Mutti’s Cushion

Exactly a year ago today another Angel joint the heavenly realms – my Mum.

Fondly called Mutti by me and my siblings and Mimi by my daughter, she now spreads her wings over the sky looking down on us.

Around the time of her passing, I received a package from South Africa containing beautiful yarn sent by Carle (the owner of Nurturing Fibres Yarns) for me to try out.

As a professional player with yarns working from my studio in North Wales, I love trying out new yarns and cooking up new things for you to make. Every day when I work in my studio I can feel Mutti’s presence by my side, her voice speaking softly to me, sometimes telling me to stop dreaming and getting on with the job in hand.

Mutti was a lifelong lover of crafts of all kinds and I can’t ever remember a time when her hands weren’t busy making something. When she was young she made her own clothes and then, when my sister and I where little, she would spent hours making beautiful clothes for our dolls, sitting up late into the night before Christmas, putting finishing touches to little doll’s dresses. However, knitting was her real passion and she created many beautiful things with a pair of sticks and some string.

With that in mind, being able to cope with my overwhelming grief and the knowledge that my hands needed to make something in memory of her, I decided to use the beautiful yarn from South Africa and Mutti’s cushion was born. She had always wanted to visit that amazing country, but in the end she ran out of time.

Using two shades of the super soft Nurturing Fibres Super Twist DK, a 100% Merino Yarn, I decided that I wanted to do some stranded colour work for the cushion and living in the British Isles, what better than using traditional Fair Isle patterns. Traditionally Fair Isle patterns use only two colours per row or round and limit the length of a run of any particular colour. Even though many use the term Fair Isle for any stranded knitting, it is actually reserved for the characteristic patterns of the Shetland Islands.

Initially when I showed Carle photos of the finished cushion she liked it very much and suggested to offer the pattern as a KAL (knit along), unfortunately this never happened.

Today is the first anniversary of Mutti’s passing and I need to commemorate this day with something special.

I have decided this is the perfect day to release the pattern for the cushion for free and offer it as a download PDF via my Ravelry Store https://www.ravelry.com/designers/heike-gittins .

It would make me so happy to see many cushions being made around the world helping me to spread my Mutti’s shining light across the globe. I ask you to please share your photos by tagging #muttiscushion on social media.

Please stay safe and well during this difficult time 🙂

Sending love, Heike xo

Going Green – a free pattern

I think it is fair to say that we have all got a pretty good idea on how we are polluting our planet and that each and every one of us needs to wise up and do more to help save it. In today’s throwaway society we all need to start thinking about how we can make a difference in our everyday lives to minimise the pollution of our land and seas by cutting down on landfill rubbish. Everyone can do their bit, there are lots of ways to help and no matter how small, everything counts.

One area that has a huge impact on the amount of rubbish ending up in landfill and our waterways is the personal care industry. Most items are sold in plastic containers that are often non-recyclable and most wipes and cleansing pads contain polyester, polypropylene, wood pulp and a cocktail of plastics, making them non-biodegradable.

Swapping your single-use, disposable wipes and cotton pads for a more sustainable alternative will mean you are making a difference, both to your skin and the planet. Isn’t it time that we cared for the planet as much as we do for our skin. 

You can of course purchase some reusable cleansing pads; they are becoming more and more available at a cost. If you are reading this likelihood is you are a crafter, in which case you can easily make some by following my easy instructions for these crochet pads using organically grown cotton. Of course you would want to store them somewhere too, so why not make the storage pouch at the same time.

All you need is some DK cotton yarn, knitting needles for the pouch, crochet hook for the pads and some of your time. A small amount of your time that will make a big difference to the beautiful planet that we call home.

Enjoy 🙂

Materials:

50g Eco Cotton DK for the bag (I used Nurturing Fibres Eco Cotton DK)

Small amount of cotton fabric for the lining

15cm Zip

4mm knitting needles

Matching size cable needle

Small amounts of Eco Cotton DK for each of the crochet pads (UK terms)

4mm crochet hook

Darning needle

Simple Pad

Ch5, ss to form a ring.

Rnd 1: Ch1 (does not count as st), 12dc into ring, ss to join.

Rnd 2: Ch2 (counts as htr), htr in same st, 2htr in each st around, ss to join. (24htr)

Rnd 3: Ch2 (counts as htr), htr in same st, *2htr in next st, 1htr in next st; rep. from * around, ss to join. (36htr)

Rnd 4: Ch2 (counts as htr), 1htr in each st around, ss to join. (36htr)

Rnd 5: Ch1 (counts as dc), 1dc in same st, 1dc in each of next 2sts, *2dc in next st, 1dc in each of next 2sts; rep. from * around, ss to join. (48dc)

Fasten off and weave in ends.

Puff Pad

Ch5, ss to form a ring.

Rnd 1: Ch1 (does not count as st), 12dc into ring, ss to join.

Rnd 2: Ch1 (does not count as st), work 1 3tr-puff in each dc around, ss to join. (12 puffs)

Rnd 3: Ch1 (does not count as st), *1dc on top of puff, 1dc in space between puffs; rep. from * around, ss to join. (24dc)

Rnd 4: Ch1 (does not count as st), work 1 3tr-puff in each dc around, ss to join. (24 puffs)

Rnd 5: as rnd 3 (48dc)

Fasten off and weave in ends.

Note: 3tr Puff = (yarn over hook, insert hook into stitch, yarn over hook, pull up a loop) 3 times into same stitch. You have 7 loops on hook. Yarn over hook again and pull through all 7 loops. Ch1 to secure stitch.

Front Post Pad

Ch5, ss to form a ring.

Rnd 1: Ch3 (counts as tr), work 11tr into ring, ss to join. (12tr)

Rnd 2: Ch3 (counts as tr), 1Fptr in same st, work 1tr and 1Fptr into each st around, ss to join. (12tr +12Fptr)

Rnd 3: Ch3 (counts as tr), 1tr in same st, 1Fptr around Fptr from prev rnd, *2tr in next st, 1Fptr around Fptr from prev rnd; rep. from * around, ss to join. (24tr + 12Fptr)

Rnd 4: Ch1 (counts as dc), 1dc in next st, 2dc in next st, *1dc in each of next 2sts, 2dc in next st; rep. from * around, ss to join.

Fasten off and weave in ends.

The Bag

Cast on 41 stitches and work in Moss stitch for approx. 14cm – incr. 1 stitch in last row.

Next: Work 13sts in moss stitch, 16sts in stocking stitch, 13sts in moss stitch for 8 rows.

Next row cable row (RS): Work 13sts moss stitch, slip 4sts to cable needle (cn) to front, k4, k4 from cn, slip 4sts to cn to back, k4, k4 from cn, work 13sts in moss stitch.

Next row: Work 13sts in moss stitch, P16, work 13sts in moss stitch.

Next: Work 13sts in moss stitch, 16sts in stocking stitch, 13sts in moss stitch for 10 rows.

Next row cable row (RS): Work 13sts in moss stitch, K4, slip 2sts to cn to back, k2, k2 from cn, slip 2sts to cn to front, k2, k2 from cn, k4, work 13sts in moss stitch.

Next row: Work 13sts in moss stitch, P16, work 13sts in moss stitch.

Next: Work 13sts in moss stitch, 16sts in stocking stitch, 13sts in moss stitch for 8 rows.

Next row cable row (RS): Work 13sts in moss stitch, K4, slip 2sts to cn to front, k2, k2 from cn, slip 2sts to cn to back, k2, k2 from cn, k4, work 13sts in moss stitch.

Next row: Work 13sts in moss stitch, P16, work 13sts in moss stitch.

Next: Work 13sts in moss stitch, 16sts in stocking stitch, 13sts in moss stitch for 10 rows.

Next row cable row (RS): Work 13sts in moss stitch, slip 4sts to cn to back, k4, k4 from cn, slip 4sts to cn to front, k4, k4 from cn, work 13sts in moss stitch.

Next row: Work 13sts in moss stitch, P16, work 13sts in moss stitch.

Next: Work 13sts in moss stitch, 16sts in stocking stitch, 13sts in moss stitch for 7 rows.

Next row (WS): Cast off.

Weave in all ends. Sew in the lining and the zip.

If you prefer to print a PDF document containing all these patterns you can do so. For a small fee to cover the cost of my time writing out the pattern it is available in my Ravelry store HERE.

Happy making! xo.

Hello March

Hello March! The month when we welcome spring and also celebrate St. David, the patron saint of Wales. The first of March sees celebrations of his life here in Wales, where I live, with flags, decorations and good wishes abound. Daffodils, the national flower of Wales, are bringing joy to our homes and soon there will be fields of yellow everywhere.

I had a colourful start to the month too. Firstly I got my colour report from the lovely peeps @yearofcolour over on Instagram

I get one every month and love this way of keeping track of which colours I have used throughout the year. The report is absolutely free, all you need to do is visit their profile page on Instagram and request one.

I also started my Memory Cushion a couple of days ago.

This is a crochet along hosted by my friend Carle of Nurturing Fibres in South Africa. The pattern is absolutely free and can be downloaded HERE 

The crochet along is called The secret Garden CAL and I have chosen colours that remind me of my childhood in Germany and flowers I picked with my dad when I was a little girl. This will become my memory cushion (my dad passed away just before Christmas last year) and will live in my studio.

Using Nurturing Fibres Eco Cotton Yarn I so enjoyed starting and working on this that I have finished Part one already and now eagerly await the next part to be published.

I am also making good progress on my Jumper that has still No Name! (Any ideas please let me know).

My aim is to finish the jumper in time and ready to wear to Edinburgh Yarn Festival in just over two weeks – fingers crossed.

One last thing I want to share is this painting which I absolutely love:

Many of you know my husband is a very talented artist in his spare time. He doesn’t get much time for his creative hobby, but from time to time he creates art works that make my heart sing and his latest watercolour painting of Snowdonia’s Mountain Range is one of those. This is a keeper!

Wishing you all a colourful creative week!

Heike xo

number two – cape point

Half way through February already, doesn’t time fly when you are having fun!

How exciting it was when I received my Christmas Yarn box from Nurturing Fibres at the beginning of December last year. Filled with the most beautiful yarn, a yarn so soft and pretty…the brand new Eco Lush! Just look at these colours…

…and adding to my joy, it also contained pretty Eco Bamboo Bonbons.

I knew I had to come up with something very special for this new baby in the Nurturing Fibres Eco Yarn Family and today I am feeling proud and happy to introduce you to my latest design.

Meet Cape Point – a lofty and light large crochet shawl for all occasions, named after a spectacular place with towering stone cliffs, breath-taking views and rolling green hills just a short drive outside Cape Town. It may not be the southernmost point of Africa, but Cape Point certainly makes you feel as if you are standing near the edge of the world with crashing waves hitting the jagged cliff coastline.

I used Nurturing Fibres Eco Lush Yarn for my sample but Eco Bamboo would work just as well. Both yarns are delicate and soft next to the skin and have a beautiful drape. Eco Bamboo also has just the right amount of sheen for a little added glamour.

The shawl features two colours (two oceans) and simple pattern repeats, all finished with a stunning border (jagged cliffs).

Available as instant download in my Ravelry Store with a 20% Discount until midnight on Sunday 17 Feb. 2019 (GMT) – Just Click HERE 🙂

Hope you like it xo

number one – kimberley shawl

Meet Kimberley – a shawl so light, yet cosy and warm and the perfect shape to keep you snug on cold winter mornings or cool summer nights.

Kimberley is like a precious diamond to me. It is my first design in 2019 and sits perfectly within the changes for the coming year. It is also the first design as a Brand Representative for the lovely people of Nurturing Fibres.

Nurturing Fibres is a Indie Yarn Label based in South Africa. Started by Carle Dehning in the mid- 2000’s, the company now employs more than 10 local people who contribute with their varied skill base to the growing success of the label.

Being extremely conscious of their environment, the dye house at Nurturing Fibres was designed to run with lowest possible environmental impact, using solar power to heat the water for dyeing which is gravity fed instead of being pumped. Yarns are dried naturally either in the sunshine or over the Aga Stove and all skeining and balling is done manually.

All wool used for dyeing is from local free ranging sheep that are non-mulesed, the cotton is locally grown and while not certified organic, it has been farmed with these principles.

I was overjoyed when Carle chose me to be one of her global Brand Representatives and it gives me the greatest pleasure to introduce you to this, my first, design using her beautiful yarn.

The Kimberley Shawl uses Nurturing Fibres Super Twist Sock Yarn. A 100% Merino Wool available in over 30 colours, this is a super soft yarn perfect for shawls as it is beautifully drapey and can be worn next to the most delicate skin.

Kimberley is a three-colour shawl, worked in garter colour blocks and basic brioche stitch bands. The pattern is easily adjustable to suit your individual preference and style.

The beginning and end of each row contain increases and decreases, which create the shape of the shawl – a triangular, sideways and bias knit shawl with a curved top edge which fits nicely around the neckline.
The basic brioche stitch bands are easy to achieve, even for someone new to this technique, and there are plenty of video tutorials on YouTube if you are at all unsure.

The pattern is available from today in my Ravelry store, just follow the link on the right hand side menu and as a special thank you, receive 20% off this pattern between now and mid-night Sunday (13th January 2019).

I hope you will love making it as much as I have loved creating it for you.

Warmest wishes, Heike xo



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