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Pearmain Fancy Ribbed Beanie

Here is the follow up hat from the same series as Rubinette

above is now ready to download for £1.50

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran or substitute with a soft Aran/Worsted
Needles: 5mm dpns or circulars/knit in the round
Stitch Pattern: This is Beaded Rib adapted for the round, and the decreases are a custom fit so it neatly decreases in pattern right to the end.
Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL covers from teenage girl (20 inches) up to Men's (23 inches plus)
Style: Loose, modern beanie with optional slouch.

This is one of a set of loose modern beanies/tams that are quick knit but in a very easy knit and purl stitch. I specifically came up with a construction a beginner of knitting in the round could follow, and stitch patterns that don't involve complicated lace patterns. However, I was adamant that I was not going to do what a lot of people do with their ribbed beanies. Many patterns abandon the stitch pattern as soon as it comes to the crown, so with this, I forced myself not to think about it, to wing it when I got there i.e. not over intellectualise it, but allow it to come out of it organically. Well it worked. I managed to get each beaded column smoothly disappearing down to one stitch, whilst the purl sections disappear altogether.

It is a lovely crown, though I say so myself, and many thanks to Kate Blackburn who tech edited it, and test knitted it, as together we made sure that the decreases worked in each size with the correct written instruction.

There are some lovely Tams and Beret patterns out there but with complicated stitch patterns which might seem quite daunting to a person just starting out with dpns or circulars. However, knitters who have mastered knitting flat and want to progress to knitting in the round do not necessarily want to be knitting in stockinette or plain rib.These stitch patterns are inspired by forgotten easy textured patterns from vintage stitch sources. Many of these stitches look a little ugly in their scratchy wool swatches of yesterday, especially in black and white. However, you must try them and see the overall pattern, and you will agree that they are best not forgotten. Some of the overall knit and purl stitches can be quite rigid and tweedy, but I have used their 'twiggy' nature to make Tams with a sturdy stitch that still drape.

The theme of the whole set is apple varieties.
So far there is Rubinette (a rosy red variety) in a checks pattern, shown here on the right
Rubinette is re
ady to download for £1.50

Coming soon there is:
Launcelot a tweed/herringbone stitch Tam, that I am working on at the moment inspired by the Lancelot of Camelot who fell asleep under this variety of apple tree whilst some enchantment was afoot. The tree has a very dense criss crossing of twiggy stems and that inspired me to find a stitch of the same nature.

Starr a star stitched Tam and
Pippin, stitch pattern to be confirmed.

I made each one from Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran because that has the best drape and soft luxury that you would want to put into a gift hat.It takes about a day or two to knit this....so there is still time before Xmas to knit one as a gift!

Winter Knitty

Winter Knitty has been up for a while, but I haven't had time to comment on it yet. The cover is stunning; the model for Bijouterie by Romi the jewellery designer, is outstandingly attractive, as is the jewellery.

Here are a few of my favourites from this issue.

Fernglade is a pretty beret, it looks good on although I would like to see a greater difference between the 'slouchy' on the left and the 'slightly less slouchy' on the right.

However, I still feel Woolly Wormhead has the edge when it comes to designing a beret that behaves exquisitely when it gets to the centre down to the very last stitches. I am fussy like that and trying to train myself to try several different ways of decreasing when I get there, as what you plan and what works out can be different things and a happy accident is the goal.

For quirkiness and kiddy factor I like these fish head hats.

This is a another wonderfully quirky pattern for slipper socks.
I can imagine all sorts of furry creatures that could be made in this style and can remember craving some Dougal slippers (from The Magic Roundabout) in the 1970's. I didn't get any but years later I got a Dougal and Ermintrude Puppet.

I love this design Everybody Knows by Weaver knits. She has deconstructed everything to to give the most basic of designs, in the most basic of stitches and has punked it up with some dropped stitch sections.

Despite its complete simplicity it still holds onto a structured tailored look given by a bit of ba
sic shaping but also the rigid nature of garter stitch. Simple, but effective I think.

Lastly, I was attracted to these socks because I am into crochet at the moment, and thought Wow Knitty has started accepting crochet! However, on closer inspection I see that it is a Roman type of textured stitch making the surface look similar to crochet stitches. An interesting colour pattern too and suitable for gentlemen or ladies.

Here is a list of books I have read recently, most of which I enjoyed. I have put an * next to the really outstanding ones and a ** to an absooultely must read kind of book. I don't have time presently to do reviews, but am listing them here because they are going to a charity shop tomorrow. I will pop back and write up a little about each one when I can. There were many more books I did read, but can't remember or find them.

The Last Witchfinder James Morrow*

A Spot of Bother Mark Haddon
The Other Side of The Bridge Mary Lawson*
On Chesil Beach Ian McEwan

The Eye In The Door Pat Barker
Love In The Time of Cholera Gabriel Garcia-Marquez*
Random Acts of Heroic Love Danny Scheinmann
The Queen of Subtleties Suzannah Dunn
The Forgotten Garden Kate Morton*
Case Histories Kate Atkinson
His Illegal Self Peter Carey*

Engeleby Sebastian Faulks**
The Outcast Sadie Jones*
The Kite Runner Khaled Housseini**

A Thousand Splendid Suns Khaled Housseini*
The Road Cormac McCarthy*
Liars and Saints Maile meloy
Carry Me Down M J Hyland
The Island Victoria Hyslop**
The Steep Approach to Garbedale Iain Banks
The Weather Makers Tim Flannery
Mr Pip Lloyd Jones*
Strangeland Tracey Emin
The Road Home Rose Tremain**
The Resurrectionist James Bradley

The Dragons Tail Adam Williams**
I have just finished this. It starts like a classic Fleming spy story, then it switches to an epic like Wild Swans, and finished like Dickens. It is a wonderful story and despite the horrors, is strangely uplifting. I found myself sneaking downstairs to go to the loo on the middle of the night, and sitting there reading chapters because I couldn't put it down.

New Year's resolution, I must must must keep a complete list of everything I have read. How else will I remember what I did for most of the year? These characters are probably the most entertaining and revealing of anybody I met in the entire year....

La Calaverita
The Anticraft Samhain 2008 issue

At last this is up, my pattern for a 'Little Skull' bag to fit in with the dia de los muertos theme. As you know, there were several skully type things in this issue of the Anticraft submitted by Erssie; skellie socks, hourglass ankle socks, hourglass knee socks, Calavera Naranja chart, Skull & cherries chart (which also was adapted for the cover of this Bones issue) and now, this bag.

You can download the pattern and charts from here.
The chart looks like this, with three colour options.
The yarns are King Cole Merino 4ply so you can use up your odds and ends of sock yarns.

The skulls charts were a smaller version of the large chart, mainly because my poor old hands couldn't cope with such a large project in such a short space of time and also because I knew people were in need of little bags for their runes, charms and tarot cards and this gives a basic size that can be adapted for this use. I do have some Rune Charts in progress, to put onto the bags so watch out for those.

I am using this little bag as a lavendar sachet in the other half's wardrobe. He needed an anti-moth device but wasn't taken with the usual floral with ribbons types of designs you normally get for wardrobe sachets. I didn't felt the bag, so would suggest do as I do, and tie the lavender into a little muslin or cloth sachet and put inside the bag. That way it won't come through any gaps and is changeable at any time, so you could start with lavendar, and then put in secret little charms that he need never know about! No, no don't do that......remember the Threefold Law....!

I will never tire of skulls and skeleton designs and motifs but fear that some of you might, so for a moment, let me retire from skulls and move on to other areas leaving a trail of glorious skully patterns in my wake (I mean like a boat, not a funeral!)