Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Field Guide to Knitted Birds - Book Review

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Arne & Carlos' latest book from Search Press to review; Field Guide to Knitted Birds and it is safe to say I love it!

Firstly I would say if your not a fan of working in DPN's (double pointed needles) then this isn't the book for you as all the birds are created mostly in the round ..with just a small section worked in rows back and forth, but if you have no issues with DNP's then this book is a must! Arne & Carlos have really let there imaginations run wild again with some fantastic birds from magpies to my favourite the I DO I DO I DO.

Not only are the patterns written and presented in a clear format but further instructions on the construction and finishing touches are given clearly with photos to support. Finishing touches include sequins, feathers, and beads to really jazz up the birds!

This book really is a must for any knitter looking for some quick, fun, and quirky projects, and another great thing is they are great stash busters with only small amounts of yarn needed for each bird.

Here is my first bird made, as advised in the book I have made the basic bird shape in one yarn, so now I am happy with the construction and pattern I can add some colour work next time!

Matilda's made a new friend

I love the idea of creating a selection of birds and hiding them around the garden. They will make great eye catching decorations and when my daughter gets a bit older we can go on an adventure around the garden bird spotting!

Book Information:
Title: Field Guide to Knitted Birds
ISBN: 978-1-78221-539-4
Publishers: Search Press

Talking of my daughter we took her for her first swim today! :)

Sunday, 16 April 2017

The Moment My Life Changed Forever...

12:39pm on Wednesday 18th January - that's the moment my life changed forever. It is the moment my daughter Matilda came in to the world.

Nothing can prepare you for that amazing moment and the overwhelming love my heart was suddenly filled with, and 12 weeks on that feeling has only got stronger!

Any mothers out there will know motherhood is hard work and within 24 hours - who am I kidding it didn't take that long - any illusions I had that I would be spending my days knitting as I gazed at my sleeping beauty were gone, but I wouldn't change it for the world! But as I have slowly got to grips with my change in role and learnt to do the house work one handed it has meant Matilda's nap times have become my knitting times and I'm excited to say I have two patterns completed that will be published in the summer issues of KnitNow magazine.

I also have a new design venture with Cygnet Yarns so keep your eyes peeled for some new patterns by me in their fabulous yarns!

But currently at the top of my to do list is the review of the new Arne and Carlos Book; Field Guide to Knitted Birds, that I have been lucky enough to receive a copy from the publishers Searchpress, so stay tuned as my book review will be posted in the next few days.

So it really is all go for me right now and I wouldn't change it for the world! I have always been driven to push and challenge myself with my knitting and designing but with the arrival of Matilda that has just increased my drive so much more as I am now not just doing this for me but I am doing it for my daughter. In years to come I want to show her that if you work hard enough you will succeed at your dreams.
I want her to have a mummy she can be proud of.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

3-6 Month Baby Hat - Free Knitting Pattern

I saved holidays and was lucky enough to finished work on the 21st December and have been waiting for the arrival of my daughter (and still waiting due date was yesterday) during this time my fingers have been on fire knitting and crocheting baby bits and bobs, most have been shared on my Instagram feed, some from existing patterns and some I have designed I hope you have enjoyed seeing them.

One of the patterns I created was for this slouchy style hat, I was inspired to create this as I had seen a lot of hats like this on other peoples Instagram feeds and in the shops and really liked them and I had a ball of yarn I thought would be perfect for it, rather than try and get a pattern to suit my yarn I decided to create one. I haven't converted this in to other sizes so the below relates just to 3-6 month size.

The yarn came before the design, it was something I picked up a year or so ago, I had no idea what to do with it I just liked it :) I would never have guessed I would end up using it to make a hat for my own daughter.

So anyway enough chit chat here it is, I hope you like and if you have any questions or feedback just drop me a mail I am always happy to help; owlinstitches@gmail.com

Yarn: 1x Sirdar Snuggly Tiny Tots Baby Fashion DK, Shade 0996, 50g
4mm DPNs
2 pompoms

Cast on 70st and split across the DPNs and join to work in the round
Work 5 rows; K1, P1 rib
Knit 6 rows
Purl 6 rows
Knit 6 rows
Purl 6 rows
Knit 6 rows
Purl 6 rows
Knit 18 rows
Cast off

Fold the hat in half and join the two sides of the cast off edge together to close the top.
Attach a pompom to each corner, or an alternative - tassels.

I have done this on DPNs as I didn't want to have a seam in it, but you could easily switch DPNs for straight needles and work in st st, and then reverse st st to create the knit and purl sections


Keeping us waiting

So yesterday was my due date, but no signs of baby yet! She must be far too cosy and who could blame her, with the frost and snow we have had recently.
I am trying to be patient but I am so excited to meet her its not easy, I have about 10 knitting projects on the go too as I just cant keep my focus :)
So yesterday to mark the day and as Beans was off work I got out of the house for a few hours and went shopping and Beans bought me a 'push present' although I haven't actually 'pushed' yet it was nice to go together and pick it and the fact we did it on her due date marked the day nicely (although I would rather have met her), so my push present, I think this is something that has come from America but I'm not sure, basically an excuse to get a gift :) but I wanted a gift I could hand down to my daughter when she is older, to make it personal to her I decided I wanted something around her birthstone, which given she will be here sometime in the next 2 weeks whether that be off her own accord or a forced eviction her birthstone will be Garnet, which is like a red gem, in the end we picked a Pandora Bracelet and I am so pleased with it, it is the January Birthstone edition which came with a heart charm with the birthstone set in it, and we added a further 3 charms, one is her initial (we have had her name picked and have done since about 20 weeks pregnant) and the other two relate to family. No other charms will be added whilst I have it, once it is passed on to her she can add to the charms.

And here it is, and here I am at 40 weeks..... you will see the charm is slightly cropped out, that's because we have kept the name top secret, I don't know how we have managed it but we have so we don't want any guessing now in these final few days :)

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Its Been a While

I know I know I am so rubbish at keeping on top of this blog!
If you follow me on Instagram you will know what I have been up to and that earlier in 2016 I shared some exciting news that me and my husband are expecting our first baby, we are still awaiting her arrival but now at 39+ weeks it will be any day which is very exciting!

On the knitting front I was very fortunate to continue to work with Knit Now Magazine and have a number of fabulous patterns published with them!
And actually yesterday I received a copy of there latest book-a-zine which is a book filled with baby themed knits and it was lovely to see a couple of my patterns made the cut, and my Love a Hug Bear even made the cover!

I promise to try and get better with this blog over 2017 however I cant make any promises with a baby on the way :) so if your on Instagram pop across to my feed and say hello :)
Follow me here

Monday, 2 May 2016

Alphabet Baby Blanket - Free Crochet Pattern

With a coulpe of friends expecting I wanted to create something special for them, both are keeping the sex a suprise so it needed to be neutral,  and I wanted it to be a keepsake and for that a baby blanket it perfect!

I discovered the C2C method last year so thought this was a perfect opportunity to design my own, and this is what I came up with, my alphabet baby blanket;

C2C basically stands for corner to corner as that is how it grows! its is made by creating small squares, these squares are created by doing 4 DC stitches, if you have never tired it before it is so simple, give it a go, you will be hooked!

I have put a link below to some great instructions available on craftsy, but YouTube is also a great resource, just search C2C and you will find loads of video tutorials!


Couple of things to note that I didnt get at the start - the odd rows are the right side and the even rows the wrong side.
You read the chart from the bottom right corner working the odd rows down and the even rows up

My alphabet blanket is made up of 30 small C2C squares which are then joined, 4 are plain so if you have never tried it before they are great to start with and practice,  then the other 26 each have a letter of the alphabet on!

Any standard Double Knit yarn can be used and a 3.5mm hook.

Here is the chart to follow for each square:

The squares are finished with a single chain stitch around the edge and it is this edge that neatens then up and is used to join them.

When you join the squares there are lots of different options, but I have used the matress stitch method as I wanted a flat join:

You basically pick up the bars In between the edge chain stitch

Once they are all joined I finished it off with a DC in to each of the edge stitches, when you get to the corner do 2 DC in the 2 stitches on the corner so it goes round smoothly

The finished blanket is 55x65 cm

I have now started to blanket number 2 but with one is going to be all white with each letter a different colour, its a great stash buster to get rid of some odds and ends of colours, and against the white the colours really pop, here is the start;

if you give this a go i would love to see the results, you can find me on ravelry or if your on instagram use the hashtag #owlinstitches

enjoy xx

Friday, 29 April 2016

Flower Cushion, KN Issue 60

So the latest issue of KnitNow hit the shops yesterday, do you have your copy? did you spot my Flower Cushion Pattern?

It would usually be a perfect pattern for Spring but with this crazy weather we are having maybe we should still be on winter theme knits, its crazy that a few weeks ago i was posting about our long walk and then these past few days I've woken up to snow on my car and had to dig my winter coat back out!

Anyway hopefully it wont last much longer, im ready for some nice weather, weekend walks, al fresco eating and eveining fire pits.

But if you've not had chance to pick up your copy yet, here it is, my Flower cushion pattern, this photo is one taken from the magazine and i have got to credit Dominic Crolla and Daniel Walmsley for the fantastic photo,

The cushion is knitted using Cygnet Superwash yarn, its a yarn i have used for a few patterns including my his and hers childrens pajama cases and my love a hug bear, its such a good versatile yarn. it comes in such a good range of colours too and it very resonably priced!

If you fancy giving this pattern ago then a have a few tips to help you get a good finish, the first one is the joining, there is nothing worse than spending so long knitting the piece but then rushing the joining, not done properly can really detract from the qulity of the finished piece. So with this in mind make sure you use the matress method to join the sides. Matress stitch is a very commonly used join and is perfect for joining two pieces of stockinette stitch, it is usually used on jumper seams etc.

Matress Stitch Instructions:
You need to pull the two pieces together I always use stitch markers to hold them in place

using the bar you will find inbetween the edge V, heres a photo to hopefully show you what i mean;

And here you can see the finshed effect;

Attaching the Petals:
You should have no issues following the instructions with in the Magazine for the joining ofthe petals but if you are more of a visual person you may find these help;

So once you have all 5 petals and you have threaded the yarn through the stitches you need to thread the yarn back through the first petal

Then place this over once of the flower centers and pull tight - VERY TIGHT to make sure it is secure and can't be pulled off.

If you have a go at making this i would love to see your photos, you can either link your project to this pattern in ravelry or if your on instagram, use the hashtag #owlinstitches