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City Sights

We get all sorts of wildlife in the city – loads of foxes, hedgehogs, badgers, a myriad of small and medium birds, but big birds aren’t so common.  Although Nottingham is generally very green, there isn’t a lot on my side of the city.  Like most places, you’ll find most greenery in the wealthier parts of the city.  However, here in Bakersfield we are privileged to have access to Colwick Woods.  If you can afford to run a car, you can also get to Colwick Lakes.  That’s where I reckon this fella came from:

 Heron

 He looked a bit baffled to find himself on my neighbour’s roof and only stayed a couple of minutes before heading off for more congenial surroundings.  I got one quick snap from a distance; I wish he’s stayed just half a minute longer, so I could have got a close up.

Spiral Hat

Sprial Hat 2Spiral Hat
You see patterns for this sort of hat all over the place. This is my version.

Materials

2 balls Noro Kureyon, Silk Garden or Shinano yarn.
40cm length 6mm circular needle.

Tension

4 stitches = 1 inch.

Procedure

Cast on 60 stitches. Choose a method of casting on that will show the cast on stitches clearly, as you will be picking these up again later. I use the crochet hook chain cast on method, which works perfectly for this.

Row 1 Purl across the row. Row 2 K1, K2 tog, K to last stitch, M1 then K last stitch. Row 3 Knit across row. Row 4 P1, P2 tog, P to last stitch, M1 then P last stitch. Row 5 Knit across row. Row 6 K1, K2 tog, K to last stitch, M1 then K last stitch.

M1 = Make 1 stitch. Do this by picking up the horizontal strand of yarn that lies between the stitch that you have just transferred to your right needle and the stitch that is next in line on your left needle.

Keep repeating these 6 rows and you will see your piece of knitting get longer at one end and shorter at the other – a parallelogram, in fact. Keep going until you have completed the number of rows you require. To check how many rows you need to knit, measure your “hat line” around your head. You want the length of your knitting to be an inch or two less than your hat line measurement, depending upon how snugly you want the hat to fit. When measuring the length of your knitting, run your measuring tape along one edge of the knitting, from the cast on edge up to your needle, following the diagonal line of your knitting. I repeated the 6 rows 15 times, to give 90 rows in total, but I have quite a small head.

Once your knitting it long enough, use your empty needle to pick up 60 stitches along the cast on edge, making sure that the points of both needles are facing the same direction. Now join the picked up stitches to the stitches on your other needle by using a 3-needle cast off (bind off). I personally find it easier to use a crochet hook for this, rather than a third needle.  This bind off method does produce a visible seam, so when you reach the section of the hat that will be turned up for a brim you might want to to flick your knitting inside out so that you continue casting off on the other side (so that the seam won’t be visible when you turn up the brim).

This should leave you with a tube, showing the twisted rib very clearly. Using more yarn, sew a gathering line all around one of the open ends of the tube, by picking up the edge stitches. Gather up firmly and secure with a few stitches. Please be aware that the tube will be a bit bulky at this point which makes it tricky to gather up neatly. You may prefer to accommodate that by sewing a flat seam and having a squared off top to your hat. Whichever option you choose, if you’re using Noro yarn, don’t pull too hard, as these yarns are rather brittle. You should now have a recognisable hat.

Turn the hat inside out, so that the stitches you just made are hidden inside the hat.

If you gathered the top of the hat in the traditional way, you may wish to make a pompom with the spare yarn and stitch this to the top of the hat.

Finally, turn up the other end of the hat to make a nice brim and it’s all finished.

You shouldn’t need to block the hat, especially as it’s a rib pattern.

Broken Rib Tea Cosy

BR tea cosy
I’ve adapted the pattern from a few different vintage patterns I have in my collection. It took approximately 2.5 skeins of Noro Kureyon, used double throughout. The pattern is a form of broken rib, which has just enough elasticity to hug the tea pot closely. The resulting fabric is very thick and quite stiff – dreadful for a pullover or scarf, but perfect for insulating a pot of tea.

Here’s the pattern. It will fit a medium sized teapot, but can easily be adjusted for larger or smaller pots. My teapot is 6.5 inches high and 17 inches circumference at its widest point.

You will need 2.5 skeins of Noro Kureyon or similar yarn, 4mm needles and a tapestry needle for sewing seams

Cast on 49 stitches, using a robust method which will give a neat edge. I used a crochet hook cast on.

Rows 1 – 45 – K2, P2 to last stitch, K1

After a few rows, measure the width of your knitting. It should equal half the circumference of your teapot. It won’t matter if it’s a little less because the tea cosy will stretch a bit. However, if it’s significantly larger, you will need to start again and cast on fewer stitches.

Measure your work at this stage. It should measure roughly half an inch less than the height of your teapot. You can easily knit a few more rows if you need to.

Row 46 – K2, then (P3tog, K1) until 3 stitches remain, P2, K1

Row 47 – K2, P2, then (K1, P1) across the row, ending with K1

Row 48 – K1, then (Sl1, K1, PSSO) until 2 stitches remain, K2tog

Row 49 – K1, P until last stitch, K1

Row 50 – K2tog until last stitch, K1

Cast off, using a method which will give you a neat edge. I cast off with the following method:

Knit stitch number 1, then knit stitch number 2. Slip stitch number 1 over stitch number 2, so that only stitch remains on your right hand needle. Knit stitch number 3. Slip stitch number 2 over stitch number 3, so that you are back to just one stitch again. Repeat this process for the remaining stitches. When you have finished and the last stitch is sitting in solitary splendour on your right hand needle, cut your yarn leaving a short tail. Draw that tail through your last stitch, then drop the stitch off the needle and pull the tail tight to secure it. Don’t pull too hard when using Noro Kureyon as it is a weak yarn.

That completes one side of your tea cosy. Repeat the whole process again for the other side.

All you need to do now is sew up the two seams, leaving gaps for the handle and spout of your teapot. You should find that the cosy curves naturally because the fibre is so stiff and because of the broken rib pattern. There will be a small hole at the top of the cosy, formed by the two cast off edges. You can draw this closed if you want to, but it’s intended for the knob on the teapot lid to poke through. If you draw it closed, you might find the knob distorts the cosy a bit.

Have fun!

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