In a pickle with your dc and your hdc? Stuck with sc and sl? Can’t decide between tbl and tfl? Then I hope this table of abbreviations goes some way to help 🙂

bo bind off
cc contrating colour
ch-sp chain space
co cast on
dc double crochet
dc2tog double crochet 2 together
dec decrease
hdc half double crochet
inc increase
k knit
k2tog knit 2 together
lp loop
mc main colour
p purl
p2tog purl 2 together
psso pass slipped stitch over
rep repeat
rnd round
rs right side
sc single crochet
sc2tog single crochet 2 together
sl st slip stitch
sm slip marker
st stitch
st st stockinette stitch
tbl through back loop
tfl through front loop
tog together
tr treble crochet
ws wrong side
wyib with yarn in back
wyif with yarn in front
yb bring yarn to the back
yf bring yarn to the front
yo yarn over


Isn’t it ironic?

….. Or so said Alanis Morrisette and never has a truer sentence been uttered! A couple of weeks ago you’ll remember I wrote about losing my sew-jo and about my despair at my creativity seemingly vanishing. Well, it came back (hooray I hear you all shout!) but the irony is that there have been too many darn germs knocking about for me to do anything at all about the rediscovered love of all things crafty. Oh the sadness of staring at a Hobbycraft bag brimming over with goodies but yet you have neither the energy nor the motivation to get out of your sick bed and have a play ….. Not that it’s just my germs though, oh no, one of the joys of having school age children is that they bring home every bug going. If there’s an illness to be caught then mine will be first in the queue, just begging the germs to bring it on, like some weird dual and we all know who will win. So over the last couple of weeks, we’ve had colds, sore throats, headaches and the dreaded sickness bug which resulted in the youngest member of the Riley household sleeping on the bathroom floor. Just when I thought that perhaps the arrival of spring might herald a phase of being bug free, I also came down with what will now be referred to as ‘The Cold From Hell’ (I’d trademark that if it were a little more catchy). I swear that the common cold thinks I’m it’s mothership because when I get a cold, I really get a cold. Not just a little sniffle and some polite and discreet nose blowing for me, no, I go all out with my colds. A tsunami of snot takes over, my head pounds, my eyes run like a Justin Timberlake song (literally, Cry Me a River), my limbs ache and I sneeze so loudly they can hear me on the other side of town. Never one to do things half heartedly, it’s a case of ‘go big or go home’ or in this case ‘go big and go straight to bed’ 🙂 So, my sewing machine will stay silent, my knitting needles will remain in their case and my crochet hook will think I’ve forgotten what it’s for. The quilt I was going to start will have to wait for another day and my list of projects will continue to grow but only in my head because for the time being the germs have well and truly taken over ….. send Lemsips, Lucozade and don’t forget to buy shares in Kleenex! 🙂

Night night, I’m back off to bed!




Pick Ups!

A couple of posts ago, we learnt all about Wrap & Turns which are super good when dealing with socks and anything else that requires a gentle curve, HOWEVER ….. the eagle eyed amongst us will notice that once you’ve completed the W&T’s there are tiny gaps between the stitches. To rectify this, we need to pick up the stitches and make them ‘live’ again. Here’s how  …..

Picking Up Knit Side 

  1. With the right hand needle (working from front to back), pick up the wrap 
  2. Immediately after, insert the right hand needle into the wrapped stitch as if to knit
  3. Knit both the wrap and the stitch together.

Picking Up Purl Side 

  1. Insert the right hand needle into the wrap from back to front
  2. Using the right hand needle, lift the wrap up and over the wrapped stitch on the left hand needle
  3. Purl both the wrap and the stitch together.


Stretchy Bind Off

Imagine knitting a sock and finding that the cuff is too tight to get over your foot or knitting a jumper and finding you can’t get your arm through the end of the sleeve ….. a nightmare yes? This is where a stretchy bind off comes in useful so lets get going and learn how!

  1. Put the right hand needle through the back of the first two stitches on the left hand needle. Knit them together.
  2. Slip the new stitch from the right hand needle back onto the left hand needle.
  3. Knit through the back of the first two stitches on the left hand needle.
  4. Repeat from Step 1 until you have only one remaining stitch. Cut a tail long enough to weave in and pull it through the last stitch ensuring its tightly finished so it doesn’t undo.

Result? A wonderfully stretchy bind off and no more struggling to get your feet into sock tops that are just too tight 🙂

Happy New Year!



Wrap and Turn

Have you ever seen the term ‘w&t’ in a knitting pattern and thought ‘what the …..’ ? It’s not there because someone fell asleep with their head on the keyboard, it stands for Wrap and Turn which is the technique for working short rows. Short rows are a brilliant way of adding a gentle curve to knitting work such as socks or shoulders and if you knit you really should learn how to ‘w&t’ 🙂

Wrap and Turn Knit Side

  1. Insert the right hand needle purl wise into the next stitch on the left hand needle.
  2. Slip the stitch onto the right hand needle and bring the yarn round to the front as if to purl.
  3. Slip the stitch back onto the left hand needle and bring the yarn round to the back. Turn the work ready to work a row of purl stitches.


Wrap and Turn Purl Side

  1. With the yarn already at the front, insert the right hand needle purl wise into the first stitch on the left hand needle.
  2. Slip the stitch onto the right hand needle and bring the yarn to the back as if to knit.
  3. Slip the stitch back onto the left hand needle and bring the yarn back to the front. Turn the work ready to complete a row of knit stitches. 




Seed Stitch

Probably my all time favourite stitch when it comes to knitting, seed stitch is one of those things that looks really complicated but is actually super simple. It provides texture and density to what could otherwise be a fairly bland pattern. Add to that that seed stitch is an incredibly versatile stitch, suitable for all sorts of projects and whats not to like?!? 🙂

Wondering if you could work the seed stitch? Well, if you can knit and purl (I’m going to presume you can!) then the answer is yes! It’s as simple as this …..

  1. Cast on an even number of stitches.
  2. Row 1 – k1, p1 to the end of the row.
  3. Row 2 – p1, k1 to the end of the row
  4. Repeat until the end of the project.

The end result is a beautiful texture of little tiny bumps that look as though they were scattered by the wind.

Enjoy the seed stitch! 🙂



A little late to the party with this one but it’s still October so it still counts right?!? 🙂 Socktober is one of those things that has been slightly hijacked by Instagram so everyone could be forgiven for thinking that this is where it all began, however there’s slightly more to it than just flashing a picture of your latest woolly offering. Let me explain …..

Originally launched by Brad Montague four years ago, the aim of Socktober is to provide an easy yet effective way of helping the homeless by simply donating a pair of socks! Not just one pair mind, Socktober is not the time for stinginess, so the idea is to start a sock drive. Whether it’s at your place of work, your school or a group from your neighbourhood, the aim is to collect as many pairs of socks as you can, gather them all up and donate them to a local homeless shelter. This is where #socktober comes into play because these days nothing spreads something like wildfire quicker than putting a hashtag in front of it 🙂 Instagram, Facebook, Twitter ….. go mad and share the love for Socktober on them all! Of course, people don’t just need socks (although they do help on a cold day), there are plenty of other items that homeless shelters could benefit from such as donations of toiletries, bedding, clothing and tinned / dried food but socks definitely help.

Sometimes it’s the smallest acts of love that help make a difference so whether you buy them or make them, donate some socks to this worthy cause and help make someones day a little nicer 🙂

  • Visit the following sites for more details …..


  • For a list of homeless shelters in the UK …..








It’s good to be square!

Knitting squares and joining them together to make a blanket is something so basic that everyone can do it. However sometimes, although you want to enjoy the simplicity of such a blanket, it just needs something that little bit more. This is where mitred squares come into play. Incredibly basic but yet they look so oh so good 🙂

Mitred squares can be made with any yarn and any corresponding size needles so they make for a really great stash buster and they really are as simple as this …..

  1. Decide how many stitches long you want one side of you square to be and cast on said number. Place your stitch marker on to mark the middle point and then cast on the same number of stitches again.
  2. Row 1 – Knit all the way across, slipping the marker when you get to it.Row 2 – Knit to two stitches before the marker. K2tog, slip the marker, ssk and continue to knit to the end of the row.

3.  Repeat the above two rows until you have 4 stitches left.

4.  Working on the right side, knit the first decrease and remove the stitch marker. Knit the second decrease which will leave you with two stitches.  Working on the wrong side, bind off using a basic bind off method.

You’ve now got one mitred square which you could admire lovingly or perhaps do something a little more substantial with such as knitting some more and joining them together to form an afghan 🙂






Well that’s August done and finished with for another year but don’t be sad because it means we get to welcome in September 🙂 Not really autumn but definitely not summer, September is a glorious ‘in-between’ sort of month. If it were a person, it’d be Forrest Gump – wonderful but never quite fits in!
So, what did last month bring? Well, another superbly eclectic mix of half finished projects and an ever growing list of new ones that I’ve yet to start plus a couple of rare ones that I’ve actually completed! There’s a sweater still sitting on my circular needles, a project bag that was finished in French Knots and lined with adorable dachshund printed fabric as a birthday gift, as well as a shawl which HAS to be finished by Christmas (we’ll see if this ever comes to fruition!). All of which brings me nicely to the subject of WIPs (Works in Progress). I don’t know about you but I tend to flit between projects like most people change their socks. Monday I’ll be all about the knitting but come Tuesday it’ll be sewing that grabs my fancy. Hence why so many projects on the go at once. In all seriousness though, there are so many amazing things that I want to do and try and learn that it’s near impossible to get my brain to concentrate on just one thing at a time. No matter though, there’ll be plenty of time for sitting still when I’m a genuine old lady (as opposed to the pretend old lady I am now!).
But back to September, you just can’t help but love it. Everything starts getting ready for the chilly season and our thoughts turn from t-shirts to jumpers, from sandals to socks. Yarn related projects jump upon our needles and help us while away dark, cold evenings. Ooh I’m excited just thinking about it 🙂
Until next time!


Kitchener Stitch

Kitchener stitch, possibly named after Earl Kitchener during World War 1 but then again, possibly not. It seems no one is too sure of exactly where or how it originated. One things for sure though, its guaranteed to cause palpitations in all but the truly seasoned knitter but whether it’s socks or shoulders the Kitchener stitch comes in super handy for seamless, well, seams! 🙂

Used as a finishing technique in knitting, Kitchener, or Grafting as its otherwise known, is a way of invisibly joining two sets of live stitches. Contrary to public opinion the Kitchener stitch really isn’t all that tricky. Once you’ve done it a couple of times, it’ll be like riding the proverbial bike and you’ll be wondering what all the bother was about.

So, lets get to grips with this right now. You’ll need two pieces of ‘live’ knitting (you can just knit two small samples to practice with if you like), a darning needle and some scrap yarn.

  1. Hold both pieces of knitting next to each other, wrong side to wrong side and put the threaded darning needle through the first front stitch as if to purl. Pull it nearly all the way through but leave enough of a tail to weave in later. 
  2. Still holding the knitting pieces tightly, push the needle through the first back stitch as if to knit
  3. Bring the needle round to the front and pull it through the first front needle as if to knit. Pull the yarn all the way through and take the stitch off of the needle. 
  4. Push the needle through the first front stitch as if to purl but this time, leave the stitch on the needle. 
  5. Take the needle all the way through the first back stitch as if to purl and take the stitch off of the needle. 
  6. Pull the needle through the first back stitch as if to knit but leave the stitch on the needle.

Now, you need to repeat steps 3 – 6 until all of the stitches have been worked. Remember to keep  tightening the new stitches every now and again to ensure an even tension.  The tricky bit is keeping track of where you got to after the initial first two steps so remember –

KNIT – front – OFF

PURL -front – ON

PURL – back – OFF

KNIT – back – ON

It really is as simple as that 🙂