Saturday, 18 September 2021

#YarnFriendsRock 2021 - Days 13-18

Wow! Where is September going? It seems to be whizzing by. This month I'm joining the #YarnFriendsRock challenge, hosted by @unicornpuffsandrainbows, @brightbag and @sewing_the_seeds_of_love Every day in September, I'm posting a picture to my intarsia Instagram account (@VikkiBirdDesigns_Intarsia) around a theme. Head over there to follow along. In case you missed it, here's a catch-up for Days 13-18.



 

Day 13: Blue Monday



Just because it’s Monday, it doesn't mean you have to be blue! Blue is one of my happy colours: it’s calming and relaxing, and makes me feel at peace with myself and the world around me. It’s funny how colours can have such an effect on our mood. I live in hope that dressing my kids in soothing blues might calm them down, but it hasn’t worked so far!

 

Day 14: Bookmarks

 


Want to know my most-used knitting bookmark? It’s the @CraftYarnCouncil Standard Body Measurements/Sizing. They’re not exciting or glamorous, but they allow me to create patterns that fit a whole range of sizes, from baby to adult!


Patterns are Sooty Baby Cardigan and Father Christmas jumper, both designed by me for @KnitNow Photos shared with permission.


Day 15: Colour inspiration

 

When I’m choosing colours for my designs, I tend to stick at least approximately to colours that are close to those of the item I’m knitting, so penguins are black and white, reindeer are brown, foxes are rust, but I love to add bright colours in backgrounds. I had lots of fun choosing the colours for my Knitbots blanket, because robots can be any colour you like!

Day 16: Shop indie


I love visiting local yarn stores, and usually pick up a souvenir skein of sock yarn when I visit one. A lot of my designs make use of mainstream yarns such as Hayfield Bonus DK, King Cole Merino Blend DK and Stylecraft Special DK, which are available in lots of local yarn shops, so when I get the chance I always try to pick up my yarn from smaller indie shops. Tell me about your local yarn shop - what do you love about them?


Day 17: Yarn bombing



Controversial opinion coming… I don’t generally like yarn bombing… I find it tends to look tatty once it’s been out in the rain for a few days. But I do like a temporary yarn installation, and I think the team at Yarndale are pretty much masters of it. Every year, they use yarn bombing to create an amazing yarn trail leading you to the exhibition hall. This photo is from 2016, when I went to Yarndale with my lovely friend Amy.


Day 18: Reel


 

Do you ever run out of yarn bobbins? I do once in a while (or mislay them…), so occasionally, I make yarn butterflies instead! This post is a video of me making a yarn butterfly on my IG feed - head over there to check it out.

Friday, 17 September 2021

Show Off Your Woolly Socks 2021 - it's back!


Do you have a drawer full of handknitted socks that you're really proud of? Do you want to share your woolly socks with the world? A few years ago, I shared a picture of my handknitted socks every day for a month for #ShowOffYourWoollySocks, and it's back for 2021! #ShowOffYourWoollySocks2021 is an excellent excuse to show off your woolly socks: just share a photo of your socks every day in October and tell me their story - all socks have a story, right? Whether it's about the yarn, or the pattern, or the place they were knitted, I can't wait to hear your sock-related tales. You don't have to join in every day, just post on the days you're wearing your woolly socks.


Fancy knitting yourself some new socks in October: THERE'S A KAL! #soywskal2021 is an excuse to knit yourself a new pair of socks to wear on October 31st. You can use a WIP, or cast on something new. The theme for this year’s KAL is ‘try something new’. What you try is up to you: cables, lace, toe-up, top-down, a new-to-you heel, the possibilities are endless... I’ll be knitting my socks from a sock blank (I have a stash of them, but have always found them a little bit intimidating!). Remember, these socks are *for you* - no gift knitting in this KAL! Just post your progress on IG with the hashtag #soywskal2021 to take part.

 

Fancy using one of my sock patterns? All my sock patterns have 15% off with the code SHOWOFF until October 7th 2021 on Ravelry and PayHip (expires 11.59pm BST).

Socks on PayHip: https://payhip.com/VikkiBirdDesigns/collection/socks

Socks on Ravelry: https://ravel.me/VikkiBirdDesigns/sp1 (Ravelry link; may cause issues for people with photosensitivity, proceed with caution)

Let me know below how exited you are to join in with #ShowOffYourWoollySocks2021 I can't wait!

Thursday, 16 September 2021

#YarnFriendsRock 2021 - Days 8-12

Morning! Hope you're having a good week. This month I'm joining the #YarnFriendsRock challenge, hosted by @unicornpuffsandrainbows, @brightbag and @sewing_the_seeds_of_love Every day in September, I've been posting a picture to my intarsia Instagram account (@VikkiBirdDesigns_Intarsia) around a theme. Head over there to follow along. In case you missed it, here's a catch-up for Days 8-12.


Day 8: Pretty stacks




I’m a bit torn for today’s prompt… do you prefer curated stacks of pretty blankets, like in the first picture? Or a dose of realism with a pretty (hay-like) stack of yarn ends after an end weaving session?



Day 9: Inspiration  

My intarsia designs are inspired by all sorts of things: children’s toys and television programmes; the changing seasons; days out; things my kids are interested in. I love the process of going from an idea in my head to a physical knitted product. Sometimes it turns out exactly as I had originally planned, and sometimes the idea has a few tweaks along the way!


Giraffe Family pattern coming in October.


Day 10: Outdoors

One of my earliest patterns was inspired by my love of all things outdoors. The Nature’s Way Baby Blanket alternates picture squares with plain squares, and is a celebration of nature. My favourite square is the snail. He’s called Boris, and has been doodled on many of my notebooks over the years!


Day 11: Geometric




Did you know intarsia isn’t just for knitting pictures? You can also use it to make geometric patterns like on my Cuboid Blanket, which was published in @KnitNow last year. The blanket is made up of intarsia panels that are sewn together at the end, making for a portable project with a striking end result.


Image copyright Practical Publishing.


Day 12: Sunday share



For today’s Sunday share, here’s a sneak peek at some behind the scenes action! I’m currently knitting an adult-sized Rudi sweater, so that I can play matchy-matchy with at least one of my kids (not sure the big one will be on board with this plan!). I’ve gone for icy festive colours for this one, rather than my usual palette of brights, but I am loving it! If you fancy knitting your own Rudi, the children’s pattern (picture 2) is available now, and adult (and baby) versions will be following very soon...

Friday, 10 September 2021

September's Patterns of the Month

Been waiting (im)patiently for this month’s Patterns of the Month? Well here they are!


Sugar Cube Knits

 

 

Payhip: https://payhip.com/b/GqvP

Ravelry: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/sugar-cube-knits


Use the code POTM for 15% off (Expires 11.59pm BST, 30th September 2021) - sign up to my newsletter to get a code for 30% off*


Sugar Cube Knits is the perfect collection for autumn. What’s your favourite part of autumn? Crunching through leaves? Collecting conkers with your kids? Curling up warm at home under a cat and some knitting?

One of my favourite parts of autumn is being able to unearth all my knitwear from its summer-banishment under the stairs! There’s something delightful about the first wear of mitts on a slightly chilly autumn day, and I’m sure you’ll agree.

It’s also lovely to make something new to herald a new season, and I’m here today to share some new knits that are perfect for autumn with you: the Sugar Cube Knits.

The Sugar Cube Knits were inspired by one of the activities I missed most during the pandemic: knitting in coffee shops with friends. The set of mitts, cowl and hat features a simple textured stitch pattern, made up of knits and purls, that looks like stacked sugar cubes.

The set uses DK yarn - I used a merino/bamboo blend that really helps the stitches to pop, but you can use your favourite DK base.

Ready to buy?

Payhip: https://payhip.com/b/GqvP

Ravelry: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/sugar-cube-knits


Use the code POTM for 15% off (Expires 11.59pm BST, 30th September 2021) - sign up to my newsletter to get a code for 30% off*


Halloween in the Windows

 


PayHip: https://payhip.com/b/EbVM

Ravelry: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/halloween-in-the-windows


Use the code POTM for 15% off (Expires 11.59pm BST, 30th September 2021) - sign up to my newsletter to get a code for 30% off*


Looking forward to Halloween this year? Still not ready to go door to door trick or treating?: rather than trick or treat, why not go on a pumpkin hunt? If everyone puts up pictures of pumpkins in the windows, kids can go for walks and keep their eyes open for all the pumpkins! I’ve taken this idea a step further, with banners for a ghost, a witch and a pumpkin, and I can’t wait to hang them in the windows for them to be admired.

Fancy knitting your own Halloween banners? The pattern is written for one basic banner that can be decorated with your choice of three intarsia motifs: a ghost, a pumpkin or a witch. The patterns for the intarsia portions are provided as both charts and written instructions. If you’re not a fan of intarsia, you can knit the banner without any colourwork and use duplicate stitch to add the motif at the end.

Each banner uses a small amount of aran weight yarn in a limited palette, and is perfect for stash-busting, or you could buy the yarn you need and make a few extra Halloween banners for friends and family from your leftovers. If you have leftovers from your Rainbow banners you’ll just need to get hold of some black aran weight yarn (sock yarn held double would also work well if that’s what you have to hand).

Want to pick up the pattern?

PayHip: https://payhip.com/b/EbVM

Ravelry: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/halloween-in-the-windows


Use the code POTM for 15% off (Expires 11.59pm BST, 30th September 2021) - sign up to my newsletter to get a code for 30% off*

 

*The 30% off code will go out on all my newsletters in September, and for the final time at 9am 30th September 2021. You must be signed up by then to get the code. 

Tuesday, 7 September 2021

#YarnFriendsRock 2021 - week one

 Hello! I hope you're well. September is here, and the air has turned distinctly autumnal. This month I'm joining the #YarnFriendsRock challenge, hosted by @unicornpuffsandrainbows, @brightbag and
@sewing_the_seeds_of_love Every day in September, I'll be posting a picture to my intarsia Instagram account (@VikkiBirdDesigns_Intarsia) around a theme. Head over there to follow along. In case you missed it, here's a catch-up for week one.

Day 1: This is me


Hello! 👋🏻 I’m Vikki. I’m a mum of three, and while I’m not wrangling kids, I write and design knitting patterns. Looking forward to meeting lots of yarnies this month via the #YarnFriendsRock challenge!


Day 2: How I became yarny


I’ve always lived surrounded by yarn. My mum is a prolific knitter, so there was always yarn about when I was a child. I learnt to knit when I was seven, taught by a family friend. I caught the bug immediately, and haven’t really stopped since. As a teenager I made a lot of toys designed by Jean Greenhowe. Most of them are long gone, but this ballerina doll was knitted by me many years ago, and is cherished by my daughter.



Day 3: Favourite stitch

You might have noticed that I quite like intarsia… what is intarsia? Well, it’s pretty simple - you change colour mid-way through a row to create a picture. I love that you can use the technique to make any image you like. At first you might find intarsia a bit tricky, and that you get in a tangle, but with practice it gets much easier!


Day 4: Rainbow


Do you remember in Spring 2020, when everyone’s windows were adorned with rainbows? Well, I thought I’d design my own knitted rainbow banner! There aren’t so many rainbows in windows anymore, but this banner would look lovely as a wall hanging too. Want to make your own? The pattern is available for free in my LoveCrafts store; link in profile.


Day 5: Sunday share

Want to know my favourite yarn for intarsia? It’s @PaintboxYarns Simply range, which comes in a great array of colours, three yarn weights (DK, aran and chunky) and is machine washable. I use it a lot!


Day 6: Black & white


When I knit I am all about colour, but once in a while a design works best in simple black and white. Meet my little ghost with no name, a simple white ghost on a black background. What would you call the ghost?


Day 7: Yarny home


I like to start kids early with yarn! All three of my children have had their own knitted or crocheted blankets. Now they’re getting a bit bigger, you’re more likely to find the blankets being used to make tents in the living room than tucked over their knees in a pushchair, but either way, it fills me with joy to see my house full of blankets that have been made with love!

Wednesday, 11 August 2021

How to secure a dropped stitch

In the summer holidays, I am all about vanilla knits: knitting in the car, at the cinema, on the beach, while I am too tired to concentrate on anything else! Once in a while it doesn’t quote go to plan, and I notice that I dropped a stitch *many* rows ago. Often (pretty much always…) I can’t be bothered to unravel all the way back to where I dropped the stitch, so instead I secure the stitch into the knitting at the end. Want to know how to do that (it’s really simple)? Keep reading.

 

How to temporarily secure the stitch

You will need:

  • a locking stitch marker


When you realise you’ve dropped the stitch it’s important to secure it so your knitting doesn’t unravel. You can do this temporarily using a locking stitch marker: open the marker, and insert the pin through the loop of the stitch, then close the marker so the stitch is temporarily secured.

 

How to permanently secure the stitch

You will need:

  • A length of waste yarn (in the same colour as your knitting)
  • A tapestry needle

1. Thread the tapestry needle with a length of waste yarn, and post the yarn through the dropped stitch


 

2. Thread both loose ends of yarn through the eye of the tapestry needle

 

3. Draw the needle through the knitted fabric at the point where the dropped stitch is, pulling the waste yarn to the wrong side of the fabric

 

4. Weave the loose yarn ends in on the wrong side of the fabric to secure the ends 

 

5. Ta dah! You have secured your dropped stitch!