Project – Cabled Ottoman Cover

Pattern: Cabled Ottoman Cover
Designer: Julie Farmer

Yarn: Rowan Pure Wool Worsted
Shade: Umber (110)
Pure Wool Worsted - Umber 110

Ravelry: Cabled Ottoman Cover

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you may recall that a couple of months ago the brand new sofas arrived for our new home. I was very excited!

As predicted, I went straight to looking for things I could knit to go with them and this project is the first. I have an old ottoman footstool that I bought from IKEA when I was a student, it’s just a plywood cube with a small cushion that straps on top and it was very useful at the time. As you do when you’re a student, I bought one with a bright purple fabric cover and of course it just doesn’t match anything any more. So I wanted to knit a nice new cover that would match our forever furniture. A search on Ravelry brought back just the perfect pattern, it was almost exactly what I’d imagined I might want and it was a free download too!

I knew that for a footstool the I chose yarn would need to be hard-wearing and ideally machine washable so I could easily clean any grubby marks it ends up with in the future. For that reason, I picked Pure Wool Worsted. I’ve worked with it before and I know it’s great for all those things! Plus the range of shades is huge so I knew I’d find one that would match. I decided to go for one as close as possible to the colour of the sofa side/base so it would look like it matched. After pulling threads out of my shade card for half an hour or so, Umber seemed like a great match.

Ottoman Top

Having downloaded and read through the pattern, the first change I made was to knit it in the round. There’s no need to knit four separate sides and a separate top and it was very easy to convert. I subtracted two stitches from the amount needed for one side piece (they would have been the one on each end sewn into the seams) and multiplied that by four to get the total number of stitches. I cast on and put markers to denote the end of each side, with a different colour for the fourth one that marked the end of the round. To account for the reduced stitches at each end, the first rib repeat on each side was k1 p2, the following were k2 p2 as per the pattern, then the final was k2 p1.

Ottoman Side

The pattern for the sides is pretty easy to follow, the only difficulty is that the two cables have a different number of rows in their repeats (6 and 8). I used the two digits on a row counter to count the 6 and 8 respectively, to make sure I knew when I needed to cable for each one. Then just keep knitting till it’s tall enough, which is extra easy to check when working in the round. My circular needle cable wasn’t as long as it could have been, so I had to use some spare needles to hold some stitches in order to get the work over the stool when checking the length, but that was OK.

Once I got the sides long enough, I then worked this round:

  1. Knit side 1 as per pattern
  2. Cast off side 2
  3. Put side 3 on waste yarn
  4. Cast off side 4

Then I worked side 1 back and forth until it was long enough for the top of the stool. Once done, I worked a three needle bind-off with the end of the top and the stitches saved from side 3. Finally, I sewed the seams between the top and sides 2 and 4. Et voilá! Much less sewing and faff than working it flat.

Ottoman

The only disappointment for me is that because of the dark yarn I chose and how tightly the cover fits, you can see the white cushion cover and the pale plywood through the cables in some places. At some point I make take the time to dye the cushion cover a darker colour and maybe even paint the plywood too, although the cushion is a bigger problem. That aside, I’m really pleased with how it’s come out. Next in the Great Interior Decorating Plan – cushion covers!

Project – Bobble Bathmat

Pattern: Bobble Bath Mat
Publication: Cute Little Knits
Designer: Jem Weston

Yarn: Rowan Creative Focus Worsted
Shade: Teal (03360)
Creative Focus Worsted - 03360 Teal

Ravelry: Bobble Bathmat Teal

Last year my boyfriend and I bought our first home. All my life I’ve been a serial renter and have never actually made it to 2 years at any single address since I left home to go to university at the turn of the millennium! So I was indescribably excited that we would finally have a home that was ours and which we would definitely be in for some years to come, for many reasons but in particular because it would now actually be worth kitting out our home with things that matched, rather than cheap fixes which would do the job and hopefully work in the next place, and the next, and so on…

Obviously I was super excited to knit some things for the new house and so I started looking for some inspiration. The first place I looked was Cute Little Knits because I knew it had some lovely homeware items in it and also because Jem Weston is a good friend and so I would be very excited to make one of her designs as I hadn’t done so before. As soon as I turned to the page with the Bobble Bath Mat on it, I just knew it was destined for the new house. We bought a new build and during the construction process George and I had spent a very long afternoon at the sales office going over and over and over the options for bathroom tiles because there were so many. Plus we had to choose for two bathrooms and a downstairs WC, so it wasn’t even like we had to make our minds up only once! In the end we were very proud of our choices and I definitely couldn’t wait to see the bathrooms finished. For the family bathroom we’d chosen a mixture of white and dark grey tiles. I immediately knew that teal accessories would look fantastic in there and it just so happens that Creative Focus Worsted comes in the most amazing shade of teal. So I was sold!

I’d never worked with Creative Focus Worsted before and wow had I been missing out! It’s so soft and luxurious, and the colours are just divine. It is a very soft weave so just be careful you don’t split any stitches as that could be easily done. I’m definitely going to be using this yarn again in future!

The construction of the bathmat is done in three parts – first the centre panel which has a moss stitch top and bottom border (that’s American seed stitch), garter stitch main panel with lovely big bobbles on it. Then you knit separately two side panels in moss stitch and sew these on using mattress stitch. The side panels are a different number of rows in length to the main panel, which is intentional due to the fact that the mat needs to be felted. The main panel is garter stitch because the bobbles stand out better against that than they do on moss stitch. As garter stitch and moss shrink by different amounts when felted, the moss stitch edges are knitted to a different length to ensure that they felt down to the same size as the main garter stitch panel. That is why they have to be made separately and sewn on, so don’t be tempted to cut corners by sewing it all in one piece, or it will felt very badly out of shape!

So here is my mat, all made up.

Bathmat - before felting

Unfortunately I could see once I’d sewn it together that I cast on too tightly, which is a common fault in my knitting. I should cast onto two needles more often than I do. I’m just a bit complacent, I suppose!

And here is a close-up of the bobbles which I’m really pleased with. Just occasionally I can get my little camera to do great things! To make the bobbles you work into one stitch five times then turn and work twice before passing the extra 4 stitches back over the first.

Bobbles closeup - before felting

When knitting the row following each row of bobbles, I often had trouble with my working yarn getting caught around the bobbles as I worked past them. I think this is probably most likely to happen if, like me, you are a continental knitter and so the yarn goes from the right needle to your left hand. English knitters wouldn’t have the same issue as the yarn wouldn’t go across the bobbles. Anyway, if you are leftie then just make sure you watch out for your yarn catching on the bobbles and make sure it’s properly snug between each stitch.

So now came time for the scary and magic part – felting! I’d never felted anything before so I was completely petrified that it would go wrong and I’d ruin this beautiful mat that I’d just spent a whole month knitting for our new home. But there was nothing for it except to be brave and go for it! Luckily I’d had a great tip from Jem when I was working on the project which I remembered to use before the mat went into the washing machine. To make sure that you get really nice bobbles after felting, you need to get them to stand up as much as possible beforehand. As Jem so elegantly put it – tweak those nipples! So I went down every bobble, pinched it between my thumb and forefinger and gave it a pull/twist. You can really see the difference as you go down the mat so I fully advise doing this right before it goes in the wash.

I put the mat into a standard wash cycle at 30C as advised in the pattern and then paced nervously round the house as it spun. At this point I totally envied anyone with a top-loading washing machine – with a front-loader you’ve got no option but to wait for the cycle to end and hope for the best…

Luckily Jem’s design and my washing machine were a match made in heaven, and I almost cried with relief when this perfectly felted bath mat emerged!

Bathmat - after feltingMat closeup after felting

It’s still a little damp in these pictures as I didn’t have the patience to wait for it to be completely dry before I photographed it, I was just too excited! The eagle-eyed among you may spot the one row I did wrong, but that’s the charm of a hand made item in my opinion. You will need to pull it to shape a bit when it comes out of the wash, but that’s easily done. And it evens out very well as it dries, mine actually looks a bit better now than it did when I took these.

Bobbles closeup - after felting (1)Bobbles closeup - after felting (2)

The bobbles weren’t all completely even after felting, but I still think they look brilliant.

Best of all, I can’t describe how soft this mat is on my feet when I get out of the shower, it’s complete luxury! I don’t think I will ever use a bath mat that I like more than this one. Luckily I managed to have it finished just a week before we moved house and I was so happy when I put it in the new bathroom along with the matching blind, toothbrush cup, soap dispenser, pedal bin, toilet brush and eventually a whole new set of towels. It looks amazing! I have a second one planned in grey for the en-suite bathroom and I can’t wait to go again with all the experience I now have with this design.

If you only knit one homeware item this year, I would highly recommend you make it this one.

Knitting For A New Home

My boyfriend and I are in the process of buying a house. We’ve both been serial renters all our lives so we’re unbelievably excited to finally be in a position where we can buy something of our own and shape it to be the kind of home we can really love and feel completely comfortable in.

The house is a brand new build which is still under construction at the moment and on Saturday afternoon we went to the sales office and showhome to choose the interior options that we get to customise. We are able to choose: worktops, cupboard doors and vinyl flooring for the kitchen (the other flooring costs extra and we’re probably getting it done independently); wardrobe doors and handles for the master bedroom; tiles for the family bathroom, en-suite bathroom and sink splashback in the downstairs WC.

We spent literally hours (somewhere between 2 and 3, I’m not sure exactly!) going over all the options as there we so many to choose from. Here are just a few photos I snapped on my mobile phone as we pored over the options and went back and forth between the showhome and the sales office a few times!

 

  

  

 

Cover

It just happens that Sarah Hatton has released a lovely new book of homeware patterns for autumn/winter which had already got me thinking about things that I could knit for our new home. Now we’ve actually chosen some of the colour scheme for the house, I can’t wait to get started on something to go with it! Here are a few of my favourites from 10 Simple Projects For Cosy Homes.

Cabled Throw

We should hopefully be moving in November which is the perfect time of year to have a snuggly throw at the ready! Cables are a big favourite of mine, so this is very tempting.

Made with Pure Wool Worsted and Creative Focus Worsted knit together, it will be warm and also soft with the lovely alpaca running through it. The Pure Wool Worsted palette has over 50 shades so there’s bound to be something to suit every home, and the Creative Focus Worsted palette has a good range of shades that are warm or cool, dark or light, so there should be something to work nicely with most Pure Wool Worsted shades.

Garter Stitch BasketsThese garter stitch baskets are just adorable! I have no idea what I’d use them for off the top of my head, but I’m positive I could put them to good use. They’re made with Rowan Big Wool so they will knit up in no time and should be quite hard-wearing.

The pattern has small, medium and large sizes and, even better, you can get a small basket out of one ball of yarn and according to the pattern tips you can get a small and a medium out of two balls.

Garter Stitch Cushion

Cushions are a really easy way to add a splash of colour and identity to a room. Also made in Big Wool, the garter stitch texture on these really stands out and they look perfectly squishable! With more than 20 shades in the range, they could easily be made to match any lounge or bedroom.

I’ll definitely be knitting some cushions for my new lounge, once we’ve picked carpet, curtains and sofas too. So many choices!

Slippers

I never go anywhere without my slippers and I’ve wanted to knit some for ages now. Maybe these ones would be a good first attempt at my own handmade foot cozies.

There’s definitely a theme in my favourite designs, as these are yet again made from Big Wool! If I was to make these, I actually think that I might try the new Big Wool Colour which also launched last month.

With the same tension and meterage as Big Wool, its new counterpart is brilliant for combining with the solid shades to make a project more colourful and eye-catching. I particularly like Jamboree as it’s got that hint of autumn which suits my colouring so well.

106 Carousel 101 Fete 102 Fairground 103 Carnival 104 Jamboree 105 Waltzer

What have you knitted for your home that you really love? I’m going to be looking for all the inspiration I can get…

%d bloggers like this: