Hello and thanks for visiting my blog. I have been knitting on and off for 50 years and I recently learned to crochet. I love looking for wool bargains and making them into something useful. I mainly knit for charity. I occasionally knit for myself and family members if I find a really good pattern of if they ask nicely!! I think 2014 will be a year full of squares and blankets, plus some much-needed vests and jumpers for yours truly.

Monday, 15 September 2014

A quick peek....

My big crochet blanket has already passed the halfway point.  This is now it looks now.  The photo shows the colours very well.  (Please ignore the has been folded up.)  I think I was very lucky to find the job lot of teal Aran yarn in a charity shop.  It complements perfectly the cream and beige that was donated to me by Joanne of the Cup On The Bus blog.

I'm being very good about crocheting at least 2 rows of this blanket at the end of each day.  That doesn't sound like much but I have other smaller projects in progress and the calmer life I was looking forward to after a hectic summer has been put on hold by some big DIY projects at home.  

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Another week, another hat...

This hat was a bit of a double experiment.  Firstly, I wanted to knit it to the same size as the last hat but I had slightly less yarn.  So I decided to knit the main body of the hat as stocking stitch instead of rib.  It made a huge difference and I had quite a lot of yarn left, whereas I would definitely have run out if I had kept to the original ribbing. 

It still fits my head model easily and looks fine.  It obviously has less yarn, so will possibly be less warm.  But our winters here are rarely Arctic, so it should be perfectly comfortable.

Secondly, I wanted to see what the very neat way of shaping the crown looked like in stocking stitch rather than ribbing.  This shaping is what attracted me to the original pattern, so it was worth trying.  I think it was a success.  The photo is a bit fuzzy.  But the crown of the hat is very easy on the eye and I will definitely use this method of shaping again.  Sadly, I can't go into detail about how the crown is shaped as the pattern was written by someone else and is her copyright.  But I definitely recommend it.

The head model came in useful once again.  It's OK trying on a knitted hat for size.  But it's very difficult to see the top of your own head!

***STOP PRESS***  I've just discovered that this blog is listed in the online version of Yours magazine here so I would like to extend a special welcome to all Yours readers.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

The third time lucky doily...

I had a ball of sparkly purple yarn and decided to make s present for my sister.  One of her rooms has a mauve and white theme and she likes to protect surfaces with cloths. I know because she sent me some to hem a few months ago.  She doesn't have a sewing machine or the time to do it herself.  I decided a doily would be perfect even though it would never be a delicate doily as the purple yarn is dk weight.

I made a couple of false starts.  My first effort was a round coaster which turned out well but was, unsurprisingly, coaster sized.  I tried a bigger pattern which gave me lots of practice but turned out very weird.  

I then hit on the idea of sticking with what I know I can make i.e. a granny square made a bit more special by the addition of a frilly edge.  The tutorial I used for the granny square is:

It is very detailed and perfect for beginners.  

I also found an easy pattern for adding a frilly edge to a granny square on the Attic 24 blog here.  There are so many clear photographs in the pattern that it is the next best thing to hand-holding.  I followed the edging pattern but didn't go as far as adding the scallops.  I tried them out and they looked great but I didn't have enough yarn left this time.  

I'm quite pleased with the way this doily turned out for a first effort.  I used all the purple yarn and some oddments of mauve and white yarn.  It doesn't compare to some of the beautiful doilies I see in Blogland.  But at 11" square it will come in useful for something.  It would look even more sparkly with a table lamp sitting on it.  I couldn't crochet until 2 years ago and it is still a complete mystery to my sister.  So I think she will be suitably impressed.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

An awesome hat.....

I rarely buy knitting patterns as so many are available free.  But I made an exception last year when I saw the Awesome Hat pattern on Ravelry.  What attracted me the most to this pattern was the way the crown of the hat is shaped so neatly.  I don't have any ulterior motive for plugging this pattern other than it is one that I have tested and like enough to knit again.  The pattern can be adjusted for children and adults.  I knitted the largest size.  The only modification I would make next time is to make it slightly longer to cover the ears.

I'm displaying the hat on a life-size glass model that I was lucky enough to find in a charity shop.  I knit and take photos of so many hats that I have been looking for one of these heads for a long time.  I actually saw one in a flea market last year for £35 and decided that I didn't want it that badly.  Then I saw this one for sale at £15.  That is still a lot of money.  But it will see a lot of use and the money was going to charity, so I was happy to pay it.  While not in use it makes quite a good ornament!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Another big blanket project...

Here is the start of my next big crochet blanket.   I have been looking forward to starting this for the last few weeks.  But the weather was too hot for blanket making until now.  That all changed when our monsoon arrived.  Every cloud has a silver lining and I have made better progress than I expected though I am quite happy for this blanket project to last the rest of the year.  It is simply row after row of half trebles (UK) and will eventually measure 60" x 40".

I am using 4 different yarns.  The only things they have in common are that they are Aran weight and real wool.  They vary hugely in texture.  From right to left in the photo:

  • The Lopi Light is similar to candyfloss or cobwebs.  
  • The Chelsea Silk yarn is rougher than the word "silk" suggests.
  • The Emu Aran is quite thick.  
  • The Patons Capstan is quite thin.

But, as a team, these yarns work very well and make a good, strong crocheted fabric. The first 3 yarns were kindly donated to me by Joanne of the Cup On The Bus blog. The dark teal yarn was a charity shop find.....450g for £4.50.  It was the missing piece in the jigsaw.  This blanket is for an Operation Orphan child and I needed a colour to contrast with the cream and beige.

Once again, I used the Random Stripe Generator to plan the stripes for me.  This is a great free online tool.  You simply select your colours, specify the number of rows and then keep refreshing your computer screen until you are happy with the suggested design.  The tool also gives names to the colours. So, instead of cream and beige, my blanket will consist of  the more interesting burleywood, peru and linen.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Four for the boys.....

Here is the fourth and last pair of shorts that I will be making for a while.  The material for these came from a long dress that my daughter was finished with.  They will fit a 4 year old boy.  I originally planned to make 5 pairs but realised at the last minute that the material I had set aside for the fifth pair was too girly for any boy to want to wear.

So this is the little collection of shorts that will be going off in the post to Sew Scrumptious for delivery to various countries in Africa and Asia:

Here is the free pattern and tutorial that I used for the shorts.  They were a very economical project as I already had the old t-shirts and thread.  I bought good quality waist elastic as this is a crucial part of the shorts!

I tend to sew in short spells....excuse the pun....and I feel that this spell is now over.  I have started on another project which I have been looking forward to for a few weeks.....but that will be another blog post.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

One for the family....

This little knitted outfit will go into storage until one of my many relatives produces a baby girl.  I have decided to build up a small store of gifts ready to give at the drop of a hat (pun intended).  This outfit should fit a baby aged 6-12 months.

The kimono-style cardigan is from this Ravelry pattern.  I love this pattern because it is knitted in one piece and there is no picking up stitches for the edgings.  The stocking stitch makes it look quite smart.  I used Coney Playtime dk yarn in pink with little coloured flecks which look lovely but don't show up well in the photo.  I bought this yarn for £1 in a charity shop and 100g was enough for the cardy with a little left over for the brim of the hat.  

The hat pattern is also on Ravelry here.  I usually knit a more simple version of this hat.  But this time I chose to knit a textured version to exercise my brain.  The white part of the hat is Wendy Family Choice dk yarn.  I can't remember where this came from, but it was either free or very cheap.  

Neither ball of yarn had a barcode on the wrapper.  I usually take that to mean something is vintage.  So these unloved balls of yarn have finally been put to a good use.