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, 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.  

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Wrapped in a cloud...

Having recently knitted with a dk yarn that was more like 4ply, I have just gone to the opposite extreme and knitted with a dk yarn that was more like Aran.  This was the Peter Pan Cupcake yarn that was kindly donated to me by Loving Hands.  

It is listed on Ravelry as a dk yarn. But, very tellingly, it does not say that on the wrapper.  However, it does recommend needle sizes 3.5-4.5mm which would imply that it is a dk yarn. Believe me, it isn't.  So, for any project that has to actually fit, a swatch would be essential.

But I had already decided to knit a preemie blanket, so fit wasn't important.  I had 100g of white Cupcake which was enough for a 15" square.  This will eventually be going off to PreemiesUK.  Normally, a yarn this thick would be unsuitable for a newborn baby of any size. But this is so beautifully soft that it will be like wrapping a baby in a cloud.

I still have a lot of the Cupcake in other colours. Ravelry has some pattern suggestions for this yarn.  Many people seem to have made blankets and toys with it. A few brave crafters have knitted cardigans and hats.  I will probably err on the side of caution/cowardice!

Thursday, 22 September 2016

NOW it's autumn.....

I am ready to face up to the fact that autumn has arrived, even though our weather here is warm and I still haven't turned on the heating.  Woo hoo!

This is a photo of a tapestry that I sewed over 40 years ago!!  I loved the tapestry when I bought the kit, loved it for the two years** it took to sew and loved it enough to have it framed when it was finished.  I knew it would take a long time to sew, so I started with the dark colours and ended with the light colours.  That hint of genius meant it stayed as clean as possible.  I'm quite impressed that I managed to think like that when I was 19.

I bought this in the 1970s when brown and orange were in fashion. Styles changed and it sadly ended up in the loft where I recently rediscovered it while on a cleaning/sorting/disposal marathon. The photo isn't brilliant as I was still in the loft and the flash came on. The tapestry, along with everything else in the loft, was covered in a layer of dust.  But I was very happy as I thought it had gone missing during a house move thirteen years ago.

Coincidentally, I spent a lot of time this year decorating my walls in neutral colours and I have just thought of the perfect place for it. Today's mission is to find a pretty chain, polish the tapestry and to hang it in full view before sunset. 

Here it is hanging on my wall.  It doesn't look straight in the photo but it really is!  I must do a photography course one day!  It was hard to hang because I wanted to line it up with a mirror and bookcase further along the wall.  It is doing a good job filling a gap that was left after culling my books and removing a bookcase.

**I noticed that I was so proud of this work of art that I signed the back of the frame in my best handwriting.  I also added the dates.  It actually took less than a year.  It just felt like two years!

Sunday, 11 September 2016

I don't like to say it....

.....but I told you so.  Summer is still shining down on us in my part of the UK and the forecast for next week looks just as good with temperatures close to 30 C.  That will do nicely, thank you.  Some years, I don't reach September without turning on the heating.  This year, I am aiming for October.

I pressed on with the scarf that I have been crocheting with this very thin dk yarn.  I used just over 100g and stopped at 5" wide because it will eventually be going off to Operation Orphan for their Keep A Child Warm campaign.  The acrylic and wool mix is perfect for a strong but warm and soft scarf.  

The very long colour changes look great in this type of scarf that is crocheted sideways.  I used one of my favourite crochet scarf patterns.  I usually use a size 4.5 or 5mm hook.  But the yarn was so thin that I had to use a size 4mm hook instead. That is one reason this scarf took so long to make.  The other reasons might have had something to do with making the most of our SUMMER while it lasts.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Oh no, it isn't.....a bit of a rant.

Start of rant****
Since when did September 1st become the first day of autumn?  Maybe it was about the same time we dumbed down and started talking about "going to uni".  In my day(!), every school child knew that autumn started on September 21st and people could actually be bothered to say all five syllables of "university".  

This morning, I heard a chirpy weather forecaster say that we use September 1st as the first day of autumn because it is easier to remember.  Never mind that we might have several weeks of good weather left.  Using that logic, Christmas Day will be on December 1st this year.  End of rant****

But just to show that I can move with the times, here is what I am working on at the moment.  When I bought this King Cole Country Tweed at an outdoor market, the sun was blazing and it looked like pink and grey.  At home, I realised it was more like autumnal rust and brown. My original plan for a baby item had to change to a scarf.  It is beautifully soft.  But there is no way on earth that this is a double knit yarn.  It feels like 4 ply and takes forever to crochet with.  

I have made this scarf many times and know that I would be finished by now if this was a real double knit yarn.  The stallholder told me the yarn had been discontinued. I can see why.  It is perfect for a soft scarf.  I have checked on Ravelry and many projects made with this yarn tend to be scarves and shawls.  But there are also some cardigans and jumpers.  I can only assume that the knitters/crocheters avoided sizing disasters by making a tension square first.

So, if a double knit yarn feels more like 4 ply, then it probably is.  Likewise, if it feels like summer and looks like summer, it is still summer!