Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Lion Puppet Knitting Pattern

You will need: Approx 20g double knitting wool in main colour.  Contrasting oddments in 2 other colours for mane, small amount of black wool for features.
Needles: 1 pair size 8 or 7 (4 mm or 4.5mm) needles.

Cast on 36 stitches using main colour and work 6 rows in garter stitch.

Work 20 rows in stocking stitch. 

Next row: Cast on 8 stitches. Knit back these 8 sts plus 18 sts from body. (26 sts altogether).  Turn leaving remaining 18 stitches on a spare needle.
Cast on 8 sts. K3, P28, K3

Continue for a further 6 rows on these 34 sts remembering to knit the first and last 3 stitches on purl rows.
Cast off 10 sts. Knit to end of row.
Cast off 10 sts. Purl to end of row. 14 sts remain.

Slip these stitches onto spare needle, and break off wool. 
Rejoin  wool to 18 sts on first spare needle, and work the arms again to match.
Slip all the sts from front and back onto one needle (28 sts).

Work 12 rows in stocking stitch on these 28 sts.
Next row: [s1 k1 psso, k10, k2tog] twice. (24 sts).
Purl 1 row.
Next row: [s1 k1 psso, k8, k2tog] twice. (20 sts).
Purl 1 row.
Cast off.

Ears: make 2.
Using main colour cast on 6 sts.
Work 5 rows in stocking stitch starting with a purl row.
Decrease 1 st at each end of next row.
Cast off.

Cast on 3 sts in main colour.
Work in i-cord for 20 cm (8 in). Cast off.
(To knit an i-cord: *Knit 1 row, slide stitches to the other end of needle, do not turn, repeat from *. If you don't have double pointed needles, you can still achieve this by slipping all the sts from the right hand needle back onto the left-hand needle. Then just knit another row, and repeat. )

Using 3 strands of different coloured wool together, cast on 3 sts. 
Work in garter stitch for approx 25 cm (10 in) or until work is long enough to form a circle around the head. Work an even number of rows.
Cast off 1 stitch, then slip the needle out of the remaining stitches. Now carefully unravel the work to form loops as shown. (For more info on this technique look here at the 'knitted fringe' option.)

Sew up the side seam of body, arms and head. Bend the mane round into a circle and sew around the edge of the head. Attach the ears to the head  and tail to the back. Make a small pom-pom using the three colours used for the mane and attach to the end of the tail. Sew on a happy face using black yarn.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

It's a mystery.

Why does a post about a walk in summer 2013 suddenly appear dated January 2016?

Well, blogger is up to it's tricks, obviously. Today I have been pulling together all my Thames Path walks into one page, which is now available as a tab above, "Walking the Thames Path".  I've been meaning to do this for nearly a year! Along the way I made some edits to 4 other posts about the walk to bring them into line with the format of the other posts. 3 of them retained their original dates, but the fourth one appeared with today's date. I don't know why. It's a mystery, but not one worth worrying about.

It presents me with an opportunity to give a little promotion to the new page, which you can also access here. It covers a series of 40 or so walks along the Thames Path which we enjoyed over a three year period from 2011 to 2014.

The walks took us from the Source of the Thames in Gloucestershire....

...to the Thames Barrier in London.

Seeing the Thames in all it's guises, from a dribbling stream to a wide and busy commercial site, and in all weathers at different times of the year, was a fascinating experience.

Thames Path - Laleham to Walton-on-Thames

Date of Walk:  26 August 2013
Approx Distance of Walk: 7 km (5 miles) 
 Parking/Transport: Car Park (free) at Walton-on-Thames Bridge (Grid Ref TO 094665)
Bus to Laleham from Walton-on-Thames
Starting Point: Laleham (Grid ref TO 051682)
Finishing Point: Car Park at Walton-on-Thames

On a sunny August Bank Holiday Monday, we set off on our latest walk on the Thames Path. We parked by Walton-on-Thames Bridge, which is undergoing a massive reconstruction. We saw the work going on last time we were in Walton-on-Thames last September on a previous walk (which, I confess I have yet to write up, along with several other Thames Path Walks!)

For this walk we decided to take a bus to Laleham and to do this we had to walk across the new Bridge at Walton-on-Thames, which is quite stylish.

This is the view of the river from the bridge looking upstream, from where our walk would start.

We reached Laleham in a few short minutes on the bus.

From the bus stop we walked down to the river to join the Thames Path.

 The last time we were here, it was a cold, grey January day and the river had been in flood.

Today was very different...

... blue skies and warm sunshine.

As we walk towards Chertsey this colourful barge passes by.

Shortly we reach Chertsey Lock, which is very busy with lots of holiday makers.

The sign says 'Welcome', but it was not as welcoming as some lock signs, with it's scratched board and builders bag beneath.

But they had made an effort with some nice hanging baskets and pots.

A piece of land on the bank supported some flowers too - it looked as if it had been sown as a wild flower area, and this was the remains of it.

Chertsey Bridge is rather an attractive one.

Past the bridge, the river makes a wide swing and we were walking in the sun on the open flood plain.

After a while we reached a shadier stretch, which was very welcome.

The path by the river seems quite rural, but there are lots of nice properties on this stretch too, being so close to the capital.

There are riverside appartments...

and some houses with beautifully tended gardens. On our side of the river, the vegetation is more wild, but equally pretty.
We stopped to eat our lunch on a pleasant open area by the river before continueing our walk to Shepperton Lock, which was even busier than Chertsey Lock. This part of the river is where the River Wey joins the Thames, so there is a lot of river traffic here.

There are signs up saying that this has won the Best Lock Award in 2011 and 2012. It is a well kept and pretty lock, with a nice tea-room area, although the public loos are ridiculously over-engineered (according to Mr PL who was spending 20p in them whilst I took these pictures!)

As we leave the lock, the Thames Path takes two alternate routes - one on the north bank, which meanders quite a bit around Shepperton, and one on the South bank which is more direct, but for which we must cross the river in a small ferry.

It's nice to be on the river for a change instead of beside it. It's a rather expensive ride, at £2 for a 2 minute ride, but it's saves us from walking the north route, which doesn't seem to follow the river much.

A nice sit down.

This is the view from the south bank back across to Shepperton.

As we walk away from the ferry, we approach this unusual house which is on an island known as D'Oyly Carte Island. There is a private bridge over to the island.

From here, the Thames Path follows a straight path known as the Desborough Cut. This is a channel, completed in 1935, which was dug to improve the flow of the Thames, and named after Lord Desborough, the longest serving chairman of the Thames Consevancy. 

Instead of following the straight cut, we walked a longer way, around the Desborough Island, which was formed when the cut was made.

Once again we found a welcome bit of shade as we walked around this popular island.

As we neared the end of our walk, we found a quiet spot on some steps to have a drink, a snack, and quietly contemplate the river as it passed by.

Crossing back from the island across the cut,  we could see out destination, the spectacular curve of the new Walton Bridge, over the rooftops.

There is still work to be done at the bridge - the new one looks pretty much finished, but they still have to demolish the old bridge, hence the tall cranes in the distance.

One more piece of the Thames Path completed. We are probably about two thirds of the way there now, but have already started to plan which stretch will be our final one!

Friday, 18 December 2015

Scrappy Puppets

Over my 7 years of knitting puppets I have collected a large number of odd ball ends and scraps of yarn.

Rather than let them go to waste (I hate waste!) or linger in a plastic bag, I emptied them into a pretty box, in which I can easily rummage. 

I have decided to use them up by knitting them into scrappy puppets, just joining them one to another as I go.

First one's looking good.

I wonder how many puppets will come out of this boxful. What do you think?

Friday, 11 September 2015

Minion Puppet Knitting Pattern

You will need
Approx 10g double knitting wool in blue
Approx 20g double knitting wool in yellow
Oddments of black, grey and white/cream double knitting wool for features.
Needle size 4.5 mm.

Using blue wool cast on 36 sts.
Knit 6 rows in garter st. (All rows knit).
Knit 10 rows in stocking st. (1 row knit, 1 row purl)
Break off blue and join in yellow wool.
Knit 8 row stocking stitch.

*Cast on 8 sts at the beginning of next row, knit back along these 8 sts and knit 18 sts. Turn, leaving the remaining 18 sts on a spare needle or waste thread. (I use a circular needle, and I just leave these remaining sts on the needle, which works for me.)

Cast on 8 sts at beginning of next row and purl across these 8 and the following 26 sts. 
Work 4 more rows in stocking stitch.
Continuing in stocking stitch, cast off 8 sts at the beginning of the next two rows. 18 sts remain.

Knit 6 rows in stocking stitch.
Join in black wool and work 2 rows in stocking stitch. Break off black and continue in yellow.
Knit 6 rows in stocking stitch.
Next row: [k2tog] to end. 9 sts.
Purl 1 row.
Next row: [k2tog] twice, k1, [k2tog] twice.
Break yellow wool, leaving enough yarn to sew up seam around head and top of arm. Thread the end through remaining 5 sts. 

Rejoin yellow wool to the 18 sts on the spare needle and repeat from * to match the first side.

Sew up seams around the head and along the tops of the arms.

Hands: Now using black, pick up and knit 8 sts along the 'cuff' edges of each arm. 
Purl 1 row.
[K2tog] 4 times. 4 sts.
Purl 1 row.
[K2 tog]twice. 2 sts.
Break thread, pull thread through remaining sts and sew down seam of hand.

Sew up seams under arms and down the side of body.

Using blue wool, pick up and knit 8 sts in the centre front at the top of the blue section.
Work 8 rows in stocking st. 
Bib strap:
[K1, slip this stitch back onto the left hand needle]. Keep repeating this about 30 times or until the strap is long enough to cross over at the back as shown.
Fasten off. 

Rejoin blue wool to remaining seven sts. Cast off 6, and make the second strap in the same way as the first. 

(You could also make the straps by crocheting a chain instead of knitting.)

Secure the straps, crossing them over at the back. 

Eyes for smaller two-eyed minion: (make 2)
Using grey cast on 25 sts.
Change to cream or white.
[k1,k2tog, k2tog], repeat to end. 15 sts.
Knit 1 row.
[k1,k2tog], repeat to end. 10 sts.
Knit 1 row.
Change to black.
[k2tog], repeat to end.
Fasten off by pulling yarn through all remaining 5 sts on needle. Leave approx 8" end to embroider eye.
Bend work into circle and neatly sew up side seams.
Using black wool, embroider a circle around the black inner sts to make a solid pupil.

Using grey, attach eyes to the head on the black stripe by sewing around the edge.

Eye for one-eyed minion.
Using grey cast on 40 sts.
Change to cream or white.
[k1,k2tog, k2tog], repeat to end. 24 sts.
Knit 1 row.
[k1,k2tog], repeat to end. 16 sts.
Knit 1 row.
Change to black.
[k2tog], repeat to end.
Fasten off by pulling yarn through all remaining 8 sts on needle. Leave approx 8" end to embroider eye.
Bend work into circle and neatly sew up side seams.
Using black wool, embroider a circle around the black inner sts to make a solid pupil.

Using grey, attach eye to the head on the black stripe by sewing around the edge.

To finish, embroider a smile using black wool. Make hair in black, either by looping short lengths of black wool on top of head or by sewing a few long sts either side of a parting.

As usual I hope you enjoy making this pattern. Please leave me a comment if you do, or if you have any problems with the pattern, please let me know.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Puppet News

It's been quite a while since my last puppety update back in April, when I had just started puppet no 26. I have now finished 70 puppets, so here are some pictures of my progress since then. I am knitting them in sets of 5 as it is easy to keep count of them. It is also a good number for using up, say, a particular colour or type of wool for that set without becoming tired it!

So these are numbers 26 - 30 and are all made in mohair which makes a nice big and cuddly puppet, good for older children's shoeboxes.

This next set, 31 - 35, were all made using some red and cream fluffy yarn that I found in a charity shop (this is where I source a lot of my yarn!) Again, these are quite large puppets, knitted on 5 mm needles.

For the next set, 36 - 40, I have reverted to 4.5 mm needles which is what I normally use for double knit yarn. An old favourite, these rainbow puppets, although the green has not come out well in the picture. It is much brighter in real life.

Another set of rainbow puppets make numbers 41- 45. These all have different coloured funky hair to pick out the pastel shades.

I made numbers 46 - 50 using a combination of navy wool with some greeny coloured varigated yarn. I lile experimenting with the different stripy patterns too, but tend to have used the same 5 variations in most of the sets so far this year. They all have green and red hair - well, why not?

More varigated yarn provides a theme for numbers 51 -55, this time in an attractive mix of blue, pink and purple. Different coloured contrasting yarn in each provide the stripes, and the funky hair is still ongoing.

The next teddy puppets have been made using 3 shades of the same colour, going from dark at the bottom to a light face. Somehow I always think light faces look better, but I am in no way a racist! I had so many different colours in my stash that I managed to make this variation in 10 different shades, so here are numbers 56 - 65.

And lastly, another rainbow variation. These were made using small balls of yarn that had been gifted to us together for Operation Christmas Child, in lovely bright colours. I decided to keep them together and play about with a new stripe pattern. This brings me up to date with puppets number 66 - 70.

Only another 30 to reach my 100 target once again in 2015!
Have a lovely weekend!


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