The Knitting Shop UK

15 Oct

Did you  miss me?  I’ve been across the pond experiencing new cultures, getting lost on the underground and of course, knitting and crocheting the entire way.  There’s nothing like crocheting some fingerless gloves and a travel bag for one’s pet cthulhu on the Eurostar train between London and Paris.  More on the traveling cthulhu later…

While in London, I had the great privilege of meeting Susie and Mercedes Aspland, the mother and daughter team behind The Knitting Shop.  They welcomed me and my traveling companion into their home and there we toured Europe in a knitter’s fashion by viewing yarns from all over the continent.  Their stock was a wonderland of luxurious colors and fibers which made my fingers itch to get stitching.

While I highly recommend stopping by for the Aspland’s warm hospitality, luckily if you’re aren’t in London, you’ll be glad to know The Knitting Shop is primarily an online retailer and offers worldwide shipping.  You can be an international knitter without leaving the house!

The Knitting Shop Goodies

Hello Twinkie!

12 Sep

I am a bit obsessed with crafting items that look like food.  Crochet, polymer clay, felt, knit, you name it…if it’s food themed, then I’ll make it.  So when I first saw Twinkie Chan’s Crochet Goodies for Fashion Foodies, I fell in love.  Her bold style is one of a kind and completely reiterates my personal philosophy of crafting –  the more unusual, the better.  I can buy a plain scarf at any store, but a pizza scarf, now that’s hard to find!  If you’re looking for something refreshing and humorous, I highly recommend this book.  You’ll be entertained, and perhaps a little hungry after browsing through the pages.

Twinkie's Delicious Book

Pizza!

Openwork Fingerless Gloves

6 Sep

Due to too many hamburgers and hot dogs on Labor Day, I failed to get this pattern up on the blog yesterday. But all is well and I offer up this pattern for Openwork Fingerless Gloves.

This pattern uses one of my favorite stitches, which is the Crossed Double-Crochet. If you need instructions on how to create this stitch, the Dummies website (famous for all the Dummies how-to books) actually has great instructions. If you try it and you’re still stuck, leave a comment and we’ll help you out however we can!

You can make these gloves using just about any yarn you want, but I used a worsted weight yarn. Keep in mind that I made these to fit my own hands, so it may not fit you like you want. However, the crossed double-crochet stitch does make it a little bit stretchy.

Send us pictures of any gloves you make with this pattern! We would love to see them.

Please excuse the cruddy photo.

Openwork Fingerless Gloves

Yarn: Caron Simply Soft in “Blue Mint”

 

Hook: Size H

Ch. 28 and join with slip stitch.

Rnd 1: Ch 3, *skip 1 ch, dc in next ch, dc in previously skipped ch*, repeat from * to * to end of row. Join to 3rd ch in previous ch 3.

Rnd 2: Repeat Rnd 1

Rnd 3: Repeat Rnd 1

Rnd 4: Ch 3, *skip 1 ch, dc in next ch, dc in previously skipped ch*, repeat from * to * 6 more times, ch 6, skip 6 dc, then resume ** until end of row.

Rnd 5 to end: Repeat Rnd 1 until desired length.

Edging at end: Using a size I hook, sc around the bottom edge twice, joining at the end of both rows. Finish off.

Scallop edging near fingers: Using size H hook, join yarn anywhere on beginning chain (I joined at the knot where I first started) and sc across once and join. Skip next 2 sc, dc 4 times in next sc, *skip 1 sc, dc 4 times in next sc*. Repeat from * to * until you reach the first scallop. Join and finish off.

 

– Amy –

FREE Lightning Bolt

1 Sep

That’s right folks, Monkey Waffles is giving away a FREE lightning bolt scarf.  You too can defeat all your enemies and be the life of the party with this handmade, 100% acrylic scarf.

To enter the drawing, leave a comment by September 30, 2011, with either your contact email or ravelry user name.  One entry per person please.  International entries are welcome.  The winner will be chosen at random and notified by October 3, 2011.  If the winner does not respond within 7 days of notification, a new winner will be chosen.

Sock Monkey Finger Puppet

30 Aug

MATERIALS:

2.25 mm (B) hook

Small amounts of fingering yarn in brown, red and cream

1/8 inch buttons or black thread for eyes

BODY:

With cream yarn, make magic loop, 6 sc in loop (6 sc)

2sc in each st around (12 sc)

*1 sc, 2scinc, repeat from * around (18 sts)

*2 sc, 2scinc, repeat from * around (24 sts)

Sc around for three rows

Change to red yarn, sc around 1 row

Change to brown, sc around 5 rows

*1 sc, 2sctog, repeat from * around

Sc around from 6 more rows or desired length (I have short fingers)

To make tail, sc 4, chain 11 for tail, sc back along the chain, sc in the same st at body, sc around

Fasten off

EARS (make 2):

Magic loop, 6 sc in loop, join with sl st to first sc, fasten off

MOUTH:

Ch 7

Starting in 2nd ch from hook, sc across;  in last sc, make 3 sc, turn to work along the opposite side of the chain, sc across, 2sc in last st

Join with sl st.  Finish Off

FINISHING:

Sew on ears, button eyes and mouth.  Embroider smile on mouth.

Classy Cthulhu

27 Aug

My mother uttered the name H.P. Lovecraft once when I was a kid and that was all it took for the obsession (albeit somewhat milder than other childhood obsessions) to wrap its hideous, alien tentacles around my brain. That is why I have been so excited to see so many Lovecraft-inspired crafts on the intrawebs these days. Finally! I can craft and cuddle with my very own malevolent entity!

After searching on Ravelry.com for a decent Lovecraftian pattern, I came across this amigurumi Cthulhu designed by Amber of Cthulhu Crochet and Cousins.

Probably the most wonderful thing about this pattern is that the head and body are a sewn as one piece. The arms and wings are, of course, sewn on later, but that’s no biggie. She doesn’t mention this in her pattern, but I stuffed the arms on mine with a bit of yarn to help them hold their shape. I wouldn’t recommend using polyfill for something as tiny as the arms. Yarn scraps worked great and didn’t get in the way.

I also love how the pattern instructs you on when to stuff the head before finishing the body. That was extremely helpful. And the wings are pretty ingenious. I am tempted to crochet dozens of these and stick them on everything I can get my hands on (like my cats and maybe my boyfriend).

The top hat I added to make Cthulhu truly classy. If I’d had time to find a monocle and cane, I would have added those, too. The top hat pattern is an original from Monkey Waffles and, like the wings, I just want to make dozens and put them on everything.

If you craft any patterns from Monkey Waffles or from patterns we link to, please share your creations! We would love to see them.

– Amy –

Jennings Street Yarns

23 Aug

Sleepy street corner...delicious yarn.

For you yarn addicts who live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, check out our favorite local yarn store, Jennings Street Yarns.  Located on a sleepy street corner South of downtown Fort Worth, this unassuming storefront harbors everything a fiber enthusiast needs to fill their stash.  Needles, hooks, oh so many gorgeously delicious yarns, pattern booklets, classes and accessories.  Did I mention the yarn?  Walking into the shop is like strolling through a rainbow – hundreds of skeins are displayed by color palette, as opposed to brand or weight.

Rainbow wall of yarn!

Owner Linda Lucente recommends choosing something special from her extensive collection of sock yarns or signing up for one of a huge variety of classes, such as the Rambling Rows Sweater class starting in September.  Linda’s business philosophy is “you really have to take care of your customers” which definitely shows through in extra perks she offers, such as rolling loose hanks into ready-to-use balls at point of purchase.  What a time saver!

Quality doesn’t come cheap, so this shop may leave you wishing you had won the lottery so you could buy every skein, but it is well worth the visit to find prized treasures.

Tiny Mochi

21 Aug

Anna Hrachovec’s new book, Teeny Tiny Mochimochi, came out last week and I am super excited!  I never thought I’d be a fan of making tiny amigurumi – too fussy and too much finishing for my lazy tastes – but Anna’s techniques and style have really simplified the process.  That’s the genius of Anna’s patterns:  they are much easier to make than they look.  Also, if you’re not ready to jump into knitting with size 1 needles and fingering weight yarn – you can always upscale to size 5 and worsted weight and end up with equally adorable results.  Check out more amazing projects on Anna’s website, Mochimochi Land.

Anna Hrachovec's New Book

Baked Potato ala Mochimochi

Lightning Bolt Scarf

14 Aug

Electrify your enemies by wearing this super hero or wonder woman scarf. (Or you could shorten it a bit and use it decorate the wall of your crime fighting lair.)

MATERIALS: 5.0 mm hook (H), Approx. 320 yds Worsted Yarn

FINISHED SIZE: 5 feet long x 8.5 inches for widest bolt

GAUGE: Not important as long as you are happy with the drape.

FIRST ZAP (SMALLEST):
Ch 2; in 2nd chain from hook, 2 hdc
Ch 2, turn, 1 hdc in each st (2 sts)
Ch 2, turn, 2 hdc in each st (written 2hdcinc) (4 sts)
Ch 2, turn, 1 hdc across (4 sts)
Ch 2, turn, 1 hdc, 2hdcinc twice, 1 hdc (6 sts)
Ch 2, turn, hdc across for 3 rows
Ch 2, turn, 1 hdc, 2hdcinc, 1 hdc twice, 2hdcinc, 1 hdc (8 sts)
Ch 2, turn, hdc across for 6 rows
Ch 2, turn, 1 hdc, 2hdcinc, 1 hdc in next 4 sts, 2hdcinc, 1 hdc (10sts)
Ch 2, turn, hdc across for 6 rows

SECOND ZAP:
Ch 7, turn, in 3rd ch from hook, hdc across (15 sts)
Ch 2, turn hdc across for 4 rows
Ch 2, turn, hdc across 10 sts (leaving 5 sts unworked)
Ch 2, turn, hdc across for 4 rows
Ch 2, turn, 1 hdc, 2hdcinc, 1 hdc across next 6 sts, 2hdcinc, 1 hdc (12 sts)
Ch 2, turn, hdc across for 7 rows
Ch 2, turn, 1 hdc, 2hdcinc, 1 hdc in next 8 sts, 2hdcinc, 1 hdc (14 sts)
Ch 2, turn, hdc across for 9 rows

THIRD ZAP:
Ch 2, turn, hdc across, then Ch 9
In 3rd ch from hook, hdc across (21 sts)
Ch 2, turn, hdc across for 5 rows
Ch 2, turn, hdc in next 14 sts, leaving 7 sts unworked
Ch 2, turn, hdc across for 5 rows
Ch 2, turn, 1 hdc, 2hdcinc, 1 hdc across next 10 sts, 2hdcinc, 1 hdc (16 sts)
Ch 2, turn, hdc across for 10 rows
Ch 2, turn, 1 hdc, 2hdcinc, 1 hdc across next 12 sts, 2hdcinc, 1 hdc (18 sts)
Ch 2, turn, hdc across for 9 rows

FOURTH ZAP:
Ch 2, turn, hdc across, ch 11
In 3rd ch from hook, hdc across (27 sts)
Ch 2, turn, hdc across 7 rows
Ch 2, turn, 1 hdc in next 18 sts (leave 9 sts unworked)
Ch 2, turn, hdc across for 5 rows
Ch 2, turn, 1 hdc, 2hdcinc, 1 hdc across next 14 sts, 2hdcinc, 1 hdc (20 sts)
Ch 2, turn, hdc across 6 rows
Ch 2, turn, 1 hdc, 2hdcinc, 1 hdc in next 16 sts, 2hdcinc, 1 hdc (22 sts)
Ch 2, turn, hdc across 9 rows
Ch 2, turn, 1 hdc, 2hdcinc, 1 hdc in next 18 sts, 2hdcinc, 1 hdc (24 sts)
Ch 2, turn, hdc across 5 rows

FIFTH ZAP (LARGEST):
Ch 2, turn, hdc across, ch 14
In 3rd ch from hook, hdc across (38 sts)
Ch 2, turn, hdc across 9 rows
Ch 2, turn, hdc in first 24 sts (leave 12 sts unworked)
Ch 2, turn, hdc across 7 rows
Ch 2, turn, 1 hdc, 2hdcinc, 1 hdc in next 20 sts, 2hdcinc, 1 hdc (26 sts)
Ch 2, turn, hdc across 9 rows
Ch 2, turn, 1 hdc, 2hdcinc, 1 hdc in next 22 sts, 2hdcinc, 1 hdc (28 sts)
Ch 2, turn, hdc across for 10 rows

Finish Off. Weave in ends.

If you want a shorter/kid-sized bolt, skip the fifth zap.

I have a problem…

11 Aug

…and it involves heroin. No, wait. I meant books. Not heroin.

I work in a public library, which means I have access to a larger number of books than I will ever be able to read in my lifetime. When I was a kid, around 7 or 8, I briefly thought that maybe, just maybe, I might be able to read every single book in the entire world. Once I realized that I could only read one language…yeah. That died pretty quickly.

Working in a library means that I can delude myself into thinking that, hey, maybe I can at least read every book in the library. Okay, I don’t really think that. But I do have a problem (and herein lies the crux of this blog post) and that problem is that not only do I place requests for and bring home entirely too many books from the library (my library’s limit is 50 books per library card), but I check out craft books (mostly crochet) and never make a single project out of any of them! Although I am exaggerating just a bit (I’ve made a few things!), it’s true that I check out tons of craft books only to stare longingly at the perfectly lit photos of finished items.

And all that is to say that I would like to share with you a list of some of my current favorites in the world of crafting books.

Little Crochet by Linda Permann

This is a cute book that features cute pictures of cute kids wearing cute crocheted clothing. I’m telling you. It’s cute. My favorite pattern is for the hooded cape. What the heck?! I always wanted a hooded cape when I was a kid! And now I can make myself an inappropriately small cape. In all honesty, there are so many great patterns that are fantastic in their simplicity. I love it.

Stitch and Bitch: The Happy Hooker

Classy lady, classy title. It puts me in mind of ladies of the night, standing on street corners, hawking their wares in shimmery sequined tops, fishnets, and pumps a half size too big, all while attempting to finish a few apple-shaped pot holders for their kid’s holiday gift exchange at school.

I have completed a number of patterns from this book and they were each pretty darn awesome. I’ve crocheted a handful of the flower-edged scarves in various types of yarn. They’re a fantastic, semi-last minute gifts (if you have a few hours, that is).

Tasty Crochet: A Pantry Full of Patterns for 33 Yummy Treats by Rose Langlitz

Come on. It is food. That is crocheted. You can’t eat it. But I don’t really care about that. Because it is food. That is crocheted.

This is really one of those that I look at and think (or even say out loud to a friend who later asks me if I ever did it), “Hahahahaha. That’s so awesome! I’m going to make that!” and then I don’t ever make. I did, however, crochet the chocolate chip cookie (okay, easiest pattern in the book, probably, but it’s a CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE). The cookie is now a cat toy, but I can promise that my cats appreciate Rose Langlitz’s pattern.

Maybe someday I will crochet a few more items in each of these books, but for now I will simply stare and drool.

As usual.

– Amy –