Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Bags and Blankets

So. The bags that were done in secret are all done. They should be popping onto doorstops tomorrow morning and my aim is to have you all knitting and crocheting a storm over the weekend so lots of photos on Monday ladies!

For those that opted to collect in shop, they're all here waiting for you.

THERE IS A MISTAKE IN ONE OF THE PATTERNS! We only realised once they'd all been sealed up. Luckily, it won't affect anything at all and it's in the experienced knitter's bag so you should all be fine. It's to do with the yarn amounts on the second project. I can't tell you what's wrong without spoiling the secret so I'll tell you later. The pattern's been updated so anybody that buys after Monday will have the right thing. Sorry folks - bloody nightmare!!! 

I am so pleased with these! They are so sweet! We had great fun putting them together but I didn't expect that to take all of Monday and all of last night too! Chris is one of those people that can only hold one instruction in mind at a time so I was doing something that he couldn't do and having to stop and start to show him all the stuff that he could actually do. But we got there and we're both really proud of them and today we're having an evening off to eat stew (from a chicken cooked on Sunday - that's eight meals we've got out of that chicken - how!?!?!?), rewatch Jonathon Creek AND (hopefully) finish this blighter:

Yes, it's not finished and it's on my bed. Whatcha gonna make of it?


 I've not really got a name for it - I started it a. long. time. ago. during a crochet lesson when I suddenly had the biggest urge to knock up a quick granny square blanket. Quick. Now. This photo:

 Was taken on 13th of May 2013 and I seem to remember that I'd already been doing it a little while before then but I've been through the blog and I can't find where I talked about it. Which is silly because I've definitely spoken about it... I wanted, originally, just to make one blanket. And then I realised that to get the colour range I wanted I'd need to use a lot more balls and if this was to be an easy and quick project I didn't want to have to work out how many of each colour I'd need so I ended up just crocheting the whole ball (getting about 15 squares out of a ball of Pricewise DK) and assuming that in the end I'd make three or four blankets. Now, that was a great plan and I chugged along. At this point I was happy. I put it together like this:

And I was pleased! I used this photo all over the place - on the blog, on rav, on the facebook, on banners - all over the place! There weren't enough colours, I'm sure you can see, but doesn't it look gorgeous?! I remember my sister saying that the idea was horrendous - especially since I'd been using the Acid and Salmon which are both pretty horrific neons. When she saw this photo she admitted that it was bloody brill. 

And then, for a very long time, I did nothing.

I'm not sure what made me pick it up again, but some time August I got it into my head that these two big old bags of squares needed putting together, bugger whether there were enough colours. So I laid them out in Boyf's front room and got to it:

 I was still in love, and glad that there were a few more colours. If I'd have carried on I'd have made many many more yellow/orange squares. I took photos at this point, because there's no way I could have left the squares hanging around this like - poor Boyf. But because it ended up being 22 squares by 17 (I think) I also gathered the squares into length ways piles and tied them together. It came together slowly, probably because it is just such a big thing and couldn't be carried everywhere but I took it to Wool and Wine in Beeston (and did nothing) and to the races in Chester (and did loads).

In fact, I think I got all of the 'verticals' crocheted together that evening which meant that I could do the 'horizontals' at my own pleasure because the 'verticals' keep everything in position. I'm afraid I've no idea when I got the horizontals done but I do know that I sewed in a couple of ends at the time and then put it down again... That is until last Monday when I'd finished my to do list by half 12, went to Iceland (the shop) for the first time (wasn't impressed...) and then settle down to get those ends sewn in. I gave up after a while because.... boring... so I started the edging. 

Now. In my head the edging was always going to be white. I bought up a load of white dk when we last had a sale for this very reason. However. This white acrylic dk has been mostly lost. It must have done because I can't have used nine balls on crocheting the thing together (although it used much more than I was expecting...). So, I had a look at the stash I've been building at Chris's house and all I could come up with was red, a lovely soft cherry red. Still acrylic dk mind but it is nice. I'm not convinced that it looks as good as white would have done and I'm a bit stuck as to whether a project like this deserves the absolute best or whether, as it was a project where I used up a lot of ends, using up ends (that I'm unlikely to use in other projects) was a good and fitting idea. Hmmm. Let's see if I have a photo:

 Not the best photo - can you see it? I'll see if I can get a better one in the morning. Still not convinced but I'm going to carry on for now. I LOVE this blanket and I LOVE using it and I know my happiness will increase exponentially when it's finished. So I'd better get on with it...

At the moment, and I promise I'll stop boring you with this, I'm crocheting the blanket until I want to use it, then I'm breaking the yarn, finishing it off and using it, then I'm reattaching the yarn when I want to crochet again. This is the only way that I can think that I can use the blanket and at the same time finish it... Versace doesn't seem to mind anyway:

And speaking of Versace, she's started doing a very strange and refined thing - drinking from the tap!!!


And separately from all of this - it's Small Business Saturday on the 6th. We'll be doing something, rest assured, but I'm not entirely sure what yet...

And with that, I leave you my lovely crafty friends. I'm not sure entirely what to do now - the bags have taken up the last three/four weeks of my life and I'm at a bit of a loss. I do need to get them separately onto the internet now and I've done a few of them including making some banner type photo montages but when I got to the easy knits banner which clearly shows knitted items and I'd labelled it as 'crochet' I knew it was time to take some time out. And I'm glad I did, nice little rambling blog in a way that I haven't done in a long time.

Love Eleanor. xxx

Wednesday, 19 November 2014


written a pattern for my beginner knitters. Oh yes. Something easy, written in normal language and really bloody quick!

I've been asked a few times recently whether the Cygnet Seriously Chunky makes a good hat and the answer is YES! Makes an amazing hat! But I really think that you can't go too mad with patterning - even ribbing would add a texture that I think it just too much for a hat that has to stay on your head. Of course, that's my humble opinion and I'd be glad to be proved wrong (as long as you're buying the yarn from me... natch... ;) ). Mostly, beginners make scarves or snoods from this stuff and there's an awful lot of people making arm-knitted stuff (two strands at a time, 13 'stitches', four balls, keep going until you get to the end) but I thought I'd knock up this really quick hat using incredibly simple techniques for those wanting to move on. I timed myself from start to finish including an (unwashed) swatch and three goes filming myself making the pom pom and the total time was one hour, 36 minutes and 17 seconds. From start to finish. So even if you're half as fast as me you'd get this done in three hours. That's an evening isn't it!? With a cup of tea, some biscuits and a good box set on. AHHHHHHHHHH. HEAVEN!

The shape is kind of slouchy - a beanie rather than a beret but with some room to maneuver. It stays on the head comfortably and I've given an option for a slightly smaller version for the littler amongst us. I'm not sure I'd put this on kids necessarily though - just because it's so big. But that could look cute in an 'I'm gonna dress my kid in something ridiculously oversized because I can' kind of way... I went with the Cornflower and Barley colourways just because we have a lot of those in stock but the possibilities are endless really - and you don't necessarily have to have an amazing contrast do you? It's just that that's what's in fashion and I like it. I'm envisioning really quick Christmas presents and I specifically used no more than two balls to keep the gifts at a fiver but actually I got three good sized pom poms out of one ball so perhaps spend a tenner, get three different main colours and have the same coloured pom poms for all! 

 Anyway, here are other colours that I think would look just fab:

- Black and Magenta - 

 - Chocolate and Bluebell -
  - Fawn and Burnt Orange -
 - Slate Grey and Plum -
- Hunter Green and Russet -

And with only a little further ado - here's the pattern. Just note the video at the end - that's me explaining and showing you how to do the pom pom. ;)

The Unapologetic Hat


Two balls of Cygnet Seriously Chunky in colours that make your heart sing! I used Cornflower for the main and Barley for the pompom.
15mm straight needles.
Some scissors.


Cast on 38 stitches (36 for a teen or particularly small head).
Work 3 rows in 1 by 1 rib (knit a stitch, purl a stitch).
Swap to stocking stitch (knit a row, purl a row) for 11 rows.
If you're working the 38 stitch hat, work a row decreasing two stitches evenly. If you're working the 36 stitch hat then just work a purl row.
Decrease Row 1: *knit one, knit two together*, repeat between * and * all along the row. You should have 24 stitches.
Purl a row.
Decrease Row 2: knit two together all across the row. You should have 12 stitches.
Purl a row.
Decrease row 3: knit two together all across the row. You should have 6 stitches.

From now on, we're sewing together. You'd be surprised how easy it is to thread this mega yarn through a darning needle but I tend to do all of my sewing on this yarn with my fingers - just do as you'd normally do with a needle but use your fingers!

Chop the yarn with a 12 inch tail and thread that tail through all of the stitches on your needle, pull up tight and secure with a little over stitch. Use this tail to sew the row ends to bring the hat together. To sew in the ends, chop the tails so that they're around two inches long, split the plies of each tail so that you now have four strands and weave those strands into the stitches at the back of the hat, chop close and admire.

Pom Pom:

With your other colour, hang the yarn with around about a 10 inch tail between your thumb and first finger - make sure this tail doesn't get lost. Now wrap the yarn around all four of your fingers again and again and again until you can barely see your fingers. Now, chop that end so that you have around 30 inches spare. Insert the 30 inch end in between the 2nd and 3rd finger right underneath the wool - this will be difficult, pull it through to the other side. Bring the yarn over the top of the strands and insert again between the same fingers. Pull this up tight and make a good knot with the original 10 inch tail. Wrap the 30 inch tail once more over the top of the strands and between your fingers, pull tight and knot again. Now that's secure, you can chop through all the strands at either side of your fingers (at the little finger side and at the pointing finger side) which leaves you with a load of strands held together with a knot in the middle. Now we want to use the 30 inch strand to once more wrap all around the strands and pull really tight, this is what makes the pom pom shape. At this point you need to tidy up the ends - the one problem with this pom pom is that it looks a little 'homemade' at this point but take your time and trim cautiously until it's the perfect shape - leave the 30 inch and 10 inch tail because that's what we'll use for attaching the pom pom to the hat.

And now, attach the pom pom to the hat! Easy as that. Sew your ends in. Wear. Look bloody snazzy!

 And now for the video on how to make the pom poms - it's a bloody good one!

And now for a bit of an explanation about knit two togethers because if you really are coming from scarves over to shaped things then you'll never have seen them before! It's just a decrease, so we're bringing two stitches into one and it's the easiest one to do. All you have to do it insert your needle like normal but into two stitches at the same time. Like this:

Then finish off the stitch like normal and you'll see that you've really neatly made two stitches into one. Brill ey!?

And that's it! A whole, ridiculously-easy-but-totes-unapologetic-for-that hat. Hope you like it and I'll have photos once it's done please. :)

Love Eleanor. xxxxx

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Customer's Christmas Wish List

Three posts in three days?! I am SPOILING you! I really am. But all of a sudden I'm back with a bang - my energy's here, I love winter, I love Christmas, I want to knit and crochet the whole world and I want to be the best yarn shop owner EVAH! You lucky things!!!

So I'm here to write about this new idea of mine. You lot all know how forgetful I am don't you? Calling people, texting, e-mails. Actually, I'm less forgetful and mor... oooh.... shiny things.... customers... new projects... sleep! There's literally not enough time in the world. So, after the successful Yarndale list (kinda, sorry Helen and mother!!) I thought, why not make more spreadsheets? Surely the answer is more spreadsheets?!!? So, what I'm going to do, is take messages from you - over the phone ((0115) 9474239), over e-mail (knit (at) knitnottingham (dot) co (dot) uk), on facebook, twitter and in person - about what you want for Christmas and then I'm going to:


No limits as to what you can have in there - a jumper's worth of this? A sock's worth of that? A workshop? A crochet hook? A - wait for it - gift voucher? The world is your oyster (coloured Bamboo yarn) and I suggest that you give me a few ideas because the many hoards that you're going to send down here (with your full name so I can look you up) are going to need to buy more than one thing again and again. In fact, I'll even be as organised as to have a 'to buy' column and a 'bought' column so that if there's nothing in the 'to buy' column then we can make a more edumacated guess on what to get you!

Like a certain colour? Get it on the list. 
A certain yarn weight? Get in on the list. 
Birthday? Get it on the list. 
Allergies? Get it on the list. 
Free on one date and not another? Get it on the list.  

I suspect that this could carry on as a more long term thing, but for now let's call it out Customer's Christmas Wish List.

Good idea yeah? I AM ON FIIIIIIIIIIRE!

Also, have you bought your Festive Time Out Bag yet?

That's it. I'm offski.

Love Eleanor.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Festive Time Out Bags

I have been working so hard over the last two weeks. Setting myself deadlines, crashing through them like a big ol' knitting heffalump, setting new deadlines, working my fingers to a quivering, shivering wreck. Ugh. But TODAY I had a break through! The patterns are written! Not in their final form, oh no, and one of them still needs to be photographed but the patterns are written. And because of this I finally feel able to put them up for sale. Introducing, our fabulous Festive Time Out Bags.

Now, I can't actually say much, because these are secret until people have them in their greasy mitts but the idea is that everything is provided for a nice hour or so taken out of the busy schedule to craft quietly in the corner and ignore every other thing in the world. The patterns are FANTASTIC! Really cute little things for a bit of Christmas cheer. Some are easy as pie, some a bit spicier and some are made to get your tongue poking out in concentration - I love each and every one of them. I'm especially pleased with the Hard Knitting and Crochet Bags because that was one of my stupid ideas that popped into my head and BLOODY WORKED!!!!

Please read carefully through the descriptions of each one to work out which ones work for you and to see what offers you get - discounts abound! And I'm sorry I couldn't fit the postage in with the product but it just wasn't working for the figures (about the first time I've tried to be a business woman evah...).

Once this first period has passed, the bags will be on general sale so if there's something you fancy but just can't bring yourself to get, let me know and I'll put it on the newly launched Customer's Wish List which I'll speak to you about tomorrow.

Until then, I have to get home. This is the third day this week I've worked late and whilst I lurve you lot and this shop with an undying passion, there's half a bottle of red and a tricksy little lace/cable affair in neon green calling my name.

And once more, the Festive Time Out Bags, buy them or be square. (That works right?).

Love Eleanor. xxxx

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Pig and Blanket.

I'm getting ready for Christmas. I've been Christmassing for a little while now - longer than I'd planned - but I thought of something last night that really sums up Christmas for me and they're just stupid little things so I'm giving them away for free.

What could be better, to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and 2000 years of patriarchy, than MEAT UPON MEAT!??!?!?!?!?!!? May I introduce Pig and Blanket:

Oh yes, two little patterns for pigs in blankets because that really does sum up Christmas for me. :):) And you're getting the patterns - you lucky things! 

Pig and Blanket


A tiny little bit of something pinkish, something beigeish and something redish  in double knit and something blackish in sewing thread of embroidery cotton (or double knit stripped down to it's plies like I did...). 
Some stuffing - I used old bits of acrylic. 
Some 3.25mm needles for Pig and a 3.5mm hook for Blanket. 
A sewing needle. 


In the pinkish yarn cast on 5 sts. 
Row 1: kfb all along (10 sts). 
Row 2: purl. 
Row 3: *kfb, k1* all along (15 sts). 
Row 4 and onwards: stocking stitch until the piece measures around 2 inches finishing after a purl row. 
Row Whatevs: *k2tog, k1* all along (10 sts). 
Row Whatevs+1: purl. 
Row Whatevs+2: k2tog all along (5 sts), break yarn with a couple of inches to spare, thread through remaining sts and pull up tight. Use this yarn to sew the row ends together so that it resembles a sausage and stuff as you go - make sure to stuff tightly - nobody likes a flaccid sausage.... 

In beigeish yarn cast on 15 sts. 
Rows 1 and 2: knit, don't break yarn
Rows 3 and 4:  Introduce redish yarn and knit, don't break. 
Row 5: Introduce beigeish yarn, knit 11 sts, turn, k11 sts, break yarn, pick up redish yarn knit to end. 
Row 6: knit. 
Row 7: knit 6 sts, drop redish yarn, introduce beige yarn, k9 sts, turn, k9 sts, break yarn and turn, pick up red yarn and continue the row. 
Row 8: knit. 
Row 9: Introduce beigeish yarn, k4 sts, turn, k4 sts, break yarn and turn, pick up red and knit to end. 
Rows 10, 11 and 12: knit. 
Cast off in knit. Break yarn and sew in all ends but the very end and the very beginning one.

Wrap the sausage in the Bacon and use those ends to sew into position leaving the bacon open at a jaunty angle nearer the face and pulling tight around the crotch area. Sew in those ends.
Use you black yarn/thread to sew a face in the appropriate position. 

Loop: Using beigeish yarn cast on 15 sts, cast off 15 sts. Use the ends to sew in position. 



Using pinkish yarn ch2, work 5dcs into first ch, don't sl-st to join. 
Round 1: work 5 dc-incs all around. (10 sts)
Round 2 and onwards: dc all over until it measures around 2 inches. 
Round Whatevs: dc2tog all around (5 sts), break yarn, stuff sausage tightly (nobody likes a flaccid sausage) and use a needle to weave to bring the top together. Sew in ends. 


Row 1: Using beigeish yarn ch16, turn miss the first ch and dc all along (15 sts), don't break yarn.
Row 2: Introduce red and dc all along, return to the beginning of that row and use the beige to slip st for 7 sts, break yarn. 
Row 3: Reintroduce hook to red st, turn, ch1, dc all along, turn.
Row 4:  Count 9 sts along, introduce beige yarn and sl-st to end, return to the red yarn and dc all along, turn.
Row 5: In red, dc all along, turn.
Row 6: Count 3 sts along, introduce beige yarn and sl-st to last 4 sts, return to the red yarn and dc all along. Break yarn and sew in the ends for all but the very beginning and very end yarn.

Wrap the sausage in the Bacon and use those ends to sew into position leaving the bacon open at a jaunty angle nearer the face and pulling tight around the crotch area. Sew in those ends. 
Use you black yarn/thread to sew a face in the appropriate position. 

Loop: In beigeish yarn, ch20, use the ends to sew in a loop position.

And that's that folks! I hope you love them as much as I do and that you understand my hastily written note-pattern. I have to get back to real Christmassing now or it might never happen!!!

Love Eleanor. xxxx

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Bitter. Caaaaaaaape.

Ohhohohohohoh! It is BITTER outside!!! Good job I've finished my caaaaaaaaape.

Yep. Literally wearing this in the shop as we speak. Without the belt because my fingers are too cold to fiddle with them right now. I might do that later, if a customer comes in the shop and I can't be typing at the same time, I can be fiddling with my belt instead. Seriously. Cold. WINTER IS NOT COMING, IT'S BLOODY HERE! And the till can tell. :)

Anyway, more about my cape.

I started it on the 15th of October but I've been thinking about it for as many years as it's been a pattern. In fact, I remember the first time I saw it and I was sure I was going to knit it in the Denim colour of the Riot Chunky

 It's a seriously good colour but this is well before I decided on my new years resolution of wearing more black. I can't actually remember which year I made this resolution but I've slowly been doing better at it. When I decided to make this, literally as soon as I'd cast off Sam the Gingerbread Man from Christmas Knits Two, the colour was always going to be black. Sensible black. In fact, I had a good conversation with a French customer about the joys of wearing black and she went straight out to buy a LBD - oh yes, I'll teach the French how to dress classy. Yes I will.

Anyway, me and Boyf finally got to Bakewell on Sunday - we were going the day after the Birthday party in early September but you'll perhaps remember that I was too busy being a celebrity and pillar of the community then? And we've only just had a day off together so we did it! It was lovely! All the way around he was complaining that it was cold and I genuinely couldn't feel it. Brilliant.

We had tea:

 And I sorted the balls out in the knitting bit of the museum:

I found another cape:

Chris found some crochet: 

Look how pleased he is. Ha. 

But the main reason for going anyway is to find a good place to take photos of the most recently finished knitting thing isn't it? Obvs. Only this bloody thing is IMPOSSIBLE TO PHOTOGRAPH. It does actually look fabulous, even if I say so myself, but you know when you walk around and catch yourself in the mirror and it's usually like oh my god who is that frightful woman?!!?!? Ahhhh. It's me. Right now, I'm all like oooooh she looks goooooood, so suave, so classy. OH! IT'S ME!!! But, I'll show you the photos because... well... laughter. 

I'm sure lots of this is to do with the model. It doesn't seem to matter who's at the other end of the camera, as soon as one turns on I'm like a big old doofus. 

Anyway, I've spent a signifcant amount of time flapping my wings over the weekend like this and it mades me feel GOOD!!!

So, details. The pattern is a freebie from Knitty and it's another AMAZING one!!! Click here to get the Constantine pattern by Natalie Selles. Now, the original yarn is a chunky but you know them chunkies that aren't chunkies, they're actually arans? Yep, It's one of them. But I had it in my head that I was doing it in a chunky so I went ahead with the Grousemoor Chunky without doing a gauge swatch (obvs) but the pattern starts with little shoulder bits like squares that you pick up off before setting a raglan type increase and then carrying on forever increasing, increasing, increasing in moss stitch until it's the length that you want. Anyway, the shoulder squares were enough of a gauge for my slatternly ways so I got started. My gauge was well out. 16 stitches per four inches as opposed to 14 stitches per four inches but by the time I'd finished my shoulder squares I was all like ahhhhhh bugger it. And it worked out! Because it doesn't need to fit, as such, it doesn't really matter. And this, dear readers, is why this cape is so bloody brill! Knit, purl, knit, purl, increase a bit, knit, purl. Done. I suggest you get to it. Then you can look at sophisticated as I do.

And that, apparently, is your lot. Because I have to get off and do loads of things but I will hopefully have more to tell you about after Monday of next week because I am planning folks. Planning on making my millions. 

Love Eleanor. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx