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 or if they ask nicely!!

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Two hats...a blog button...and lots of links

Here are two very simple hats to fit an adult. They will go into my charity box until I have enough to post off to Knit-for-Nowt.  I used a pattern called "Ellie's Easiest Ever Hat" which I think I found on the Loving Hands website.  It really is easy.  It is written for 2 needles, but I always knit this on a circular needle to avoid a bulky seam.

The pattern calls for chunky yarn or dk doubled.  I used Robin Paintbox dk in shades of blue and purple.  There is just one set of instructions.  You simply alter the size of knitting needle to adjust the hat to fit a teenager, woman, or man. I used a 5.5mm needle and dk yarn doubled to knit the woman's size.  The finished hat weighs 80g. So a standard 100g ball of dk yarn could easily be divided and then knitted together to make a cosy hat.  I think that is a great way to use up those 100g balls of yarn that are not big enough for anything else.

Moving on to a completely different subject, huge thanks go to Amy at Love Made My Home for suggesting sites that would be useful for making a blog button.  Eventually, I used a combination of Bannersnack to make the poster, Canva to turn it into a button and Inlinkz to generate the code.  Another useful site for generating code is Mycoolrealm.  I plumped for the Inlinkz code because it added my blog name under the button.  But I really liked the Mycoolrealm site as well because it lets you change the colour of the rather unattractive code box. I would have chosen this code if my blog name had been more obvious on the button. 

The days here are dreary at the moment and perfect for sitting indoors geeking.  It has been time well spent because I have been able to refresh my html skills which used to be quite good. I had to tweak the code which originally gave me a HUGE code box and I altered some of the wording.  There are still areas that could be improved; but there is a limit to how much time I can spare!  I could probably change the colour of the code box if I'm ever snowed-in for a fortnight.

So my sidebar is now hosting a blog button!  The jury is still out on this.  Some people love them and some hate them.   I have always had some belonging to other blogs on my sidebar, so I must be in the first category.  It is interesting to see that my blog stats show a huge spike in visitors since I even mentioned making a blog button. I'll watch the stats.  If they fall dramatically, that will be time for a rethink.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

My new blog poster....

In my last post, I said I might make a poster of my wildly witty and highly original (I hope) "Keep Calm" quotation.  The weather outside (is it ever inside?) is only fit for ducks.  So I spent an hour or two (yes, really) designing this poster.  

I found lots of websites that offer free customisable templates of the well-known "Keep Calm" posters. By trial and error, I eventually found one that didn't put their logo on the poster and try to sell me keyrings etc. I recommend Bannersnack to anyone with a banner-shaped gap in their lives.

I then decided to add my own watermark and found another free site called PICMARKR which I can recommend. 

The next step could be to turn this into a button for my blog sidebar.  I mean the type of button that other bloggers could add to their sidebar that would lead back to my blog.  What's the general opinion?  Would there be any point?  I've had a look at all the ways to do this and it seems to be very complicated. Any suggestions for the easiest way would be gratefully received!

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

By request, five hats...

Towards the end of last November, I sent a parcel to Knit for Nowt. This is an organisation that supplies knitted and crocheted items to people in Hull and East Yorkshire.  I was impressed at how quickly the organiser contacted me and even more impressed when she asked me for more hats and scarves in adult sizes. I do like a good communicator and I am happiest when I know that what I am knitting is actually needed.

I finished the toddler size hat that was already on my needles and then started on the adult hats.  I had some aran in grey and some in a sparkly beige colour.  Neither of them looked appealing to start with, but both knitted up beautifully. I don't remember where it came from, but I think it must have been filling a space in a job lot.  The grey is Sirdar Supersoft and definitely lives up to its name.  The beige was missing its label but measured as aran. The sparkle is just enough to make the boring beige more interesting. Both colours were perfect for adult hats.

I used up all the beige on two hats and then most of the grey on another two.  I still have enough grey left for another hat. But I was knitting so fast that I actually wore out the circular needle! I had several near disasters with the last hat when the stitches flew off the end of the collapsed cable.  Luckily, it is fairly easy to pick up aran stitches if you stay calm.  I wonder if there is a poster that says "Keep calm and pick up stitches". Maybe I will design one.

I wasn't too upset about the cable.  I have used it for several years without problems. I always knit hats "in the round" to avoid seams. I have another cable on order.  But the parcel is going off tomorrow with the five hats I managed to finish.  I want them to reach Yorkshire while the weather is still cold.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Season's greetings.....

Image result for free christmas clipart
Just a quick post to wish everyone a peaceful Christmas and a new year better than the last one we have all endured.
I have loved reading all my favourite blogs and am looking forward to more of the same next year.
I was hoping to have some completed work to show today.  But time flies etc and my work is still on the knitting needles.  Watch this space...

Image result for free christmas knitting clipart                                                 

Thursday, 1 December 2016

A new hat for a new charity....

This has been the coldest week of the year in my part of the UK.  It is cold enough for snow, though I haven't seen any yet.  After crocheting a large blanket, I am in the mood to relax a little with smaller items.  This hat is for a 6 months old baby. I started with a couple of rounds of pale pink, followed by a variegated ribbing and a solid purple for the rest of the hat.  All the yarn was left over from the same blanket. So it all matches nicely. 

I followed one of my favourite simple hat patterns. It is the Basic Baby Hat by Heather Tucker and I have knitted this many times.  The 6 months size uses only 27g of dk yarn. I can recommend this pattern.  It is knitted in the round; so there are no uncomfortable seams to worry about.

At this time of year, I like to post off any knits that are ready.  It's become a traditional end-of-year winding down ritual. This little collection was in my "completed" box. I had intended to send them to Operation Orphan but discovered at the last minute that they don't really want baby knits as they supply only schools and nurseries. 

So, I logged in to the wonderful Loving Hands website and posted my quandary. Within a few minutes, I received a reply that suggested sending them to Knit for Nowt.  This is a new charity that supplies knitted and crocheted items to people of all ages in East Yorkshire.  I sent off an email to make sure they are still an active charity and once again received a reply in a few minutes. So within thirty minutes of discovering my items were homeless, I had found a really worthwhile home in a part of the UK that I really love.  Result!

Knit for Nowt collects the type of things that I like to make....mainly hats and scarves. They also collect knitted glove and finger puppets. These are used as therapy puppets. There is more information about them HERE.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

A blanket of finishes....

Do not adjust your set.  My latest blanket really is this bright! I'm using up a cone of shocking pink yarn that I bought a couple of years ago. It knows how to pack a punch!

I started this blanket with a daisy motive.  It turned out much bigger than expected. All was explained when I read the pattern more closely and discovered it was for 4 ply yarn...Duh!

Then I introduced my last ball of grey yarn and kept going until it was all used up. I also finished the variegated yarn except for a nugget which wasn't enough to complete a whole round of crochet. 

The blanket was still too small.  So I took the opportunity to make inroads into my shocking pink cone and I like the effect of the wide border so much that I might repeat it again in a future blanket. The shocking pink yarn ISN'T finished.  So it will star in another project next year.

This blanket has gone off to SIBOL from where the busy Sue will deliver it with many others to Care Homes in the Birmingham, UK, area. I find it very satisfying making blankets for elderly people who may have few visitors to give them gifts at this time of year.

Now that my blanket is finished, I can make some smaller things and blog about them more frequently.  I have missed writing blog posts, though I have still enjoyed reading all my favourite blogs. I am thoroughly enjoying my enforced retirement.  I think that is an odd word.  A better phrase would be "new beginning".

Monday, 24 October 2016

Time flies when you're having fun....

I can't believe nearly a whole month has gone by since my last blog post.  A lot has happened in that time.  I suppose the most momentous event was my retirement at the grand old age of 61.  It wasn't my choice.  I was in a batch of 50 amazing staff who have spent the last 10 months rejecting the offer to apply for jobs on lower grades and with time sheets completely unsuitable for anyone with an actual life.  It was a no-brainer for me.  I have been working since I was 13 and have earned a rest!! I am now....drum roll....

That should mean that I have lots of knitted and crocheted items to show you.  Not true.  I am working on a blanket that has a bit of a deadline.  So I can't leave it to make something small and photogenic.

I celebrated my first week of freedom by doing a lap of honour through Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.  I enjoyed it so much that these little mini-breaks are hopefully going to become a regular feature of a less stressful life.

I have also started volunteering for a charity that converts books to alternate formats more suitable for people who are partially sighted or have dyslexia.  I will be proof reading and changing formats.  This suits me more than any other voluntary job I have done in the past.  I have already completed two books and learned a lot about using the intricacies of various computer programs.  

The voluntary job will keep my brain ticking over.  Regular gym visits will hopefully do the same for the rest of me.