Vix Knits… and crochets and sews…

My adventures in the wonderful world of arts and crafts

FO: Nancy Slipover

Craft-wise, it’s been a pretty good couple of weeks. I think there are two main reasons. One: I can’t afford to buy yarn so I’m finishing off some old WIPs and dipping into my stash to work on some smaller projects. Two: I need some sense of accomplishment and an escape from some other issues.

So, drumroll please, I dug out and finished my Nancy Slipover! I’m not even sure I’ve mentioned this but it seemed the ideal project to use up the yarn I had leftover from my Lace Cardi (remember that nightmare?!)

To be honest, I can’t remember why I put it aside but Ravelry informs me that I started it a year ago so it’s long overdue.

The pattern is by Emma Varnam and appeared in an Inside Crochet but I can’t remember which

Here it is!


The bottom edging is a little shorter than it was supposed to be because the yarn ran out but I had room for a button (I’m not sure if the button is really neccessary)


But is sure is pretty. I actually bought it for my wedding capelet but it didn’t go so it’s been sat in my sewing box for a while. I think it’s a pretty good fit for the style and the colour of the slipover


It has a deep v-neck which, combined with the open lace pattern, means I can change the look of it with different clothes underneath


The stitch pattern is made up of sections of trebles and fan stitches so it’s easy to work but the shaping at the neck was a little tricky


The edging is plain doubles but neatens up the edge and gives the whole thing a bit more structure



The outer edge is worked straight up to give a bit of a sleeve and edged with doubles again.

I didn’t bother blocking it because it doesn’t have a ‘shape’ as such and the edging keeps everything from curling up too much

I’m rather looking forward to wearing it tomorrow (and kicking myself for forgetting about it today!)

I’m also working on my craft room wreath and several crochet mice but more on that another day


Lace Cardi – finished (part two)

So, you all know I’ve had problems with this pattern (see previous post – Problematic patterns)

But you also know I’m stubborn as a mule so I stuck with it, worked it out and finished my lovely cardi (see yesterday’s post – Lace Cardi – finished!)

I fell in love with this pattern instantly when I got the magazine (Inside Crochet issue 32) and had seen some lovely statement buttons that were just perfect.

So, the yarn and buttons were top of my birthday wish-list last year and Steven did a great job of choosing the colour.

When it came to casting on however, I had problems from the start.

My tension never matches the pattern but I kept coming out in between sizes and ended up needing to use a larger hook than I was comfortable with for 4ply yarn.

I think it works mostly because of the stitch pattern, if there were more trebles or fans or anything, I think it would look really bad.

Then, because the main piece is worked all-in-one, I was working on over 200 stitches. Or should have been. Because there were so many, I kept miscounting and ended up 30 stitches short.

I’d really struggled with the first few rows but the size seemed okay so I decided to make the best of it.

The next problem I had was joining the main piece and the sleeves since the pattern tells you to end with a DC row but then join with a DC row. This, however, was fairly easy to sort out.

I took out the last row on each piece and then joined them according to the pattern. Problem solved.

But then the rest of the pattern called for far too many rows. I pondered this one for a fair while.

Without completing the pattern, I had no idea what it was supposed to look like (no schematic) and the pattern gave no clue as to which of the sizes was shown in the picture (sometimes different sizes require different treatment).

I decided the simplest way to solve this problem was to make it up as I went along. Thankfully the stitch pattern is quick and easy so ripping it out isn’t really an issue (just irritating).

Looking at my notes, I thought the best place to start was to just work fewer rows before the shaping so the rows at the end were still the same.

It worked! First time!

I’ve decided the problem is that different sizes are apparently worked out using a formula and some pieces aren’t test crocheted in all sizes so no problems are flagged.

While I was really disappointed with the whole escapade (and the fact that I’ve got nearly two whole balls of yarn left!) I feel most let down by the magazine publishers and the designer.

I kept a constant eye out for errata and posted on the Inside Crochet facebook wall for help but I heard nothing.

Ravelry was no help either, there are four ‘projects’ listed under the pattern: one is mine; one the designers; one the magazines; and the last says that the crocheter isn’t really doing much these days.

I was also surprised to see that the designer had only used two balls of yarn to make the piece. I’ve used much less than two balls but the pattern instructed me to buy three (that pesky formula again?)

So, overall those six/seven words really do sum up my feelings about this piece but it’s made me very wary about printed patterns in general and Inside Crochet and Vicki Brown patterns in particular.

I’d love to hear thoughts on the subject. Have you or anyone you know tried this pattern? Or another one by Vicki Brown? Her designs are so lovely but after this, I’m just not sure


Problematic patterns

I’m being driven absolutely nuts lately by errors in knitting and crochet patterns! Does anyone else have this problem?!

I think the last project I completed that was free of any issues was in January. It’s not good.

And I’m not convinced these are misprints, some are simply bad maths and others… laziness maybe? Or inexperienced proof readers?

So the latest in this long line of problematic patterns is my beloved Lace Cardi.

The main body is worked in one piece to the armholes and fastened off. The sleeves are made separately and the three pieces are joined together simply by rejoining the yarn and continuing the pattern.

And therein lies the problem.

The pattern is a basic fishnet stitch with the button bands and faux side seams made of alternating rows of DC and TR.

The pattern instructs you to finish the first three sections on a DC row. But when you rejoin, you’re instructed to start with a DC row.

It doesn’t matter how I come at it, I can’t think it through. The fishnet pattern won’t work with two DC rows together. Nor will the buttonholes be correctly placed.

I also sat and worked out the row count for the next section and it’s working out far too big. And the picture shows fewer buttons than are (apparently) called for.

So I did the only thing I could think of… I asked for help from the experts.

More to the point, I posted my problem on the Inside Crochet facebook page.

Unfortunately, I’ve heard nothing from anybody, no experts, no fellow crocheters.

I’ve looked everywhere I can think of for any published errata but there’s nothing.

I’m so disappointed. This was a project that I was really excited about, all the more so because Steven bought me the yarn and beautiful buttons.

But people can’t even be bothered to respond.

I found the same with those crochet egg decorations (see previous post – Eggs-perimentation) I posted a comment on the corrections page for Inside Crochet issue three (the first one, anyway)

The comment was approved but nobody responded, apart from a fellow crocheter who had had the same problem.

Even when I commented back that I’d sorted it and offered my version of the pattern, nobody from the magazine responded.

Why is that do you think? Why approve the comment but do nothing to resolve the issue?

I’m starting to lose faith and it makes me really glad that I’m both stubborn and a bit of a smart-alec problem-solver!

So, if you know anyone who has made Vicki Brown’s South Sea cardigan from Inside Crochet I’d love to know how they did it.

Right now I’m thinking, rip out a row on each section so they finish on a TR row, join according to the pattern and work fewer rows from there before finishing the neck edging.

Any pointers? Anyone?


Progress report!

Wow, it’s been a crazy week. But the good news is that the pesky cricket jumper is very nearly finished and I might even get to wear it this weekend (it’s Steven’s birthday although we don’t have plans yet)

Of course, there are plenty of other projects still ongoing.

First and foremost, the African Flower Blanket…

What more can I say? I mentioned before that it’s far from finished but I’m using it anyway (see previous post – Simply Crochet magazine review)


It’s currently big enough to cover feet to waist and almost wide enough for two



Still not big enough to be really snuggly










Having said that, it’s doing a good job so far and, with the weather warming, it keeps slipping down the priority list.

Top priority on the crochet list is a bit of a beast.

I’ve been working on the lace cardi from Inside Crochet that Steven bought me the yarn for.

It’s been more than a little problematic but I’m making good progress now.



I can only manage about five rows an hour because I’m working on so many stitches. In fact, it’s almost as long as the AFB!



My main concern is the button band. It’s either my technique or the technique in general but the beginnings of my treble rows  always end up a bit… gappy I guess is a good word



But I can live with it. I think the finished cardi will be really lovely.

I’ve also got loads of projects lined up, awaiting tension swatches.



I was given some money for ‘easter’ so was able to buy some lovely yarn but I’m also using up some bits that were in my stash so happiness all ways round.

I was planning on starting the stripy jumper after I finished the Cricket Jumper but I think I’ll spend some time working on this cardi first (it’s sitting in my lap as we speak… or as I type I guess)

I better get back to it

1 Comment »

Magazine misadventure… resolved?

Inside Crochet actually came out on time this month (well, last month, technically)!

Inside, in place of the usual editor’s letter, there is a ‘team letter’

It reads:

We’ve had an exciting month. Not only are we now under brand new ownership, and have embraced seaside living with new offices down in sunny Bournemouth, there have been some changes to the team as well.

We say a fond farewell to our interim editor, although Charles will still have close links with Inside Crochet, and are really excited to announce that Claire Montgomerie will be returning as editor from next issue.

Don’t forget to check out our new contact details to the left…

A letter from Claire about the changes and the next issue is included further on and she talks about “a fresh new look and layout” in the next issue (issue 32 should be on shelves from July 27th)

I still think the whole thing is very odd and has been strangely handled (a missing issue, no mention of new ownership until after the event, a complete move and changes in staffing) but I suppose not all readers are as curious as I am, nor would they appreciate the honesty if Inside Crochet/All Craft Media admitted wrongdoing.

Anyway, I’m glad to have it back and I’m currently hunting for a 6mm Tunisian crochet hook so I can try my hand at a new skill and make the Summer Breeze Shrug.

I was quite excited to hear about the redesign… but then I bought the latest issue of Yarnwise (formerly Knit) magazine

Like  Inside CrochetYarnwise was owned by ACM and taken over by Tailormade but the name change and redesign were already planned.

Quite honestly, I hate it. With a fiery passion!

I don’t think it’s very user-friendly and I find the pages quite jarring to look at. The info doesn’t seem to flow the way it used to (and needs to)

I always quite liked the fact that Inside Crochet and Knit had similar layouts as I think it really highlighted them as sister magazines and made it easier to switch between the two.

I can only hope that the Inside Crochet redesign will be better…


Magazine misadventures

You all know my previous problems trying to get hold of a copy of Inside Crochet (see previous post – Obsessive, compulsive)

I eventually managed to get that particular copy two weeks after it was supposed to be released. So, when I couldn’t get the next issue on it’s scheduled release date, I wasn’t too worried, assuming that it would be in the shops a couple of weeks afterwards.

Well, here we are three weeks later and still no issue 31!

I tried going to the blog to see if there were any hints there… no updates since March and the current issue is still listed as issue 28.

Then I tried the website, which I’ve never found particularly useful anyway, it no longer exists!

The publisher (All Craft Media or ACM) had a seperate website but this is filled with dummy text and nonsense.

I e-mailed the general contact e-mail last week to ask about getting a copy of the latest issue or a subscription and pointed out that the blog was well behind and the website non-existant. Needless to say, I haven’t had a reply.

After a couple more checks in Woodbridge’s WHSmith (only while I was there, no more special trips to get my magazines!) I got really fed up of the disappointment.

So, I’ve been sitting at my computer trying my very hardest to get to the bottom of this mystery and I think I’ve finally cracked it (thanks to some designer/bloggers who have been having bigger problems with ACM than mine)!

First, I found this post by Jenna at SewHappyGeek which details her problems with getting paid and getting her samples back from Modern Quilting magazine.

Apparently, this is not unusual.

Jenna links to various other blogs and articles about other designers having issues with ACM and related websites.

Here are a few:

Alex at Dull Roar gives a brief (and very interesting) history of ACM and associated websites

Joyuna at Joyarna looks at the issues with the company’s sock club

Anniken Allis over at Confessions of a Yarn Addict had perhaps the best piece of info in her May update

What was the precious information, you ask? Many magazines previously published by ACM have been taken on by Tailor Made Publishing

Now, the website looks very basic and I’ve never heard of TMP so this may be a fledging publishing company or, judging by the history, another dodgy ACM based company but I suppose only time will tell.

I’ll keep an eye on the situation and keep you informed and if anyone has got anymore info on the subject, I’d love to hear it



Obsessive, compulsive

It’s a well-known fact that crafters can be obsessive hoarders, the famous ‘yarn stash’ is a much written about topic and can be both a source of pride and frustration.

I’ve planned a post about it myself but a new obsession is clouding my brain… books and magazines!

I’ve always been a big reader but now I’m struggling to stop myself from buying any and every knitting and crochet book and magazine I come across.

Fortunately (for once) I’m a crafter on a budget so I have to rein myself in.

I’ve recently become tired of knitting magazines like Simply Knitting and Knit Today (too many tea cosies) in favour of more advanced magazines such as The Knitter and Knitting.

The problem I have is waiting a month between issues. So I sat down with all my latest copies and figured out that my three favourites (Inside Crochet, Knitting and The Knitter) all came out at different times so I could buy one a week for three weeks and not get too impatient.

Unfortunately, Inside Crochet isn’t very easy to find. I can’t get it in my hometown or my boyfriend’s hometown six miles away. I haven’t often found it in the major supermarkets we visit on a regular basis, which are around 20-25 miles away, or the large WHSmith in my local big shopping town (also 25 miles away)

I can usually find it in Woodbridge, which works out well since it’s one of my favourite places to visit. It’s only 15 miles away, an easy drive, easy parking, contains my favourite coffee shop, my favourite haberdashery shop and a lovely bookshop.

Well, the latest issue of Inside Crochet should have been out on the 30th of April but the WHSmith in Woodbridge haven’t even got an old issue or a gap for it!

Needless to say, it’s getting me down as I’m running out of options. I’ve looked everywhere I can think of. I was going to subscribe and hope I could still start with the latest issue but the website is, frankly, rubbish and tells me there are no printed copies of anything. On the Inside Crochet blog, they had details of a new digital version being released but that too is no more.

So, the options I’m left with are: go without; keep looking; telephone every newsagents in a thirty mile radius to try and find it; or order the digital version from Yudu and hope I can a) send it to my Kindle and b) enjoy it properly on said Kindle.

None of these options are thrilling me but the latest issue of Knitting was released today so I’ll just have to content myself with that for now…

I’d love to hear from anyone who knows Yudu better than I do, I’m not sure if I can return the magazine if it turns out to be too tricky


Dharma Van ‘Doorstop’ – finished!

I’ve just realised that I haven’t posted much about this project (very unusual for me!) so I’ll have to do the background and the finished pictures in one post.

I found the pattern in Inside Crochet issue 24 (December) and instantly saw potential. It should have been completed in a bright orange but Steven and I are big fans of the TV show Lost so there was no question about it being blue instead.

To add a little authenticity, we decided to change the finishing and add some Dharma-specific details.

Here it is!

And from the back

I love it!

I didn’t really have any problems crocheting it but I did change the dimensions slightly. I thought the cream top was too high compared to the blue bottom so I reduced the number of rows on the sides but the front/top/back strip was still the same length.

I’m a big fan of fabric glue when it comes to finishing details, I glued and sewed the buttons, the windows and the slats on the side window. Since this was supposed to be a doorstop, I was extra worried that the details would fall off.

The slats were a real cheat! I used long stitch to sew them on but put a line of glue across so they really stuck down nicely.

There wasn’t a huge amount of detail on the back but I decided against sewing on the outline for the door etc

The badge for the front was a really lucky find. I had no idea how I was going to embroider this little detail but Steven suggested we look for a button or something on eBay and we found a set with the perfect little badge.

It was difficult to attach but hopefully it will stay where it is! I pinned it to the front and glued around the edge. I also used some clear nail varnish (another essential tool) to stick the pin at the back.

When it came to sewing up, the bottom had turned out too big (I’ve got no idea how since I’d checked it against the side) so I just undid the knot and took out a few rows.

To add more detail, I decided to sew the bottom to the front and back on the outside and use cream yarn so it looked like bumpers. This would also make it easier to stuff and then sew up.

We decided not to make it a doorstop in the end. It was becoming too difficult to fill (I even enlisted my mum to help me make a fabric bag for the lentils!) and, to be honest, I’m far too precious about it to let it sit on the floor and potentially get kicked around

So, it’s just stuffed with toy filling and will sit somewhere looking pretty.

Also, it was Steven’s birthday yesterday and he’d requested a simnel cake (I made some over easter and he loved them!)

I spent ages making the stencil for the top and was super disappointed when it bled but the cakes tastes great and Steven loved it so I’m actually quite chuffed

Mum and I are collecting a cake decorating magazine and it’s fantastic so I might be posting more of my baked creations soon!




Sambuca Jacket – finished! (plus some more Misty Morning Mitts!)

I’m so glad to finally get a chance to write this post! I finished my jacket last week but have been so poorly over the weekend that I haven’t had the brainpower to write or the energy to pick up a needle or a hook!

Thankfully, I started feeling a bit better on Saturday so I’ve got a new project underway and some lovely pics to share with you

The whole cardigan is stitched in this gorgeous shell stitch, worked over three rows

I actually used a bikini fastener for mine, I couldn’t find any ‘sweater fasteners’ and a button looked too uneven for my liking

The jacket is designed to be slightly cropped but I had to stitch significantly more rows to get it to a length I was happy with. The beauty with a top down design is that you can try on as you go to make it the perfect length.

The design in the magazine also has a double crochet edging all the way around but I loved the scalloped bottom edge so much that I left it and just edged the front and the cuffs.

Once again, my mum loves it! And she was super impressed when I told her that one ball would make a sleeveless cropped shrug (guess what my latest project is?!)

I recently discovered James C Brett‘s Twinkle (I think it might be new), a 96% acrylic yarn with a twist of sparkly polyester. I decided to go with black, it’s not a colour I wear often and it goes with everything so it’s perfect when you’re working on a budget.

I worked out the yardage according to the pattern and bought four balls, hoping to have some left over to stitch some more Misty Morning Mitts (coming up in a mo) However… I ended up with one ball unstarted and another barely used!

I’m always a litttle irritated when this happens (there’s that ugly budget again) but Mum decided she’d like one in black so it’s worked out perfectly and Mum’s shrug is already nearing completion.

So… I loved the Misty Morning Mitts so much, I decided to stitch another pair but to make them really dinky to go with the sparkly yarn. I like to think of them as Evening Misty Morning Mitts

 Keeping warm – wearing one whilst stitching the other

After stitching the first pair, I mentioned that I thought the pattern was written wrong. A few rows into these, they looked completely wrong, the pattern was looking more like a rib than it really should so I decreased by a stitch so I was working on 29 instead of 30 (for some reason, I never had 31 like the pattern stated)

This was a bit more difficult to stitch but looks more like the pattern in the magazine so I guess the others are wrong after all – fortunately Mum and I love them so it doesn’t matter.

Unfortunately, I think the pattern gets a little lost in the black yarn but in the right light they look great and they look really lovely on!

I think I might need another pair, the Twinkle yarn comes in a lovely purple……


Chakra Neckerchief and Misty Morning Mitts – finished!

The neckerchief is started using an adjustable ring (one of many new techniques I’ve been learning!) and is stitched simply using treble crochet and chain stitches.

I changed it a little from the pattern: I struggled with the instructions for the second row ( I think they might be wrong); I stitched my neckerchief in DK instead of 4-ply (this was a mistake on my part, maybe my yarn stash needs a bit more organisation); I left out the beaded border; and I added a knot on one corner to use as a fastener.

I really enjoyed learning the adjustable ring technique but I was a bit put out that the magazine didn’t offer any guidance on it. The pattern is supposed to be suitable for beginners but it’s not a technique I’d heard of so I had to search online for some help.

Thankfully, I discovered an amazingly helpful website that had an article describing the technique with lots of handy pictures (check out for this technique and more!)

I did find the whole thing a little repetitive but it grows so quickly, it was a pleasure to crochet.

On one of my many trips to my local haberdashery shops, I discovered Sirdar’s Simply Recycled yarn (it was on sale so nice and cheap but in short supply – I only got two balls)

It’s very me, I love cotton yarns and to discover one that’s recycled just made my day!

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a project in mind so I ended up with needles for a planned knitting project but no yarn, a hook for a planned crochet project but no yarn and two balls of lovely yarn with no planned project at all!

Fortunately, I discovered that the Misty Morning Mitts pattern is crocheted in DK so off I went.

Again, though, I had all kinds of issues with the pattern. The foundation chain is very different than I’m used to, in order to create the picot edge, so I had to experiment a little there. I also got confused when the pattern told me to decrease to 30sts and then said that the special stitch pattern is always worked over on odd number of stitches!

But, stubborn as I am, I persevered. I’m not convinced the stitch pattern looks like it should but I love them and I can’t wait for the weather to warm up so I can show them off!

Again, I altered the pattern a little as I wanted the mitts a bit longer at the top so they covered my knuckles instead of just grazing them.

My mum loved them so much, she wants a pair! She’s chosen Stylecraft Twirl for hers and likes the length of mine so I’ll be crocheting another pair soon enough.

I’m also hoping to have some yarn left over from my other current project to use for another, shorter pair.

Both of these patterns are from February’s Inside Crochet (issue 26) and my other current project is the Sambuca Jacket from the same.