Monday, 31 December 2012

New Years Resolutions

Hi There,

It's here again, that horrid cold feeling in the pit of my stomach that another year has flown by without me noticing and I am here again on the brink of  a New Year. Last New Year I was having a lot of stresses. I look back to last New Years Eve, I was desperately trying to get a job and pay the bills, whilst planning a wedding and everything else, I felt like I had a lot on my plate and had had a pretty hard time. The only thing that got me through that year had been learning to knit. So on New Years Eve I wrote a list to focus on what I wanted to achieve in the year ahead , what I wanted to do in 2012. I also wrote a list of all the traditions I had to do in order to get good luck. These included opening all the windows and doors at midnight to let the new year in, and leaving a basket outside, and letting a dark haired man come into the house first. (I did know the dark haired man so that wasn't a problem!) But from that list I  desperately made last New Years Eve I have a come a long way. I got a job, I pay my bills, I got married and had a lovely wedding, I moved house and I improved my knitting and I started this blog. So in a time honoured tradition I wanted to share with you my new list for New Years. This time I don't feel as low or blue, this time I feel optimistic and happy with my life, so here are my resolutions and they are not as bad as last year.

  1. I have been given a brand spanking new sewing machine for Christmas. (It was love at first sight and it has been named Kirsty, after Kirsty Allsopp who inspired me to ask for a sewing machine.) 2013 will hopefully see me mastering this machine and producing some sewn items which are not too wonky or unravelled. I hope to learn to quilt and to use applique, I would like to make cushions and maybe even establish a little dressmaking ability?
  2. In order to do this, I will have to find my confidence again and go to some new classes, I would like to join a class in sewing machines but also in applique, quilting and free embroidery. This I must force upon myself.
  3. I would like to improve my knitting. Knitting is my first love and I am so glad I learnt this skill as it is sometimes all that keeps me sane! I would love to master knitting socks in the round and cable knitting so I can make some interesting patterns in the knit but I would also just like to continue knitting and improve that way with new patterns and projects. 
  4. I am already in the process of completing my first knitted jumper, (but I won't mention the ribbing on the back as it is just awful! who knew my downfall for a jumper would be the first bit of ribbing?) so I would like to finish my jumper and be able to wear one of my own first knitted garments. I would like to improve on this and make other knitted garments.
  5. I will work on my blog, and I will strive to update it more than I do now, with my current projects. I am afraid a lot of my Christmas projects have been and gone without their recording on here so I would like to improve on that so I don't lose anything.
  6. I will work on my Etsy shop and learn to make more 'sell-able' things and also learn to price my knitted objects rather than just asking people to pay how they feel. But I will also not let the shop/price of things get in the way of making the object. The minute something becomes a chore I will move on, I knit because I love it, not because I have to.
  7. This is a more personal wish- I am looking for a new house again and cannot wait to move from where I am now back to be near my friends and family, I would like to see them more and spend more time doing things in the evenings and weekends instead of collapsing on the sofa and sulking about my day.
  8. I will also strive to be more proactive in my day to day life, which includes cleaning dishes and ironing clothes and keeping the house tidier, clean house clean mind and all that, even though it is horrendously boring.
  9. I will not allow others to assume that because I am a crafter, that I am a boring old woman, I am not. and I haven't met any other crafters who are boring, we take delight in simple things and they are some of the most talented and creative people I have ever met.
  10. I will find my nearest antique/vintage/junkyard and will explore 'Up-cycling' (Love you Kirsty!)
So there we have it, my focus for 2013 set out in stone, or in blog, who knows what will happen to me in 2013, so much has happened in 2012, that a quiet year may do me good. But then I have never been very good at being quiet.

Happy New Year,

Lots of Love
Bomo Knitting

Monday, 17 December 2012

Knitted Mitts

Hi there,

I have been knitting up a storm in the past few weeks ready for Christmas. I could use this as an excuse not for keeping my blog up to date but I have been so busy and have really enjoyed getting stuck into my knitting and doing some proper projects!

I have always loved having a matching set of gloves and hat when it gets colder. This year I found some wool that I had bought ages ago but I had just ignored as I thought it was too gaudy to use. This wool was bright pinks, yellows and turquoises. I decided to give it another chance and experiment with this wool to find something to make that would make the most of the bright colours.

I have seen a lot of knitted headwarmers/headbands in shops so instead of buying one I decided to make one for myself. As my friend said it means you get something totally unique. I wanted to keep it simple to show the colours in the wool off and although I love following patterns in my many knitting books it was nice to make something up and over the weekend I got stuck in to some simple knitting.

Using my favourite 4mm needles and 2x2 rib I simply knitted a long strip that was wide enough to cover my head and stitched the ends together. I finished it with a little knitted flower which is so easy to make and I discovered them this year. What you do is stocking stitch a few rows and increase it to the size you want then twist it on the needle to make the petals. I really love my finished headband, the colours are really cheery and it is so cosy.
To go with my headband I decided to make some mittens. Now I do still need a few lessons on knitting in the round because frankly I am awful at it so I googled knitted mitten patterns on 2 needles. I read a few patterns and then made my own little pattern up as best I could. I am still learning.

I made the cuffs using 2x2 rows to match the headband and knitted about 20 rows. Then using stocking stitch I increased either side to get more give on the glove and then simply knitted the rows to the size of my hand and decreased the end and then I pulled the end through the stitches to make the ends round.
The hardest part for me was adding the thumbs. Picking up stitches worked on the first glove but the second did become a hammer toe lookalike. And I had to pull the whole thumb apart and start from scratch which every knitter knows is heart breaking but is always worth it in the end.

It is nice to have some very very bright cosy mittens I made myself that shows off the colourful wool I had discarded originally so I'm really pleased. and you can tell the difference technically from the very basic chunky hand warmers I made last winter, so I can only hope I continue to improve my mitten making skills as I get older and become a more established knitter.

I'm so excited at the moment I really feel like I've made headway with my knitting and I'm hoping to learn some new crafts in the New Year and finally master knitting in the round! I'm hoping to go along to some classes to meet other crafters and learn new skills. I do intend to keep my resolutions and do some up-cycling!

Lots of love

Monday, 15 October 2012

Little Spooks

Hi There,

I'm quite excited this week, as I have finally designed and made my own knitted...things! 

I have left Christmas behind in the last couple of weeks, and have designed some Halloween decorations, as it is nearly time for Trick or Treating!

The first decoration I made was the grimacing pumpkin. It was an experiment really to see if I could knit a circle. (Which I quickly found I couldn't) so in order to make the roundness of a pumpkin I knitted a square (much easier) and then gathered the sides at the top to make the round shape. I then knitted another green square for the top and a triangle for the leaf. I have recently discovered i-cords, the way to knit back and front to make the long cord, i have become slightly obssessed with them and finding ways to use then again and again. I used an i-cord to make a stalk at the top of the pumpkin.
The second I made is the little ghost. I sat down and designed the shape just by increasing and decreasing the shape. I made 2 sides and stitched them together as easy as that. Then I used my favourite ICord techniques to make the arms, I just made fatter cords for the arms. The good thing about ICords is that they bend naturally so it did add to the ghost look.

The Witch is the thing I am most proud of, it was supposed to be a simple design like the other two, but I ended up adding and adding to it till it was a quite complicated design. the shape started like the ghost and was made by increasing and decreasing 2 sides of the dress. then I used techniques I have learnt from past projects to make the green hair, and the i-cords for the spindly legs. I also made a cape for the witch and a pointy black hat, and you can't see the bottom but she does have orange knickers too.

I wanted to make the witch a house decoration so it would be able to sit on the side with her legs over the edge. I'm planning a little range of these spindly legged characters like the witch, so watch this space.

My first designs are full of flaws, but I really enjoyed knitting without checking a pattern every 2 seconds. My favourite is the witch, but the pumpkin and the ghost are also cute. I'm calling this range 'Little Spooks'

Lots of Love
Bomo Knitting

Monday, 1 October 2012

Stars in their Eyes

Hi There

It's Christmas. Well nearly in exactly 85 days or there about, and I decided it was time to get a head start on my Christmas makes. Last year I made a lot of scarves and mittens, this year I wanted to make some decorations. I bought a lovely little book in the summer. It's called '20 Mini Christmas Makes' by Sue Stratford. It's really sweet and it has lots of little quick things to make, like Christmas trees, Christmas puddings and wreaths. I plan to make a few of everything and spread some woolly Christmas cheer this year. For my frst few experiments I started with stars.

So I made some stars. These stars are made for tree decorations or hanging up in the home. It's a relatively easy pattern to follow, you make the five points, or triangles and then place them on stitch holders and then you knit them all as one decrease to make the middle and hey presto a star. You make 2 sides and stitch together in garter stitch. I've decorated these with buttons, jingle bells and ribbon and they're really great for using up odd ends of wool that need using up. I did buy some metallic gold crochet wool to make the stitches round the edge.

The first one is made with a chunky marbled red wool, so is a bit larger and sturdier than the other two. I decorated it with a wooden button sewn on with the golden thread. I then stuffed them with toy filling.

The other two are made with DK wool in red and green, I decorated them with the gold thread and a bow with a bell I saved off a Lindor Rabbit last Christmas. (Yes I do save the bells off Lindor chocolates). The third one I decorated with red thread and a spotty red and white ribbon. I think they're nice and I plan on making lots of different woolly decorations for my tree and the trees of other's this year, and I'm on the hunt for sequin wool to make some more sparkly ones.

Whilst I made these stars, I also knitted up a snowman just for kicks.

Lots of Love
Bomo Knitting

Monday, 10 September 2012

Giraffe Spots and Stripes

Hi there

I have had my first commission. Remember when I made the elephant? the person I made it for requested a matching giraffe. I didn't even know you could knit a giraffe, I'd completely forgotten what a giraffe even looked like, but I like a challenge and I didn't have to look very far. The pattern for the elephant was designed by Laura Long, so I had an inkling she would have designed a giraffe pattern too. So I googled 'knitted giraffe' and lo and behold there he was, Gerry the giraffe from  'Knitted Toy Travels: Knitting Projects from across the Globe' by Laura Long.

Now before I go onto the pattern and the make, I do have to take a moment to say that the book is absolutely lovely. It has little rhymes which go with each picture and a map showing you where each animal is from, which is useful for me as my weakest point is geography. I am aware I'm a little gushy here so I'll move on but I really do recommend the book.

The pattern was a little bit of a challenge, now first of all I do think I have the used the wrong wool, it isn't made with a double knit. (I have only just discovered that 'DK' in patterns means a type of wool, Double Knit which is good for toys because it is very strong). I used a lemon that I bought a lot of last year and never used which was labelled as 'Toy Wool' so could be a kind of DK wool, and and a gingery orange wool from John Lewis which is quite a sturdy harder wool than the lemon. What it meant was that there was some pulling on the spots and he is a very floppy giraffe, he can't stand at all like the one in the book, but he sits very well as you can see. The part that challenged me was picking up the stitches, once you've made the head you then pick up the stitches across the middle of the head. I was very nervous doing this so I watched a video on youtube on how to pick up stitches. You literally slide your needles under the loops and gather them on your needle so it looks like they have been cast on. This is the only simple way I can describe it to you and understand it myself. But because of my nervousness I picked up the stitches further back than originally designed, so he has a big head. But he is cute with his big awkward head.

This is the body as a basic, and yes it looks like a dinosaur. The best bit for me though was the spots. I decided a couple of  weeks ago to try 'Intarsia' in making a knitted picture, which was supposed to look like an embroidered sampler, where you follow a chart and mix the colours as you go. The picture was ok and interesting in the end, (it hasn't made it on here!) and I taught myself how to follow a chart diagram and how to swap the colours of wool. The giraffe has a chart using two yarns you swap the different colours for a certain number of stitches each time and it makes the rather attractive spotted effect which was lovely to do and made a great pattern, like an actual giraffe skin.
I am always surprised when the patterns I start actually end up looking like the thing they were supposed to. It seems like a fluke to me. You also had to pick up stitches to make the flat back and the sides of the body which you can see here is a little messy on the seam, but the next one will get better and it adds character I always think.

Here you can see the four stripy sausage legs, which I stuffed really full to make the little fat legs. I came into difficulties trying to attach the little fat legs securely to its body. So on some of the tops of the legs you can see the pulling, but it worked in the end just to go over the stitches a few times. You then make the 'accessories' like the tail which is a tube stuffed and a tassle on the end, and the ears and horns. The hair was fun. I cut a long strip of cardboard and wrapped the wool round a little bit like how you make a pom-pom which I really enjoy making. You cut the ends to make the shaggy effect and stitch almost a  seam down the side to the body. I mixed the two colurs together which made a nice effect.

Below are two of Laura Long's designs, both are going to live happily ever after in the jungle themed nursey they were made for. I do think there will come a time where I will start making more 'grown up'  and serious projects. but why do that when you can knit a giraffe? or a reindeer? or a hippopotamus? or a meer cat? or even a dinosaur??

Lots of Love
Bomo Knitting

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Pretty in Pink

Hi There.

Last week I set myself a challenge. I had three days to make my 4 year old cousin a present. We were going down South for a visit and I didn't want to do the generic Toys'R'Us run for her. When I got married she was the flower girl at my wedding and I made her a little knitted bride for her gift, which she loved, so I knew knitted and pretty was the way to go with this present. So I went through the wool I had which is starting to become quite a large collection, and decided to use a pattern I had fallen out with for a while and improve it slightly for my own end. I used 4.5 mm needles and size 4mm acrylic and baby wool.

I made her a pretty pink ballerina bear. Using a basic acrylic white wool and a baby soft bright pink hand dyed wool. The pink wool was beautiful to use as it has been hand dyed so you get a variety of different effects and patterns in pink and white. The pattern I used was as I said one that I had fallen out with earlier in the year. It is from the book '20 Tiny Knitted Bears to Make' by Val Pierce. Which is a relatively cheap book I bought a while ago as it is definitely for beginners. This is the basic bear on the right. It is very simple. Just a triangular shape for the head which is then stitched to create the ears. and then the body is made from 2 pieces sewn together. To make the legs you stitch half of the row, cast off two to create a gap and then turn the stitches so they're still on your needles, so then you can knit one leg, and go back later to stitch the other. Just trying not to lose count on rows. For this bear I used Stocking stitch, as I have made a few toys in stocking and I do think it looks much neater and more professional. The pattern asks you to do the whole bear in garter which I did for the first two bears, and is partly why I fell out with the pattern it just doesn't look nice to me.

After the bear is made you have to dress it to give it some character, otherwise its just a naked white bear. I chose ballerina bear and using the baby wool in its ever changing pattern made the dress. This dress was a lot harder than I thought to make. You make two sides of the top which is just a basic shape which you increase and decrease to get a shape and then divide in the middle again to create straps. The skirt was also tricky it's made in 2 pieces and is quite a lot of stitches on a row, for this ballerina bear it asked you to make the skirt so it's 5 cm long, as it's also stocking stitch it curls up at the end which makes a lovely frill. I finished the dress off with a plaited belt and a little silk flower from my odds and ends box. The necklace was also some more string pearls from my wedding cake, like in earlier posts I have a lot of string pearls.

I then made little bootees which you stuff the end to make little feet, the boots took literally 10 minutes to make as they are so small. And to finish off the bear I gave it a little bow for one ear just to drum home that it was a girl. this was made by knitting a small rectangle and wrapping some yarn around the middle. This will be a good thing to make in future in larger dimensions as decoration for hats or headbands. But that's in the future.  I spent quite a while on the face, As I have learnt from making a lot of children's toys its the face that gives all the character to the creature and for this I used size 2 black arran wool, and using it like embroidery stitching a shape and filling it in for the eyes and nose, and then using it to make a mouth. I was very happy in the end with the bear, and its final pretty pink self. It literally took me 3 evenings and one afternoon to make and my little cousin loved it very much. She was named Amy.

As I said I have made this pattern before, but i followed the pattern to the letter. And I used another alternative coloured hand dyed wool which gives you a multi-colour effect. This bear however is full of flaws so I don't want to give him to anyone, but I have grown  attached the the small misshaped peculiar looking bear with it's wonky face, and it is now mine. I rarely keep my own knitting but this is  an exception, he's called a very imaginative 'Ted'.

For this bear I put bells inside so he jingles when cuddled, but as you can see he is very primitive with his garter stitched self. I made him a little jumper also from the book. He was made on 4mm needles so is much smaller than the pink ballerina bear, and when you see projects you made very early on in your knitting quest and what you can make now, you can really see how far you have come. But he is cute isn't he?

Lots of Love

Bomo Knitting XX

Monday, 13 August 2012

Legally Ginger!!

Hi There!

I've spent the last few weeks knitting a secret project for my friend who has just finished Law College, and is finally qualified. I decided to try and get her a present at first, a Solicitor Barbie, in a Legally Blonde style, but as you can imagine an intelligent barbie doll is kind of impossible to find. So I decided to knit her a mini me solicitor doll, Legally Ginger.
I received two of these knitted mini me's as a present on my wedding day, they were a complete surprise and were a present off a very talented knitter. I loved my knitted Bride and Groom who looked just like us and it gave me the idea that I could try and make something like that for my friend, something she would hopefully like and keep, and would be a complete surprise.

So it started with a book I bought ages ago on a whim when I started knitting: it's called 'Knitted Icons' by Carol Meldrum and it is used to make mini celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and Britney Spears. I've never had enough courage to attempt one of these, till now but it is very simple. Which shows how you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. You make a basic figure and then dress it into the celebrity of your choice. So I used the book to make the basic body type. Using 4mm needles and 4mm wool in a peach colour I created... a very basic woolen... naked person. This is made by using stocking stitch to create the body, you make 2 oval pieces and sew them together down the sides, then you make the legs and arms by knitting long tubes,and stitch them onto the body. For the head you make 2 oval pieces which is then sewn together. As usual the stuffing was the hard part and I used pillow stuffing to try and create the figure and you always need more stuffing then you first imagine. The one down side to the doll was the legs, which I thought were a little bit too long so I put them higher up on the doll then the pattern said.

Next came the hair, and for this I used, believe it or not a pattern from Cher's hair. You make a round knitted piece and then attach the hair using the fringe technique I mastered with the marble rug from earlier, by cutting strands and connecting them using a crochet hook. For this I used orange wool in a size 4mm.

I also made the face at this point by just stitching the mouth on in a pink smile and making french knots in black to make the eyes and a stitched tiny little eyelashes above the knots. I made the face at this point because the stitches are pulled through the top of the head. The nose was made by sewing into the face with the skin coloured wool. Then using white felt, I got out of a children's crafting set cut out collars and shirt front, then using pearl pins created earrings and a button to hold the shirt together.

I have to say however, that I was disappointed with the clothes available in Carol Meldrum's book, hardly any of them are knitted and are made out of fabric or felt, and if you are really bad at sewing like I am it didn't appeal to me to design my own suit. So I turned to the talented lady who made my bride and groom and she gave me her secret: her copy of the 'Knit your own Royal Wedding' by Fiona Goble. This book was released around the royal wedding last March and has patterns for every single royal family member, but most importantly patterns for knitted suits. I particularly wanted to knit a suit jacket so used the pattern for the lounge suit. It's quite simply one piece wrapped around with some increasing and decreasing on the front to make the lapels. I knitted this with 2 3/4 Black arran wool, on my favourite 4 mm needles. I invented the pencil skirt myself by knitting one piece in stocking stitch and wrapping it onto the body to make a skirt the binded off edge was left at the bottom of the skirt to make a slight frilled edge, and a left a split at the back to create a real pencil skirt.

Trial and error was a large part of this project, I made a few different shoes until  I got the size right. Using the pattern for the Queen's shoes I made these in red, my friend's favourite colour and made tiny little bows to stick on the front. The easiest part of this project was the barrister wig, which was actually the Queen's hair stitched on top of Cher's hair. (I never thought I would say that sentence!) To finish the design I made a very basic briefcase out of black felt, and gave the doll a pearl necklace from a string of dress pearls off my actual wedding cake which I had kept and use pearl pins for buttons on the jacket.
I was happy with the final doll, It was challenge to make some very small knits and very intricate decorations, and I had to concentrate a lot to make sure I kept up with the pattern. I do think my gift looked a lot like its owner in the end and for my first ever doll I'm happy with it. I will never think my patterns are perfect, but yes it was a good project, and everyone should be afraid of when the mini me will emerge in the future.

Lots of Love,
Bomo Knitting XX

Monday, 16 July 2012

Marble Carpet

Hi There,

I have spent the last 6 weeks on a bit of a project. I decided to knit...a...carpet! It has been the longest project I have done and probably the biggest thing I have ever knitted but I have truly truly enjoyed it.

I found the pattern for the carpet in a file of patterns that were donated to me through a mutual friend. These patterns were collected by a very organised woman through a weekly magazine and she has built two massive files just full of knitting patterns and tips and techniques. The magazine was run last year and was a weekly print that gave away free wool, needles and DVDs and could be collected into files. I feel really lucky to have these huge files for free without doing any of the collecting or filing myself. Anyway within these files was a pattern for a number of rugs and carpets, as well as knitted place mats and cushions. The rug I chose was a Fringed Runner Rug knitted in Basket Stitch.

The brilliant thing about this rug is that it is really simple and repetitive so you can relax with it and get a good rhythm going. One of the techniques for this rug that I haven't used before was to use 2 balls of yarn at once, the file calls it double yarn, but I call it 'twining' as you are literally twining the two balls of yarn together to make a stronger more durable finished piece. The key however is to keep the balls of yarn and the threads separate as you can end up tangling the yarn together and I got myself into a few knots.

For the carpet I used Marble Chunky Wool in size 6 with size 6 needles. The wool comes in 200g balls. The pattern asks for 450g but I used 400g, and a bit extra for the fringing. I loved this wool, it was such an array of colours from bight pink to reds, browns and oranges. As I was 'twining' it anyway it was quite a good choice of colours as they all mixed together and almost self striped, so it made a lovely marbled effect 

The Basket Stitch knit is made by alternating 2 Purl stitches and 2 Knit stitches, and then using Knit rows and Purl rows in between. It's written like this:
1) Knit to end of row
2) K2, purl to the last 2 sts, K2
3) K4, *P2 K2 rep from * to last 2 sts and K2
4) K2, *P2 K2 rep from * to last 2 sts and K2
5/6) same as rows 1 and 2
7) K2, *P2 K2 rep from * to last 2 sts and K2
8) K4, *P2 K2 rep from * to last 2 sts and K2
You end up with a knitted border around the rug and an almost patchwork design with raised and smooth squares in a basket weave pattern.

Then you can add the fringe which I haven't done before (successfully.) So I used this video I found on You Tube You Tube is really good for finding little videos like this as other knitters pass on their knowledge. You can also get great ideas for new projects off here too.

For the fringe you wind the yarn around a length of cardboard, the length you need and then cut it into equal pieces, then using a crochet hook, you guide the wool through a section of the carpet (or knitted thing) and then simple knot and tie. You can then trim this to get the length you need but for this rug I left the fringe long. 

I'm really pleased with my final project in all it cost just under £15.00, which I suppose you could spend in Ikea on a similar carpet, but mine means a lot to me because it's in my new house and it's something I made that I can keep and that I'm proud of. I plan  to make more probably in different designs for different bedrooms, hall ways or bathrooms and using different stitches. The only drawback with items like this is the amount of time you have to spend on it. If you would like to 'commission' a rug of your own please let me know and I would be happy to make you a piece of knitted art for your home as well, if not just admire mine!!

Lots of Love,

BoMo Knitting

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Elephant in the Room

Hi there

There's something in the air at the moment. Its baby central. The past few months I have been knitting gifts ranging from tiny little newborn baby bootees to little jumpered bears. Both patterns I will reveal in time as they are very simple and fulfilling, but the last two weeks its been all about my knitted elephant.

A good friend of mine's sister is having a baby in two very short weeks and has a jungle themed nursery as like many parents they decided to keep the sex of the baby a surprise. This does pose a challenge when choosing your yarn. One of the lovely things about knitting for babies is the beautifully soft wool you can buy in pale pastel colours. Lemon, lavender, baby blue and pink and aqua, as well as white of course are all perfect for baby presents. If you do know the sex of course you can go for the traditional pink or blue, or you can use unisex bright primary colours like reds, blues, greens and bright yellow for a retro Cath Kidston inspired look.As I didn't know the sex of this little one I went for the aqua and the lemon.

This design was a challenge it was one of the largest toys I've made and was made up of lots of little sections. The elephant was made up of stocking stitch which can be fiddly on finer yarn. To stocking stitch you knit one row and purl the next, moving the yarn to the front of the kneedles and back for the knitted row. I used 4.5 size needles simply because they're a needle I have neglected to use and are of longer length to fit all the stitches on as most of the rows were in their fifties.

I did change the pattern in the end I think it is always good to put your own stamp on something. The pattern is one designed by a very talented knitter called Laura Long. She's the writer of a number of knitting books called 'Knitted Toy Tales' which include wild animals as well as fairy tale characters. The elephant pattern is called 'Eddie the Elephant' and I found in a free booklet from a knitting magazine 'Knit Now'. The pattern at first looked difficult but once I found my rhythm and got used to the wool was relatively simple. I really do recommend Laura Long books and patterns, I hope to make an Owl and the Pussycat one day as well as the pea green boat!

As I said I did change the pattern, the pattern in the book asks for material to be sewn in for the ears and feet but I used a lemon shimmer wool. I also used basic black shirt buttons for eyes as I need to work on my embroidery skills. Also as I am yet to conquer crochet I knitted the tail in garter stitch instead of a chain which I think worked just as well. The trickiest bit came to the stuffing. You always need twice as much stuffing as you first think so whatever you think times it by 2 or even 4. For this I used an old clean pillow and tried to make the body as round as possible. Another tricky bit was stuffing and attaching the tusks. My first tusk was too large and they had to be symmetrical. I am a perfectionist so all the legs were symmetrical also. I finished off the whole elephant with a lemon silk ribbon from John Lewis.

I really enjoyed making  the elephant for the new baby, it took around 2 weeks in all. Spending my evenings making legs was very soothing. I really try to put as much love into my gifts as I can and hope one day to see my elephant one eyed, filthy and well loved by its tiny owner. After all toys are meant to be played with and loved.

Lot's of love, 
BoMo Knitting

Monday, 11 June 2012

Jubilee Bunting!!

Hello fellow knitters,

For the past few weeks the whole of Britain have become obsessed with red, white and blue and Jubilee fever has swept across the land. Apart from the lovely four days off we all received, the street parties, and of course the Queen, people also went a bit mad with bunting. This inspired to make my own bunting, and by make I of course mean knit!

Knitted bunting is quite a fashionable and kitsch thing to do and takes you back to the old times gone by where communities worked together and women wore house coats to do the cleaning. It is such an easy and colourful way to make a statement, get people knitting and contributing together and showcasing your skills and different yarns.

But I digress, knitted bunting is one of the first patterns I learnt when I first began knitting and it is a brilliantly simple way of learning to increase a row. 

First of all the pattern: 
You complete the bunting in Garter stitch (or knit stitch), the reason you do this is because the Garter stitch is a sturdy one that can hold a shape like this. If you used Stocking Stitch it would curl at the ends, however you could use stocking stitch for the majority but would have to border the flag with Garter or Moss stitch to make sure it keeps its shape.

You will need:
Kneedles size 4
Size 4 wool in any colour you like, I chose red, white and blue (of course!)
Ribbon as long as you need it
Sewing needle and thread
Decorative items- any buttons, sequins, ribbons you have lying around.

1) CO 3 Sts 
2) Knit 2 rows
3) increase the first and last stitch of row 3 ( to get 5 stitches)
repeat steps 2 and 3 until you have the size of bunting required, I aim for 29-31 depending on the wool.

See, told you it was easy I can make a bunting flag in about 1 hour- 90 minutes. Once you have the first few rows down you can move easily between each rows increasing every third row, and with it being a knit stitch it is easy to gain speed.

Once your triangles are finished you can attach them to ribbon using you sewing needle in a running stitch, I also then sew a stitch into the middle of the flag to the ribbon for extra security. Then decorate them, or go bare, I used buttons, beads, and ( very basic) embroidery and a string of pearls I had kept off my wedding cake (never through away anything decorative it will always come in handy!).

I made them as a gift for my Mother for her Jubilee party and I have to admit they did look pretty good.

Here is my jubilee bunting, I've used red, white and blue for the jubilee theme, and attached it to silk red polka dot ribbon. I attached a string of pearls to one (for the Queen), a ribbon rossette, buttons and an embroidered crown. The rosette worked really well and I will show you how to make a rose out of ribbon as it is such a quick and easy way to decorate knitted gifts.

Bunting can be used for so many things, imagine it as decoration at Christmas in red and green with gold motifs, or for a baby's room with their name written on it (for that you would have to use stocking stitch). They're also a great gift for birthdays and parties.
I'm mad about bunting! nearly as much as I am about knitting!!!

Happy Knitting!!

BoMo Knitting

Sunday, 20 May 2012

BoMo Knitting

Dear future knitter:

I have spent my life telling people that I'm one of those creative arty types without actually having or doing anything to show for it or any actual artistic talent. Last September I had a hit a point in my life when I had finished years and years of education and was looking for the all important job. I was at a low point, and then suddenly came across knitting lessons for beginners in my local area, and went along. I bought some cheap plastic 6mm needles and some pink yarn and began with casting on and the garter stitch and within a few lessons I was suddenly clacking away like an old pro.

I had spent my childhood at my grandmother's in Scotland and watching her knitting my sister and I, toys and clothes, and although I was amazed by her talent I never asked her to teach me, just to make me things, such as my beloved knitted Bagpuss and Paddington Bear. Sadly, she passed away before she could pass on her gifts. Knitting for me came into my life very quickly, that Christmas I made Christmas presents for all the family and suddenly felt a lot closer to my Grandmother and my family past. Also it is the most fun I have ever had, and suddenly I had a hobby and a creative outlet for years of wanting one.

So I have spent the last few months learning new stitching techniques, collecting wool, books, needles, storage boxes and making presents for people. I rarely make anything for myself, the joy is seeing someone else enjoying a home made present, marveling at your rows and rows of tiny loops and learning the new techniques for myself. The other fun section is the shopping. I can spend hours in knitting and fabric shops staring at a million colours and textures of yarn and picturing what it could be woven and tugged into.

I am a believer that anyone and everyone can become a knitter, and that the first steps is to pick up a set of needles and get going. You Tube is a brilliant resource for knitting, I learnt a lot of my skills from a basic video and the tips off other crafty knitters.

It is now my dream to build this love of wool, into a future for myself, and it all begins here with my little blog and BoMo Knitting. Which is a word for the type of knitter I am and the type of knitters coming into the woolly limelight, Bohemian-Modern Knitting.

I will show you what I'm working on, what hasn't worked, what I'm getting requested to make, my failures and triumphs and I will record them all here in the hope that someday my dreams of knitting full time will come true! needles crossed.

Happy Knitting,

BoMo Knitting