Sweater Surgery – and embroidery on knits

I’ll show the pretty pictures first

Sweater Surgery

 

I  finished this cardigan, my version of Peggy Sue in June 2013, and only wore it twice.

The neckline was dreadful on me, far to high and unflattering on me, and because I have narrow shoulders and there were no no short rows at the back, I couldn’t wear it open without the wretched thing falling off. When I finished it I put a little yarn aside so that I could steek it, my Ravelry notes talk about doing so, but I didn’t, the cardigan was relegated to the back of the wardrobe and I moved on. About a year ago I snipped the front neckline out (after first reinforcing it with some machine stitching) and popped it into my works in progress box where it’s sat until the recent news reports of a super cold winter and my desire to stock up a woolies now yesterday

This is how it was when I pulled it out of the wips box. (well it was rather more crumpled and sorry looking, but you get the idea)

The first thing that I did was that I removed the ribbing at  the back neckline and picked up stitched all way around.

I worked short rows across the back neckline from the front raglan line back wards (I did 6 w+t each side)

Then I worked a border of twisted rib.

I covered the cut edges at the front neckline with bias tape.

And for a bit of fun embroidered some flowers

I’m very pleased to say that this cardigan has already seen more wear since it’s been refashioned, than it did in the previous two years.

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Knitting kits in the etsy shop and a look back at the evolution of a pattern

As I mentioned yesterday in my works in progress round up, there are now kits in the etsy shop.

Badger wrister knitting kitFoxy wrister knitting kit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first batch are variants of my Foxy Friends Writers pattern. This is one of my favourite patterns, it’s certainly the one that I’ve knitted the most and offer the most variations of.

It was first published in Issue 30 of the Knit Now magazine. as the Foxy Wristies (the name was changed to wristers due to wristies being a trademarked name – who knew!!) That was just the fox pattern with the reverse stocking stitch wrist.

As I was designing the foxy wrister I knew that I wanted to give him some friends, so when the rights reverted to me, I reworked the charts to give him a Badger and a Raccoon companion (yes I know raccoons are not indigenous to the UK but my little people were very keen!) I was also keen to reduce the amount of purl stitches needed and came up with the idea of the *No Purl (almost) version. Although there is purling involved, there is significantly less and it has a stocking stitch wrist, as shown here by the Badger and Raccoon.

Foxy Friends Wristers

I knew when I opened my etsy shop and began hand dying yarn that I wanted to offer kits, and that the first pattern that I wanted to offer in kit form was the Foxy Wristers pattern. So I began looking for a suitable yarn base, I knew that I wanted it to be

  • spun from British wool in Britain
  • robust and hard wearing.
  • while retaining some rustic qualities not coarse and scratchy
  • not superwash treated

Sport weight yarn(which the pattern is written for) isn’t that common in Britain and for a while I came up stumps. Then following a rabbit hole one day I came across Gansey type yarns, these are usually 5ply which is technically a sport weight, and is usually made to be robust and while not very common is available if you look closely. I was very happy to finally find what has now become my Rumbustious base. It is spun is Devon from British fleeces, it’s a lovely wooly yarn and while it may not suit someone with a wool sensitivity it isn’t scratchy or coarse but still robust and strong. I began experimenting, I was pleased to see that it took the dye well and knit up beautifully. It’s slightly different in texture than the orignal yarns called for, it’s less ‘fluffy’ and ‘fuzzy’ this is a smoother yarn and is ever so slightly heavier; I found that to achieve gauge I needed a smaller size needle but was happy to note that the fabric produced was lovely, and perfect for mittens.

I then began reformatting the pattern to print with the kits, the kits are available at present as Badgers or Foxes and the pattern that comes with the kit is just for that motif, and is the stocking stitch wrist version. There are kits available with project bags and without project bags. If there is demand in time I may start offering just the yarn, but that will be further down the road.

I had great fun finding a suitable fabric to make up the project bags, working out the right size, making up the cute little balls of yarn to go in the kit. All in all I’ve had a lovely time, and now I hope that other like these little kits as much as I do.

 

And here are the final samples

Foxy Friends Wristers by Theresa Shingler

There will be more kits, I have a new design and yarn waiting it’s turn to be let loose into the world, hopefully by next weekend all being well. I’m also making project bags to go into the shop as an optional add on or separate purchase.

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Work in Progress round up – October 2015

In an effort to keep on top of my wips I’m having a monthly round up of my ongoing wips, whether I’ve made any progress on them over the past month or not. (September round up here)

So here is October 2015

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Quite a change from last month, but some of that is because I forgot to add my long term wips – mea culpa! So in an effort to make up for that here they are at numbers 1 and 2.

  1. Is my Happy Blanket. It’s a sock yarn blanket like the many, many being knitted at the moment. I haven’t worked on this for a while, but now that  I’ve unearthed it again I’m hoping to give it a bit more love. As you can see it’s colour themed apart from one pesky blue square that I added right at the start.
  2. Is my hexipuff Copy Cat Cosy. I’m making a tea pot cosy with hexipuffs inspired by blatantly copying  Dani of Little Bobbins and her Bramley Hedge inspired tea pot cosy. I have these sweet little hexipuffs in a glass bowl on my shelves, I really should add to these get the cosy made.
  3. Is the eye searing socks for my biggest boy, made with Regia Fluromania in 2×2 rib. These have made a fair amount of progress, I’m almost at the toe of the second sock. These are after thought heel socks, so I’ve still got the heels to do.
  4. Is a new sock design that’s not been touched this month – oh dear!
  5. Is my lovely soft as clouds Comodo cardigan. I’m knitting in Sirdar Nomad a deep stash soft and fluffy bouclé and it’s glorious. I’m so looking forward to wearing this. The yarn isn’t very nice to work with even will blunt needles, but the resulting fabric is so lovely that it’s worth a little hassel. I’m down to the waist now and the rows are sooo long!

So what have I knitted this month?

I finished the never ending tube socks for my eight year old.

I’ve knitted samples of my Foxy Friends Wristers pattern for kits that I’ve put up in my etsy shop.

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I’ve also been a busy bee working on a new pattern (and all the samples are prototypes that intails)  that will also be available in kit for hopefully next week. (And as a stand alone pattern in the Ravelry shop and on etsy.

 

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How I wash hand knit socks

How I wash my hand knit socks

It’s ‘that’ time of year, the leaves are turning brown, the nights are drawing in, it’s getting flipping cold in the mornings and evenings, the woolly socks box has been pulled out and the socks are back in rotation. That means one thing, sock washing. Funnily enough washing the socks was one of the things that put me off hand knit socks for so long. Now I’ve got a good selection, as have the family, I have an easy routine that I’d like to share.

I fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum of sock washing methods; just between bung them in with the jeans at one end and gently hand wash at the other. Some disclaimers, all my socks are knit from yarn that is designed for socks, all can withstand the ‘wool cycle’ or my machine and I always wash a new pair separately at first to ensure that the colours won’t run onto it’s sock mates.

Here goes

  • I roughly sort the socks into lights, brights and darks. I usually do the darks and brights together as I know from initially washing them by themselves that they don’t run. (But I don’t want to tempt fate with the light delicate colours!)
  • Any really grubby patches are rubbed with a very wet block of Savon de Marseille that I use to treat stains in wool.
  • I put them in the washing machine set on the wool wash setting with the temperature set at 30 degrees Celsius. Into the detergent drawer I put about half a tablespoon of eucalan. If I’ve used the soap on any stains I wait ten minutes or so before setting the machine off. (If you have a machine that has a separate temperature control, do take care to ensure that it’s on the appropriate setting)
  • I take the socks out of the machine as soon as it’s finished as I don’t like them sitting damply around together.
  • I give the socks a flap and a gentle pull to make sure that they’re the shape and size I want them to be when dry, then if it’s a bright breezy day, I’ll peg them on the line. If it’s a damp grey day, I put them on a radiator to dry and by the end of the day I have a soft pile or clean warm socks, ready to go on feet again.

I never tumble dry my socks,and my routine does take a little time going back and to, emptying the machine and hanging up socks up to dry. I need to be home when the machine is finished, I can’t bring myself to just bung them in and forget about them, because given the many hours I’ve spent knitting the socks a little extra care seems worthwhile. However routine is much quicker than hand washing a families worth of socks on a regular basis, and thus far – fingers cross none have been ruined in the wash.

Disclaimer, the producers and/or sellers of any products that I mention have no idea that I either exist or are talking about their products. I’m just happy using these products and haven’t been compensated in any way.

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New Hope Hat – pattern release

I’m so pleased to announce the release of my new pattern; New Hope Hat

New Hope Hat. Knitting Pattern by Theresa Shingler Knis

I designed the New Hope Hat as response to the refugee crisis engulfing Europe this year. Many, many migrants have lost their lives at sea trying to reach the safety of European shores. I have designed this hat to raise money for the work of MOAS (the Migrant Offshore Aid Station) 

The only expenses that I’ll take from this are Ravelry and PayPal fees.

This design had been perculating in my mind for a few months, sparked by the remains of some beautiful stone work around the window of a ruined abbey that we visit frequently.

Then one Saturday I sat down to listen to Curious Handmade podcast, Helen spoke about the refugee crisis and the terrible loss of lives and something that she said sparked an idea of a little way I might be able to help rather than wring my hands as I had been doing.

I had a stack of Aran weight wool in various colours than I’d been dying up as practise colourways for my etsy shop, I had the kernal of a design idea, I put the two together and this hat was born. I hope that everyone who knits it likes it as much as me, and I hope that that it raises a reasonable amount of money for a very worthy cause.

New Hope Hat is available as a PDF download in my Ravelry shop.

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Hand dyed yarns in the esty shop.

I’ll so pleased to able to unveil one of my most exciting secret projects of late.

I’ve been hand dying yarn to add to my Etsy shop.

Hand dyed yarn by theresashinglerknits.com

 

Just as I’m inspired in my knitting pattern designs, so I am in hand dying yarn. All my colourways come about by the world around me, usually the natural world.

I aim to have repeatable colourways, that can be custom ordered if larger amounts are required such as for a garment or a larger shawl, and to have those colourways available across the whole range of my bases.

My bases are all spun in Britain from British or British overseas territories wool, I’ll put up a page soon with more information about my bases,in the meantime check out my Etsy shop if you’d like to see what is available at the moment,, more is being added regularly, and keep a look out for kits and more bases coming soon

To be one of the first to find out when new lines are added sign up for my newsletter, links on the side bar.Hand dyed yarn by theresashinglerknits.com

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Work in Progress round up – September 2015

In an effort to keep on top of my wips I’m having a monthly round up of my ongoing wips, whether I’ve made any progress on them over the past month or not. (August round up)

September 2015

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So in no particular order.

  1. A new sock design. The first sock is within one round of being cast off, I’ll knit the second, grade the pattern, get it tech edited and put it out for test knitting, hopefully by the end of next month. They’re being worked out of West Yorkshire Spinners Signature sock yarn in the Cardamom colour. I adore this yarn for sock knitting, I used the nutmeg colour way to knit a sample of my Abscission Sock pattern. This Cardamom colour is my very favourite colour and was given to me for my birthday by the children. I’m knitting a me sized sample, and I’m really hoping to have these finished and photographed by the end of Autumn so that I can wear them this Winter.DSC_0496-2
  2. This is a new work in progress this month.It’s Comodo by Nicola Susen that I’m knitting in Sirdar Nomad a deep stash soft and fluffy bouclé;not at all the recommended fingering or lace weight yarn recommended. However t’s so light and airy, and I’m very happy with how it’s turning out. I’ve split for the sleeves and am about 5cm down into the body.DSC_0498-2
  3. I’ve made no progress at all on these;  More eye searing socks These are 2×2 rib socks for my eldest son with size 9 (UK) feet. This is the second pair of socks (first pair) that I’m knitting from Regia fluormania and Regia Creativ that is very deep stash. and I’ve stalled for ages on the second sock of this pair. They’ll have afterthought heels when I finally get to the end of them.DSC_0493-2
  4. No progress on these either. Bigger on the inside These are spiral tube socks for my eight year old boy with size 3 (UK) feet. They are 64 stitches worked in a spiral rib, with 2×2 ribbed cuffs and a star toe. The cuffs and toes are Regia Trendpoint  and the main body of the sock is a very deep stash Regia Creativ sock blank that I’ve had in stash for ages.DSC_0494-2
  5. And last but not least, no progress on this either. Snow Goose: A new DK shawl design that I’m working on. This is worked out of DK alpaca and is really lovely, but I’ve stalled as I need to work out the numbers for the edging
  6. .DSC_0495-2

Although I made little or no progress on many of my prpjects,, one wip from last month is finished and a new one cast on.The bulk of my attention this month has been taken up with a new design that will be released in a few days, the proceeds of which will be used to rescue migrants at sea. I’ve finished quite a few samples which you’ll have seen some of if you follow me on instagram. I’ve also this month, cast on, knitted and finished a Lopi for my eldest boy, I’m not quite sure how that happened!!!

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Hooray, hooray, it’s a finished Lopi day – a finished object.

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I’m so pleased to have finished this Lopi for my eldest boy, just in time for the Autumn weather.

Pattern: Frost by Védís Jónsdóttir

Yarn: Ístex Álafoss Lopi bought from Meadow Yarn

Colours: MC: 1233 Space Blue CC: 1232 Arctic Exposure CC: 9959 Indigo

Size: Smallest, with 5cm added in length.

Ravelry page here

Mods:  Intentional – I added six short rows across the shoulders in the MC sections as soon as I added the sleeves. I added 5cm in length in the body and 3cm in length in the hood.

Unitentional: I got the colours mixed up on the yoke – ho hum ;o)

 

This is the second time that I’ve knitted this pattern, and just like the first time, I found this an easy and enjoyable project. My hands really aren’t used to knitting such heavy wool on such large needles,so I did find that I didn’t want to work on it for more than an hour or so at a time, but it still went very quickly.

This is the first time I’ve knitted the hood on this and I’ve not  blocked the hood very well the first time, but that’s easily sorted. Georgie Hallam posted a great way to block hoods using a cycle helmet on her Instagram feed the other day, we seem overrun with the things so I think that I’ll give that a go. I’ve still to knit a long I-cord for the hood, that may be a while until I do because long I-cord – ugh!!!

Anyway, so more gratuitous pictures ;o)

Frost by Védís Jónsdóttir knit by theresashinglerknits.comSteek - eek!!!

 

 

 

 

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How to work a knitted on patch – a tutorial

A knitted on patch, a great alternative to darning.
A knitted on patch, a great alternative to darning.

This is my favourite way of dealing with holes in the soles of my socks, either worn holes of small holes caused by catching my socks on nails heads or uneven

surfaces.
It’s a really smooth patch, there are no lumps or bumps to irritate the feet and cause blisters and it can be fun to use contrasting yarns and colours. The finished patch mooves with the original f If you are covering a worn area make sure that you extend the patch into a sound area of knitted fabric.

You will need

  • 3 DPNs in a size smaller than the size used to work the original fabric.
  • Two DPNs in the size used to work the original fabric
  • Working yarn to knit the patch, this should be similar in weight and composition to that used to knit the original fabric.
  • A tapestry needle.
DPNs inserted into the stitches at the bottom, left and right of area to be patched.
DPNs inserted into the stitches at the bottom, left and right of area to be patched.
  • Using DPNs a size or two smaller than usual, pick up the right leg of the stitches along the bottom of the area that you want the patch to cover. Make a note of your stitch count.
  • Place a DPN up the left side of the area that will be patched. Place the DPN one stitch to the left of the leftmost stitch picked up by the DPN, pick up the right leg of every other stitch beginning with the row immediately above the bottom DPN.
  • Place a DPN up the right side of the area that will be patched. Place the DPN one stitch to the left of the rightmost stitch picked up by the bottom DPN, pick up the right leg of every other stitch beginning with the row, two rows above the bottom DPN.
  • You should have the same number of stitches picked up on eash side DPN, there right DPN’s last stitch should be one row higher than the last stitch on the left DPN.

 

 

 

 

Using working yarn, knit into the stitches on the bottom DPN
Using working yarn, knit into the stitches on the bottom DPN

 

  • Using working yarn and a DPN of the size usual for the yarn you are working with, knit across the stitches on the bottom needle.
  • From now on, use DPNs of the appropriate size for the yarn to work the stitches.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knit the first stitch picked up by the DPN on the left.
Knit the first stitch picked up by the DPN on the left.

 

  • Knit the first stitch picked up by the DPN on the left.
  • Turn your work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purl across the working stitches and then purl the first stitch picked up by the other side DPN
Purl across the working stitches and then purl the first stitch picked up by the other side DPN

 

  • Purl across the working stitches.
  • Purl the first stitch picked up by the side DPN.
  • Turn your work.
  • You will now have two more stitches being worked than in the first step, this is the number of stitches that will be worked until the end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knit across the working stitches, stopping before the last one.Knit the last stitch and the first stitch picked up by the side DPN together.

 

  • Knit back across the working stitches, stopping before the last stitch.
  • Knit the last working stitch together with the next stitch picked up on the side DPN.
  • Turn your work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purl back across the working stitches stopping before the last stitch, purl the last stitch together with the picked Up stitch on the side DPN.
Purl back across the working stitches stopping before the last stitch, purl the last stitch together with the picked Up stitch on the side DPN.

 

  • Purl back across the working stitches, stopping before the last stitch.
  • Purl the last working stitch together with the next stitch picked up on the side DPN.
  • Turn your work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue following the last two steps working in one picked up stitch from the DPN at the end of each row.
Continue following the last two steps working in one picked up stitch from the DPN at the end of each row.

 

  • Continue following the last two rows working one of the picked up stitches on the DPNs at the end of each row.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • All the picked up stitches have been worked
  • The live stitches must now be grafted to the stitches in the base fabric.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graft the live stitches to the background fabric
Graft the live stitches to the background fabric

 

  • Cut the working thread leaving a length equivalent to around four times the length of the row, thread the end into the tapestry needle.
  • Graft the live stitches on the DPN onto the background fabric by using the working yarn to mimic the path of the thread in the stitches of the background fabric.
  • When you reach the end of the row, fasten off and weave in the loose ends

 

 

 

 

 

 

The finished knitted on patch.
The finished knitted on patch.

 

  • Hooray :o) your patch is complete.
  • Wash, block and enjoy. :o)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knitted on patch collage

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Knitting won’t save the world …

…..well no of course it won’t, but it may well make the world a warmer cosier place.

IIMG_20150916_094146-2‘m sure that faced with the images of fleeing refugees trying to escape danger starvation, horror and war, many of us have wondered what we can do to help. I’m sure too, that many knitters have heard and taken on board the old chestnut that, ‘ knitting it never the correct response’. Is that true? Of course not, but there are many things to bear in mind.

Firstly, for a non-knitting response, I’d recommend reading  this article for the Independent, for simple, solid ways to help. Also there are many non governmental organisations addressing the situation, such as Oxfam, Cafod and the Red Cross.

Now you’re a knitter, you have wool, you have needles, you want to knit, what can you do that will be truly useful?

First a warning, Stacey of the wonderful Fresh Stitches blog has some cautionary words of warning.

That being said there are things that can be knit, that are useful. Knit for Peace is a UK charity that does collect knitted goods for a variety of causes, one of which is the refugee crisis,  they have proper infrastructure to ensure that the goods collected are properly distributed where they are needed. They have information on their website about what items are needed and how to donate them.

At the moment, there are many local collections for refugees. Many schools and churches are taking part and most will have lists of items that they are looking for. My husband’s school is collecting for refugees at Calais, there’s a lorry donated by Vauxhall doing the rounds and taking, those items collected to a distribution centre to be dealt with in an organised fashion, of the many things they are asking for are hats, gloves, socks, jumpers and hoodies – all of which could be knitted. A good rule of thumb that I’m sure many of us follow in all sorts of situations is don’t give what you wouldn’t be happy to receive, and that hold good here just as it does for Christmas presents.

IMG_20150913_110815Anyone who follows me on Instagram or Facebook will know that  my knitting works in progress have been shoved aside while I’m working on a hat pattern that I’m planning on selling to raise money for Migrant Offshore Aid Station, a privately funded charity that rescues migrants at sea. I’m working on the New Hope Hat, at the moment it’s in testing, if you’d like to be part of that please contact me either at theresashinglerknits (at) gmail .com or via Ravelry where I’m babybee. This is an Aran weight hat that will be available in sizes Child (Adult S,M, L) to fit head circumference 46 (51, 56, 61) cm  [18 (20, 22, 24) inches ], all sizes should use less than 100g of Aran. I’ve got five hats knit up thus far that will go off to Calais and then any other that I complete after Thursday I’ll send off to Knitting for Peace.

So my take on  the  research that I’ve done on this into this issue,

  • If I’ve got money to donate, I should donate that, not buy yarn to knit a donation – well obviously!!! I’m preaching to the choir here aren’t I?
  • Look for reputable well organised groups to donate to, I don’t want my hand knit languishing in someone garage because the logistics got too much for them.
  • Look at what is being asked for and provide that, in the sizes, colours and materials asked for.
  • Donate to what makes me feel good; there are so many good and worthy causes, none of us can donate to everything, there is nothing wrong with having a bit of a warm glow about my efforts, it doesn’t negate the good.
  • Look for local. Now this may or may not work against the second and fourth point, but bear in mind whether there is a local cause or collection point that can make use of my item.  It would be shame if money that could be spent alleviating suffering directly was eaten up by shipping costs.

Yes, just common sense!

 

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