Hs Handcrafts is open on Etsy!

I’ve only gone and done it…I’ve opened an Etsy shop.

This is something I have been thinking about for some time. Not because I need another time suck on my hands but rather because I have made too many things and I cant possibly keep them all. So that’s exactly what you will find in my shop – not a carefully curated collection of items but rather all the things I wanted to make but inevitably had no use for!

Right now you can find listed for sale the pattern for my Saxifraga hat (same price as on Ravelry so whichever option you prefer for purchase is fine!)

Saxifraga hat pattern listed for sale on http://hshandcrafts.etsy.com

Two knitted versions of that hat – one in red and blue, the other in black and cream.

Saxifrag hat listed for sale on http://hshandcrafts.etsy.comSaxifraga hat listed for sle on http://hshandcrafts.etsy.com

 

A couple of fairisle hats – one adult sized, the other baby sized

Pathfinder hat listed for sale on http://hshandcrafts.etsy.com

Crazy for colour hat listed for sale on http://hshandcrafts.etsy.com

A knitted version of my Stellaria cowl pattern

tassel keyrings listed for sale on http://hshandcrafts.etsy.com

Some fun tassel keyrings.

If you love any of this stuff so much that you would like to buy it I would be honoured! (Although I am currently trialling only shipping within the UK until I get my feet on the ground) Feel free to ask me anything about any of the listings!

 

If you would like to keep up to date with my current makes head on over to instagram where I will be posting sneak peaks of future listings as I work on them!

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Blue Heart

Heart CowlI was looking back through my old posts to find out when I first started knitting this cowl and it turns out it was way back in April last year!For a long time it was a bit of a love-hate relationship. I hadn’t really knitted lace before and was really struggling with the pattern. After a few weeks I decided to give it a break and started work on my lacy shawl instead.

Both patterns are by designer Ambah O’brien and I really love them both. There is enough lace to make them feel delicate without being to fiddly and retaining that chunky knit feel I really love.

 

Having given this project a break I was quite pleased to come back to it. I love the yarn, and the pattern – and whilst hearts and normally my thing these have a geometric look to them which I find really appealing.

How could knitting this not make me happy - look at that blue on blue on blue!

How could knitting this not make me happy – look at that blue on blue on blue!

Once I was more confident with the lace this wasn’t too difficult a pattern to follow and a couple of long train journeys got me well on the way to being done.

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I actually finished this project quite a while ago and it managed to sneak into some of my me-made-may outfits. It was actually really great for those days when the weather is being particularly fickle and a cardigan isn’t quite always enough. This as an extra layer was perfect for taking on and off as the temperature dropped.

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I really like the length. It is plenty long enough to comfortable wrap around twice without being tight. Also, because it is blue it goes with pretty much all of my clothes! I’m so glad I persevered with this pattern as I think it will get a lot of use!

 

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If you liked this overview of my project why not keep up to date with my current knitting projects on Ravelry where I share more details on what I thought of the yarn, the pattern and any tips or tricks I found to make it easier  for me to make.

Avena Cowl

 

You may remember some time ago I shared with you the cowl I made my mum for her birthday. Well, I have eventually written up the pattern I created and it is available for you to download and make for yourself for free from Ravelry!


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How to name a pattern

Strangely enough the trickiest part of making this patternwas not writing the pattern itself – in fact its a pretty simple knit – but instead was coming up with a name. I always find it quite strange how so many patterns are named with girls names (I think this is more common for sewing patterns but it’s certainly still there for knitting and crochet). I obviously decided I wanted to be different and so rather than pick a girls name for my pattern I toyed with a few different ideas. Firstly I thought about place names and was all set to name this the Silverdale cowl after a little village near where my parents live but then after some searching on Ravelry I found that this two was pretty common. Instead I decided to combine two of my passions and go with plant names! and not just any pants either – I wanted to at least start with agricultural weeds – which is the thing I work on.

So here you have the Avena cowl. Avena is the generic name for oats. In particular this cowl is in tribute to wild oats and their beautiful long awned seeds. the stripes in the cowl just brought them to mind. So there you have it a beautiful cowl named after an agricultural weed – who would have thought it!2015-11-19 21.08.54

The details

Any way, enough about names. I’m sure you want to hear about the cowl itself. Avena is  an elegant cowl, with a full twist and alternating stripes of colour.

This cowl is perfect for the spring or Autumn and can be worked in any colour combinations whether two shades of the same colour for elegant style or contrasting colours for a fun addition to any outfit!

The cowl is worked in the round with a full twist to create a Möbius strip. This gives a great effect showing off both sides of the knitting.

Gauge is not particularly important and the number of stitches cast on can be easily adjusted to accommodate different sizes.2015-11-19 21.04.43

So I’d love to hear your thoughts on this pattern – any comments you have would be great or better still if you make one yourself I would love to see the pictures!!

Head on over to Ravelry to check out the pattern or go to my pattern page to find more of my patterns.

Starting again

 

After another busy week I promise I have lots of lovely things to show you but just no pictures as yet…stay tuned.

Instead I thought I would share some thoughts I’ve been having about starting projects again and whether it’s a good thing to do.

Sometimes I start a project but find its just not right for me. Obviously I love the pattern and yarn/fabric otherwise I would not have chosen to make it but sometimes I just can’t get into it.

My lacy cowl was one of these projects. I started it almost a year ago but just couldn’t cope with the lace work – I really had jumped in at the deep end.

The project sat in my basket for months and months and months and I just couldn’t bring myself to work on it because I just had a mental block about how hard it was going to be.

Starting again can sometimes seem daunting

Not only did I not want to work on it, I didn’t want to stop working on it either. Now this had me in a bit of a dilemma. I really loved the pattern and yarn so couldn’t bring myself to admit defeat but equally I don’t want to waste my precious crafting time working on a project I wasn’t enjoying.

After a lot of deliberation I ripped it out, wound the yarn up and started again. Once I had got over that initial step I felt much better about it and actually wanted to start again!

Following the success of my shawl just before Christmas I decided that perhaps I could knit lace after all and maybe it wasn’t going to be so bad this time so I cast on again and got to work.

6 rows of ribbing boredom later (320 stitches per row!!) and I was so keen to start on something more exciting and in fact the lace work was much easier this time!

I am taking this one slow and have used so many stitch markers but I am determined to make it work even if it takes me a while!

lacework take 2

Do you like to complete projects once you’ve started them or are you happy to abandon a project that’s not working for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

I promise there is more coming soon!!

Pinterest screengrab

Pinterest Inspiration: Valentines

Pinterest inspiration is my place to show you what I’ve been falling in love with recently over on Pinterest. This is one of my favourite place for finding inspiration and I can easily loose a couple of hours pouring through all the beautiful things to make.

Valentines

I don’t like Valentines Day. There, I said it. I know loads of people love this sort of thing but I don’t like smushy stuff. I do however like making stuff, so I thought I’d see if I could find things to make that are Valentine’s day themed to see if I could be convinced in time for Valentines day!

I couldn’t bring myself to actually search for Valentines crafts in Pinterest so I decided to just trawl through my boards and see if I could find some tenuous links to Valentines-themed stuff. First up is this hat. I actually saved it because I really like this stitch pattern and I guess it kind of looks like little hearts! Team this with the dusty pink colour and you’ve got yourself a Valentines hat! This pattern is available over on Ravelry.

 

There’s also this cowl. It is not smushy at all even though it has heart shapes in the lace pattern. The super brains amongst you may remember that I started knitting up this pattern but grew frustrated with my poor lacework skills at the time. Now I have had a bit more practice I hope to return to this pattern soon so keep your eyes peeled for that! The pattern is by Ambah O’Brien and is available on Ravelry.

 

 

 

What says Valentines day more than jewellery and flowers? Well you can combine the two with this crochet flower ring! I found this via the Mollie Makes Pinterest account along with lots of other flower-based makes. Original post is here.

 

 

 

 

 

Well, that’s certainly enough Valentines-based crafting for me – and I didn’t even have to make any of them! What about you do you love Valentines day and all its smushy romanticness or do you like to stay away like me?

Do you love to get lost in the beautiful world of Pinterest? Leave your user name in the comments below and I’ll be sure to check out your profile! If you want to see the rest of my pins you can find me here.

A year in knitting

Happy New Year Everybody!! I thought I would round up the year by taking a look back at how far my knitting skills have come on in just one year!

Last Christmas I decided I wanted to learn to knit and asked for some supplies for Christmas. Nearly 1 year on and I feel like I am now a happy knitter! There were a few hiccups along the way but also some great projects too!

I started off just knitting a few swatches and was dropping stitches all over the place! At first I couldn’t figure out how on earth I was managing to loose so many stitches but once I got into the swing of things I managed to get going.

For my first proper project I decided to knit a cover for my Kindle. Not being a blogger at the time I didn’t get any good photos of the finished object but managed to  et one now – so you’ll have to excuse how grubby it looks but generally I was really pleased with it for a first project even if it did take forever!

Kindle cover.jpg

I then moved on to something much more extravagant…a hat! I still love it and wear it all the time even if the bobble is a bit loose and some of the ends have unwoven themselves

hat

Then I started this blog and the knitting began to be documented. I’m not sure if this made me think more about what I was knitting or if it made me want to make it better because everyone would see it but the skill level definitely kicked up a notch!

My next make was these fingerless gloves, it took a bit of help to figure out the thumb but after a few friends got stuck in we had it figured out and I was away! Another successful project.

For my next project I wanted to make some boot cuffs. After a long search on Ravelry I couldn’t find any that I liked that could be knit flat and did not quite feel ready to attempt knitting in the round so I decided to make up my own pattern! I also wrote up this pattern and it is available for free on Ravelry if anyone else, like me, wants to make some simple bootcuffs that can be knit flat and seamed.

Boot cuffs

Boot cuffs

After the success of writing my own pattern I decided to turn my hand to something more complicated! I think I was probably a it too ambitious and cast on a double length cowl on circular needles. Everything was going really well, I had managed the joining in the round and an inch of ribbing but once I got onto the body of the cowl things started to go worng! Why on earth I picked lacework for my 5th project I’m not sure but it certainly was a challenge. After only a few rows the lace pattern was completely out of sync and I was getting a bit demoralised so I decided to set it to one side.

beginnings of knitted cowl

beginnings of knitted cowl

This was quite a big decision as I dont like to give up on things easily. So instead of saying I had given up I have just left it for a little while to be returned to once my skills have improved.

So, I decided to try a different lace project to improve my skills. The oyster shawl seemed like the perfect solution as there was a large body with only a simple eyelet to contend with.

cream shawl WIP

It uses a much simpler pattern with periodic holes

After finishing the main section of this cowl I was much hapier to progress onto the more complicated lace border

Lacework

After working on this cowl for quite a few months I had to put it to one side for a while as I had some gifts to get to work on. I decided to knit a cowl for my mums birthday and had the perfect yarn for it! Again, I couldnt find quite the right pattern for it so decided to make it up as I went along. Hopefully I will get the chance to write this up soon (Watch this space!)

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After making my mum’s birthday gift I decided to join in with the innocent big knit too.

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Finally, in time for Christmas I finished the lacy border shawl. I was so pleased with myself as this was such a massive achievement, especially considering that less than a year ago I couldnt even knit a 3inch swatch without dropping at least 10 stitches!

oyster shawl full

So what now? well actually, I’m already progressing well with my next project. I have been an admirer of Andi Satterlund’s blog Untangling Knots for a while and really wanted to knit one of her cardigans. Especially as I kind of feel like you cant call yourself a knitter until you have knit a cardigan or jumper. So, when I saw she was organising a post-Christmas selfish sweater knit-along I just couldn’t help but start choosing my yarn and pattern.

I decided to go with the Miette cardigan, it’s a really cute cropped cardigan for the summer with a little bit of lace detail around the edges – perfect for showing off my new found skills!

I have chosen to knit it in Drops Paris, which is 100% cotton so it will be amazing for the warmer weather. In fact, I am enjoying knitting it so much I have raced ahead a little and already have the body of the cardigan done. There’s only sleeves and the button band left to do. I dont think the deadline for the knit-along in february should be a problem!

Body done

I almost cant quite believe how much I have knit in one year and how far my skills have advanced. Hopefully this will continue into 2016 and I can learn lots of new skills and complete loads more projects!!

H.

Blocking

Whilst making the cowl I showed you earlier in the week my mums present I was having some issues with the edges rolling up and hoped a bit of blocking would fix it. Previously I have blocked things by wetting them and pinning them to a towel in the desired shape to be left to dry.

As this was a present and quite delicate with the 4-ply yarn I decided to look up how to get this thing blocked properly. I decided to invest in some blocking wires and pins.

I chose this set by lazadas at I found some good reviews online and they offered a mixture of two lengths of wire with different rigidity.

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For the cowl, I soaked it in warm water with a bit of conditioner for around 20 minutes and then rinsed and gently squeezed out the excess water. I then stuck it in a towel and pressed out even more of the water before threading the wires through the top and bottom row of stitches across half of the cowl.

I could then use the T-bar pins included in the set to pin the wire straight to a dry towel.

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After a couple of days I rewet the twisted part of the cowl and repositioned the wires so this bit was now flat and again, pinned it and left it for a couple of days.

Once this process was complete The cowl was much flatter and the ends didn’t roll up any more. Also, thanks to the wires I didn’t have lots of pointy bits to look like picot edging where my pins had been. Success!

I’m really glad I bought this kit as I think it made the blocking process easier and the result was better than I could achieve with pins alone.

How do you block your work? Is there a trick that I am missing?

H.

 

A Serendipitous Cowl

A long time ago I bought some 4-ply yarn from Tiger, mostly because I liked the colours – a bright turquoise and a variegated yarn with blues, greens and yellows. I didn’t really have a clue what I was going to do with it and hadn’t ever used yarn of this weight before so was eager to give it ago.

A few weeks ago, once the clocks went back I really wanted to make some gloves so I found a pattern that would use my yarn but it didn’t really work out and I couldn’t quite get into it on my double pointed needles (I think me and DPN’s don’t really get along too well!)

So the yarn went back in the stash until a couple of weeks later when I started to think about what to make my mum for her birthday. There was the phone cosy but I wanted to make something a little bigger and more special.

I decided on a cowl but couldn’t really find a pattern I liked that could use my yarn so I just decided to start knitting!

I got about 5 rounds in of alternating the two yarns by row before I noticed a twist in my cast on edge…I really struggle with this in knitting in the round thing as I find it hard to see what’s going on until I’ve knit a few rounds

Cast on Silverdale Cowl

Anyway, I decided to carry on anyway – hoping it would make a cool twist kind of like a moebius strip.

Guess what? It did!

I am really pleased with how it turned out and my mum really liked it too. I didn’t get chance to get any pictures of it on her, so you are just stuck with me and a coat hanger instead!

That’s all of my secret WIPs for now so I can get back on with fun things for me! Although with Christmas just around the corner I’m sure there’ll be a few more soon!

H.

cream shawl WIP

Knowing when to stop

Recently I’ve found myself struggling with the knitting pattern I’m working on. Its a knitted cowl with some lacework. The pattern offered two options for the length and I really loved the look of the longer one so that’s what I went for. However as its a cowl rather than a scarf this meant working the long edge so each row has 130 stitches. This was not great for my motivation as it felt like I was making no progress. Also, with it being my first attempt at any sort of lacework I was finding it quite tricky to follow the pattern and occasionally I would reach my stitch marker for the end of a row but instead of being at the end of the row on the pattern I was mid-motif. When each row was taking almost an hour this is not something I wanted to unpick! I decided to stick with it but after a while it was becoming more of a chore than something I was doing for fun.

Blue heart cowl

So I  made the decision to shelve the project, perhaps till I am a bit more confident with lace. Maybe if I come back to it again I will remember why I started it in the first place – I do still really love the pattern and the yarn but I just did not want to continue with a project that was more stressful than my day job!

I decided to try another knitting pattern with a small amount of lacework – it is a shawl that is basically a flat knit with periodic holes in it. Having started this new pattern I am remembering why I like knitting. It is fun and doesn’t require too much concentration allowing me to watch TV or chat to my friends as I go! I also seem to be making reasonable progress – look what I have achieved in a week! (along with work on my other projects)

Have you ever reached the point where you have to shelve a project because it just isnt working for you? How did you decide when to stop?

H.

beginnings of knitted cowl

Bank Holiday Weekend WIPs

I hope everyone had a nice relaxing bank holiday weekend. With 4 days off work there was plenty time to fit in lots of crafting around all the housework. On Friday I decided to give myself a whole day without chores. I mainly spent that time sewing as I have been working on a skirt for some time now and progress has been slow. So I set my mind to it and by the end of the day the skirt was finished! I wont show you it now as I want to take some better pictures and give it the full post it deserves seeing as I have spent nearly two months on it!

On Saturday we went on a little trip out to the shops to sort out some bits and pieces and as we just happened to be driving past Hobbycraft it would have been rude not to go in, especially as I had a voucher that I had received for my birthday. I decided to buy the rest of the wool for my sunburst blanket so that I could start on the final round of the individual grannies. I decided to stick to the plan and bought a dark blue. When I got home I was eager to check out my purchase in combination with the other colours already in my blanket so quickly completed a few squares and I’m really happy with the result.

completed granny squares for sunburst blanket

completed granny squares for sunburst blanket

I also decided to buy an embroidery ring as this is something I have always thought about trying but not really known where to start. However, a couple of weeks ago I got the new “Simply sewing” magazine and there was a section on embroidery and a simple design to practice simple backstitches so I thought I would give it a go.

On Sunday we went out for the day so unfortunately not much crafting took place and then on Monday I managed to squeeze in a bit of knitting around the housework. I am currently working on a cowl, that is knitted in the round so it seems to be taking forever as each round is 320 stitches and so I am only on round 11 despite feeling like I should be making a lot more progress!

beginnings of knitted cowl

beginnings of knitted cowl

 

How have you been getting on over the bank holiday? I cant wait to see all the progress everyone has made.

H.