Friday 15 October 2021

Dreaming of a safari? Giraffe Family Blanket is available now!

Have you got a baby on the way? Maybe a friend or family member does? Are you looking fr the perfect gift for them? The Giraffe Family Blanket might be just the thing!

When I was little, I wanted a pet giraffe! I’ve always been tall, and when I was little I found these tallest of animals fascinating. I would have loved the Giraffe Family Baby Blanket as a small child, and this makes the perfect gift for a new baby (especially if the parents are tall!). 

At 91 x 71 cm (35.75 x 28 in), the blanket is sized to fit a pram, stroller, Moses basket or crib, and can also be rolled out on the floor and used as a playmat. The blanket is knitted in one piece with the giraffes being incorporated using the intarsia technique. The giraffes stand against a green grass and blue sky background, and the edge stitches of the blanket are knitted in moss stitch to prevent curling.

The blanket instructions are written out in full, with both charts and written instructions for the giraffes.

Ready to cast on? Pick up your copy now!

Use the code GIRAFFE to get 15% off. Expires 11.59pm BST, Friday 22nd October 2021




Want the technical info? Keep reading...



One size: 91 x 71 cm (35.75 x 28 in)



16 sts and 22 rows = 10 cm (4 in) in stocking stitch worked flat on 5.5 mm (US 9) needles after wet blocking, or size needed to obtain correct tension.



Aran-weight yarn in the following colours and amounts: A (green): 125 m (140 yds); B (pale blue): 520 m (570 yds); C (yellow): 115 m (130 yds); D (brown): 40 m (45 yds); E (black): 5 m (10 yds)

The yardages given are enough to knit the grass, sky, and yellow portion of the giraffes, then add the spots and faces using duplicate stitch. If you knit the whole blanket using intarsia, you will find you need less yellow than stated.

I would recommend using an acrylic, wool, or wool/acrylic blend yarn with plied structure and good stitch definition. If you are making the blanket for a baby, you may wish to consider using a machine washable yarn to make the blanket easy to care for.


5 mm (US 8) circular needle at least 80 cm (32 in) in length; 5.5 mm (US 9) circular needle at least 80 cm (32 in) in length



Stitch markers x 4; Bobbins for holding the different yarn colours during colourwork; Chart row marker; Tapestry needle


Pattern notes

The sample is knitted in Stylecraft Special Aran (aran, 196 m per 100 g ball, 100% acrylic) in Meadow 1065 (A), Cloud Blue 1019 (B), Saffron 1081 (C), Mocha 1064 (D) and Black 1002 (E).

Weave your ends into regions of the same colour to avoid show-through.

Weave in your ends every 10 or so rows to avoid having to do them all at the end.

When working from the chart, odd numbered rows should be worked right to left, and even numbered rows should be worked from left to right.

If you find that printing the chart on A4 paper is too small to easily read, you can find a few solutions in this blog post:

You may prefer to add the spots to the giraffes at the end using duplicate stitch. If you wish to do this, knit all the spot sts from the chart or written instructions in C (yellow) while you are knitting the blanket, then sew over them at the end using D (brown).

This pattern was tech edited by Jo Torr.

A version of this pattern was published by Willow Yarns.

Pick up your copy now!

Use the code GIRAFFE to get 15% off. Expires 11.59pm BST, Friday 22nd October 2021




**Ravelry link. May cuase issues for people with photosensitivity, proceed with caution.

Thursday 14 October 2021

How to: Cable Cast-On

There are lots of ways to cast on out there, but the cable cast-on is my favourite.


Why, I hear you ask?

1. It’s nice and stable. No, this isn’t one you should be using for socks, but it’s great for edges that you don’t want to go out of shape over time.

2. It’s reversible. Got a pattern that starts with a right-side row? Cable cast-on is perfect. Got a pattern that starts with a wrong-side row? This cast-on is good for that too. The cable cast-on eliminates some of the decision making when casting on a new project, and I am definitely up for that.

3. It’s easy. The cable cast-on is a short tail cast-on - you use the working yarn to cast on the stitches, which means you don’t need to guesstimate how much yarn you need, you can just get on with it!


How do I do it then?

1. Leaving a tail at least 10 cm (4 in) long, make a slip knot in your working yarn.

2. Put the slip knot on your left needle and tighten. This is the first stitch.

3. Put the tip of the right needle into the stitch on the left needle, from left to right.

4. Using the right needle, pull the working yarn through the stitch to create a loop.

5. Place the loop on the left needle and pull to tighten. This is the second stitch.

6. Put the tip of the right needle through the gap between stitch one and stitch two, from front to back.

7. Using the right needle, pull the working yarn through the gap to create a loop.

8. Place the loop on the left needle and pull to tighten. This is a new stitch.

Repeat steps 6-8 until you have the required number of stitches.

Ta dah! You are done! Now work as given in the pattern.


What next?

This cast-on works really well for many of my intarsia patterns. Why not pick up one up to test out your cast-on skills?

**Ravelry link, may cause issues for people with photosensitivity. Proceed with caution.


Making knitting charts LARGER

Ever worked from a pattern and found the chart too small when you print it out at home on A4 paper? I’m here to help! Here are a few simple options for you to consider.


1. Specialist print shop

Send the pattern file to a specialist print shop and ask them to print the chart on larger paper, e.g. A3. This will double the size of the chart and make it much easier to read.

Don’t live near a print shop? There are many online companies that offer this service, and send the printouts to you at home, saving you a journey. Prices can vary significantly, so do shop around. You don’t need poster-quality printing, plan printing will be perfect, unless you’re planning on making the pattern many times, then you might want something more durable.


2. Photocopy

If you’re finding an A4 printout too small, you can photocopy the chart onto larger paper, zooming in to make it easier to read. Libraries often have photocopiers, and you can ask the staff to help you if you get stuck.


3. Print across more than one sheet

If you have a home printer, you can print a page over several sheets. On my home printer, I had to use the following route:

a. Open the ‘Print using system dialogue’ option (Ctrl + Shift + P)

b. Click the ‘Multiple Page’ option

c. Select ‘Print 1 in 2x2 pages’

This spread the single page chart over 4 pages, making it much easier to read. Once you’ve printed your sheets, you’ll want to stick them together to make one big chart. Before you do this, check whether some of the pages need trimming. Once you have trimmed them, use glue stick or clear tape to stick the pages together to make your chart.


What next?

I really hope this has helped. Why not pick up one of my intarsia patterns to test out your new printing skills?

Pattern in the photos is Giraffe Family Blanket.

**Ravelry link, may cause issues for people with photosensitivity. Proceed with caution.



Tuesday 12 October 2021

October's Patterns of the Month


I feel like we’re well into true knitting-season right now in the Northern hemisphere. The leaves are starting to fall from the tress, and almost every day is a woolly sock day. While I continue to knit through the summer, keeping my hands occupied with sock projects, I’m always much more excited about my knitting projects once the seasons change. With that in mind, I’ve chosen two seasonally-appropriate patterns for this month’s Patterns of the Month. Keep reading to find out all about them.


Susurration Socks

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My Sunday afternoon walks often go past fields of wheat, and in the breeze, they whisper quietly to me: susurration. The pattern name has actually been a bit of a curse since I published the pattern because I cannot reliably spell it!

The colours in the yarn echo the yellows of wheat fields, a theme that is reflected in the lacy wheat stitch pattern the makes up the central panel of the socks. I came across the slipped-stitch textured stitch pattern in a stitch dictionary under the name grass stitch, which tied in so beautifully with the theme I couldn’t not include it!

The Susurration Socks are knitted from the toe up and use a gusset and heel flap construction, shaped with short rows. The socks have a pattern on the instep and around the leg, while the sole is knitted in stocking stitch. The gusset length is affected by your row/round gauge, so a table of gauge-dependent lengths is included to help you achieve the perfect fit.

The socks come in three sizes [finished sock circumferences, 16 (20, 23.5) cm 6.5 (8, 9.25) in], and the pattern is written to be needle-neutral and can be knitted on any of DPNs, short circulars or long circulars using the magic loop technique.

Ready to buy?

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Use the code POTM for 15% off (Expires 11.59pm BST, 31st October 2021) - sign up to my newsletter to get a code for 30% off*


Snowflake Infinity Scarf

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Use the code POTM for 15% off (Expires 11.59pm BST, 31st October 2021) - sign up to my newsletter to get a code for 30% off*

Are you looking beyond autumn to the first snowflake? I love snow, through a window, while curled up with a mug of hot chocolate, but I have kids and they always want to go out and build snow creatures, so I need to make sure I can wrap up warm!

The Snowflake infinity scarf features a tessellating snowflake design based on traditional Scandinavian knitting. The infinity scarf is designed to be long enough to wrap round the neck twice for extra warmth. It’s knitted as a long tube in the round with the pattern being incorporated using stranded colourwork, and the tube is seamed at the end after blocking.

Do you prefer charts or written instructions? The Snowflake pattern is provided as both, so you can work from whichever you prefer.

Ready to buy?

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Ravelry link:**

Use the code POTM for 15% off (Expires 11.59pm BST, 31st October 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 October, and for the final time at 9am 31st October 2021. You must be signed up by then to get the code.

**Ravelry link: may cause issues for people with photosensitivity, proceed with caution.

#YarnFriendsRock 2021 - Days 27-30


Last month I joined in the #YarnFriendsRock challenge, hosted by @unicornpuffsandrainbows, @brightbag and @sewing_the_seeds_of_love Every day in September, I posted a picture to my intarsia Instagram account (@VikkiBirdDesigns_Intarsia) around a theme. Don't worry if you missed it, here are my posts for Days 27-30.*

Want to see more of my intarsia work? You can check out my intarsia patterns on Ravelry** and PayHip.


Day 27: Never ending WIP

In 2016, I decided I would turn my sock yarn scraps into a mitred square blanket. I had just started knitting socks, and the leftovers were accumulating quite quickly. I had no idea what I was taking on! Every once in a while I add a few more squares, and the ‘blanket’ is now big enough that working on it in the summer is uncomfortably warm, so knitting sessions are saved for winter when I want a cosy evening or two. Will I ever finish it? Who knows? But I do enjoy adding the odd square here and there.

What’s your never-ending WIP?


Day 28: Add some magic

I shared another little video for this prompt, head over to IG to see it.

A little secret for you… I don’t always add all the details to my intarsia designs using intarsia. Sometimes I use duplicate stitch. Look at the difference adding a face made to Sooty! Actual magic! If only duplicate stitch were actually this fast đŸ˜‚

Pattern is Sooty Baby Set, which was published by Knit Now earlier in the year. Image shared wit permission.**


Day 29: Yellow submarine

Sometimes I like a little break from intarsia. I love intarsia, but it does require my full concentration, and sometimes I need something more mindless. My GrĂ¡inne’s Blanket was just what I needed in the summer of 2020: a project simple enough that I could work on it while chatting to friends in a garden, but also complicated enough to maintain my interest. I love the texture, and the colour, the buttery yellow I knitted the sample in - I find the colour so soothing.


Day 30: Colour makes me happy

Yes it does!

If you’re following me, I assume colour makes you happy too. I hope you’ve enjoyed my Yarn Friends Rock posts this month, I’ve really enjoyed sharing them. Which was your favourite?


*Yes, I missed Day 26. It happens!

**Ravelry link. May affect people with photosensitivity. Proceed with caution.