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!!

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

More preemie items...

This little collection of preemie items went off to PreemiesUK.  I was really trying to use up all of my white and cream 4 ply yarn. When I finished the last two sleepsacks and weighed them, my knitting mojo rose up on its hind legs and refused to jump the last fence.  They weigh only 16g each which I think is amazing. But that left me with enough 4 ply yarn to knit another three.
  • I really want (and need) to clear the decks of finished items this week
  • I don't want my knitting/crochet to turn into a race or a chore
  • I had the perfect size box available
So I posted these yesterday and set aside the remaining 50g of white yarn.  I already have plans for it and might actually start today.  But, for now, I am finished with preemie items.

I have previously blogged about most of these preemie patterns before.  I have never mentioned the little hat pattern but it deserves a mention.  It is one of those hat patterns that I usually avoid as it is knitted on straight needles and has a seam. But I kept the seam very small by careful sewing.  Sadly, I forgot to weigh the hats. But I know they used very little yarn.

I liked the fact that staff in a special care baby unit have actually requested this very hat pattern.  Here is the link. Scroll down and look for "Hat for premature babies (As requested by St. Mary's Special Care Baby Unit, UK)."
PS:  I have had a request for a link to the pattern for the little sleepsack.  It can be found at the very end of the list on this Cuddles page.                                            

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

A lovely surprise...

Just look at the lovely journal I won recently in a giveaway hosted by Vicki of the 2bagsfull blog.  It is beautiful on the inside and on the outside with flowers and butterflies on a blue background.  

Vicki gave away several different journals and amazingly chose my favourite colour. That has been blue ever since I was about four years old and had a little blue summer dress.  I was so upset, incensed and incredulous when I outgrew it that my mother had to let down the hem to make it long enough to last another few months.  I wish I still had that dress.  I bought a very similar one when my daughter was four.  At primary school I chose blue binca material for my very first sewing project.  When I was fifteen and started a Saturday job, I bought a blue leather pencil case which I still have today.  The first party outfit I bought for myself was a blue maxi skirt and I still wear a lot of blue.  We recently had a few days away driving around Yorkshire and the Peak District.  When we were on the less scenic motorways, it was always the blue cars that caught my attention.  Did I mention that I like blue?!

I see a lot of giveaways being hosted by generous bloggers all over the world.  I usually resist entering those that are too far away because of the postage costs.  But I simply had to try to win one of these pretty journals and Vicki paid a small fortune in postage from Kentucky.  We think postage is expensive in the UK,  but it is even dearer in other countries!  Thank you, Vicki.

So when my journal arrived yesterday, I was genuinely delighted.  I will put it to good use.....maybe to record favourite books and authors.....unless I can think of something better.

Vicki's blog is well worth a visit.  She crafts for pleasure and for charity and hosts annual blog parties. You won't be disappointed!

PS: here is a photo of me wearing the famous dress.  This was in the early days of colour photography, so it doesn't really do justice to the lovely shade of sky blue.  I am on the left squinting at the sun....which probably has a lot to blame for my poor eyesight. But that is another story!  

I can actually remember this particular photo being taken.  We had just moved from a very poor part of London to a slightly more leafy area.  This was the local park.  We are standing in front of a tennis court where I used to play into my mid-twenties.  We are all dressed up, so this could even have been my birthday.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Five scarves and a hat....

A couple of years ago I bought a huge 400g ball of grey aran wool and acrylic mix.  It was one of those rare occasions when I actually go to a wool shop and pay full price!! That is probably why I made a rookie error and ended up buying the wrong shade of grey simply because I hadn't brought along the thing I was trying to match it to. Who'd have thought there are so many shades of grey?  Hey ho.  So it sat in a bag in the naughty corner.

Then I saw an appeal from Operation Orphan for scarves in shades of grey, black and navy blue.  Some of the older children prefer these colours.  I went off piste by adding eyeball-searing red.  But I made these items in sizes that will be more suitable for the younger children, so I think the bright red is going to be ok.

I managed to use up all the grey, some black oddments and most of the red.  My remaining aran yarn now fits into the palm of my hand.  I don't have any immediate plans to buy more....but I never say never!

My blog posts are very short at the moment as I am once again having an insanely busy summer.  I don't even have enough spare energy to think of clever blog post titles.  But I am still reading all my favourite blogs.  Happy August to everyone!

Saturday, 1 August 2015

...and the winner is.....

Thanks to everyone who entered my Big Birthday Giveaway.  There were 36 entries including the double entries that were awarded to my followers.  I love blogging and I wish everyone could have been a winner.  But, this time, the lucky recipient is Gillian of the hookin' A yarn blog.  Gillian blogs about her crochet, knitting and quilting and peppers her posts with lovely photos.  

I know I said I would choose the winner at 9am UK time.  I'm about 2 hours early as I was woken up by a beautiful sunrise on this first day of my birthday month.  I wrote all the entries on a piece of paper and asked Hubby to close his eyes and point at it.   He happily obeyed and it was a whole ten minutes before he asked what he had just pointed at! 

 Happy August to all my readers!

(Gillian, please could you let me know your postal address.  Thanks, Una,

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Preemie blanket....

This blanket looks bigger than it really is.  In fact, it measures 15.5" x 16.5" and will eventually go off to PreemiesUK.  I used just 73g of Patons Baby Fab which is machine washable and can also go into a  tumble dryer.

This pattern is called Daphne's Blanket and the end result is rows of puffy lozenge shapes.  It used to be on the Wye Needlecraft website together with a lot of other similar blanket patterns.  Sadly, the patterns are no longer online.  But, luckily, I printed the pattern pages some time ago.  

The Wye Needlecraft patterns are intended to use just one 100g ball of dk yarn as the blankets are for special care baby units.  However, they are easily adaptable for any ply yarn and any size.  I am going to knit a couple of these in 4 ply yarn.  If I really like them, I will then knit some larger blankets in dk yarn.

REMINDER:  there is still time to enter my Big Birthday Giveaway.  For more details see my post here.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Matching blanket and hat set...and a giveaway reminder

I was in the mood for knitting a baby blanket and my mind went back to a gift that was given to me by a friend when my daughter was a baby.  It was a small blanket and came with the promise that it would be very useful.  Well, it was.  The smaller size made it perfect for tucking over my daughter when she was in her pram or car seat. There was no excess fabric to drown her, to collect dust from the ground or floor of the car, or to trip me up when carrying her.  My friend was a new mum and, like me, fairly short.  So she knew exactly what would be useful.

I had the following pattern in my Ravelry queue: Lilac Blossom Baby Blanket by Marianna and it seemed perfect.  I followed the pattern as written and ended up with a width of 22".  I stopped knitting when the blanket was 27" long to keep it in proportion.  It is easy to increase the number of cast on stitches to knit a bigger blanket if that is what you are aiming for.

I used a gender-neutral cream Robin Double Knit yarn.  I found a big bag of this yarn in a charity shop last year.  It receives mixed reviews on Ravelry.  But I really liked it. It is soft and bouncy and, being acrylic, will wash well.  I will even look for this yarn again when I have used up the remaining balls.

The combination of the bouncy yarn and the slightly puffy knitted stitch makes this blanket cosy.  The stitch is basically 2 x 2 ribbing with something clever happening every fourth row to make it interesting.  Though this is not strictly a reversible pattern, it looks good on both sides of the blanket.  You might just about be able to see the detail in the next photo.

The blanket used less than 200g of yarn, so I had enough left to knit a matching hat.

This time I followed the hat pattern from the Lilac Blossom Baby Set by Marianna.  It was so easy and took only a couple of hours.  

Here they are together  I think a matching set has more "wow effect" than individual items.

The hat will fit a baby aged 0-3 months and the set will go to a future family baby.

REMINDER:  there is still time to enter my Big Birthday Giveaway.  For more details see my post here.

Monday, 13 July 2015

My Big Birthday Giveaway...

I will be celebrating a big birthday in August, the big 60! It is a number I find very hard to believe.  I don't know why.  All my misconceptions about being 30, 40 and 50 should have prepared me.  
When I was in my twenties I thought that 50 was really old. That birthday was an eye-opener as I was still firing on all cylinders with a full time job and a very demanding young daughter.  Now that I am approaching 60, I am working only 1 day per week and that same daughter has finished university, left home, started a new job and met a lovely young man.  Such a lot has happened in the last 10 years.  I don't know how I am supposed to feel, but it isn't old.  I think the word "excited" is a better description.

Plans are in progress for how to celebrate this milestone with family and friends.  I couldn't leave out my virtual blogging friends.  I've been lucky enough to win some giveaways since I started blogging and I have been on the lookout for some items to make up a tempting giveaway worthy of a Big Birthday.

Here they are:
  • a Cath Kidston notebook
  • a tin for storing buttons or other knick knacks
  • 5 lovely buttons covered with Fair Trade fabric
  • an owl keyring from Oxfam in support of independent artisans in India
  • a 50g ball of Jaegar Spiral-spun double knitting wool in a heather shade
For a chance to win, simply leave a comment on my blog and some way of contacting you.  This giveaway is open to everyone anywhere in the world.  My last giveaway was won by a blogger in New Jersey.  Any entrant who follows me via Bloglovin' or Google Friend Connect automatically wins a second entry.  

I originally planned to pick the winner on my actual birthday.  But I have been receiving some very heavy hints that I am being whisked away on the special day and I probably won't have access to the Internet.  So I will draw the winning entry at 9 a.m. UK time on August 1st.

Good luck!