Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Handmade Christmas - part 2

Here's the kids edition of my handmade Christmas!  As Santa is a very busy man, he commissioned me to make some of the presents for the kids.

Mr A and Miss S were getting a kitchen for Christmas so Santa asked me to make some accessories to go with it. Obviously any budding chef needs an apron, oven mitt and tea towel to use so that's what I set out to do.

I wanted to be a bit thrifty and inspired by this blog post, I repurposed an old pair of my jeans into two kiddie sized aprons. I used some cotton tape for the  straps instead of the jeans side seam. To make them more individual I made a very simple patch pocket from some fabric I had in my stash. The flowers for Miss S is some cotton duck from Cath Kidston,  the hippos for Mr A was from IKEA.

 For their tea towels I simply cut one of my old tea towels, which was beginning to develop a hole in the centre, in half and hemmed the cut edge. For the oven mitts, I used this tutorial as a guide. However, instead of using batting I used another old worn out tea towel.

As you can see they and the kitchen went down well Christmas morning.

Santa also made note that Mr A and Miss South both liked having me pin towels to their shoulders so they could be superheros and figured that they really needed proper capes which they would find in their stockings. I used the Super kid cape pattern which is free on Craftsy (thanks for the recommendation Becky!). It's such an easy pattern to sew up, even for a beginner like me! And they're a hit. Although, Miss S pretends to be Elsa about as often as she's a super hero, which she never did with mammy's tea towel capes! Obviously, her new Cape is now suitably swishy. For Mr A I used some royal blue and chevron fabric (speed stripes for a boy that never stops running), and for Miss S, I used red and white polka dot and plain red fabric (a little feminine without being very girly).

Mr C, being only just 3 months today (where has that time gone!?), got something a little smaller. In his stocking Christmas morning he found this little guy.

Sunshine Yarns Merino Worsted, colourway Crookshanks (with a name like that it had to be a cat right?).  114 m/71 g
Knit Picks Bare Worsted, 54 m/27 g

This is a great pattern with lots of photos and step by step assembly instructions. He's already been chewed on a bit so I think he's going to be (and already is) a well loved toy.

As you can see I had a busy handmade Christmas but it was all worth it!

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Handmade Christmas - part 1

Now that everyone have receivedone their gifts I thought I'd share some of the projects that have kept me busy for the last while.

First up, himself finally got the pair of socks I started for him back in May. They were set aside half way through the first sock so I could get some baby knitting done. In October I finished the first sock only find that it was way to loose! So it was ripped out and reknit the pair in time for Christmas.  I used a pack of Sunshine Yarns Classic sock yarn gradient mini skeins with some Knit Picks Felici for the toes.

Next were some gifts for some friends from my university days. Every year we try our best to meet up around Christmas to catch up. We usually do secret santa but this year we decided to change things up a bit. Edith, had a great idea to limit our gifts to each other to something that fit in an envelope with a Christmas card. It could be bought or handmade but it had to be small. So I got thinking and came up with a few ideas.
I made each of the girls and myself a bookmark from some fabric scraps I had left over from various projects. It was a very simple project.
I cut two pieces of fabric about 3 inches X 7 inches (I can't remember exactly). I then ironed fusible interfacing to the wrong side of one piece.
With right sides facing I sewed them together leaving about an inch gap at one of the ends. I turned them right sides out and pressed them before inserting a loop of ribbon into the gap and top stitching around the bookmark. All done in no time and a great use for fabric scraps.

Along with the bookmarks I made a little something different for each of the girls. For Edith I made some drinks coasters. They are super quick too. I cut 6 pieces fabric (cotton duck from Cath Kidston), 3 inches x 3 inches, then used pinking shears on the edges. I then cut some coordinating felt for the backing, about 4 inches X 4 inches. I used 2 pieces of different coloured felt for each coaster. Using some double sided fusible interfacing, I attached the fabric to the top layer of felt before sewing them together. I then used more double sided fusible interfacing to add the second layer of felt.

As Elaine has recently moved back to Boston, I made some hand warmer packs, using this tutorial. 

I knit a mug cozy for Mary. I used the Hugs and Kisses mug cozy pattern. It took about 16 g/ 32 m of  Woolcraft Aran. 

I knit washcloths for Edel and Jen. I used my go to pattern, Grandmother's favourite, but I also tried out the leafy washcloth pattern. I've had this in my queue for a while. The pattern is quick and well written and the end result is cute. I knit the garter stitch version but there are also instructions to make a stocking stitch version. 

Pattern: Leafy washcloth
Yarn: 28 m/18 g Lily Sugar n Cream

Yarn: 46 m/30 g Lily Sugar n Cream

I'll be back in a few days to share what Santa commissioned me to make for the kids!

Monday, 23 November 2015

Ballinakill Beanie

Following on from the Ballinakill layette, I've just released a new collection of patterns. 

The Ballinakill beanie is written for 8 sizes; 35 to 60 cm head circumference (approx 0-3 months to adult large) and is available in three yarn weights - FingeringDouble knitting and Aran/worsted

It's worked from the brim to the Crown in the round. The brim is worked in simple garter stitch or as twisted rib and the body features a panel of mock cables.

Ballinakill - fingering

Gauge: 27 sts to 10 cm
Yarn amounts (approx):
35 to 45 cm - up to 50 g/ 100 m
50 to 60 cm - up to 100 g/ 200 m

Ballinakill - dk

Gauge: 22 sts to 10 cm
Yarn amounts (approx):
35 to 50 cm - up to 50 g/ 105 m
52.5 to 60 cm - up to 100 g/ 210 m

Ballinakill - aran

Gauge: 18 sts to 10 cm
Yarn amounts (approx):
35 to 52.5 cm - up to 50 g/ 100 m
55 to 60 cm - up to 100 g/ 200 m

The individual patterns are available from my Ravelry store here and as an ebook collection, here.

Happy knitting!

Monday, 19 October 2015

Lone Owl Beanie

Looks like I'm on but of a roll this week! My lovely testers have just finished up with thd pattern and Lone owl beanie has just been published.

Lone Owl beanie is written for 8 sizes: 35 cm to 60 cm head circumference (approx 0-3 months to adult large) in DK weight yarn.

This beanie is worked from the brim to crown in the round.  The brim is simple garter stitch, and the body features a panel consisting of a single owl cable on a reverse stocking stitch background.

Lone owl beanie pattern can be found in my ravelry store here.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Ballinakill Layette

Way back in June when I was 6 months pregnant with Mr C my mother came across a pattern for a baby cardigan in a notebook of hand written knitting patterns that belonged to her mother, my grandmother. My mother remembers my grandmother knitting this cardigan for some of my cousins and siblings however she had long passed before I made my arrival into this world so I was never a lucky recipient. So armed with the notebook, a needle size and yarn weight but no gauge and the skeleton of a pattern I set off to revive the pattern.

It took a bit of trial and error but I worked it out and finished it in time for Mr C's arrival. To top off the ensemble I’ve added a matching hat to keep tiny heads warm (the extended version of this pattern will be coming soon!).

While working on this pattern I often wondered what my grandmother would’ve thought if she knew that one day that pattern outline that she wrote in her notebook would be one day be knit by her granddaughter and worn by her great grandson. In tribute the pattern is named after the house and farm where my mother grew up.

It's written for fingering weight yarn and will work best in solid or semi solid yarns. The sample shown (and modelled by Mr C) was knit in Malabrigo  Sock in the Ravelry Red colourway.

The pattern can be found in my Ravelry store here.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Finished test knits

Over August and September I finished a few more test knits for Kelly Brooker of PekaPeka designs.

Continuing the economy of stash theme seen with Conscious pattern were patterns for two vests and a cardigan.

First up Efficient.
Size: 55 cm/ 3y
Yarn: Main colour - Debbie Bliss Rialto DK prints in Pisa  170 m/ 81 g
contrast colour - Debbie Bliss Rialto DK in Fuschia 84 m/ 40 g.

And the last pattern in the collection is Worthy
Size: 55 cm/ 3 y (with extra length for Mr A)
Yarn: Main colour - Malabrigo Rios in Solis  157 m/ 82 g
contrast colour - Bumblebirch Forage in Rosemary 77 m/ 38 g.

Next Thrifty
Size: 40 cm/ 0-3 months (this is for our newest addition, Mr C, who arrived at the end of September - proper modelled shots to comw)
Yarn: Main colour - Debbie Bliss Rialto DK  in cream 163 m/ 77 g
contrast colour -  Debbie Bliss Rialto DK in grey 55 m/ 26 g.

The last test knit is a cropped cardigan October Opal, perfect for over dresses.
Size: 55 cm/ 3 y
Yarn: Main colour - Malabrigo Arroyo in Borrajas 245 m/ 80 g

As always the patterns were wonderfully written with very clear instructions. They're also written for 16 sizes, newborn to 10 y (35 to 72.5 cm chest), so they'll get plenty of use with growing children!

With the addition of Mr C to our own brood almost two weeks ago I'm being kept busy but watch this space there will be a few pattern releases in the next couple if months!

Wednesday, 5 August 2015


In the last few weeks I tackled a few sewing projects.
First up is a quilt for the little lady. All the fabric I used came from stash so at 180 X 180 cm finished size it made use of quite a bit of my limited fabric stash. I choose fabrics to make it quite girly but at the same time, I didn't want it to be so childish that she wouldn't want to use it when she's older. I'm very happy with how it turned out. Now I need to make one similar for the little man. The one I first made him is much smaller and while he still loves it and uses it a lot, I would like to have one that will fit his bed better.


She was also the lucky recipient if a new dress. She was very impressed by this, mainly get a use it had pockets! She loves dresses but also loves mucking about with her big brother so having pockets was a great detail. The pattern is by Burda and was very very simple to follow and assemble.  Based on the height measurements I made the size 3. However I did find the length still a bit short. It'll still work well over leggings though. Next time I'll add extra length or a ruffle at the end so there's a little more growing room. 

Last up, a couple of bookmarks using up some scraps of fabric. These have winged their way to Patricia in Kansas as part of a swap in the Itty Bitty group on Ravelry. I hope she gets good use out of them. They didn't take long to make and I definitely will be making more in the future.

Monday, 27 July 2015


Another test knit and another knit for baby! Conscious is the latest design from Kelly Brooker. It's a unisex sweater designed to use a gradient paired with another neutral yarn. Of course the yoke colour doesn't need to be a gradient. It could easily be a solid, semi-solid or variegated yarn giving endless possibilities.
Trying to be economical, I did a stash dive and came up with some Debbie Bliss cashmerino and rialto dk. Enough for a wee baby sized sweater.

Size - 42.5 cm (3-6 months)
Colour 1 -  32 g/67 m Debbie Bliss Rialto DK in citrus
Colour 2 -  66 g/145 m Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK in apple green

Cute sweater design, something a bit different when combining colours. The pattern, as expected, is clearly written and easy to follow. It also comes in 16 sizes from 35 to 72.5 cm chest (newborn to 10 years).

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Leopold test knit

I've been busy test knitting for Kelly Brooker again! Her latest pattern release (and her 100th design) is Leopold. Leopold is a top down unisex raglan sweater knit in 4 ply.  It has acute slipped stitch feature panel down the front and applied in cord edgings on the hem, cuffs and neckline. It comes in 16 sizes from newborn to 10 years (35 to 72.5 cm), so a great value pattern!
As baby number 3 is on the way, I knit the 40 cm (0-3 months) using Debbie Bliss Rialto 4 ply in the amber (22039) colourway. It took about 70 g, 254 m and is, in my opinion, adorable.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Test Knits

It's been quite a while and I have a few more test knits to share.

Again, Kelly Brooker has been busy churning out some fabulous patterns!

First up is Amalgamate, a top down shallow shawlette originally designed for gradient yarns. Once a particular stitch count is reached the lace border is added until you just have enough yarn to cast off so perfect for using up every bit of that scrummy skein. I knit mine in Noro Kureyon Sock yarn. The garter body of the shawlette makes it lovely and squishy and has been a favourite of mine since I completed it last November. It was a secret I had to keep until May though!

Next, is another shawlette, Wholesome. This time knit side to side, again with garter stitch body and a lace edging. It's another design to use up every last bit of a skein of yarn. It was a late birthday/mothers day present for my Mam and she loves it. It was knit in Knit Picks Gloss Fingering in the Kenai colourway.

Finally, a cardigan for the little man. The Lemur Cardigan is written in 16 sizes (newborn to 10 years) for DK weight yarn. The striping on the sleeves give a nice pop of colour. I knit the 55 cm with extra length for my tall 3.5 year old! And I probably could have added another few cm's extra length as he seems to have grown since I first measured him for it! I used Debbie Bliss Rialto Dk and all told it took about 190 g/400 m in the main charcoal colour and 40 g/84 m in the contrast orange colour. The buttons I used were a little big but they were what I had to hand at the time and I'll swap them out eventually.It's a challenging knit at the beginning when you're working the raglan increases and wrestling 5 balls of yarn but that doesn't take that long and it's worth it in the end. 

Despite waking up very cranky that morning the little man was more than happy to try on his new cardy and let me take some photos. As you can see he loves ladybirds at the moment and one that we found among the strawberry plants became a very useful prop for keeping a very bouncy 3.5 yo still for a little while!

In other news I'm one of the co-hosts of a hat KAL over in the PekaPeka designs group on Ravelry. Why not join in the fun? As part of the KAL I'm offering 20% off Rathcoran from May 1st to 15th using the coupon code HatKAL. I'm also offering 15 % off my other hat designs (All for Lea, Little Harvester, Harvest Morning) for the same time period using the coupon code KALBONUS.

Friday, 6 February 2015


Unadorned is a new pattern just released by Kelly Brooker which I was lucky enough to test knit and my first FO of the new year. The simple design of the cardigan was created to compliment gradient yarns, but having no gradient yarns in my stash I opted for a single colour. The pattern is for 16 sizes from newborn to 10 years and is available for DK and Fingering yarns.

Knitting the 52.5 cm size (approx 2 years) I used 92 g (333 m) of Debbie Bliss Rialto 4 ply. I have used the DK version of this yarn before, with no issues, so I was disappointed to have it grow a lot after being soaked but a little time in the dryer helped bring it back to size.

This is what happens when our cat obsessed little lady catches sight of our cat Jasmine mid photo shoot.

Friday, 23 January 2015


Triangulate is a new pattern just released by Kelly Brooker which I was lucky enough to test knit. It's a beanie knit in sport weight yarn and with a very simple colourwork pattern. The pattern is for 12 sizes from newborn to adult large.

I used some MillaMia yarn which I liberated from my sister-in-laws stash (thanks E!). I knit the 50 cm and in total it used 40 g (~100 m) of the main navy colour and 16 g (~40 m) of the yellow contrast. 

The little man had to be bribed with a chocolate bear to come out into a very cold and frosty December day for me to get some photos! Even at that the light wasn't the best and the photos don't show the colours up as well as they should!

Friday, 2 January 2015

A year in review

Another year has drawn to a close and new one has just started so it's time to have a look back on 2014.

Last year I completed 36 knitting projects, a little down on last year but not bad overall:

13 hats
10 cardigans/sweaters
3 toys
3 washcloths
1 bookmark
3 pairs of socks
1 pair of slippers
1 baby blanket
1 shawl

I've released 4 patterns:

I have 5 WIPs I'm carrying through from 2014 and I hope to finish all of them before the summer .

1. Flax sweater for the little man - I've almost finished the 1st sleeve so this shouldn't take long to finish up.
2. A cardigan test knit for the little lady - this has a deadline of January 25th so will definitely be finished soon!
3. Miranda sweater for me - I've made so little progress on this. I don't know weather I should just give up or keep going. I do really like the pattern though.
4. Follow your Arrow shawl - Again I don't know if I'll keep going with this.
5. A pair of socks for me.

On the sewing front I tackled a few new projects including some clothing for the kids which was something very new to me.
1 A quilt for my mother for Christmas, which was very well received.
2. A dress for the little lady.
3. A pair of reversible trousers for the little lady.
4. A pair of trousers for the little man.
5. A doll
6. A baby quilt
7. A pin cushion
8. A hot pad.

I also reupholstered some kitchen chairs and upcycled a dress!

Over all I'm happy with my crafting output last year. Here's to more this year!
May the best of 2014 be the worst of 2015!

Happy New Year!