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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, 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. 

STOP PRESS:
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!


Friday, 19 August 2016

Wow! Look what I just received....



This beautiful yarn arrived today.  It was sent to me by Kate at Loving Hands. This is the biggest online community of knitters, crocheters and sewers that I know about.  I was delighted when I came across it years ago.  There is a very active forum where many members log in every day for a chat. The group is heavily into making items for several charities, though there is no obligation to do this.  Many members are busy just making things for friends and family.

Occasionally, people send donations of yarn to Loving Hands.  When that happens, Kate puts a note on the forum inviting members to ask for it.  She then does her best to divide the yarn fairly among everyone who replies.  Loving Hands is a non-profit making organisation but still pays the postage costs which are very high in the UK.  It is entirely optional whether or not members send in a small donation to cover the charges.  Many members use the Easyfundraising website to raise funds when they shop with participating stores.

Some very generous yarn donations were made recently.  I made a request as I am running short on baby yarn for my preemie items.  What arrived certainly exceeded my expectations.  There is some lovely quality yarn here including the very soft Peter Pan Cupcake.  I have never knitted with this before.  There is just enough white to make a small preemie square.  So I am off to cast on now...

Friday, 12 August 2016

Birthday bounty....



Today, I am another year older (unbelievable but true) and another year wiser (really?).  I noticed that it is a whole month since I updated this blog.  Summer is always my busiest time.  I have been knitting, but only have a preemie blanket to show for my efforts.  Here it is.  It is so plain and boring that I didn't open it up for the photo.  Just picture this multiplied by four and you get the idea.

This morning, I decided that the weeds and grass can party as much as they want to.  I went to the shops under instructions to buy a new blouse.  I don't need a new blouse.  But, if someone else is paying, I'll attempt to buy one.  The weather here is very warm and summery.  The shops, however, have brought in their autumn jumpers.  No wonder they struggle to get customers through their doors.  I eventually found a lightweight jacket, which I do need, and bought it.

My mind then turned to wool.  I don't need any of that either and have been very good about not buying any recently.  But a charity shop was selling balls of aran wool for £1 each.  I bought two grey balls which will make a lovely scarf as they are an acrylic and wool blend.  I was very restrained because I picked up and then put back two more balls.  They were a sickly mustard shade and even I would have trouble finding a use for them.

Then, I saw a wool stall which is normally only open on a Thursday.  I think it must be under new management because the prices are now very reasonable as opposed to jaw-droppingly expensive.  The range of wool has also improved.  It now resembles what most people would actually knit with.  Before, the wool was so specialist and expensive that I was almost afraid to touch it.

The stall holder was very chatty and told me he was selling 100g balls of King Cole Country Tweed for £2 each because they are now a discontinued line.  He had a huge range of colours and choosing what to buy was difficult.  Eventually, I bought 2 variegated pinky balls and two maroon balls.  Again, these are an acrylic and wool blend.  I am going to look through my patterns and start something today with this lovely yarn.  Decisions, decisions!


Tuesday, 12 July 2016

PreemiesUK...




This little quartet was posted recently to PreemiesUK.  Sometimes I hear about people who struggle to find homes for their preemie items.  Well, I love this group because it has a very active website that is regularly updated with photos of donations received and news of deliveries to premature baby units all over the UK.  I knitted the angel pockets with them in mind.  I added the blanket and hat to the parcel at the last minute.  I was saving them for family and friends' future babies. But, although they are newborn baby size, I decided they would be outgrown very soon.

I still remember happily knitting a little jumper when I was pregnant with my daughter many years ago.  She wore it ONCE before she outgrew it. That is one reason I now prefer to knit things with a longer shelf life.  Blankets and hats meet that criteria.  

I couldn't bear to part with the little jumper. So, it is now in the loft which might or might not be a complete waste depending on whether or not Daughter has a baby of her own one day.  No pressure then!