Category Archives: Knitting

The Shawl That Took Forever

I started this shawl over a year ago. I started it 3 times, the 3rd time after knitting about 3/4 through. I’m a perfectionist (I think I’ve said this before) and I wasn’t happy with the edge stitches – they were too tight and I thought it might not block flat well.

All wrapped up on my mannequin

It’s an asymmetric triangular shawl in purple & black. There are lace sections and garter stitch stripes and the shawl gets wider as you knit it. I used black for 1 of the lace panels and then finished it off in black once I had used up the purple yarn. Both yarns are a fingering weight yarn in a merino/nylon blend – the black is pure black and the purple is a hand-dyed variegated skein of blackcurrant, magenta and wine (you may have other names for the purples in this yarn!)

Over the shoulders

It’s also huge! The pattern says finished measurements should be 70″ x 17″ and this shawl is 100″ x 30″. For some shawls, bigger is better!

I should try to get a photo of it or 4 spread out but it’s so long, it’s not easy. I enjoyed knitting this pattern; if not frogging it twice…

Wrapped up the other way…

This is a surprisingly warm shawl even though with the lace panels; they really do add a nice contrast to the garter stitch stripes and I think the black border worked out really well too.

The middle section

You can find the shawl here in my Etsy shop, or here on Amazon too. For items over £150 I offer free shipping – Special Delivery in the UK and Signed and Tracked everywhere else.

I have been tempted to keep it for myself, so if this shawl tempts you…. don’t wait to get it!

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Mustard & Black Knitting Bag Review – Gemma

I know several other Etsy shop owners who also knit, and asked Gemma from Snug Creations to test the Mustard & Black knitting bag and review it for me. I’m glad she used it for a couple of weeks before writing the review, it definitely got a good workout! You can get your own here in my Etsy shop.

Mustard & Black Knitting Bag

Here’s Gemma’s review:

As a bona-fide knitting addict, who designs knitwear for babies and children at Snug Creations Children’s Boutique, as well as knitting for myself in my spare time, I know the value of good, well-made project bags, I’ve got through several! With all the time and effort that goes into projects, not to mention the cost of good yarn, you need a bag that is sturdy enough to hold up to to being filled and emptied over and over, that will protect your knitting, will be strong enough that your needle tips won’t poke through and, if you are anything like me, will stand up to being taken out and about – where I go, my knitting goes!

When I received this bag to review, I was excited about putting it through its paces. Read on to find out what I think of it…

Features
Double grosgrain ribbon drawstring
Sturdy, lightweight design
Durable, washable cotton fabric
Fully lined
Contrasting trim detail which complements the drawstring
Wide base
Good capacity for small to medium sized projects

Appearance
The first thing that I noticed was the simple, but elegant packaging. No unnecessary packaging materials and nothing wasteful. I love that ribbon was used to finish the package – I like to keep them and reuse for gift-giving.

Packaging

I must say that when I first saw the project bag I was very impressed with its appearance. Denise chose a lovely mustard fabric with a contrasting bold black and white print trim and colour-coordinated black and white grosgrain ribbon drawstrings. The bag is fully lined with ecru fabric, reinforcing its strength and stability. The beautiful colour jumped out at me immediately after opening the package. I love mustard and the contrasting fabric looks great with it. MUCH more stylish than many of my existing knitting bags.

Next, I noticed the IMMACULATE stitching, it made me want to dust off my machine and get up to scratch with my sewing skills – very neat and professionally finished! The overall workmanship really impressed me: with the quality of the fabrics, even seams and stitching gives the bag sturdy construction – not a loose thread in sight.

Stitch detail

The bag closes securely and efficiently with a double drawstring. Grosgrain ribbon is a great choice because it’s not a silky, slippery ribbon, so when you pull the drawstrings to close the bag, it stays closed better. The drawstring is long enough, when drawn, to hold as you would a handbag, or looped over your arm.

Storage
At the moment, I only have a few projects on the go (unusual for me): a dress; a shawl and a pair of fairisle gloves, all varying in size. I also have a little kit packed full of my knitting essentials such as my snips, stitch markers, mini notebook, row counter and tape measure, so any project bag I use needs to have room for my kit too.

Sturdiness
I’ve had the bag for a few weeks now and have been putting it through its paces. It has traveled with me most places I have gone with a project packed away in it and I have to say, I am impressed with how it has performed. When I go out, I always take my dog with me and a little bag that holds all of the things I need for him (he’s in training – so I need lots of treats on me at all times!). I found carrying both bags easy and comfortable, even with the dog pulling me this way and that. It has stood up well to the beach, a day in the New Forest and a long weekend in Devon totally unscathed.

Bag in use in the garden

Multi-purpose Design
Not only is this a great little project bag, it works great as a knitting bowl too. I even braved knitting from it on the beach – I just rolled the top down and voila – portable knitting bowl!

In use as a knitting bowl
In use as a knitting bowl close up

What I loved
There’s a lot to love about this design. My favourite elements are:
The clever design of the wide base, which increases the capacity of the bag and makes the design stable so that it stand upright on a surface. None of my other bags are designed this way, so I really liked this.
The modern colour (one of my favourites at the moment).
The ability to use it both as a project bag AND portable yarn bowl.

Bottom detail
Drawstring detail

Cons
Truthfully, there is nothing about the bag that I do not like. If I had to get really picky, I would prefer an internal pocket to put my little kit in, just incase things spill out, and if I was getting REALLY picky, I’d like that pocket to be zipped.

Overall thoughts
Overall, I think that this is a great looking, versatile project bag that has been made with great skill and craftsmanship. For a small bag it has a great capacity (all of my projects apart from the dress fitted inside perfectly) and I love the choice of non-slip grosgrain paired with the double drawstring design.

This project bag is a fantastic choice for any knitter, crocheter or sewist. It’s perfect for taking along to your local knit-night or out and about on your travels with plenty of room for most small to medium sized projects.

Project bag with medium sized project in

If you are looking for gifts for crafty friends, you can’t go wrong with one of Denise’s project bag creations!

Thank you very much for the glowing, review, Gemma! If my face wasn’t already sunburned, it would be blushing.

You can also find Gemma and her amazing products on
Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/snugcreations
Instagram: @snug.creations
Twitter: @snugcreations
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/snugcreations
Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/snugcreations/

Drawstring Project Bags

I made a few more drawstring project bags – next up will be some zippered ones; there’s a few more drawstring styles I plan on trying. I do have to sort out zippers, which means deciding what I want to make with which fabric and then not changing my mind. You don’t look up “indecisive” in the dictionary and see a photo of me, no, not at all….

I made a couple of large red, cream, and brown drawstring bags – they are lined in cream fabric but 2 different ones. They are the same size as the mustard ones, but are in a heavier fabric.

Red, Cream & Brown – it has red ribbon to close.
This bag will hold 3 skeins of yarn, needles and notions!

Then there are 2 purple reversible project bags made from a light cotton fabric – one is dark purple with large light purple starbursts and the other is light purple with dark purple starbursts. Each side has drawstrings – use the dark side for light yarns and the light one for dark yarns.

Both Purple Project Bags
Dark Purple with top folded down
Light Purple w/ top folded down.

I tried a new design – boy, do I need to pay attention more! It’s not a hard pattern to follow – no curves, nothing to miter or anything but I took forever to make them because I kept making silly mistakes and having to unpick and resew. To be fair, I usually don’t follow a pattern so I’m not used to it and whizz along until, ooops, time to get the seam ripper out. I also added in a lining, which adds all of 2 steps to the pattern.

This one’s a lime green cotton with a Liberty MacIntosh Roses lawn fabric. I haven’t sewn with a Liberty fabric before and it’s a little more slippery than I thought it would be. The zip is cream and the pocket is large enough to hold some notions, a small pair of scissors and a folded up pattern. The lining is cream cotton.

Sock knitting bag – Liberty MacIntosh Roses

These 2 use the same main fabric – a kelly green cotton, and then the accent fabric are Summersville Fabrics: black houses, libraries and cars/buses and the other is a green with small houses and trees. They have either black or green topstitching and dark green ribbon to close. I think I like the black one better – which do you prefer?

Green Summersville Fabric
Black Summersville Fabric

Some of these are already listed in my etsy shop here. If you prefer Ebay, they are also listed here.

and here’s the first one – Mustard & Black.

Mustard & Black Knitting Bag
The others will get listed over the next couple of days.

Which is your favourite?

Chunky Blanket Photo Props

Alpaca Chunky Blankets

I bought this yarn a while ago, but hadn’t gotten around to making mini-blankets with it until last month (yes, I know…) It’s an alpaca/merino blend yarn in a chunky weight that was lovely to knit up. Shame it’s discontinued – so this is all I’m going to get. I have 3 colours: peach, blue & green.

Pick one!

I usually do neutral colours and I thought I needed some that weren’t. The peach was labelled as pink, but there was too much orange in it to my eye so I’m calling it peach. If it looks more pink to you, well, that’s brains and colours for ya!

I have enough yarn to make 3 more of each colour; if you’d like to get them, they are available in my etsy shop – Peach, Blue, Green.

Peach
Blue
Green

Oh, and here’s a tweedy mini-blanket too.

Tweed Chunky Mini-blanket
Garter Stitch!

Use this exclusive code to get 10% off if you’d like to get 2 or more – 2CHUNKY10. It’s only available until the end of May!

(Only for 1 use per person, for 2 or more chunky blankets only. If used for 1 blanket, I reserve the right to cancel the order and ask you to reorder without the code, or to add another blanket to your order).

A Knitting Bag! (Or Crochet Bag, I’m not picky…)

I plan on making more fabric items this year and I started with this lovely knitting/crochet projectbag. It’s made from high quality quilting cotton and lined in cream cotton. There’s black grosgrain ribbon pulled through an abstract black & white quilting cotton to close it, and it will hold 3-4 skeins of fingering yarn + needles/hooks and notions. I have enough fabric to make 3 but after that, no more. So kind of “Limited Edition”…. 🙂

Mustard & Black Knitting Bag
Drawstring Bag
Bag with 3 skeins of yarn inside
Peeking into the top of the bag
Side of the Bag

Standing up and open

It’s listed in my Etsy shop here and I plan on having more join it soon. What do you look for in a knitting bag – pockets for notions? Do you prefer a zippered bag, or a drawstring with a toggle on it? How about fabric — funky, elegant, cheerful? Give me some ideas!

Hiya Hiya Knitting Needles

As some of you know, I’m a Hiya Hiya stockist selling some their knitting needles, accessories and Gift Sets exclusively on Etsy in my- Hiya Hiya Shop Section. The range is huge, and I’d need to take a new mortgage out to get the full list of crochet hooks, knitting needles, gift sets and accessories that Hiya Hiya make.

Standard Sharp 5″ Interchangeable Gift Set

I’ve found that their bamboo DPN’s are very nice to knit with – smooth and non-snagging. How well they ‘grab’ depends on the yarn you use with them but they are certainly less slippy than metal DPN’s!

Bamboo DPN’s

I like their fixed circulars too – I tend to use them over interchangeables most of the time but do have a few interchangeables. I don’t have any larger Hiya Hiya knitting needles – over 5mm right now so I don’t know how they are different from the ones I use now.

Steel Circulars

If you could add anything to the Hiya Hiya selection here in my Etsy shop, what would you want to see? Comment below and maybe you’ll get a little gift from me!

Inside
Back

Exciting News! I’m a Hiya Hiya Stockist!

About a month ago, I was approached by Hiya Hiya Europe regarding stocking their products. I wasn’t sure, so asked quite a few questions, which were cheerfully and quickly answered.

Hiya Hiya Booket

I had a good look at their catalogue, trying to decide if I should go for it or not. I had some unexpected expenses in September – my printer had to be replaced for one – and didn’t go ahead right away. I let them know I was interested but that I couldn’t order right away and they extended the introductory offer for me.

I ordered this week and it only took a couple of days to arrive. I got a retail pack, so a good assortment of Hiya Hiya bamboo,steel fixed and interchangeable needles and lots of accessories. The sheep needle gauges are especially cute!

I spent 3 days writing listings and editing photos and they are now live! Join me on my Facebook page – Looking Glass Designs to enter the Giveaway on the pinned post!

Sheep needle gauge

Jumper by Commission

Sept. 3:

I don’t often make clothes – by clothes meaning jumpers/sweaters, cardigans, socks, that kind of thing. (Actually I’ve never made socks!) But I got an email from a local-ish lady wanting to know if I was able to knit her a jumper – extra large, plain and using a very thick yarn. Many more emails later, we met up to talk and to get measurements.

She had picked out a yarn (Rowan Cocoon in “Clay”) and was looking for a pattern. Usually it’s the other way round, but I managed to find a pattern – plain, big, and one that I could add her requirements to – a polo neck and long cuffs that she can turn up. She had bought the yarn, so gave me that and 50% of the agreed price. (The remaining amount is due when half the work is done).

I started on the jumper – bulky yarn and 6 & 7mm needles mean it knits up quickly, but when you have to frog…. not so much fun. I knit up the front to about 2/3 done after swatching, then washed and blocked it – even without pinning it out, just laying it on a clean towel, it stretched 3″. So I took 1″ off the front and back length and started again. The front and back got done fairly easily, then I sewed the right shoulder seam together and started in on the neck to get the polo part started.

The sleeves I also started – 6″ and a 4″ cuff to check that which length she wanted and part of the sleeve as well. We met up for her to try on the pinned together jumper front and back and see how long she wanted the polo neck and the cuff length. 6″ cuffs it is, then…. 🙂

I also checked her arm length, as the shoulder seams come down over the top of the shoulder onto the upper arm. She was very happy with the partly done jumper – it will definitely keep her warm; there is going to be about 800-850g of yarn in this jumper once done and it’s thick as well. I haven’t washed it yet, so it will grow a bit. The yarn is a single ply wool and will soak up water. I’m going to wash it carefully by hand once it’s finished and all sewn together so the seams can support it.

Sep 25:

I got busy and didn’t manage to get back to this post. The jumper is completed and is waiting to be picked up. I washed it once I sewed it together and it kept its shape well. I washed it in my bathtub, keeping it flat and making sure I didn’t wring, twist or agitate it so it didn’t go out of shape or felt.

I am happy with it, and I hope my customer is too!

Here’s the finished jumper:

Jumper
Close up
Cuffs
Front close-up

Chunky Wool Mini-blankets

I have finally managed to re-wallpaper my background board, it was looking a bit ratty. I had to wait until the weather got better- wet weather and wallpapering don’t mix very well. I used the same wallpaper, so no change there.

All 3 colours

The first things I photographed using it were these neutral chunky mini-blankets – I also moved where I take photographs, so hopefully the lighting will be better. These came out well, I had to adjust the white balance and exposure a little, but I usually do. These were knit using 15mm needles and super-chunky yarn. It felt like knitting with broom sticks and rope, after the 4mm needles and fingering yarn I’ve been knitting shawls with!

There are 3 colours – cream, grey and light brown. They are perfect for layering under a newborn or popping under a sitter. These are great photography props! Each one is available in my Etsy Shop. Which is your favourite colour? I think mine’s the grey…

Grey Mini-Blanket
Grey Garter Stitches
Cream Mini-blanket
Cream
Light Brown Mini-blanket
Light brown

Grey Lace Shawl in Wool – Custom Order

I’ve had this lace stole pattern knit up in a bamboo worsted weight yarn for several years, and the people who have bought them all love them – they are soft, squishy and warm. A bonus is that as they are grey, they go with almost anything.

Grey Lace Stole

I had a request from a bride in the US for 4 of them, but the yarn is discontinued, as I’ve posted before, and I don’t have enough left for 4. So I looked for another grey yarn, and found 2. One was an alpaca/merino blend and the other a wool/acrylic blend. The alpaca/merino was much thinner than the wool/acrylic, but I held it double and knitted up a small sample of each yarn in the pattern then took photos for my buyer-to-be. She picked one and I gave her a quote, with courier shipping and she bought them.

It took me about 6 weeks to knit them – the yarn is thinner than the old yarn, but there is more in the skeins, so the pattern got adjusted slightly to make sure it was as wide as she wanted them to be.

These stoles are approx. 19″ wide and 84″ long – considerably longer than the old stole, but as they are finer, they are the same weight and don’t feel too long when you wear one.

The buyer loved them and couldn’t wait to give them to her bridesmaids! I love it when I get an email from a happy buyer!

She wrote: “I got the Shawls today, they’re lovely!!! I love them & cant wait to give them as a gift to my bridesmaids! Thank you so much for all of you help.
I’ll have to try and remember to send you a picture from our wedding this September with the girls wearing them :-)”

Here they are, and the new stole will be in my Etsy Shop shortly!

Wool Blend Grey Lace Stole

Wide Grey Lace Stole
At the back
Pinned at the Front
Pinned at the shoulder
As a scarf