Hollipops Knits Lessons

Image taken from Little Red's Craft Cupboard

After a few weeks of discussions with Kate from Little Red’s Craft Cupboard, all my lessons have been finalised.

There will be a beginners class, which we will be knitting some fingerless hand warmers, over 3 weeks – May

The Intermediates class will be over a period of 3 weeks, and we will be knitting a chunky cable bag – June

And for those of you interested I will be holding 3 classes, 2 in May & 1 in June as Hollipops Cakes. Where I will be teaching the basic art of cupcake decorating. And the final class we will be working with chocolate to decorate a mini cake.

You can also find classes for machine sewing, crochet, make your own bunting. There are also craft classes for 5-8 year olds, Tuesday 4-5pm and 9-12 year olds 4-5pm on Fridays.

Enrolment is on a term by term basis so book now. Click the link below for all details.

http://littleredscraft.blogspot.com.au

Holiday Over :)

 

After my unfortunate accident last year – I fell off a ladder and ended up in a cast and then couldn’t knit for over 6 months. The knitting is making a comeback.

I was walking around a shopping center and looking at the selection of beanies. My sister-in-law turned around and said “what are you looking at? You can make one better than that.”

So I made my husband get out all the gear, and I found a pattern, and off I went. Admittedly knitting did hurt my wrist, but I persevered and continued. I had finished the knitting before I went to bed. And the following morning I stitched it together. I then wore it out (photo above) a couple of hours later.

The yarn I used was Rowan Cocoon, it was the same yarn that I had left over from the Felted Bag. The next night I started on a hand warmer. I have finished the left hand, but I have run out of yarn, so need to order some more from the UK.

Since my silly accident, my life has done a complete 180. I started making cupcakes, because I couldn’t knit. And from the humble cupcake they turned into 4 tier cakes, like the cake below.

Christmas Tree Cake - All Chocolate :)

I then started receiving orders! Who knew I could do this, because I certainly didn’t.

Then the knitting has made a return, and aside from the cakes that I will still be doing, I will also being teaching knitting classes for beginners and intermediates.

The lessons will be held at Little Red’s Craft Cupboard in Monbulk, VIC. Check my Lessons at the top of my page.

Well on that note, I have to go, I have a baby blanket to knit, before my nephews girlfriend gives birth in early May. Plus my Autumnal cupcakes won’t make themselves.

 

Felted Tote Finished :)

Finished Felted Tote

Finished Felted Tote

 

Hi all,

As you can see from the above photo I finished my Tote!!

I was most surprised when it came out of the machine felted. It took 3 days to complete, a day and a half to knit, then I washed the bag in the afternoon. The 3rd day was drying and shaping which was done by placing 2 very large books wrapped in a towel into the bag and pulling and stretching into shape.

Rowan Cocoon Yarn

Rowan Cocoon Yarn

The yarn I used was Rowan Cocoon which is 80% merino and 20% kid hair, I purchased the yarn from http://www.Deramores.com, I will add this link to my link page.

Rowan Cocoon yarn worked a lot better than the 100% wool variety that I used for Tote 1. And I now try and complete all projects using the yarn that is recommended.

I enjoyed using this yarn, it worked up very well, and feels really nice.

Close up of the stitches and pattern

Close up of the stitches and pattern

I loved working on the Tote, and even though at first I did not think it was going to work, which was partly my fault due to using the incorrect yarn. The final outcome has been somewhat a surprise. I love using this Tote for shopping as it fits an A4 folder quite easily and I’ve put a base strengthener in so that it has a firm base. I am looking forward to making more with the different colours available in this yarn range.

My next 2 projects are a 1950′s inspired dress, the yarn for that is a baby merino called ‘Malabrigo Lace,’ and currently the cheapest place to purchase that is from ebay. The dress will be knitted using circular needles in 2 pieces, and then grafted together in the middle, this way there’ll be no seams. I am looking forward to using circular needles for the first time, and learning how to use double pointed needles for the sleeves.

And I also have another shawl to knit. However just over a week ago I being a complete idiot, climbed a ladder in a dress and boots and got my foot stuck in the hem of my dress and down I came – hard…. After 6 days of my wrist not feeling right I took myself to A&E and found I’d partially fractured my wrist. So I now in a cast, hopefully due to it not being completely broken I should be knitting in a couple of weeks. It’s been most annoying and one has learned to not climb ladders in a long dress and boots. The irony to all of this, is that the item I was looking wasn’t in the cupboard but under my bed, so none of this would have happened if only I’d remembered where I put the item in the first place.

Well must be going now, even if I can’t knit I can plan and draw out patterns for future projects.

See you soon.

Pocket Scarf & Shrug

Pocket Scarf

Childs Pocket Scarf

Hi all,

Was going to upload the photos on Sunday, but managed to finish the Pocket Scarf and the Shrug today.

My daughter loves the pocket scarf, and is currently walking around the house in her pj’s and scarf. My friend Jess popped in today and showed me a small collection of teddy bear eyes and noses. Having this option proved beneficial for me, as my sewing details are not quite where I would like them to be. And after sewing the eyes and nose to the bears face, it the gave the bear a little character. She would not have looked as good with my attempted version of a french knot.

Teddy Bear

Teddy Bear attached to pocket

Pocket Scarf

Fits child 3 yrs +

The scarf could be made with different colours, the teddy bear details could be changed, or you could have something else entirely on the pocket. There could be lots of possibilities for this children’s scarf.
And I have the pattern for an adults pocket scarf, as well as a hooded & pocket scarf (which is done with really big yarn, which means to would be a very quick knit to achieve).
As you can see the clasp arrived from the States. It’s from the Nicky Epstein website, as she sells accessories like clasps, buttons and shawl pins to go with her knitwear. And with it I also received a free pattern, so great value of money. I would have loved to buy from Australia, but I couldn’t seem to find anything I liked. And even when I did check out the supplies at Spotlight, the range was very, very small, and to be honest the one clasp that I had found, was not great, and very expensive.
Leaf Clasp on Shrug

Leaf Clasp

Shrug
Completed Shrug with clasp

I have really enjoyed knitting the scarf and the Shrug, as unlike the failed attempt at felting a bag went horribly wrong (in my opinion), these knits worked up well, look good as the finished project, and I can change the designs of both to suit individual needs, or to tweak the patterns to make them even better than they are currently.

I’ve also decided to design my own knitted bag. I looked for a couple of hours yesterday at various books, magazines and websites for a decent pattern to knit a bag for myself. And I couldn’t find any.
So in the words of my husband “it can’t be that hard to design a bag,” I am going to give it a go. Not sure when it will be finished, as I want to get different materials together to get the best look I can. Never done a bag design course, or in fact any fashion course (probably tell that in the jeans I’m wearing in the photo!), however I will put 100% effort into this, and I want it perfect before the big reveal. Hopefully by then I may have found a half decent yarn to do felting.
That’s me done for tonight, back to the needles for me.

Felting Disaster!!

Hi all,

I don’t know why I was so scared to felt, my first experience positively proved that sometimes 100% wool just doesn’t felt!!!! First wash was done with the temperature suggested which was set at 30c, sat there waiting patiently for the washing to be finished. I even checked to make sure that the Tote wasn’t shrinking too much. However I pulled my masterpiece out of the machine and discovered if anything that it was bigger when it came out than when it went in.

So tried a second attempt this time I put the machine up to 60c, again waited for the cycle to finish, and yet again the Tote came out looking no different from the first attempt.

I was getting a little frustrated by this point. I then decided to put the temperature up to 90c the highest temperature on my washing machine, and waited. . . . . .The machine stopped. . . . . . I took a breath, opened the machine, ready for the big reveal, and the Tote was still exactly the same as the previous 2 attempts. What a waste of time, and more important, what a waste of water and electricity.

I put the Tote in my tumble dryer – by this point what was the worst that could happen??? The tumble dryer actually did a mini felting, so tried washing for a 4th time, followed by 2 hrs in the tumble dryer. Again the tumble dryer did a little more, but in no way does the Tote I made, look or resemble the Tote in the pattern.

So I have plan, I have found a really good website, that can provide me with the exact yarn that I need to complete this Tote. And because of the fabulous Australian $, the prices work out really well for me. So when the yarn arrives from the UK I will update my progress with the Tote. I just find it amusing that I seem to have found the only 100% wool in Australia that you cannot shrink. . . . . .no matter what you do to it, I mean that has to be a good thing.

I have a friend coming tomorrow for a visit, and she is bringing up with her some teddy bear eyes and noses, so that I can pick some for my daughters teddy bear pocket scarf, I could sew the eyes and nose using thread/yarn, but my sewing details are not quite perfected yet, and I think having real teddy bear eyes and noses will give the pocket scarf a better finish.

Also I have just received in the post from Nicky Epstein accessory range a pretty leaf clasp so that I can sew that to my shrug/wrap. All photos should be put on by this Sunday of the completed Scarf and Shrug/Wrap.

My latest job, is to practice the pretty lace pattern that I will be using on the 1950′s inspired dress, I am making a shawl with this pattern, I just want to in-grain this pattern into my muscle memory, hopefully this way the pattern for the dress will be easy, and the only thing I’ll have to think about will be knitting in the round – circular needles. And I will also need to learn at some stage how to use double-pointed needles. Have tried a couple of times, but I ended up having a hissy fit when it didn’t work. I know good craftsmen never blames the equipment, but I swear the double-pointed needles weren’t working, nothing to do with me :)

And don’t forget that Saturday 11th June is World Knitting Day, so if you, like me love to knit, there will be lots to do on that day at big craft centres who will be holding Knitting Parties, and I’m sure that there will be plenty of discounts on yarns for everyone to enjoy. And even your smaller local yarn shops should be holding events also, so give them a call and see what they’re up to, if not maybe you could hold your own knitting party, maybe raise a little money for charity with your own personalised knitting event.

Well that’s it for me tonight, see you all later.

I’m Scared To Felt

I’m a little apprehensive about the felting process . . . . . . . . Ok that’s a lie . . . . . . . I’m scared.

We all know what happens when you put a wool item in the wash, and usually the disaster that follows when some unwitting fool has put the item in the dryer!! Luxury merino jumper that you wore on those cold days, now keeps your daughters Barbie just as warm.

I have looked into the process, and to be honest as long as you have the washing machine at the temperature required the washing part is fairly self-explanatory. However it’s the drying bit, I know I have to stretch the item after the wash, and that I may even have to pin it down to keep its shape, however I still have this feeling that my gorgeous 100% wool bag is going to even more fantastic as another accessory for Barbie….

Here I was thinking the ‘pom poms’ were going to be the big issue. I could make them when I was a child, but as a grown up I cannot remember them being so hard. I did the cardboard copy version, and it was terrible, it wasn’t so much a small perfectly round ball of wool, just a bloody mess, that was barely being held together. Each time I tried, it looked as though my 2-year-old had done it. It got so bad that I had to go to Spotlight and purchase a Pom-Pom Loom, and even following the instructions I still couldn’t do it. So I eventually (a pom-pom wasn’t going to break me) went back to my reliable source of information ‘YouTube,’ and found a lady who had put a video on there that showed how you do a pom-pom using the same loom that I had purchased. Let me tell you the instructions shown on the packaging are nothing compared to what you actually have to do!!! So now I have a pom-pom, looks fairly reasonable, and only time will tell whether I can do them as good as when I was a child. My mother suggests using lots and lots of yarn, more yarn better pom-pom.

Sorry got of track ‘ I still have to make the 2 sides and 1 handle of he Tote, and make it up before the washing begins, so have a couple of hours work ahead of me. I will look back on this and smile when I realise that ‘felting’ isn’t as bad as first thought.

Maybe a little apprehension is a good thing…..

No matter what happens I will be posting ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos of the Tote, I’m sure Barbie will be up to the modelling challenge.

Fingers crossed.

3 Projects Done, Many More To Go

Dog Coat

 

Hi All,

Well I have been a busy bee.

I have made my very first dog coat, and even though I am not blessed with having a dog running around so that I can make him or her try the outfits on, my eldest daughters toy german shepherd will have to do. The back piece measures 15 inches from neck to tail. It is knit with 5 mm needles and there will be 3 other sizes that I will make so that you and I can compare sizes. Also planned in the dog range is a LBD – just for those girl dogs that want something a little special.

 

Ladies Wrap

 

Also as you can see I’ve made this gorgeous (I’m biased) shawl/shrug, it is a very quick knit. It is made with size 15 mm needles and only took me a couple of days. I’ve ordered a beautiful leaf clasp that will be in the centre to join the 2 sides together (which I am waiting patiently for the clasp to arrive from the states).

 

Ladies Mohair Beret

 

And I have finished a Ladies Mohair Beret, which is the same pattern that I used for the grey beret. It is interesting to learn just how much difference in size when you use different yarns for the same knit.

Hopefully tomorrow will add photos of my youngest daughters pocket scarf, adorned with teddy bear face, I just have to finish the eyes and nose, sewing the details is not my strong point,  but as they say practice makes perfect. Have also added some more photos of various projects that have been completed, or close up of the stitches etc on the Images page. Included in the photos is a picture of a knitter’s gauge, for those of you unaware of what one of these are, basically they tell you what size your needles are. Mine has 3 measurements styles : mm, imperial and U.S., you should be able to get yourself one from all good knitting stores, or craft centres.

What will I do next, well I need to make the smaller size in the ladies Shawl/Shrug, and there are 3 more sizes of dog coats as well as the LBD, also on the agenda is a great big LadyBug floor cushion, runched fingerless gloves and a tote which will give me the chance to learn how to “felt,’ which as I know and some others will definitely know is an art form in its self. And if that wasn’t enough I have also challenged myself to knit a 1950′s inspired dress, all on circular needles – which up until this point I haven’t done any work on circular needles. How hard can it be???

Wow I sound busy. . . . . . . . I love it, wouldn’t have it any other way.

Well must go, lots of work to do, see you soon.

Extended Vacation

Hollipops Knits Logo

Hi to all,

First I would like to explain the last couple of months, I had an unplanned extended vacation, totally out of my control and hopefully never to repeat again. To be away from my knitting needles that long I was starting to get withdrawal symptoms.

However the needles have been dusted down and ready for new projects, or in some cases finishing projects that were started before the vacation.

In the past few weeks I’ve completed a mohair blend beret, a childs hat & scarf set, and another childs scarf.

I also have started a brand new pattern, which I have contributed my own little details to make this project my own. I am struggling with this, but even though it can be at times very frustrating, I am learning to like that. At times projects can be so easy that you become complacent, even a little lazy. This however is really testing me, definitely having to use my brain on this one, but I am determined to finish it, ideally in the next few weeks.

Hollipops Knits is now on twitter @hollipopsknits, so can be contacted on there as well as here and facebook.

I have a whole bunch of projects that I want to achieve this year. Photos of the new completed works will be posted in the next couple of days.

Well better go, see you all soon :)

Happy New Year

New Year Celebrations Sydney 2011

 

Happy New Year to you all, I hope you had a great time with family and friends over the festive period.

I apologize for my continued un-organisational skills in keeping this Blog up-to-date. However one of  my New Years Resolutions is to really progress Hollipops Knits and push forward.

Marie's Shawl

 
As you can see I finished Marie’s Shawl.
To say I am pleased with the results would be an understatement!! It is 28# wide and 67# length.
It has 121 stitches across and the pattern repeats every 7 stitches. This shawl was knitted using size 5mm needles. 
I am currently working out the cost so that I could put a price on this, as well as all my knitted work. Still trying to work out margins (am still new at this) etc.
I had a love hate relationship with this shawl, I loved finishing it, and hated it about half way, when I thought that I would never finish it. I could spend a couple of hours on it, and it looked as though I’d only done a few minutes worth!
However I am going to punish myself by knitting this again, but tis time on each of the cross overs I am going to place a tiny bead. It will be many hours work I suspect, but I believe it will look incredible when I have finished.
Mother-in-Law lace worked scarf

                                                                                                                                                        And not only did I finish the shawl, I also completed in about 9 hrs this gorgeous mohair 50%  & acrylic 50% blend lace worked scarf.

This as some of you are aware is for Sue, my Mother-in-Law. I love doing this knit, and would look beautiful as a shawl. 34 stitches across and was knitted on size 7mm needles.
I had originally done this on 4mm needles, and had repeated the pattern over 67 stitches, but found the pattern to thick, which is ideal in winter, but wanted this scarf to be for UK Autumn/Spring time, where it is not cold enough to wear your big winter woolies, but needed something just to keep the edge of the cold.
My next lot of work will be toys, need a break from the bigger items. Oh and Marie has challenged me yet again to make her some fingerless gloves that turn into mittens, and a hat for the scarf that I had already made her. Hat is easy, the gloves-mittens are going to take a bit of work and some new learning skills. However, I have accepted the challenge, I am going to do a pair of children’s mittens first, and then do a adults pair afterwards.
Knitting mittens, basically means knitting in the round – circular pair of needles, and you knit in a joined up circle. Leaving no seam edge to sew up, and easier to knit with those for mittens, not your normal straight needles. Or I could use double-pointed needles, but to me that just looks complicated compared to the circular needles.
Saying all that, currently I am having to rest due to the inconvenience that is Pneumonia. Hopefully will pick up the needles in the next few days.
Well that is it for me this week, see you all next Tuesday.
Emma

Knitting by numbers

Knitting Tattoo

Last week I had a comment from Greta, asking myself to explain by what I meant by my knitting by numbers method.

My mother-in-law scarf  (lace work scarf) is 66 sts across, and the pattern is created in 48 rows in total, before you repeat. It has one row purl, followed by a pattern row. On the pattern row most of the sts are different, and when I looked at the pattern and tried to knit at the same time I I got confused with knit, slip knit, knit2tog,  slip1knitwise, slip2knitwise, yarn forward etc. I got so focused on the sts especially when you have to use 3 sts to make 1 st, by the end of the row, not only had I lost a few sts, but I also had a headache.

So I decided there had to be a better less confusing way. So I decided to look upon each stitch as a number. I draw out the patterns, and sometimes have colour coding to help distinguish the pattern, but at the bottom each stitch has a number, and now when I look at the pattern I don’t see the stitch I have to do I just see the number. Not only have I found this method has really help me, but now I don’t make mistakes, I am now a lot quicker, and by counting the stitches I know exactly how many on the needle, where I am on the pattern.

This method probably won’t work for everyone but it has really helped me.

Other news from this week, is that with the help of my brother Hollipops Knits now has a fan page on Facebook. So you can contact me on the fan page, on this blog, or at hollipopsknits@hotmail.com .

I am still knitting Marie’s Shawl, it is coming along beautifully and I am really looking forward to the completion which should be by the end of the week. Was meant to be finished last week but unfortunately got a sea urchin spine in my hand, so had my hand strapped up for most of that week.

Over the summer months (Aus summer), I plan to build up my stock, and will have a number of regular items for sale, as well as my commissions. I am very excited about the direction Hollipops Knits is going.

Well on that note, I have to go now, lots of work to do :)

See you all Sunday

Emma