I wonder how many of you have similar problems to me with pets and knitting / crochet projects?
Problems like; your pet wants to be on your knee whilst you are trying to knit, making it incredibly hard to move your elbows, or when you put your project down briefly and your pet decides that gives them to perfect opportunity to sit on top of it, to stop you doing anymore knitting so you have to stroke them with at least one hand,, or when you lay something out on the floor to measure it the dog decides you have put it there as a blanket for them to lay on!
Well, she does always seem to want to lay on my projects. I don’t know if it is the feel of them, or the fact that I have made them, or what, but it gave me an idea recently.
Red, my dog (see picture above), hasn’t really had a specific bed of her own for a while. She used to have, but stopped using it some time ago, so we got rid of it. She generally sleeps wherever she fancies. The kitchen windowsill, the spare bed, the sofa, behind the door, the middle of the floor, on my knitting… So, I thought that maybe if I made her a bed of her own, which was crocheted, then she might use it. I have an old duvet, which to be fair, has seen better days and sometimes Red uses this for a bed. When she had some surgery, she slept on it on our bedroom floor and if I put it on the living room floor then she often decides to use it. So, I thought I could crochet a cover for it and then it could become her bed permanently. A perfect bit of upcycling if you ask me!
So I began. I found a very large stash of super chunky yarn in various colours in my wardrobe and thought it would be ideal. Nice and thick and soft, with a bit of wool in it, she is bound to like it and it would use it all up nicely.
I started making squares, to use up all of the colours and because it would be really quick and easy to do. Red didn’t seem to want to wait for me to finish…
But I carried on and did finish it of course.
I then realised that actually, it was a great project for beginners. it is made in individual squares stitched together at the end, can be made to any size you need, Great Dane, Chihuahua, or cat, and it’s great for using up lots of oddments. So, I have written it up into a pattern, aimed at beginners. There are very detailed instructions in the pattern, with pictures to help, or just the plain straightforward pattern for those of you with enough experience to not need the pictures. To be honest, you don’t even need to turn it into a dog bed if you don’t want, it could just be a blanket. It’s very versatile.
Here it is stuffed and turned into a dog bed.
And, here is Red dog on her finished bed. She loves it!
If you are interested in the pattern, it can be found on Etsy, by following the link below:
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.
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 p stands for purl, the k for knit, the f for front and the b 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…
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)
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:
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.
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.
Back to Scotland…
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.
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.
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:
If you are interested here are a couple of books with kids crocheting patterns, which I can recommend:
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