Knitflix and cowl

 

 

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Trump. Shit. Some people go running to deal with this kind of thing, some people drink copious amounts of alcohol and some people, like me, binge watch Netflix or, as I like to call it, ‘Knitflix’ and get their craft on.  I’ve been doing a lot of crochet lately.  This is mostly because it’s a really portable and pretty sociable craft.  I can crochet sitting on the sofa, outside, for 10 minutes between feeding or changing babies and before my toddler notices what I’m doing.  Also, designing stuff is my favourite thing to do and crochet is pretty flexible in terms of what you can produce.

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I find crochet to be super therapeutic and I always do it when I feel stressed or sometimes to just wind down from the day.  I’ve been tweaking this particular design for a couple of years and I’m happy with this year’s run in neutral colours.

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They are reversible and warmer than traditional scarves and cowls because of the two layer system.

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The outer layer is crocheted in an alpaca/wool mix and the inner layer is luxury faux fur.

I have just opened my Etsy shop for the winter and these are the first items to be listed.

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They remind me a lot of the natural landscape and walking on the beach in winter, hence why I have named them after some of my favourite beaches.  This also echoes my unstoppable desire to be near the sea, I can’t explain it, maybe it’s just a case of you can take the girl out of Cornwall . . . Matt would definitely blame it on my Cornish ways (I like to think he means my endearing ways, not sure if he does though!) personally I think it’s probably down to all the sea water I ingested as a small child.  When I was a girl, I could step out of my front door and see the sea, I spent hours on boats and surrounded by maritime paraphenalia. The first thing I wanted to do for myself after giving birth was to go and walk near the sea, albeit slightly uncomfortably. I don’t think I could live somewhere for very long if I had to travel far to get to it.  As it is now, occasionally, if the conditions are right, I can hear the waves from beyond the burrows when I go to sleep.  It’s a ridiculously romantic notion, but by hook or by crook, the sea salt has gotten into my system and I think it’s there to stay.

 

Twin Set Cardigan Tutorial

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What do you do when you are really very pregnant and can’t move? (That’s from about half way through when pregnant with twins!) Well, apparently what I do is A LOT of crochet.  So much so, in fact, that this happened when the twins were born:

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I made these cardies in two in different colours:  mustard and grey.

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I also made little hats:

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and here is the link to that free pattern.

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I have to say that crocheting helped keep me sane towards the end of my pregnancy (even if that picture of little E above suggests otherwise) when I could barely climb the stairs without getting short of breath or get out of bed unaided. Needless to say twin pregnancy is nothing if not challenging, but crochet was the shit when I needed some preggo-craft therapy!

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If you want to make this cardigan for a new baby you know (or are about to know!) I suggest using a nice soft wool maybe with merino or cashmere as it’s so lovely for a newbies skin.  It doesn’t come cheap, but you can find good deals and you only need a small amount for baby clothes.  Ultimately, my advice is to just get the nicest and softest wool you can afford.  It’s also amazing for new mums and dads if you can find a super-wash merino or equivalent because you can then wash it at 40 degrees.  However, unless it gets dirty, you don’t need to wash it as often as other clothes.

I have written this pattern in UK crochet terms and in terms of difficulty, you just need to know how the basic stitches of chain, double crochet and treble crochet.

For a 0-3 months cardigan, you will need:

2 x 50g balls of wool for the main body of the cardigan (I used SMC Select Super-wash Merino)

1 contrasting ball of wool for the border (I used Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino) and you will have plenty left over.

4mm crochet hook

6 buttons

V-stitch:  1 treble crochet, chain 1, another treble crochet in the same stitch.

Step 1:  main body of cardigan

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Round 1: Ch 3, counts as 1st stitch here and in every row, 6 tr c, V st, 9 trc, V st, 14 trc, V st, 9 trc, V st, 7 trc.  Turn.
Round 2-6: Ch 3, trc in each trc and V stitch in each V stitch and turn at the end of each row. (This will slowly increase the size of your work)
Round 7: Ch 3, trc to first V stitch, folding so 1st and 2nd V stitches are together trc in both to join them, trc to next V stitch and join 3rd and 4th V stitch in same manner, trc to end and join
Note: This creates the armholes, you will add the sleeves in the next step.
Round 8-18: Trc in each trc, skipping the armholes
Round 19: Ch 2, turn.  dc all the way up the front of the cardigan, round the neck and back down the front on the other side, end.  I think this gives the front a nicer finish.
Step 2:  add the sleeves
Going through both V stitches where the sleeves were joined in the underarm, join yarn, if you don’t do this there will be a hole in the underarm
Rd 1-11: ch 3, trc in each stitch, Check to make sure you have 22 stitches and end.
Step 3:  add the contrasting border and buttons.
Make sure your cardigan is right side out.  Begin with your contrasting colour on the front right side of your cardigan at the bottom left
Round 1:  Ch 2, then dc all the way up the front around the neck, down the front of the other side and around the bottom, when you get to the end, slip stitch to join.  On the corners make 2-3 dc in 1 stitch to round them nicely.
Round 2:  Repeat round 1 until you begin to descend the front left of your cardigan as you need to make the buttonholes.  Dc around the corner and make 1 dc followed by ch 2, then dc 5 and ch 2 until you have 6 buttonholes.  Continue to dc as in round 1 and join.
Round 3:  Repeat round 1
Round 4: Dc the front right side ONLY.  End.
Finishing: You just need to sew in the ends and sew on your buttons very securely.  I also added two rows of dc to the sleeves in the contrasting yarn 🙂
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I would love to see your finished creations, so please let me know if you make this! You can Instagram #zoedidit
If you have any trouble with the pattern, or would like me to make one for you, comment below or get in touch at zoediditemail@gmail.com.  Happy hooking! x
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Perfect Strangers Project, Oh Comely Magazine

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I love ‘Oh Comely’ magazine. I am in fact hoping a certain someone is going to buy me a subscription to it for Christmas, if you haven’t seen it I recommend you check it out.  The folks there run an annual parcel project called Perfect Strangers where you can connect with a stranger via package swapping, snail mail style.  When I read about my swapper, it wasn’t too hard to decide to make her a handmade parcel; in a nutshell it seems she is as crazy about handmade stuff as I am.  It seems like we would get along really well!

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Here is what ‘Oh Comely’ suggest as a starting point for your package:

Dear Perfect Stranger,

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to create a parcel full of trinkets and treats for your swapper. Inside could be anything from sweets, a poem, to samples of your favourite tea.

If you’re stuck for ideas, here’s an inspiration list to get you going.

1. A wintry treat

The nights are drawing in, so get something to warm the cockles. The choice is yours, but how about scrumptious hot chocolate, a mini hot water bottle or a small hamster. Just kidding: definitely do not post hamsters. The price guide is £10.

2. A modern-day message in a bottle

For this, you will need an empty spice jar and a memory stick. Record something on the memory stick that you’d like to share: a mixtape, photographs you love, a film. Think about the songs or photos from your collection that you recommend time and again. Pop the memory stick in the jar, and seal it up ready to send into the world.

2. ‘What’s in my bag?’, photocopy edition

Pop into your local copy shop or accomplish this covertly at work. Empty the contents of your handbag, rucksack or favourite pocket onto the photocopier. Remove anything scratchy first, like your keys. Other than that, no cheating. That stray piece of chewing gum stays in, you hear? Make a copy. Now pick a colourful pen and annotate the objects as if you were writing a children’s science book. Lighters with sentimental value, bus tickets to see your Nan: tell ’em all about it.

If you don’t have access to a copier, you could send something you always keep in your bag instead, such as a fresh tube of your favourite hand cream.

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So here is what I put in the parcel:

1. A handmade wintry warmer cowl in black and white chunky knit

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2.  My other passion is music, so the memory stick is full of all time favourite songs along with some tunes to craft to!

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3.  My handbag contents is always ridiculous (thanks for letting me scan it Molly!)

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I thought she would definitely need some of these:

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And also one of these:

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The package would not be the same without these either:

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I’m getting a touch of the Christmas about me already, and yes I do know I’ve really got to keep that urge under control until December!

I also added some chocolate, of course, some cinnamon tea and some sparkly apple Christmas decorations.

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I really hope she liked it and I’d almost forgotten that I would be receiving a parcel too!  It’s a lovely way to get to know someone and this package from Stephanie really cheered up a grey day today, can’t wait to listen to the mix tape:

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Thank you so much for all the lovely things! Hopefully we’ll get to have a cuppa one day soon.

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I’m already in love with this fabric:

 

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She even put in little gifts for my boys:

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This was such a great idea from Oh Comely, I thoroughly recommend that you look out for it and take part next year, I know I definitely will.