The Stitch and Story slipper kit is a very popular gifted item on the stall. You may not know, that all the Stitch and Story kits are built and designed for beginner and I can now advocate, this one really really is.
As I'm sure you've seen, I've run beginner knitting workshops before, learning beanie hats and my own slipper pattern with t-shirt yarns - and this is not dissimilar, with 2 basic stitches, no increasing and some super simple decreases and you'll be done. SPOILER:- you are basically knitting a big square-ish-thing - that sounds simple enough, doesn't it?
The pack includes some beautiful stubby 12mm knitting needles, the yarn, pattern and instructions on how to knit - Stitch and Story also have lots of videos you can watch to help with this bit too! All you need to learn is how to cast on, a knit stitch and a purl stitch. It'll be a frustrating 5 minutes - but perseverance is key! I promise you'll have it and unending satisfaction in no time.
I knitted one slipper in an hour - so for beginners maybe allow 2-3? You'll see it growing quickly, which is super rewarding and in an evening you can get one done! The 100% merino wool is super super soft, will keep those toes warm (the pattern splits between sizes 3-5 and 6-8 for a snug fit) and you can make the cute little pom poms for the embellishment on top without any additional tools or cutting of card circles - the pattern recommends using a fork! - I used my fingers.
It is with a heavy heart that I report on this guy. I was exceptionally proud of this knit, perhaps in part because I had knitted an amazing jumper to go with it already (and being matching is both ridiculous and ridiculously satisfying) and because it only took 2 hours. None of those things leave one heavy, but the fact that two days after this picture was taken, proudly wearing my hat out for a civilised dinner and a few wines with my favourite ladies it was sadly mislaid, does. Fare the well my gorgeous, we had good times.
Luckily - I probably still have enough wool to make another one, once I'm finished mourning, because it's knitted from Wool and the Gangs Crazy Sexy Wool which comes in luscious 200g balls and this pom pom was made from jumper remains, so fingers crossed!
The thing I was keen to try with this knit was bobbles. I've been seeing lot of chunky knits on the instagram lately with beautiful baffling bobbly bits - and so I decided to unbaffle them. I'm not sure the extent to which I succeeded, but I loved this guy when he was finished, so happy times all round.
To 'bobble' I essentially I:-
0) got to the stitch in question (1)
1) increased the given stitch by 2 (3)
2) turned the work around to purl back across those 3 stitches (3)
(you only purl these 3, you don't go to the end of the row or complete anything else (don't pass go, don't collect £200)
- this is all contained and focussed on creating the one stitch into a bobble)
3) turned the work around again to knit back across those 3 stitches (3)
4) pulled the further 2 stitches over the closest 1 (essentially decreasing/casting off 2 to leave you with one again) (1)
To make a bigger bobble, increase by more, or do more rows in the step - and for smaller, do less.
To make your own bobbly beanie, you'll need a ball of the Crazy Sexy Wool, 12mm needles and a yarn needle. It went a little something like this:-
Cast on 40 stitches
Row 1-5: rib stitch - *knit 1, purl 1* (knitting again, I'd increase this to 7 if you're hoping for the folded over version) (40)
Row 6-9: stocking stitch - *knit 1 row, purl 1 row* (40)
Row 10: knit 4, bobble 1, *knit 7, bobble 1*, knit 3 (40)
Row 11 - 13: stocking stitch- purl 1 row, knit 1 row, purl 1 row (40)
Row 14: knit 7, bobble 1, *knit 7, bobble 1*, knit 6 (40)
Row 15 - 17: stocking stitch- purl 1 row, knit 1 row, purl 1 row (40)
Row 18: knit 2, bobble 1 without increase (so you decrease by 2),
*knit 5, bobble 1 without increase (so you decrease by 2)*, knit 4 (30)
Row 19 - 21: stocking stitch- purl 1 row, knit 1 row, purl 1 row (30)
Row 22: knit 3, bobble 1 without increase (so you decrease by 2),
*knit 3, bobble 1 without increase (so you decrease by 2)* (20)
Row 23: purl 1 row (20)
Row 24: decrease (knit 2 into 1) (10)
Row 25: purl 1 row (10)
Finishing: Cut a long tail, thread onto a yarn needle. Take the stitches off the needle and thread through starting with the furthest stitch from the tail, creating a loop which pulls the stitches together in a circles. Sew down the side of the hat and fasten off.
I added a big pom pom too. I was at my mum's house without pom pom makers and had a pile of left over little bits from my jumper, so I simply wrapped these all around my hand, pulled them off my hand carefully, tied the middle with the thinner piece of string nice and tight, cut the two ends where necessary, rolled the pom pom in my hands and pruned until even (Google hand pompoms for better youtube explanations!)
We've now welcomed December and as such, the world is ramping up it's efforts to get festive. Several times this weekend I've noticed groups and couples hauling trees, or bags packed with lights and tinsel and various bits and bobs to get into the spirit - and why wouldn't you? Christmas has a warm nostalgic tingle, most of the time. A rare moment in childhood when the family is together, warmth away from cold and the buzz of fairytale gift givers, twinkly lights bloody everywhere and the chance of snow. I can be a bit of a scrooge during these times, only caving in for mulled wine and a bit of a sing-along, but this year I've been getting right into it trying to think up ideas for workshops - which resulted in this guy, a pom pom wreath.
There's not much to it. You get a base, you make pom poms, you put them on the base. Voila!
For mine - and for the workshops - I've sourced a mix of chunky merino for super big fluffy bits and some organic cotton KPC yarn for constrast. I found it quite hard when googling around to find out how much yarn you'd need, and the conclusion I came to was more than you think! For bigger wreaths, some places were recommending a kilo of yarn, which can be quite an outlay. So the wreaths at the workshops will be 20-23cm in diameter, you can choose between a star, a heart or a traditional ring and you'll be given 300g of yarn (200g merino, 100g cotton) and 3 sizes of pom pom makers.
I'm pretty happy with mine - and no doubt will end up making a few more - and I like the fact you can keep it year after year. It's a great way to burn through that yarn stash, and for those with bolder tastes you can really go to town with colours and embellishment (fairy lights?). And once you've started why stop? You can go big (the arm knitting wool can be used for giant pom poms), you can make baubles and bunting, jewellery, add pom poms to your hats, accessories - everything. Everything can be pom pom-ed, let no one judge, we are all guilty. Grab a mulled wine, and off you go!