Thursday, 16 April 2015

Tiger! Tiger!

One of the most luxurious patterns that you can knit in my book, Faux Taxidermy Knits, is the Tiger Rug. Knitted in extremely chunky yarn, and an alternative to the slightly more controversial tiger skin rugs that are a historical decoration in some areas, this project would add a touch of glamour to any space; as well as a brilliant place to lie down and read your book for a while.

I am pleased to say that I have put together Tiger Rug kits, which are now available in my Etsy shop. Read on for more information!


The Tiger Rug

Found on Page 90 of my book, the pattern for the Tiger Rug is written up in a chart; the written pattern would be so long that the book would have been twice as thick as it is already! The yarn I initially used to knit him up in was Wool and the Gang Crazy Sexy Wool, a pure Peruvian wool in gorgeous Fireball Orange, Space Black and Ivory. This tiger rug is a popular feature at shows when I exhibit, and I know of at least two projects which have been completed since last September!

The yarn is super chunky; not only this, but it is held double. As a result, although the finished object is quite large, the actual knitting does not take much time at all relative to the size. Felt, safety eyes and a bit of felting yarn for decoration, and you have a project that will wow any visitor.

Tiger Rug Kits

Tiger Rug kits are now available on my Etsy shop, priced at £129.99.

High demand at shows and in conversation with the faux taxidermists who have loved my book has lead me to put together kits for the Tiger Rug. I decided not to include the book in the kit, as I know that a lot of people who already have the book want to knit the rug - so if you don't have the book and want to buy a kit, ensure you remember to buy a copy of the book (with 14 other critter patterns) or the standalone pattern from my publisher.

My recommended yarn in the book, and the yarn my own tiger rug was initially knitted up in, is a luxury brand which comes to over £300 per project. I know that this is not a realistic price for many people, so the kit is put together with an alternative yarn which is also super chunky, but is made of acrylic instead of wool to bring the price down. An added advantage of the reduced cost of this yarn is that it is also more hard-wearing, an important consideration for a project who is most likely to get a lot of heavy-duty use!

The kit includes:

  • 17 balls of Cygnet Super Chunky in Burnt Orange
  • 7 balls of Cygnet Super Chunky in Black
  • 5 balls of Cygnet Super Chunky in Cream
  • A pair of black safety eyes and washers
  • 1 square of orange felt
  • 1 square of black felt
  • 15 mm circular knitting needles
  • Tapestry needle for sewing up

As well as saving money when you buy all of these materials in the kit, rather than getting them all separately, all the components for your tiger will arrive nestled in a handmade hessian bag, which is available nowhere else.

I would love to see your tiger works in progress, and definitely the finished objects! Let me know when you complete them - tag them with #fauxtaxidermyknits on social media and Ravelry, or email me here.

Lastly, if you love tigers as much as I do, why not see what other tiger products are available on Etsy in the list I have put together! See it here.
A WIP from @zoearoberts on Twitter.
A finished tiger by Wheek on Ravelry!

Wheek's tiger has loads of character.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Name that Dinosaur

I'm going dinosaur crazy here at Sincerely Louise HQ! With the release of the new Jurassic Park film on June 12th and my favourite clothing brand, The Whitepepper, releasing a whole lookbook in dino prints, I've been feeling super inspired and had a chance design some of my own prehistoric pals.

So far I've published two designs which are celebrating dinosaurs, both of which are available as kits from my Etsy shop.

Three-Horn Blueberry

First up, meet Blueberry. This sassy dino is a 'three-horn', more scientifically known as a triceratops; the kit for Blueberry was launched at the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show this year. She was super popular, and drew many interested crowds to my stand. I know there are a few in progress and will share any finished projects with you on my social media - find me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

The yarn in the kit is Cygnet Seriously Chunky Mixes - it has a great range of colours which I think complement Blueberry perfectly - it's not many purple yarns you get that have shades of pink, yellow, and blues in them! The rest of the colours are just as inspiring.




Blueberry has a rather charming companion who will be joining her soon in brilliant red. Keep an eye out for him!


T-Rex

The other kit that launched alongside Blueberry at the Knitting and Stitching Show was this handsome T-Rex. With his toothy grin and ridges lifting his eyes, the cheeky chap has buckets of character - the only thing missing is a name! This is where you come in - I need some help to give my T-Rex his identity.




This giveaway is now closed. I would love it if you could give me some suggestions - please leave a comment on this post and I'll pick my favourite and announce it next Thursday (the 16th of April). The person who suggests my favourite name will get a free copy of the pattern for the T-Rex so that you can knit him up yourself.

If you share this post on social media and tag it with #namethatdino you can get a bonus entry - just to be clear, that's one entry for a comment, and another for a share with the hashtag.


I can't wait to see what you come up with! 

Please note the winner will only receive a copy of the pattern, and not the full T-Rex kit. There are no restrictions on entering, and all suggestions must be made by Wednesday the 15th of April at 5 pm GMT. Social media entries will not be counted without the hashtag. You must leave an email address or other way to contact you so that winners can be easily notified.

Friday, 3 April 2015

The "Spring Break" Make Escape

Last night found Sincerely Louise running a workshop on making felt Easter eggs at The Make Escape in Hackney. I was delighted to have a large number of people visiting my station to contribute to the making efforts; some of the eggs were truly inspired, with crowns, sequins and steam-punk chicks all making an appearance.


The Spring Break Make Escape

I set myself up in the far corner, with a comfy sofa and a range of soft chairs for the crafters to perch on. The Make Escape is totally free, and most of the materials are given to us as donations - I had a wonderful selection to sort through, from plain felt to beautiful sequinned fabrics that took the crafters a long way towards creating their own Faberge eggs!

The doors opened at 7:30 pm, and before long I was surrounded by a group of people ready to craft themselves into the Easter spirit.

As well as the makers of London, Anna of Wild and Woolly joined me for a quick glass of wine and a chat. She headed off with her own egg to celebrate the upcoming holiday shortly afterwards, and I was delighted to finally meet her in person.

This is a wonderful way to get into the Easter spirit, without breaking open calorific treats, although I find that chocolate and a glass of wine is always a welcome accompaniment to time spent creating!

Anna of Wild and Wooly joined me at the Make Escape.
Another glorious egg by @JimJamDavis - you can't see it
but it's also covered in sequins! 

Craft Your Own Easter Egg

Crafting felt eggs is a great way to spend some time with friends and family over Easter, seeing who can come up with the best design, put on the most bling, and get the most glue on each others hands! As a treat I have provided the templates and instructions for this workshop for you to download and print out at home - entirely free. Click below for the templates.


Recommended materials for making the eggs are:
  • Pieces of felt for the body of the eggs
  • Any bling for decorating - sequins, ribbon, buttons etc
  • Scraps of decorative material for embellishments
  • Ribbon if you would like to turn the egg into a hanging ornament
  • Brooch pins if you would like to wear your egg with pride
  • Scissors
  • Needle and thread
  • Fabric glue
    A range of felt eggs and chick.
    Egg ornaments on the left, chicks on the right
If you do any making over the Easter weekend, post your photos on social media and be sure to tag me so I can see what you get up to! Find me @sincerelylouise on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

The Spring Break Make Escape - more photos

Here are a few more snapshots of the event.


Momtaz @TheCraftCafe, the organisational superstar behind the Make Escape,
joined in cooing over the little chicks.
Easter Eggs with crowns were very popular!
This is Sian, rocking her egg.
Corrie of Plutonium Muffins with her egg.

Egg inspiration from our 'Make Escapers' 






To find out more about The Make Escape head over to their blog. The next one's in July and will be their third birthday craft celebration, so come along for an evening of free workshops!  

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Sincerely Louise introduces 'Faux Taxidermy Knits' - The Knitting & Stitching Show After Party

Hello!

It's not long left until the release of my book, Faux Taxidermy Knits, I hope you've been following Stitch Craft Create's blog hop as excitedly as I have. The response I've had from you and others across the internet is amazing, I'm often caught blushing from lovely tweets and instagram comments. Today I've got two surprises for you and there'll be a few more on the way in the coming days. 

I wanted to start with surprise one, (well it's not a big surprise if you've searched through twisted thread's website or follow me on twitter) for the first time ever I'll be exhibiting at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Ally Pally. I've visited every year since I first heard about it and I thought with my book coming out this is the perfect year for me to launch there. You can find my exhibitor information here. I'll be at stand RCH7 surrounded by my animal creations, signing books and selling kits, so make sure you come and say hi. Horrrrrray! 

As the Knitting and Stitching Show is the biggest craft event in London (sorry Kirstie) I couldn't help but resist throwing an after party. The second surprise? Yes, indeed. It's not the official book launch, I'll tell you about another time, but a 'Sincerely Louise introduces Faux Taxidermy Knits'. Here you'll find myself surrounded by animals from the book in a beautiful gallery in South London. There'll be a Champagne introduction, give aways and lots of lovely people to mingle with. 

The party will be happening on Friday the 10th of October and tickets are very limited, on a first come first serve basis. They're free of course, but you'll need one to attend. If you'd love to come along just comment on this post for a chance to win tickets!


Monday, 1 September 2014

Faux Taxidermy Knits


It’s here! Well almost here... my debut book ‘Faux Taxidermy Knits’ is due for release on the 26th of September - hurrah!

Faux Taxidermy Knits features 15 wild knitting patterns split into two sections, wearables and habitat, inspired by animals you’d love to have as trophies but without all that terrible hunting business! Ranging from giant specimens, such as the big moose head and tiger rug, to winter warmers, like the wolf headdress and fox scarf. There are even some tiny projects you’ll be able to knit up in no time, like the lucky rabbit’s foot and bear coasters.

So that’s a little bit of information about the book, but what’s that? You want to hear more? Well you’re in for a treat as the book’s going on tour! Thanks to Stitch Craft Create, I’ve got some amazing bloggers who’ll be reviewing the book leading up its release. There will be giveaways, knitting advice and tutorials, and some have even knitted up their own versions of my patterns.


There’s so much to look forward to, I thought I’d cast on by talking about the process of the book and a little about myself.

The Backstory

For those who don’t know me, I started knitting a few years ago whilst I was at university. I studied commercial photography but always felt something was missing. I caught the bug from my sister who was learning to knit one Christmas. Seeing how immersed she was in her work and the sense of achievement she got from finishing each row, I couldn’t help but be jealous. I was given a set of 4mm needles and some forest green yarn and started learning. I would knit during all my lectures and tutorials. I started with misshapen garter stitch headbands and holey scarves but with lots of practice and some lessons from my friends and family, I got better and better and eventually started designing my own pieces.

I wanted to incorporate my newfound crafty skills into my photography work; my first project was actually all to do with hunting. It was the beginning of my affair with knitted taxidermy and I made several animal scarves, one of which inspired the fox knitting pattern in Faux Taxidermy Knits.    
                                      
I then went onto create ‘Wooly Head’, the photo series featuring six women in knitted wigs. In January 2013 it worked its way around the internet before being picked up by the national newspapers and TV production companies. I made my debut on screen appearance on the Alan Titchmarsh show; I’d hit the big time! I soon returned to the animal world however, with a commission for faux animal heads for Boden’s A/W press day at Somerset House.  

In the following months, I was commissioned to make animal heads for the amazing online children’s shop Molly Meg and exclusive pieces for knitting magazines. The fox knitting pattern was my first published design. I hadn’t really considered myself a pattern designer until I saw my work on the printed page; I was so excited, I knew I wanted to do more. After a few months of designing, an email popped up out of the blue labeled ‘Content Opportunity’. It was to truly change my world…

The Book 

Several phone calls and emails back and forth resulted in a trip to Torquay for an exciting meeting with the publishers, F+W Media, where the contract was signed. At the meeting we discussed and laid out the projects, choosing each creature carefully from the ideas I’d brought. Throughout all the planning I couldn’t believe what was happening and I still have to pinch myself now and again to see if it’s real.

I couldn’t wait to get home and start working, my head was swimming with possibilities. What weight of yarns should I use, what fibers, what colours? I couldn’t help but enjoy my hours searching the internet to find the perfect wools, I was like a child in a sweet shop! I was so lucky enough receive yarn support from amazing companies such as Erika Knight, Texere, Malabrigo and Brooklyn Tweed (just to name a few). I think the yarn you choose to design a project really determines the outcome and with such beautiful materials to work with I knew the patterns would be really special.

During a trip to the Knitting and Stitching Show, once again indulging in new wools and needles, Mr Sincerely Louise (who I’d dragged along with me) suggested that I should include my own hand dyed wools in the book. We took some dyes and yarn home with us and after purchasing a giant pot and some super precise science scales I began experimenting by mixing the powders to create the perfect colours. I dyed three colours, two Aran weights for the moose head and one DK for the crocodile bag. The range will be available alongside the release of the book, so watch this space.



For my first book deadline I had four pieces to make up, including the raccoon hat and tiny badger head. To my delight the publishers loved them and I continued working on the other patterns with great enthusiasm. I spent months developing patterns, knitting them up, unraveling them and knitting them up again. I remember the look on Mr. Sincerely Louise’s face after sheepishly telling him I’d pulled apart two days of work on the tiger rug so I could knit it chunkier. Leading up to my final deadline I worked harder than ever before in my life, my hands hurt and I was in need of some serious sleep. I can assure you they is very little to watch on TV at 4am.

After all the pieces and text had been sent to my publishers, I had a little rest. I worked on some private commissions and my knitting kits. However, I hadn’t finished with the book yet as I’d agreed to photograph the pieces. By chance, a friend who works as an art director contacted me whilst I was tearing my hair out planning what to do. He was in the area and popped over for a cup of tea and quickly offered to help. We worked together for the next few weeks, drawing up sketches for each shot and visiting prop houses. The shoot took about three days, with a lot of assistance from old and new friends and the results were amazing. 

I believe this last year has been one of the best and one of the hardest of my life. I’ve been given the opportunity to achieve something that I’d only dreamed of since first picking up those 4mm needles. The support I’ve received from my friends and family and my online followers has been amazing and I wouldn’t be where I am now without them. I’d like to thank everybody who’s helped and inspired me!


Signed copies of Faux Taxidermy Knits are available to pre-order from the Sincerely Louise website in exclusive goodie bags. Included in the cotton tote bag you’ll find the book, an exclusive bonus pattern, everything you need for the fox knitting pattern and some badges.


Saturday, 16 August 2014

JIJI THE CAT - FREE KNITTING PATTERN

As many of my friends and followers know I'm a big fan of Studio Ghibli. In the winter I can usually be found snuggled up in a Totoro onesie and slippers watching Spirited Away. I've knitted bits and pieces before as gifts and Jiji the cat's no exception - well the only difference this time is I'm posting the pattern on my blog for free! 

There's nothing more I love than knitting animal toys, or basing my wearables on cute animals. I couldn't wait to get knitting Jiji as like most knitters I have an abundance of black DK yarn!

I hope you all enjoy the pattern, if you have any queries just drop me an email at info@sincerelylouise.co.uk



JIJI THE CAT




Jiji the cat is worked in the round for his body and tail, with his ears knitted on straight needles. Templates have been provided on a downloadable A4 sheet for the eyes and nose.


What you'll need:
1 x 100g Ball of Black DK Yarn
A small amount of Purple DK yarn for the inner ears
4mm DPNS
4mm Straight Needles
White Felt
Black Felt

Pink Felt
Toy Stuffing
Fabric Glue

Tension
22 stitches and 30 rows to 10cm on 4mm needles

Finished Size:
31cm high x 12cm wide

Colours
A - Black
B - Purple

The Body

Co 6 stitches in A and split evenly between three 4mm DPNs
Round 1 *Kfb* all stitches (12 sts)
Round 2 K
Round 3 *Kfb, K1* all stitches (18 sts)
Round 4 K
Round 5 *Kfb, K2* all stitches (24 sts)
Round 6 K
Round 7 *Kfb, K3* all stitches (30 sts)
Round 8 K
Round 9 *Kfb, K4* all stitches (36 sts)
Round 10 K
Round 11 *Kfb, K5* all stitches (42 sts)
Round 12 K
Round 13 *Kfb, K6* all stitches (48 sts)
Round 14 K
Round 15 *Kfb, K7* all stitches (54 sts)
Round 16 K
Round 17 *Kfb, K8* all stitches (60 sts)
Round 18 K
Round 19 *Kfb, K9* all stitches (66 sts)
Round 20 K
Round 21 *Kfb, K10* all stitches (72 sts)
Rounds 22 - 40 K
Round 41 *K2tog, K4* all stitches (60 sts)
Round 42 K
Round 43 *K2tog, K3* all stitches (48 sts)
Round 44 K
Round 45 *Kfb, K3* all stitches (60 sts)
Round 46 K
Rounds 46 - 60 K
Add some of your stuffing before decreasing the piece.
Round 61 *K2tog, K8* all stitches (54 sts)
Round 62 K
Round 63 *K2tog, K7* all stitches (48 sts)
Round 64 K
Round 65 *K2tog, K6* all stitches (42 sts)
Round 66 K
Round 67 *K2tog, K5* all stitches (36 sts)
Round 68 K
Round 69 *Kfb, K1* all stitches (54 sts)
Round 70 *Kfb, K2* all stitches (72 sts)
Round 71 *Kfb, K3* all stitches (90 sts)
Rounds 72 - 90 K
Add some of your stuffing before decreasing the piece.
Round 91 *K2tog, K7* all stitches (80 sts)
Round 92 *K2tog, K6* all stitches (70 sts)
Round 93 *K2tog, K5* all stitches (60 sts)
Round 94 *K2tog, K4* all stitches (50 sts)
Round 95 *K2tog, K3* all stitches (40 sts)
Round 96 *K2tog, K2* all stitches (30 sts)
Round 97 *K2tog, K1* all stitches (20 sts)
Add the final amount of stuffing to the head evenly.
Round 98 *K2tog* all stitches (10 sts)
Round 99 *K2tog* all stitches (5 sts)
Thread the yarn through the 5 remaining stitches, pull and weave in the loose end.


Front Ear Panel - Make 2

Cast on 16 stitches in A on 4mm straight needles
Row 1 K4a, K8b, K4a
Row 2 P4a, P1b, K6b, P1b, P4a
Row 3 K4a, K1b, P6b, K1b, K4a
Row 4 Repeat row 2
Row 5 Repeat row 3
Row 6 Repeat row 2
Row 7 Repeat row 3
Row 8 Repeat row 2
Row 9 Repeat row 3
Row 10 Repeat row 2
Row 11 Repeat row 3
Row 12 Repeat row 2
Row 13 K2tog in a, K3a, K1b, P4b, K1b, K3a, K2tog in a (14 sts)
Row 14 P4a, P1b, K4b, P1b, K4a
Row 15 K4a, K1b, K4b, K1b, K4a
Row 16 Repeat row 14
Row 17 Repeat row 15
Row 18 Repeat row 14
Row 19 K2tog in a, K1b, P2b, K1b, K3a, K2tog in a (12 sts)
Row 20 P4a, P1b, K2b, P1b, P4a
Row 21 K2tog in a, K3a, P2b, K3a, K2tog in a (10 sts)
Row 22 P4a, K2b, K4a
Row 23 Working all in A from here on K2tog, K6, K2tog (8 sts)
Row 24 P
Row 25 K2tog, K4, K2tog (6 sts)
Row 26 P
Row 27 K2tog, K2, K2tog (4 sts)
Row 28 P
Row 29 BO


Back Ear Panel - Make 2

Cast on 16 stitches in A on 4mm straight needles
Row 1 K
Row 2 P all even rows
Row 3 K
Row 5 K
Row 7 K
Row 9 K
Row 11 K
Row 13 K2tog, K12, K2tog (14 sts)
Row 15 K
Row 17 K
Row 19 K2tog, K10, K2tog (12 sts)
Row 21 K2tog, K8, K2tog (10 sts)
Row 23 K2tog, K6, K2tog (8 sts)
Row 25 K2tog, K4, K2tog (6 sts)
Row 27 K2tog, K2, K2tog (4 sts)
Row 29 BO


Tail

Co 6 stitches in A and split evenly between three 4mm DPNs
Round 1 *Kfb, K1* all stitches (9 sts)
Round 2 K
Round 3 *Kfb, K2* all stitches (12 sts)
K every round until the piece measures 20cm
Then work: *K2tog, K2* all stitches (9 sts)
Add a small amount of stuffing into the tail using a needle to push it all the way down.
*K2tog, K1* all stitches (6 sts)
*K2tog* all stitches (3 sts)
Thread the yarn through the remaining three stitches, pull and weave in the loose end. 


Sewing Up


Draw two eyes onto the white felt using the eye templates and cut out.
Draw two pupils onto the black felt using the pupil template and cut out.
Draw one nose onto the pink yarn using the nose template and out out.

On the front of your Jiji
Position each eye 19cm from the base of Jiji. Leave a 1.6cm gap between them. Glue into place using fabric glue. Position each pupil 0.5cm into the eye and 0.5cm from the top of the eye. Glue into place. Position the nose between the eyes, 19.7cm from the base. Glue into place. Weave the loose end once sewn up.


Take a front and back ear piece, pin together with the wrong side facing in. Sew up in A using a mattress stitch. Leave the cast on edge open then add a very small amont of stuffing. Repeat for the second ear. 

Place the ears on the top of Jiji's head, roughly 2cm from the glued on eyes. Position each ear in line with the edge of the eye, leave a 2.5cm gap between them. The ears should sit slightly diagonally on the head. Pin and sew into place using A. 

On the back of your Jiji
Place the tail on the bottom of Jiji, 3cm away from the cast on stitches. Sew neatly into place using black yarn. Place another stitch 5cm along the tail to secure the tail in place.


I'd love to see your finished Jijis! I love sharing your projects on my social media! Find me on Instagram @sincerelylouise
Twitter: @sincerelylouise
or www.facebook.com/sincerelylouise


© Copyright Louise Walker, 2014 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form without the written permission of the copyright holder. This pattern is not to be used for commercial purposes.



Happy knitting xox


Sunday, 3 August 2014

Jolly the Pug


He's here! Jolly the Pug has arrived on my etsy and ravelry stores. I made him as a gift for my sister's birthday. But also I've figured out if I keep knitting dogs perhaps my boyfriend may finally get us a puppy! Find him here: