Moontree Pillow Pattern by IamSnowfox

Welcome back dear readers in 2014! 

It has been quiet on my blog as I’ve been so busy the past few weeks. I moved house just before Christmas, so the last weeks were spent painting, unpacking boxes and decorating. I took a little timeout between Christmas and New Year to go to Austria and recharge my batteries (and eat lots of grandma’s Christmas cookies).
My knitting needles and designs lay neglected in my suitcase as I was too busy snowboarding, walking the dog and sleeping.
Austria was covered in snow, and during one of my evening walks while looking at the bare trees glistening with frost under a full moon, the idea for the Moontree Pillow was born. 

IamSnowfox_MoonTree_Pillow

This pillow gives the illusion of colourwork,  the tree motif is embroidered on after the knitting is finished, giving the tree a slightly raised and more defined texture than if it was knit into the the fabric. It also means you’ll only knit with one colour at a time, making it a great colourwork project for a beginner knitter.
The pattern is available for download in my Ravelry Store

I have used new Rowan Yarns Pure Wool Worsted for my pillow, it’s a wonderfully soft, superwash yarn that comes in a whopping 50 shades.
The colours are beautiful and vibrant and the colour palette is well chosen, making this new yarn an instant stash staple.
My pillow was knit using colours Moonstone and Ivory, but it would look gorgeous in any colour combination.

IamSnowfox_MoonTree_PillowI will be giving away the pattern to one lucky reader for free! Simply comment on this post and tell me what your favourite thing about winter is! Competition runs until February 2nd and the winner will be announced on the IamSnowfox facebook page  and Twitter.

Good Luck!

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Manly Honeycomb Mittens Knitting Pattern

Manly Honeycomb Mittens Pattern

Mr Fox has been complaining about cold hands all winter last year, and who am I to not take mercy? I thought long and hard about what kind of mittens to make for him, since he tends to be rather picky and doesn’t necessarily go for colour combinations I would choose. I toyed with the idea of making just plain old solid-coloured mittens, as they tend to be quick and easy, and wouldn’t make me grumble if he lost them, but then my knitting pride took over and I wanted them to be at least a little bit fancy. The instructions will make a pair of adult men’s size mittens. I will include alterations for a women’s sized pair at the end of the pattern as well. Check out my Ravelry project page!

I settled on a knitted honeycomb mitten pattern and Rowan Yarns Creative Focus Worsted, a mix of 75% Wool and 25% Alpaca in shades Natural and New Fern. I already had single balls of each colour in my stash and thought they looked rather nice together. The mittens are lovely and soft, and the pattern makes them wonderfully thick and squishy. Wearing these, Mr Fox’s paws will be toasty all winter! And after knitting a pair I had enough yarn left over to make another pair for myself.

Pattern:Manly Honeycomb Mitts inside

You will need:
1 skein of worsted weight colour A (Main colour)
1 skein of worsted weight colour B (Contrasting colour)
1 set of 3,5mm dpns (I use sets of 5)
1 set of 4mm dpns (I use sets of 5)
Safety pin or stitch holder
Tapestry needle to weave in ends
Stitch Marker (optional)

Cast on 40 sts with colour A on 3,5mm needles, distribute evenly across needles and join. Place stitch marker (optional).

Cuff:
*K2, P2, rep from * until end. Repeat this row 24 more times for a total of 25 rows (or adjust to whichever length you prefer).
Change to 4mm needles.*Inc, P4, rep from * until end (48sts).
Purl one row.

Honeycomb Pattern:
Part 1:
Row 1: *K4 with colour B, Sl 2 purlwise of colour A, rep from * to end of row.
Repeat this row 4 more times for a total of 5 rows.
Tip: Make sure colour A is at the back when starting each row. For neat colour changes, carry up colour A in the back (Great tutorial here).
Row 6: Purl
Row 7: Purl
Now alternate pattern as follows:
Part 2:
Row 8: *K1 with colour B, Sl 2 purlwise of colour A, K3 with colour B. Rep from * to end of row.
Repeat this row 4 more times for a  total of 5 rows.
Row 13: Purl
Row 14: Purl

Thumb*:
For a man’s pair of mittens, repeat pattern 2,5 times (5 rows of honeycombs, or 3 reps of Part 1, only 2 reps of Part 2).
When you are about to purl the last two rows, insert thumb as follows: P2, put 7 sts on stitch holder. Cast on 7 stitches, purl to end of row. Purl one row.
*When you have finished your mitten, knit thumb with colour A by picking up the 7 stitches from holder plus additional stitches for a total of 14 sts. Knit all rows until thumb is long enough. Finish by K2tog around.

Knit the pattern 6,5 times (13 rows of honeycombs, or 7 reps of Part 1, 6 reps of Part 2), or adjust until the mittens are long enough.

Finish the tip with Colour A:Manly Honeycomb Mittens Closeup

Row 1: Knit
Row 2: *K2tog, K4, rep from * to end of row (40sts)
Row 3-4: Knit
Row 5: *K2tog, K3, rep from * to end of row (32 sts)
Row 6-7: Knit
Row 8: *K2tog, K2, rep from * to end of row (24sts)
Row 9-10: Knit
Row 11: *K2tog, rep to end

Thread yarn through remaining stitches and pull tight, weave in ends. Tah dah!

For the Ladies:

How to adjust the size of the mittens:
If you’re knitting for an average woman’s sized hands, insert the thumb after 2 pattern repeats (4 rows of honeycombs), or after 1,5 pattern repeats (3 rows of honeycombs) for small hands. I find 48sts a good width for both men’s and women’s mittens, but you can adjust this if you’d like them wider or more snug. The pattern is worked over multiples of 6 sts, so simply add or deduct multiples of 6 sts from the total of stitches to make them wider or smaller. For my hands a total of 5,5 reps of the pattern is long enough (11 rows of honeycombs), simply adjust by adding more or less pattern repeats.

Toadstool Kami

Did I mention that I have a bit of an obsession with mushrooms of all shapes and sizes? Me and mushrooms go back a long way, to a little me who helped her parents gather chanterelles in the mountains in summer and who had more books about mushrooms and tickets to the mushroom museum (yes, there is such a thing as a mushroom museum..  only in Austria) than other kids my age had marbles in their pockets. 20 years later I still love mushrooms, be it as dinner or design object. It is about time the Kamis showed some colour. They like mushrooms too. They actually live in them, I’ve heard. They definitely like dressing up as one. See for yourself ;)

If you like Toadstool Kami, you can find him in my Etsy Shop.

Toadstool Kami Troll doll IMG_0189_sml IMG_0194_sml

The Day I became a Rowanette

I have some exciting news! A few months ago Rowan were looking for brand ambassadors, the so-called Rowanettes/Rowanets. They were looking for people who are passionate about crafting with Rowan Yarns, are creative, web savvy and willing to dedicate time and resources to the Brand. Rowan Yarns have been my all-time favourite since I can think, and the majority of my creative work features their beautiful fibres. They required us to take a picture of ourselves in our latest Rowan knit and send it in along with a short description of why we would be prefect for the ‘job’. Having always dreamed of being somehow associated with the brand, I didn’t need telling twice.

I had had my eye on a skirt that I had wanted to make for quite a while, and what better excuse to procrastinate on housework than this? After one dedicated weekend of knitting, assembling and taking pictures I sent my application off, crossing my fingers and hoping that I had what they were looking for. It took a few months and some stalking of the Rowan facebook page until I heard back (apparently they had several thousand responses!), and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that I had made the shortlist! There were a few more things I had to send in before they made their final decision, but I must have done something right as I got chosen and am now officially a Rowanette! I am beyond excited and can’t wait to get started.

Here’s the picture that I sent in for the competition, skirt is River knit in Rowan Limaalong with another shot that shows the back a bit better. I absolutely adore it, Lima is such an amazing yarn, so soft to the touch and it comes in wonderful shades. The skirt was easy and quick to knit, and it fits perfectly. I knit a size S with 4,5mm needles and used up nearly 4 balls of yarn. It’s great for winter layered over tights or jeans and will also be really nice in spring still with some floaty tops and  a nice cardigan. The pictures were taken in September 2012, but I’ve worn it all winter and am thinking about making another one as it’s become one of my wardrobe staples.

Rowan River in Lima

The skirt is so cozy I am constantly tempted to snuggle with it, it’s that soft!

iamsnowfox_river

Check out the project page on my Ravelry if you have some time!

Out with the old..

That was quite a bit of radio silence.. My cold got (once again) the better of me and I had to lie low and try to finally get all those evil flu monsters out of my system. I spoke to my doctor and he and I both agreed that I would need lots of rest, lots of fresh air (but don’t overdo it) and an extra dose of TLC. So I did the only reasonable thing: I went to Austria, to the small town in the mountains where my grandma lives. Mountain air, hot springs, grandma’s cooking and home remedies finally seemed to make a difference and I am, for the first time this year, feeling almost like the usual me. Not difficult when the first thing you see when you open the windows in the morning is pretty white snow and mountain cabins.

Snowy Garden Austria

Room with a view

As much as I love winter, if you live in a country where there isn’t a lot of snow and the world is just grey and cold and wet for a long time, winter gets to even the toughest cookies. Being ill for such a long time drained me of my usual energy and enthusiasm and left me feeling bland and lacking motivation. Being back home in the mountain house I’ve loved all my life was the necessary boost I needed to get me back on track, and it didn’t take long for me to start working on things again. It’s a time of quite a few big changes in my personal life, and sometimes we forget to look at the bigger picture and get carried away worrying about the little things. It’s in times of change that I try to remember that at the end of the day all it takes to ground us is doing things we love and feel passionate about. Like crafting. Or a walk in the snow.

Snow covered lake

Snow covered lake

So as soon as I returned home (bags heavy with new things I made while recovering), the light box was set up and pictures taken, and there will be an update in my shop very soon. To give you an idea about what’s coming, here’s a sneak peak of some new trolls I made. Since plants have been so present in my life in the past few weeks, it’s no wonder they’ve been creeping into my creations as well :)

Amigurumi troll doll Kami

Sneak-a-peak

Husky Kami

In my last post I already mentioned how much I like working with natural materials. That doesn’t only apply to my crochet creatures, but to pretty much all of my creative ventures. Be it decorations for the house, gifts or things that just come in handy, I always think it is best to look to nature to provide us with materials, as they will last, are sustainable and usually have a unique beauty. 

I have been sick at home for a few days now, which gave me some time to work on new projects and finish old ones (though my pile of WIPs is still considerable..), and make some more stock for my shop. Husky Kami is easily my most popular troll at this point, and what’s not to love?

Husky Kami White Amigurumi Troll

He’s made from organic sheep’s wool (Bluefaced Leicester to be precise) which is wonderfully soft to the touch and fluffy up nicely when brushed. When I first came up with the trolls I thought of forest creatures, subdued hues, nothing too bright. What a surprise it was when this one just wasn’t having it. He was cute with brown eyes, but something was missing. I handpaint all my doll eyes, so usually have a variety of colours lying around somewhere, and I thought: Why not.. And that’s how he became what he is today.

Trolls in trees

My evil cold that’s been plaguing me for a few weeks now has flared up again, so I thought I’d post some happy pictures to cheer everyone up on this cold and grey day. I love making these little chaps. They are such happy mischiefous creatures, and they come in so many variations. All my trolls are made from pure wool, unless specifically requested otherwise. I have made vegan versions, but personally I always prefer natural fibers over artifical ones. Whenever I travel to a new place, my path always leads me to the yarn shops, farmers markets and little independent artists. I have recently taken up spinning myself and am saving up for a wheel of my own, there is so much to learn.. I have a passion for handcrafted things, and I love being in nature and working with what I find during my walks in the woodlands behind our house. The yarn used for this troll is Rowan Colourscape Chunky, which has a lovely handspun look and check out how pretty the colours blend on this guy’s tummy.

 Kami crochet amigurumi doll

Moss Slippers for Mr Fox

England is not necessarily known as a cold country. We do however get a few weeks of frost, and recently have also been blessed with small but nevertheless delightful amounts of snow. Our home is on the edge of woodland, which means there are hardly any buildings to shelter the house from the cold and wind, and therefore it gets very cold at night. Both me and Mr Fox were struck down by a terrible cold and spent both Christmas and NYE in bed. We did try to go out for a little bit on the 31st, but I fell asleep on our friends’ couch halfway through the party.

Unfortunately, we live above stingy people who don’t heat their flat at all and consequently our floor is very cold despite the carpet. As a result, we constantly suffer from cold feet. One of my new year’s resolutions was to create more this year, and to take better care of me and mine, so I ventured out in the snow yesterday to get some wool for a pair of crochet slippers for Mr Fox. Rowan has a wonderful range of chunky Yarn called Big Wool that I love working with. I found some pretty wooden buttons that I think will look amazing with the green hues I’ve chosen. I will post a picture of the slippers as soon as they are finished, and I might even write up a pattern, so check back soon.

Rowan Yarn for Moss Slippers with wooden buttons

Rowan Big Wool and wooden buttons