Long tail cast on – with 2 tails

No amount of wishful thinking was going to change the fate of my latest project. I didn’t like how it was working up, so I undid it. I’m getting quite good at that 😉

I liked the stitch pattern, and decided to see if I could use it on a cardigan shape I have used before. This meant casting on over 200 stitches. If you’ve tried a sling shot long tail cast on, you’ll know there’s a certain amount of guesswork involved in estimating the length of the “tail” that is required. Imagine trying to cast on 200 stitches and finding you run out of ‘tail’ when you get to 190 🙄 I didn’t want to risk it.

The solution?

I thought it might be a useful tip for you too.

Use a spare ball of yarn for the “tail”, so you are using two balls of yarn to cast on, and then when you have the required number of stitches on your needle, just cut the spare yarn off (with enough excess to sew in securely later) and continue the work with the remaining single ball of yarn.

No more long tail guesswork!

I didn’t think to take a photo of the 200+ stitches, so here’s a photo of the sleeve cast-on instead …


Have you cast on a new project this week? I’d love to hear about it!


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Lintilla – this week’s Finished Object

Having a number of smaller projects on the go, alongside a couple of bigger projects, seems to be a magic formula. The satisfaction of casting off lifts my spirits and keeps me motivated, giving me renewed determination to keep going on those long-haul challenges.

I’m talking about my knitting here, but I think there’s a lesson I can take away and apply to other areas of my life 😉

This week I cast off my Lintilla shawl and it turned out like this …

While I was knitting it (great pattern, by the way), the colourway had felt very autumnal, with its browns and golds …

… until I was given a new perspective by this recent holiday sunset where the colours were a perfect match for my Lintilla shawl …

Now I feel as though I have a summer sunset in yarn! 😃

Do you like to have several projects on the go? I’d love to hear about what works for you!


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Cooking up a colourful coaster!

Take one porridge oats box …

Scissors, sticky tape and a ruler …

Some colourful cotton yarn …

Hey presto! My first attempt at weaving! 😄 The inspiration for this Blue-Peter-esque contraption came from the website of a hugely talented weaver, Kate, who shares her knowledge and creative passion at The Weaving Loom, and by following her various on-line tutorials, I succeeded in making this 12 cm square coaster …

I’ve got a lot to learn, but I loved making this and I think I’m gonna need a bigger box 😂

If you’d like to give it a go, or even if you’re an experienced weaver, I can highly recommend Kate’s site.

Have you dabbled in a new craft this week? I’d love to hear about it!


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Lintilla in progress

A few weeks ago, the frilly petals of some striking tulips prompted me to cast on a project I’ve had in mind for a while – Lintilla by Martina Behm.

I’m using Amitola DK by Louisa Harding. It’s 80% wool and 20% silk, and seems to be working out well on 5.5 mm needles. The “frilly” edges are subtle, but exactly how I wanted them.

The wool was from Colourway in Whitland a couple of years ago, so I hope two balls will be enough!

Have you knitted this pattern or used this wool? I’d love to hear about it!


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Over the years, I have held this traditionally hand-crafted box many, many times, and always admire the pretty, hand-painted flower design. It was a gift from a Swiss friend who is no longer with us, so it has extra-special significance, as well as being a beautiful object.

So it was a surprise this week when it generated a flash-back memory of an old jumper I had made as a young student. I used to love that jumper!

I knew the pattern was from a German knitting magazine and I had made several of the designs from that particular issue. It held good memories, so there was a good chance it had survived a series of clear-outs … Sure enough, it didn’t take too long to find it – Ingrid, April 1983.

It must have been the flower shapes and the horizontal leaf and scroll patterns on the box that triggered the jumper memory … What do you think?

Perhaps I can adapt the design and create something new? *cogs begin to whirr*

Has anything reminded you of a favourite knit recently? I’d love to hear about it!




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This and that

“Oh, you knit! What are you working on at the moment?” I have been asked this question many times. Almost as often as “how long does it take you to knit a jumper?”!

Does the person really want to know? There are so many variables, so I usually give a friendly but generalised answer, which seems to work well in most situations.

The longer answer could take a while! I’ve got a mixed project bag at the moment, and I’ve just finished a couple of smaller projects too. Want to see?

Finished objects …

Works in progress …

It was thanks to these on-going projects that I succeeded in attending the Wool@J13 event without buying any wool! Are you impressed by my restraint? There was plenty of yarny temptation, with lots of talented crafters showcasing their designs and wares. My resolve to merely “window-shop” was tested, I can tell you. How about a hand-crafted, hallmarked, silver crochet hook from Lyn Roberts Design, based in Wales? Gorgeous! It was lovely to see the new generation of yarn-artists too, such as Hermione Crowe, applying a fresh take on the old skills. The weather was surprisingly good, making it a pleasure to sit outside and listen to The Haywood Sisters, singing a variety of songs from the 1940s to the 1980s.

And meanwhile, the garden continues to burst into life with beautiful colours, shapes, and textures that change a mundane day into an inspired one!

Osteospermum, enjoying the sunshine!

What has inspired you this week? I’d love to hear about it!

Happy crafting!



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Short Rows and Frills

The gardener at Hanbury Hall was taking a short breather, contemplating how best to mow the triangle of grass so that the lines were straight and in keeping with the rest of the lawn.

We had an interesting chat about the options and – being A Knitter – I suggested the principle of short row shaping, applying it to the grass scenario. I reckoned it would work pretty well!

Elsewhere in the garden, there was more creative inspiration – the colours of the bluebells against the bright green grass stopped me in my tracks.

Back at home, the frilly edge of these tulips reminded me that I’ve been meaning to knit the Lintilla shawl by Martina Behm for quite some time.

I’m sure I have some suitable yarn in my stash … albeit in a less striking colourway – I’ll go and have a look!

Has knitting cropped up in your conversations this week? I’d love to hear about it!



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My latest project is a step outside my comfort zone … it has been a while since I crocheted and it is long overdue.

The yarn is Lana Grossa Shades of Cotton, in the 101 colourway. It works up as double knit weight, but is made up of 4 fine strands to create a subtle colour change which somehow transitions from turquoise to orange over the course of the 200g skein. Clever!

I am crocheting a scarf from the accompanying German pattern booklet – it is design number 7, Schmaler Schal im Wellenmuster, which showcases the yarn beautifully.

It may take a while, as each row is very long and needs attention, but I’ll get there!

Happy crocheting!




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Retro Tea Cosy

This little project proved to be an unexpected challenge – pulling the stranded yarn tightly across the back of the work felt so wrong!

Normally, stranded colour work requires a nice, even tension to stop the floats from pulling. Here, I had to make a conscious effort to pull them tight, in order to create the pleats with their insulating pockets of air, to keep the teapot warm.

The pattern is Patons Classic Pleated Tea Cozy, a free pattern on Ravelry. The yarn is Stylecraft DK, unlabelled part-skeins from deep stash.

I made the middle size, the 4-6 cup, and it fits my Brown Betty teapot perfectly. Sadly, it is only a temporary pairing. The vintage-style cosy is destined for the Black Country Living Museum for the Summer Fête stall!

Anyone for tea?



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Log Cabin Mitts

Sometimes you see a project on Ravelry and decide to try it out, there and then!

The Log Cabin Mitts pattern by Karen Templer of the Fringe Association was one such project.


I had two part-skeins of Drops Nepal in my stash, so knitted the colour blocks in such a way that the yarn was evenly distributed. The original pattern shows lots of possible permutations, and you could use as many colours as you want.

The pattern is free and I can definitely recommend it to you. Let me know if you give it a go!


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