Category Archives: knitting

5 autumn knitting patterns

5 Autumn Knitting Patterns

AUGUST 2019 UPDATE

Hi, I’m Karen and thank you for checking out my 5 Autumn Knitting Patterns blog post.  I’ve recently updated it with some of my latest knitting projects, so it’s now 6 patterns!

I run a small contemporary B&B in beautiful South Shropshire, England ( the view below is the one I wake up to every morning ). Shropshire isn’t on the tourist map – it’s just next to Wales – but once people visit they fall in love. Over 70% of my B&B guests are repeat visitors. Click here to find out more about Shropshire and why my guests keep coming back  here.

I taught myself to knit again 4 years ago and have become a bit addicted to beautiful patterns and lovely yarns. I also love to cook, spend time with my husband and rescue dog, Saffy,  take photographs, enjoy wildlife and just love the countryside.

Enjoy a long weekend in the country in Shropshire this autumn. Wrap up warm and enjoy a long walk kicking up leaves

If you’re on Instagram please do follow me for more of beautiful Shropshire

Back to the original blog, which does contain some affiliate links for wool – I have a yarn habit to maintain but I only link to yarns I love.

Whilst I don’t want to wish summer away too soon, I do look forward to autumn.  It’s my very favourite time to go away. We usually head to the English countryside, spending the day taking long walks,  kicking leaves and enjoying the countryside. I like to finish the day with a long soak in the bath with a good book. Then an evening curled up knitting in front of the TV.

When I start packing for my holidays these days, the thing I get most panicky about ( I have my capsule wardrobe sorted thanks to Pinterest ) is what knitting I’m going to take with me. To save you the same panic,  if you’re packing for a relaxing break away in the country,  I thought I’d share my very favourite top 5 autumn knitting patterns for you to enjoy. A couple  of the patterns are particularly suited to travel knitting.

If you want to enjoy a few days relaxing in the Shropshire countryside this autumn,  check availability, book a few nights at Hopton House and pack your knitting needles today!

1. Decorate your house with knitted pumpkins

5 autumn knitting patterns | knitted pumkin

I normally buy a few mini pumpkins to decorate the house in autumn, but last year I discovered this pumpkin knitting pattern. I’ve become a bit addicted to knitting these, which is good because everyone loves them and wants to take them away.

You can use any weight wool you have handy. Your pumpkin will be smaller or larger depending on the wool you use.

I knitted a beautiful little green pumpkin using one of my favourite yarns, Rowan felted tweed DK, I love it in avocado. You can buy it online from LoveKnitting here

Green knitted pumpkin - pumpkin knitting patter. 5 knitting projects to bring on your autumn trip to Hopton House B&B here in Shropshire

2. Wrap up in a beautiful Guernsey Wrap

5 autumn knitting patterns | wrap yourself in a Guernsey wrap

I’ve made 4 of these Guernsey wraps now. It’s my go to wrap for when I get a bit chilly. In fact I’m wrapped in it now as I update this blog. The wrap also works really well as a chunky scarf.

I made the first wrap with the recommended wool, but the second 2 with DROPS Nepal, which is a lovely springy alpaca / wool blend and is also very cheap!

My very favourite orange Guernsey wrap was made in this lovely West Yorkshire Yarns Spinners Croft. The leftovers also proved useful for a few pumpkins too!

Burnt orange knitted Guernsey wrap on kitchen table

3. A beautiful simple shawl in 2 colours

This is Passegiata by Woolenberry. It’s a really simple, but so effective,  knit.  The pattern uses a fingering wool but I use Malabrigo Rastita, which is DK, as I had some to use up from another project.

Teal and light green shawl, wrapped round a tailor's dummy

4. Get ready for winter with a knitted hot water bottle cover

5 autumn knitting patterns | hot water bottle cover

This is a fabulous free pattern for a knitted hot water bottle cover. It’s quite clever as you can adapt it to any size of hot water bottle. You can make it plain or add your own coloured design or cables.

5. A Quick Shawl fit for a bride

This beautiful shawl is made out of 1 100g skein of sock type yarn. It’s rosewater by Woolenberry and took me just a week to knit. I bought the yarn in Seattle on a holiday to the West Coast to the states. It’s Madeline Tosh Merino Light. Unfortunately the colourway, Cove, is discontinued but they have lots of other beautiful colours.

Grey blue lace rosewater shawl hanging on white wall

6. Groovy DK Portland Shawl

I feel in love with this yarn on our West Coast trip.  We were in Portland and I found a very posh yarn shop. My poor husband was stuck in the local Starbucks for a while. I’m afraid I can’t remember the name of the yarn but it’s 100% alpaca and came in 300g skein, which they kindly wound for me. The pattern is Groovy DK 

It is a really simple knit with just rows of knit and purl. It’s a great travel knit and I got through quite a lot of it on the long plane journey back to Heathrow.

Green groovy shawl on table with Emma Bridgewater greenfinch mug

5 autumn knitting patterns | some great knitting patterns to knit when the weather turns cooler | great Christmas presents

Please note that this blog post contains some affiliate links. I only ever link to products I use myself and recommend 100%! I don’t make a lot from this but it all helps with my rather large monthly vet’s bills

Shropshire Yarn Shops

We’ve just come back from our Summer Break on the North West Coast of America. We had a great time visiting Vancouver BC, Seattle, Portland and Cannon Beach on the Oregon Coast.

We did a lot of sightseeing, walking, wildlife spotting and lots and lots of eating. I also discovered a new holiday passion and that was finding local yarn shops. It’s the first time we’ve been back to America since I discovered the knitting bug and I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed visiting lots of lovely woolly shops!

For those of you that don’t knit or crochet you’re probably a bit perplexed by now, but those of you that are yarn addicted will understand.

So we’re back from holiday, a little jet lagged; it’s an 8 hour time difference. I’ve set 4 alarms to make sure I’ve been up in time for breakfasts this week, Luckily I have lovely repeat guests in who wouldn’t be too cross if I was snoozing whilst on duty.

I spent far too much on yarn whilst I was on holiday. I’ve just finished a shawl using the beautiful green alpaca yarn that I bought in Portland, Oregon.

Green knitted shawl with greenfinch mug - shropshire yarn shops

It got me thinking about the lovely yarn shops we have here in Shropshire, so I thought I’d share my favourites with you, so you can do your own yarn shop crawl when you come to visit

1) Ewe and Ply, Shrewsbury

Ewe and Ply is a fabulous little shop on the gallery level of Shrewsbury Market Hall. On Instagram they describe themselves as “Purveyors of fine yarns, quality notions and sundry items. Unreformed yarn geeks”

Shrewsbury Market Hall is a wonderful place to visit with lots of wonderful shops as well as some great restaurants and cafes.

2) Sheepish, Bishops Castle

Sheepish is in the market town of Bishops Castle, about 12 miles from us. They are passionate about promoting British and fairtrade yarns. They’re very friendly and happy for you to sit and peruse patterns.

Bishops Castle has a couple of galleries, cafes, good pubs and a few microbreweries. It’s home to the oldest brewery in England. All ideal if you’re with a reluctant yarn shopping partner.

3) Ippikin, Much Wenlock

Ippikin is another small, but perfectly formed, local yarn shop in the market town of Much Wenlock. It is a well established wool shop stocking fabulous yarns; both local and independent specialists as well as all the brand names. And also very friendly too.

Much Wenlock is a wonderful market town, with interesting shops, a fabulous priory and great pubs and cafes. It’s also very close to Ironbridge.

Free Knitting Patterns

I’ve become a bit addicted to knitting over the last 2 years since I taught myself to knit again. To start with I was always on the look out for free knitting patterns, so I thought I’d share a few with you here. A lot of my original creations are still around but I’m pleased to say I am very gradually getting better.

As I’ve got better at knitting I find I’m happy to pay for some well written patterns and to spend more on beautiful yarns. Here are some of my favourite autumn knitting patterns.

Knitting is brilliant for so many reasons and becoming increasingly trendy.

Knitting does have its dark side of course. I’ve become a yarn addict and most of my spare cash now goes in secretive yarn purchases. Mr B&B’s heart sinks when I spot a new yarn shop when we’re out and resigns himself to spending an hour in a local café whilst I indulge. I have even started planning excursions when we’re on holiday around new and exciting yarn emporiums.

If you’re planning a trip to Shropshire here are my favourite local yarn shops

The other downside is that I have stopped racking up so many steps on my Fitbit. I have solved this by perfecting my walk’n’knit technique.

Knitting also has lots of surprising health benefits, some of which are described here in the New York Times

If you’re new to knitting or want to improve your skills, the internet is full of great knitting resources. I taught myself from videos on YouTube. There are lots out there but I recommend Very Pink Knits

If you want to buy yarn then check out your local yarn shops ( LYS ) but you can also buy some fantastic wool online ( sorry non UK people this is a bit UK centric ).

My very favourite is Loop in London – I paid an in person visit there a few weeks ago – oh my.

Otherwise I like Love Knitting.

Here are some free knitting patterns to inspire you!

1. It’s not too late to knit yourself some Christmas decorations.

2. If you’re fasting and still want some gingerbread then knit yourself some – guaranteed calorie free!

3. The shops are full of big chunky scarves these days but so easy to knit

4. Is your Kindle feeling the cold? Then knit it a jumper

5. Or a jumper for your favourite 4 legged friend

6.  Welly toppers are a super quick knit and great stocking fillers

7. Is the family expecting a new arrival this year?

8. Want to keep chickens but don’t have the space – knit yourself some

9. Feeling adventurous? chunky jumpers for the whole family

10. Treat yourself to a pretty lace shawl

11. There are lots of things you can knit for charity too

12. I just love this little Miffy rabbit

13. Reading 50 shades of grey on the train – then this knitted book cover may come in useful

14. Some little heart coasters ready for Valentines Day

15. Wash and dish cloths are a popular starter project.

16. I needed an easy knit for a trip abroad that involved lots for planes, trains and automobiles. This cowl was very quick and very effective in a beautiful hand painted variegated yarn

Free one skein cowl knitting pattern

New Knitting Workshops for Autumn Winter 2016

We have some new knitting workshops for the autumn winter 2016,  including shawl knitting, improving your knitting and sock knitting. Take a look at our shiny new website for details. The workshop will be held in our dining room here at Hopton House. You’ll be able to enjoy our wonderful views of the Shropshire countryside, the birds and chickens, whilst learning your new skill. There’ll be coffee, tea and homemade cake available throughout the day and a locally sourced buffet lunch. Anna Wilde, who will be running the workshops, is a very experienced knitter and also a great trainer. With Anna’s expert help you’ll learn how to cast on, cast off, knit, purl, create different patterns and, also how to correct mistakes in your work. The workshop will start at 10.00 and finish by 16.00. If you need accommodation, it will be available at Hopton House on a first come first serve basis, or, if we’re full, we can arrange it at local B&Bs just a 5-10 minute drive away. We’ll provide everything you need to complete a small project in a day; needles, yarn, darning needle and an easy pattern all in a bag for you to take away. The cost of the workshop will be £85 including refreshments throughout the day, lunch and your goody bag. Places are limited to a maximum of 6. To secure a place, we ask for a £35 deposit, which can be paid by debit or credit card over the phone, paypal or bank transfer. The remainder is payable on the day of the course. Please call Karen on 01547 530885 or email info@shropshirebreakfast.co.uk Please note that the deposit is non-refundable if you cancel unless we are able to resell the workshop place. Oxeye daisies in our wildflower meadow - Shropshire B&B

Learn to Knit Workshop in the Shropshire Hills!

As a fairly new, and now completely addicted, knitter, I’m very pleased to announce we will be running a series of knitting workshops here at Hopton House.

The first workshop will be “Learn to Knit” for beginners ( or those, like me, who may have knitted a bit years ago but have forgotten it all! )

The workshop will be held in our dining room here at Hopton House. You’ll be able to enjoy our wonderful views of the Shropshire countryside, the birds and chickens, whilst learning your new skill.

There’ll be coffee, tea and homemade cake available throughout the day and a locally sourced buffet lunch.

Anna Wilde, who will be running the workshops, is a very experienced knitter and also a great trainer. With Anna’s expert help you’ll learn how to cast on, cast off, knit, purl, create different patterns and, also how to correct mistakes in your work.

We have 1  workshop planned on Thursday 5th May. It  will start at 10.00 and finish by 16.00. If you need accommodation, it will be available at Hopton House on a first come first serve basis, or, if we’re full, we can arrange it at local B&Bs just a 5-10 minute drive away.

We’ll provide everything you need to complete a small project in a day; needles, yarn, darning needle and an easy pattern all in a bag for you to take away.

The cost of the workshop will be £85 including refreshments throughout the day, lunch and your goody bag. Places are limited to a maximum of 6.

To secure a place, we ask for a £35 deposit, which can be paid by debit or credit card over the phone, paypal or bank transfer. The remainder is payable on the day of the course. Please call Karen on 01547 530885 or email info@shropshirebreakfast.co.uk

Please note that the deposit is non-refundable if you cancel unless we are able to resell the workshop place.

IMG_1068

Knitting in the Shropshire Hills

My Secret Knitting Obsession

I was a bit of a swot at school and all of my teachers loved me, with 2 exceptions. I was always hopeless at PE. By age 14 the teachers had given up on me and games lessons were spent “doing cross country”. OK that meant walking round the field chatting with the other PE no hopers.

The other teacher who spoiled my otherwise shiny report card was the domestic science teacher. This may come as some surprise to those of you that know how important food is to me and how much I enjoy cooking.

The problem with cooking classes at school was that,  whilst everyone else was perfecting fairy cakes, I was already cooking quite complicated curries and other dishes at home.

The other thing I really disliked about DS, as we affectionately called domestic science, was that I couldn’t sew or knit for toffee. I made and embroidered a pencil case once but that was it.

Something strange happened when I was 17 and I had a little burst of knitting activity. I knitted my Dad a Doctor Who scarf and knitted myself a mohair cardigan. But then I went to university and that was knitting finished with.

Then much to everyone’s surprise ( not least mine ) earlier this year I suddenly picked up the knitting needles again.

Knitting to lose weight!

I’ve been following the 5:2 fasting diet for nearly 3 years now. Too many leftover croissants and being home all day had seen me put on 3 stone – I can inhale 600 calories just clearing the table after breakfast. Those 3 stone have now all gone I’m pleased to say.

Even though I’ve lost the weight I continue to fast for health benefits and to allow me to enjoy my food for the rest of the week. Knitting really helps me keep busy and stops me thinking of food all day on those days when I’m not eating till the evening.

I also spend far too much time on my mobile phone. Again knitting  distracts me and keeps me away from the technology for a few hours.

Like many new knitters I started with super chunky yarn and quickly knitted scarves and hats. I then progressed onto some fairly basic tea cosies – a B&B can never have too many tea cosies.

There are a couple of things I really love about knitting. Once I’ve knitted something it’s there and stays there for the long term.  I also love all the new skills I learn.

Learning to knit with YouTube

YouTube is a revelation to newbie knitters. If I’m reading a pattern and come across a new term or technique I just head to google and I’ve learned a new skill. Until just recently I’ve been avoiding any patterns that mention “knitting in the round” but last week I’ve learned how to use a circular needle and the magic loop method and have made a hat.

I’ve also discovered a whole community of knitters out there – many of them existing friends. A post on facebook about knitting will generate a whole load of comments and answers to questions.

So here’s a bit of my knitting history

Here are my first attempts at super chunky infinity scarf and gloves. I didn’t really understand about gauge and the difference in UK & US needle sizes.

knitting fingerless mittens and an infinity scarf
First knitting attempts at a scarf and hat

I then moved onto teapots. They’ve evolved over the year from very basic super chunky to using 2 colours to full on novelty squirrel!

3 teapots showing an improvement in skills!
An evolution of teapots

I’ve learned how to use 2 colours. There are quite a few jar cosies sprinkled around the house. This reflects a bit of a frustration with knitting when I really wanted to knit but couldn’t decide what to start next.

The pin cushion was knitted in one afternoon following a bit of a social media backlash following a picture I posted of a teddy bear I was using to store my pins

knitting Jar cover and pin cushion
Jar cover and pin cushion

If you’ve visited Hopton House in the past you’ll have seen the lovely felted tea cosies made by my very talented web designer, Anna Wilde of PerfectArc . Inspired by Anna’s work I’ve had a couple of goes at felting. I’m quite pleased with the results and my next felting project will be my own felted tea cosy.

As soon as we both have a free day, Anna has promised to take me to a fabulous wool shop in Wales this autumn. If you’d told me a year ago that I would be quite so excited about a visit to a wool shop, I really wouldn’t have believed you.

Felted flower and pot cosy knitting in the shropshire hills
Felted flower and another pot cosy

In the spring I started my first attempt at lace. This was one of those “quick projects” that I found in a knitting magazines ( I’ve bought quite a few of those too…. )

Once I worked out what slip one knit one meant – this took a few days with help from my knitting buddies on facebook and the lovely Rita who helps me with the B&B – this turned out to be a great pattern and I made a couple of scarves.

My further attempts at lace weren’t so successful. Most of the patterns I tried required a much higher degree of concentration than I’m able to give.

Pink and green lace
My first attempts at lace

Inspired by my friend, Penny Thompson, who is a talented knitter of bears and dogs ( amongst many other skills! Check out here lovely self catering cottage near Tenbury  ), I bought a book on how to knit dogs.

I’ve been avoiding starting any dog projects because I just don’t like ( and I’m not any good at ) the sewing up. However following on from the success of my squirrel tea cosy I decided to brave a couple of small dogs. These 2 are knitted from the same pattern but using different wools. I have more fur wool in the post – watch this space….

I’ve been contacted by a few people to ask where the dog pattern is from. They’re the Sweetheart pattern from Sue Stratford’s lovely book “Knitted Dogs and Puppies”  which is available here

2 tiny knitted dogs
Meet Carson & Hughes my first knitted dogs

My latest acquired skill is knitting in the round. I did have an aborted attempt at knitting socks on double pointed needles – too fiddly. But there are so many patterns I couldn’t do  because I couldn’t knit in the round, that I decided to give them a go.

YouTube again was my tutor. I’ve learned how to use circular knitting needles and also how to use the magic loop method ( which means you can avoid using DPNS – double pointed needles )

I’ve just finished a cable hat in the round ( oh cabling I forgot to tell you I’ve learned how to do cables ). Here it is with my the first hat I made right at the beginning of my knitting journey.

knitting ribbed and cabled hats
First attempts at ribbed hat and more complicated cabled knitting in the round

My next project is to knit some gloves for my daughter. I have ordered a pattern and some more wool ( also in the post ) and some wrist warmers for me.

Please do leave a comment and let me know if you have any favourite knitting projects you think I should be trying. I look forward to hearing about your knitting triumphs and disasters!