Monday, 22 July 2013

Pirate backpack

Well, summer has finally made an appearance - we haven't had weather like this since 2006! It's far too hot for knitting, so I've been sewing instead - I have a ceiling fan in my sewing room!
The inspiration for this backpack came from the pirate applique motif which I bought ages ago - my granddaughter was into pirates at the time (and thankfully still is as the bag's for her). I didn't want to use it on clothing as she grows out of things so fast, so I hit upon the idea of a bag. Having scoured the Internet, I came across this pattern on the Heart of Mary page here - the original name was the City Backpack. Perfect - a nice neat size that, with adjustable straps, will grow with her.
I followed the pattern fairly closely, starting by cutting a paper pattern - I didn't fancy trying to draw outlines on black denim. I changed the construction method in some places but basically it's as per the pattern given. Both the fabrics came from my favourite online fabric store, Chawla's ; the motif, the red cord for the drawstring and the toggle and strap sliders from my local fabric store, Oakmount Mill in Burnley. The giant red button, which I was struggling to find a use for, was a freebie from an online order. I made a loop to fasten it by inserting a piece of elastic into the seam attaching the top flap lining and the flap itself.
Here's the finished backpack.

The finished Pirate Backpack
Skull and crossbones lining!

Back view showing adjustable straps

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Dolly Mixture baby set on Ravelry

I've decided to see if anyone's willing to pay for my patterns - I'll still be posting freebies too, but this baby set took a lot of working out to get right, so here goes! It's available as a Ravelry download for £2.50. It comes in one size only, hence the relatively low price - 18" chest, or approximate age 3 to 6 months, commonly known (at least in the UK) as "second size".
I made an alternative version suitable for a boy, minus the flower on the hat. The yarn I used is what inspired the name - the lavender colourway reminded me of those sweets we used to get as kids! The variegated yarns are Jarol New Arrival, which is available in lots of colour mixes, brights as well as pastels. The plain yarns are Woolcraft New Fashion, but any 100% DK yarn that knits to the required tension is fine - the most important thing is to match the plain yarn to one of the colours in the print yarn.

There are a couple of techniques used in this pattern that may be unfamiliar, but don't be put off - they are easy to learn.
The first is the I-cord, used for the hat ties - most US knitters will know this already, but UK knitters are more likely to know it as French Knitting or "corkwork". We used to make our own "Knitting Nancy" from a wooden cotton reel and four nails. The lucky ones among us had a manufactured version with staples, which was much easier to use. The I-cord is simply the same thing knitted on two double-pointed needles - see Knitting Daily blog here for instructions. You can use 3, 4 or 5 stitches depending on the thickness of cord required.
The second technique is the Cable cast on used in the hat - a good explanation of this technique can be found on the Knitting Daily blog here. This is a 2-needle cast-on which is more elastic than the normal method.
Happy knitting!