Cookie, has been posing for you as a live background for the mugs :)

However with time and through the frequent use and under the hot temperature, the turquoise mug sleeve has stretched  and became too loose a bit so I had to make another one. This time a different pattern - lace. I've learnt a lot new knitting steps with this pattern: yarn over, pass the slip stitch over, knit into the front and back and slip the stitch purlwise :))) It's not 100% ideal and it probably won't impress someone who knits laces for years but I'm proud of myself as until now I've considered myself unable to read the knitting patterns from the books and mags ;) I'm definitely getting more confidence about it now. 
This is the source of my inspiration: Simply Knitting magazine of 2013 with lovely 3 patterns to knit.

The chequered pattern turned out to be very easy. The lacy one is more complex but with a bit of help of the books and YouTube tutorials I managed well :) Now the remaining pattern is a cabled variant. I can't do the cable knitting right at the moment so I'll have to practise a bit before I have a go at this one.

In the meantime I keep on knitting Easter eggs using my cotton yarns. I enjoy this activity a lot as it's a chill out for me after work. I knit for pleasure and with no rush :)

For the knitted eggs "shells" and small balls of yarn I found at home this wooden bowl. It's not a real yarn bowl but will act as one for the time being until I get a real one for myself one day. It turned out it is a bowl made by my bf years ago at DT lessons :) How unusual! Forgotten, unnoticed and under dust for such a long time! I think it looks good with these natural colours, don't you think so?

This week is going so fast! It's Friday tomorrow and then WEEEEEKENDDDD!!! :) Looking forward to some crafting and chilling out in the comfort of my home.
Have a good  evening x X x

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Aldi Craft Shopping

Do you like shops which sell cross cultural items from abroad? Lidl and Aldi in Britain are like that. Both stock some continental stuff. Me and my bf like to go there for a browse every Sunday :) For me it's a bit like "going back home" ;) I get to see and buy products I used to have back at home in Pl. Every so often Aldi or Lidl supplies us, crafters, with some nice crafty stuff. Since last week there's been lots of nice knitting stuff in Aldi :) So I bagged some items. Books. Each for only £1.99.  

They are full of knitting projects. I picked some of my favourite ones. The hat-and-glove-and-scarf book has got these:
I love this ribbed hat with a pompom, gorgeous gloves, beaded scarf and of course the fair isle hat.

It is my dream to be able to cable knit in the future. I'm gathering some materials towards that.

The "sock" book has got these:

I absolutely adore these red-and-white baby sock with hearts. They would make a fantastic present for a newborn baby. And so would the tiny cute socks in the gift box. Which mum wouldn't be delighted to receive these?
Naturally, I couldn't overlook this project: the Nordic Christmas stocking - gorgeous!

The "toy" book also has got many attractive projects to try:

Just look at this giant snail!

These little whimsical mice captured my heart! I've got to make them sometime. Perhaps stuff them with some catnip and present my cats with them :)

I also bought this book:

Half of the book is about the techniques of knitting, the other half features some projects :) The one below is one of my faves:

I just love this simple rustic knitted heart - so pretty. The redness is so striking! I also love the cross stitch feature on it. And how about this quirky knitted duet? Kitty and a Sheep? So simple yet so cool. Love the contrasting texutres on them.

Flower appliques anyone?

Or perhaps some cosy mobile phone socks?

Or a gift bag?

Love this messenger bag - the colours are so cheery and positive. It will definitely stand out in the crowd.

And so will this one:

A snake scarf anyone?

And my last treat: a set of sewing threads. This cost peanuts but there is such a great choice of colours in the box!

The weekend is coming to an end now so have a good week everyone!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Yarn Snob. KnitPro Karbonz.

Recently I've had a chat with a friend about our knitting preferences and I must confess... I'm a bit of a yarn snob :) I prefer expensive good quality yarn especially from those regions of the world famous for producing their quality wool like Norway, Shetlands, Peru... I'm always on the search for the new yarns from Dalegarn - my favourite Norwegian yarn company and I will go a long way to get the exact yarn I want even if it means paying a bit more. Basically I like to enjoy my knitting wholly, both in terms of tools and materials. I do not despise any cheaper wool like ever-present acrylic yarn, available in many shops around. I even use it myself to make some project prototypes or to test my knitting skills. I do also realize lots of people knit with this yarn for economic reasons but I just appreciate this extra bit of luxury real wool gives you as you knit your stitches. For that reason last weekend I ordered a few colours of a new yarn - Vipe of Dalegarn for my future spring projects from Arne & Carlos book. The order will be coming all the way from the USA as the Vipe yarn is not sold in the UK. I'm really looking forward to laying my hand on this yarn :))))

In the meantime something else made my day yesterday. After coming back from work, I found a parcel from Ebay stuck in my mailbox and it contained this:

A set of brand new Karbonz double pointed needles from KnitProI fell in love with them the moment I saw them on the KnitPro website. I HAD TO have them! The pouch contains 6 sets of 5 dpns ranging from 2.5mm to 5.00 mm, the most commonly used needle sizes. 

I must say they are amazing. They are incredibly luscious, luxurious and sleek needles with a smooth feel when in hand. They are light, warm to the touch and very durable. Metal tips are extra smooth and make it easier to make and drop stitches. I've tried them on some acrylic yarn already and it knits much better with this type of needles :) Very very very pleased :))))

I had a bit of a dilemma when I was buying them: Should I order 15's or 20's? For those who don't know, this is the length of a needle. The longer needle, the more stitches you can have on. The more stitches, the bigger the item you can knit. As these posh needles are dear to buy I decided to go for the more practical 20 cm ones. One day the 15 cm long ones could have simply turned out to be too short :)

Dear reader, if you have any knitting experience with the KnitPro needles, I'm more than happy to hear from you. I'm a also a fan of KnitPro Symfonie Wood series of crochet hooks and needles and since I've been using them to knit my julekuler balls, I have never felt disappointed. I'm planning to buy some circular KnitPro's in the future, just not decided yet if I want fixed ones or with the interchangeable tips.

Musings over. Bed time. Long day ahead. Have a good night everyone x X x

Sunday, 16 March 2014

More Boodles yarn and a knitting magazine review

Encouraged by the recently crocheted basket and my new chunky crochet experience I decided to get myself some new Boodles yarns. Hobbycraft is doing 3 for 2 deal right now so I've bought 3 new shades for the price of 2 :) 

For the not-so-distant future I'm planning a crocheted Easter basket for my knitted eggs in sunny yellow with a white finish. Think the knitted and crocheted textures will look good together. 100% hand-made! - and that's what we are aiming for :)

I've recently taken to some knitting magazines. I'm not a regular buyer but I'd like one on and off  :) This one was spotted at Tesco - a Sunday treat to myself. I usually don't bother with a magazine reviews on my blog but I think this one is well worth attention.
The current Simply Knitting issue is loaded with freebies and lovely projects.

I adore this gorgeous knitted Gnome. I'm really amazed how cleverly those knitted parts can be combined and shaped. Far too advanced for me to knit right now but it definitely goes on my (never-ending!!!) to-do list :)

The freebies for this issue of SK (in addition to the gnome pattern mentioned above) is a chart for some sweet knitted Easter eggs and a set of bamboo needles to knit them. I've never knitted any balls or eggs using single pointed "flat" needles. Those I have knitted so far have been made only with double pointed needles and I'm used to this method but I'd like to learn more and have a go a this flate way of knitting round things. It will involve sewing up the seams though. 

This is the full cover of SK. Really attractive to a knitter's eye :) Must admit the editors did their best :) I love when a magazine is like that.

Full of inspirations for March

Below a few projects from the mag that caught my eye. Have a peek.

I'm not a big fan of baby theme as such esp. of anything oversweet like stereotypical pink and blue baby stuff with excessive frills and embellishments but every so often I like something I'd like to make. This baby onesie is so cute. Love the knitted pattern, the yarn, the colours, the intarsia-knitted fox. So pretty! :)

Lovely pullover with a sunny collar finish. I wouldn't say "no" to this one for sure!

This forest green hooded coat has simply stolen my heart. So pretty! Would love to be able to knit one sometime.

Some house makeover projects. Very trendy lacy theme! I love it, especially how the the glassy vase and the lamp shade look.

And finally something I like best - small projects :)

How pretty this fair isle tea cosy is! An absolutely stunning pattern.

And how do you like the pot cosies? They look so good with those terracotta pots. So adorable! Another project to go on my to-do list.

And how about some fair isle coasters to match the tea pot? Just too pretty to stain!

Mug hugs - absolutely stunning! I'VE GOT TO KNIT THESE!

Easter is time for knitting and stitching egg cosies so the mags are full of them.

This is a pretty bag I'd love to have myself. I think the pompoms are a super cheery accent to the whole thing.

I need to learn how to make hats too! My bf keeps losing them. This one below has got some nice ribbing and would look good both in a male and female version.

And finally the magazine features some lovely yarn bowls - something I've been dreaming about to have. I'm dreaming of a ceramic knitting bowl. Etsy website has got many offers. Unfortunately they can be quite costly so my buy will have to wait a bit longer, I guess.

So that will be it for the shopping news. Hope you all have had a good chilling weekend. Thank you for your visits and comments. x X x

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Star Garland (2) - finished!

This week I've worked on various projects. Mostly crochet. Finally I've managed to finish off my crocheted star garland :) Here's what it looks like now when all done and dusted :) This project comes from the book: Ros Badger Hook, yarn and crochet and it's been my favourite since the very beginning. It's even made into the cover star (yes, literally too, pun intended)

Below you can see the stars both on their right and wrong side.

I'm really pleased with how the whole thing has turned out. It's my first completed (more significant that just the simple crocheted flowers) project from a crafty book. I've learnt a lot about crochet with this one and now I can finally see the similarities and differences between the basic crochet stitches. At last I can make them out of my head, without help from any books. Everything in crochet starts to make sense to me. Like a jigsaw puzzle. That's a big step ahead. I feel like I'm getting more confident and adventurous with my crochet now that I can read better written instructions. I feel so encouraged to go further now with my still-basic crochet skills.

The garland is made of 15 stars - the brown and cream coloured ones have been knitted with an organic cotton Freedom Sincere yarn and the red ones have been made with Lerke of Dalegarn cotton.

Because it has been cold and rainy today I couldn't take my garland outside to take a photo of. Instead I had to do with some photos at home :-/ This is what it looks like when the garland is stretched over the mantlepiece:

This is just a temporary presentation to show you the span of the garland. I'm still looking forward to some nice weather to take it outside and will add the photos to this post later. Standing back and looking at it, I'm pleased with the colour combination. It doesn't look particularly Christmassy so I believe it could be used throughout the whole year, what do you think? However, I'll surely come back to this project as I'd like to crochet some stars in more Christmassy colours. Perhaps I'll crochet just single stars on their own to hang on the tree too.
Before the garland was finished it had to be blocked. This is something I hadn't done before. The books suggested to pin it down and steam it with an iron. I did exactly what it said but also sprayed the stars with some spray starch for the crisp finish. Not bad overall. The stars do keep their shape! Yay!

What to do with the rest of the cotton yarn? Obriously knit an Easter egg! I'm slowly building up my Easter egg collection this year. I have a vision in my head of making my Easter decoration in plain pastels and au naturel this year :)

Anybody on their Easter projects already?

Joining up the Hand-made Monday blog hop no 157 tonight. Very curious what others have been up to!
Thank you for your visits and feedback. x x