Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Christmas Tree Cards

So, with the festive season rapidly approaching, I decided to use up some surplus green yarn and make some gorgeous Christmas cards. They look great, and they're so easy to make!

Ignore our non-matching chairs in the background (the weather hasn't been good enough for me to paint the last one!!)  

To make the knitted Christmas tree:

  1. CO 20 stitches
  2. K20
  3. K1, P18, K1
  4. K20
  5. K1, P18, K1
  6. K2tog, K16, K2tog
  7. K1, P16, K1
  8. K18
  9. K1, P16, K1
  10. K18
  11. P2tog, P14, P2tog
  12. K16
  13. K1, P14, K1
  14. K16
  15. K1, P14, K1
  16. K2tog, K12, K2tog
  17. K1, P13, K1
  18. K14
  19. K1, P13, K1
  20. K14
  21. P2tog, P10, P2tog
  22. K12
  23. K1, P10, K1
  24. K12
  25. K1, P10, K1
  26. K2tog, K8, K2tog
  27. K1, P8, K1
  28. K10
  29. K1, P8, K1
  30. K10
  31. P2tog, P6, P2tog
  32. K8
  33. K1, P6, K1
  34. K8
  35. K1, P6, K1
  36. K2tog, K4, K2tog
  37. K1, P4, K1
  38. K6
  39. K1, P4, K1
  40. K6
  41. P2tog, P2, P2tog
  42. K4
  43. P2tog, P2tog
  44. K2tog
  45. Cut the yarn tail, pass it through the last stitch and pull tightly to secure.
I used cheap acrylic yarn for these, because I had it leftover, so the trees curled at the edges. In order to combat this, block the trees by soaking them in diluted fabric conditioner and then pinning them, gently stretched, to a towel. Once they're dry they should be flat(ish).

Putting the card together:

I guess you could get creative with the decorations, but I wanted to keep mine simple and elegant. I glued a few red and gold sequins into the trees and left it at that.
Go crazy with the decorations - just like on your real Christmas tree!

To attach the tree to a card, thread very thin ribbon in a small loop at the top, and another at the bottom of the tree. Punch holes in the card in the corresponding place, pass the ribbon through the holes and tie in two neat bows. I want it to be obvious that these cards are handmade, and special. If you wanted to be more subtle though, you could glue the trees to the card.

I attached the trees to each card using thin ribbon, tied in bows.

I can't wait to send these off in the post to friends and family (although I might keep one to show it off!)

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Four-Square Checker Board Cushion Cover

With plenty of cream wool and some ugly old cushions I decided to take inspiration from an interior design showroom I was recently browsing and design a knitted cushion cover. I was going to go with the cliché of cables, but instead I opted for a design based on a clock which Ed made in woodwork classes years ago! The cushion I had is 53cm x 53cm (or 20in x 20in), but to adapt the pattern for a cushion pad of a different size you just have to know that the pattern is based on a stitch number which is a multipe of four.

To recreate this masterpiece, you will need:
  • 350g Aran Wool, in this case in Cream
  • 6mm Straight Needles
  • A Darning Needle
  • Three Buttons (4cm wide)
  • Cushion Pad (53cm x 53cm in this case)

 Reverse Side

Cast on 80 stitches 
Continue in stocking stitch (knit even rows and purl odd rows) until the piece measures 50cm (approx. 100 rows) 
Bind off

If you haven't got bored yet and scratched out your own eyeballs, proceed to the front side.

Front Side

Cast on 80 stitches

Block 1:
Row 1 - (K2, P2) ten times, K40
Row 2 - P40, (K2, P2) ten times
Row 3 - (K2, P2) ten times, P40
Row 4 - K40, (K2, P2) ten times
Repeat this block ten times to give 40 rows

Block 2:
Row 1 - K40, (K2, P2) ten times
Row 2 - (K2, P2) ten times, P40
Row 3 - P40, (K2, P2) ten times
Row 4 - (K2, P2) ten times, K40
Repeat this block ten times to give 40 rows (80 rows in total)

Block 3 (Button Flap):
Continue in stocking stitch for 20 rows ending with a "knit" row
P2tog, P78
K2tog, K77
Continue in stocking stitch but knit (or purl) together the first two stitches of every row for 18 rows to decrease 80 stitches to 62

Button Holes:
P2, bind off 6 stitches, P20, bind off 6 stitches, P20, bind off 6 stitches, P2
K2, cast on 6 stitches, K20, cast on 6 stitches, K20, cast on 6 stitches, K2
Cast off in knit

Making Up
Place the two pieces lined up against each other with the right sides facing each other. Make sure the bottom egdes meet exactly. The front side will naturally try to sit in a contorted shape because of its pattern, so it might need to be eased into line with the reverse side. The tapered top of the front side will overhang. Using the darning needle sew together the left, bottom and right edges - make sure not to sew together the top edge, for obvious reasons!

Put the cushion pad into the cover and mark where the button need to be sewn on, based on where the button holes line up. Remove the cushion and sew on the buttons. Replace the cushion pad and do up the buttons - voilà!

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Budding Yeast Cell - Cryptococcus gattii

After much pressure, I decided to throw all dignity out with the virkon, and knit a budding Cryptococcus cell! Having spent many hours in a lab working with this organism, I felt I really ought to immortalise it in wool! This species of fungus is known for being beautifully and perfectly spherical, so the biggest challenge I found was to create a geometrically perfect mother cell. For this I used the Stockinette Short-Row Sphere by Brent Annable. You can find Brent's original pattern for this here: sphere-pattern

To make this cute (but deadly) pathogenic yeast, here's what you'll need:
  • Some leftover wool (I used aran weight, in cream)
  • A pair of standard needles to give a tight guage using your wool (I used 4.25mm)
  • A set of four DPNs (same size as standard needles - 4.25mm)
  • A darning needle
  • Fibrefill stuffing
  • Safety eyes or small black buttons for eyes
  • Black cotton thread and a sewing needle 
CO - Cast on
Sl - Slip stitch to right-hand needle
DPN - double pointed needle
KLL - knit a left loop increase
KRL - knit a right loop increase
K2tog - knit 2 stitches together


    For the Mother Cell:
    CO 16 stitches using standard needles
    Row 1: Sl 1 purlwise, K13, wrap next stitch, turn
    Row 2: Sl 1 purlwise, P11, wrap next stitch, turn
    Row 3: Sl 1 purlwise, K9, wrap next stitch, turn
    Row 4: Sl 1 purlwise, P7, wrap next stitch, turn
    Row 5: Sl 1 purlwise, K to end, knitting wraps with stitches
    Row 6: Sl 1 purlwise, P to end, purling wraps with stitches

    Repeat these six rows seven more times (eight times in total)

    Cut the yarn to leave a long thread. Using the darning needle, thread the yarn tail through the 8 selvedge stitches of the side which the yarn tail is on. Pull these stitches tight to close the gap, to give something which looks a little bit like this:


    NB, This is where the pattern gets a little different from Brent's original pattern!

    Graft together the main body of the sphere using kitchener stitch, to connect the CO stitches to the stitches which are still on your needle. During this time, stuff your sphere with fibrefill stuffing, so that it's nice and plump (but not overstuffed!). DON'T tighten the selvedge stitches at the other end of the sphere! Your crypto mother cell should now look like this!

    For the budding daughter cell:

    Switch to DPNs and pick up 12 stitches around the open selvedge.

    Connect your 12 stitches and continue in the round as follows:
    Round 1: *K1, KLL, K4, KRL, K1, Repeat from * 2 times in total (16 stitches)
    Round 2: *K1, KLL, K6, KRL, K1, Repeat from * 2 times in total (20 stitches)
    Round 3: *K1, KLL, K8, KRL, K1, Repeat from * 2 times in total (24 stitches)
    Round 4: K24
    Stuff the daughter cell with stuffing at this point

    Round 5: *K2, K2tog, K2, Repeat from * 4 times in total (20 stitches)
    Round 6: *K2, K2tog, K1, Repeat from * 4 times in total (16 stitches)
    Round 7: *K1, K2tog, K1, Repeat from * 4 times in total (12 stitches)
    Add any extra necessary stuffing to the daughter cell

    Round 8: *K2tog, Repeat from * 6 times in total (6 stitches)
    Thread the wool tail through the 6 remaining stitches, pull together tightly and secure.

    Finishing Off

    Darn in any loose strands of wool

    Sew the buttons on with black thread for eyes, et voilà!

    Sunday, 13 February 2011

    Blackberry Handysock Mobile Phone Cover

    We all know that boys love their toys - my boyfriend is certainly no exception!

    I knitted this mobile phone cover using some old leftover aran yarn because Ed was worried that his keys would scratch the surface of his fancy new phone in his pocket. This is a super quick, easy project, and is perfect for using up some wool from your stash. I thought using black wool was the most classy colour for the project, given that it's for a blackberry!

    The pattern is as follows:
    • CO 22 stitches,
    • (K2, P2) repeat to end of row,
    • Continue in (K2, P2) until the piece measures 12 cm,
    • Cast off in pattern

    Finishing off:

    Fold in half, lengthways. Stitch along the long edge, and along the cost off edge to create the finished piece. The holder will look much too narrow to fit a blackberry, but it will stretch easily, for a snug fit.

    Easy peasy!