My own take on Low Tide (from Tin Can Knit)

I am baaaaack!
We are back into the magic real of yarn and today I wish to share a very special journey.

Between March and April we celebrate a few birthdays in my family: my mom on 29 March,  then my brother on 5 April and last my Sister-in-law on 14 April.

It is tradition for me to try and make hand made presents for my family members as much as I can and birthdays are the perfect occasion for me to plan ahead of time and find the perfect item I cam make for them.

Today I am going to show you what I made for my sister-in-law Shall. Shall is really close to me, I feel blessed that we liked each other right away and we care genuinely for one other like if we were proper sisters. It is not always the case with extended family, and since I moved to the UK to be with her brother, I feel double blessed that his whole family accepted me so well. It certainly made my life easier in a foreign country ūüėÄ

A couple of things to know about Shall. She is really active, down to earth and practical, but she is also a very girly girl when she wants to. This year being “girly” seemed to have become the main theme of her birthday celebrations, most of us picked up this vibe for her special day. It could also be that for the first time in a long time she hosted a pamper night for her girlfriends.

Side note: the pamper night was great, I met a lovely bunch of ladies and I also purchased some products for myself. If you are interested in beauty, then you should really have a look at what this brand sells. Bonus factor: it is all natural and cruelty free (aka vegan friendly)! Have a look yourself at Tropic products.

But I digress, back to the knitting part of the story.

I wanted to make her something special for when she goes out and meet with friends. I wanted it to be something nice, but versatile at the same time, so that she would not feel pressured into just wearing it “on special occasions”.

The solution came from TinCanKnit and her gorgeous pattern called Low Tide (Ravelry link). I fell in love the moment I saw it and I knew it was going to be the perfect sweater for Shall.

The pattern called for a 4ply yarn, and since Shall is vegan I thought that Rowan Summerlite 4 ply Cotton would be a perfect choice. I selected the shade 418 Washed Linen. Thank you Doreen from The Knitting Corner for providing me with the yarn I needed in a super speedy way. Ah, did I forget to tell you? I started this project on 17 March less than a month away from her birthday (I love to knit on the edge, so far for planning ahead).

The pattern asks to knit the bodice in three parts first. It is a lace bodice, and I really enjoyed knitting it. This is a picture of it in the making (some of you may have already seen this picture on my Instagram account – find me @Simply.Yarn).

The cotton knitted beautifully. I was really impressed with the quality of the spun.It never splitted once and the gauge was spot on.

The pattern also advised to block the bodice pieces into shape in order to get the exact measurements for the size you are knitting. I will not lie, I was nervous. Cotton does not stretch that much, and I admit it here in shame… I don’t own a blocking mat and pins set. So I had to improvise. Don’t laugh.. we need to be inventive from time to time. This is how I resolved the issue at hand.

It was not beautiful, and it was not very safe for the fingers… but it did the trick. I wet blocked the bodice and I put it together in order to knit the rest of the sweater.

Then a long marathon of stockinette stitch began. I knitted on circular needles back and forth since I had about 270 sts on my 3.5 mm pins. The pattern called for the body to be 14 inches (about 35 cm) long. I added a few extra rows as I liked my edge to be in garter stitch so that it would not roll up.

Once the body was done I tackled the shoulders. Be aware that if you want to knit your own Low Tide it calls for the short row shaping technique, no panic as I know there are many tutorials on line if you need any help.¬†This was my first time doing it, but I was really lucky as I had a knitting masterclass hosted at The Knitting Corner a week before Shall’s birthday where the tutor showed it to us in person (perfect timing!).

Last step was chosing the right buttons for the front. I had selected two options. Can you guess which one I went for?

No need to add anyhting more. I was delighted with the result. The pattern creates a perfect shape and fits many different body types. The yarn was simpy sublime to work with, it is extremely soft and the draping it creates is beautiful.

Thank you Doreen once again for letting me take some pictures in her yarn shop on a proper manniquin (we saved Shall from having to model it during her birthday celebrations).

I give you my own version of the Low Tide from Tin Can Knit; I also made the sleeves a little bit longer and added the same garter edge that I already had knitted at the bottom of the sweater (bonus of the picture: gorgeous yarns in the background!).

And now a few closer shots of the bodice. From the back…

…and the front (did you guess right about the buttons?).

That’s it for this post! Next one will be about a gorgeous pattern that I found online… for free! Stay tuned!

Crochet baby trainers, too cute not to make.

By now I think you all know that I love making baby inspired projects. The problem is I have no baby myself or around me. Since I relocated to the UK all my friends who are spawning little people are now in Italy.

Despite this, I still enjoy making little tiny things in the hope I will be able to gift them or sell them at some local craft event.

Recently I was smitten by this crochet pattern I found on Ravelry Crochet Baby Converse created by the talented Suzanne Resaul (she is also distributing the pattern for free, I love her!!).

I had some leftover cotton yarn (some Lily Sugar’n’ Cream and some Stylecraft Classique Cotton) so I decided to test the pattern. Since the two yarns have different weight, the shoes came out in two different sizes. I was left wondering which one would be the best fit for the tiny feet of a baby.

One day I was talking with my neighbour and she mentioned she had two very young (below 1 year old) great-granddaughters. I honestly jumped on the occasion and asked her if she was willing to check the size of a new project of mine on them. Bless her, she not only did that for me, but also loved these little shoes so much that she asked me to make two pairs for her great-granddaughters.

Weeeee another commissioned work for me!!

She asked for some yellow and pink shoes, so we chose the colours together and after the fantastic Wool Warehouse delivered me the new shade of Lily Sugar’n’Cream yarn I set to work.

These are my little crochet baby converse style shoes.

4 shoes

 I have to admit I am beyond happy about the outcome.

4 shoes 2

As I said before I used Lily Sugar’n’Cream cotton yarn in shades Ecru for the soles, Sunshine and Hot Pink.

yellow

pink

I have also prepared a kit for the items that I sell; it includes care labels (required by the Trading Standards) and some other information about the item.

Since the shoes are so small I really couldn’t saw the care label on them (they might irritate the baby’s feet), so I came up with an alternative positioning.

tags

I thought my neighbour would appreciate some wannabe professional packaging, so I also placed them in the cellophane bag I use to display my clothes on  sale.

Here they are, tagged and ready to be handed over.

packageI really hope many of you crochet lovers will try to make these as well, the pattern may be a little fiddly in a couple of points, but the result is too cute not to give it a go.

Purses, purses, and more purses (crochet and knitting).

My mom recently asked me to make her a small purse for her house keys that she could keep in her handbag. She requested something small, flat enough not to be bulky in the handbag and resistant enough so that it would not get ruined by the keys.

I decided I was going to make a small purse measuring 13 cm ¬†x 8 cm, but I didn’t want to settle for a plain single crochet pattern. I love to learn new techniques and try my hand with new stitches. So I went online trying to find inspiration, and I discovered the Crochet Stitchionary¬†and the Knitting Stitchionary.

I started scrolling through the website and I selected the one that I considered perfect for my project: a ribbed pattern using  the front post double crochet stitch. I used a 4 mm hook and Stylecraft Cotton Classique in red (the button comes from a recycle stash), the base is a 20 chain long foundation worked on both sides, and with one increase at each corner (44 sts). I worked 3 rounds in sc, then 1 round in dc and then I started the ribbed pattern.

This is how the purse looks like.

purse red

If you don’t know how to crochet a front post double crochet there is a fantastic video tutorial here. I also sewn the two side ribs together (1 st at the 2nd row from the bottom and 1 st after another 2 rows) to keep it flatter (and please my mom).

After finishing this project I realised I was really intrigued by all the other stitches I had seen on the Stitchionary… so I went back to it. The purse frenzy had begun.

Using again Stylecraft Cotton Classique in beige and a 4 mm hook I made this:

beige purse

This stitch is called Modified Sedge Stitch (tutorial here) and it usually requires to turn the work. I modified it, as I worked it in round (same number of stitches as the red purse), and I love how it turned out.

The third purse caused me a little headache… I chose to use the Uneven Berry Stitch because it is simply lovely. I made the purse in Stylecraft Cotton Classique in ivory and I tried to modify it in order to work it in round. My purse turned out to be wobbly and bumpy. See below, and judge yourself.

white purse

Unsatisfied with the result (I think I have a mild case of OCD) I hooked on another one in yellow (sunflower), this time following diligently the instructions (Uneven Berry Stitch tutorial here). It paid off, since after making the two panel and sewing them together, I got this:

yellow

After all these successful attempts I felt confident enough to attempt even a bigger project…. I wanted to turn a granny spiral potholder into a satchel purse!

I selected my shades for the spiral (green, seville, beige) and set to work. After the spiral was completed I had to improvise a little .. I mixed rounds of sc, hdc, sc in the lower row… I honestly tried to write down some instructions (after I had finished it) but it was confusing also to me. Maybe this is meant to be a unique item… or maybe on my next try, I will write down some notes as I work it.

green1

green2

After all these crocheted purses,  I felt the need to knit something.

I had done a fully knitted¬†Satchel Mini Purse (see my previous post here) that I loved, but I was eager to try and mix a crochet base with a knitted bag. I am not even trying to hide the fact that at the moment I am obsessed with this plum color…

So for this bag I made a simple base of 6 sc in magic ring increasing until I got 60 sts. Then I picked up 60 sts with my 4 needles and I worked the Simple Grill pattern alternating plum and white. Again, since I like working in round, I had to modify the instructions to fit with my technique. You can find the basic tutorial for the Simple Grill pattern here.

ribbed

I was so happy with the result that I hooked/casted on another one. I had so many different shades of Stylecraft Cotton Classique that I just had to experiment and enjoy the ride.

This purse is really simple, but I love the way it turned out. It is an Autumn color scheme, really warm and soothing. Again I made a crochet base (6 sc in magic ring, then increase each round until I got 60 sts), I picked up the stitches on my 4 knitting needles and I knitted it in round alternating the colors. I made a ribbed edge to hide the cord, but this time I turned it outwards so that the opening for the cord is in the front.

beige1

beige2

¬†Ta-dah! This is what kept me occupied in the last weeks… if you have any question about some of the purses or if you want to share some of your creations I will be delighted to see what you came up with.

Happy knitting /crochet!

Purple, mon amour!

The other evening I was attending my local Knit and Natter group at The Sewing Shop in Lichfield and, as usual, at the end of the evening before leaving I had a good snoop around looking for new yarns.

I was looking at cotton balls because being in the Summer, working with wool it had proved to be a little uncomfortable. We are experiencing a heat wave here in the UK and knitting – or crochet – with sticky hands is not recommended (it could have also been the fantastic strawberry cream tarts that were served to us that night to make my fingertips sticky, ut I refuse to believe so).

Anyhow, I was scrolling through the shelves and there is saw it… this fantastic shade of purple (photo “stolen”¬†from Loveknitting website).

To tell the truth I had seen it last month, but since I was trying to follow through with the good intention of not going to buy more yarn before clearing out most of my stash (like if this is really going to happen, ever), I had forced myself to turn away and leave it behind.

In our household we have a simple rule to counteract impulse buying. If you see something you like, you wait a few weeks before purchasing it, so you are really sure that you TRULY want it. This simple rule saved me several times from buying crazy things that on the heat of the moment seemed vital to me, and then turned out to be totally unnecessary.

I told myself I had waited a month, a WHOLE MONTH and I still really wanted that ball of yarn… so I proceeded with the¬†purchase (the ball then magically disappeared to the bottom of my knitting bag, so the boyfriend didn’t notice – mischief achieved).

I have a thing for purple, I am not going to deny it. I could knit and crochet just in different shades of it, but in these last months I started to appreciate bold colours and this was the perfect occasion to try once again.

Lately I have been doing several little purses that I intend to bring to an event I will take part to in September, so following the mood of the month I created this little satchel purse.

It measures 14 cm in total and the base is 13 cm x 7 cm (more or less).

I worked it in round because it was faster, I could switch colour easily (especially the single yellow row), and because I really loathe sewing the seams together!!

This was my first attempt at making a ribbed cover for the cord (I usually create eyelets and weave the cord in and out) and I am really happy with the result. I found  to pass the cord through a little challenging, but with the aid of a safety pin the cord was easily put in place.

Last note, I bought these beads over a year ago… they were lovely but the hole to pass the thread in was so small I was never able to use them in any¬†of my projects. Today I decided to get creative: I split the yarn in half and I was able to sew them on. Victory! I really like their look at the sides of the cord.

What more to add? I simply fell in love with this project, and I plan to replicate it in different colours and maybe making small additions to it.  Want to have a go too? Find the pattern on Ravelry on my Simply Yarn design page!

Cat coasters, because you never have enough cat themed stuff around.

I share the love for yarn with many of my real life friends, We share and we discuss many different ideas, patterns and techniques.

In fact, It is not uncommon to send each other pictures to tempt ourselves into prove we can always come up with something new.

My best friend and I also share the love for cats, so when she sent me the picture of these cat coasters I fell in love with them in an instant.

Cat crochet

They were linked to me from a Facebook page, that in its turn redirected to a craft website. The bouncing from website to another wasn’t finsihed. These coasters were indeed featured in the Etsy page of¬†Shanna Compton called hooks and balls.

I think it is important to give people credit for their work, especially if their work inspire you to create something similar.

RIght, now that I had uncovered the origin of the idea I decided to make a different version of it that would suit my taste better (I love the originals but I thought the pink in the centre was too much of a graphic detail). I also decided to make a simplified version of the different colors, maintaining a single color block for each one.

Luckly I had some Stylecraft Classique DK Cotton in the shades of white, orange (Seville) and beige, plus a small amount of some black coton of the same weight.

Making one coaster really does not take much yarn so you could also try and use the leftover you have around. Free your imagination, there are all different sorts of cats in the world, and this is your chance to portray them .

Right, this is what my 4 cats look like.

I free handed the body and the other bits of the black one, as you can see, since it looks a little different from the other three. As I made the black one though, I realized it was a nice quick project that I could write down for you to try your hand on. This is why the other three have a more consistant shape. As usual, I hope you can have fun making them, and let me know if you have any comment or suggestion about the pattern.

Happy crochet!

Use 4 mm crochet hook.

In magic ring work 6 sc.

Round   1          Work 2 sc in each sc (12 sc)

Round   2          Work * 1 sc in next sc, 2 sc in the next sc * repeat ** till end of the round (18 sc)

Round   3          Work * 2 sc in next 2 sc, 2 sc in next sc * repeat ** till end of the round (24 sc)

Round   4          Work * 3 sc in next 3 sc, 2 sc in next sc* repeat ** till end of the round (30 sc)

Round   5          Work * 4 sc in next 4 sc, 2 sc in next sc* repeat ** till the end of the round (36 sc)

Round   6          Work * 5 sc in next 5 sc, 2 sc in next sc* repeat ** till the end of the rond (42 sc)

Round   7          Chain 10, from 2nd chain from hook work 9 hdc, 1 hdc in the next sc (tail)

Round   8          Work 14 sl st in the FLO of next 14 sc

Round   9          Chain 5, from 2nd chain from hook work 4 hdc, 1 hdc in the next sc (leg)

Round   10        Work 7 sl st in the FLO of next 7 sc

Round   11        Chain 5, from 2nd chain from hook work 4 hdc, 1 hdc in the next sc  (leg)

Round   12        Work 20 sl st in the FLO

Round   13        Cast off and weave ends in

 

The tail and the legs chains always start on the first of the 2sc in the same sc of the previous round, the 1 hdc after the ones worked in the chain is worked in the 2nd sc of the 2sc in the same sc of the previous round.

 One more picture of the detail of one of the cats to help you interpret the pattern.

” alt=”” />

 

Drawers or Wardrobe fresheners – Stash buster mini project. Free pattern

Today I decided to present you an easy project to get rid of the yarn leftovers that lay at the bottom of our yarn containers.

It is a fact that we find it difficult to depart from the yarn that is left behind after our bigger projects have been finished, mainly because in our eyes it really feels like a true crime to throw away perfect good yarn (even if in little amount). At least this is how I feel.

I am always happy to work on quick knits because they also allow me to experiment with new free hand designs and they are perfect to donate for small charity sales. I am preparing some items to donate for my local charity so I went scouting in the depth of my yarn stash for the little forgotten yarn balls.

I found some really nice cotton in two shades (prewinkle and pale rose) which was gifted to me from my mom called TRIFOGLIO ritorto; the maker is Coat Cucirini but on their website this variety is not even mentioned anymore (I believe it was discontinued Рmy mourning session about it will be expressed in another post).

I also exhumed some Rico Design Essential (white РWeiss) and some Stylecraft Classique Cotton (saville).

I decided to create some drawer or wardrobe freshener as they are quite a versatile project when the perfume of the filling is dissipated (if you like the pouch it can also be used as a jewelry bag or a phone cozy).

So I set to work and these are the designs I came up with.

I filled them with some green apple pot-pourri I had in the house, lodged safely into a small (and cheap) organza bag to prevent any spillage.

This is a knitted pouch.

This is a crochet pouch.

It occurred to me that this would be also a perfect occasion to try and write down a pattern to share with you. I am aware it is a really simply design, and many of you would be able to replicate it with no instructions, but I also know there are many beginners out there looking for inspiration, and a small project like this might be temtping for them.

Materials:

Set of 4 DPN needles 3.0 mm

Crochet hook  3.0 mm

Scraps of yarn ( I used about 20-25 g cotton per pouch)

Darning needle

Organza pouches

Lavander / Pot-pourri for the filling

 

Perwinkle pouch, diamond eyelet.

CO 40 sts, join in round

Divide the stitches in the following way

needle 1:            20 sts,

needle 2:            10 sts,

needle 3:            10sts.

 

Round 1 Knit

Round 2 Purl

Round 3 Knit

Round 4 (k2, k2tog, yo) all the way around

Round 5-10 Knit

Round 11 Needle 1: k7, k2tog, yo, k2, yo, skpo, k7; needle 2 & 3 Knit

Round 12-13 Knit

Round 14 Needle 1: k6, k2tog, yo, k4, yo, skpo, k6; needle 2 & 3 Knit

Round 15-16 Knit

Round 17 Needle 1: k5, k2tog, yo, k6, yo, skpo, k5; needle 2 & 3 Knit

Round 18-19 Knit

Round 20 Needle 1: k4, k2tog, yo, k8, yo, skpo, k4; needle 2 & 3 Knit

Round 21-22-23 Knit

Round 24 Needle 1: k4, skpo, yo, k8, yo, k2tog, k4* ; needle 2 & 3 Knit (*edited on 26/02/16 thank you Stargrace!) 

Round 25-26 Knit

Round 27 Needle 1: k5, skpo, yo, k6, yo, k2tog, k5; needle 2 & 3 Knit

Round 28-29 Knit

Round 30 Needle 1: k6, skpo, yo, k4, yo, k2tog, k6; needle 2 & 3 Knit

Round 31-32 Knit

Round 33 Needle 1: k7, skpo, yo, k2, yo, k2tog, k7; needle 2 & 3 Knit

Round 34-38 Knit

Rearrange the sts on needle 2 & 3 on the same needle, using the 3 needles method, bind off.

With the crochet hook make a chain of 90 sts (or your desired length) to create the cord for the pouch.

Weave all the ends in.

 

White pouch, fern eyelet. *indicates the new pattern instructions, after spotting a mistake in the original pattern 

CO 40 sts, join in round

Divide the stitches in the following way

needle 1:            9 sts,*

needle 2:            22 sts,*

needle 3:            9 sts.

Round 1 Knit

Round 2 Purl

Round 3 Knit

Round 4 (k1, k2tog, yo) k1 all the way around

Round 5-7 Knit

Round 8 Needle 1: k9; needle 2: k6 (k2tog, yo)twice, p2, (yo, skpo) twice, k6; needle 3: K9

Round 9 K19, p2, k19

Round 10 Needle 1: k9; needle 2: k5 (k2tog, yo)twice,k1, p2,k1, (yo, skpo) twice, k5; needle 3: K9

Round 11 K19, p2, k19

Round 12 Needle 1: k9; needle 2: k4 (k2tog, yo)twice, k2, p2, k2, (yo, skpo) twice, k4; needle 3: K9

Round 13 k19, p2, k19

Round 14 Needle 1: k9; needle 2: k3 (k2tog, yo)twice, k3, p2, k3, (yo, skpo) twice, k3; needle 3: K9

Round 15 k19, p2, k19

Repeat round 8- 15 5 times

Round 32-34 Knit

Rearrange the sts on needle 2 & 3 on the same needle adding a sts from needle 2 at the two sides, then using the 3 needles method, bind off.

With the crochet hook make a chain of 90 sts (or your desired length) to create the cord for the pouch.

Weave all the ends in.

 

Orange pouch

With the crochet hook chain 40 sts and join in round.

Round 1 ch 1,sc all around, join with a sl st

Round 2 ch 1,sc all around, join with a sl st

Round 3 ch 3 (counts as a 1dc+1ch), *skip next st, 1dc in the next st* repeat ** all the way around, join with a sl st

Round 4 ch1, *sc in ch of the space, sc in the next st* repeat ** all the way around, join with a sl st

Round 5-6 ch 1, sc all around, join with a sl st

Round 7 ch 2, hdc all the way around,join with a sl st

Round 8 ch 1, sc blo all the way around,join with a sl st

Round 9 ch 1, sc all the way around,join with a sl st

Repeat round 7-9 three times

Round 16 ch 1, sc blo all the way around,join with a sl st

Round 17 ch 1, sc all the way around,join with a sl st

Bring the two sides of the pouch together and sew them together working a sl st through the internal loop of each stitch.

Make a chain of 90 sts (or your desired length) to create the cord for the pouch.

Weave all the ends in.

 

That’s all folks, if you spot any error on my pattern or if you feel like commenting on it, please let me know. Constructive criticism makes my world go round ūüôā

 

 

Crochet Lace Doilies … Yay or Nay?

In the last days I decided to take out my crochet hook and enjoy the feeling of creating something that wouldn’t weigh a ton.

I had bought a few balls of Rico Design Crochet Essentials cotton and I was itching to explore how it would perform.

I first decided to create some free hand coasters featuring all the colors I had.

This is what I realized with a size 2.00 mm hook.

Doily 1
Doily 2

I am not such a skilled crochet and lace weight always feel intimidating. My only previous experience was a set of four coasters I had made for mum for Christmas… and you know… usually mums never harshly critique the crafted presents they receive from their daughters.

I think the red opaque cotton (which was a leftover found at the bottom of my grandmother stash) was a delight to work with.

heart doily

The pattern of this red coaster is free and provided by Red Heart. I really enjoyed it.

Anyway, I felt it was time to push myself out of my comfort zone, and I selected a little more complicated pattern to do. You can see it on Cylinda Mathews’s Ravelry Page or if you don’t have a Ravelry account you can access it here.

Admittedly it wasn’t an easy ride, even if the instructions were really clear, I blame my little skill.

Overall I am really happy with the result and this project gave me enough confidence to explore more works of this kind.

Big Doily

What about you? Are doilies too old fashioned or you believe they can be spruced up and reinvented into modern fashion?