Monday, 30 November 2009

Man's Poncho

I like to think that there is a tale to tell behind this photo from the Regency Bainin Knitting Wool booklet, circa 1970 ("25 Fashionable and Attractive Garments for You to Crochet").

There's your man, playing Mr Willoughby or the like in a costume drama, complete with cravat and moody stare into the distance, wandering around the forest in a love-lorn haze, unaware that up in that oak tree the team from Regency Bainin Knitting Wool have rigged up a dastardly contraption.

They have wire, they have a crocheted poncho, they have extremely good aim. They wait for him to lounge meaningfully against the tree then - bam - they cut the wire, releasing the poncho neatly over his head. Brian, the Regency Bainin Knitting Wool photographer leaps out of a nearby thicket and - snap. Job done.

Friday, 27 November 2009

UK and US crochet stitch names

When you start on a crochet project, check whether the pattern you are following is American or British as stitch names differ between the two countries.

GB Single crochet (sc) = USA Slip stich (sl st)
GB Double crochet (dc) = USA Single crochet (sc)
GB Half treble (htr) = USA Half double (hdc)
GB Treble (tr) = USA Double crochet (dc)
GB Double treble (dtr) = USA Triple crochet (tr)
GB Treble treble (trtr) = USA Double triple (dtr)

Crochet snowflake Christmas decoration

One for the patient Christmas crafter - a pretty crochet snowflake made from crochet cotton or oddments of 4 ply, on 1.75mm crochet hook. This is a UK crochet pattern.

Make 10 ch, join into a ring with a sl st.

Round 1: Work (1 dc, 8 ch) 6 times into ring, sl st into first dc to join. 6 loops.
Round 2: 1 sl st into each of first 4 ch of first loop, work (1 dc, 6 ch, 1 dc) into same loop, 6 ch, 1 dc into next dc, 6 ch *(1 dc, 6 ch, 1 dc) into next loop, 6 ch, 1 dc into next dc, 6 ch; rep from * 4 times more, sl st into first dc to join.
Round 3: 1 sl st into each of first 2 ch of first 6-ch loop, 4 ch (count as one dtr), into same 6-ch loop work (2 dtr, 3 ch, 3 dtr), 5 ch, *miss 2 6-ch loops, into next 6-ch loop work (3 dtr, 3 ch, 3 dtr), 5 ch; rep from * 4 times more, sl st into 4th of 4 ch at beg of round.
Round 4: 1 ch, 1 dc into each of next 2 dtr, 3 ch, into next 3-ch loop work (1 dc, 5 ch, 1 dc), 3 ch, 1 dc into each of next 3 dtr, 4 ch, 1 dc into next 5-ch loop, 4 ch, *1 dc into each of next 3 dtr, 3 ch, into next 3-ch loop work (1 dc, 5 ch, 1 dc), 3 ch, 1 dc into each of next 3 dtr, 4 ch, 1 dc into next 5-ch loop, 3ch; rep from * 4 times more, 1 dc into ch at beg of round. Fasten off. Pour large Baileys.

Pin out, stretching evenly and spray with starch to stiffen. Leave to dry thoroughly, then sew hanging loop at one point of flake.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Embroidered Radio Times cover

There's a very middle-class-British obsession with covering up shameful objects. Wheelie bins have to be disguised as a cottage garden with stickers, loo rolls have to be shielded from the gaze under a knitted crinoline lady, and even I remember seeing a cover in the Lakeland kitchen shop for that most shameful of household items, washing-up liquid.

I've never seen the Radio Times as an item of middle-class shame, but obviously in the eyes of the More Bazaar Items By Patons book, it is. Here's a beautifully embroidered Radio Times cover, created with Coats Anchor Tapisserie wool on "bincarette" canvas with a cotton lining. Could be very useful for those weeks when Jeremy Clarkson is on the front cover - I'd much rather look at an embroidered basket of flowers.

With a little adaptation, intellectuals could create a New Scientist or The Economist cover and then hide their copies of Chat and Take a Break within.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Recycled Christmas decorations

Now I'm not a great one for Christmas - all that over-consumption and terrible telly - but I have been getting rather excited about making recycled Christmas decorations for Transition Town Worthing's Christmas event. I wanted to make something easy, out of natural or recycled materials, and something beautiful, that didn't end up looking like a load of beer bottle lids bunged on the Christmas tree.

Idea 1: Pine cones. Simply twist off the top pointy bit of the cone to make a little space for you to glue a couple of inches of twine in place with a dab from a glue gun.

Idea 2: Milk stars. These are made from a plastic carton of milk - I managed to squeeze four stars out of a pint bottle. Cut out a paper or card star template (there's a good-sized template to print off at if your freehand isn't up to it) then position on your clean milk carton, draw round with permanent marker, and cut out. Glue a couple of inches of twine onto the back of a small button to make a hanging loop, and then glue button and loop onto your star.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Space invader gloves

Just finished these Space Invader gloves and very happy with them: the kind of item to give the inner geek a warm glow (and warm hands). They were adapted from an old fairisle pattern which originally had a snowflake on each glove.

I can take no credit for the Space Invader motifs. They are from Aija Goto's utterly awesome bmp socks which are far, far beyond my current craft capabilities (fairisle and knitting with four needles? Eek.)

Friday, 13 November 2009

English hat - no mitts

As a contrast, this very British creation sticks two fingers up at Parisian chic. It says, "I may not be hanging out on the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore nibbling on a patisserie, but at least my ears are warm. And because my ears are covered, I cannot hear you say that I look like a toilet seat cover. So don't bother."

Possibly a look that only works on the under-3s.

The loop stitch that this hat is mostly worked in is a very useful stich to have in your knitting repertoire - great for edging sleeves, scarves and hems.

Loop stitch: K1, * insert needle into next st knitwise (put wool round needle, then round first 2 fingers of left hand) 3 times, then roound needle again, draw all 4 loops through and slip st off needle; rep from * to last st, k1.

Parisian pillbox and mitts

"This becoming pillbox hat and mitts set was designed in Paris. Originally in white, it would look equally smart in black, or a gay poster colour, such as scarlet, jade green, royal blue or mustard yellow. Double knitting wool makes a beautiful, firm fabric, so that the hat holds its shape well."

There's something simultaneously glamorous and practical about this little pillbox hat and mitts combo from the 1950s. Designed in Paris, but you know that these woolly beauties will see you through the worst of the British winter, too.