Thursday 22 March 2018

New designs: Paddington Bear jumper and Tessellate baby blanket

Hello! I hope this post finds you well. After the 'mini beast from the East' at the weekend (does that make anyone else think there might have been a ladybird invasion? Rest assured, it was just a bit more snow), it finally feels like spring might be on its way – there's a possibility that I might be able to leave the house without a coat on this afternoon!

I have two new patterns to share with you today, both from the latest issue of Knit Now magazine (Issue 86), which is goes on sale today. This issue of Knit Now magazine is the annual British issue, which celebrates British yarns and British designers – every pattern featured in the magazine is designed by a British designer, and every yarn featured has a strong British link, whether it is fully manufactured in Britain or is produced by a British company.

First up we have a pattern that I have been itching to share with you for ages: the Paddington jumper. Paddington Bear, a bear who travels from Peru to London in search of a new life and new adventures, is one of my childhood favourites and one that has a different incarnation for each new generation: for me it was the books and television series, while for the latest generation it is the Paddington movies (Paddington 2 was out at the end of last year, and is excellent). I was delighted when I was asked by Knit Now to design a jumper featuring the famous bear and this is what I came up with: Paddington in his classic duffle coat and hat, carrying his suitcase.

The jumper is knitted in DK weight yarn (Patons Merino Extrafine DK*), and sized to fit ages 2–10. The jumper is knitted in pieces from the bottom up with the Paddington motif incorporated using the intarsia technique. The neckline is knitted on in the round after the shoulders have been seamed. Extra detailing is added at the end using embroidery.

My second pattern in this issue of Knit Now is the Tessellate baby blanket. Unusually for me, this pattern is completely suitable for beginners. All you need to be able to do is knit garter stitch, work simple increases and decreases, and pick up stitches!

The blanket is a bold, high contrast design, inspired by patchwork and quilting. The blanket features a strong geometric design created using simple two colour squares that are knitted on the diagonal. The squares are sewn together at the end and finished with a border in a contrast colour.

The Tessellate baby blanket is knitted in Three Bears Yarn Affection 100% Cotton Aran, which is spun in Lancashire by English Fine Cottons.

Issue 86 of Knit Now magazine is available now from newsagents and supermarkets in the UK. Copies may also be purchased from MoreMags. Please note that the pattern for the Paddington jumper is only included in UK editions, not digital or international editions.

As ever, I would love to see if you knit any of my designs. The easiest way to share is to create a project page on Ravelry,** or to post a photo on Instagram and tag me (@vikkibirddesigns).

Happy knitting!

*Affiliate link.
**Ravelry is a forum for fibre crafts. Membership is free.

All images copyright Practical Publishing.

Thursday 15 March 2018

New designs: Peter Rabbit blanket and cushion

I'm launching two new patterns today: the Peter Rabbit blanket and cushion. These patterns are perfect for spring and they're both knitted in chunky weight yarn, so you should be able to knit them up in time to give as gifts for any new babies that arrive before the summer. And you can alter the background colour so that the set fits in whatever the colour scheme of your nursery.

The Peter Rabbit blanket features nine bunny rabbits arranged across a square in three rows. The first and last rows face left, while the central row faces right. The blanket is worked from the bottom up with the bunnies added using the intarsia technique. A moss stitch border is worked at the same time as the main body of the blanket, thus minimal finishing is required.

The Peter Rabbit cushion is a much smaller project, featuring a single bunny at its centre. The pillow is fastened with four buttons across the back and is designed to fit a 41 cm [16 in] square pillow with a little negative ease to ensure a nice plump pillow. The pillow cover is worked flat in one piece, starting in the middle of the back with a 2 x 2 rib buttonband, then the first half of the back, the front and the second half of the back are worked in stockinette stitch, and finally the 2 x 2 rib buttonhole band is worked. The pillow cover is seamed down the side edges using mattress stitch.

The large blocks of colour make these items a good project for someone who is new to colourwork. Instructions for the intarsia section(s) are provided as both charts and written instructions.

The samples are knitted in Hayfield Baby Chunky,* a super-soft acrylic/nylon blend, and the tails are knitted using Sirdar Snuggly Snowflake,* a textured polyester yarn, which adds a little extra texture. Both yarns are easy care, making them perfect for babies and new parents alike.

From now until 11.59pm GMT Thursday 22nd March you can use the code SPRING when buying either of the patterns to get 25% off.

These patterns are included in the ongoing 4 for 3 offer in my Ravelry store; you can take advantage of this offer by adding any four individual patterns to your Ravelry basket and the cheapest will be free. Discount will be deducted automatically when you check out.**

*Affiliate link.

**Remember that only one offer can be applied to a basket.

Wednesday 14 March 2018

Buy 3, get 1 free!

Hello! I hope this finds you well. Spring is finally on it's way, and I have added a new offer to my Ravelry store.

From now on, if you add 4 individual patterns* from my Ravelry store to your shopping basket, you'll get the cheapest one for free. All you need to do is add them to the basket and the discount will be applied automatically.**

Which patterns will you choose?

Four patterns you could choose: top row (L to R): Lynda socks and From Breton with Love; bottom row (L to R): Granny's Button Jar and Busy Buzzy Bumble Bee

*Offer does not apply to ebooks.
**Remember you can only apply one discount per Ravelry basket.

Saturday 10 March 2018

Yarn Along: Edinburgh anticipation

In the past couple of weeks since I wrote my last Yarn Along post, we have had a lot of snow. We don't normally get all that much snow; some winters we get none, but this winter has been an excpetion. The first snow fell in November, and we've had at least a couple of days of snow every month since then. But the snow we had in late February was the heaviest. I lost count of how many days of snow we had, but there was almost a foot at its peak. Our local schools were shut for 3 days, and I had a lovely (if rather tiring) time, entertaining the kids, both in the snow and indoors. I got almost no knitting done, but it was lovely to spend a few extra days with them.

This time next week I will be in Edinburgh for the day for Edinburgh Yarn Festival. If you're also going, say hello to me if you see me. I really need to look through the vendor list and decide what I most want to look at (I already know I will be making a beeline for the Toft stall as I really want one of their highland cow kits; it is too cute). The festival has been extended to three days this year (from two in previous years), so I'm hoping it's a little less busy that it was last year. I'm also looking forward to a few hours uninterupted knitting time on the train, an added bonus!

I am currently working on two downtime projects: Flora the Bunny and a rainbow crochet blanket. I should have finished the bunny last weekend, as I've done all the knitting, and only have the seaming and finishing to go, but I totally forgot to order the safety eyes, and had to ask a local friend if I could borrow a small pom pom maker (yes, I could have made a pom pom without a maker, but it's a lot quicker with a pom pom maker!). I now have both safety eyes and a pom pom maker, so this will be an FO by the end of the weekend, much to my daughter's delight. The crochet blanket is progressing really well; I'm enjoying the somewhat mindless nature of it, and the colours are so cheery. I am a little over half way, but know that I am going to run out of cream yarn before I get to the end of the border (and will have to wait until I have some other things to order, or make it to a local yarn shop, rather than ordering a single ball). It's also a terrible project to take out and about as it requires 8 balls of yarn and a very large bag! I might have to cast on something else and reserve this for sofa crochet.

World Book Day happened during the snow, so the school events were rescheduled to this week, and I sent two happy children off as George from George's Marvellous Medicine and Princess Pearl from  Zog and the Flying Doctors (that happened to coincide with International Women's Day and it made me pretty proud that my daughter chose to go as a princess who is also a doctor, rather than a generic frilly princess; if you have young girls, go out and find a copy!). I am reading Pax by Sara Pennypacker at the minute. It's a children's book about a boy who saved a fox's life when the fox was a baby, and has to give up the fox when his circumstances change. The chapters alternate being written from the perspective of the fox and the boy, and the writing style is perfect. It's turning out to be an interesting and thought-provoking read.

Marvellous medicine! Or chocolate...

What are you reading and crafting on at the minute?

Linking up with Ginny for Yarn Along.

Thursday 8 March 2018

New Design: Little Sailor Baby Vest

Spring is finally starting to emerge, and here's a new pattern that is perfect for the new season, my Little Sailor Baby vest.

The Little Sailor vest is a baby vest featuring a traditional sailing boat. The vest is inspired by vintage clothing, and is the perfect traditional item for a baby's wardrobe.

The vest is knitted from the bottom up in pieces. The boat is knitted on a stocking stitch background using the intarsia technique. The hem, armholes and necklines are knitted using 2x2 rib and the armholes and necklines are picked up and knitted after the garment has been seamed. The shoulders are fastened using buttons to allow for easy dressing.

The vest is designed to fit ages 3 months to 2 years, with 2 inches positive ease. Sizing details are shown in the schematic. The sample is knitted in Bergere de France Ideal,* a hard-wearing sport-weight blend of acrylic, polyamide and wool, which is machine washable, making it a perfect yarn for knitting baby gifts.

The pattern is in the latest issue (April 2018) of I Like Knitting magazine, an e-zine available via a subscription model. If you want to find out more, click here.* The issue is full of gorgeous things to knit, with sections for both Easter and nautical-inspired designs.

If you want to favourite the pattern or add it to your Ravelry queue, you can find the pattern page here.

*Affiliate link.

All images copyright I Like Knitting.

Monday 5 March 2018

The Yarnometer: February 2018

Here's my monthly look at what yarn has gone in and out of my stash, and all of February's finished objects.

Projects finished

Whale hoodie

A cute little hoodie for a friend's new baby. I really enjoyed knitting this, even if I did go wrong a couple of times! You can read all about it here.

Mind the Gap socks

These were cast on as part of Little Bobbins' Christmas Eve cast on last year, and one evening this month I decided to whizz through those last few rows. I love the colours in these socks. You can read more about them here.

Something crocheted...

Can you guess what it might be?
I mentioned in one of my earlier blog posts that I had been working on something crocheted, and it is done! All I can tell you at the minute is that it is a blanket. But all will be revealed before the end of March, so keep your eyes peeled...*

The ins and outs of yarn

Yarn in
Woah! Quite a lot of yarn!

100 g sock weight yarn for a design
250 g DK weight yarn for a design
32 g magazine yarn for a cute bunny (currently in progress)
300 g samples of Paintbox Yarns Wool Mix Aran**
900 g DK weight yarn for a crochet baby blanket for a friend's new baby***
1125 g chunky weight yarn for a knitted blanket for a family member's new baby***

Yarn out
343g to my friend Jo

123 g for the Whale hoodie
77 g for the Mind the Gap socks
747 g for the crochet blanket

Yarn in: 3357 g (! That's a lot of yarn!!!)
Yarn out or used: 1290 g
Total: +2067 g

Nothing like as good as last month. And I have lots of yarn coming in for comissions this month. Hopefully I'll manage not to buy any yarn in March!

Year to date
Yarn in: 4657 g
Yarn out: 1843 g
Yarn used: 1743 g
Total: +1071 g

*People on my mailing list always get an exclusive launch discount for new patterns, and a discount code for 10% off all patterns in my Ravelry store, all year round. If you want to find out more, why not sign up to my newsletter?
**Provided for review purposes.
***Both of these do break my 'knitting only from stash for personal projects' plan. But sometimes the perfect yarn is needed for the perfect project!

Friday 2 March 2018

FO Friday: Whale Hoodie

Hello, and welcome to another Finshed Object Friday. The FO for this week is a cute little hoodie that I've made as a gift for a friend's new son who made his appearance late last year.

Last year I was sent some samples of Paintbox Yarns Baby DK* for review purposes, and knew that the soft yarn and gentle colours would be perfect for a baby garment. I'd been sent four shades of blue, and some red, and from those I picked out three shades of blue that looked lovely together, and added a little Sirdar Snuggly DK from stash to add some neutral stripes (and to make sure I had enough yarn - baby yarn comes in 50 g balls, and I wasn't sure three balls would be enough. Hoods take a lot of knitting!).

I was a bit behind the game with this baby, who arrived at the end of last year, so I decided that I needed to make a 6 month size garment rather than something smaller. I opted for a modified Rainbow Child, which is a good basic top-down seamless hoodie that I have made before. I decided against adding the pockets or the i-cord edging on the basis that babies don't really need pockets (although they are cute) and I don't like all the extra knitting i-cord edges entail, especially when I'm knitting to a deadline.

I restricted this project to weekend-knitting only project, and, as ever, expected to finish rather faster than I actually did, partly because I messed up the hood decreases and had to rip back, and partly because I underestimated the amount of time it would take to knit the hood and pick up all the stitches for the egding.

I finshed the hoodie with some whale buttons - it was either those or rainbow stars, but I'm saving those for something for my daughter.**

The finished garment is really cute, and looks like it should have plenty of growing room, so should get plenty of wear.

This hoodie is defintely not the end of the baby projects as I know lots of people expecting babies at the minute, including a set of twins!

Have you finished anything recently?


Rainbow Child Ravelry project page
Pattern: Rainbow Child by Tiny Lovely Knits
Yarn: Paintbox Yarns Baby DK* in 737 Midnight Blue, 732 Washed Teal and 761 Baby Blue, and Sirdar Snuggly DK* in 303 Cream

*Affiliate link.
**I really need to sort the button box! I'm sure I have other suitable options, but couldn't find them.