Tag Archives: free pattern

Fancy Another Free Pattern?

Fancy another free pattern? Yes?

OK, but before I reveal all, may I just thank you from the very bottom left corner of my heart for the generous comments that you left regarding the chair. However, I am deeply aggrieved that you’ve all sided with Stoic Spouse about whether or not anyone should sit in the thing.

The twinnage certainly can’t be kept away. Here’s one young man and his car park:-

In all the excitement of the chair, I didn’t get a chance to tell you about another project – one that you might actually want to make. Take a look at this cowl:-

Falling Leaves cowl stranded knitting free pattern

The design came about after I was contacted by Hobbycraft (the major UK craft store chain) and asked to design something for their website. That was last autumn. And with my usual combination of optimism and stupidity, I set to work designing an autumnal project… which was ready shortly after Christmas.

Falling Leaves cowl stranded knitting free pattern

So allow me to introduce the Falling Leaves cowl. The FREE pattern is published on the Hobbycraft website, right HERE.

Falling Leaves cowl stranded knitting free pattern

It’s a stranded knit, but because there are some crazy-long floats, I’ve suggested an alternative way of trapping them.

Falling Leaves cowl stranded knitting free pattern oak

Talking of cowls, Rainbow Junkie (love the name) has made a beautiful jewel-coloured version of my All That Jazz cowl. Her rather gorgeous version is here on her blog. I love it!


Filed under Knitting

All Aboard The Stylecraft Blog Tour Bus For A Giveaway And A Free Pattern!

Have you been following this year’s Stylecraft Blog Tour? Yesterday, designer/author Sue Pinner showed us her marvellous Spinning Top crochet blanket pattern.

Six new shades have been added to the aran and the chunky Stylecraft Special acrylic ranges, and the fine fibrous folk at Stylecraft have mixed these up with some of the existing shades to make a couple of different ten-ball colour packs that they’ll be selling for a while. Over the summer, they kindly gave a few of us yarniacs a pack to try out. (Did I mention that this yarn-blogging thing is SOOOO TOUGH?!) This year’s blog tour gives a dozen of us the chance to show off what we’ve been making with our yarn.

I chose the ‘Parchment’ pack in chunky weight. Look!Stylecraft Special Chunky blog tour
Anyway, welcome to Day Eight of the blog tour. At an unfeasibly early hour this morning, I was woken by a rumbling sound, which turned out to be the colourful Stylecraft blog-tour-bus squeezing its way down our driveway, and parking beside the Stinkwagon. Hurrah! Heaven knows what the neighbours thought, although they’ve witnessed crazier (especially that time when I yarn-bombed our house).

stylecraft blog tour blogstars

The blog-tour-bus! In the courtyard at our house!

So clad only in my third-best pyjamas, I rushed outside to greet the bus.

I’d been thinking long and hard about what to make with this yarn, as it ideally had to incorporate all ten shades. Also, I was in the mood for a spot of crochet. So I designed this scarf, ably modelled by my headless friend, here:-

free crochet scarf pattern stylecraft blogstars

Would you like the FREE pattern? OK, I’ll pop it at the end of this post.

The finished scarf turned out well, but along the way, my goodness there was a lot of growling, and ripping out, and setting a poor example of emotional self-regulation in front of the children.


Then, the night before I finished it, I was across the road in the village pub with a group of friends, celebrating the birthday of one of us. (Hmm, that was the sentence that grammar forgot, wasn’t it?) Three of us were knitters/crocheters, so a certain amount of yarnery was going on around our bit of the table. But the poor birthday girl – an avid and skilled knitter – didn’t have any yarn with her! Horrors! Yes of course we offered to sprint home and fetch some for her. But do you know what she did (and I swear she did this voluntarily)? She picked up my scarf-in-progress, which was at the time looking very hairy due to the number of ends I’d procrastinated about weaving in, and she wove in all the ends! All of them!

So I pulled out a sock-in-progress from my handbag and knitted a bit of that instead. (What?? You think that I ever leave the house with only one WIP?) Technology and lighting were against me on the photo front, but here she is:-
J, I owe you big-time. And I hope you enjoyed your birthday.

So at last the thing was nearly done, and the next day whilst slightly hungover I worked a simple scalloped edge around it. What do you think?
But now, I have a… difficulty. I want to show you a picture of the thing laid out, so that you can see how the flared end tucks through the slit near the other end to make a loop. But laid out flat, it presents a photographic problem. There’s no other way of saying this: it looks undeniably phallic. So, um, let’s mess things up a bit.

free crochet scarf pattern stylecraft blogstars

ANYWAY, would you like the chance to win a big squooshy pack of all ten shades of Stylecraft Special Chunky that I used to make this thing? You would? Well that’s a coincidence, because the kind folk on the Stylecraft tour bus happen to have a pristine new pack of yarn all ready to post out to one lucky winner. The competition is open worldwide, but you’ll have to hurry, because it’s only open from 1000hrs to 2359hrs TODAY, UK time, so put down your knitting/hooking for a moment and hurry, hurry, hurry!

Click here to enter!

And so, as the day draws to a close, the tour bus will rumble colourfully on to its next destination: Sarah at Annaboo’s House. It’s clocking up a lot of miles, that bus. Fortunately it’s very environmentally-friendly, existing as it does only in my imagination.

Just in case you’ve missed any, the full list of participants in the blog tour is: Emma Varnam, Jane Crowfoot, Keep Calm And Crochet On, Sue Pinner, Annaboo’s House, Hand Knitted Things, Cherry Heart, The Patchwork Heart, Crafternoon TreatsStylecraft’s own blogLe Monde de Sucrette, and of course this very blog.  

free crochet scarf pattern stylecraft blogstars

So would you like the FREE PATTERN to make this beast? Yeah? OK, then. Here it is. I’ll put a photo-tutorial for some of the stitches up within the next few days, too.

I’ve also listed the pattern on Ravelry, here.

The Candy-Pop Scarf

Please note: pattern instructions use US terms. (Fellow Brits, I’m sorry: it’s the only area in which I’m not loyal to our land. I’ll post a UK version shortly.)

Dimensions of finished work: 99cm (39”) in length, by 18cm (7”) for most of its length, narrowing slightly before flaring out at one end.

Hook: 6mm.

Gauge: 16 sc sts to 10cm/4”.

Yarn: Stylecraft Special Chunky ‘Parchment’ pack, comprising one 100g (3.5oz) ball of each of the following shades: Parchment (1218), Pomegranate (1083), Sage (1725), Pale Rose (1080), Saffron (1081), Spice (1711), Empire (1829), Gold (1709), Pistachio (1822), and Storm Blue (1722). Now given that this is a whole kilogram (35oz) of yarn and the final scarf only weighs 225g (8oz), you can most certainly reduce the number of shades if you wish to, especially as some of them only make a brief appearance in the pattern.

Ends: Lots of colour changes potentially mean lots of ends to be woven in. Unless this is your idea of a rollicking good time, there are a couple of ways to minimise the weaving. First, when you’re working in colour A, and then have only one row of colour B before returning to colour A, you don’t need to cut colour A because the edge of your work will be concealed. So in the pattern, I’ve encouraged you to travel up the side of your work using a sneaky slip stitch to resume working in colour A. Don’t tell anyone I said that, though. Second, where possible, you can crochet around your yarn ends once you’ve started a new colour. It’s not always possible to do this, e.g. if your new colour is being used to work a chain, but it’s possible most of the time.


St(s) = stitch(es).

Ch = chain.

Ss = slip stitch.

Sc = single crochet.

½dc = half double crochet.

Dc = double crochet.

Tc = treble crochet.

YO = yarn-over.

Sc2tog = decrease by single crocheting 2 stitches together.

Yarn colours are given in capitals. Continue in current colour until instructed to change.

Right, let’s get started.

the twisted yarn free crochet scarf pattern stylecraft blogtour

SAGE. Ch 120 stitches fairly loosely.

  • -1. Ch1. Sc all stitches. Turn.
  • -2. Bobble garland edging. [Ch6. Work 5dc into the 3rd ch from hook, omitting the last YO-and-pull-through for each of these 5 stitches, ending with 6 loops on the hook. YO and pull through all 6 loops. Make a tight ss around the base of the bobble. Ch3. Sc into the 4th st along] repeated to end of row, although final ch3 after the last bobble is worked into the 3rd st along, because you’ve reached the end of the row. (30 bobbles.)
  • 1. You are now going to turn your work and make further rows on the other side of the starting chain. So proceed to the other side of the starting chain by working a sneaky ss at the end of the row. Ss into first ch. Ch1. Sc all sts across the row. Turn. Cut yarn. (120)
  • 2. PISTACHIO. Ch1. [Sc, sc2tog, sc] repeated to end. Turn. (90)
  • 3. Ch1. Sc all sts. Turn. Do not cut yarn.
  • 4. SAFFRON. Ch1. Sc in every st. Cut yarn.
  • 5. PISTACHIO. Switch to other end of row to resume working in Pistachio, working a ss in the end st. Work as row 2 until 2 sts remain. Sc these last 2 sts. Turn. (68)
  • 6. As row 4.
  • 7. STORM BLUE. As row 3.
  • 8. As row 2. (51)
  • 9-10. Both as row 3.
  • 11. As row 2 until 3 sts remain. Sc, sc2tog. (38)
  • 12. [Ch5. Ss into next-but-one st of previous row] repeated to end. The end of the final chain loop will have to be worked into the next st, not the next-but-one st. Turn. (19 loops)
  • 13. Ch3. [Ch1. Sc into the chain loop from previous row] repeated to end of row. Turn. (38)
  • 14. As row 2 until 2 sts remain. Sc in each of the last 2 sts. Turn. (29)
  • 15-16. As row 3.
  • 17. As row 2 (after the initial ch1) until 5 sts remain. 5sc. (23)
  • 18-20. As row 3.
  • 21. As row 4.
  • 22. GOLD. 1sc, [1 bobble, 1sc] repeated to end, pushing the bobbles through to the front and back of the work alternately. Cut yarn. (To create each bobble, work 5 dc into the same stitch, omitting the last YO-and-pull-through of each dc. You will then have 6 loops on your hook. Finally, YO and pull through all 6 loops. Push the bobble through to the correct side of the work. The sc into the next st anchors the bobble.) (11 bobbles, 6 on one side and 5 on the other)
  • 23. STORM BLUE. Working from the side where you left the Storm Blue yarn, ss into edge of previous row so that you can use this yarn for the present row. Ch1, sc into first stitch. [Ignoring the next st from previous row, work a dc into the same-colour st from the row-before-last that’s directly below this bobble on the reverse side of that bobble. Then work a sc into the next st from previous row, i.e. the st after the one you ignored] repeated to end. Turn. (11 vertical bars, 6 on one side and 5 on the other)
  • 24-25. As row 3.
  • 26. As row 4.

the twisted yarn free crochet scarf pattern stylecraft blogtour

  • 27. PARCHMENT. As row 4.
  • 28. PALE ROSE. As row 12. Cut yarn. Turn. (11 loops)
  • 29. PARCHMENT. As row 13, but finishing with a ch1 after the last sc. Turn. (23)
  • 30-34. As row 3. (23)
  • 35. As row 3, but on the 4th and the 4th-from-end st, increase by working 2 sts where usually you’d work one. (25)
  • 36. As row 4.
  • 37. PALE ROSE. [Ch5. Ss into next-but-one st of previous row] repeated to end. Turn. (12 loops)
  • 38. Ch4. (4th ch = the first st of current row.) [Sc into the chain loop from previous row, ch1] repeated to end of row. Turn. (25)
  • 39-41. As row 3.
  • 42. POMEGRANATE. Bobble row! As row 22. (12 bobbles, 6 on each side)
  • 43. PALE ROSE. As row 23. (12 vertical bars, 6 on each side)
  • 44-47. As row 3.
  • 48. POMEGRANATE. Ch2. ½dc all sts. Cut yarn.
  • 49-51. PALE ROSE. Resume with yarn from row 47 using a sneaky end-of-row ss, as before. Then work as row 3.
  • 52. [ss, sc, ½dc, dc, tc, dc, ½dc, sc] repeated 3 times, then ss. Cut yarn. Turn.
  • 53. POMEGRANATE. Ch4, [tc, dc, ½dc, sc, ss, sc, ½dc, dc] repeated 3 times, then tc. Turn.
  • 54. As row 53. Cut yarn.
  • 55. PARCHMENT. As row 52, but do not cut yarn. Turn.
  • 56-58. As row 3.
  • 59. As row 4.

the twisted yarn free crochet scarf pattern stylecraft blogtour

  • 60. SAGE. As row 3.
  • 61. Ch3. Dc into 1st st. [Ch1, dc] repeated to end. Turn.
  • 62-65. As row 3.
  • 66. As row 61.
  • 67. As row 4.
  • 68-70. PISTACHIO. As row 3.
  • 71. As row 61.
  • 72. As row 4.
  • 73. SAGE. As row 4.
  • 74. POMEGRANATE. As row 4.
  • 75-76. PISTACHIO. As row 3.
  • 77. As row 4.
  • 78. SAGE. As row 3.
  • 79. SAGE. As row 4.
  • 80-86. PARCHMENT. As row 3.
  • 87. As row 4.

the twisted yarn free crochet scarf pattern stylecraft blogtour

  • 88. SPICE. As row 3.
  • 89. As row 4.
  • 90. PISTACHIO. Ch3. 2dc into 1st st. [Miss 2sts then work 3dc into the next st] 7 times, 2dc into the last st. Cut yarn. Turn. (25)
  • 91. SPICE. Ch3. [3dc into next gap between clusters from previous row] 8 times. 1dc into last st. Turn. (25)
  • 92. Ch3. 2dc into 1st gap between clusters. [3dc into next gap] 7 times. 2dc into last st. Cut yarn. Turn. (25)
  • 93. POMEGRANATE. As row 91. (25)
  • 94-96. As row 3.
  • 97. SAFFRON. Bobble row! As row 22. (12 bobbles, 6 on each side)
  • 98. POMEGRANATE. As row 23. (12 vertical bars, 6 on each side)
  • 99. As row 4.
  • 100-104. SPICE. As row 3.
  • 105. As row 4.
  • 106-112. PARCHMENT. As row 3.
  • 113. As row 4.

the twisted yarn free crochet scarf pattern stylecraft blogtour

  • 114. SAGE. Ch1. Work sc into 1st 11 sts of row only. Turn. (11)
  • 115-116. Ch1. Sc into all 11 sts. Turn. (11)
  • 117. EMPIRE. Ch1. Sc into all 11 sts. Cut yarn. (11)
  • 118-120. Resuming with SAGE, as row 3. (11)
  • 121. EMPIRE. Bobble row! As row 22. (5 bobbles, 3 on one side and 2 on the other)
  • 122. SAGE. As row 23. (5 vertical bars, 3 on one side and 2 on the other)

Just finished row 122.

  • 123-125. As row 3. (11)
  • 126. As row 4. (11)
  • 127-130. PALE ROSE. As row 3. (11)
  • 131. As row 4. (11)
  • Now go back to row 113, and from the opposite end of the row, work the same 11-st pattern you did for rows 114-131. When you’ve finished this, there should be a 3st-wide gap in the middle of rows 114-131.
  • 132. PARCHMENT. Ch1. Sc the 1st 11 sts. Ch3 across the gap, then sc into the 11sts on the other side. (25)
  • 133. As row 3. (25)
  • 134. Ch1. Sc2tog across 1st 2 sts. Sc until 2 sts remain. Sc2tog. Turn. (23)
  • 135. As row 3. (23)
  • 136. As row 134. (21)
  • 137. As row 134. (19)
  • 138. As row 134. (17)
  • 139. As row 134. Cut yarn. (15)
  • 140. STORM BLUE. As row 134. (13)
  • 141. Ch1. Sc2tog twice. Sc until 4 sts remain. Sc2tog twice. (9)
  • 142. GOLD. Bobble row! As row 22. (4 bobbles, 2 on each side)
  • 143. STORM BLUE. As row 23. (4 vertical bars, 2 on each side)
  • 144. As row 141. (5) Cut yarn and pull through.
  • Weave in ends before working scalloped edging.
  • Edging. SAGE. Begin at end of row -1 (i.e. the bobble edging row). Work around the edge of the piece, finishing at the opposite end of row -1. Cut yarn. Then work all the way around the inside edge of the gap in the middle of rows 114-131. Cut yarn. Here’s how to work the scallops:-
  • Scallops: Sc into end st of row. [Work 5 ½dcs into a row-end st about 2 rows further along. Then sc into a row-end st roughly 2 rows further along] repeated all the way around. The spacing of the scallops is a bit of a judgement call. And when you’re working the inside of a curve, stretch each scallop out over slightly more rows. When you’re working the outside of a curve, work each scallop over slightly fewer rows.


Filed under Crochet

The Mandala Picture: A Free Knitting Pattern

Another free pattern? Really? Well, yes.

Aeons ago, I designed and knitted this large piece of craziness:-

collage 1

I wanted to play with the idea of the mandala, subvert the medium a wee bit, so I knitted a picture of a mandala. The idea of writing up this monster as a pattern was then filed away in Volume XII of the Great To-Do List in the bottom left corner of my brain**, between ‘learn to speak Finnish’ and ‘organize my sock drawer’.

But then a nudging comment on a recent post prompted me to just get on with it. So I did.

Unfortunately my computer then had a temper tantrum, and I lost the lot.

So I typed it in again… all sixteen thousand cells of it, because if it didn’t happen right now, then it was never going to happen. At first, the process was slow and annoying. But then I reached a sort of meditative state of consciousness and all there was in the world was me and the keyboard and that flippin’ chart. It was like the time years ago when my then boyfriend and I took a non-stop bus journey all the way across Canada:** the first fifteen minutes were by far the worst for fidgeting, feeling bored, squabbling, and generally not coping. After that, the remaining four days and intervening nights of the journey were serene and hazy. But I digress.

collage 2

So would you like the pattern? You can stretch the finished thing across a wood frame to hang on the wall, or with smaller borders you can use it to make a cushion. With the border, it’s roughly a metre/yard square.

The pattern? It’s RIGHT HERE!


*As you can see, I put all those years of neuropsychology training to good use…

**And may I just say how stunningly beautiful and fascinating and friendly and diverse Canada is? Or at least it was in 1993…


Filed under Knitting

Free Colourful Cowl Pattern!

OK, would you like the free pattern for this fairisle cowl that I designed?

cowl collage 1

You would? Well there’s a link to the pattern near the bottom of this post. Enjoy!

It’s a fairly generous one size, that would fit an adult or teen.

The version in the pictures was made using all 16 shades of Stylecraft Batik, but of course you could use fewer colours, or indeed a different DK/light-worsted yarn entirely. The cowl is worked in the round, so although you’ll have a fair few ends to weave in, there’s no purling fairisle and no seams. Hurrah!

So what are you waiting for? Apart from yarn, and more time, and the opportunity to finish all your other projects first. Oh, and I’m sorry to have to tell you but I think the cat has just pooped behind the sofa…

cowl collage 2

You want to see the reverse/inside of the cowl? Here ya go:-


Anyway, to the pattern! Drum-roll, please:-

Click here for the pattern!

OK? Shout if you have any problems. I may not necessarily be able to solve them, but I can nod sympathetically…



Filed under Knitting

The Moo-Cowl Pattern. AKA Simon The Cowl.

Before we knuckle down to the knitting, allow me to remind you that the absurdly overgenerous Wool And The Gang (WATG) giveaway touted in my previous post is still very much w-i-d-e open for business. Can I just say how much I’ve loved reading your warm, witty, woolly comments on that thread? Do pop over and enter (but only if you fancy a stonk-load of soft, fluffsome, chunky, Peruvian, pure wool in shades of your choice – no pressure).

Oh and whilst you’re entering, I’d be most eternally humbly honoured if you gave the ‘Yarn’s Facebook page a wee ‘like’, too: if nowt else, it’ll help you be amongst the first to know about future giveaways and other shenanigans. Do please share news of the giveaway with anyone else who might appreciate a bundle of luscious sheep-fluff.


Anyway, back to business. I’ve got a free pattern to share with you.

When WATG sent me a whole hairy heap of yarn, I made a cowl, because it’s cold here. I’m not joking: the Stoic Spouse has been seen wearing a hat indoors. Anyway, the cowl is a very simple knit. You’ll need a couple of shades of WATG Crazy Sexy Wool or something equivalently chunky. When it arrives, do try to resist the urge to stroke it, name it Tiddles, and install it in the cat bed in the corner of your kitchen. But be warned: this beast is strokable. Also, I swear I heard it meow.


The advantage of this cowl (other than its enormity and its softness and its snugglyness) is that you can wear it either-colour-up, to match whatever else you’re wearing that day. It’s an easy knit, as long as you’re not scared of a tiny bit of stranded work for the middle section. C’mon, it’s not difficult. What could possibly go wrong? One word of advice if you’re newish to stranded/fairisle: stretch the recently-knitted stitches out lots so that the floats of the inactive colour are long: the most common failing in stranded work is over-tight floats, and that’s summat that’s impossible to fix afterwards.

Perfect for the giraffe in your life.

Perfect for the giraffe in your life.

Now, there’s one thing we need to get out of the way first. The version I’ve made uses one-and-a-bit balls of colour A, and one-and-a-bit balls of colour B. I’ll write the pattern for that, but also for a slightly smaller and more sensible version that uses only one ball of each shade. OK? OK. Let’s go.

Size: The cowl is 76cm/30” circumference. The shorter version is 70cm/27.5” tall, and the longer version is 39cm/15.5” tall. Where materials/instructions for the two sizes differ, I’ve given information for the smaller size first, (and then for the larger size in brackets).


Gauge: Don’t get overly hung up on gauge this time. So your cowl is a tiny bit wider/narrower than my cowl? No biggy. Let’s not fall out over it. But in case you need to know because you’re substituting in another yarn, Crazy Sexy Wool is billed as 8 stitches per 10cm/4″ in stockinette on 10mm (size 15) needles, and a 200g ball gives you 80m/87yds. Yup, that’s pretty darn chunky: your arm muscles are about to get a serious workout. In stranded stockinette, my cowl worked out at 9.5 stitches per 10cm/4″.

Materials: One (two) 200g balls of each of two colours of WATG Crazy Sexy Wool or equivalent, depending on whether you’re making the shorter (taller) version. I used the shades ‘Moss Green’ and ‘Sherpa Blue’. In case you’re substituting for summat else, you’ll need about 200g/80m/87yds (260g/104m/113yds) of each colour. You’ll also need 10mm circular needles of approximately 64cm/25” length. And your favourite stitch marker.

Stuff you'll need. And wool, obviously.

Stuff you’ll need. And wool, obviously.


k = knit. (Now there’s a surprise.) p = purl. kfb = increase by knitting front and back. K2tog = decrease by knitting two together.

SM = stitch marker.

OK, let’s knit this baby.

  1. For either size, pour yourself a drink, and cast on 72 stitches in colour A, preferably using the long-tail cast-on. Place SM and join in round, taking care not to twist.
  2. k1,p1, all the way around. SM. Then repeat another 5 times.
  3. (k all stitches then SM) twice.
  4. OK, now you’re going to introduce colour B as well as continuing with colour A. Yup, we’re getting stranded. *k1 in colour B. k5 in colour A.** Repeat *→** around until 6 stitches remain in round. k1 in B. k3 in A. kfb in A. k1 in B. You may as well discard the marker now, because it ain’t gonna help you for the next section. (73 stitches.) IMG_6734
  5. Continue working around and around (and around) in the (k1 in B, k5 in A) pattern. Because you’ve sneakily snuck in that extra 73rd stitch, your single B-colour stitches will be displaced by one each round. Carry on until your diagonal stack of B-colour stitches is 7(10) stitches high in all 12 stacks, finishing on that last B-colour stitch. Note: this won’t be at the exact point where you were finishing a round with the stitch marker – that’s why we threw the stitch marker out of the window earlier. IMG_6784
  6. k4 in A, k3 in B. *k3 in A, k3 in B.** Repeat *→** round and round and round until every diagonal stack of B-colour stitches in this section is 7(10) rows high, ending after 3 B-colour stitches. Again, keep an eye on the height of all 12 B-colour stacks, because you’ll finish this section in a new and different place from before.
  7. k1 in colour B. k1 in A. *k5 in B, k1 in A.** Repeat *→** round and round until every diagonal stack of B-colour stitches in this section is 7(10) rows high, ending after 5 B-colour stitches. Go and find that stitch marker you discarded earlier, and place it now. Cut the yarn of colour A.
  8. Continuing in colour B, knit all stitches. SM.
  9. In colour B, knit every stitch until only two stitches remain. K2tog. SM. (72.)
  10. Continuing in colour B, work 6 rounds of k1,p1 rib.
  11. Cast off in rib pattern.
  12. Weave in ends. IMG_6848

Wear and enjoy.


Filed under Knitting

You Know That Thing I Said? It Might Not QUITE Be True…

The Stylecraft Blog Tour seems to have got off to a decent start, with plenty of colourful patterns and daily chances to win a whole hairy heap of yarn. For those who asked a few posts ago, may I just say YES, the competition is indeed open worldwide. Hurrah! Today, it’s the turn of Crafternoon Treats.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) it’s the turn of this very blog, so there’ll be another free pattern and another chance to win a limited edition pack of yarn right here. So set your alarm clock for not-especially-early, lay out your best knitting needles, pull on your luckiest socks, and get ready to download the free pattern and enter the competition. Best o’luck, m’hearties!

Win This!

Win This! (Tomorrow.)

Meanwhile, back to the business of Monday, and I hope you’ll be kind enough to indulge me in something that’s not knitting/crochet-related, other than that it keeps me away from knitting and crochet.

Here’s the thing: the problem with saying stuff publically online is that you can never unsay it. The internet doesn’t forget. Ever. Not even if you offer to bribe it with home-baked cookies and remind it that you possess incriminating photo-evidence of it clinging to a chimney on the town hall roof whilst drunkenly singing ‘I Will Survive’ at 3am on its birthday. (Yes internet, I do still have those pictures.)

So. When I said, ‘I don’t like running’, I said it in good faith, albeit with extra disgruntlement borne of how lardy I was feeling after all that IVF shenanigans. And, whilst I haven’t changed that much, I have to confess… it’s been getting easier. Weirdly easier. And I can keep going. Like a machine. Even uphill. In the rain.

(WHAT?! Did you think I was about to confess something properly, excitingly shameful? Nah, I’m not telling you about that: it’s between me and my well-remunerated legal team, and that’s the way it’s staying for as long as I can continue selling off the family silver in order to afford their fees.)

At Least You Get Pretty Autumn Views When You Run

At Least You Get Pretty Autumn Views When You Run

I think the key difference with the running this time round is that I’m going almost every day unless I’m at work, and so my poor idle limbs have been forced to accept their fate. This is different from times past when my muscles just had to give a little twinge for me to say ‘OK chaps, best not overdo it: let’s go home and lie on the sofa for a month.’ But not any more.

I tried that pursued-by-zombies app that one of you recommended in the comments section weeks ago (thank you), but it wouldn’t work through my headphones, so I faced the surreal embarrassment of running past Colin The Postman whilst a voice from near my left hip yelled out YOU HAVE PICKED UP UNDERPANTS! Colin looked perplexed. So I gave that up. Now I just run, urged on only by the knowledge that the faster I run, the sooner I can stop running and start knitting.

And I Run Past Some Ancient Thatched Walls: A Concept That Never Really Seemed To Catch On In The Wider World.

And I Run Past Some Ancient Thatched Walls: A Concept That Never Really Seemed To Catch On In The Wider World.

Don’t worry, this isn’t about to morph into a running blog. Not even slightly. I guarantee never to mention it unless it’s to share tales of my humiliation and incompetence. And no lycra-clad selfies will ever be forced on you because (i) I don’t wear lycra, and (ii) you’re decent folks who don’t deserve that kind of abuse.

And I Run Past Pretty Cottages, Although They Selfishly Aren't Facing The Right Way For The Sun At The Moment I Pass

And I Run Past Pretty Cottages That Are Many Hundreds Of Years Old, Although They Selfishly Aren’t Facing The Right Way For The Sun At The Moment I Pass

The Twisted Yarn: definitely NOT sponsored by Nike.

See you tomorrow, folks. 🙂


Filed under Yarn

Knitted Mandala Picture… Finished!


Right now, my grin would make even the Cheshire cat look surly.

I’ve finished the ****ing, ********ing, ******************************ing knitted mandala picture! Wa-hey!

You know what? I gave up on the gold embroidery, because although it was lovely and glittery close-up, it just looked messy when viewed from across the room. So I unpicked it. But that meant that I’d, er, finished the mandala. At last. It’s come a long way since this:-

Busy Designing Stranded Knitting, As Usual

Busy Designing Stranded Knitting, As Usual

All that was left was to mount it on to a canvas block, pop it on the wall, and hope that the Stoic Spouse didn’t dislike it too much. But canvas blocks are expensive, I discovered. And they’re rarely available in the exact size I wanted. So I sauntered over to www.getcanvasplus.co.uk and bought four 36-inch mitered strips of wood.

Mitred strips of wood

Mitred strips of wood

They slotted together pretty easily, with the enthusiastic assistance of a hammer, some pliers, and some choice expletives, although one of the strips was a little too curved. Then I fetched a large, mean, staple gun. Staple guns are scary*.

The Staple Gun. And A Toy Car.

The Staple Gun. And A Toy Car.

(* Yes, I do scare easily.)

I chopped up a cheap old table cloth, stretched it across the frame, and stapled it to the wood at the back. Hey, you at the back! Stop daydreaming and pay attention: this is about to get more interesting! So then I had m’self a blank canvas.

The Blank Canvas

The Blank Canvas

Hmmm. Minimalism not being my ‘thang’, I stretched the mandala picture over the tablecloth, pinned it to the frame, stood back to look, frowned, swore, and adjusted the pins (repeatedly) until it was more-or-less central and more-or-less circular.

Then I apologised to the knitting before brutally stapling it into place.


The staple-gun was a nasty beast (told ya), and the sheer force of its stapling ripped the knitting in a couple of places. Look! A hole!



There were a few of these, ripped open during my frenzy of over-zealous stapling. At least they were at the back of the panel, so I found some thread and darned the hole. Then darned it some more. And then, frankly, descended into a little frenzy of darning, just to make absolutely sure that the hole would not spread. Come the nuclear holocaust, the only things left on earth will be cockroaches and the darning on my mandala, and the beautiful but rather over-engineered wood-store that the stoic spouse built in our garden.

Anyway, it’s done now:-


Knitted Mandala Picture Finished


It’s not going to hang where I’ve photographed it, because it’s too big for that space and also because it looks rubbish there, but the redecoration of the living room is a work of glacially slow progress, so the mandala’s intended destination wall currently remains a tad…. blotchy. If I hadn’t been so damn busy with the mandala, I might’ve finished painting the living room, a fact that I suspect has not gone unnoticed by the Stoic Spouse. (What he doesn’t know is that I’m also working up to crocheting a rug for the living room floor. Heaven knows how many hours that’ll take.)

So. There y’are.

  • Approximately 60 000 stitches in DK yarn.
  • The green is Fyberspates Vivacious.
  • The cream is Wendy five-ply.
  • It took a while, knitted stranded in the round, then steeked, yes steeked.
  • Steeking is easy.

And if you’d like, I’d be happy to share the pattern for free, just so someone else can suffer the hours of pedantic stitching that went into this thing 😉 I just need to figure out how to transfer it from pencil scribbles on giant paper, to a snazzy modern e-pattern that you can download in a moment.


Wanders off to ponder….

And now, to celebrate this thing, I’m going for a run.


Filed under Knitting