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Another installment of gift ideas for knitters! This one focuses on patterns.

Mochimochi Land (http://mochimochiland.com/shop/)

Some of the mochi mochi patterns I have made in the past

An online shop and blog from New York. Probably some of the cutest toy patterns around, they are based on the idea of amigurumi. This is basically cute knitting at a small or tiny size, but some of the mochimochi patterns are a lot bigger. The toys aren’t traditional knitting subjects like teddy bears or rabbits but odd monsters, tiny vikings and squirrels on roller skates. Awesome! Individual patterns cost from $3 to $7 which works out pretty good for us UK knitters with the current exchange rate. Books are also available through the site, but since US to UK shipping is extortionate you are better going through amazon or waterstones. Some books are even available on kindle, which is nice and handy as a portable pattern!

Ravelry (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/knitting)

Ravelry has a lot to answer for, in a good way. If you are a knitter then you probably already know about it, if you don’t then go pay it a visit! Free, easy to use and with more knitting patterns and knowledge than you could ever need. You need a log in to use it, so maybe more one for knitters buying for other knitters. It has thousands of free patterns but if you really want to make a knitters day and they are on Ravelry, then check out if they have any patterns in their wish list, queue, favourites or shopping basket that you could buy for them. Many start from just £1 and the recipient will usually get pdf files sent to them, although some patterns are also available in hard copy if you like to wrap things!

Ysolda (http://ysolda.com/patterns/)

Some Ysolda patterns I have made in the past.

Bit biased here, since I’m sure there are lots of other Scottish designers who have lovely patterns too. But I haven’t knitted any of them, and I have made up some of these Ysolda ones. If you are looking for a gift for someone who likes to knit pretty lace, simple toys in the round or cosy cabled jumpers then there are some good options here.

Amazon would also be a good place to look, if you know the username of the person you want to buy for, since the wishlist feature can be very useful.

Some other tips, if you can, would be to check whether the person you are buying for has knitting preferences for patterns. These can include things like:

  • do they prefer knitting in the round or flat? Some patterns can be lovely but if they never knit in the round they might never use them and vice versa!
  • do they have a particular favourite yarn weight? It’s no use buying lovely lace shawl patterns if they only ever knit in chunky aran weight.
  • will the pattern you intend on buying mean that they might need other accessories? For example, more stitch markers or a certain size of needle.

The knitting group I have been going to since moving back to Edinburgh has had to find a new home – sadly, the Tea Tree Cafe on Bread Street shut down this week.

I first starting going to the TT when I found the group on Ravelry in about April 2010 (http://www.ravelry.com/groups/tea-tree-tea-knitters). I can’t recommend Ravelry enough for just beign awesome. It’s free to join, has a database of around 192,674 knitting patterns, and around 67,845 yarns. as well as a huge international community of knitters of all ages and abilities. It’s like Facebook for knitters but a hell of a lot better. You can add projects to your profile, link it to the pattern apge, link it to the yarn page and see who else has made the item. and how they did it and what they used. Properly inspirational and easy to use.

The technology behind the site is pretty impressive too, geeks and anyone else interested can find a summary here: http://codemonkey.ravelry.com/2011/02/12/ravelry-in-bullet-points/. Impressive in that the whole thing is run by a team of around 3 people. I like that. It’s homey and cosy and I like the spirit of it. If only we could make a Ravelry for archaeologists…. :p

But back to the group – I think of them as my sort of extended knitting family. All lovely people, who come together for something they love and it doesn’t matter what else you do, where you work, age or experience. You only have to share as much as you want, and the escape from everyday life is lovely. The TT knitters have knowingly and unknowingly helped me through some really difficult/upsetting/stressful events without even knowing. Sometimes, knitting group gives strengh to get on with life when you can’t find it anywhere else. On call help for projects is nice too!

Finding a new cafe that will be willing to take up to 25 people at a time, who can quite easily take over the place with yarn and cake is hopefully not going to be too much of a challenge. We are trying out some places on a trial basis this month but any ideas would be welcomed.

Needs to be: in Edinburgh city centre (ish), space for up to 25 folk and their knitting, buggy accessible and have yummy tea, coffee and cake. Optional: wifi, comfy chairs!

Any ideas?

*do a happy dance*

I realised I have 102 projects on Ravelry, so here, for you knitting folk, is a run-down. End here if you aren’t interested in knitting!

Works in progress

  • 1 of these is a long term blanket and unlikely to be finished anytime soon.
  • 1 just needs ends sewn in and blocked.
  • 1 just needs some embroidery.
  • 1 just needs a photo but the yarn isn’t playing nice with the camera.
  • only 2 need more knitting done!

Most favourited by others
Most of my projects aresn’t favourited by more than 1 person, if at all, so special mention to the following:

Personal achievements this year include a few lace shawls (for my sister and for a friend), some socks and my first felted project.


I’ve a few big plans for knitting for the rest of this year, and I feel like I’ll need to sign up to a few challenges on Ravelry before the year is out – any ideas?

I want a cat but this has been vetoed by the OH. So, I decided to make some squishy knitted cat friends instead. Using another fab pattern from Mochimochi land (available here to buy, just under £3 at the current exchange rate).

Instead of the recommended worsted weight wool I’m using some acrylic double knit and I won’t be felting the kitties, because felting scares me. I’ve got the mini and medium cats done so far, but with no legs. The legs have a tricky bit of ‘wrap and turn’ going on – christ knows what that means, it might as well be voodoo, so until I have been initiated into that dark art I’ll leave them partially limbless.

If you are a Raveler (and if you knit you really should be), see the project in progress here.