Watching the chickens with my Nanny


Yokes.  Yokes is Kate Davies amazing book. It contains eleven of Kate’s designs inspired from many parts of the world including Iceland and Scotland, two of my favourite countries. I first came across Kate Davies when I started following her blog.  What an amazing woman. Check out her blog and her gorgeous designs on Ravelry if you haven’t already done so.

I don’t really like knitting for myself. I prefer the instant gratification and the cuteness of babies and toddler knits. But I fell in love with Yokes and decided I just had to make something for myself from this amazing book.

It was hard to choose which of the beautiful patterns to make but I had narrowed down my choice by wanting to use some 4ply cashmere I had in my stash. I narrowed down the choice further still by wanting to make a sweater and not a cardigan. So I chose Bluebells.

But my sweater is not called bluebells. My sweater is called Tulips. It is called Tulips because the flowers are not blue so I couldn’t call them bluebells.


I love this sweater. I love wearing it. It is warm and even fits me well.

The first picture is of Mia and Nanny (that’s me) watching the chickens. She is afraid of the rooster (Alister) and won’t go outside when he is near. But she has come a long way. A month or so ago  she would ask me to pull down the blinds when she saw the rooster, so that she could pretend he wasn’t there or she would take me into another room far away from the sight (and crowing) of the rooster.

So to be sitting with Nanny with the doors open and the rooster just outside, is a big step for our little girl.

A toddler cardigan using bulky yarn and a free pattern

A very long time ago, I bought some bulky weight cotton on sale and then for many months, wondered if I would ever use it. Then one day I decided our little toddler needed a long sleeve light cardigan for Autumn when it can be warm and cold all on the same day.

So I went to my stash and had a dig around. No, wool in double knit or chunkier would be too hot. Wool in a light 4ply could be good but let me see what else I have. Then I opened the cotton stash box and I spied the bulky cotton yarn that I had bought on special all those months ago. The bulkiness of the yarn would add that extra warmth that a lighter weight cotton cardigan wouldn’t.


OK, so now I have selected the yarn, what about a pattern? I don’t have any bulky weight toddler patterns. So I did what any smart knitter would do and searched the multitude of free patterns on Ravelry.

This is what I found. The pattern is a free Lion Brand cardigan and is called Fairy Tale Cardy. It is written for their super bulky cotton / acrylic yarn, Baby’s First yarn and was a close match to my stashed yarn. After a quick swatch and needle adjustment, I started the cardigan.

I am so happy with it. I love the colours and I love the pattern. This free pattern was very easy to follow and there were no mistakes. Maybe I should knit with bulky yarn more often. This only took a night or so to make.


Pattern book – Lion Brand Yarn website
Pattern – Fairy Tale Cardi by Lion Brand Yarn – (free pattern)
Yarn – Wendy Supreme Luxury Cotton Chunky
Link to Ravelry project here

The aran cardigan that became a coat


I just have to laugh at myself. Why do I think I have to add SO MUCH LENGTH to our little toddler’s cardigan! I did it here too with her little pink cardigan too. But she has had so much wear out of that little pink cardigan and she certainly hasn’t grown out of it.

Maybe I became paranoid about the length of cardigans after knitting the Debbie Bliss Teddy Bear Jacket. That was knitted for her as a one year old and was always a little bit short and with the panels it was more difficult to add length willy nilly as I seem to do now. However, if you go to the Teddy Bear post, scroll down to the last photo and you will see how I managed to add length to this jacket to get one more winter out of it.

So what have I created with this very long aran rusty red cardigan? I guess you can say I have created a coat.


But that’s ok. A coat is good. Our toddler is an average sized 2 year old and this pattern was for 24 to 36 months so it was always going to potentially be  a little big and so it definitely did not need to have extra length. No wonder I ran out of yarn half way up the second sleeve! And the yarn colour was discontinued! I am very lucky that the lady in our LYS had bought two balls of this colour for herself and hadn’t used them and she was more than happy to sell me one. Crisis averted. I would have had to pull the fronts and back undone and stolen some yarn out of all that extra length!


But it is wearable and that’s all that matters and the colour is gorgeous. And she will probably be still wearing it when she is at school.

The pattern was from a book called Aran and Nordic Knits for Kids. It was given to me by a friend I worked with and she knew I love knitting aran and she knew I love knitting for kids. So a perfect book for me. I miss my craft friend I used to work with. In our stressful roles,  we would sometimes seek each other out, have our craft chat, share our latest projects, discuss  button colours and then back to work feeling a little more enthusiastic.

Pattern book – Aran and Nordic Knits for Kids
Pattern – Aneka Cardigan
Yarn – Filatura Di Crosa Zarina
Link to Ravelry here

Who made your elephant hat?



“Mia, who made your elephant hat?”

“My Nanny.”


I had discovered this free hat pattern somewhere long ago and have had it tucked away since then waiting for our baby to become a toddler. Last winter I made her this hat because it had ear flaps and it tied under her chin but this year now that she is two, she has stopped dragging her hat off every few minutes and seems to know she needs to leave it on to keep her little head warm.  Hence, the little elephant beanie for Mia.

I made this little hat in size 24 to 48 months and I was a bit worried that it would be too big but it actually sits snuggly without falling over her eyes and there is plenty of room for her little head to grow another year or two.

The hat pattern can be made with hearts, noughts and crosses, stripes or elephants. I love the little pink elephants.

Pattern available as a Ravelry download –(free pattern)
Pattern – Smilla Hat
Yarn – Cleckheaton Merino Bambino
Link to Ravelry project here

The Little Sheep Dress

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This little sheep dress took forever to knit. This little sheep dress annoyed me so much that I didn’t even know if I liked it when it was finished.

Would it fit her?
Do the sheep actually look like sheep?
Will the colour suit a two year old little girl?
Would the collar be too bulky?
Will the collar sit right?
Are the sleeves too full?
Is it long enough?
Is it too long?

It was almost with trepidation that I handed this little sheep dress over to my daughter. All of this work and she probably won’t even like it! All of those cables! Every few stitches, another cable! Even on the reverse side. Normally you don’t have to pick the cable needle up on the reverse side. But not this little sheep dress.

I hope she gets some wear out of it. All that work and that beautiful Italian merino wool! What a waste!


And then Mother’s Day came along. We had booked a local cafe that had a play area for small children, just in case boredom set in before the food arrived. And what do I see when I arrive at the cafe.

Sitting in the high chair waiting patiently for Nanny was our little toddler dressed in her little sheep dress. In all it’s pride and glory, the little sheep dress was sitting there looking so beautiful. The little sheep dress was just waiting to be picked up and cuddled. It was warm and squishy and just right for cuddling, just like our little toddler.

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They both love the dress and now, so do I.
(By the way, Mum hasn’t cut toddler’s hair like this. It has grown this way all on it’s own. We are sure one day her hair on the top will grow.)

Pattern book – The Baby Knits book by Debbie Bliss
Pattern – Sheep Dress
Yarn – Filatura Di Crosa Zarina Chine
Link to Ravelry here

Granny squares sweater and a poor little tyke

I had planned to write this post today. It is the post that goes with a previous post about crocheted granny squares. But this morning when I woke up I reached for the iPad to check WordPress Reader to see what’s new on the blogs that I follow. And I found this. The Sweaty Knitter, Weaver and Devotee of Other Fine Arts blog post starts off by saying “Please tell me that I am not the only woman of a certain age who shudders and pales as she remembers the 1970s women’s fashions utilizing granny squares!” Uh oh. Hmmm. She goes on to say “Nor were children immune, poor little tykes, as can be seen of this picture of a child stoically wearing his granny square vest!” (The photos in her post are classic!) Oh no! What have I done to my little granddaughter! Poor little tyke. I have made her a sweater out of granny squares! DSC_0016 Funny thing, when I showed my daughter the granny square sweater pattern she didn’t seem very enthusiastic about it. I took it that she was just tired. What child wouldn’t want a retro granny square sweater! So off I skipped to my stash, selected my colours and gaily crocheted my granny squares while my husband drove us both to work. We travel two and a half hours each day to and from work so I get a lot done. I gave the sweater to my daughter a few weeks ago and funnily enough I haven’t received a photo of the grandchild smiling into the camera wearing the said finished object. She tells me her camera is broken.

Pattern book – Cute and Easy Crocheted Baby Clothes by Nicki Trench
Pattern – Springtime Jumper
Yarn – Bits and pieces from my stash (details on Ravelry)
Link to Ravelry here

Worsted weight toddler vest and a free pattern

I found this gorgeous post last week while I was on the way to work. The post was so beautifully photographed that I had to follow the link to the pattern because I wanted one just like that for my little girl. The pattern is called Neighborly and is provided free on Ravelry by Jennifer Casa. Aren’t some people amazing to let us have their patterns for free! This one is knitted top down and in the round with no seaming. The little neckband is knitted first in one long thin strip and then the stitches for the body are picked up along the edge of the neckband. The neckband is meant to be blocked flat before picking up the stitches but I decided that I liked the rolled look, so chose not to block it at all. DSC_0011 I had some gorgeous home spun yarn in my stash that I really wanted to use. I have had it for a while and it was only 1 skein of 130 grams so not enough to do anything with on its own, since I don’t generally knit hats or scarves. The homespun yarn would be perfect for the stripes and I had planned to use a purple marled worsted wool as the main colour. So that evening I did a sample knit with both the purple Misti Alpaca and the homespun yarn.  Unfortunately, they both ended up as different gauges and I was unsure whether I could use both these yarns together or not. The next day I spoke to my favourite local yarn store and we decided that it would be ok as long as I didn’t do too many rows in the homespun stripe at one time. I think it turned out beautifully. The pattern is written in one size (3-5 years) and uses yarn that has an 18 stitch gauge. My little girl is only 2 so I used a yarn that has a 20 stitch gauge and the size turned out just right. Perfect as we move into our winter down here in the Southern hemisphere . The mornings are starting to get cool but the days can still be very hot so what could be better than a cute little purple striped vest for daycare. IMG_0888

UPDATED May 2105 – Another nieghborly vest for our little girl.


Pattern available as a Ravelry download –(free pattern)
Pattern – Neighborly
Yarn – Tonos Worsted Misti Alpaca and homespun
Link to Ravelry project here

Double knit hoody for a newborn baby. Is it a bit too bulky?


I was asked to make this little hoody for a newborn baby who was to be born into the cruel and harsh northern England winter. (I guess I can say this considering I am from the northern part of New Zealand where our winters provide us with a few frosts and lots of rain.) I tried to steer the requester away from this pattern to others using a finer 4ply but no such luck. This is the one she wanted her sister’s newborn baby boy to wear. One consolation, it was a lot quicker for me to knit this in DK than to knit a hoody from 4ply wool.


Not only does this pattern use double knit, it also has a slip stitch which adds to the bulk of the finished garment. I have made this little hoodie before and complained about the bulk in that blog post as well. “Sigh”. Perhaps I should start listening to others and stop getting hung up on preconceived ideas. Some of the nicest things I have knitted have been requests that I would never have chosen myself.

(The blanket this hoody is photographed on was also made for Sebastian.)

Pattern book – Patons Newborn Collection
Pattern – Corey
Yarn – Peter Pan Merino Baby DK
Link to Ravelry here

Hooties bootees. Will they stay on little kicking feet?


You may be aware that I don’t like baby bootees. I haven’t yet found a pair of bootees that don’t fall off those little wriggly feet. But when my girls ask me to make bootees for someone’s baby, of course I do.

Bootees I have made

I do own a baby bootee pattern book. I have Val Pierce’s Twenty to Make Baby Booties, which is full of very cute and modern bootees. From the book, I have only made watermelon bootees for a colleague’s baby from work, (who incidentally didn’t thank me so I have no idea whether they stayed on or were even worn.)

I also have a number of Debbie Bliss baby knitting books that have bootees in them but I have found that her bootees are always quite big. I have made one pair of Debbie Bliss bootees and they were so pretty.  I thought they might stay on with the little ankle strap but they didn’t really want to most of the time.

I have made a couple of pairs of bootees that go with newborn baby sets. Patons Jessica bootees definitely did not stay on but they fitted a newborn perfectly, (not much use of course, if they don’t stay on).

But on rereading about my Filatura Di Crosa bootees,, I have written that these ones do stay on! Perhaps I need to remember this pattern when asked to knit bootees. These ones were a perfect newborn size but the pattern also has other sizes to make. I think the ankle strap helped to keep these ones on.

Now that I am rereading my previous bootee blog posts, I have found another pair that did stay on. This is a free Mary Jane pattern that I added Jemima Puddleduck buttons to. Another one for me to keep in mind.

But the worst bootee pattern I have ever made were these Twilleys of Stamford  “pram shoes”. They were a nightmare to knit and once knitted, they were so tiny and the foot shape was a bit weird. Never again.

Hooties (or owl bootees)

So back to the owl bootees. I was asked to knit two pair of bootees for our baby Sebastian. This free owl bootee pattern was one of the two pair chosen by my daughter, for me to make. They were a top down knit, which I find a bit fiddly for bootees but they turned out tiny and cute. Just what I was hoping for. I was a bit nervous putting little buttons on as the eyes but I sewed them on very tightly and being a newborn size, I don’t think a newborn will manage to get the buttons off. On writing this post, I realise that I shouldn’t have used buttons. What was I thinking? I should have embroidered the eyes on. Maybe the mum won’t even use them due to the buttons being a hazard. If mum does use them and if I hear whether they stayed on or not, I will update the post.

Pattern website – Kedi Talks Birth (free pattern)
Pattern – Hooties
Yarn – Patons Dreamtime 4ply
Link to Ravelry project here


My new pink cardigan

IMG_4690 My Nanny knitted me a new pink cardigan. I think it might be a bit big for me. It might still fit me when I am 4 years old. I am only 20 months old at the moment. But my new cardigan is warm. It is made from merino wool, cashmere and silk, so it is nice and light, despite the size. My Mummy and Daddy took me to the zoo just after Nanny gave me this cardigan so I wore it and I think it looks pretty. It could almost be a dress with my cute polka dot tights. IMG_4681 At the zoo I saw lots of animals that I have in my zoo book at home. The cheetah was my favourite. It looked like Smokey who is my pussy cat at home. There was a big window at the zoo so I could see the cheetah but I couldn’t get in to pat him like I do with Smokey. IMG_4763 Then the next day my Mummy took me to the park to play. This is my favourite bike at the park. Sometimes there are other kids playing on this bike when we get there and I cry and Mummy says I must wait my turn. So I did and then the other kid got off. Here is a link to the stitch pattern nanny used. Pattern book – King Cole Baby Book 5 Pattern – Little Vintage Cable Jacket Yarn – Sublime Cashmere, Merino, Silk Link to Ravelry here

Little striped hoodies for cute little babies


I have never had any success taking photos of hoodies, especially when there are no cute little baby faces peeping out from inside. (UPDATED July 2015 – But I am lucky enough to have been sent a photo of Imogen’s very sweet little face peeping out of the hoodie on a cold winter days walk.)


These two hoodies are destined for two second time mums whose babies are due this month. Neither of them know if they are having a boy or a girl (or if they do know, they are not telling). I hope one of them is having a boy so that they can have the blue one, and the grey one will suit either a girl or a boy. I guess if they both have girls, I will need to quickly make another one in a colour that isn’t blue.

The only reason I am adverse to giving blue for a girl is that my granddaughter didn’t have any hair (and still hasn’t got much at 18 months) and kept being mistaken for a boy. My daughter didn’t dress her in blue because she got tired of having to keep explaining that her baby was a girl, despite having no hair. One day she was wearing a pink dress and pink leggings and a dear old man came up to her in the shopping mall and said “hello little fella, you’re a cute little guy”. My daughter didn’t correct him, she just smiled and asked how his day was going.


It seemed to take me forever to knit these little hoodies. Maybe that is because I actually made three. A blue and white one is on it’s way to North England for my little 6 week old grandson. Having to knit 12 little ears and then sew each of them together before stitching them onto the hood seemed to take so long. And the hoods seemed to take ages as well. But it was worth it. I just wouldn’t recommend making three of these in quick succession.


I am a little worried about the grey yarn for a little baby as it has angora mixed with the merino and silk. I just hope it isn’t too furry for a baby. Unfortunately when I dug into my stash to find the wool for these little hoodies, my double knit stash was a bit low and this grey was the only suitable unisex colour I could find. My stash has since “blossomed” with a FIlatura Di Crosa half price sale at our local yarn store last week.

Pattern book – King Cole Baby Book 5
Pattern – Little Big Stripey Hoodie
Yarn – Shepherds Baby Merino DK and Cleckheaton Angora, Merino and Silk
Link to Ravelry here and here

Debbie Bliss Spanish Dress for our little toddler


I first saw the Debbie Bliss Spanish Dress in a local yarn / fabric store when my daughter was pregnant. We both fell in love with this little dress and with so many gorgeous fabrics available, the possibilities are endless.  We were lucky enough to get the pattern in the store and gleefully took it home to store it for later when this little unborn baby has her first summer as a toddler.


And this is our little toddler’s first summer.

I have a very small stash of fabrics (and rather a large stash of yarn). I don’t sew a lot since I do not have a sewing area set up in my house. My sewing area is my dining table and it is not very convenient to the people in our house for me to sew.

I found this gorgeous Beatrix Potter fabric in my stash but I didn’t have any yarn to go with it. The fabric is so pretty and I didn’t want to ruin the dress with the wrong colour bodice. I definitely wanted to use this fabric, so off I went to the local yarn store and found the perfect colour yarn, a beautiful soft ball of Sublime cashmere, merino and silk. Yummy.


I also had a piece of cotton fabric with cute little cats in my stash and I was lucky enough to have the perfect bamboo yarn to match. So of course I had to make a second dress.

The bodices were a very quick and easy knit. It felt so satisfying to complete something so pretty in such a short time. I love the way the little frill is knitted at the hem of the bodice. I think that is what I like about Debbie Bliss patterns, the attention to detail.

But of course, once I had completed the knitted bodice, I had to put them aside until I had the opportunity to get the sewing machine out.

But my time did come and a few weeks later I had the sewing machine out on the dining table, the iron and ironing board set up and my sewing paraphernalia waiting patiently, and of course the family out for the day.

The skirts were so easy to make. The pattern was not terribly clear but I used the Ravelry site and read the comments of those who had already made the dress and got the answer to my biggest question.

How do I attach the skirt to the bodice? Of course. The answer to that question was to hand sew the skirt to the bodice. I know some people may have fancy sewing machines that would sew the knitted bodice nicely to the gathered cotton skirt without puckering the bodice or leaving unsightly stitches but mine is a very basic machine. I don’t mind hand sewing. In fact, this little toddler dress was made with so much love and hand sewing is a big part of that.

To see these little dresses being worn with such happiness makes all the hand sewing worth it.

UPDATED February 2015
A note from Mia.


Nana just can’t help herself. She keeps making me these cute little dresses. Here is another one she made. I really like this one. It has ladybugs on it. She made another one exactly the same for Ruby’s first birthday. (Ruby is my mummy’s school friend’s baby.) This is me wearing my ladybug dress in the car at the Devonport wharf in Auckland.

Pattern book – Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine, Spring/Summer 2012
Pattern – Spanish Dress
Yarn – Sirdar Snuggly Baby Bamboo DK and Sublime Cashmere Merino Silk DK
Link to Ravelry here  and here

A cotton cable cardigan for a brand new baby


I have a friend a work who is due to have her baby at the beginning of the New Zealand summer. I wanted to make her baby something to wear and decided that organic cotton would be the yarn of choice and it would be made into a long sleeve newborn cardigan for the cooler days.

The design and colour were a bit more difficult to decide since we do not know if this little baby will be a boy or a girl. (That is only known by the mum and dad.)

I wanted a nice soft 4ply cotton so that the cardigan wouldn’t be too bulky for a tiny newborn baby. I had some cotton left over from a tiny singlet I had made for another newborn summer baby (in Darwin, Australia where it is extremely hot) so decided to use that.

Now for the pattern. I didn’t want to do anything lacy in case it was a boy. I didn’t want anything too manly in case it was a girl. But I had a sneaky suspicion that this baby was going to be a boy so I decided on soft cables for the front.


This was a very simple pattern and it took me only a few nights to make. I call it my election cardigan as I made most of it while watching the New Zealand elections. The blanket in the background of the photo is the Debbie Bliss sampler blanket.

Pattern book – Sirdar 280 Early Arrivals Knitting Book
Pattern – Design C preemie layette
Yarn – Heirloom cotton 4ply
Link to Ravelry here