Sewchet

Sewing, crochet, crafts, accessories, baking, tutorials,


38 Comments

“Best In Show” Knitted Dog – West Highland Terrier

When I posted this photo on Instagram, of the “Best In Show” book of knitted dogs that I bought nearly-new for a bargain on Amazon, it had a mixed reception.


Some people thought I’d lost my marbles while others clearly saw the attraction of knitting such pointless-but-cute objects.

So, when the other one in the series one popped up at a knock-down price, obviously I snapped it up!


Almost instantly, a lovely Instagrammer from Australia contacted me and asked if I’d consider a commission for her of a West Highland Terrier, a “Westie”. 

Of course, I jumped at the chance to have a bonafide excuse to actually go ahead and make one, so agreed straight away.

Unfortunately, there is no local stockist of Rowland Kidsilk Haze, so I had the ideal opportunity to put together a larger order with an online stockist to include yarn for a poncho that I’d admired for a long time.


Armed with everything I needed, I couldn’t wait to cast on.

The fuzzy nature of the mohair would be perfect to imitate the fur of a Westie. Two strands of yarn are held together throughout.


Believe it or not, this is a finished leg!!


Whilst not complicated, you need to concentrate on the instructions especially as this one asks you to “follow instructions as for Scottish Terrier” for certain elements of the knit.

At this point, the knitting was almost completely finished but still looked absolutely nothing like a dog, let alone a Westie!

The extra bits were finished in the car whilst at a football match – they’re laid out on the dashboard.


Now to sew it all together.


A satin stitched nose, French knot eyes and collar, all made using embroidery silks, are the final touches.

And here he is!



For scale, here he is sat in the palm of my hand.

He is about 6 inches long and 4 inches high.

Not only that, but I have enough yarn left to make another one……anyone else want to commission a Westie?!!


28 Comments

“Woolly Woofers” Knitted Dog Coat

Regular readers of the blog will recognise Fifi and Tess, a 14 year old Yorkie and 3 year old Chorkie, respectively.

Here they are in their Winter coats, all long, shaggy and warm.

Whilst we were in Spain, my mother looked after both dogs and took them for their annual haircut, and they now look just a tad different!


Trouble is, Fifi feels the cold and can always be found sat as close to the fire as possible whenever it is lit.


She has a variety of coats; here is her Winter one.


This one was a non-stretch fleecy number, made specifically to stop her licking her wound after an operation.


And who can forget this disastrous effort made in rather too much of a rush and was miles too big?


Point is that, no sooner had they had their Summer trim, the weather turned – 14 degrees and rain. For two weeks.


Poor little Fifi spent most of her time curled up in a ball in an effort to keep warm, shivering pitifully.


Of course, technically, her Rudolph coat would do the job perfectly well but, quite frankly the excuse to knit up another cute little number from Debbie Bliss’ “Woolly Woofers” in summery colours was too good an opportunity to miss.


After scrutinising the descriptions and measurements of various patterns, I settled on a ‘tube’ style coat, which would be close fitting and comfortable.

It’s called “Mod Dog” for obvious reasons, but it was the tube style that I wanted, not the Mod design.


Don’t you just love the illustrations?


I had the best part of a ball of “Rainbow” double knitting yarn left over from some project or other which would be plenty for this little coat.

Wool Warehouse stock it in a dozen different colours.


I started straight away. Well, it was howling a gale and pouring down outside, so why not?


By the next day, I had finished both the front and back pieces.


A quick trip to the garden centre later, and I had a set of 3.75mm circular needles to finish the cuffs.


How’s that for a season-appropriate colourway? 


I put the coat on Fifi as soon as it was off the needles and she wore it all night without the need to be wrapped up in a blanket. (For “blanket” read “one of Mr H-L’s jumpers”, because he’s so soft).


This morning I took some more pictures in daylight to show you.


Now she won’t look daft if we go out for a walk, whereas the Christmassy coat might draw a few questioning glances down the pub.





Isn’t it sweet? Although I’m hoping Summer will show it’s face at some point in August, at least Fifi won’t be shivering if it doesn’t.

Perhaps I could make a matching coat for Tess….?


38 Comments

Dog Coat Fail….

Remember the doggy bandana I knitted for Miekie (seen here modelled by Tess) as part of last year’s Stitching Santa?

It was from the book Woolly Woofers by Debbie Bliss.


I bought it as much for the quirky illustrations as for the actual content – just look at this backdrop for the so-called Teacup Yorkie!


Well, our other Yorkie, Fifi, has been to the Vet’s a lot recently as she’s an old dog that needs a bit more regular attention. She is much happier wearing a dog coat than those awful cones, but she doesn’t really have enough. I thought this little coat would be a quick and simple knit to go with the fleecy coat I made the other week.


Most of the coats in the book are in there sizes; small,medium and large, but this particular design was specifically for Toy breeds and only available as ‘one size fits all’.

I should have been wary at that statement as both Tess and Fifi are a Toy Yorkshire Terrier, yet Tess is literally twice the size of Fifi.

Undeterred, I cast on using a super chunky yarn in two colours which were dictated by the two half-balls of Lion Brand that had been languishing at the bottom of my ‘leftovers’ bin for months now. There should just about be enough to make a tiny coat.


The gauge was only slightly bigger than the tension gauge suggested in the pattern so I carried on to the end, playing yarn chicken (again!) and winning with just 6″ to spare.

I tried the finished coat on Fifi and….

…..it was HUGE!


It could probably have gone around her twice and the end flopped well past her tail. She even looked the other way in an effort to communicate her humiliation.


So I tried it on Tess…..and it fit perfectly.


It looks just like it does in the book – nice and snug around the chest and not too long in the body.


She was even happy to pose for the camera.


There’s only one tiny issue, and that’s the fact that she has thick hair (and lots of it) and never really gets cold enough to warrant wearing a coat, so if anyone has a little dog that would wear it, let me know and I’ll send it to you.


44 Comments

Knitted Lace Baby Shawl

Way back in June I was contacted by a childhood friend whom I haven’t seen for thirty years and asked if I would consider knitting a shawl for her upcoming first grandchild. 

I don’t normally take commissions for something like this, but she asked so nicely and was so obviously a fan of my work that I decided to make an exception and agreed on the basis that this would be my evening project. You know, the kind that you pick up for a couple of hours every evening so your fingers have something to do whilst watching TV.

The baby was due in early October, which meant I would have to get cracking as three months is not very long in shawl-knitting terms, and I estimated that about 60 hours of handknitting would be required. I had no problem choosing the perfect yarn – the softness of Alpaca combined with the smooth quality of silk made this the obvious choice.

A laceweight yarn, the silk adds a subtle sheen and would make an incredibly light and delicate shawl.

I ordered 4 skeins in “Wedding White” as the gender of the baby was to remain a surprise, and off white would be ideal. Each 50g skein contains 439 yards of yarn so, although I hadn’t yet decided on a pattern, figured that 1700 yards should be plenty.

Look how fine the yarn is!

It all got off to a bit of a false start because I wasn’t happy with the first pattern I chose and had to unravel it and start again from scratch.

A bit more research resulted in the purchase of this lovely pattern by Sirdar – the circular design, rather than the square one.

And so the lengthy process began!

It soon became apparent that I had VASTLY underestimated the time and quantity of yarn that this beast would consume!

After 60 hours over 2 months, I was about two-thirds of the way through the main body of the shawl, and it took both boys to hold it up for me to take a photograph.

I just love how gossamer-fine it is and how you can see right through.

I also had to order another 2 skeins of yarn which took another 2 weeks to arrive before I could continue.

With the body of the shawl finished, I moved on to the pretty bit – the show-stopping lacy border, which was an absolute joy to knit after all those rounds of stockinette.

You can see the pattern beginning to develop here.

Despite being over a week overdue, the baby had now arrived…..but I still hadn’t finished the border. 

It was a baby girl!

Eventually, all the actual knitting was complete and ‘all’ I had to do was to join these two piles of knitting together.

It ended up being several evenings worth of work, starting with pegging the border evenly to the centre section and then sewing ithem together.

Wet blocking was the next step in the process, whereby all 120 points had to be pinned out to their final shape.

I commandeered The Boy’s bedroom and banished them for two days while it dried, pinned to a combination of three towels and the carpet!

When it was completely dry, I took it downstairs to try and photograph it as the contrast against the oak floor showed up the pattern more clearly.

There wasn’t enough spare floor space!

Here’s a close up of the edging after blocking – such lovely lacy detail.

By screwing it up in the middle, I managed to take a photo of the whole shawl – it really is massive!

It looks lovely here, draped over the arm of the sofa.

Off it went in the post and I waited a nerve-wracking few days before hearing that it had reached its destination safely – what a relief!

Very soon, some photos were sent to me of the shawl in use, and I have permission to share them with you on the blog.




Do you want to have the final stats of this mammoth project?

Here goes…….

– 2760 yards of yarn

– 137 hours of knitting

– 161,852 stitches

Would I do it again?

In a heartbeat – only next time it will have to be for MY grandchild because it was so hard to part with after all that effort!


24 Comments

Speedy Christmas Gift – ‘Entrechat’ Bolero

img_0131

My blog post for Minerva Crafts this month is this adorable little girl’s cardigan/bolero, which is now available for grown ups, too!

This one is for a Christmas present but, as it was whipped up in just a few hours, I couldn’t resist casting on another as a birthday present immediately after the first one was off the needles.

Follow this link for the pattern and to see how sweet it looks on our baby granddaughter.


35 Comments

Knitted Lace Cardigan

Just after Christmas, after months of making things for other people, I had the urge to knit something for myself.

I love Artesano (and was gutted to find out recently that they have gone into receivership – another independant yarn shop gone) and I found this lace cardigan pattern on their website, for free, no less. Here’s the link – download it while you can as I assume the website will be offline soon: – free lace cardigan pattern

Cardigan

The suggested yarn was their Alpaca Silk Lace, so I went ahead and treated myself to four skeins of ‘French Rose’.

img_2955-1

The lace pattern is a simple repeating pattern and, although I lost concentration and made a few mistakes, the pattern is quite loose so they don’t show at all.

IMG_3380

Fast forward to May and the goal was to take it to Spain as a light cover up in the evenings. Well, the knitting was finished in time….but not stitched together, so I took all four panels with me with the intention of finishing it on the first day or two of our holiday.

I blocked it.

blocking-cardigan

I even sewed it together.

img_4326

Then it came back to England with me and I forgot all about it until the other day.

Re-discovered underneath several WIPs in my lovely sewing cabinet, I dragged it out and sat down, determined to make the flowers there and then.

Look, matching nails and dress, too:)

knitting-lace-flowers

Half an hour later, the flowers were completed and all that was left to do was the chain cord that would act as a buttonhole, joining the two flowers.making-cord-chainknitted-chain-cord

Finally…….Tadah!

p1070609

It’s quite special as cardigans go, so I thought I’d glam it up with a pair of designer mules for the photos.

p1070588

I love the scalloped edge at the bottom.

p1070591p1070586

It’s so easy to wear and not at all restrictive.

p1070597

p1070596

The pattern calls for twelve knitted roses dotted about on various seams, but I left it at two, on the front opening edge.

p1070595p1070594

p1070604p1070603p1070601p1070608

I slapped on a matching lippy and met hubby for a drink at lunchtime and he loved it. Or was it the heels…….?

Save

Save


59 Comments

Cable Knit Bobble Hat With Alpaca Fur Pom Pom

I’m not sure when I first noticed the trend for hand-knitted bobble hats with a fur pom pom, last Winter I think, but I know I was grateful for its return.

As any child of the Seventies will attest, the bobble hat was a staple of our Winter wardrobe and was invariably knitted by Grandma whilst we made the pom pom ourselves the traditional way – with two polo-shaped cardboard circles.

70s bobble hat pattern

Looking back at this vintage 70s pattern (above), why do I think the models look embarrassingly outmoded compared to the same style today (below)? I mean, the yellow cable hat is virtually identical in both photos and yet, somehow, the models look ‘cool’ in the modern photograph.

Debbie Bliss Bobble Hat

No doubt we’ll look back in another forty years and laugh but, for now, I embrace the return of the bobble hat.

The hat I had in mind had to be cable, which meant it had to be a knitting pattern rather than crochet, and it had to be written for Aran weight yarn because I had a huge ball left over from a jumper project.

So, having Googled and Pinterest-ed my way through hundreds of bobble hat patterns, I decided on the one above which is a free pattern on the Debbie Bliss website.

Sometimes I work straight from the digital pattern on my iPad but, in this case, I printed it out as it was only one A4 page long.

P1070175

The tweedy yarn was Stylecraft Special Aran With 20% Wool in ‘Oatmeal’ which is a neutral, goes-with-anything shade of beige.

I chose an Alpaca fur pom pom from Toft in ‘Stone’ to match, rather than contrast with, the hat. It’s the lightest, softest pom pom you could ever imagine!

img_2886

I gave you a sneak preview in my #sundaysevens post, but here it is again under construction.

img_0138

The pattern called for straight 5mm needles which meant a seam would be necessary – I remembered to reverse the seam for the part of the ribbing that would fold back and be on show!

Can you knit cable in the round on a pair of circulars? I don’t know.

Anyway, before seaming I would normally block my knitting but this time I hesitated as I like the raised texture of the cables and thought blocking might flatten them to a degree.

P1070126

I asked No.2 Son to model it for me so I could see what it looked like on the head without having been blocked.

P1070129

I like it – so it’s staying unblocked:)

Ready for some photos?

bobble hat

Just look at the size of that pom pom!

bobble hat selfie 1

I love the band of wide 2×2 ribbing.

bobble hat selfie3

The cables are suitably reminiscent of the 70s when they were the height of fashion and the fur pom pom brings it bang up to date.

bobble hat selfie2

A quick ruffle through with the fingers and all signs of hat-hair are banished!

bobble hat selfie

Yup, this is a new favourite and I can see myself making several more in different colours to go with different outfits.

Has anyone else succumbed to the lure of the pom pom bobble hat recently?