Upcycled Mittens

Katie Holloway

Katie Holloway

29 October 2013

I love knitting. You've probably gathered that, from my previous blog posts and... well, from my job! But sometimes, just sometimes the pace of knitting frustrates me. As the air has become chillier I've been thinking how much I want some snuggly mittens. I know they won't be difficult to knit, I know I've got suitable yarn in my stash, and I know that I could create some beautiful ones. But I have several other projects on my needles that really definitely do need finishing first. And yet I can't bring myself to buy some when I could easily knit some... so of course the weeks go by and I still have cold hands. That is... until this weekend!

I saw an image somewhere of someone who had created mittens by upcycling an old jumper. So I decided to give it a go! And I thought I'd take some snaps along the way to show you how to do it so that you, too, can have toasty hands in no time at all!

Step 1

Take an old knitted jumper (I used 100% wool Aran one that sadly had a stain). Cut off both sleeves above the elbow and turn inside out.

Step 1 (5)

Step 2

Place your hand on the sleeve exactly where you want it, making sure to make good use of the cuffs, and mark with pins the outline to sew along. Place the pins about 1cm away from your hand the whole way round.

Step 2 (6)

Step 3

Set up your sewing machine and select a short stitch length. I used one number up from the shortest. The tension will need to be as high as it goes. Don't use a new needle as it will blunt it so that it's no good for further projects. Sew round the path marked by pins. This can be a little tricky if you're using a chunky knit. Just press the sleeve down and help to guide it through. Give your machine a good brush out afterwards as there will be lots of fluff floating around!

Step 3 (5)

Step 4

Trim the sleeve close to the stitches, being careful not to cut through the machined stitches. You may find it helpful to use a stitch unpicker to cut the knitted stitches close to the thumb gusset.

Step 4 (6)

Step 5

It should look something like this once it's trimmed. Then turn it the right way out.

Step 5 (7)

And here's the finished result!

Mittens (1)

Behind the scenes of our January shoot

Katy Evans

Katy Evans

28 October 2013


Beat the winter blues!

That's the theme of our January issue. Instead of muted pastels to ease you into the post-party season new year, we've gone for fun brights. The middle of winter is when chunky knitwear comes into its own and we're celebraing it with eye-popping bursts of colour and interesting textures.

This gorgeous over sized slouchy jumper has an elegant and on-trend dip hem and is in a seriously snuggly angora mix yarn.


This jumper is the one.


Eye-popping, head-turning, oh yes. 


This is the kind of jumper you live in all winter. At least we plan to!


Mix and match cute accessories jazz up any outfit. A pom pom hat is the hat to be seen in this winter. 


Plus for entertainment, gorgeous model Ianthe briefly starred in Made in Chelsea so we gots lots of on-set gossip about how 'structured' the reality show really is!

So there you have it, no winter blues here.. Ok maybe some blues... some pink... a splash of green, ochre... you get the picture!


Sneak peek at our November issue!

Katy Evans

Katy Evans

22 October 2013


Today is the perfect day for our November issue to go on sale. It is is crisp, clear and sunny. Definitely cold, definitely autumnal, but you want to be outside to enjoy it. Our November knits are inspired by a 'city chic' theme. A weekend break away maybe, or you just want to look glam as you're out and about in town (dare we say, starting to shop for a certain upcoming festive event...?)

Autumn dressing is about layering, so you are aways prepared for a bitterly breezy or surprisingly sunny day. 

Sian Brown's Cape is not only super stylish but has large armholes for wearing chunky jumpers underneath if needs be!

Cape Main _5053 (1)

The Colour pop blazer has on-trend flashes of colour but is still chic for a working day.

Colour Blazer Main _5593

Scarves, wraps, shawls, these are all-important accessories for autumn dressing! Kaffe Fassett's incredible Kilim wrap will keep all eyes on you!

Kilim Main _5107

This Chunky cable jacket adds an extra layer of warmth, it would be a shame to cover it up under anything else!  

Cable Jacket Main _5357 (1)

We just LOVE this Poncho by Sarah Hazell, and will be living in this until spring. 

Poncho Main _5181 (2)

How cute are these matching hat and scarf? Great autumn colours too. 

Hat & Scarf Main _5642 (1)

If you are on a weekend break you'll need a bag big enough to fit everything you need, there is no reason not to have a really cool looking one too.  

City Chic Bag Main _5383 (1) 

And, of course, our stunning cover, the Textured swing top by Fiona Morris. This ticks both boxes for snuggly warmth and head turningly gorgeous. 

Swing Top Main _5467 (1)

Also, don't miss in this issue:

  • 20 knits for City Chic - women's, men's, children's, babies, home and accessories
  • EXCLUSIVE patterns - Lace raglan top, Shawl collar wrap, Textured swing top, Colour Pop blazer, Basket st top, Cable jacket, Fairisle cape, City chic poncho, Cable tote bag, Hat and scarf
  • Cute knits for kids - Bell rib sweater, Patchwork poncho, Souffle, Cuddle cocoon, Humpty Dumpty
  • One to watch – Knit jewellery designer Amy Lawrence
  • FEATURE - A woolly business
  • Spotlight on - Faux fur
  • TECHNIQUES - Decreasing in lace, alternative elbow pads

And, of course, all the usual news, reviews, competitions, products and events you expect from your favourite Knitting magazine.



Knitting & Stitching Show 2013 – in pictures!

Katy Evans

Katy Evans

14 October 2013


So here it is, our time at the Knitting and Stitching Show 2013 in pics!

Arriving at the show we were greeted by the 'Cab Cosy' knitted by The Materialistics for an upcoming book launch. I love the poor cat on the grill!


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The Knitted Textile Awards this year were great. We had a really hard time judging them but with lots of guest judging and expert opinions from Professor Sandy Black (did you see her on the BBC's Fabric of Britain: Knitting's Golden Age?), Debbie Bliss, the UKHKA et al. we got there in the end and the winners will be announced soon.

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There was quite a lot of schmoozing, and even celeb spotting going on!

Clockwise from the top: Editor Emma catching up with Debbie Bliss, who is always good for a laugh; Me, getting some excellent gossip from designer Sarah Hatton on the Rowan stand. Nope, I'm not sharing; Catching up with Belinda of Ruth and Belinda, who leapt up to have her photo taken despite her broken foot; Stuart, a previous contestant from the Great British Sewing Bee, who had his own pre-signed headshots. Yup.

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Oh yeah, and here's me and Emma just hanging out with Patrick Grant and May Martin from the Great British Sewing Bee. You know, as you do. And yes, he's that handsome in real life.


We had a pretty good time. Did you go? What did you get up to? Let us know!


My first baby booties!

Katy Evans

Katy Evans

9 October 2013


There's nothing quite like one of your best friends having their first baby to bring out the 'what can I knit?' in someone. And this is exactly what happened to me. 

I am not an amazingly proficient knitter but I thought, even I can knit a baby bootie (not that I have ever done it before). I manged to find a very easy 2 straight needle pattern with a seam and, in front of an episode of Downton on a sunday evening, set to it.


I was quite amazed to discover by the end of the episode I had this!


It might just be the most perfect thing I have ever knitted and I am ridiculously proud. Knowing how touched my friend will be that I have taken the time to make something for her baby boy makes it even more special. I just wanted to share it with you lot, because if anyone will appreciate achieving something you've never tried before and knowing the pleasure it will give someone else, it's fellow knitters!


Sneak peek behind the scenes of our Dec shoot

Katy Evans

Katy Evans

8 October 2013




It is indeed beginning to look a lot like Christmas... There was a tree! Mistletoe! Christmas lights! Now I'm ready for a nice mug of mulled wine. Too early? No such thing (the mulled wine that is).

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Our December issue was shot in the most amazing house in the wilds of Kent. Seriously, it was like Downton crossed with Austen! Check out that library balcony!


Perfect for our gorgeous knits!

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We have our first exclusive design by Norwegian designer Eline Oftedal in this issue too, very exciting!


The knits are a lovely collection of glamorous...


... and seriously snuggly.

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Model Jess looked like she was getting into the whole spirit of things too! A gift? For moi?


So there you have it, Christmas in October. Not too shabby, eh? Sorry folks, you'll have to wait until 21 November to get it!


Sneak peek at our BUMPER October issue!

Katy Evans

Katy Evans

19 September 2013


We can't believe our bumper October issue has just arrived in the office! Some issues are gone in the blink of an eye and when they come in it's a pleasant surprise to flick through and refresh ourselves of what's inside it. Other issues you can work on for months, right up to the last possible deadline and before you know it, it's gone off to print and come back a tangible product.

But because bumper issues are so tangible, so glossy, so like a coffee table tome, it is always thrilling to finally get them in our hands and admire how pretty it looks.

With a lovely 41 patterns in this issue, we focused on two fashion stories based on trends straight from the catwalks of A/W13. The monochrome story showcases black and white and all the shades in between, while All about texture speak for itself. Featuring designs from Erika Knight, Louisa Harding, Debbie Bliss, Martin Storey, Jeanette Sloan, Judy Furlong and more, we're pretty sure you'll find something you'll love!

The monochrome story

Janis Main _4144 Gansey Main _4373
Plaid Jumper Main _4433 Lace Top Main _4197

All about texture

Houndstooth PI_3889 Margie Main _3522

 Tweed Main _3836 Buckland Main _3551

Also, don't miss in this issue:

  • 41 knits for Autumn - women's, men's, children's, babies, home and accessories
  • EXCLUSIVE patterns - Sanquahar coat, Checkerboard gansey, Garter st edge top, Tweed and lace cardigan, Chunky jacket, Stripe sweater, Wavy plaid jumper, Navajo jacket, Lace top, Leaf lace top, Colour pop bag, Bow ankle socks
  • EXCLUSIVE - British wool Unisex Sheep jacket by Martin Storey - Don't miss Wool Week!
  • Cute knits for kids - Girl's cape cardigan, Boy's wrap neck sweater, Fox Fairisle jumper, Eton Mess, Girl's bobble jacket and cowl, Baby bonnet and jacket, Ballet slippers, Textured baby blanket, Little chicks mobile and Fox and hen toy
  • Monochrome cushion collection by Sarah Hazell
  • FEATURE - Knitting up the Skeleton Coast
  • FEATURE - Craftdermy, the new craze
  • Spotlight on - Autumn gold
  • COMPETITION - Design a cushion and win yarn!
  • Knitting & Stitching Show - who, what, where and show discounts!

And, of course, all the usual news, reviews, competitions, products and events you expect from your favourite Knitting magazine.


Hand knitted by...

Katie Holloway

Katie Holloway

16 September 2013

Knitted By

It was my birthday last Friday and among other things, my husband bought me this lovely little stamp, that I thought I would share with you all. I had no idea you could get such a thing! If ever there was a way to encourage me to knit more presents, this is the way to it, and just in time too, as I'm just starting to think about Christmas presents (perhaps a little late for a knitter!)

In case you're wondering (I would be!) he said he found it on Notonthehighstreet.com so do have a snoop around there and see what you can discover! 

Fabric of Britain: Knitting's Golden Age

Katy Evans

Katy Evans

16 September 2013


Now the nights are drawing in and the evenings are a little darker, a little colder, we don't really need an excuse to stay in and curl up on the sofa, but the good old beeb is about to give us one!

BBC Four, in partnership with the V&A, presents Handmade in Britain; a season exploring the history of British decorative arts, starting off with a new three-part documentary, Fabric of Britain. Looking at Britain's relationship with fabric and textiles, the first episode, Knitting's Golden Age, starts Wednesday 18th September at 9pm. The next two episodes will focus on needlework and wallpaper.

It sounds pretty interesting, here is the BBC's synopsis:

Documentary telling the story of how knitting rose from basic craft to the height of popular fashion in the 20th century. It's a craft that has given us scratchy jumpers, sexy bathing costumes and the infamous poodle loo cover, has sustained Britain through the hardships of war and shown a mother's love to generations of little ones. Today, knitwear has become a staple of every wardrobe thanks to a prince's golfing taste, the Beatles and 1980s breakfast television. Warm-hearted and surprising, this is the story of the people's craft and a very British one at that.

Fabric Of Britain Knitting6

After a bit of sleuthing we have discovered good old Kaffe Fassett will be making a star appearance (here he is being filmed!) as well as Knitted Textiles Award judge Professor Sandy Black and vintage-loving designer Susan Crawford talking about knitted swimwear on Bournemouth beach, with contributors including the UKHKA, the V&A and the Knitting and Crochet Guild.

So we know what we'll be doing Wednesday night. If you want to join us watching you can tweet us at @KnittingMag. See you there!

Fabric of Britain: Knitting's Golden Age is on BBC Four Wednesday 18th September at 9pm. 


Vintage knitting patterns

Katie Holloway

Katie Holloway

10 September 2013

Vintage Pattern 1

We get a lot of interesting letters into the Knitting office, but every now and then we get one that takes the biscuit, and we recently had such a letter. Linda Smith from Hull wrote to us to tell us that she had found a collection of her grandma's knitting patterns from the '50s and '60s and very kindly sent them to us. She commented that styles and descriptive language has changed an awful lot - and, wow, is she right!

In some cases styles don't seem to have changed all that much, such as this women's jumper below. We've definitely had patterns similar to this in recent issues (though we may have described them as 'retro') but I'm not sure anybody nowadays would dress their kids like this!

Vintage Pattern 4

Further through the pile the patterns seem to get more and more bizarre, perhaps as time gets further away from the present. For instance, friendships are as strong today as they ever were, but I'm not sure that I would want 'co-ordinknits' to match even my best friend. Not sure that I'd want a matching knitted skirt and top either!

Vintage Pattern 8

The lady in the below pattern seems to have been so inspired by the hanging bananas that she has knitted herself a mohair jacket to match!

Vintage Pattern 2

Whereas the following lady is so overwhelmed by her pastel angora cardigan that she just might swoon!

Vintage Pattern 3

Thankfully in modern patterns the models used for male designs look a little different… (Katy thinks he looks like a Hitchcock villain!)

Vintage Pattern 5

The standfirst for the below pattern reads, "Hold The Line! While she tells you about her trim new jacket with its neat collar and effective easy-to-follow pattern." Well, at least she seems excited about it.

Vintage Pattern 7

Finally, I think the below feature takes the biscuit. Entitled 'zing' (perhaps a word we should bring back?) The text in the pink strip reads, "Suzanne and Pete are just an ordinary couple in average jobs, and with very average wage packets. But we had no hesitation in choosing them to illustrate our 'young moderns' feature because it was immediately obvious that here was a couple who really stand out in the crowd.

"The couple met at a staff party about a year ago and have been dating steadily ever since. Theirs is a full life, with many interests ranging from dining at their favourite little restaurant, to bowling at the local centre.

"Suzanne, as a secretary to one of her firm's executives, thinks that a neat and tidy office appearance not only looks right, but helps her efficiency too. Out of working hours she likes to feel gaily casual or smoothly sophisticated, as the occasion demands - even if she only has time for a quick switch of accessories.

"Pete is a travelling representative for the same firm. His major clothes problem is dressing for a job which keeps him out of doors most of the time, but which calls for an immaculate appearance if he is to create the right impression with the firm's clients.

"To illustrate how Suzanne and Pete approach their problems we chose three occasions calling for completely contrasting outfits, and sent them shopping."

Vintage Pattern 6

Oh, my!