Looking back on 2017

Not having started any more knitting and crochet as I am not sure what to choose, I thought that I would share what I made in 2017.

This was very much the year of Celtic crochet.
I started by devising some plaitwork bookmarks and published the best pattern. I also then made some Celtic cross bookmarks, though this time I included all versions in the pattern.

Later I moved on to seeing if I could design a hot pad and made two: one with extra chunky cotton from my original coaster pattern and one in chunky cotton to a new design. I also worked out how to make a larger version of my coaster pattern to create a table mat to match a coaster and later used this idea to create the cushion cover you can see.

I devised some new Celtic coasters and a modified version of these will be published when I am feeling up to  it.

Of course I also crocheted some other things. The teddy was from someone else’s pattern (and I also used patterns I found to make a pot holder and fold up shopping bag – not shown).

I made a pattern for a spray of orchids to put on the kitchen windowsill and I didn’t think the pattern was good enough to publish but they give me a lot of pleasure.

I did share a pattern and tutorial for a ‘beginner coaster’. The first free one for a while.

I also published an angel pattern and my ‘real snowflakes’ pattern. The multi-coloured angel was made from my angel bookmark pattern but in #20 cotton instead of #10.

The blanket used my ‘sea and sand’ colours and introduced a symmetrical version of my granny ripple pattern that I called ‘smooth granny ripple’.

Towards the end of the year I devised a new cup cosy for my breakfast mug and a new larger dishcloth.

As always I did some knitting but not as much as my crochet.

The Womble was a Christmas present for 2016. The socks on the right plus the blue hat and the cowl and hat were all given to my eldest daughter. The other socks were for my granddaughter and the two plum coloured hats for seamen.

One of the first things I finished was my 2016 ‘temperature scarf’ and it has proved to be very warm and I love the extra length.

The only other thing I made was to try to see if I could create some ‘planned pooling’ from some yarn I had. I have now redone this in a more useful shape and when I get round to making a lining, I will share it with you.


Two hats and a dishcloth

I have been feeling a little out of sorts lately, not sure which project to start next, so when I heard that the Apostleship of the Sea wanted hats (among other things) as Christmas presents for seamen, I decided to make one.

I found a pattern suggested by the Apostleship of the Sea in a different area which said that aran weight was best. Now I have quite a bit of yarn left over from making thisbed jacket because I adapted a pattern with three quarter length sleeves and a fitted body and so had to guess the amount of yarn to buy and I over-estimated.

The yarn is a lovely soft 100% merino wool so should be great for keeping seamen’s heads warm on chilly days.

I had enough to make two hats and here they are. I don’t feel the sewing up of the seam is perfect but it won’t show too much if worn round the back.

Another thing that I have made recently is a new dishcloth, as I reported I would be doing when I showed you this yarn. yarn

This time I made it bigger than last time, using 40 trebles across. dishcloth I used the same two rows of three border from my book as before although I chose it independently! Dishcloth foldedBecause it is bigger than before it does take longer to dry but I like it in use.

What was I doing on Saturday?

I met up with my eldest and family and had a couple of meals and had fun in an Escape Room. After we escaped!

Although this is not my photograph and therefore I do not own the copyright I am sure the Escape Plan guy won’t mind as this can be considered  an advert. He was keen on us passing on the word.

The Escape Room is located in SE London in Iliffe Yard.

We had great fun. We had been there previously for a Second World War prisoner themed escape and this one if anything was even more fun.

If you are interested in learning more here is a link – https://escapeplanltd.com/ Highly recommended.

I also took with me the socks I had made for my granddaughter (which I have shown you previously). socksand the hat I made for my daughter. hatMy camera really didn’t like this yarn. The colour is much more of a vibrant peacock blue. Imagine the above but brighter and a little darker. The above has been edited by me for colour but nothing I could do would get it the correct shade.

Here is another photograph of the hat standing up. hat in the roundIt is alpaca and merino wool, wonderfully soft.

The pattern for the hat came from Debbie Bliss and here is a closer look at the stitches. knitting stitchesThe hat was very popular and my daughter put it on immediately!

Just add a Hat!

After I made the cowl, I decided to offer it to my daughter as I still have all the hats and scarves that have featured on this blog and much as I love the cowl, I wasn’t sure if I really needed it.

However, I also had about half the yarn left and thought that it would be fun to make a hat to match the cowl. My daughter said that she would like a hat as well so I only hope her head is the same size as mine! 0553-hat

Now when I say match, I wasn’t going to use the same fair isle patterns as the cowl except for the rib. Google is always good for ideas and I copied out some of my favourites.

Traditional fair isle patterns normally have vertical or horizontal symmetry or both but some of the designs on the cowl only have rotational symmetry so I wanted to incorporate some of those. 0548-chart-for-cowlI am very fond of the Greek Key pattern so I included that early on for the hat.

Although I worked on the design on my computer, I copied it out onto squared paper to use a guide.0553-new-pattern

In the event I decided not to use both of the blue zig-zag on green parts of the design and replaced the second with a smaller purple on green section. (I didn’t use the last red and green part at all.)

Now what have I learned in the process of making this hat? Well a couple of things!


If you are planning on making a hat it is much easier if you start with a pattern.

I started with the idea that the cowl although it slipped over the head easily was quite snug so the same number of stitches would be a good place to start. I did use a smaller 3.75 (UK 10) circular needle for the rib but it was not until I had got fairly far on and was wondering if now was the time to start decreasing that I thought a pattern might help to make sure I got it right.

So I spent hours trawling through fair isle hat patterns on Ravelry only to find a whole variety of needle sizes and tensions even for DK yarn and a wide range of stitch counts and increasing and decreasing. None of them that fitted in with what I was doing!

I found a decreasing look that I liked in the photographs which involved: skip two stitches, knit one, pass both slipped stitches over.

However I did not like the look so much when I had knitted it so it had to come out. I had also chosen six decreases a round and since it seemed best to have one of these decreases mid back where the row changed, I didn’t like the slight point at the front.

Now life was so busy last week that I didn’t feel up to taking a photograph so you will have to imagine.

So I undid back to before the decreasing (more on this in a moment) and tried again.

This time I chose seven decreases a round – easy as 19 x 7 is only one more than 132.

But then came the moment of truth. The hat was going to be too big! 😦 I was a bit unhappy that I had to remove the purple and green bit that I had thought of as leaves and a sort of parallel to the leaf pattern in the cowl but it had to be done! So using the same method I had used before I decided I would have to reduce the length by a couple of inches.

Here is a quick photograph I took with my phone at Crafty Coffee on Friday when I was just beginning to pull out those two inches. 0553-ready-to-undoSince the method I used is something that worked well. I thought I would mention it for anyone who finds it helpful.

This is the second thing I learned

Risk free way of undoing several rows without doing it stitch by stitch.

I heard (reading US blogs I think) of people putting in ‘life lines’ when they were knitting in case they needed to undo part of it later. I wasn’t sure what they were but it gave me an idea.

I took a needle and a piece of thin string and carefully went under the front part of every stitch on the row I wanted to go back to. (I chose a row where I was only using one colour.) I counted the stitches to make sure I had the right number then took a circular needle and threaded it through the same stitches and counted again. I then felt confident enough to remove the original circular needle. Finally I removed the string. In the photograph you can see how it looked just before I removed the string. I then undid the rows and sure enough when that was done all the stitches were neatly on the needle ready for me to start knitting again.

I added in a couple of rows in blue and then decreased after a red row. Originally I had thought I would just use two or more of the colours as stripes for the top but then I realised that I needed to continue the fair isle patterns to make the top as thick (and warm!) as the rest. 0553-top-of-hat

This time I decreased by a combination of K2tog through back loops and a normal K2tog.

And here are the hat and cowl together. 0553-hat-and-cowl

I still have about a quarter of the wool left but I don’t think it would be enough for mittens!

Bonbon hat and mittens

Hat and mittens

As you can see I have now finished Jill’s Bonbon hat (http://jillgoldberg19.wordpress.com/2014/04/01/how-to-make-a-bonbon) and a matching pair of mittens.

The mittens may not look very long but this is partly because I only had a limited amount of yarn and anyway they still fit within the sleeves of my outdoor jacket.

So back of the right hand

Mitten on right hand

and palm of the left.

Mitten on left hand

I tried for a picture of both at once but decided that was just too tricky!

I am feeling very tired and a bit achey at the moment and I had great difficulty photographing the hat as it doesn’t look the same unless it is on a head but I looked so haggard that I had to compromise with the following that I feel are not up to the standard I normally set myself.

I really like this hat because you can wear it in different ways.

In a hurry – just like in the picture that accompanies the pattern;

Original way with hat

With more time, with the band turned back;

Brim folded upAnd if it is warm, more like a proper hat, as one of Jill’s customers liked it.

Rolled brim

I made a few mistakes in the hat but they don’t seem to show in the photos which is good. I also changed the way I dealt with the extra two chain on the second mitten so strictly speaking they don’t match. Not sure if what I did on the second mitten is right but it looks better.

As well as finishing the hat and mittens I have also been spending more money!

New yarn

The yarn is for two different projects. The cotton yarn for a long delayed project that is going to be delayed a little bit more till I have finished the other project which is a knitted waiscoat, The little bag is a few bits for Christmas and some more bookmarks.

I had to buy the yarn for the waiscoat from two different on-line shops. I have bought from both of them before but I was surprised to see the fancy packaging of the yarn from Wool Warehouse.

A closer look:-

Woolwarehouse packaging

Now what can I use this bag for? Mmm…

I have also made a couple more bookmarks to replenish the stock.

Two more cross bookmarks

I decided to tidy up so all my projects were in one place and I could pick out whichever I felt like working on at that moment.

Projects in bag

I discovered that there are five on the go at present!

Let’s have a Giveaway

Today it is exactly two years since my first post and as I have also exceeded 300 followers! a number I never thought to reach, it seemed a good time for a Giveaway.

Now life lately has been extremely traumatic (not sure if I want to share the details sometime but it does mean I haven’t been doing much blog reading the last few days or lots of other things) so although I intended to have two different things to give away, so far I have only one.

However I still intend to choose two winners one for each gift and I will reveal the other gift as soon as I can.

What I have so far is this.


The yarn is sock wool so 4ply/fingering weight but there is an accompanying book that has patterns for knitted hat and arm warmers as well as a pair of socks.


and it could also be used in crochet for whatever you like.

I expect you can guess why it caught my eye.

It was Regia yarn that I used for my recent stripey socks.

To enter just add a comment saying why you would like to win and I will chose a winner in a month’s time. (This gives you plenty of time to enter and me time to find that second gift.)

Lovely new yarn!


Over a year ago I saw some yarn like this in a shop in Blackfield and thought it might make an attractive scarf.

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The following winter I discovered that a friend had a scarf that was not rib but looked like the knit side of stocking stitch on both sides and I decided I would like to make such a scarf.

She couldn’t remember how she made it as she made it years ago and she is not really a knitter.

So I put on my thinking cap and came up with this.


The marble yarn at the top is chunky and the recommended needle size is 6mm but I am not sure if to use 6mm needles or something larger to make it looser.

What do you think?

You get a lovely thick fabric knitting like this and it doesn’t curl, 🙂 so would actually also be a good choice for a DK weight scarf .

When I made my rainbow scarf

Rainbow scarf and beret

I chose to alternate the sides for the stocking stitch so it made it bunch a bit and so a bit thicker as DK yarn seems a bit thin for a warm scarf.

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Now Blackfield is a long way away and the shop is apparently under new management so I bought the marble yarn in a local shop last week.

When I went to the shop to buy it I got two balls because although one ball is probably enough for a scarf – I thought “scarf – hat- mittens?”

Now I seem to have made a few hat and scarf combinations in recent years – but you can’t have too many can you?

And some are better for Spring/ Autumn and some for Winter.

In this case I am thinking of winter and I want it to be a warm hat because my super chunky hat


actually is not as warm as my shop bought hat that it was based on

My hat

I think this is because the shop hat has a lining.

So I was thinking that a nice stylish hat (not a simple ‘bobble hat’) was what I wanted. And one which I could line with a piece of satin to keep the draughts out as the black hat is getting a little old now.

So can anyone suggest a good pattern that I might use?

I would be very grateful.

Just a bit of fun!

Well here is my finished Buff®.

It is maybe just a little short of the standard 18″ but not by much and the knitting is fairly stretchy of course anyway.

The whole point of the thing is that you can wear it in a whole variety of ways.

Now the ones you can buy are made of a lightweight fabric that makes it more versatile but not as cosy if you are using it as a hat or scarf.

Because this is knitted I think I would have difficulty using it as a hairband, wristlet or scrunchy but you can just about wear it as a decorative neckerchief.


Sorry! this means lots not especially good pictures of me. I took them with my phone as that seemed the easiest way as the phone lets you take self-portraits.

However more usefully it is good as a cosy scarf

and you could even wear it as a mask for the odd robbery! or to shield you from traffic fumes.


You can also use it as a balaclava

This is similar to my original scarf/hat tube thingy which gave me the idea of making the buff in the first place as it is the same basic knitting pattern.

And with a twist in the middle it is a cosy woollen cap.


If you prefer you could choose the pirate style cap.


or with a flap down the back


As you can see these last two were the hardest to photograph.

And though I can’t quite see the point of wearing it like this, you could wear it ‘sweatband’ style.


My jumper, by the way, is purple not blue.

I do actually think that it will be handy as a scarf when you want something round your neck but without the ends and to wear as a balaclava or cap.

What do you think?

Hat and Scarf revealed

I have now finished my hat and scarf for the “Made It” Challenge and here I am wearing them.  If you’ve been here before this is the corrected picture my son did for me. The colour is really more blue but it ‘s the best we can do.

Here is another picture of the Hat and Scarf

The camera does seem to have a problem photographing this yarn!

The reflective nature of the yarn seems to make it harder than normal to take a decent picture.

I think maybe it took me more time to work out what I was doing and the pattern than to make the final hat and scarf.

I showed you the sample hat that I made in the earlier post. Well I made the hat to that pattern and tacked together the seam only to realise that it was not deep enough for comfort and  so I increased the garter stitch turnover slightly and double the number of rows of moss stitch. At least I only had to undo as far as the end of the garter stitch. 😀

The scarf was less problematic once I had decided the number of stitches to cast on.  But I kept doing sums in my head and on the calculator trying to check how long it would be with different numbers of stitches.

But all came right in the end and so I will share the pattern with you here and add it to the top menu as well.


This took just over the two balls so I have amended the pattern slightly so that it should be able to be made with just two balls. The one I made had an extra row of garter stitch at the start and an extra row of moss stitch for the body.

The tension for the yarn used is 9 stitches and 12 rows to give a 10 x 10cm (4 x 4 ins) square.

Using 2 balls of Sirdar ‘Big Softie’ Super Chunky yarn and 10mm (UK 000, US 15) needles

Cast on 54 sts

Knit for the first 11 rows.

Then Rib (this is to help the hat fit).

Repeat (K1, P1) to end – for 4 rows


Moss stitch

Row 1: Repeat (P1, K1) to end
Row 2: Repeat (K1, P1) to end
Repeat Rows 1 & 2 – 6 times more

Then Row 1 once.

Next Row: Repeat (P9, K9) three times.
Next Row: Repeat (K9, P9) three times.

Shape the top

Next Row: Repeat (K2tog, K7, K2tog, P7) three times
Next Row: Repeat (K6, P2tog, P6, P2tog) three times.
Next Row: Repeat (K2tog, K5, K2tog, P5) three times.
Next Row: Repeat (K4, P2tog, P4, P2tog) three times.
Next Row: Repeat (K2tog, K3, K2tog, P3) three times.
Next Row: Repeat (K2, P2tog, P2, P2tog) three times.
Next Row: Repeat (K2tog, K1, K2tog, P1) three times.
Next Row: P2tog to end.

Draw yarn through remaining 6sts and pull tight.

Join the seam remembering to reverse it for the first 11 rows as they form the turnover.

(Added later:- Having worn the hat for a few month it became a bit looser. If this hapens to you, you can correct it like I did by threading some elastic (I used what I know as bead elastic but shiring elastic would probably work too.) through at least the top and bottom rows of rib from the inside. It shouldn’t show on the right side and even if it did the turn up will hide it.)


This used almost all of what was left of the three balls to complete with the fourteen repeats less one row of the pattern which gave a scarf about 57 inches (145 cm) long. So with three whole balls you should be able to make a scarf this length without having to worry, like I did, that you might run out of yarn before you finished the last repeat and have to undo some.

[Of course if you bought six balls you could have as roomy a hat as you wished and a scarf over 6ft long!]

The tension for the yarn used is 9 stitches and 12 rows to give a 10 x 10cm (4 x 4 ins) square.

Using 3 balls of Sirdar ‘Big Softie’ Super Chunky yarn and 10mm (UK 000, US 15) needles

Cast on 16sts

Knit 2 rows

Then start pattern

Row 1: K2, K6, P6, K2.
Row 2: as Row 1.
Row 3: K2, P1, K4, P1, K1, P4, K1, K2.
Row 4: K2, P2, K2, (P1, K1) (P1, K1) P2, K2, K2.
Row 5: K2, P3,  (P1, K1) (P1, K1) (P1, K1) K3, K2.
Row 6: K2, P3, (K1, P1) (K1, P1) (K1, P1) K3, K2.
Row 7: as Row 5
Row 8: as Row 6.
Row 9: as Row 5.
Row 10: as Row 4.
Roow 11: as Row 3.
Row 12: as Row 1.
Row 13: as Row 1.
Row 14: as Row 1.

Repeat this pattern as often as you wish omitting the last row for the last repeat and ending with 2 knit rows to mirror the start.

For those who like such things (and I do) I have included a knitting chart for the scarf.

If you are unfamiliar with such charts there are two things to note

  1. You start at the bottom right with the first right side row, working from right to left and proceed to the row above (a wrong side row) working from left to right and continue in this upward zigzag fashion throughout. You can see the rows are numbered where you start.
  2. That an empty square represents a knit stitch and a dot in a square a purl stitch on right side rows and on wrong side rows it is reversed so that a dot means a knit stitch and an empty square a purl stitch.

The above may seem a bit crazy when you start (it did to me) but as you can see the resulting chart actually represents the appearance of the knitting.

I think that the above patterns are accurate but if anyone notices a mistake, please let me know.

Rising to the Challenge

I decided that I would take up Maryanne of WoolHogs’  suggestion that I should make something for the “Made It” monthly challenge with the yarn and knitting needles my daughter bought me for my birthday; the only question was what?

I couldn’t find any patterns I liked on the internet but I decided it was about the right amount for a hat and scarf. (Though I later realised I might have been better to just aim at making a scarf but I do like the hat so much :-)).

I have never ever knitted with yarn of this weight before so I asked a couple of people what sort of patterns would work well with this sort of yarn. They both suggested some sort of cable pattern but I have never done cable and (as you will realise, if you have read my previous posts about knitting scarves) I have a preference for scarves that are reversible so I decided to look for something else.

Then I remembered this book:-

I wasn’t especially inspired by the couple of patterns that they declared to be reversible but I found a chart I had put together for a hexagon textured pattern.

Some time ago when I saw this pattern in the book I realised that it ought to be possible to create a textured design of hexagons even though they didn’t include one. (Because of course I am crazy about hexagons).

So not wishing to experiment too much with the yarn itself. I knitted a couple of samples in some DK yarn I had using the number of stitches I thought might be appropriate and came up with these

The one on the left seemed to show off the hexagons to better effect so it became first choice.

But what about a hat?

I decided to take my favourite hat (one I think suits me as I am not really a ‘hat person’) and a tape measure and the stated tension on the yarn band and work up a pattern for a hat that would go with my hexagon scarf

and came up with this –

I am now into making the hat and scarf but everything has not been plain sailing and in fact I decided to make another couple of scarf samples as I realised that with the earlier ones I would run out of yarn or have a very short scarf!

However I think it will come right in the end and when they are finished I will do a follow up post and submit them for the “Made It” challenge.

Watch this space!

Oh! and the jigsaw is definitely of a duck because I have got this far.