Dragon Knitting and Crochet

Baby dragons with WoolMonkey

What happens when you ask eleven year olds what they think you should write a blog about?

In my case they don’t say a new jumper, or hats, or knitting kit, or socks, or anything like that,  nothing that would be relevant to a yarn related blog, nope, just dragons.  Dragons!

So, I thought about dragons.  And then I remembered that a few months ago I did actually crochet some dragons for my girls.  How could I have forgotten!   Then naturally I thought that maybe I could write about dragons.  Well, dragon patterns to be more precise.

My personal dragon making saga began back in the summer when my eldest asked me to make her a dragon.  I have to be totally honest with you, that crocheting small, fiddly creatures is not my favourite past time.  I prefer making large items, such as blankets or sweaters.  But, it is impossible to say no to your children, so I went on the hunt to find a pattern.  I have just had to re-hunt for the pattern that I used, as I couldn’t remember where I got it from and whilst I have probably saved it somewhere, could I find it?  Of course not.  It’s taken me hours to find it again.  It wouldn’t be right to show you the dragons I made without telling you where to find the pattern though would it!

Anyway, here is dragon number one…   (the blue one)

Of course, as soon as her sister saw it then she wanted one too.  Hence the orange one was made shortly after.  I believe they named them Watermelon and Squidge.   At this point I would like to mention that the naming of them has absolutely nothing to do with me.

They aren’t perfect, I know, but they were good enough to entertain my kids.  I find this kind of work very fiddly.  I have the beginnings of arthritis in my hands and they seem to cramp quite easily doing small pieces of work. Work which involves trying to hold very small things whilst crocheting said small thing at the same time.  It’s not good for my knuckles.

They were quite quick though, and fairly easy.  The pattern was pretty straightforward.  They are very cute too, so worth a little bit of pain.

Here is the link to the website where I got the pattern.  It is a free download.


You might think that was the end of it.  But no, my dragon saga continued.

The girls played with their baby dragon for a while and then decided to gang up on me and demand a new pair of dragons.   They insisted that they were twins this time and should be cousins of the ones they already had.   I have no idea why they needed to be cousins, but who am I to question the minds of my little people.   So, of course, off I went again in search of a different baby dragon pattern.

Here they are,  Purpleed and Pinupple.  (Don’t ask!)

These two ended up slightly larger than the others and took a little bit more work, but now we do have a whole host of dragons in the house.  I did stipulate however, that I wasn’t making any more after these two.  I know what my kids are like and they would have me making dragons forever if I let them. 

The pattern for this one is called ‘Philip the Dragon’ and the link for it is below.  This is another free pattern by the ‘Left Handed Crocheter’.  Don’t worry, you don’t have to be left handed to do the pattern.   There are lots of lovely patterns on her website though, so you should definitely take a look if you like this kind of thing.

Anyway, all that hunting around on the internet for the patterns that I used meant that I also found lots of other patterns too that I thought you might like. 


Here are a few links to some more crochet dragon patterns:


This first one is from Stringy Ding Ding.  It’s free and cute. I don’t remember seeing this one back in the summer when I was looking, otherwise I might have made this one instead.

Click on the image to take you to the free pattern…

This next one I love.  They are so very dragonly!  This pattern is a bit more complex and involved but looks to be well written.  There are also videos you can watch which explain how to do all the different aspects of the dragon if you need help.  They are called ‘Dragons in my Kitchen’, by Amigurumi to Go.

Click on the image to take you to the free pattern…

This next one is quite sweet and not too complicated.  The eyes are embroidered on, so I am pretty sure they would be terrible if I did them, but you might be better at it than me.  It is also free and called ‘Baby Dragon’ on Amigurumibb by Che Che.

Click on the image to take you to the free pattern…

This next one you can cheat with a bit.  There is a bit of felt and glue involved, so no where near as much fiddly crochet to do.  It is from All About Ami.

Click on the image to take you to the free pattern…

Then there is the very sad looking dragon, but cute anyway so I’ve included it.  I believe it has been modified by Lucia Lanukas from a Russian pattern. This is a free download available on Ravelry, so you do have to have a Ravelry login for this one. If you haven’t used Ravelry before it’s a bit like a giant database for knitting and crochet, with thousands of patterns on there. Some free, some paid.  You can sign up for free though and there is no spam or marketing attached to it. It is worth a visit!

Click on the image to take you to the free pattern…

This one is a bit bigger than some.  So, maybe not quite as fiddly to create. I think he is  a very serious looking chap.   This is by Lucy Kate Crochet. 

Click on the image to take you to the free pattern…

There are many, many more patterns out there.  Some of the more complex and involved than others and some are paid patterns.   I have included as many as I could in the gallery below.  I like flicking through the images and seeing how creative people can be.  If you are interested in any of them then click on the image and it will take you to the place where you can buy the pattern.  (These are all crochet patterns – the knitting patterns are further down the page).

Don’t think that I have forgotten about the knitters amongst you. There are an abundance of knitting patterns for dragons out there too.

This is one of my favourites, it’s the Soup Dragon from the Clangers – maybe some of you would remember him?  


The link to the pattern is in the gallery below – which is full of knitting patterns for dragons.  Some of them are truly fab!

I hope you have enjoyed this little fantasy journey with me.  I do love dragons still even though I am not exactly a little girl anymore.  What is more, most kids love them, boys and girls, so you should always be able to find a home for one if you fancy making one.

Maybe unicorns next…?

Quick Knitted Ear Warmer

I found this delicious skein of yarn in my stash the other day – a lovely chunky blend of wool, alpaca and silk – and thought it might make a nice hat.

Whilst I was thinking about what style of hat I changed my mind though.  The weather is turning colder, but when the sun is out it is still nice and warm, so I thought that maybe a headband might be a better option.  Just enough to keep your ears warm.

This is my better half and my dog on a beautiful Autumn morning recently – I was quite warm!

Then I got thinking about a style and decided on something simple. My reasoning? Well, there are lots of you out there at the moment who are very busy learning to knit and you need more simple patterns, to help you learn.   So, here it is.  A quick headband pattern.  I prefer to think of it as an ear warmer though.  It is lightly shaped and in seed stitch, so it  fits nicely around your head with only knit, purl and some basic increases and decreases.

Let’s get going shall we?

Firstly, I suggest you measure your head, or the head that you are making the headband for if it’s not your own.  The headband I am making is designed to fit a head of between 55 and 58cm.  This is measured around the head from the back, just above your hairline, over the tops of the ears and to the front, around the hairline.  Or, if you want your headband to sit differently then measure around where you want your headband to sit.  I find it is best to reduce the size by a small amount so that it fits nice and snug and doesn’t fall  down – not too tight though! Then if you need to make it bigger or smaller you can add in or take out some rows on the widest part of the headband.  I have pointed out where to do this in the pattern below.  You can work out how many rows as per the calculation in the next paragraph.

The tension I am using for this pattern is approximately 24 rows and 16 stitches per 10cm square, on 5.5mm needles.  So, if you wanted to make your headband 3cm bigger for example then here is how many extra rows you would need to do:

24 rows = 10cm   

which means that 1cm = 2.4 rows           

so, 3cm = 2.4 x 3

which gives 7.2 rows.    Let’s call it 7 rows, as you can’t really do 0.2 of a row!  So, you would need to do an extra 7 rows.

Let’s do the calculation again, just so you get it.  Say you wanted to make your headband 2.5 cm smaller.

again 1cm = 2.4 rows

so, 2.5cm = 2.4 x 2.5

which gives 6 rows.   So you would need to do 6 rows less than the amount stated in the pattern below.

Sorry if that was over explained but some people might not have had to do this before. Let’s move on shall we.


Firstly, you will need some chunky yarn and a pair of needles.  Any yarn can be used.  I used a skein of Mirasol Sulka, which is lovely and soft and warm, but you can use any chunky weight yarn you fancy. You will only need about 50g.

Just check your yarn is ok by knitting a tension square.   A tension square is a square big enough to be able to measure out 10cm x 10cm.  You will need to do it with 5.5mm needles on this occasion as they are the ones I used for the pattern.  Then once you have your square, count how many rows and how many stitches you have per 10cm.  It should come out something like the tension I mentioned above (it’s in bold type).  As long as it is somewhere close then it will be ok.  If you have too many stitches/rows then you could try again using a bigger needle size, or if you have not enough stitches/rows then try again using smaller needles.  Now you have your yarn sorted let’s look at the abbreviations.

These are the only stitches used in this pattern:

k  –  knit           p  – purl           

pfkb  – purl into the front and then knit into the back of the same stitch  (increase)

kfpf  – knit into the front and then purl into the front of the same stitch  (increase)

k2tog – knit two stitches together (decrease)

p2tog – purl two stitches together (decrease)

sts   – stitches

I will show you how to do these increases and decreases later on.


Start by casting on 11sts.

Row A – p1, k1, p1, k1, continue in this way to the end of the row.

Repeat row A, 15 more times.

Row B – k1, pfkb, *p1, k1, repeat from the * over and over until you get to the last 2sts, kfpf, k1.  (you should have 13sts now)

Let’s have a quick look at the pfkb stitch.

The simplest way to view it is that you are knitting twice into the same stitch. The stands for purl, the for knit, the for front and the for back. So, you can have different combinations of these increases. For example, kfpf (knit into the front and purl into the front), kfb (knit into the front and the back).

So, when you are ready to do the pfkb, start by purling into the front of the next stitch exactly as you would if you were doing a normal purl stitch, BUT, do not slip the stitch off the left hand needle at the end (pic 1).  Instead, take your yarn to the back of your work (pic 2), then turn your work towards you slightly so you can see the back of the stitches on the left needle. Insert your right hand needle into the back loop of the same stitch (pic 3), then knit this stitch (pic 4). Then you can slide the stitch on the left hand needle off. You have increased by one stitch, as you have made two from one (pic 5).

The kfpf is also very similar.  This time you knit into the front of the next stitch, leave it on the left hand needle, then bring your yarn to the front and then purl into the front of the same stitch. This might feel a little strange at first, but you will get used to it.

I hope that makes some sense. If you need a little more help, there is a video in the learning zone which explains how to do a kfb stitch. This is very similar, so it might help to watch this also.

Let’s continue the pattern…

Row C – k1, p1, k1, p1, continue in this way to the end of the row.

Repeat row C, 2 more times.

Row D – p1, kfpf, *k1, p1, repeat from the * until you get to the last 2sts, pfkb, p1. (15sts)

Row E – p1, k1, p1, k1, continue in this way to the end of the row.

Repeat row E, 2 more times.

Row F – k1, pfkb, *p1, k1, repeat from the * until you get to the last 2sts, kfpf, k1. (17sts)

Row G – k1, p1, k1, p1, continue in this way to the end of the row.

Repeat row G, 62 more times.

This is the part of the pattern where if you want to increase or decrease the size of the headband then you can add or subtract your extra rows.  All you need to do is change the number of repeats of row G by the number of rows you need to adjust by. (Hopefully if you wanted to adjust the size then you worked this out earlier on).

Time to decrease now.

Row H – p1, k2tog, *p1, k1, repeat from * to last 3 sts, k2tog, p1.  (  15sts)

If you need help with a k2tog decrease then this is how to do it. (Otherwise, you can skip to Row I)

A k2tog stitch, (knit two tohgether), is essentially the same as knitting one stitch, but you are knitting two at the same time instead.

Start by inserting your right hand needle through the front of both of the next two stitches on your left needle, (pic 1), in exactly the same way you would if you were just about to knit a stitch.  Then wrap your yarn around your needle like a normal knit stitch, (pic 2),  draw your loop of yarn back through both of the stitches on your left hand needle, (pic 3), then you can slip them both off your left needle and you now have one stitch on your right hand needle instead of 2, (pic 4).   That is your decrease done.

There is a video in the Wool Monkey Learning Zone where you can learn how to do this is if you would like a little bit more help, or would like to watch it being done.

Let’s continue the pattern again.

Row I – p1, k1, p1, k1, continue in this way to the end of the row.

Repeat Row I, 2 more times.

Row J – k1, p2tog, *k1, p1, repeat from the * to the last 3sts, p2tog, k1.     ( 13sts)

The p2tog stitch, (purl two together), is done in exactly the same way as a k2tog stitch, except you are purling instead of knitting.  Hopefully that should make sense to you by now. Let me know if not.

Row K – k1, p1, k1, p1, continue in this way to the end of the row.

Repeat Row K, 2 more times.

Row L – p1, k2tog, *p1, k1, repeat from * to last 3 sts, k2tog, p1.   (  11sts)

Row M – p1, k1, p1, k1, continue in this way to the end of the row.

Repeat Row M, 15 more times.

Cast off your remaining 11sts, not too tightly though!

You have nearly finished now.  All you need to do next is sew the two ends of your headband together, then sew in any remaining ends.

Hopefully it should look something like this when it is done.  Although you will probably make a better model than me.  (I really don’t like having to do my own modelling – yet another lockdown drawback!)

I hope some of you beginners (or non beginners) will enjoy having a go at this one. 

Happy Knitting !



p.s.    It turns out that this size is actually quite a bit more versatile than I thought it was going to be.  My 9 year old has decided that this ear warmer is now hers and it fits her quite well!   I suppose that means I will have to make another one…


Schlumbergera – Christmas or Thanksgiving Cactus?


I have to admit that I have never really thought about Thanksgiving very much.  Being British, not American, it doesn’t really enter into my calendar of events.  I do like the idea of celebrating the harvest and the previous year’s success,  with family or friends and a slap up dinner though.  Who doesn’t like a good family dinner?  

I can almost hear you thinking, ‘What has this got to do with cacti?’.

Well, one of my cacti is flowering prolifically at the moment.

This is my Schlumbergera. 

I have had it several years now.  It started life as a single leaf which was given to me by a dear old friend many moons ago, shortly before she passed away.  It had a great start, grew a few stems, settled into life nicely, then was eaten right down to the stump one night by my daughters escaped hamster!  (Hammy – was a very cheeky but loveable hamster).

Obviously I forgave him and luckily I rescued my cactus and started it growing again.  It had a couple more years of peaceful and uneventful growing time.  Hammy passed on sadly and was replaced by Snow White, hamster number two. 

One day, just as my cactus was about to flower I made the mistake of moving it to a different windowsill.   I thought we might be able to look at it better whilst it flowered.  To my dismay and disbelief, this coincided with another round of hamster escape episodes and my cactus was decimated yet again, this time by Snow White.    I have no idea what it about these cacti that hamsters like so much, but I can only assume that they must be very tasty to them.   This is Snow White – unlike Hammy, she was a bit of a lunatic.

Anyway, several years later my cactus has finally reached a big enough size to flower.  We no longer have any hamsters and there is no risk of being munched anymore.  The strange thing is I always thought it was a Christmas Cactus.    But, it’s flowering now and unless I’ve been asleep for a month, it’s not Christmas yet.     

I did a little bit of reading last night and realised that there are actually two main types of Schlumbergera.  Christmas ones, (Schlumbergera bridgesii),  and also Thanksgiving ones, (Schlumbergera truncata).   So, I guess mine is a Thanksgiving Cactus, not a Christmas Cactus.  Well I never!

They have very subtle differences but are both beautiful.   Here is one of my others, this one is definitely a Christmas cactus (it’s not flowering yet this year). 

These cacti come in a range of reds, pinks and white and originate from the coastal mountains of Brazil. They naturally grow on shady rocks or high up in trees, hence their habit of trailing ornately over the edge of their pots.

Just to confuse things even further, don’t forget about the Easter Cactus.  The modern name for this is Hatiora gaertneri, but has also been known as the Schlumbergera  gaertneri I believe (as well as other names).   They are incredibly similar, with just subtle differences between the leaves and flowers.  This is one of mine, see if you can spot the difference!

Just in case you have had enough of reading about cacti now, how about a little bit of knitting or crochet?   I haven’t had time to create a pattern of my own for you to make your own Schlumbergera cactus, but I have had a good rummage around on the internet for you to see what was already out there.

There aren’t many!

Here is a crochet pattern from Planet June, looks good but it isn’t free I’m afraid.  (You can click on it to go the pattern page).

Here is another crochet pattern, on Crazy Patterns.net,  this one is paid too, sorry.

This one is free, but unfortunately it’s in Italian, from Dony’s Creations Blog.  I don’t speak Italian so I have no idea how to translate it but maybe you do?   

That’s all I could find.   I could find no knitting patterns at all!  There is obviously a gap in the market, so I really should get creating..

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my Schlumbergera and it inspires you to get creative.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Knitted Wolf Sweater

Wool Monkey Wolf Sweater

There is a printed pattern which has been sitting on the ‘must knit at some point’ pile on my desk for several years now.  It was given to me by one of my customers back when I had a shop.  She thought I might like it.   I do, I love it.  I’ve been waiting for a chance to knit it for quite some time.

Here it is, looking a little worse for wear as a glass of wine was knocked over onto it a few days ago, by an over-enthusiastic dog.

A couple of months ago I had to go into hospital for some day surgery and I knew that it was going to involve sitting doing nothing for many hours. The nurses had told me the week before that I was going to be last on the surgeon’s list for that day. I still had to turn up for 7am though, then sit there all day in my dressing gown,  awaiting my turn.  7 hours as it turned out.  I figured there was no point worrying about it, that I should treat it as an opportunity to use the time as best I could.  After all, no kids, no dog, nobody to talk to,  no disruptions.  I wasn’t even allowed to leave my chair other than to go to the toilet, which was only a couple of metres away and to be honest I didn’t need to go as I wasn’t allowed to drink.  Perfect opportunity to start a new project!

So, out came the pattern I had been saving for so long.  It felt like the right thing to do.  I had a good rummage in my yarn stash, got everything I needed together and then off I went for my day long wait. 

It’s surprising how much you can get done in 7 solid hours of knitting.   I got a good way up the back of the jumper! 

It normally takes me a while to knit anything for myself.  I usually have other projects to do, for other people or other purposes, which take priority over anything I knit for myself.  Plus, I don’t often knit during the day.  I only work part-time, but I have kids to look after, parents to keep an eye on, the dog to walk etc. etc.  Knitting in the daytime is usually a very guilty luxury.  What a terrible shame, (hint of sarcasm), that I wasn’t allowed to do anything much after my surgery.  I was told that I must rest and do nothing for at least a week. Then nothing strenuous for several more weeks.

No longer did I need to feel guilty for knitting in the daytime.  Sat on the sofa, under my favourite blanket with a cup of tea, the biscuit barrel, the tv remote and my knitting all within arms reach.  Ahhhhhh.   And relax…

It didn’t last long sadly.  The kids and my other half were only willing to wait on me for a brief period, so normal life quickly resumed.  I did enjoy my short-lived period of respite though. Guiltless pleasure!

I loved the design of this sweater, especially the stitch pattern.  It’s a lot easier than it looks.  It might look better with more contrasting colours than those I decided to use, but I still think it looks great. Helped I think by the fact that one of the yarns I choose was ever so slightly self-striping.

Anyway, despite having such a good start, the speed of the project gradually got slower and slower.  More or less directly and inversely proportional to the rate at which I recovered from my surgery.  So, as per usual it has taken me a couple of months to finish it. I finally got around to sewing it up a couple of nights ago.  On the sofa, with my dog helping by moulting all over it whilst I worked.  I can forgive her though, she has been my only companion most daytimes lately and is an extremely good listener, as well as a fabulous hot water bottle.

Unfortunately, there was an unexpected down side to knitting a new sweater whilst recovering from surgery.  It would seem that sitting more than normal and eating maybe one or two more biscuits than usual isn’t that good for your waistline.  The size I chose to  knit back in September is now ever so slightly too small for me.  So, I am not modelling it for you, sorry.  I think the extra few kg I have gained are going to have to go before it will fit me like it should and look good.  Oops.

Oh well, better get the running shoes out, I have no excuse anymore after all…




If you think you would like to try the pattern above, then I believe it is still available to purchase online as a download.  You can get to it using either of the links below, one for Ravelry and one for the designer’s website.

Quick growing beginner snood

Wool Monkey Quick Grow Beginner Snood

Anybody who has been knitting for a while will probably know the pleasure of a quick and simple project.  I’m talking about the type that looks big and complicated, but actually grows really quickly and is super simple to do.  The one that you can do whilst watching TV, without having to think too hard or concentrate too much.

It’s nice to do complicated stuff sometimes, but every now and again my brain needs a rest. So, this is my latest relaxing project.  Nice and quick and simple.  So much so, that I reckon it it will actually be a really good pattern for beginners.  It introduces a couple of new techniques beyond just the knit stitch, but in a very simple way.

It’s versatile too.  It can be done with more or less any chunky yarn and the size can be altered really easily if you fancy.

So, here it is, the Quick Grow Beginner Snood…


If you are interested in making it then the link below takes you to Etsy, where you can get a copy.

If you are a beginner and need help with the new stitches then everything you need to know is in the Wool Monkey Learning Zone here on the website.

Please get in touch if you get stuck, need more help, or if you would simply like to send me a picture of your finished snood.  ( I always love to see your finished projects)

Happy Knitting!!


Easy Oddball Triangle Scarf

Sometimes, in my stash of yarn I end up with lots of little balls of yarn, all leftovers from other projects.  Each one is a different colour and a different yarn and generally not much use for anything.

So, now and again I find myself trying to think of something to do with them. I can’t waste them after all.

Last month, whilst looking for something else in my stash, (this is not always easy – it often involves emptying lots of plastic boxes out of the wardrobe, as the one I am looking for is usually the one right at the bottom), I found an envelope with lots of very small yarn samples, sent to me by various different yarn supplies.  All the samples were too small to be individually useful, so I added them to the pile of leftovers I was gathering together.  

Something had to be made from all these yummy bits and bobs, so I decided upon a new, very easy, scarf pattern.  The cold weather is coming and so it seemed appropriate.

So, I started knitting. My dog, Red, helping me of course.

It turned out to be a really relaxing project.   Very easy to make and great for beginners. It is mostly just the knit stitch with a little bit of detail on the edges.  I decided not to waste any yarn at all.   So, rather than working in complete rows and potentially wasting some, I kept knitting with each ball of yarn until it was almost done and then joined to the next yarn straight away – even if it was in the middle of a row. I think it gave quite an interesting striped effect.

It’s one of those patterns where you can just keep going until you have either run out of yarn, got bored, or simply think you’ve made it big enough.  The shape is a non-symmetrical triangle, so nobody can tell you that you have made it wonky, as it’s meant to be like that!

I also found that there was an unexpected plus side to this scarf.   I was intending to keep it for myself, but then my ‘other half’ decided that he liked it too.  Quite a lot actually, which I was rather surprised about.   When he agreed to be photographed wearing it I realised that he actually looks better in it than I do!        Hmmmmm.      Now it is a ‘shared’ scarf.   

I think I’ll knit myself a sweater next – he won’t want to share that…..


If you are interested in this scarf pattern then it is currently available from Etsy:

If you would like some help with learning to knit, all the stitches in this pattern are in the Wool Monkey Learning Zone on this website…

Beginner snood pattern

Beginner knitter?
This Wool Monkey pattern is an old favourite and perfect for both wet, winter weather and beginners who want to practice their skills.  It has been well loved and well used by many beginners.
The weather here is awful – which made me think of this pattern. I think I might make myself a new one!
You only need to be able to cast on, cast off and do the knit stitch. (If you need to learn these you can visit the Wool Monkey Learning Zone for help).

Grubby gardening hands

gardening hands

It’s been a while since I wrote a Wool Monkey blog, but winter is on it’s way again and the dark nights are looming, so I have recently found that I suddenly have the urge to create again!

Most of the last year or two have been spent moving house, landscaping my garden and generally working really hard.  Wool Monkey has sadly been neglected.

But, as the creative urge is blossoming again, I thought it was about time I finally finished creating the Wool Monkey learning zone.  Lot’s of people ask me for advice on learning to knit and crochet and it makes sense, to me at least, that there be a section on the website devoted to learning.  The grand plan, eventually, is to fill the ‘Learning Zone’,  with lots of useful info and videos and help for anybody out there who wants advice with their knitting or crochet adventures.  The possibilities are endless and so I guess the ‘Learning Zone’ will be too.

To make a start, I have been busy creating a few beginner videos.  (These will hopefully be on the website in a week or so).

OK.  So, that sounds fairly straight forward doesn’t it?  Well, everything was going fine until I realised, as I was using the zoom function on my video editor, that my hands are not so pretty anymore.  There are some rather close-up shots of my hands and really, they don’t exactly look sparkling. 

Lots of time spent gardening and years of rock climbing gives you very grubby hands.  Mine are gnarled and battered and scarred.  There is dirt permanently ground into my cracked skin. No amount of scrubbing or soap seems to shift it.  

Unfortunately they are the only pair of hands I have and so I have no choice but to use them for my Wool Monkey videos. How else am I going to teach people how to knit and crochet without showing off my hands?

So, this blog is an apology in advance for my scruffy looking hands, which no doubt be in every single video in the learning zone.  I hope you can tolerate them.

On the plus side though, they are very honest and hard-working hands and my garden is starting to look good too!



The Dutch Pixie

It’s taken me quite a while to get around to writing this pattern up.  It’s been such a success that my little Dutch Pixie absolutely loves this cape and hasn’t stopped wearing it ever since I gave it to her.

I think I started knitting it back in the Spring.  It was just an idea I had for a simple cape that I thought my eldest daughter would get some wear out of. You know what kids are like, they often don’t want to wear a coat, even when it’s freezing cold outside.  My daughter often doesn’t even want to wear a jumper either and to be honest there isn’t enough meat on her bones to keep her warm without one!  (We do feed her plenty, she just never sits still)  So, I thought a cape could be a good solution.

I think that I actually half knitted this cape and then pulled it out and started again at least twice. Sometimes I get a little indecisive about how I want the finished item to look.  Eventually I realised that time was moving on and summer was rapidly approaching and that if I wanted it finished for our trip to Holland in the summer then I needed to get a move on.  The next time I started it I decided to double up the yarn and knit with it twice as thick.  It would be quicker (and warmer) that way.


It was the detail that was slowing me down though I think.  I tried several styles and kept changing my mind.  In the end I chose just a few lines of lacy holes, down the sides, down the back of the cape and across the top of the hood.  Just a little bit of interest and really good way of hiding the increases to give a lovely shape.









Plus, I wanted it to have a pointy hood. 

 A proper pixie cape should have a pointed hood after all.





So, finally, on the ferry on the way to Holland, (nothing like leaving it until the last minute),  I sat sewing the ends in and adding the button fastener until the cape was completed.

We had a fabulous holiday and my little Pixie danced around the canals wearing her cape the whole time.

The only tricky part was getting her to stand still long enough to get a good picture!


If you’re interested in knitting a Pixie cape, the pattern is available from Etsy.


It’s a fairly straightforward knitting pattern and just uses stocking stitch.   The yarns are worked double so that you can create a nice blended looking set of stripes.   If you have questions, do get in touch.




Opuntia Cactus

As you may have realised by now, not only do I love crochet and knitting, but I also love cacti and succulents.

So, I thought I would start to create some patterns to go with my cacti, as well as giving you a bit more information about the plants themselves. Whilst I was thinking about doing this recently an old customer got in touch with me completely out of the blue, to see if I had created any cactus patterns yet.  What a pleasant surprise and  coincidence. 

She asked if I would create a pattern for an Opuntia.  So, that was my plan, but then as I started to look around, I realised that there were so many knitted and crocheted cacti patterns already out there for free that it would perhaps be a better idea to just have a look at some of those instead and see if any were worthy.

First thing is first though.  

I have to tell you a little bit about Opuntia.  (Sorry it’s the cactus geek in me)

So, the cactus genus Opuntia contains many different species, with many different common names, such as the prickly pear, bunny tails, beaver tails and the barbary fig.  You must have heard of some of them at least.  It’s really widespread, originating throughout the Americas, but with man’s help has now been spread worldwide.  In some places it is even considered to be a weed.  They do grow exceptionally easily.

This is a cutting I planted in January this year. It was just a couple of paddle shaped leaves then, but started to sprout new segments straight away. (Sorry about the sideways picture). This is how much it has grown up to now (June).








 It might not look like much to you, but it’s fast for a cactus.  


Opuntia are easily recognised by their usually flat, paddle, oval or round shaped stem segments.  The spines are often densely clustered on the areoles.  These are the areas on the cacti where you usually see the spines coming from  (the spotty bits on the pictures above) and trust me, you don’t want to touch them.  They often look like soft, fluffy little pads, but really, they’re not that soft, they are composed of hundreds of tiny spines which will almost definitely get into your skin and they are really, really, really irritating!   Some of them also have long, deadly looking spines in addition, as if they needed the extra protection!?

Like most cacti, they do have the redeeming feature of beautiful flowers and they come in an array of colours. Some of the species also have fleshy fruits, which can be harvested and turned into deserts,  jellies, drinks and delicacies.  (I think this is where the name prickly pear came from).  In many places, especially Mexico, the flesh of the cactus itself is also eaten like a vegetable.  I can’t say that I have ever tried it, but there’s a first time for everything…


(Images courtesy of Pinterest – please click links to original posts)

Here are a few of my old Opuntia cacti:


So, now you know what an Opuntia cactus looks like.  I have done some research for you so that you can make your very own. (Without the prickly bits)

Here are some of the best Opuntia crochet patterns I found. The first few are free too, which is always a plus!







I think this one is my favourite.










This one is nice, but one you have to pay for.






This is a nice pattern, but I’m not sure what language it is in.





This is really nice pattern too,  but it’s in Spanish or Portugese (I think). 




This is quite a chunky opuntia.






These patterns are super cute, but you have to pay for these.




It turns out that there aren’t that many knitted cactus patterns that are particularly Opuntia shaped, most of them are crochet patterns. Here are a couple that I did find and at least they are free. 













If any of you are desperate for a knitted opuntia pattern which is better than these then let me know and I will write one.  In the meantime I hope you enjoyed the opuntia!   

(now, which cactus to do next…)