Noblin activity of the knitting variety.

Including Noblin Designs, How to identify Noblins,
Advice on how to catch a Noblin, and How to keep your Noblin happy.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Noblin Design - Debbie Blissful Booties

A little while ago, not very far from here, some yarn was asking to be used.

Says the yarn, "I wish to be made into booties for the baby of a dear one. I wish to be made into booties that will bring happiness and comfort to the bonny baby."

"But yarn," I say, "I have no suitable patterns for you."

"Trust me," says the yarn, "I will be blissful booties."

I searched for a pattern and found one requiring 4ply yarn and 3.25mm needles. My yarn is dk weight. So I knitted the original pair and they were very large. I then rewrote the pattern and publish it here for you.


1 ball of dk weight yarn, approx 90m to 50g
1 set of 3.25 mm needles
4 stitch markers (two each of two colours/styles is useful but not essential)
2 small buttons
Scrap yarn (preferably smooth and in a contrasting colour)
Darning needle

26sts to 10cm/4inches

Techniques used
Provisional cast on
CO - cast on, for the bootie strap, cable cast on is recommended
k - knit
p - purl
sl - slip stitch purlwise unless otherwise stated

Cast off
Grafting garter stitch

k2tog - knit two stitches together
skpo - slip one stitch knitwise, knit one, pass slipped stitch over
pso - pass second stitch on right hand needle over the first and off the needle

m1 - make one by working in to the back of the bar between stitches
yo - yarnover
kfb - knit into the front and back of the stitch


Bootie Base:
The base of the bootie is knitted in a long, garter stitch rectangle and later folded back on itself. The length of the knitting is twice the length of the bootie. The cast on edge becomes a centre seam so a provisional cast on is used and the base is later grafted to itself to reduce bulk under the baby's foot.

Using a provisional method (see examples here or here) cast on 31 sts

Row 1: k1, place marker type 2, k14, place marker type 1, k1, place marker type 2, k14, place marker type 1, k1
Row 2: knit to marker type 1, m1 in front of marker, k to marker type 2, m1 after the marker, k to next marker type 1, m1 in front of marker, k to marker type 2, m1 after the marker, k to end --- 35 sts
Row 3: Knit

Here is Row 2 written out in full:
k1, m1, slip marker type 1, k14, slip marker type 2, m1, k1, m1, slip marker type 1, k14, slip marker type 2, m1 , k1.
The markers are placed around the two sections of 14 sts.

Repeat rows 2 and 3, 4 times. Increase before marker type 1 and after marker type 2 on even rows only. You will always have 14 stitches between marker 1 and 2. On the last repeat, row 9, you can remove the markers.

Stitch count

Row 4: 39 sts
Row 6: 43 sts
Row 8: 47 sts

Bootie Side:
The stitch count is increased and the side of the bootie knitted in stocking stitch.

Row 10: k10, (m1, k9) 3 times, m1, k10 --- 51 sts
Row 11, 13, 15: Purl
Row 12, 14: Knit

Row 16: k8, (k2tog, k9) 3 times, k2tog, k8 --- 47 sts

Bootie Nose:
The nose of the bootie is turned by working repeated decreases around the centre 7 sts. The nose is knitted in stocking stitch. There will always be 7 sts between the markers.

Row 17: p27, place marker 1, p2tog, turn
Row 18: sl1, slip maker, k7, place marker 2, skpo, turn --- 45 sts

Row 19: sl1, slip marker, p to marker 1, slip marker, p2tog, turn
Row 20: sl1, slip marker, k to marker 2, slip marker, skpo, turn

Repeat rows 19 and 20, 4 times.

Row 27: sl1, slip maker, p to marker 1, remove marker, p2tog, turn --- 36 sts
Row 28 : sl1, k to marker, remove marker, skpo, k to end --- 35 sts

Bootie Edging:

Row 29: Knit
Row 30: k12, k2tog, k7, skpo, k to end --- 33 sts
Row 31: k6, kfb, pso, cast off 17 (until 6 sts remaining on left hand needle), k to end --- 14 sts
Slip remaining 14 sts to scrap yarn

Bootie Base:
With the inside of the bootie facing you (the purl side of the stocking stitch section) pick up and purl the first 16 sts of the provisional cast on.

Unzip the rest of the cast on.

Graft the stitches together ( for instructions see here being careful to follow the instructions for garter stitch at the end of the article or here).

Sew the back seam.

Bootie Strap:

Row 1: Knit across the stitches on the holder, joining them up at the back in line with the seam. You may need to rearrange the two sets of 7 sts from your holder/scrap yarn.

Left bootie
Row 2: CO 4, knit all stitches --- 18 sts
Row 3: CO 14, knit all stitches --- 32 sts
Row 4: k to last 4 sts, k2tog, yo, k2
Row 5: Knit
Row 5: Cast off

Right bootie
Row 2: CO 14, knit all stitches --- 28 sts
Row 3: CO 4, knit all stitches --- 32 sts
Row 4: k2, yo, k2tog, knit to end
Row 5: Knit
Cast off

Weave in ends and attach buttons.

With special thanks to Debbie Bliss. The original pattern, which this one is based on, is featured in The Baby Knits Book. I wrote to Debbie to check that she was happy for me to publish the pattern, here and for free, after I finished the booties. I received an extremely sweet reply, including advice for sewing up the sleeves for the beautiful cardigan and best wishes for my exam. What a lovely person!

Blissful Booties

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Gift giving and receiving

Here are some of the photos of the gifts I have given recently. It made me start thinking about why we give handmade gifts and what we expect in return.

A rare sighting of a two headed noblin Happiness and hugs are a good indication that the present has been well received.

Minnie hat Posing for photos is also a good sign. This hat was originally intended for the new baby but big sister got very excited and tried everything on. More to the point, it fitted her.
Maxi socks Not waking up when little socks are placed on your hot feet suggests that you don't mind too much.
Debbie Bliss Cardigan Having a very fussy dad say "wow" suggests that the joint second best thing you've ever made is looking pretty good.
Artistic Demanding to try on your baby brother's tank top and then rushing back to your artistic WIP is surely a good sign.
Here me am Being so excited about blogging your birthday present that you forget to mention who made it (sorry, Mum!) definitely means you love the fact that your mum made you an alpaca bolero for your birthday and you can forget the fact that it is far too hot to wear one.

So what is the point of this post? Well, on Tuesday a certain mini person was given some new socks to replace the ones she had grown out of. The old socks were previously officially the best things I'd ever made so I wanted the replacements to live up them - to surpass them. As the SWS in the first photo is officially the best thing I've ever made the Debbis Bliss Cardigan and the new pair of socks have joint second place. Poor mini one kept trying to put the old ones on, even though they are far too small.

I phoned my sister to find out whether they liked the presents.

Sister: "Oh yes, the tunic top is lovely. She wore it today even though it's hot."

Me: "Oh right. Good. What about the socks?"
(because I really think the socks are amazing)

Sister: "Yes, she tried them on but had to take them off because it's too hot."

Me: "Oh right. But what do you think of them?"

Sister: " *pause* Yes, they're nice."

Me: "James doesn't like them does he?"

I should point out here that James is extreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeemely fussy and will not say he likes something simply because I spent HOURS of my life, slaving in the heat, to keep his daughter happy.

It turns out that James doesn't like them, my sister wasn't sure why, maybe the colour. HMPH to that and double HMPH. Well, mini one likes them and my sister thinks they're pretty good. Even though I've been going on about it forever she still didn't know they were Jaywalkers, but she understands now.

The offending article
So there we are: if you want gratitude for your knitting you have to be very careful when you pick your recipient. Whinge over for the day!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Noblin Design - Joyous Scarves

Here's a little something I made at the weekend. Two little somethings actually. They are very quick knits and very useful for birthday/Christmas presents. Both scarves use only one ball of Rowan Polar and a 4 row pattern repeat. They are a nice introduction to lace and a good way to use up the random ball of Polar you bought in the Liberty Sale two years ago (or is that just me?). If you're making both scarves, you may want to split the ball into two halves before you start, or weigh the first scarf as you go along.


100g (1 ball) of Rowan Polar
8mm needles
Pins for blocking

Pattern 1:

Pattern 1 Cast on 9 sts

Foundation row: Purl

Row 1: p1, k1, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, k2tog tbl, k1, p1
Row 2: k1, p7, k1
Row 3: p1, k2tog, y0, k3, yo, k2tog tbl, p1
Row 4: k1, p7, k1

Repeat rows 1 - 4 until you have used approximately half of the ball.

Cast off.

Weave in ends. (I used my fingers to do this rather than a needle.)

Block to approximately 3 inches wide and 60 inches long using your preferred method. (I soaked the scarf in warm water, squeezed out the excess in a towel and pinned the scarf to my rug. As it's so hot here at the moment, the scarves dried really quickly.)

Pattern 2:

Pattern 2 Cast on 9 sts

Foundation row: Purl

Row 1: k3 (yo, k3) twice --- 11 sts
Row 2: k2, p7, k2
Row 3: k4, sl 1 knitwise, k2tog, psso, k4 --- 9 sts
Row 4: k2, p5, k2

Repeat rows 1 - 4 until you have very nearly finished the ball.

Cast off.

Weave in ends.

Block to approximately 3.5 inches wide and 50 inches long using your preferred method.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Bloglines are great, aren't they? You don't have to slavishly click on every single blog you read (I subscibre to 68 now, including my brother's. As a note, he wants me to read more non-knitting blogs). I'm trying to tidy up my sidebar so I'm going to remove all the links and use the bloglines blogroll. We'll see how successful it is.


That wasn't 100% successful. Let's try again.

Okay, that seems better.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Hooray for birthdays

For those of you who kept up with the month of celebrations, you might think that I had received all the presents I was due. Well, we had a mini exchange of presents on Sunday - very knitting related.Hello Dad Here's my dad - it's not his birthday.
Mum with yarn Here's my mum with her alpaca silk. It was her birthday a few weeks ago but we decided I wouldn't post her yarn. She hasn't been knitting much lately because she ran out of yarn and it was too hot so she's very pleased with her birthday present and all the other yarn I'd been hoarding for her.
Happy stashing
Back shot And here is my present! An alpaca shrug designed by Sian Luyken and featured in Simply Knitting a few months ago. I know Sian from Angelknits and her shrug was the front cover design.
Get ready for your close up
Here me am
Clever mummy!
Mum trying to get out of the shot
Shrug closeup
It is so wonderful!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Noblin FO - Minnie Jays

Hanging Jays
Fair Trade Tunic The toddler sized Jaywalkers are finished and will be sent down to my neice with an early birthday present from Equa. I thought she might like to wear it to my Dad's 50th birthday party if it's not too warm.

Jays I really enjoyed the Jaywalkers and can see why people would make more than one pair. I adapted the pattern to suit a mini person but most of the original elements are there. I started with a short row toe of 24 sts and then increased to 56 when I started the foot. I increased again after the heel. The foot is about 6.5 inches long which gives an inch of growth room, although the mini person grows very quickly so perhaps they won't last as long as I thought!
Tunic Print Today we are having a leaving London and going travelling party in Regent's park. So far the sky is clear and blue but the weather forecast says it should be pouring hard now. I think I'll take my brolly with me.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Noblin Design - Coming Soon

I'm currently writing up a pattern for these little suckers

Blissful Booties

I'm just thinking I need to add some photos in. (And I don't know what the gauge is so I have to phone my sister and see if she will measure it for me. Note to self: write down achieved gauge when writing pattern, with the pattern.)

I have three fantastic test knitters (no Ben, that doesn't include you) so it's a race to see who will finish first.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Vintage quality

Thanks everyone for all the lovely comments about the shawl. I hope Charletta gets lots of use and comfort from it as she is moving back to the US after two years in the UK, getting married, moving to Chicago and finding a job. That's a chunk of life changing events all at once.

In preparation for going travelling, Chris has been trying to tidy up the flat. Chris is very good at not hoarding, which is understandable as he is the chief packer and mover/tidier. I am not very good at letting go and have a high threshold for mess around the house. Mess affects Chris's ability to function and more than once I've come home to find my knitting all tidied away (no dropped stitches!). I do like having my knitting tidy, though, so on Monday I announced we would tidy up ready for packing. Really, though, I wanted to properly examine the gift of needles I received last August. My sister's boyfriend's stepmother wanted to clear out her mother's needle and yarn stash. I had a good look (and trying on) of the yarn here but hadn't really looked at the needles except to note that there are many sock needles.

Here's how things looked after some preliminary sorting. Crochet hooks on the left, straight pins at the top, sock needles as the focus. I struggle to use straight pins now so I try to use dpns or circulars as much as possible. With this in mind, I'll send the straights to my mum and sister to see if they'd like any. Several dpns were discarded due to bentness but most were in good condition and came in the cutest packets.

I've never seen this vintage packets before and as far as I'm concerned, all dpns should come in these little cardboard packets. Funnily enough, Ysolda mentions them today. The smallest needles I had before were 2.5mm and now I have 2.25mm, 2mm and some smaller ones which I don't have a gauge for! There were some duplicate sets but due to the bentness mentioned earlier I think I kept most of the small needles. There were larger sets which I won't need so I'll be sending them down to my mum and sister aswell.
Here is my dpn needle collection, sitting neatly in a tissue box, which I think belonged to Chris's mum. The coloured plastic ones at the top only have three of each so I thought I'd hold onto them for teaching children. My circular needles fit on top so the only extra sets I have are 12mm and 20mm jumbo needles. I think these are superflous now - there are plenty of chair legs around I could knit with! I didn't get much further with tidying up though because this took ages so I have a lot more to do.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Noblin FO - Secret Wedding Shawl and Scarf Part 3

So here we are: the final photo shoot and saying goodbye to a long project and two lovely friends. It wasn't too sad to begin with, as we are leaving London around the same time and we will meet up in Chicago, but as the evening wore on I realised I'll really miss them both. I won't miss the shawl too much though!

Well hello
Charletta's present was bigger than Tim's, which she noticed immediately.

Mine's bigger than yours

What's this?

Warm fuzzies

Spotting the label

Tim taking a look

Tim and tree

The happy bride

What a lovely couple!

All together

Shawl full view

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Noblin FO - Secret Wedding Shawl and Scarf Part 2

Shawl Details
Shawl Details
The SWS was finished on Thursday night. I sent Chris away for the evening so I could focus on finishing it off. I was fed up with it hanging over me and I wasn't that pleased with how it looked. I kept saying, oh I'd better work on the SWS tonight and then finding house moving things to do instead. Ok, so actually I'd watch videos but the idea is there.

I sat myself down, determined to get past the block of being near the end of a project and worrying it won't turn out as well as planned. Finishing off the embroidery didn't take as long and wasn't as difficult as I'd thought which cheered me up. The look of the shawl, though, still didn't please me so I pushed on through and started the tassles. Oh the tassles! They transformed the shawl! I was so excited, especially when I tried it on and the alpaca softness cuddled me up. I was so pleased, I took it to bed with me to cuddle! I really didn't want to give it away. The shawl went from something I didn't want to look at to being the best thing I've ever made! I feel like I'm saying that a lot lately. Well, the shawl usurps the cardigan but only because I feel proud that I designed it from scratch. It's not exactly how I wanted it to look - I was let down by my embroidery skills - but is a very good representation. I really tested myself on it (it was a big project) and am very pleased with the finished product.

Um, who made that mess?

Then came the need for wrapping up, the need for throwing all my wrapping up collection onto the table and using the bag the wrapping up collection lives in as the bag to give the gifts in. You'll be pleased to know I tidied up before I left and did the washing up and was not late. I teased Chris with that photo, though, teehee.

Shawl Wrapped Up

The only thing that upsets me now about the shawl and scarf is that I don't feel I managed to get any really good pictures. How do you capture the whole garment and the detail aswell? I concluded the shawl needed to be modelled so we had a photo shoot at dusk, with the happy couple.

In the final instalment:

Noblin FO - Secret Wedding Shawl and Scarf Part 3

Opening the gifts!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Noblin FO - Secret Wedding Shawl and Scarf Part 1

Scarf Motif

Customised Label

Scarf Wrapped Up

The Secret Wedding Scarf was finished yesterday afternoon. I cast off, steam blocked and pressed, wove in ends, added tassles (I love tassles!), slipped stitched some leaves into the shape of a tree and sewed on a label. It took most of the day and I was sick of it by the time I'd finished. I then lovingly wrapped it and it's feminine counterpart and hotfootted it over to our friend's house for dinner. I then waited for AGES as my friends weren't in. Their house mate let me in and I made myself a cup of tea and a nutella sandwich (using a spoon, I couldn't find a knife). Ok, so I didn't wait too long but I was getting a bit concerned.

The label was made using inspiration from Grumperina. It's what I'm seen ironing here. I did also melt my table a little.

In our next instalments:
Noblin FO - Secret Wedding Shawl and Scarf Part 2
The shawl is finished
Noblin FO - Secret Wedding Shawl and Scarf Part 3
Opening the gifts!