Thursday, August 29, 2013

My favourite dolls house miniature knitting pattern

I started designing knitting patterns for the dolls house in 12th scale many years ago.  I found patterns online but they were so intricate and took so long to make that I decided to come up with my own patterns that were easier to knit. 

This was my very first pattern:

Now nearly 10 years later strangely this is still my most popular pattern!  I have sold 2 copies through Ravelry in the last 2 days alone.

I have designed many many patterns since then, some are free ones on this blog, and some are available as kits.

The bedspread is my favourite design, although I love knitting tiny sweaters.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Back to craft fairs!

So beeptwo and I ventured into craft fairs again last weekend and displayed buttons, ribbons, card making goods and dolls house knitting.
We were really lucky that the weather was kind with no rain although it was very windy and we spent a lot of time holding onto things.  There was an initial tussle with a gazebo that I won't go in to but we got set up eventually.

It wasn't perhaps the best time of year or venue for our goods but there was enough of a profit to call it a success.  Will we be doing another one later in the year?  We will see.
Anna has a knitting pattern coming out in Knit Now at the end of August (on the cover this time), with another due for publication later in the year, so she is busy as always.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Classic Car Show and Craft Fair this Sunday in Flitwick

My goodness it's many years since I did a craft show, life got in the way.
When the kiddies were little I used to make salt dough pieces (anyone remember those???) and made some pin money selling them locally at craft shows, but my interests changed.

Now to pass the time I knit tiny little garments, dolls house 12th scale size, and my main selling platform is ebay.  I flirted a bit with etsy but it isn't a success, I think my customers know where to find me. 
Mostly I sell things like this:

 although recently I branched out for a change into bigger doll garments.  This one sold this week on ebay:
It's a long story, but this weekend beeptwo and I will be selling at a craft fair to be held in Flitwick, Bedfordshire. 
Anna (as beepbeepdesigns) will have loads of crafty items at bargain prices, including cardmaking stuff like stamps and card blanks, and also some lovely buttons and ribbon.  A selection of miniature knitting items for the dolls house like yarn, needles, patterns, kits and ready made items will also be there.

We are really looking forward to meeting everyone and just keeping everything crossed that the weather is kind to us!

If you are in the area please pop over and say hello.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Fibre East 2013

Beeptwo and I usually make an annual pilgrimage to the Knitting and Stitching Show in London in October, and the date for this October is on the calendar.  Anna spotted that Fibre East was to be held this weekend in Flitwick, literally a few minutes walk from where she lives, so as she pointed out 'it would be rude not to go!'.  So we wandered down on Saturday morning, and had a great time.
It was held in the local secondary school/college, in lots of different rooms, with marquees in the grounds, and if you came by car, lots of parking.  It was also a (doable) walk from the station, with direct trains to London, Brighton and Bedford, and just off the M1, so very easy to get to.
The admission cost was £6 for Anna and £3 for me as an OAP, so very reasonable, especially with no travel costs.
It was a hot day, and some of the rooms were quite stuffy, but we certainly should not complain about that, it was the poor stall holders who were struggling. The venue was fine if you could excuse that it was a school, and there was plenty of room.  Compared to the Knitting and Stitching Show there was certainly less there, with more emphasis on spinning and weaving than knitting, but enough for us to be able to buy yummy yarns and accessories and our three hours there went very quickly.  Of course it doesn't have the classes or the exhibitions of art works, but the big bonus point for us was that it was so wonderful and easy to wander around, you could easily get to all the stalls without the jam packed feeling of the London show.  We were able to see and buy lovely yarns which are difficult to get locally, and although they are available online, it is good to see before you buy.  The stall holders were all so very helpful and knowledgeable, and a pleasure to talk to.
Anna was able to introduce herself to the Editor of Knit Now (she is one of their designers with a new pattern coming out there next month but has never actually met them before).
We have almost decided to give the London show a miss this year, due to the travelling difficulty and the crowds, but will certainly go back to Fibre East if it is local next year.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

So what is it with 'magic loop'?

I am knitting a sweater from a pattern I bought on Ravelry.  It is a standard pull-on sweater with a pretty lacy panel down the outside of the sleeve.  I am using a cotton yarn frogged from a cardigan so I am going to have to be a bit careful with how much I have, but I am hoping that with the low neckline and half a ball of the original left over I will have enough.

I am of the old school where garments were knitted flat, each piece separately, then seamed together.  I am not a big fan of knitting in the round, I hate using double pointed needles and struggle a bit with circulars, but hey ho, this pattern is completely in the round and seamless so I thought I would give it a go.

I started with the neckline, knitted downwards flat until joined at centre front, used a long length circular needle from then on, going OK if a bit fiddly pulling the loops of needle through, but fairly mindless knitting.  I carried on to about half way down the body, then as I am watching the amount of yarn, decided to do the sleeves so I could finish the body using what I had left.

So I started the sleeves using magic loop with my long length circular.  Not happy, taking ages doing all that moving the loops along, not enjoying this at all.  I moved onto a set of 4 dpn's, hate doing this, so slow and difficult trying to do the lace pattern.  So then moved onto a smaller length circular needle and continued with magic loop, and it is really awkward, slow and forming a definite ridge at the change over point.

I have nearly finished the first sleeve and I am just hoping that the stitches will even themselves out during block and wear.  I have scoured the internet and I seem to be doing it right, it must just be the way I hold the needle.  How I wish I had knit the sleeve flat before I joined the body, it would only have needed the one seam down the inside of the sleeve.  And I still have another sleeve to go....  I know what I will do next time and it won't be magic loop.

Update 5th May.  Got as far as the ribbing on the first sleeve and not happy with the result.  Pulled it undone and started the sleeve again knitting it flat.  Flying along now and much happier!  A lesson learned.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

My granny square blanket

I have spotted a number of Pinterest boards lately with lovely designs of granny square blankets.  This reminded me that I made something similar in the early 1970's when for some reason I had lots of oddments of yarn around and just wanted something to fill the evenings in front of the TV (nothing changes!).
I rummaged around in my blanket box and there it was.

I remember trying to sort the colours so that I went light, medium, dark then repeat, well sort of  'ish. 
It did have some use but the trouble with knitted blankets is that they are very heavy, and not that comfortable to sleep under.  And of course impossible to wash. 
I remember visiting my dear old mum and the bed we were put in had several blankets made of knitted squares, and it was like sleeping under a plank, but that is another story.
In fact I made two much the same.  The other one was given to my mother-in-law and when we were sorting out her house it went to the charity shop!  I hope someone treasures it. This design was not so popular then as it is now, perhaps it is now 'retro'.
Of course I just crocheted round and round and today's designs are much more appealing, with lovely colour combinations and crochet patterns.  I expect it will go back into the blanket box for now.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

I have opened an Etsy shop

As I am no longer running the bitstobuy business in the sense of selling kits and needles, yarn etc, I decided to concentrate on the knitting side.  I love making the tiny sweaters and accessories suitable for dolls house or tiny bjd but I also wanted more time for knitting for me!

My main selling is on ebay and I have several very loyal customers who snap up anything I list there.  But I wanted to do something different, and decided to dip my toes in the waters of Etsy to see what happened.

I am lucky enough to be the guardian of a couple of lovely antique dolls passed down through the family, so had a go at designing a dress pattern for the larger, 18" tall one.  I sweated blood a bit over the design but I got there eventually and this is the result.

It is a very fine lemon cotton-like yarn, and is trimmed with ribbon and flower buttons.  I really enjoyed the challenge of making it and was very pleased with the final result.  I have also knitted some lacy cotton socks for the same doll and depending on how popular this size is, have plans for lots of other designs.

These are currently for sale on Etsy in my bitstobuyknits shop.  I am not yet into all the ins-and-outs of Etsy but the dress has been favourited several times so someone has found it.

Meanwhile ever onwards and upwards with tiny sweaters.

Friday, March 22, 2013

bitstobuy miniature knitting patterns is changing

I have been running the bitstobuy business for about 10 years now.  It all started when I wanted to expand my knitting hobby in some way, but really didn't need any more garments for myself.  A book from the library about knitting tiny items for the dolls house really inspired me, and when I found some oddments of laceweight yarn in my stash I started knitting some tiny sweaters which were snapped up immediately on ebay. 
Eureka!  Something I loved doing and was of use to others. 
I have to admit that my interest has always been on the knitting side, and I do not own a dolls house or have any interest in doing so.
I searched the internet and books for patterns, but all the ones I found were very complicated and took a lot of knitting, in fact would be very difficult for someone who just wanted to produce something quickly and easily.  So I did the obvious thing and started designing my own.
My first pattern was for this bedspread and cushions
For some reason this really captured knitters' imaginations and this is probably my most popular pattern ever.  From there I quickly developed patterns for all kinds of tiny furnishings and garments, and miniature toys.

For a few years I just sold patterns, but developed into kits (so that the customer didn't have to deal with the difficulty of getting hold of small quantities of fine yarn), needles and haberdashery.  I have since written three pattern books, each of which have about 25 easy to knit designs.

I have sold through ebay and my own website, and have had patterns published in the dolls house press and online.
I am slowing down a bit now, and decided I just wanted to carry on with the knitting, and move on from the business.

So I am proud to announce that the bitstobuy webpage business has been passed on to another wonderful miniature knitter, my daughter Anna!

Anna has put in many hours over the years in setting up and running the webpage for me.  She is really into knitting, with designs published in the main knitting publications (two patterns out this very month in Issue 19 of Knit Now) and on Ravelry.  On the miniature side Anna has concentrated on patterns for 6" bjd but also has other crafty things going on such as selling beautiful buttons and ribbons.

The webpage will continue as at present for the moment, selling all the same lovely things, but it will now be Anna who is managing it and despatching stock.  Eventually she will be redeveloping the site and moving it over to beepbeepminiatures .  We will make sure that the old webpage address still stands though and will transfer to the new one.

Thank you to all my previous customers and I hope you will support Anna in the new business.

I will continue to knit and sell the tiny garments (I still need to keep my fingers busy) on ebay and a new shop that I have opened on

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Good Luck to Jennifer and #teamhonk who are climbing Snowdon on Saturday in aid of Comic Relief.  At least 19 are in the team and some if not all will be in fancy dress so if you are in the area you won't be able to miss them!

Good Luck Team!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Review of coffee shops in Horsham

I am lucky enough to meet friends regularly for a morning cup of coffee, and when we were sitting in Artisan this morning we joked about how many different coffee places we had visited in Horsham.  We like to try new ones if we can, and when we came to draw up a list we were amazed at how many coffee shops there are.  I thought I could jot down some thoughts on nice places to go.  I am not a coffee drinker when out, I tend to go for tea, so I will need to miss out a main important point about quality of the coffee!  No particular order, and you get your coffee from the counter unless stated otherwise.

Pret a Manger in West Street.  Brand new and very nice, reasonable prices.  Can get very busy, grab a table while you can.
Costa in West Street.  We only went there once and the table was dirty so didn't bother again.
Cook Shop in East Street.  OK but pricy.  County set.  Can ogle all the lovely kitchen ware at the same time and be scandalised by the prices.  The loos are hidden down the back on the right hand side, useful if you need to know this when in the area!
Waterstones in West Street.  My favourite.  Nice staff, cosy surroundings, reasonable prices and you can people watch the street below.  If you buy the coffee from the flask there are free refills.  A loyalty card gives you a free drink every now and then.  Can get busy so get there early.  Take a code for the loo from the counter (they could do with a refurbishment, not great).
Tristans in East Street.  Nice little coffee shop downstairs, lovely loos.  But we found that in the morning they are constantly walking through taking stock up the stairs to the restaurant, leaving the door ajar and making it feel cold.
Bills on Market Square.  Lovely inside and attentive staff.  They have made a great job of renovating the building.  You will be met at the door and shown to a table, and given a menu, but they are fine with just coffee.  I had lunch here once and although you are given a full menu, I only wanted a light lunch and just ordered a starter (which was very good).  If you sit near the door in winter it can be cold with people coming and going, but I am told they will supply cushions, blankets and even hot water bottles!
Cote in East Street.  Very nice cool French interior.  A very classy place for morning coffee.  Table service.  Be sure to look at the mosaic floor which is the original one from when it was the Co-op many years ago.  It fits the interior perfectly.
Black Olive on the Bishopric.  Lovely to sit out here on a sunny day and watch the people go by.
Conservatory in the Park.   Another favourite, worth the short walk from town.  You can sit inside the conservatory, which can get hot if it is summer, or outside in the park on a sunny day, which is very pleasant.  Nice staff and good choice of light lunches (the toasted sandwiches are good).  It can get very busy during school holidays.
Beals on the Forum.  Department store cafe, fine, not a great deal of atmosphere.  The loos are downstairs at the back of the lingerie department, again they don't particulary advertise them but they are a good alternative to the awful public ones outside.
Squires on the Forum.  Again good for sitting outside on a sunny day, but grab a sunshade or a table in the shade round the side.  And avoid if they are playing loud music or digging up the pavement again.
Crown on the Carfax.  Pub coffee, reasonable for sitting in comfy chairs to talk.  They don't open until late morning though.
Commodore near the Forum.  Not tried this personally but friends say they felt the waiter was not very friendly, and seemed to expect them to order a fry up rather than just coffee.
Artisan on Market Square. Brand new and lovely inside/upstairs. Table service.  You can amuse yourself by watching the tasty waiters (if you don't mind the fake tans). I am told the cakes are wonderful but pricy, although huge portions, worth sharing between two. The coffee/tea prices were a bit on the high side.

Next time we are going to try Carmellas on the Carfax,  looks good from the outside but hope they have enough tables.

There are many more we have not tried, eg M&S, BHS, La Brunch, Cafe Nero, Real Eating (centre of Swan Walk), Paninos on the Carfax, Sainsburys, Merrythorpe (I used to go there 40 years ago when it was the only tea shop in town) and of course all the pubs.  No shortage of places to have a coffee in Horsham.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Another FREE knitting pattern in dolls house scale - Child Trousers

Here is another free knitting pattern for dolls house scale.  This is for a tiny pair of trousers for a child 4 inch tall doll, and is taken from my book 'Easy to Knit Miniature Knitting Patterns  for the Doll's House in 1:12 Scale Book 2'.

The garments are shown on Heidi Ott 4" tall dolls.

Materials required:  Small ball of 2ply yarn, pair of 2mm knitting needles.


Leg and side body (make two the same):

Starting at lower leg, cast on 18 sts.

Ss 8 rows.

Dec one st at each end of next row (16 sts).
Starting with a p row ss 7 rows.

Inc 1 st at each end of next 2 rows (20 sts).

Mark each end of next row with a short length of coloured cotton for crotch.

Dec 1 st at each end of next 2 rows (16 sts).

Ss 6 rows. 

Work 2 rows in k1, p1 rib.  Cast off in rib.

To make up:

With right sides together join the two pieces from the waistband to the crotch markers along front and back seam.  Placing crotch markers together, join the inner leg seams.  Remove markers.  Press gently.

A pattern for the cardigan can be found in the book, available from the webpage

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Free gift for January!

With all orders made from the webpage in January I am including a FREE gift of the kit to make this lovely heirloom bedspread and cushions for the dolls house.  It is knitted in sections which are seamed together, and is not as difficult as it looks to complete.  The kit contains the pattern and all the yarn needed to make the set; you will need to supply a pair of 2mm knitting needles.
The finished blanket fits a double sized dolls house bed in 12th scale.
This kit is also for sale on ebay at the moment for £3.50, and a finished ready knitted set can be bought from the webpage for £20 if you don't want to make your own.
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