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.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/LouTheWoolMonkey/listing/654458115/dutch-pixie-childrens-hooded-cape?

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.

 

 

 

Nessie’s Crocheted Poncho

I love road trips.  Especially road trips round Scotland when the sun is shining.

The best bit about road trips is that they give you the time to do new projects whilst in interesting locations and my crochet goes eveywhere with me.

So, this time, I decided that I would create a new kids poncho.  

 

Off we go…

 

 

 

The best bit about journeys that take a while, especially if you have somebody else to do the driving, is that you have an excuse to sit and crochet (or knit) for hours at a time, just watching the scenery roll by. My new poncho grew quite a bit on the way to Scotland.  

 

The Wool Monkey crochet in the Caingorms

This is the life for me.

Wild camping in stunning locations.

The location was soooo good that the crochet slowed down a bit though, whilst we went to climb a few Cairngorms.  (They are the hills in the background in case you were wondering).

…Daydreaming of sunny days on the side of the Loch…

So, back to the crochet.  It has been one of those projects where I just set off with a hook and some yarn and see what comes out.  It’s simple shells this time. The yarn I decided to use was some Louisa Harding Amitola which has been in my stash for quite some time.  It’s self striping, so you get a lovely array of colours when you crochet with it.  It is a little bit on the thin side though, so I tend to use it double stranded, to make it more like DK yarn.  This has the bonus effect of giving a much wider range of colour blends too, where you get two strands of different shades blended together.

The Wool Monkey Nessie Poncho crocheted shells

Back to Scotland…

The Wool Monkey crochet with a pint

 

Crochet here, crochet there, crochet everywhere.  I love being on holiday and being able to crochet, it’s idyllic.  No holiday would be complete without a few pints of good ale too.

 

 

 

The Wool Monkey meets the Loch Ness Monster

 

Eventually we ended up camping on the shore of Loch Ness.   It wasn’t part of the plan, but was a good place to stay.  Nessie was in total approval of the crochet project too, which has to be a good omen.

The Wool Monkey on Loch Ness

 

And finally, time to head home and say goodbye to another road trip.  Scotland is beautiful, there is no disputing this.   I had only two balls of yarn left and the project would be finished too.   I’d say it was a successful trip all round.

 

 

Back to the real stuff.  The project!  

So, it has become a very square poncho,  with an opening for the neck and head to make it more versatile and easy to vary the size.  My 6 year old adores it.

I think it should be an easy enough pattern for most crocheters to tackle too.  very relaxing and grows quickly.  (That’s why I managed it within a week)

Do get in touch if you would like more information, or if you would like a copy of the pattern it is for sale on Etsy:

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/621983409/nessies-poncho-crochet-pattern-wm2070?ref=shop_home_active_1

Happy crocheting!

 

If you are interested here are a couple of books with kids crocheting patterns, which I can recommend:

 

 

Spirals Everywhere Blanket

Wool Monkey Crochet Spirals Blanket

Sometimes it’s a great idea to ask your kids what they think you should make next and sometimes it backfires, big time.

I made the mistake of asking my girls if they would like it if I made them a blanket each. I told them that it could be their own choice, unique to them.  Of course they said yes and then promptly told me what sort of blankets they would like.  The youngest requested spirals.  Spirals!  Once my brain had recovered from the panic of wondering how I was going to do spirals I naturally said yes, of course you can have spirals.

Hmmmm.  Spirals.  How shall I do spirals. Hmmmmm.  Spirals.   (This is how I spent the next day or so, pondering spirals).Woolly Crochet Spiral Blanket

After several attempts, and lots of frogging, I finally had a spiral in a square and a set of colours chosen by my 5 year old that would hopefully work. All I had to do now was create 23 more spirals!

I must admit, it doesn’t look very good does it.

Since then, I have been spiralling everywhere.

Crocheting Spirals with coffee and cake

 

 

Spirals in the cafe, with coffee and cake.
(This is my favourite type of spiral)

 

Crochet Spiral Blanket

 

 

Spirals at the sports hall during my kids gymnastics lessons. (It makes the lessons go really quick)

 

Crochet Spiral Blanket

 

 

Spirals sat at my desk, when I am supposed to be working.  (ooops)

Crochet Spiral Blanket

 

 

 

 

Spirals in the pub.   (Why not?)

 

 

Crochet Spiral Blanket

 

 

 

Spirals sat on the sofa at home.  (This is where most of them get done. I don’t actually have that much of a social life)

 

Crochet Spiral Blanket

 

 

 

Spirals in a coffee shop.  Again.

 

I think you probably get the idea by now that I have been doing spirals everywhere I have been recently.

I have been trying to get one done everyday, so that it didn’t become a burden and I still had time for other projects.

 

My youngest was pretty pleased last week with how her spirals were looking.  Everytime I add to the pile she lays them all out on the floor.  She says she is planning how they are going to fit together.  Hmmm.

Woolly Crochet Spiral Blanket

 

Four weeks later and I have a large pile of square spirals.  Now begins the bit that I don’t really feel like doing – sewing them all together.   Grrrrrr.

Wool Monkey Crochet Spirals Blanket

 We laid them all out on the bed, trying to arrange them in such a way that meant all the colours were evenly spread out.  This is trickier than you might imagine.  Then, after a little deliberation I decided to use the slip stitch method to join all the squares together.  It gives a nice neat edge to all the squares and is fairly quick.  (Always a good thing).

Once they were all joined together, all that  remained was the edging. Several rounds of edging as it turned out, but nevermind, I thought it finished it off nicely and sometimes it’s worth putting a bit of extra effort into the edging on a large blanket.

Here it is, the finished blanket.  My daughter loves it and has used it on her bed every night.  I was worth the effort I reckon.

 

 

If you’re interested in creating your own spiral blanket, then the pattern is available on Etsy:

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/557964737/

Old Favourite – Children’s Poncho

Sometimes the old fashioned stuff just works the best.

Just a simple granny crochet poncho, with a little bit of detail.

Kid's Granny Style Crochet Poncho

 

I created this little poncho number whilst I was running my Wool Monkey shop as I had a high demand for poncho patterns one winter.  I thought there was a need out there for a really simple, kids, crochet poncho.  I never expected it to be such a hit, but it has turned out to be one of my most popular patterns ever since.

I think on this occasion I owe a fair amount of credit to my youngest daughter.  She chose the colours that I used to make the poncho and she did a very good job of modelling the poncho for me once it was finished.  She looked super sweet and posed like a super star. Sometimes she is good like that.  Sometimes she is far from it!

Kid's Granny Style Crochet Poncho

She has become quite accustomed to modelling things that her Mummy has made now, although often she thinks she will get to keep them afterwards.  (This is not usually the case).  Sadly she’s getting bigger though and even though she is still, in my eyes at least, very cute, she is far from being a photogenic toddler anymore!   I could do with a replacement.  That most definitely does NOT mean I will be having anymore children however!

I think I have made this poncho several times over now in many different yarns and colours, for many different children.  It turns out that even boys quite like ponchos too.

It’s also quite an easy one to adjust the size too, just keep crocheting until it fits. It really is very simple.  I guess it is still true that simple things often work the best. It’s been a while since I made one now, maybe that’s what I shall do this weekend.  If you would like the pattern to make your own, it is still available on Etsy and hopefully will be for a long time to come.

Kids Simple V Crochet Poncho Pattern

 

The only problem patterns like this create for me, is what to create next to keep up with it?  Maybe I should ask my daughter what she thinks I should make…

Kid's Basic V Granny Crochet Poncho

 

 

Here are a couple of books that I have found contain some really good children’s crochet patterns too:    (click on the images to go look inside the books)

 

Knitting for Charity

So, Christmas is over and like many of us you might have spent the last few months knitting Christmas presents for friends and relatives.  It’s something we all do from time to time when we feel the need to be creative and need an excuse to make things. Plus, it’s nice to give presents that you’ve made.  But then suddenly, after Christmas, you have fulfilled all your gift requirements and no longer have any projects to make.  Panic!

You need a new project, fast.  But what?

Well, nobody you know needs anything and you already have a full wardrobe of woolly goodies, so how about making something for somebody unknown?  Somebody who needs anything you can give because they have nothing. Or, somebody who needs a bit of a hand up in life.  After all the excesses of Christmas maybe a bit of charity would be good for the soul.

knit-for-charoy2

Knitting, or crocheting for charity is a lovely thing to do.  There is nothing more soothing when you’re in a bad place than something warm and cosy, handmade by somebody else and filled with love.  It offers comfort and sometimes a bit of hope that the future is not always going to be bleak. Plus of course, the good feelings and sense of well being that it generates for you.  Sometimes you can be in need of that warm cosy feeling just as much as the person receiving your knitting, you just don’t realise it. Like I said, it’s good for the soul.

So, there are many different ways you can join in. Blankets, hats, clothing, twiddle mats, toys to name but a few. There are lots of organisations out there asking for donations and it’s up to you to decide how you think you could best contribute, but here are just a few things to consider before you go leaping in headfirst.

Check your Charity.  By this I mean do a bit of research and find out about the charity that you are going to donate to.  Make sure they are real, that their motives are genuine and that all your hard work is going to get to the people that need it the most and not be wasted or worse. Most organisations have websites and you can also check their status using the charities register and similar.

Make sure that the charity wants knitted or crocheted items.  (Some don’t).  Look for any specific requirements they have for particular items or  sizes and make sure that what they want is something that you want to make.  Don’t put yourself in a position where the making suddenly becomes a burden for you.  Also check if they have any specific yarn requirements, such as acrylic or machine washable or similar that you need to consider before starting.

Lastly, be aware that they are not going to pay you to donate your work to them.  You are going to have to cover the cost yourself.  Don’t set out to create a pure wool blanket for refugees in Syria for example, without taking into account not only how much the yarn is going to cost you, but also any postage costs you might have to incur to get your item to the charity!  If you’re lucky you may be able to get somebody else to donate you some yarn. Local businesses or a friend who has her great grandma’s stash in the loft but never learnt to knit maybe.  Don’t be afraid to ask around, give somebody else the chance to get in on the act and you may be surprised how many people will want to contribute.  You could also team up with others, spread the cost and the work and make it a group project!

So, if you fancy a go, here are a few ideas for you to think about and websites that you might find interesting.

knit-for-peace

This is a great organisation, which I have worked for on several occasions.  They always have lots of projects on the go, for a large variety of different causes, often with patterns available for you to use for free and loads of interesting stuff on their website.  I can highly recommend going and having a peek.  It might just spark your interest with projects you never knew existed.

Knit for Peace

knit-a-square-new_0

 

The knit a square group is a great one to get involved in if you would like your projects to be really quick and simple. Lots of my regular customers from the Wool Monkey shop used to bring me squares on a regular basis to send away to these guys. They have ladies who then sew all the squares into blankets to be sent away and handed out in places where they are needed. They also have requests for other items too, always with instructions and patterns to help you get started. This is a great project for beginners, knitting squares is a good way to practice.

http://www.knit-a-square.com/

 

loving-hands

 

Loving Hands is a bit more of a forum type group, who focus onbringing like-minded crafters together to create for charities.  They aim to make sure that all handmade work goes directly to the people/animals who need it.  They have lots of information on local groups, free patterns and projects to join in with.

http://www.lovinghands.org.uk

I could go on listing all the charities that need knitted items all day, but then this blog would become rather long.  But, you get the idea, that there is more out then than what you perhaps first thought.  A simple google search brings up hundreds of different ones. Or, you can visit the UK Hand Knitting Association website, where there is a list of charities for you to have a nosey at.

http://www.ukhandknitting.com/knitting-for-charity

 

I hope some of this sparks a new interest for you, so that your crafty hands don’t get bored. If you need anymore help or are unsure with any of it, get in touch and I’ll see if I can help you out.

Happy crafting!

 

twiddle-mats

 

 

 

 

School Cardies

These are the pictures taken from the beginning of the school year.  They were a bit of a rush job this year.  I knitted one at the beginning of the summer and then one in the last ten days leading up to the start of term.

Phew.  Made it, just in time.

Thank fully the girls, love them.  It’s really nice when your kids appreciate your knitting!

They both have the same one this year and I am hoping they will last a couple of years. Then I can make some different ones…

eleanor-school-sweater

If you are interested in the pattern, it’s not one of mine I’m afraid.  (Well, some of it is).  It is a pattern from Ravelry, called Gidday, by Georgie Nicolson.  I added a few of my own tweaks, but it’s essentially very similar.  Here is the link:

Ravelry pattern for Gidday

 

And, the yarn is one of my all time favourites, Debbie Bliss Railto DK