In which I am not better…

by Helen on January 12, 2012

Thank you so much everyone who sent me their best wishes for a speedy recovery.  I am sorry I have not responded to you individually but that is because unfortunately I am not making a speedy recovery.  I am sure Rosie would tell me that my immune system is becoming less efficient due to my advanced(!) age…  Never mind … Ben persuaded me to take him down to Lannacombe beach earlier and I am sure that the fresh air and wellie boot full of sea water will have done me good! 
However, I have been enjoying some gentle knitting – my little bunny now has his jumper – though I haven’t made an alternative fabric top for non-knitters yet – maybe tomorrow ….
As I haven’t any new work to show you today, I thought I’d give you a quick sneak preview of the work I have been doing on my Rosie & Bear quilt.  I have been busy mounting the embroideries in 10″ squares from a Moda Layer Cake (this one’s Flora by Lauren and Jessi Jung) using reverse applique.  Then I’ve set them into 13.5″ blocks ready to piece into the full 12-month quilt. More to follow soon … plus photos of the remaining blocks that will (at last) complete the set. 


Little Knitted Bunny – the video!!

by Helen on November 4, 2011

Just to say … an ENORMOUS THANKYOU to everyone who left comments for me below.  I’ve emailed quite a few folks- but can’t find addresses for everyone so please accept my thanks here.  I’m planning a lovely afternoon tomorrow browsing through all the sites you suggest. 
I have been wondering lately about using stop-motion video to help show more details of my designs.  (And to have fun with as well!!)  I have just listed two little knitted bunnies on Etsy, and had a little play with my camera – the first time ever I have attempted this.  So please forgive everything that’s wrong with this very short video – I promise to improve in the future!!  I used Windows Movie Maker – the little program that comes as part of Windows and it was sooo easy – more (and better) Bustle & Sew stop-motion videos coming soon.


Wow!  Everyone loves my mittens!  Thank you to those kind readers who took the trouble to email me about them.  I love them too – it’s a great pattern – available from Tiny Owl Knits .  And great news too – I’ll be featuring an interview with their designer, Stephanie of Tiny Owl Knits in next month’s magazine – her patterns are so fantastical and original I’m really excited to learn more about her ideas and inspirations.
A number of people have also asked about Swiss Darning – also known as duplicate stitch.  I like to use this method if I’m knitting an isolated motif – particularly in a hard-wearing items such as these mittens.  You knit the base first and then stitch the motif onto it, so there’s no carrying yarn across the back or twisting together at edges where potentially holes may form with wear.  I’ve found a good tutorial for those who are interested in learning this technique.  It’s an old tutorial on The Purl Bee.  Just  Click here to visit  where you’ll find some great step-by-step instructions. I’d just add one proviso – I don’t mark the stitches before hand, but count from the knitting chart, rather as you would with counted cross stitch.
Off to walk Ben now – it’s a cold rainy day here so he has regained all his energy that he lost in last week’s heatwave.  We’ll head up to the woods to look for acorns, hazelnuts and the last of the blackberries… back soon!


Back to normal and robin mittens for me!

by Helen on October 4, 2011

Phew … here in England for the last week we have been experiencing a most unseasonal heatwave!  The thermometer has been well up into the 80s (that’s mid to upper 20s centigrade) and we’ve all unpacked our summer clothes, donned our flip flops and headed to the beach and other such places.  The photo above was taken at the weekend on the quay at Dartmouth, looking down the Dart towards Dartmouth Castle and out to sea.  Check out the blue sky!
We came back through Slapton – one of our favourite churches …. it was so lovely and cool inside …
… a contrast to the blazing sunshine outdoors.  But we all knew it couldn’t last – and somehow, although lovely, it didn’t feel quite right.  Ben was particularly fed up – he doesn’t like the heat at all and thought he was safe for the rest of the year.  Today, however, normal service has been resumed, and I don’t feel quite so silly knitting myself a pair of woolly fingerless mittens!
Aren’t they lovely? I used a pattern from Tiny Owl Knits.  These patterns are designed by Stephanie Dosen, an American singer who lives in London.  I adore her patterns, they are so delightfully whimsical.  I fell in love with this plump robin and her nest of sky blue eggs – and tweaked the original design slightly to give me a bigger, longer mitten so my paws would feel really cosy in the winter winds. (I really really hate having chilly fingers).
And I must admit, I did cheat a little – I swiss darned the motifs for strength (no changing yarns at the back) and easiness too – but I think everything turned out rather well.  Stephanie’s pattern was really easy to follow – and I think I know someone who would love her vintage kitten mittens for Christmas. (no, not you Rosie, if you’re reading this – you’ve already put in your request for the Nordic mittens from last month’s magazine!!)
Now the cooler weather really is here, I’m relishing getting back to knitting again – so look out for some Little Knitted Animals who’ll be popping up in my Etsy shop very soon…