Friday, 3 December 2010

A Few Things

Just a round-up of some small projects completed in the past couple of weeks.

Isn't she sweet? She is made from some Rowan Felted Tweed dk I bought half price in the John Lewis sale a while ago, with stuffed animals in mind. The clothes are various scraps in dk weight.
The pattern is Olga the Kitty by Twins. As you can see I changed the face quite a bit (didn't knit the nose and used only one colour for the cat), but the pattern is an excellent one and the shaping is great.

Shoes with bows!!

The tortoise is Tavistock Tortoise by Amanda Berry. I love all her patterns. I used Baby Cashmerino and gave my tortoise a button flower to wear.

The pot of primulas is from a pattern by UK company King Cole, and the pattern number is 9000, Spring Collection. Mr. Knot Garden plants primulas in our garden every spring.

If you're in the UK I hope you're managing with the snow. It's not too bad where we are now because the roads are clear, but the garden has disappeared under a sea of white.

Take care in the snow and ice.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Blasts From the Past

Back in the 1980s and 90s I used to dabble in needlepoint, or tapestry as it's often known here in the UK. It was more popular then than it is now, although I think its popularity is slowly returning.
To needlepointers, this will be immediately recognisable as an Elizabeth Bradley design.

My Kaffe Fassett rabbit cushion is looking a bit worn these days, but it's still one of my favourite tapestry projects.

A classic!

One of the things I bought back then, with needlepoint in mind, was a hexagonal footstool which I never did anything with. I liked it because of the unusual shape. I remember buying it when my second daughter was a tiny baby. How I thought I'd ever get any sewing done at that time, I don't know. (She's 23 now!)
Recently I'd been thinking I should do something with it. I'd seen patchwork-upholstered furniture in magazines and in the Cath Kidston shops, and thought I would like something like that in my house, so I decided to have a go at covering it with patchwork. Not cotton patchwork, but something more substantial - wool.

(Knitted cherries from this book)

I made an actual size hexagonal template to work from, cut out squares and machine-sewed them together. I did find that woven wool is a lot more stretchy than you would think - and and some wool is more stretchy than others. The seams were quite bulky as well, so it wasn't quite as straightforward as I'd imagined, but I managed to get it sewn. On the plus side, it cost nothing because it used up some long-held stash.

I tried to include a few different weaves of wool for some visual texture. I lined it with a piece of cotton fabric to stabilise it, and stretched it over the upholstery pad. I don't think it turned out too badly. What really made a huge difference was replacing the modern "mahogany" finish with a new coat of paint.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Another Cushion

Another cushion, this time that blogland favourite, the round crocheted cushion. I expect you've seen plenty of these on your bloggy travels, and there are some lovely ones out there.
It's the second one of this type I've made, but this time I was able to find a proper round cushion pad to fill it.

It's just a standard flat circle in trebles (US dc) with regular increases on every round. The flowers are 2-layer ones, examples of which can be found in many good crochet books, or there are free ones to be found online. The pattern I used was from here (Ravelry link).

My flowers don't seem to look exactly like the pattern, but I liked this one because it has 5 petals.

I couldn't find a pattern for the small fat leaves I had in mind, but it was simple enough to improvise a very basic one.

Here's a tip if you want to make a circle with a smoother curved edge. You can get a rounder shape if you stagger the position of the increases on consecutive rows.

For example, if you move the point of each increase one or two stitches to the left on every round, and keep that consistent throughout, the pattern of increases will still be regular but will form a gentle spiral effect, and the edge will be more of a curve.
Other methods are just as good of course, it all depends on the effect you want.

Yarn info: The yarn is a a real mixture - aran for the cushion, dk for the border and 4 ply for the flowers. This was because apart from the pink, I wanted to use what I already had, and now it's done I like the contrast in scale between the different yarn weights.

♥ ♥ ♥

Outside, I've been doing some late cutting back and overdue weeding between the rainy days this week. There isn't much autumn colour in the garden yet, but the leaves are starting to turn now.

This hibiscus bush grows outside the dining room window. The leaves with the sun on them are such a pure yellow, the photo doesn't really do them justice.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010


This is one of my favourite times of year. I don't know about you, but to me September always feels much more like a new start than January does. I like the feeling of change in the air, the fresher breeze, the gentler sunshine and even the rain! Most of the garden work's done, and I can't pretend I'm not pleased at the prospect of cooler weather. It's just that whole back-to-school feeling (I was one of those kids who liked school - sad, I know!)

I must say hello to the new followers I seem to have acquired. I'm always amazed and pleased to get new followers. I've said it before and it's still the case - if you read my blog, I appreciate you!

Large acorn (with i-cord twig added): Christmas Ornament Patterns by Amy Gaines
Medium acorns: Finsbury Squirrel pattern by Fluff & Fuzz
Small acorns pattern by Flutterby Patch
Jubilee Ladybird pattern by Fluff & Fuzz
Oak leaves and crocheted fern leaf from 100 Flowers

Thursday, 19 August 2010


This is how I made the tiny blue flowers on my Posy Cushion.
Knitted on 2 needles.

K = Knit
St(s) = Stitch(es)
tbl = through back of loop
RS = right side

Tension (gauge) isn't important but if you use needles one or two sizes smaller than recommended for the yarn, you will get a more closely knitted flower. (I used Baby Cashmerino and 2.5mm needles.)

Using blue, make slip knot on left hand needle and cast on 2 more sts (3 sts in total, RS facing).

Cast off 2, knitting the last st tbl (1 petal made).

*Slip the remaining stitch back onto the left hand needle, keeping the RS of knitting facing you. Do not turn the work.
Cast on 2 more sts.
Cast off 2, knitting last stitch tbl (this just makes a firmer straight edge).

Repeat from * until you have a line of 5 petals.

Fasten off leaving an end a few inches long. Thread this end onto a sewing needle. With the right side of the knitting facing you, use the needle to gather the straight edge, being careful not to twist the knitting. Draw up to form a flower and secure. Where the two end petals meet, secure with a tiny stitch.

Darn in thread ends on the back of the flower, or leave long for sewing to whatever you like.

Using yellow, make a French knot in the centre, or you could use a bead.

You are welcome to this design for your own non-commercial use.
It was designed a s a forget-me-not, but as a general small flower pattern it could be made in any colour.

I hope you like it and will try it!

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Posy Cushion

I've been waiting for a bright enough day to take these photos,we've had some dull weather lately! This is one of several cushions I'm thinking about, which will be knitted, crocheted or sewn.

It was almost an experiment really, just to see what it would look like.

I wanted some sideways flowers as well as facing-upwards flowers.

And a few different sizes of leaves.

I wanted this cushion to be all knitted, no crochet, and I looked for a pattern for a tiny knitted flower I could use as a forget-me-not. I couldn't find one small enough, so worked out my own forget-me-not pattern.
The cushion itself is garter stitch in chunky (bulky) wool, and was made to fit a 45cm cushion pad. The flowers were all DB Baby Cashmerino and the edging is Rowan pure wool 4-ply.

I really went overboard with decoration on this project, and maybe having an edging as well was a bit too much? It's done now but it has turned out quite a bit "fancier" than I'd imagined it. I think perhaps it might look better when it's been broken in and squashed a bit!
I enjoyed sewing all the flowers on.

Now for some pattern details.
Apart from the forget-me-nots, all the flowers and leaves are from these three books as follows:

100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet by Lesley Stanfield: Field Poppy, Large Leaf, Small Leaf.

Nicky Epstein's Knitted Flowers: Buttercups, Florets, American Beauty Rose and Rosebud, Small Basic Leaf Classic.

Designs For Kids by Lucinda Guy: Flower Posy.

The edging is from Knitted Edgings and Trims by Lesley Stanfield and is pattern 69 Bunting.

I'll post the pattern for the forget-me-not soon.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Flower Soup

These are for a knitted cushion which will have a cluster of knitted flowers on the front. It's evolving as it progresses, and it's quite fun making flowers of different sizes and colours, tossing them into the mix and seeing the pile grow.

For a small thing where the edges are going to be on show, I found there could be a big difference in appearance depending on the cast-on method used.
Just out of interest, this is a buttercup flower, cast on using the thumb method.

This is exactly the same pattern (from Nicky Epstein's knitted flower book), but made with a cable cast on.

Both nice in their own way.

I'm thinking of using this as an edging for the cushion, not all the way round but maybe on the two vertical edges. Not sure yet how that will look but we'll see.

Do you have a favourite baking recipe you come back to again and again? This week's baking was something I've made many times before, rock buns made using Jane Brocket's recipe. The taste is a wonderful combination of lemon and nutmeg.

They are easy to make and are a particular favourite of Mr. Knot Garden.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Birthday Owl

In our family there are several birthdays close together at this time of year. This week it was daughter no.2's birthday - can you believe she is now 23. Not too old for a birthday tea made by her Mum though!

The birthday cake was a chocolate marble cake with white chocolate and cherries, with white chocolate buttercream icing.

She likes owls and had asked if I would make her an owl cushion. This is my homemade version of one she saw in a shop.

Firmly stuffed or what? A huge amount of stuffing has somehow disappeared into it.

Some respite from the stifling heat today. Thank goodness cooler temperatures are being forecast for next week. I might even get some gardening done.
This year I grew some marigolds and this is the first one to come out.

Enjoy your week whatever you're doing.

ETA: There is no pattern for the owl, it was based on a similar ready-made one and I just winged it (no pun intended)

Friday, 25 June 2010

Birthday Quilt

I've spent the past few weeks working on this quilt, which was a requested birthday present for someone. It's been given away now, but I remembered to take some photos and now I can show you it, finished, quilted and washed.

The spec was for a multicoloured quilt with red and blue predominating, with the fabric choices left to me.
I think it must be at least a couple of years since I made a quilt, so I thought my quilting wheels would be rusty, but amazingly, like riding a bike, it all came straight back.

The idea was that it would be used for the seat area of a sofa. Fine, I don't mind if they sit on it. Also, part of the requirements was that it be twice the size actually needed, so it could be used folded. Hmm!
I stuck to the instructions though, and generally I'm pleased with how it turned out. I think the red border does a lot for it.

The best thing was, I was able to make the whole thing entirely from stash. The biggest thing was the backing, which I made by joining 3 shorter lengths. I already had the wadding, so the only thing I had to buy was thread.

Some pattern info: The quilt is based on Amy's Four Patch, a 2003 pattern by Jo Morton, but I added an extra row of blocks to change the proportions. I also did the outer border pieced instead of all one fabric, and made the border wider.

The circular motif I used for quilting the blue blocks is from 60 Machine Quilting Designs by Pat Holly and Sue Nickels, published in 1994 but still available. I've used this book many times. I reduced the size of the pattern to fit the block, and made templates to transfer the design.

It's been too hot this week to do any work in the garden, so I've just been keeping the plants watered that need it, and making sure the bird bath's full.
I'm not keen on the heat, but it's nice to see the garden full of flowers again after a long cold winter.

More flower pics another day.