Updated: 31-12-2011
© Christina Coutts 2007

2011 archive..... click on the image to see the finished item.

Snowflake cardigan [Started 29th December 2011]

This is another of the Fair-Isle designs (Boyfriend Jacket) from Debbie Bliss Magazine 7. I am using Amy Butler Organic Aran in colour Slate [50% cotton, 50% wool; 50g:90m/98yds] as it was on sale - and also as my intended victim is Rob who is slightly allergic to wool and I think the wool cotton blend might suit. I think both Rob and George were slightly dubious about the Sherpa hats - so maybe Rob needs a fashionable Fair Isle cardi (or Ex-husband Jacket) as well as George.

Candy-Stripe Bedsocks [Started 22nd December: :Completed 28th December]

I found these candy stripe socks at the Purl Bee, having seen them on Ravelry. I bought 2 remaindered balls of Phildar Castel yarn [80% acrylic, 20% wool; 50g:101m] in red and white; I rate this as a DK yarn - though others suggest more of an Aran weight at 19 sts to 4 inches. The pattern is for a finer yarn - so I am adapting. They are tube socks with no heel - but I added an "afterthought heel" as I needed to gauge how far the yarn would go; it worked out with the heels completed in a synthetic Hayfield DK.

Snowflake Slippers [Started 12th December]

Another free download from Rowan's on-line collection. They look really cute and fun to make. I considered making them on the knitting machine (the snowflake sections); however the pieces are not large, and the thick boucle linings will be hand-knitted, so fiddly work like this probably best all done by hand.
The outer yarn is Rowan Felted Tweed DK [50% Merino Wool 25% Alpaca 25% Viscose: 50g=175m/189yds], in colours clay 177 and pine 158. I replaced the pine colour with Maritime 167 - a pale blue more like the photo on the Rowan site. The linings are in Rowan British Sheep Breeds Bouclé colour 220 [100% wool: 100g=60m/66yds].

Sherpa Hats [Started 14th December: :Completed 20th December]

A free pattern from Drops Designs - I knitted 2 as gifts using the recommended yarn in the recommended colours: Eskimo (100% wool; 50g:50m) and Puddel (94% mohair/6% polyamide; 50g:50m) - the latter being "Poodle" I suggest (I am a natural linguist). Yarn supplied by internet order from The Wool Shed in Aberdeenshire.

Snowflakes [Started 12th December]

I loved this sweater the minute I saw it - and in 4 ply it makes a potentially ideal candidate for knitting on my machine, (took enough of my patience knitting all the welts in preparation). The pattern is from the latest Debbie Bliss Magazine 7, which has a number of great modern takes on Fair-Isle designs - I had trouble deciding which one I wanted to make for myself but settled on this black and white number in Rialto 4ply (100%wool; 50g/180m).
I also love the legwarmers but am concerned I might look something other than trendy if I wore them.

Baby Shawlette [Started 27th November: :Completed 6th December 2011]

A delightful vanity item and makes for a quick knit to give as a gift - if unlike me you want to make sure the baby in question receives it before she graduates. One has to question its general usefulness, but with patience I am sure you could persuade your baby to sport such an item!
Yarn is vintage Phildar Anouschka (a fluffy 4 ply acrylic/wool mix).

Planned to be available as Pattern of the Month in the future.

Knitting at the O2 [Started 24th November]

I started this - which is "Hitchhiker", a narrow scarf or shawlette pattern available on Ravelry - as a simple pattern that I can execute hopefully with ease while watching the tennis at the O2, where I am off to with Helen today (24th). The yarn is some lovely Malabrigo in colour Prussia, that Alison bought me as a gift. This seems the perfect pattern for it.

Archeological Dig [Started in 1982? and restarted 22nd November: :Completed 29th November 2011]

This is a pretty little vintage pattern for a baby smock. I uncovered the item - knitted up all but for the sleeves - while rummaging in the attic; I started it about 30 years ago (I know this as my niece for whom it was intended is now that age...). Now Ava has a beautiful little grand-daughter, it will not be too challenging for me to complete it. Yarn is vintage Phildar Anouschka (a fluffy 4 ply acrylic/wool mix) with a Twilleys fine cotton.

Planned to be available as Pattern of the Month in the future.

Festive Reindeer Cardigan [Started 21st November: :Completed 25th December - 4am]

An ambitious project to start at this point for Christmas but I am trying it on my knitting machine. Although this could be deemed to be cheating, my machine is so basic that I have to coax the pattern out of it, as well as knitting all the ribbed welts and front closings by hand. It does produce a beautifully tensioned result - but down side is looks like a machine-knitted item (which it will be!).
Main concern with it is that the yarn (Rowan Felted Tweed DK in colours rage and clay) is a little thick for my machine though the tension stated is appropriate. The pattern is a free download from Rowan's Christmas collection 2011.

Father George requests more bedsocks [Started 20th November: :Completed 12th December]

These are "sideways socks" of my own design so I can use several different colours of yarn (left overs); I used mainly Phildar Oxygene, a double knitting weight, (40% acrylic, 35% chlorofibre, 25% wool), with some decorative matching Phildar oddments which are no longer available.

Planned to be available as Pattern of the Month in December 2011.

Isobel's Blanket [Started 14th November: :Completed 18th November]

This is a pretty little granny square pattern which I have wanted to make for some time. Its designed for a chunky yarn - I used Patons Pompero [50% acrylic; 30% wool, 20% polyamide; 50g/75m] in colours plum, lime and cream, and used a 7mm hook. Tension quoted as 16sts x 22rows to 4 inches on 5½mm needles - which is a bit thinner than intended but matters less for a little blanket or cot cover.
Planned to be available as Pattern of the Month in January 2012.

Pastel striped baby bag [Started 10th October: :Completed 3rd November]

Charming baby sleeping bag in pastel stripes. I am using King Cole Comfort yarn ("a soft and practical blend of 60% acrylic/ 40% nylon, machine washable at 40 degrees"), in white 421, pink 425, and sky 424. Knits to a tension of 12st and 16 rows to 10cm on 8mm needles. The bag is knitted on smaller needles giving a tighter fabric.
Available as Pattern of the Month October 2011.

Flower Pot Cabin Fever [Started 5th October: :Completed 27th October]

I just love this thing - I guess it's because I have the oak beam (albeit in France) to hang it from - just like the dressed photo. Pattern is for Rowan British Sheep Breeds Chunky, but I have used some of my vintage Guernsey 5 ply, used double.
The students of Nottingham Trent University were tasked by Rowan to produce a design using British wool, and April McCarthy has designed this pot holder with cable pockets (available free from Rowan site if you register).

"Sylvia's jacket" for Sheila Helen [Started 27th September: :Completed 19th November]

Another opportunity for me to make this Fiona Morris jacket using discontinued Wendy Fusion yarn (50% Wool/ 50% Acrylic: 16sts x 20rows to 4 ins on 5½mm needles). The original had a slight washing accident which has produced a delightful (but tiny) felted jacket which luckily fits Sheila's granddaughter, Deborah.
NB - this cardigan worked out a shade too big for Sheila but fits my friend Helen quite well - so I am now committed to making a smaller version for Sheila.

Granny's Cabin Fever Throw [Started 6th September]

From the new Rowan book Purelife Home which has lots of appealing projects using British Sheep Breeds Chunky and, in this case, the recycled yarn Renew [270m/296yards, 93% recycled wool, 7% Polyamide]. The vibrant tweedy colours are quite irresistible.

Peg Bag 2 [Started 30th August: :Completed 4th September]

Who needs two peg bags? Well it is destined to live in France - where we really do need a peg bag! - and I always meant to knit this one, loosely based on the one in Rowan Magazine 45, using a substitute yarn in the shape of Sirdar Wash 'n' Wear Double Crepe, [100g; 270m/296yards, 55% Acrylic, 45% Nylon]. You may wonder why, but basically it was price and colour - and practicality (clue's in the name). My alterations led to careful reading of the pattern, and examination of the photo - and given that Rowan Denim (the intended yarn) shrinks - I would query the instructions given for the length: knit 34cm at 28 rows to 10 cm = 95 rows - but photo shows 14 pattern repeats = at least 112 rows?

Little Dorrit 3 ply Socks [Started 1982?: :Completed 30th August]

I hardly like to say when I started these - or who they were for.... however, they are finished now, and George is in possession of them.
Another pattern from Patons Family Socks - copies often available on eBay - using vintage beige King Cole "Little Dorrit" yarn. This is a fine 3 ply wool-rich sock yarn: wool (75%) and nylon (25%).

Peg Bag [Started 12th August: :Completed 14th August]

My own design copying the one I had that was broken. Yarn is discontinued Sirdar Peru - a chunky yarn knitted on smaller than recommended needles. See Pattern of the Month August 2011 for the simple pattern.

Camera cover [Started 2nd July: :Completed 3rd July]

I made this felted case using my own "design". The yarn is some that I dyed at our Guild dyeing workshop - the idea was to see the different take up of the same dye by different yarns, so we only used a scrap of each. The body is in wool and the top border is mohair/silk mix. I swatched a little, then calculated how many stitches I needed based on 85% width and 75% length shrinkage. I knitted a rectangular base, then picked up sts all around it and knitted upwards on 4 needles until I had sufficient length (30% more than the camera). I then felted the resulting pouch by hand.

Bella Blouse [Started 9th June]

This is the Bella Blouse by Norah Gaughan from the Knitting Daily Pattern Library. I am using a few balls of Rowan Damask - a yarn I love but now discontinued - for the contrast and I found an ecru cotton blend (Patons Washed Haze) which tones with it quite well for the main shade. As my supply of Damask is limited I am omitting the contrast band at the bottom of the sweater.

Handspun Scarf [Started 3rd April: :Completed 6th April]

The last of the small bag of fleece that came from the Coutances hand-clipped sheep as below. The pattern is the Ribbed Scarf by Ann Budd which I knitted until the last of the yarn was used up. I cast on only 25sts (Aran weight) instead of the 41 needed for the fingering yarn of the original.
It's a lovely pattern and I plan to make it again in finer softer yarn in the future.

Handspun Hats [Started 20th March: :Completed 28th March and 2nd April]

I have finished spinning the small bag of fleece that came from the Coutances hand-clipped sheep last year. It is (not too) soft and very springy. I made it 3 ply and it's somewhere between double knit and Aran weight. I am making a fisherman's rib beanie for Roul who does the clipping - along with Lloyd for whom I feel there may also be a hat... Took a couple of attempts to get the sizing right.

Christmas Socks? [Started 12th March: :Completed 12th & 28th April & 8th June]

Nothing like starting early. I bought 3 balls of Austermann Step basically in any colour I could find for next year's gifts. After my experiences in terrible service from Web of Wool last year I have had to look elsewhere. Lots of suppliers have it listed but when you look, many of the colours are out of stock. So I chose colours 43, 44, and 54.

Fetching and Dashing [Started 12th March: :Completed 18th March]

Yet more "Fetching and "Dashing" mittens - this time, made from Felicity's handspun Gotland. These were intended as a gift to for a Guild speaker but ended up in our AGM raffle. They were won by Maureen, who made it very rewarding for me as she was so pleased with them. I am thinking that the Dashing may go to her husband George who is an enthusiastic gardener.

Nordic Cushions [Started 3rd February: :Completed 14th March]

From the Martin Storey book "Nordic Knits" given to me for my birthday. Knitted in Rowan Felted Tweed Double Knitting; colours: Rage 150 and Clay 177, [50g; 175m], 50% Merino Wool 25% Alpaca 25% Viscose.
I really love this yarn - it's very soft and light.

Charity II [Started 28th January: :Completed 6th February]

This is my second capelet from the Kim Hargreaves book - Amber, A Winter Gathering - the one I planned to make for myself in 2008! I did not spin my own yarn for the project, but purchased some Debbie Bliss Como in colour Teal 27, (90% Wool 10% Cashmere). This yarn has a finer gauge (10 sts x 15 rows to 10cm), than Rowan Big Wool so I knitted the largest size to compensate; I worked out the tension before I started, and used the recommended needle size. It took 5 x 50g balls (5 x 42m).

Breton Guernsey [Started 27th January - abandoned frogged]

More vintage 5 ply yarn making a striped Breton style guernsey using the vintage Emu family guernsey pattern.
I think the red shade may be a little on the bright side (where's Wally?).

In view of unfortunate shades of colour used I found this very unappealing and it has been frogged - some of the cream yarn already used (double) for the Rowan "flower pot" decoration, and the red yarn is in plan to make the Debbie Bliss fair-isle seasonal lettering.

Noro Socks [Started 22nd January: :Completed 2nd August]

I bought some Noro Sock yarn at Yarn Dogs in Los Gatos last year. And also some teeny tiny (9 inch - and there is an option of 8!) circular needles - so now I have put the two together. The needles are difficult to knit with but lend themselves to "continental" knitting which means I am encouraged to practise the technique. I expect this to be a long but transportable project.

Winter Cushions II [Started 19th January: :Completed 2nd February]

Second set of covers in red and green versions this time - again from the Debbie Bliss magazine No 5 for Winter 2010. I used left over vintage guernsey 5 ply (Wendy) with vintage Phildar Brisants and Pronostic - these were done on my knitting machine which works well with this lighter weight yarn, but worked up to be smaller cushions.

Winter Cushions [Started 1st January: :Completed 17th January]

I am making more winter cushion covers well ahead for next year (my resolution every January - although this year should have been a table runner!). These are from the Debbie Bliss magazine No 5 for Winter 2010. I would have used the recommended Rialto DK but the store was out of stock - so I went for Patons Diploma Gold DK which is not such a luxurious yarn but on the plus side is much less expensive. Colours as depicted in the magazine but worked up to a larger cushion size.

Jaeger Man's Guernsey in DK [Started 14th October 2010: :Completed 10th August 2011]

More stash wool from a sale of sadly defunct Jaeger brand. This is Jaeger Extra Fine Merino, [50g; 137yds/125m], 100% wool, in the rather uninspiring colour 973 "Biscuit". The most annoying thing is that despite for once in my life buying a Jaeger pattern, using the recommended yarn, buying the right amount (!) for a medium size and knitting the small size - I HAVE RUN OUT OF YARN! Thanks goodness for Cucumber Patch who came up with an extra ball in the right colour (unsurprisingly not the same dye lot).

Rowan Man's Aran Cardigan [Started 14th October 2010]

Stash wool from when I overbought some Rowan Magpie Aran Tweed for a cardigan for my brother in law some years ago (I know - not like me - large administrative error in translating 2oz balls to 100g balls). I am adapting a cardigan pattern from the Mens Book which is designed for chunky yarn; I have not yet made a satisfactory start - every time I knit the welt it looks too small!

Two [Started 22nd August 2010]

This is Two - not another cardigan! But it is, like Puzzle, from Queen of Hearts - in fact, the cover design. The yarn is Patons Misty [25g; 150m], 70% mohair, 30% polyamide. It knits to a double knitting tension of about 22sts to 4 inches, but I am knitting it much looser on 6mm needles. I chose this yarn also at Ally Pally in 2009; being a dress I thought it would take for ever but it seems to be knitting up very quickly so I have every expectation of finishing it soon...

Blithe [Started 9th August 2010: :Completed 2nd October 2011]

In 2006 I made Deep (a cardigan) in Rowan's Summer Tweed. The colour really suits me but I never wore Deep very much. So I am reinventing it in a new shape. It's an Aran, so knits up speedily. The pattern is by Marie Wallin from Rowan Magazine 47 - and it is really awful; I am a pretty experienced knitter and I could not work from the chart at all. In the end I resorted to someone else's drafting of the stitch pattern - and thank heavens for Ravelry for pointing me at it - and made the rest up myself.
The photo itself does not do the yarn justice as it is a wonderful turquoise colour with flecks of pink and other colours, and I had trouble deciding on the perfect buttons - I hope these are they - lovely wooden buttons with faded stripes.

Fifties Spring Top (with detachable vestee) [Started 9th August 2010: :Completed 7th July 2011]

After knitting the back of this retro sweater, it was obvious that I would run out of yarn so I abandoned it - that's one of the problems with using vintage patterns - even when you think you have bought twice the amount stated, (!). I had resolved to start again with different yarn, however I finally found a source for more and picked it up again. The main shade is Adriafil Avanteguarde (100% wool) in turquoise. Stated as a 3 ply - which it is not in the literal sense - and knits up more to a 4 ply tension. Available as Pattern of the Month May 2011.

Arty Fibre Scarf [Started 18th January 2009]

Alison gave me this exquisite fibre for Christmas along with a pattern for a beautiful scarf. She saw the finished item knitted up but there is no photo included, which adds to the pleasure, because the surprise continues as you knit. The yarn is Artfiber's Tsuki , 60% Kid Mohair, 40%Silk, [40g skein; 515yds], and the pattern is Artfibers Vertical Drop Stitch Scarf.