In which I talk about the joys of painting, drawing, knitting, cats, music, living in London, and whatever else takes my fancy.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Toby 2000 to 2013

The gorgeous and happy Toby shared my home with me and his mum, Poppy, for the last two and a bit years, although we actually knew each other for the whole of his life. When Toby and Poppy came to live with me in November 2010, they felt like the best birthday present ever!

Toby was chatty, loving, intelligent and generally the most fabulous cat to have in my life, and made so many friends, both in real life and on line via his tweets, and photos.

His purr was set to 11.

When not chatting to me and his pals, Toby loved nothing better than to sit in the garden watching the birds, insects and the grass growing, or rootling around getting his nose grubby.

"The bed's too big without you."

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

New Adventures In Knitting: My First Pattern

As promised on 30th January, here is my very first knitting pattern, carefully written out for others to use. A little owl finger puppet, who could be a wise owl, Hedwig, or the owl from my favourite Edward Lear poem, "The Owl and The Pussycat", or anyone you choose: the main thing is to have fun with him or her!

Little Owl Finger Puppet

Materials: - Small amount of double knitting yarn (about 2 g should be enough) - Small piece of felt or fabric in a contrasting colour - Small amount of Embroidery floss - Optional for the eyes: stick on googley eyes, or sequins or beads

- A pair of 3.25 mm knitting needles or 2 double-ended sock needles (or a 3.25 circular needle, my favourite)
- Plastic sewing needle or a bodkin - Embroidery needle - Scissors - Tape measure or ruler
- Pen or pencil to mark fabric

Gauge: not important just as long as the little owl perches snuggly on your finger tip!


Leaving a tail of about 30 cm (12”), and using cable cast on method, cast on 15 stitches.
Row 1: knit to end Row 2: knit 5, purl 5, knit to end. Repeat rows 1 and 2 another 6 times. Row 15: knit 5, cast off 2, knit1, cast off 2, knit to end (11 stitches). Row 16: knit 5, purl 1, cast on 1 stitch using thumb method, yarn round
needle, purl 1, yarn round needle, cast on 1 stitch using thumb method, knit 5 (15 stitches).
Rows 17 to 19: knit to end.
Cut the yarn, leaving a tail of about 30 cm (12”). Thread cut tail of yarn onto plastic sewing needle or bodkin, then starting from the opposite end to the yarn tail, slip the yarn through the stitches on the knitting needle, to create aLittle Owl knitting pattern - 05/02/2013 11:46 / 2 ring. Pull the yarn tight, but do not fasten off yet.

Finishing off:

Measure and cut out a rectangle 4 cm x 2 cm from the felt or fabric. Cut a length of embroidery thread about 50 cm (18”) long , and split into 2 x 3 strands. Use one of the strands to sew the felt or fabric behind the eye sockets as follows: turn your knitting so that the rough side is facing you, then carefully stitch a wide edge of the felt or fabric to the row of knitting above the eye sockets; then sow down the outside edge of the eye socket, along the bottom edge of both eye sockets, and up the outside edge of the other eye socket. Now turn your work to the right side. Next, give your little owl a beak by stitching a “V” shape at the bottom of their single knit stitch nose! Finally, add eyes, either by making french knots, or sewing on sequins, beads or using stick on googley eyes. Fasten off the embroidery thread.

Now, fold the little owl in half along length of head and body, so the knit edges meet. Using the yarn still hanging from the head, sew down towards the tail using tiny running stitches. This will create a shallow ridge where the knitted edges meet, to give the impression of folded wings. Fasten off. Next thread the cast on tail onto the plastic needle, then sew three 2cm (1”) loops where the bottom of the feathers meet. Secure the loops in place by using a slip knot, pulling tight, then fastening off the end. Now flatten the loops, and cut through to make 6 tail feathers. Use the point of the embroidery needle to unravel the yarn for a more feathery effect.
Pop little owl onto your finger and celebrate with a lively twit-twoo!

 Please ask if you have any questions about the pattern. I'd love to see photos of your finished owls!