18 April 2015

knitted cuffs

I spend a lot of time browsing the patterns on Ravelry. My problem being I want to favourite them all, with the result my to do list seems to get longer and longer. One such pattern which I knew I just had to knit was the Handschmeichler or Hand Charmer by Claudia Höll-Wellman. It is available free both in German and an English translation, click here. When I saw it on Ravelry I couldn't work out how it was constructed but in fact it is multiple knitted buttonholes. The end result looks so organic like tree branches or seaweed.
Here's some photos of my finished project......

My pattern notes are on my Ravelry page, click here. Unfortunately or rather fortunately it is too warm to wear them at the moment, but they can wait till the Autumn. I am now, a dab hand at knitted buttonholes and I couldn't have mastered the technique without the video on knitting help.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend, Ali.

10 April 2015

i-cord ideas

Now that I have mastered the knitting mill (see previous post, click here) I've been having a think about what I can use the knitted cord for, so I've listed a few ideas.

1. Use it to write with and make words and names.....

2. Faye came up with the idea to knit cords and use them for hair ribbons which could be knitted in school or team colours......very pretty.

3. Shoe laces.

photo courtesy of fluff and fuzz

4. The edging of a garment.


this idea came from Hattie My Loves blog click here.

5. Jewellery, what about a necklace or bracelet.....

found on indulgy by Ophelia click here.

6. Bowl, many years ago I did pottery at school and we made coil pots from sausages of clay. A woolly bowl cold be made in a similar way by stitching the i-cord together. The stitches could be made into a design feature.

 photo from the booklet "French Knitting" by Heather Kingsley-Heath.

7. Upturn the bowl and it becomes a hat.

8. Helen who writes Midget Gem Quilt blog came up with some great ideas....carpets for dolls houses, small coasters for wine glasses and cords for reading glasses.

Anyone else with any ideas I would love to hear them.

I use i-cord a lot in my patterns.....have a look at the Daisy Brooch, Shamrock, Mistletoe or Daisy Chain Necklace.

Till next time, Ali.

3 April 2015


Things have been very busy here with this and that and even a dash of spring cleaning.....so not much time for knitting, sewing or blogging. This is just a quick post to wish everyone a very Happy Easter, hoping it will be filled with fun and more importantly, chocolate.
Once Easter is over I hope things will be back to normal and I'll get a chance to do a bit of blogging about something crafty! 
Till next time, Ali.

21 March 2015

knitting mill (2)

In my last post I was having difficulties with my newly purchased knitting mill. I contacted the seller and seemingly double knit / 8 ply yarn is too thick and she suggested 4 ply / fingering. I also looked at a tutorial on you tube, see here - so thanks Helen (who writes the Midget Gem Quilts blog) for suggesting that. No problems with the 4 ply and I got it going first time.....

As the cord gets longer, you have to move the weight further up, the tutorial shows how to do this by using a clothes peg. It's a pity the manufacturer hadn't come up with something.

The cord grows very quickly and would be a good way to use up leftover sock yarn. Fluffy yarn or yarn that splits easy wouldn't be very successful, but I was all chuffed I got it working in the end.
Now having mastered the technique, my next post will be ideas that you can use the i-cord for.

Till next time, Ali.

13 March 2015

knitting mill

I do like a bit of i-cord either done on two double pointed needles or on my knitting nancy. I've seen i-cord machines and thought I would like to have a go in case I ever needed to make vast amounts of knitted cord. So with labour saving in mind I ordered my Prym Knitting Mill online.

After reading the instructions several times I had a go........then another go..............then another go. I don't know what I have been doing wrong but I ended up with more knots and tangles than cord.
Even after a cuppa and a few chocolate bickies and then a recap of the instructions I still could not get it to work. Aaaaaaaarrgggh!

If anyone has any tips or hints or think they know where I'm going wrong I'd love to hear, but in the meantime I'll be using the tried and trusted methods and I find the repetition of these techniques very therapeutic.
Thanks for stopping to read my blog, Ali.

3 March 2015

easter pattern

I have just completed my latest pattern a chick and bunny Terry's chocolate orange cover. A Terry's chocolate orange is not just for Christmas and now you can make it even more Eastery by knitting up an Easter themed cover.

The main part of the cover is knitted in the round, with dpns and smaller pieces are knitted flat with two needles. Some sewing is required to assemble. The cover is knitted with chunky wool, so knits up quickly and smaller pieces are knit with dk/8ply yarn. The flower for the bunny uses scraps of 4ply/fingering.
The pattern is for sale on my etsy shop, click here, or my Ravelry Store, click here. I also have a free lamb chocolate orange cover available on my blog, click here

Bye for now, Ali.

13 February 2015

crochet hearts

Crochet does not come naturally to me and I just do the odd project now and then. Instead of work flowing I am all jerky and awkward. However, I saw a pattern By Juliette Peterson on Ravelry for crocheted hearts and thought I would like to have a go. The pattern is however in US crochet terms so I have "translated" into UK crochet stitches. For more details of the original pattern and also the copyright click here. I used dk/8ply cotton from my stash and a 4.5mm hook for my hearts.

     Heart Applique by Juliette Peterson
Uk Terminology

st(s): stitch(es)
rd: round
sl st: slip stitch
ch: chain
dc: double crochet
htr: half treble
tr: treble
dtr: double treble 

Work 4 ch, sl st into first st, to form ring.

In Rd 1 one bump of the heart is worked, then the tip of the heart and then the second bump. 
Stitches have to be pushed while working into the ring in Rd 1 so there is enough room to accommodate all stitches. 

Rd 1: Worked into ring.
dc, htr, tr, 2dtr, tr, htr, 2dc, htr, 2dtr, htr, 2dc, htr, tr, 2dtr, tr, htr, dc, sl st.
Do not turn work.

Rd 2: dc into next 2 sts, htr into next 2 sts, dc into next 13 sts, htr into next 2 sts, dc into next st and sl st into last st.

That's enough crocheting for now, the hook has been tidied away, but at least I have another crochet project under my belt
Till next time, Ali.

6 February 2015

chocolate orange cover pattern



rd(s): round(s)
st(s): stitch(es)
k: knit
p: purl
kfb: increase, knit front and back of same stitch
tog: together
rpt: repeat
sl: slip
psso: pass slip stitch over
pwt: pull wool through (thread yarn unto needle and then through sts on knitting needle)

four dpns size 4.00mm/US 6
two dpns size 3.50mm/US 4
white textured fluffy/eyelash chunky/12 ply yarn - I used James C Brett Fluffy Chunky
black double knit/8ply yarn - I used Stylecraft Special dk
two black safety eyes size 8mm
scraps of white felt
white embroidery thread
polyester toy filling
sewing, tapestry and darning needle
flower bead or button and green thread (optional)

Knit in the round with four needles 4.00mm/US 6.
Cast on 25 sts very loosely with white chunky/12 ply yarn.
Divide sts between three needles (8, 8, 9) and join in the round.
Place stitch marker.
Rds 1 and 2: k.
Rd 3: (k4, kfb) rpt to end of rd  (30 sts).
Rd 4: k.
Rd 5: (k5, kfb) rpt to end of rd  (35 sts).
Rd 6: k.
Rd 7: (k6, kfb) rpt to end of rd  (40 sts).
Rds 8 to 10: k.
Rd 11: (k6, k2tog) rpt to end of rd  (35 sts).
Rd 12: k.
Rd 13: (k5, k2tog) rpt to end of rd  (30 sts).
Rd 14: k.
Rd 15: (k4, k2tog) rpt to end of rd  (25 sts).
Rd 16: k.
Rd 17: (k3, k2tog) rpt to end of rd  (20 sts).
Rd 18: k.
Rd 19: (k2, k2tog) rpt to end of rd  (15 sts).
Rd 20: k.
Rd 21: (k1, k2tog) rpt to end of rd  (10 sts).
Rd 22: k.

Knitted flat with two needles size 4.00mm/US 6.
Cast on 7 sts with white chunky/12 ply yarn, leaving a long yarn tail.
ROW 1: k.
ROW 2: p.
ROW 3: k.
ROW 4: p.
ROW 5: k.
ROW 6: p.
ROW 7: sl1, k1, psso, k3 sts, k2tog  (5 sts).
ROW 8: p.
Cast off.

Knitted flat with two needles size 3.50mm/US 4.
Cast on 11 sts with black dk/8ply yarn, leaving a long yarn tail.
ROW 1: k.
ROW 2: p.
ROW 3: k.
ROW 4: p.
ROW 5: k.
ROW 6: p.
ROW 7: kfb, k3, kfb, kfb, k3, kfb, k1  (15 sts).
ROW 8: p.
ROW 9: kfb, k5, kfb, kfb, k5, kfb, k1  (19 sts).
ROW 10: p.
ROW 11: k.
ROW 12: p.
ROW 13: k.
ROW 14: p.
ROW 15: k.
ROW 16: p. 
Break yarn and join white chunky.
ROW 17: sl1, k1, psso, k to last 2 sts, k2tog  (17 sts).
ROW 18: k.
ROW 19: (p2tog) four times, p1, (p2tog) four times  (9 sts).

EARS (make two)
Knitted flat with two needles size 3.50mm/US 4.
Cast on 7 sts with black dk/8ply yarn, leaving a long yarn tail.
ROW 1: k1, p5, k1.
ROW 2: p1, k5, p1.
ROW 3: k1, p5, k1.
ROW 4: p1, k5, p1.
ROW 5: k1, p5, k1.
ROW 6: p1, k5, p1.
ROW 7: sl1, k1, psso, p3, k2tog  (5 sts).
ROW 8: p1, k3, p1.
ROW 9: sl1, k1, psso, p1, k2tog  (3 sts).
ROW 10: p1, k1, p1.
ROW 11: sl1, k1, psso, return stitch on right hand needle onto left needle, pass last stitch over the stitch just moved.
Fasten off.

LEGS (make four)
Knitted flat and i-cord with two needles size 3.50mm/US 4.
Cast on 8 sts with black dk/8 ply yarn.
ROW 1: k.
ROW 2: p.
ROW 3 (k2tog) four times  (4 sts).
Bring yarn round behind back of work and continue with i-cord until work measures 6cms/2.25ins from cast on edge.

  • Turn the body piece so that the stockinette side is facing inwards and the "bumpy" side is facing outwards.
  • Darn yarn tails away on the reverse side.
  • Head - with yarn end make small stitches along the nose end and pull tight.
  • Fold sides of head backwards so that the seam is at the middle at the back and sew halfway up seam, leaving top open.
  • Cut circles from white felt, I used the back of the back of the safety eye as a template.
  • Put a small hole in the centre of the felt and push eye through, trim felt if necessary - attach eyes to head.
  • Sew nose with white embroidery thread using a fly embroidery stitch.
  • Stuff head and close up back seam.
  • Ears - pinch the cast on edge together and secure with a few stitches. Lose the yarn tail at the tip of ears and attach both ears to head.
  • Attach head to body.
  • Attach legs and tail to body.
  • Attach flower bead or button to side of mouth, using green embroidery thread for a stem. 

copyright Alison Hogg 2015

4 February 2015

another year

Another birthday comes and goes. My problem these days is too many candles and too little cake.
On a craftier note I am working on a freebie pattern at the moment. The creme egg covers have proved popular, click here, so Ive decided to write a pattern for a cover for a Terry's Chocolate Orange. I'm having problems with blogger at the moment, but hopefully will post at the weekend
Bye for now, Ali.

23 January 2015

super bulky yarn

I was just experimenting a bit this week and wanted to share two ideas for making your own super bulky yarn. 
The first is to make a knitted cord first, either i-cord or using a knitting nancy. I used double knit /8ply yarn and a knitting nancy.

Once I had made my ball of yarn, I knitted a small sample, in the usual way with 10mm / US 15 needles. You could use larger thicker needles though, for a looser effect.

Another method of making super bulky yarn and a way which would also be a great stash buster is to knit several strands together.
For this I used four strands, two double knit / 8ply and two aran / 10ply weight. You could experiment with different weights and colours.

To knit I used 12mm / US 17 needles, but again a thicker needle could be used. The photos don't really show the bulkiness, I should have included something to show the scale like a coin or a tape measure. I love the way the colours turned out and really like the texture of the wrong side of the work.

There are lots of projects you could use the super bulky yarn for, cowls, berets or even one of the knitted pouffes which are very fashionable these days. I think this is definitely something I will play with  more in the future.

Have a great weekend, Ali.

15 January 2015

stripes and dpns

It has to be said I love my dpns and love knitting with them. One thing bugs me however and that is the stepped affect when changing colours and knitting stripes. Seen here......

I recently saw on the Drops design website a video showing how to minimise this, so I decided to do my own tutorial, for future reference and to share with anyone who knits in the round.

1. Change colour in the usual way.

2. Knit to the last stitch in the round.

3. At the beginning of the next round pick up the stitch directly below the first   stitch on the previous round.

4. With the right needle, pick up the stitch purlwise through the back loop and place it on the left needle.

5. Knit the first stitch of the round and the picked up stitch together. Pull this stitch tight. Continue normally with work.

 As you can see the stepped affect is lessened and there is a more smooth transition between the colours.

For anyone who prefers to watch a video of the technique, the link to the drops website is here.
Now I need a good stripey project. Just the weather for sitting by the fire with some knitting/crochet or whatever.
Till next time, Ali.

8 January 2015

gingerbread house

I previously wrote about a few competitions I was going to enter. One was the campaign for warm homes organised by AgeUk. I eventually got round to knitting up my entry. I had several ideas going round in my head as to what sort of warm home I would knit. Then, before Christmas I was watching Mary Berry on TV making a lovely gingerbread house and so I got the idea of knitting one. AgeUk supply a pattern designed by Julia Marsh, I used this as a starting point and adapted it to create my gingerbread house.......

The main house and roof is knitted flat on two needles. I use a picot edge for the bottom of the roof and moss stitch for the shutters, The chimney was made using dpns, knitted in the round and the candy canes were made using i-cord technique. The smarties on the ridge of the roof are crocheted starting with magic loop.
Some more photos showing the back of the house and some details......

 For more information about the campaign and competition click here.

Till next time, Ali.

20 December 2014

christmas wishes

Many, many thanks for those who have stopped by over the last year. Thanks also for those who have taken the time to leave comments, I do love to read them. I'll not be blogging now until after the holidays, so I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and best wishes for 2015.

10 December 2014


I do love a competition! Its great to see what other entrants come up with, usually, something which I hadn't thought off!  I recently entered the knit-a-bug competition, run by the BBSRC. The idea was to knit a bacteria or virus, which has an impact on human or animal health. Not being particularly scientific, I did a lot of googling and decided to knit an E.coli bug.
My bug was knitted and then felted, here it is........

I was lucky enough to win a runner up prize - a £25 gift voucher to spend at the Little Knitting Company.
  At the moment I'm entering the Stitch Craft Create competition - Pin it to Win it. All you have to do is pin ten of your favourite items from their shop, on Pinterest. Picking ten items is easy as there is lots to choose from - their website caters for a variety crafts, with some great books and materials. To visit SCC website click here.
Closing date is midnight on the 31st December and the prize is the items you've pinned.

Hopefully if I ever get my Christmas knits completed I will be supporting Age UK campaign to end fuel poverty, by knitting my own warm home.

Details and the pattern can be found here. They are also running a competition and to enter, you send a photo of your knitted house. Details of the competition can also be found on their website.

It's a busy time of the year for everyone but maybe you'll find the time to join me in one or other of the competitions. 
Till next time, Ali.

24 November 2014

granny's closet

Had a quick spin down to Whitehead this morning to visit its newest shop - Granny's Closet, which is situated in the Bank House along with Lighthouse Yarns. It's the place to be with a crochet class on going when I went down.
Meta stocks the sweetest of dolls, teddies and crocheted baby toys in her "Closet". What little girl wouldn't love one of these cuties.....

She also stocks sleepwear, coats, sleep suits, blankets, cushions and towels. 
The ballerina range is just adoreabubble....

I loved these - your little dude and his teddy bear can go to bed wearing matching pjs.......

If you are in the proximity of Whitehead this Saturday 29th November, between 1pm and 8pm, this years Victorian Street Fair is taking place. Lots of events including music and street entertainment, Christmas and craft stalls, Santa's grotto. There is even a competition for the best Victorian costumes. For more details click here. Of course Granny's Closet will be open, along with the Bank House, Lighthouse Yarns and Victoriana Vintage Floral Boutique.
Till next time, Ali

14 November 2014

christmas decoration blog hop

I'm afraid I havent had much time for blogging these last few weeks. I have been busy Christmas knitting, as I am determined not to leave things to the last minute this year. However I was invited by Stitch Craft Create to be part of a Christmas Decoration blog hop. I usually make a few things every year anyway, so was very happy to take part. They have a great selection of e-books and downloads, to have a look click here. The e-book I chose was the Stitch Craft Create Christmas one, which can be downloaded for free, click here. It has eighteen different ideas for things to make, including, papercraft, sewing, knitting and a few tasty treats. At the start of each project there is a wee section telling how long it takes to finish and also the skill level.

One of my favourites in the book is the mini gingerbread house, which perches on the edge of a glass or cup......

I also liked the cute felt hand stitched gingerbread man.....

I decided to make one of the knitted projects. There are three knitted ones in the book, designed by Claire Garland. I knitted up some of the Hanging Bobble Hats. It was nice to have a pattern like this written for dpns. As usual I find it impossible to follow a pattern without making a few changes. For my pattern notes see my Ravelry page, click here.

Good fun to knit and quick too. Her other knitted patterns are Christmas puds and a fairy for the Christmas tree.
If you like Christmas crafting you might be interested in SCC's Handmade Christmas page, click here.

Details of the blog hop can be found here.
Have a look and see what everyone else has made and maybe discover a few more crafty blogs.

Stitch Craft Create are running a great competition at the moment....all you have to do is upload a photo of one of your own handmade Christmas decorations either on their share board or use the hashtag #SCCXmas on Twitter or Instagram. Prize is £100 to spend on their website......very nice!

Till next time, Ali

24 October 2014


Recently, my friend Ali (writer of the blog, Random Wooliness) a brilliant crocheter, introduced me to the art of freeform crocheting and knitting. I had never come across it before, but freeforming is basically a project which doesn't follow a pattern, it has no rules or restrictions and you just make it up as you go along. It is a random collection of different stitches, with changing colours and textures. Another way of describing it, is doodling with yarn. The resulting piece is known as a scrumble. I like the whole idea, it's so easy to get up uptight when making something, but this way is much more relaxing.

Ali came up with the idea that we joined together in a freeforming project. We both would make a scrumble, she would crochet one and I would knit one. Then we would send our scrumbles to each other and add on a freeforming knit/crochet piece to the original scrumble.

My scrumble was a cast on row, a row increasing and lots of yarn overs, then cast off. I then stitched the long strip together and added a few beads.

I was so excited as Ali is very creative with her use of colours and mixing different types of yarns, I couldnt wait for her scrumble to arrive.

And here it is a beautiful mix of blues and greens.........

We are intending to pass the pieces back and forward, adding on a wee bit each time. I cant wait to see where this freeforming adventure takes us.
Many thanks Ali (the other Ali) for such an exciting project.
Til next time, Ali.

12 October 2014

sea of poppies

Recently I saw online that The National Museum of the Royal Navy were looking for knitters/crocheters to make some poppies, for an art installation which is to commemorate the losses during WW1.  The website gives details of local free workshops and an address were poppies can be posted. They have to arrive before 1st November. For more details click here.
I thought I would take the opportunity to blow the dust off the crochet hooks and make a few poppies. To be honest crocheting does not come easy to me as I much prefer knitting. I think the poppies got gradually better as I went along. I used the free Crochet Remembrance Poppy by the McAree brothers , click here
and here are some of the poppies.......

Have a great week everyone,

5 October 2014

free acorn pattern



rd(s): round(s) 
st(s): stitch(es)
k: knit
p: purl
kfb: increase, knit front and back into same stitch
pfb: increase, purl front and back into same stitch
tog: together
rpt: repeat
pwt: pull wool through (thread yarn onto tapestry needle and then through sts on needle) 

four dpns size 2.75mm/US 2
two colours of dk/8ply
polyester toy filling
tapestry and darning needle
Cast on 2 sts with brown wool.
Leave a long yarn tail if acorn is to be hung.
i-cord for 4 rows.
Slide sts to end of needle and continue knitting flat.
ROW 5: pfb, pfb (4 sts)    (right side). 
ROW 6: (kfb) rpt to end of row  (8 sts).
Slip sts onto three dpns (3, 2, 3) and join in the rd, make sure that purl (right) side is facing outwards. 
Rd 7: (pfb) rpt to end of rd  (16 sts) this round is a bit fiddly! (to make the increase easier, stretch the stitch which is to be used for the increase with the working needle, before purling into the front and back). 
Rds 8-10: p.
Change yarn to green or beige. 
Rds 11-14: k.
At this point pop acorn inside out and weave end yarns away on the reverse side. 
Rd 15: (k3, k2tog) rpt to last st, k1  (13 sts). 
Rds 16 and 17: k. 
Rd 18: (k2, k2tog) rpt to last st, k1  (10 sts). 
Rd 19: k. 
Rd 20: (k1, k2tog) rpt to last st, k1  (7 sts).
pwt  (break yarn, thread unto needle and thread through 7 sts, do not pull tight).
Poke stuffing inside acorn, do not overstuff.
Pull yarn tight, thread needle through sts again, make a few sts to secure and loose yarn inside acorn.                                               

Oak leaves in the picture below are fom a pattern by Frankie Brown, Woodland Wreath Oak, for more details click here

  copyright Alison Hogg 2014