31 March 2014


Looking for a unique and personal gifts for my nieces and nephews, and grand nieces and nephews,  is always a challenge.

I like to handmake gifts as much as possible, but even there's only so may hats a child can wear!

Lately, I've been teaching myself to crochet. For some reason, I thought it wouldn't strain my hands the way knitting does, but after making these two feather leaf things, my right arm is aching.

Photo: One finished,  one wip.
#crochetleaf #crochet #crochetfeather 

I have got the bug now though, and once I've had sufficient rest, I will attempt to make some of these adorable amigurumi.

Here's a video of this amazing crocheted doll, created by artist Isabelle Kessedjian (Instagram link)

28 March 2014

Learn to Knit!

My mother taught me to knit when I was a small child. When I was a teenager I knitted all kinds of weird sweaters and cardigans, none which have survived.

There were lots of things I didn't know how to do, and if my mom or my aunt Theresa couldn't help me, I just had to try and figure it out on my own.

Now though, we have You Tube. The great thing about learning by video is that you have the added bonus of being able to pause and rewind if there's something you need to see again! The trouble is, there are so many videos and so many channels, it's hard to know where to start.

The, hands-down, best knitting teaching channels on You Tube are Very Pink Knits and Knitting Tips by Judy.

Very Pink
Staci Parry of Very Pink Knits is a knitting teacher "in the real world" and her partner is a professional video maker, so the combination is excellent. Really good quality videos, often with subtitles, and very clear, patient instructions. These are in depth knitting lesson, like going to a class, and sometimes more than 30 minutes long. I watch these sometimes when I'm down about not being able to knit.

Here's an ad for her channel.

Staci also designs knitwear, so you can download her patterns from the website, then get help on how to knit it.
Here are links to her website and You Tube channel.

Knitting Tips by Judy

A knitting master who is very close to my heart is Judy Graham of Knitting Tips by Judy. When I first got back into knitting after years of being ill, Judy's were some of the first tutorial videos I saw that really made sense and were easy to follow... She's also got a really calming voice and manner and her videos and really short and to the point.

Judy is a professional knitter and designer. She has been knitting for years and she and her company, Topaz Knitwear are responsible for knitted garments on many Hollywood film and television productions, such as Big Bang Theory, Waterworld, Mousehunt and Nightmare on Elm Street... also, you might recongnise these.

Barbara Streisand
Dianne Keaton

Here are links to Judy's blog, website and You Tube channel.

Both Staci and Judy also have a Facebook page.
Very Pink on Facebook
Knitting Tips by Judy on Facebook

A real bonus for me was to see Judy and Staci together in a video. It's the second one they've done together. In the first, Staci was interviewing Judy. Here Judy interviews Staci.

26 March 2014

Big Crochet III - T-Shirt Yarn Projects

Here's my favourite "How to make T-shirt yarn" video tutorial.

Once you've made your yarn, there are lots of ways to use it. On You Tube, there are lots of video tutorials for T-Shirt Yarn projects. If you specifically want a crochet project, it's best to include that in the search, as there are a lot of tutorials for sewing and handwork projects.

Here's a nice rug.

Here's a pouf.

Here's another rug.

The three videos above are from the You Tube channel Tuteate.

Here are a couple of summer scarves, which use different cutting techniques.

25 March 2014

Big Crochet II

After posing the previoous post about big crochet, I've been informed of a UK based company, Keepers Makers, which sells giant crochet hooks from their website.

Click on the image to visit the shop.

These crochet hooks are available from Go Girl Knitting, on Etsy. Click on the first image to visit the Etsy page.

More pics from other sources - click on the images to find them.


Also, for chunky, inexpensive/free yarn, try t-shirt yearn. Here's a great tutorial.

Thanks to Chrissie for the Keepers Makers link!

Big Crochet

I would love to try this... might have to make my own hook!

For more info, click on the images to be taken to the source.

Crochet Hook - Large Maple Hook
Crochet Hook - Large Maple Hook

This grocery/market bag has a free pattern! Click on the imge to find it.

Nake-id Knits | Tunisian Crochet or Why I Spent $40 on a Crochet Hook

by hand at home: hooked

24 March 2014

Yarn Alive

"A community where people come together to knit and crochet 

and experience emotional, mental and physical recovery."


Click on the image above to go to the Yarn Alive blog.

The miraculous therapeutic qualities of knitting and crocheting are being employed to help women whose lives were devastated by the March 11th tsunami, which hit Japan in 2011. 

Living in temporary accommodation, the women were encouraged to join the Yarn Alive group. Here's a short video of their story.

To find out more and/or make a donation, visit the Yarn Alive website.

23 March 2014

Finger Fibres

As always, I'm going a bit mental not being able to knit.

I can sew, of course and I've made a couple of T-shirts (which I may post pictures of later) but nothing compares to the calm deliciousness of knitting.

Therefore, I've been investigating alternatives, which I intend to explore next week.

One is finger knitting a hat.

This is how.

And finger crocheting a hat. Here's how.

I'll let you know how it goes. :D

16 March 2014

Updated Double Twist Hat pattern!

Double stranded DK.
6mm & 7mm circular or DPNs + 7mm DPNs, or 80cm or longer circular for Magic Loop knitting.

Using 6mm needles, CO 62 stitches - I recommend the Chinese Waitress cast on method.
Join work and K1, P1 until work measures 4cm - 7cms, depending on personal preference.

Please Note: 
This pattern is written to minimise purl knitting, therefore, it's worked with the wrong side facing front.

Switch to 7mm needles and place a marker.

*P12, Knit to marker. Repeat from * until work measures 14cm

At the marker, C12B, purlwise. Knit to marker.

*P12, Knit to marker. Repeat from * for another 12 rows, or until work measures 20cm

Repeat the cable row (At the marker, C12B, purlwise. Knit to marker.)

*P12, Knit to marker. Repeat from * for two rows

To Shape the Crown
(Switch to DPNs or the long circular needle when necessary)

Row1: At marker P5 P2tog, P5, *Ktog, K3. repeat from * to marker
Row2: P5, P2tog, P4, knit to Marker
Row3: P4, P2tog, P4, *K2tog, K2 Repeat from * to marker
Row4: P4, P2tog, P3, Knit to marker
Row5: P3, P2tog, P3, *K2tog, K1 Repeat from * to marker
Row6: P3, P2tog, P2, Knit to marker
Row7: P2, P2tog, P2, K2tog, to marker
Row8: P2tog, three times, K2tog to marker
Row9: K2tog until less than 8 stitches remain.

Cut yarn, thread onto tapestry needle, transfer stitches from knitting needle to tapestry needle, pull tight to close the hole and weave in all loose ends.

To see other people's Double Twist hats, click on image above to go to the Ravelry page! :)

Thanks to Wanda, for helping improve this pattern!

If you use this pattern, please leave a comment. 
If you have any questions or suggestions on how it could be improved, please contact me.

14 March 2014


One of the hardest aspects of not being able to knit is the feeling that my ability stagnates. While I'm able to knit, I'm constantly trying out new things, techniques, ideas... when I can't knit, all I can do is imagine and watch videos.

Here's a video that's inspirationa dn the idea looks so accessible.

I've wanted to make a shawl for years, but i don't have the patience to knit those really long rows. I can go around and around knitting 400+ stitches, but there's something about going back and forth that really does not appeal to me. Silly really, I know (I'm the same with walking - I have to walk a route that means goind around in a circle, rather than walking so far, then turning back... what does it all mean?!).

Anyway, I found this shawl, which I will definitely make this year, at some point.

11 March 2014


As most of you know, I have tendinitis.

This means that every few months I need to take a break from knitting and focus on other activities to get my hands back. You'd think after all these years (18) of having tendinitis, I'd know how to avoid it, but I am really just a knit junky and I never want to admit that I'm not invincible. This time I'm focusing on ways to avoid it happening at all - yoga, obviously, is the missing component.

So, I won't be taking any orders for a while. Those of you waiting for orders to be filled, will be contacted personally before the end of the week.

If you're wondering how on earth I cope, not being able to knit, that's a very good question. Firstly, the actual decision to stop knitting, does not come easily. It takes about a week of mild depression and severe pain for me to accept defeat and simply put away everything, out of sight.

Strangely enough, one thing that really helps to get me through the void, is watching videos of others knitting.

My favourite online knitters are Staci of Very Pink, Judy of Knitting Tips by Judy and Christine of iKnits.
From their respective blogs or websites, you'll find links to their (respective) You Tube channels.

While Staci's and Judy's channels are very much tutorial based, which, when I can't knit is torturous, Christine's is more of a knit-a-long style channel.

Here's a taste of Christine's style. It's very laid back and almost hyponotic - basically you're just watching her knit!

7 March 2014

Garter Broken Rib Hat Pattern

Any Super Bulky (Naturgarn Soft)
6mm or 8mm

Using 6mm or 8 mm needles, CO 60 stitches.

The difference in needles size gives a different texture and size - smaller gauge needles produce smaller hat with a firmer, less flexible fabric.

Join the work and K3, P1 until work measures 6-13 cms (personal preference)

At the start of a group of 3 knit stitches, place a marker.
K3, P1 for 2 rounds.
Purl one round.
Repeat these three rows unitl work measures 26-28cms.

K2tog until there are 10 stitches left.

Cut yarn, thread onto a darning needle and thread through the ten stitches. Pull tight and weave in loose ends.


Amen-Hat I hat pattern

This pattern is for a single colour hat. 
When changing colour in ribbing, knit one round in the new colour, then return to K1, P1.
To achieve the chevron style stripes in the body of the hat, knit one round of each colour.

Super Bulky
6mm needles for casting on.
4mm, 80cm circular (for Magic Loop or DPNs).
8mm, 60cm circular or DPNs

Using 6mm needles, CO 64 stitches using a stretchy cast on, such as the Chinese Waitress cast on.
Join work, switch to 4mm needles and K1, P1 until work measures 8-10cms.

Switch to 8mm needles and knit until work measures the required length.
This hat is designed to be extra long/tall, so I worked 26cms.
Place a marker.
To shape the crown, K8, K2tog eight times.
This should bring you back to the marker.
Knit the next round, and every alternate round.
For the next decrease round, K7, K2tog, eight times.
Then, K6, K2tog eight times, knit a round, K5, K2tog, eight times, knit a round, K4, K2tog eight times, knit a round, K3, K2tog eight times, knit a round...

Then K2tog all the way around until there are 10 - 12 stitches left.
Cut the yarn, thread onto a darning needle and throught the live stitches. Pull tight to close and sew in the ends.

Amen-Hat I

The name of this hat comes from the young Egyptian King Amen-em-hat III, the last great ruler of the Middle Kingdom. You can read more about him here.

I really needed an extra long, tight fitting hat for when I wear my hair up. I have hats that are big enough to accomodate the hair, but none that are stable enough to keep their shape and actually stay on my head.

Then, I got a request from my cousin, Paletza, if I could make a hat with those same characteristics I'd been struggling to achieve.

Here's the pattern.

The pattern is for a single colour hat. As this was an experiment, I used scraps of yarn I had left over from other projects. I imagine it'll look much better in darker, more regal colours. I'll post more pictures of any subsequent versions.

I decided to make this on smaller gauge needles, to get the firmness, and just kept knitting until it looked much longer than anything I'd usually knit.

One issue was the tightness of the rim. I cast on using the Chinese Waitress Cast On and 4mm needles, which was a mistake. although the rib was perfectly snug and did its job admirably, the rim was far too tight and had to be unpicked. It was then a case of trial and error finding a suitable cast off method that was both visually appealing and stretchy enough.

I used a larger gauge needle (6mm) the Russian Bind Off, demonstrated here, by Staci Perry of VeryPink.com.

To avoid having to do this, next cast on I'll be aware of my tension and use 6mm needles.

Russian Bind Off

3 March 2014

Rikke Hat MKII

This is a version of the Rikke hat (free knitting pattern),  knitted flat in super bulky/chunky wool.

Some notes:
The directions/pattern below calls for a 60 stitch cast on using a short tail cast on method.
I actually cast on 61, by mistake. I didn't realsie until the crown decreases, but as the extra stitch at the end of the row makes a nice even edge for seaming, I just left it and did a K1 at the end of every decrease row.
However, I finished this hat with about 20-25cms of yarn to spare. If you do cast on 61 stitches, and your gauge is a bit looser than mine, or if you use a long tail cast on with a long tail, you would definitely need three balls of this particular yarn.
Alternatively, after switching to 8mm needles, knit until work measures less than the stated 20cms. 18, or even 17, would be OK.

Yarn: Gjestal Cortina Soft or any super bulky (2x 50g balls)
Needles: 6mm & 8mm
Gauge: 14st/10cms on 6mm needles.
Meterage/weight: approx 110 metres/100g
Using 6mm needles,  CO 60 st. - Chinese waitress cast-on recommended.(*see notes above)

Knit every row until work measures 8-9cms.
Switch to 8mm needles and knit every row until work measures 20cms.
Shape crown.
*K8, K2tog. Repeat from* to end of row.
Knit the next, and every alternate row.
*K7, K2tog. Repeat from* to end of row.
*K6, K2tog. Repeat from* to end of row.
*K5, K2tog. Repeat from* to end of row.
*K4, K2tog. Repeat from* to end of row.
*K3, K2tog. Repeat from* to end of row.
*K2, K2tog. Repeat from* to end of row.
*K1, K2tog. Repeat from* to end of row.
*K2tog. Repeat from* to end of row.

Finish the hat.
There should be 9 (10, if starting with 61 stitches) stitches left. Leaving a length of about 25cms, cut the yarn, thread onto a darning needle and through the remaining stitches. Now, sew the seam down to the cast-on edge of the hat.
Weave in the ends.

Chinese Waitress Cast-On

Here's a good, clear and simple video demonstration of my current favourite cast on method. I say current, but it's going to be hard to beat this one!

To understand how it works for non-continental knitters, I recommend watching this Liat Gat video first.

Not only is it really stretchy, it's also reversible and really enjoyable to work. It also has the advantage of being short tail, so no more measuring and/or guessing. AND, as if all that weren't enough, it also looks beautiful and neat!

This video is using a crochet hook, much simpler, and for European method knitting.

Here are some photos of my current project.