Pretty and practical: baby knits

28 May

Golly gosh gosh.

It’s been a while since I paraded around and showed off my first completed adult cardigan.

It’s surprising how much a job can take over your life and leave the little time remaining good for two things: eating and sleeping.

Understandably knitting slid down the list of things I wanted to do, however I am determined to make the time to pick up the needles and get cracking.

Since I last posted I’ve started work on this bad boy from Claire Montgomerie’s  Knitting Vintage.

NAUTICAL KNITS: Vintage-style Breton jumper

However as I’ve only just cast on, it’ll be a while until I’m finished and posting pictures of it…

Anyway, enough of that, there is exciting news here at SKP, my best friend is pregnant, which can only mean one thing in my book… baby knits!

Instead of idly flicking through baby knitting patterns and thinking ‘that looks so tiny and cute’ and leaving it at that, I can pick up my needles and clickety click click my way through booties, blankets and bibs. EXCITING TIMES.

Here’s my baby knits wishlist so far:

Booties: These one-hour baby booties from Debbie Stoller’s Stitch ‘n Bitch Handbook.

If it turns out she’s having a baby girl, I am most definitely knitting these :

FOLLOW THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD: Ruby red baby booties

Although the patterns seems to have been taken off the website *curses* I’m sure I can find a similar pattern elsewhere and adapt as needed.

But if it turns out to be a baby boy, I’m going to have a go at these teeny-tiny adorable Ugg booties:

UGG-LY THEY AINT: Gorgeous little booties

Pattern and image courtesy of -kandikane-


I love basket weave stitch as I find it very warm and soft against your skin, which is perfect for someone so small and delicate. *Aww*

I’m thinking of going for gender neutral colours, maybe a light green with a dark green contrast border. Thoughts?

BASKET WEAVE: So soft and pretty

One thing all these yarns will have to be is machine washable and durable. As lovely as cashmere blend baby items are, hand-washing at a particular temperature isn’t going to go down well with a sleep-deprived new mum.

My motto is pretty and practical.

These are just some of the patterns I’ve been cooing over, but I’m sure there are plenty more for me to discover. Any favourite go-to baby patterns anyone could signpost me to?

Happy knitting! SKP x


My first cardigan *knitting pride*

1 May

It’s finally done. The last stitches have been cast off, the buttons sewn on, and the finished item pressed lovingly (and very carefully) with the iron.

The cardigan that I often blogged about and repeatedly apologised for not being finished is completed. Not only is it finished it has also been worn with great pride and, I like to think, with great style!

SHEER DELIGHT: one happy knitter and her new cardigan

 For those of you new to the story: Hi my name is Sheknitsandpurls and I am a recovering sleeve-phobic.

The story began when, filled with the confidence of having finished a non-scarf item that I would wear in public, I decided to bite the bullet and have a go at something with sleeves.

It resulted in a last-minute Christmas gift for my two-and-a-half year-old nephew.

I was pleased with how that went, so I then decided to go big and knit an adult-sized one for myself. And this is the result:

STRIKE A POSE: The finished item

I loved  knitting with this yarn. The skeins themselves looked lovely, and the colours that developed as I knitted made the whole project so exciting and unpredictable.

AND AGAIN: The back of my new cardigan

 The first pictures don’t do the colours justice, (I decided to take pictures on one of the gloomiest days of the year) here’s a better one:

TASTE THE RAINBOW: Forget Skittles, this cardigan's got all colours covered

The number of colours in this cardigan makes it a really versatile piece as it complements a wide range of outfits. I’m so pleased with it 🙂 not that you can tell or anything…

FINISHED PIECE: ready to be shown off to the world

 Ironically having worried about knitting, setting and sewing in the sleeves I found doing that one of the easier parts.

 The worst bit that made me want to throw the whole shooting match out of the window was picking up the stitches for the button band. Boy did I get mad at the number of times I had to frog that bloomin’ row. But as it’s done now I’m starting to get over it. Just about.

So yes, that’s me. My sleeve-phobia is cured (huzzah) and my first cardigan is done. I know it’s nothing on the standard of some knitters, but I’m hoping from these baby steps, more fabulous knitted items are to come. BRING. IT. ON.


Knit happens

20 Apr

I cannot believe just how quickly time is flying over. If it carries on at this rate it’ll soon be Christmas!

Although my knitting mojo is well and truly back, so are about eleventy billion other things. I’ve been thrown well and truly into the lion’s den at work now the new intake of students have started, I’ve celebrated five birthdays (one my own), Easter and all the family trappings that having a close-knit (pardon the pun) family brings.

Unfortunately it’s not all been fun though, I’ve also experienced a family bereavement which knocked the wind right out of my sails. 

What can I say? The last couple of months have been busy and unfortunately knitting had to slide down the list of priorities. But no more, the cardigan is one step closer to being finished *yay* and now all that’s left to do is attach the sleeves and sew on the, as yet unbought, buttons. Then I get to wear it – my favourite part!

Speaking of birthdays (all five of them), one present I did receive was knitted-related and was this gorgeous knitting bag:

Perfect birthday present: Vintage print knitting bag

I love the delicate vintage print, the spring colours and the wooden handle. It holds so much knitting too, which is always a bonus. Isn’t she a beaut?

Hope you have a productive knitting weekend. Cardigan sleeves, here I come! SKP x



I’ve got my knitting mojo back….again!

4 Mar

Given that in the last post I was getting close to finishing the aforementioned adult-sized cardigan you’d think I’d be finished by now, right?


Not only have I not progressed I’m even further behind than I was a few weeks back. How? Well one of my sleeves went wrong (damn sleeves!) so I had to frog it back and start again. Grrr.

Frustration: when you're knitting just won't go right

There’s a bigger reason why I haven’t progressed as much as I’d planned because *drum roll* I got a full-time, graduate (read grown-up) job. Huzzah! I’ve spent the last few weeks being trained up and it involved a week-long trip to London, followed by some more intensive in-house training in Manchester. Now I love nothing more than a bit of commuter knitting, but I have been that tired I spend most of my train journeys conked-out praying I don’t dribble/lean on someone.

But this weekend has been my first one off for over a month, and to celebrate I’ve been wearing my pyjamas, drinking copious amount of tea, and knitting like a demon while watching stacks of ever-so-slightly naff dvds. Bliss.

I’m making decent progress and all I have left to do is pick up a ridiculous number of stitches (boo), sew all the seams up, and sew on the buttons. Not much then…..

I’m hoping that the next post will feature the finished article….and that the photos will be better quality than the last one *fingers crossed*

Happy knitting! SKP x

Feel the fear and do it anyway

18 Feb

I absolutely adore the nipped-in look of forties and fifties-style tops, jumpers and cardigans. The women in the images look so glamorous *sigh*.


I’m a sucker for any knitting patterns that feature these elegant designs, and my knitting to-do list is getting ridiculously long. However I wouldn’t make any headway with said list if I didn’t overcome a knitting problem of mine. The fear of making sleeves.

 Ok, ok, stop laughing, I know it sounds absolutely absurd to be apprehensive about knitting sleeves, but a worry’s a worry. Then as I was flicking through my stash of individual patterns and books I decided the best way to overcome this was to face it head-on, and do it. Knit something with sleeves. Crikey.

My vintage-style knitted capelet, featured in the last post, was the first non hat/scarf/mitten pattern I’d taken on. It was the nearest thing to a cardigan, without the problem of having to house the arms separately.

At the Knitting and Stitching Exhibition I picked up, among other things, Wonderland, an adorable children’s knitting pattern book which features contemporary patterns for children.

One of the items that caught my eye was this jacket. I love a bit of military detailing in fashion, and this jacket was so out of the ordinary from the usual children’s knitting patterns I knew I just had to make it for my two and a half year-old nephew. Plus it would help in my sleeve therapy programme.

I must have been mad; I bought the pattern book on November 27th with a view to giving the jacket as part of his Christmas present. As I would only get to seem him on Boxing Day, that gave me just under a month to knit it, including two *gulp* sleeves, sew it together and present it to him. Yikes.

So here it is. Apologies for the poor quality of the pictures, it was taken on my phone just before I wrapped it up to be delivered to the little guy.

It's got sleeves! The finished item

It doesn’t look much in the pictures, but in the flesh, or wool if you prefer, it looks so lovely and professional.

What you can’t see in the picture is that there are two fawn elbow patches which match the shoulders. So cute.

I certainly got the seal of approval from the little fella, he jumped up and down on the spot at the sight of jumper peeking out of the wrapping paper, and after shooting his arms up to allow the jacket to fit over his clothes, he ran around to all the relatives who were over to show them what his aunty had made him. *knitting pride*

So did it help me overcome my sleeve phobia? Well, I’m mid-way through making an adult-sized cardigan for yours truly and have knitted the sleeves, I just need to position and then sew them in. So I’m obviously not that frightened of them anymore.

Do any readers have any knitting-related apprehension?  My motto? Feel the fear and do it anyway!

Vintage capelet

25 Jan

As I mentioned in the last post, this featured item takes inspiration from the 50s and 70s. I know it sounds a strange era combination but the style is very much from the 50s, but has a 70s knitwear feel which I think complements it beautifully.

I was admiring (read drooling) over the patterns in Susan Crawford’s Vintage Gifts to Knit a few months ago, saw this beaut and thought ‘I gotta have me some of that’.

Town & City Tufted Cape: day-to-day glamour

 I decided to steer away from the green and black combination, and decided on black, with a slight glitter trim, that way I can wear it in the daytime, or use it as an evening capelet.

This project was the first ‘proper’ item of clothing I’d knitting beyond scarves, hats and fingerless gloves. At this point I had a ridiculous fear of knitting (messing-up) sleeves and thought this was the perfect item to knit before embarking on something with *gulp* sleeves.

I had no problems with doing tufted stitch, and found once I’d got the rhythm of it, I could quite happily sit and knit while watching television. The only issue I had was picking up the stitches, it took a couple of goes before I got them picked-up and evenly spaced, but overall, I’m really happy with the result.

My take on the capelet:

 Close-up of the stitches

Ready for my close-up: tufted and garter stitches

Ok, so you can definitely see the fifties influence, what about the seventies? As I was flicking through this month’s Company magazine, I noticed a feature called Blown Away, which focused on homespun knits, a main staple of the seventies . One of the items used was a capelet by Orla Kiely which had a whopping £70 price tag.

Company magazine: January 2012

Not that I’m biased or anything, but I think you get more garment (and value) for the money paid for the wool and pattern book, never mind the satisfaction of it being hand-crafted.

What about you? Any of you knitters had that feeling before?


Where it all began

16 Jan

When those outside of the knitting community think about knitting their immediate thoughts turn to grannies (a lot of blame falls squarely on the songwriters of The Wheels on the Bus), ill-fitting cardigans and jumpers, and finished items so bizarre that only a mother’s love could persuade anyone to wear them.

she knits and purls too...

However in recent years, in a backlash against disposable fashion and a desire to reclaim old crafts, knitting has enjoyed something of a revival, and I for one am glad about it.

One of my earliest memories of my grandma was of her sitting in an armchair, glasses perched on her nose, a pattern on her lap, and the frantic ‘click-clicking’ of her needles as she watched the early evening news. That woman was gifted. She could tut-tut the government’s recent disastrous decision in one department or another yet never miss a stitch. She could turn her hand to any manner of garments, ranging from swimwear (way back when) through to evening wear, and not only would she follow patterns, she also construct her own as she knitted. Fabulous.

Unfortunately I didn’t get enough time with her as she passed away when I was 5 years old. However that striking image of her along with her soundtrack has stayed with me.

But we’re something of a crafty family. My aunty was also a prolific knitter, and after watching her speed-knit her way through another fabulous garment, at the age of ten I asked her to show me how it was done.

The next time she visited she brought along with her a short pair of size 4 needles and a ball of luminous orange wool. I remember being amazed at the contrast of the almost neon wool against the cool slate grey of the needles.

My first few attempts were laughable, stitches too tight and then too slack. Holes where there shouldn’t have been and big knots scattered throughout the piece. However with a lot of frogging, patient explanations and demonstrations I managed my first few wobbly rows of knitting, and gosh was I proud.

Various family members were ‘treated’ to garter stitch scarves of every colour and length, my Dad even got a (too-tight) woolen hat, which he wore  regardless of the marks it made on his forehead.

Then the inevitable happened. After a few months I went to high school where knitting wasn’t considered the done thing, I got stuck into my studies, I took up playing the piano and lived my teenage years.

It wasn’t until I turned 18 that the needles started calling again. A few new stitches were mastered, and I wore my ‘quirky’ (read bonkers) scarves and fingerless gloves to college.

I took all my knitting paraphernalia to university, but was too focused on my studies and university life to sit knitting.

It’s only now since I’ve graduated, undertaken post-graduate studies and been on the hunt for a job that I’ve properly rediscovered knitting. As my previous post mentions my eyes were fully-opened to the vast range of knitted goodies that could be made at the Knitting and Stitching Exhibition in London. It was then that I dived straight back in all guns blazing.

Crafting mecca: The Knitting and Stitching Exhibition

I take inspiration from vintage photographs, charity shop finds and women’s magazines, particularly Cosmopolitan, Glamour and Company. I love looking at their fashion pages, capturing the essence of the trend, and recreating my own take on it.

The next post will look at a piece which takes inspiration from 70s knits.

Anyway, I’m off, the needles are calling!


Knitting natter

11 Jan

Well hello and welcome to the first blog post of sheknitsandpurls!

After much umming and ahhing I’ve decided to take the plunge and start blogging my knitting exploits. I’ve been an on-off knitter for the last few years, making more scarves than I care to remember and a few (often-abandoned) attempts to go beyond the odd sock or hat. The turning point was in late 2010 when I attended The Knitting and Stitching Exhibition at Alexandra Palace in London. My eyes were opened to the infinite possibilities a pair of needles, some wool and a bucket load of imagination could lead to.

From 2010 to 2011 I held down two jobs, a voluntary role at a local charity and then embarked upon post-graduate studies. My free time was limited (to say the least) and unfortunately knitting went on the back burner.

Fast forward a year and things are quite different. I’ve finished studying, I only have one part-time job and the rest of my free time is dedicated to searching for a full-time ‘grown-up’ job and knitting.

Again, The Knitting and Stitching Exhibition worked its magic, (this time in Harrogate) and reaffirmed the idea that I wanted to dedicate more time to this wonderful craft. And here I am two months later knee-deep in wool, needles and patterns and full of excitement at what knitting ventures 2012 may bring.

Bring. It. On.