Friday, 29 February 2008

Astrum Beret : : A knitting pattern

I bought this fabulous wool boucle from Yarntopia Treasures and I knew it was destined to be a beret. It’s knitted top down to use lovely neat yarn over increases as a feature of the pattern, resulting in an asterix of sorts.

So here’s how to do it…


Aprox. 230 yards of sport weight wool

The beret is knit in a round, so, you need whatever needles you use to knit on the round in a size 4mm (US size 6) (i.e. a set of 4mm dpns, 2 circular size 4 needles, 1 long circular size 4mm needle whichever you feel comfortable with. )


aprox 5 stitches per inch. I used a looser gauge as the boucle is more effective when not so closely knit. However, if you aren’t using boucle, use a thicker yarn and aim for the same gauge.


CO Cast on

K Knit

P Purl

M1 Increse one stitch in last knitted stitch

YO yarn over

SKP Slip the next stitch knit-wise onto right hand needle, knit the next stitch, pass the slipped stitch over the knitted stitch.

2x2 Rib knit 2 stitches, purl 2 stitches

St Stitches

Rnd round

I knit this with one long circular and cast on with figure 8 magic loop for a neater start. If you haven’t done this before you can find instructions here, or you can just cast on and join the round in your usual way.

Begin! …

CO 4 stitches

Knit one round even.

Next round: increase one stitch in every stitch (8 st). Repeat this step on the next round (16 st)

Place a marker at the start of the round

K1 M1 K7 M1 K1 M1 K7 M1

*K2 M1 rep from * to end of round (30 st)

  • K one Rnd even

*K3 M1 rep from * to end of round (40 st)

  • K one Rnd even

*K4 YO rep from * to end of round (50 st)

  • K 2 Rnds even

*K5 YO rep from * to end of round (60 st)

  • K2 Rnds even

*K6 YO rep from * to end of round (70 st)

  • K2 Rnds even

Repeat this pattern, increasing 1 stitch before the YO each time and knitting 2 even rounds after each increase round.

Stop repeats after you complete *K14 YO rep from * to end of round (150 st)

-End of the increase pattern

K 5 Rnds even (you should still have 150 st)

-The decreases begin here


K12 SKP (130 st)

  • K 1 Rnd even


K10 SKP (110 st)

  • K 1 Rnd even


K8 SKP (90 st)

  • K 1 Rnd even

K1 K2tog, K45, K2tog K to the end of the round (88 St)

Work 2x2 rib for 1 inch (or desired band width)

Loosely cast off (try the stretchy Russian Cast off) and sew in the tails of yarn.

Now all that’s left is to block it.

This pattern is far from perfect, so, if you have any questions, corrections or suggestions please feel free to leave me a comment.

Russian cast off : : A knitting tutorial

The Russian cast off (Russian bind off) is a looser, stretchier and more elegant way of casting off than the traditional method. It works particularly well as a finishing to ribbing, especially on a ribbed collar or a ribbed band (eg on a hat).

To start with, take your row of stitches (practice on a swatch first I think)

Knit the first one as you normally would when casting off

Now, insert the left needle in the back of the stitch you just knitted, you should have this sort of thing...

Now, take the tip of the right needle and insert it in the next stitch, as if to knit,

you should see a lovely cross formed with the stitches and the needle through both of them and out the back, like this

Now, just pass the yarn round the needle as usual for a knit stitch

Pull the point of the needle back through your cross, you should have a lovely stitch on your needle

Now pull that off the left needle, and start again

Put the left needle through the back of the stitch on the right

Right needle through next stitch to knit



Keep going, it should look like this

and eventually, you have this

Here are a couple of examples of this stitch in real live action.....

The collar of the Drops Jacket

The band of the Astrum Beret

Simple, elegant and useful, give it a go.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Birthday quilt

Ok, so this is what I have really been working on, now that it's been gifted away to my wee sister for her 18th.

It's pretty huge so it's not all in this pic...

She said she liked it.... she's a pinky girlie girl

These are some of my favourite squares from it

I also had to learn how to do the binding.... I did OK but also learned alot.

I actually found it difficult to be totally honest, Not the task itself, but keeping going to get it done. I mean of course I love the outcome and I wanted to make something lovely for Annie but I hated sewing hundreds of little lines, it became very tedious very quickly. But I suppose that's part of the love wrapped up in it, the task itself makes the quilt special.

OK I will stop rambling and get off. I am really feeling pretty ill so sitting it out today and going to finish my beret and see where I get.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Work in progress

OK... the sink isnt fixed yet but we have stopped up the leak and we just have cold water which does result in a great amount of faffing to heat water to wash dishes, but, we've still got hot in the bathroom so anything else is do-able.

I have something great to show but will do it tomoro. I also have my Pay it forwards in process (thanks for the patience gals) and here is some of what I have on the needles

My Urban Lanark... the back piece if finsished and I am on the front now

A beret... the colour in this pic is completely wrong, the cold light washed it out, it's better in the second pic

OOOOOOH and my Tsuki yarn arrived today.... soooo soft, the bridesmaids are having shawls in this and regency style dresses in a steel-blue (that's the aim at least)

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Water water everywhere...

This morning I was awoken by my mans shouts from the kitchen 'honey.... come quick'.... reluctantly leaping from my bed, I realised there was a strange sound coming from the kitchen...

...A rushing, wet sound...


A hot water pipe spontaneously burst and was watering the fridge and most of the kitchen.

After stopping the gush as it sprayed all over me, we managed to mop up most of the water...
Cant fix it myself as the pipe is so old and cant be unscrewed without breaking the seal on the water meter (which will mean us being accused of stealing water) .... and I am not even going to try calling a plumber today...

*Thanks to Bill Waterson for the pics of calvin without which I could not fully explain the horror of this mornings events

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Why the long space...

The silence.... well... let me tell you about that.

You see, last thursday night, before my last exam, I suddenly realised that On the 5th of March my passport expires...oops... I live abroad and I will soon no longer have a passport....could be a problem.

So, I won a free mystery tour of Budapest and all the lovely sites it has to offer. Where they told me that all I had to do was ask and they would give me a passport, right there and then.....

ah haa hah hah ha

No..... I planned a dawn trip to Budapest with my poor folks to go the british embassy there where they told me that I had to fill in a really annoying form, redo my passport photos to make sure I look as much like a criminal as possible and then I would have to surrender the old passport and wait in budapest 10 days till they could issue the new one.. oh yes, and the pleasure of the whole proceedure would cost me a whopping £120 (that $234 for you Americani's)...great.

Uh huh....

So, I told them I couldnt wait that long, that I dont live in hungary and so waiting in the country was out of the question, I begged (mum begged) them to rush it. The best we could do was that I got to keep the old passport, that they would do it on friday (earliest).

At least the city is not entirely ugly

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Valentines day and birthdays

Well, of course, we had a fabulous valentines day

My Darling gave me a bouquet of these

then dinner in our favourite restaurant.... it's not our favourite for nothing.

After a beautiful starters and mains delivered with fabulous service from one of our favourite waitresses, our desert came with compliments from the house ... we were flattered... and they came like this....

tiramisu (the best in the world) with big chocolate hearts....


My baby sister turned a terrifying 18 on Friday (yes she missed being a valentine baby by 20 mins) so we went through to my folks place to personally wish her happy birthday and to help my folks set up for her party. We didn't stay of course (we dont really fit in with all those young people) but she had a great time... really pleased because she definately deserves it.

On saturday our little feint of spring ended and it dropped back down to about -10 (celsius) and a blanket of white stuff fell....

Which makes an already incredible landscape.... unimaginably still and quiet

We took a couple of snaps from the train, it was so picturesque

A trully lovely weekend

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Valentines day

In Ad 197 and AD 269, respectively,

Valentine of Terni (bishop of Interamna) an evangelist and healer

Thanks to

and Valentine of Rome (a priest) imprisoned for feeding the martyrs who were in prison .

Thanks to

...were beaten and beheaded...martyrd. Which, to many people doesn't mean much, until.....

Merry Old Chaucer

Thanks to

wrote, in 'Parlement of Foules' in 1382,

For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese [choose] his make [mate].
Spawning the popular 'courtly love' of the high middle ages

The earliest valentine card (surviving) is from Charles, duke of Orleans, to his dear wife while being help captive in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt.

And so, many disputes and declarations later (catholic church heavily involved) we celebrate a highly processed, pink and red, love-heart strewn version of St Valentines day.....

And thats why we are going out to dinner tonight.

Happy Valentines day...

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Pop Larkin and the Handspun yarn

Remember the 'hairy' norwegian sliver?

I actually finished this skein of handspun last week but didnt get round to posting about it. I love how it turned out and hopefully it will be a pair of sock for my man... when I start to knit them (ha)

Yesterday, this arrived in the post

The Pop Larkin Chronicles, by H.E. Bates (written in 1958). You might know it as 'The darling buds of may', the TV programme they made from it. Its a hilarious look at country life in the late 50's, I'd recommend it to anyone who wants a light, lovely book to read. As Pop would say 'Perfick'

Knitting is at a standstill, I have one last exam on friday after which I fully intend to knit and sew my little heart out for a week.