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.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Three quick scarves......

I had some wool left over after knitting a child's jumper recently and I wanted to use it up instead of putting it back into the wool bag.  It was a lovely pure wool Borgs S.N.2 garn in light brown which was donated to me by Joanne of the Cup On The Bus blog.  I also had some Debbie Bliss 4 ply beige wool left over from a previous project and I realised that both these yarns would combine beautifully.

So, hey presto, I managed to knit 3 children's scarves for Operation Orphan which is an organisation that delivers clothing and blankets to children in need around the world.  For all threes scarves I used 6mm knitting needles and cast on 26 stitches.  The result?...3 warm, squishy scarves with a great drape.  

I used a one-row pattern for the two ribbed scarves.  I can't remember where this pattern came from, so thanks are due to the author.....though it is so simple that there may not be an author. Even so, I don't feel right giving out the pattern without permission.  But there are several one-row patterns available on the Internet and I recommend them as easy mindless knitting projects.
STOP PRESS:  I have found the pattern, so here is the link:
scarf pattern.

By the time I reached my third scarf, I was tiring a bit and I had heard from Linda of the Linda's Crafty Corner blog that there is an Operation Orphan delivery to Syria in December.  So I quickly rushed out a garter stitch scarf which used up the last of the brown and beige wool.

Two of the scarves have a few colourful stripes created from oddments of yarn.  I added them to break up the monotony for both myself and the younger children.  I wouldn't say these scarves are beautiful.  But the important thing is that they are real wool and will tuck inconspicuously into most winter coats.  Three children will be a little warmer this winter.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Lazy lacy scarf....

When I first saw this scarf pattern on Marianna's Lazy Daisy Days blog, I thought it was a crochet pattern.  I was so convinced about this that I even added it to my favourite crochet patterns on Pinterest!!  Then I read closer and realised it was a very simple but clever knitting pattern.  The pattern repeat is 5 rows of garter stitch followed by an easy eyelets row.  I recommend it to anyone who is looking for a pretty and quick scarf pattern.  It can also be found on Ravelry here.

My scarf measures 6" x 65" and used approximately 70g of yarn.  I rarely recommend any particular yarns; but this one deserves a mention.  It is an acrylic dk yarn called "Knitting Essentials" and came from my local Poundland in London.  It is beautifully soft and a pleasure to knit with.  It easily matches more expensive yarns and I would be happy to use this even for baby items..... a great find.

This scarf has gone to SIBOL from where Sue will add it to her Christmas deliveries to care homes for the elderly.  The care homes are not prisons!  The residents are encouraged to go out into the gardens or even further afield on day trips, so they need warm accessories.  I like it so much I might just have to knit another one for myself.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Finally finished the jumper.....

Here is the jumper that starred in my recent blog post.  It was, in theory, a simple pattern.  But the multitude of mistakes and vague information in the pattern mean that I cannot recommend it.  Bizarrely, now that I have peppered my printed pattern with corrections, I will definitely knit this again in future.  

Next time, it will be a quick knit.  It is a top-down pattern and the seamless design means there is no sewing and no bulky seams.

This jumper should fit a 3 year old child and will eventually go off to Operation Orphan.  It is a sturdy little jumper and will definitely keep someone warm and hopefully be passed down to other children over the years.

Thanks again to Joanne of the Cup On The Bus blog for donating the brown yarn which I used together with some light blue 4 ply yarn.  

(Note to self: the jumper weighs just under 250g and I have plenty of suitable Aran yarn.)

Sunday, 2 November 2014

The Warm-At-Home shawl.....

This shawl is basically a large knitted triangle.  It measures a generous 64" from point to point and 29" down the back.  Here are the front and back views on an average size person:

It is a very simple shawl that involves a lot of mindless garter stitch knitting.  The end result is a shawl to keep someone warm indoors. If you prefer a delicate, lacy shawl to wear to a wedding, stop reading now!!

I made up the pattern as I went along.  I plan to knit it again.  So, for myself and anyone else who might like it, here it is:

  • Aran yarn or 2 thinner yarns held together to add up to 10 ply.
  • 5.5mm knitting needles.  My stitches fitted onto straight needles even at the widest point of the shawl.
  • Cast on 3 stitches.
  • Row 1: knit 3.
  • Row 2: slip 1 knitwise, knit through the front and back of the second stitch, knit to the end.
  • Row 3: slip 1 knitwise, knit to the end.
  • Repeat rows 2 and 3 until the shawl measures 32" across the top edge, ending on a row 3.
  • Row 4: slip 1 knitwise, knit to the end.
  • Row 5: slip 1 knitwise, knit to last 3 stitches, knit 2 together, knit 1.
  • Row 6: slip 1 knitwise, knit to the end.
  • Repeat rows 5 and 6 until there are only 4 stitches left.
  • Next row: slip 1 knitwise, knit 2 together, knit 1.
  • Next row: slip 1 knitwise, knit 2 together.
  • Next row: knit 2 together
  • Cut yarn, thread it through the last stitch and sew in the end securely.

Your choice of needle size will influence the amount of drape in this shawl.  I tried 4.5mm needles which produced a very dense fabric that was more like a rug!  I then tried 6mm needles but thought the stitches were a little too loose.  I eventually used 5.5mm needles which have produced a very warm shawl that will withstand daily use and regular washing.  But everyone knits to a different tension, so different needles will work for different people.

This pattern is a real yarn guzzler.  I used about 400g of oddments.  You could just use one colour if  preferred. If you are knitting in stripes, it might help to know that you will be knitting from the right hand corner to the left hand corner.  On my shawl I started with the green stripes and ended with the pink stripes.

As my shawl is garter stitch stripes and I always joined the new colours at the top edge, there is a definite right and wrong side.  But it might not be obvious to a non-knitter.  So I knitted 2 flowers and sewed them to the right side at the front points. These are also useful for weighing down the shawl to keep it in place.  You could add other decorations such as buttons, tassels or ribbons.  Or you could just leave the ends undecorated.

That's it.  When you sew in the yarn ends, your shawl is finished.  No blocking is required!  I found that commencing every row by slipping a stitch knitwise produced a firm edge that did not need any other additional edging.

This shawl has gone off to SIBOL from where the industrious Sue delivers shawls (and blankets) to care homes for the elderly.  Take a look at the SIBOL blog if you feel like knitting or crocheting a blanket or shawl.

Breaking news:  I uploaded this pattern to Ravelry here.  I'm chuffed to see that 14 people favorited or queued it within the first 2 hours.  Incidentally, most of these Ravellers live in countries such as Canada or Germany where the winters are cold.  I hope this shawl keeps them warm!

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Wednesday WIP...

This is what I am knitting at the moment.  It is a top-down jumper for a 3 year old child.  I chose this pattern because it is seamless which I think is important in a thick jumper.  I am actually combining 2 yarns:

  • Pure Gold 4 ply yarn in light blue
  • Borgs S.N.2 garn in light brown

The light blue yarn was part of a bargain joblot and the light brown yarn was kindly donated to me by Joanne of the Cup On The Bus blog.  I checked the Borgs yarn on Ravelry and discovered that it is 5 ply which I am not used to knitting with.  There is also a very limited range of patterns for 5 ply yarns.  So, by combining it with the light blue, I have been able to select from a wider range of patterns.  

I can't recommend the pattern yet.  I have just finished the raglan increases and have started on the main body.  So far, I have discovered 2 minor errors and 1 major error in the pattern.  This is a free pattern that has been translated into English from another language.  It is very good of the author to give away her pattern on Ravelry and she must be unaware of the errors.  For example, according to the pattern, if I have 220 stitches and place 48 x 2 onto holders for the sleeves I should be left with 200 stitches for the main body.  I don't think so!!!  I am actually left with 124 stitches and these seem to be enough for a roomy jumper.

I took a look at the French and Spanish versions of the pattern and can see that the sentence that is incorrect in the English version does not appear in those versions. So I have left a comment about the major error on the pattern page.  If it is corrected by the time I finish the jumper, I will definitely recommend it.  Meanwhile, the fact that only 9 knitters have completed this pattern is probably explained by the errors.  That is a pity as it is otherwise a simple pattern.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Off they go...

I hadn't intended to post this blanket, scarf and hat collection until I had more items ready.  But I was browsing through the Loving Hands website this morning and discovered that Operation Orphan has a delivery planned to go to Syria soon.  They also deliver blankets and clothing to children in other countries, so I am fairly confident that these items will reach someone who needs them.  Posting items to war zones and other far off places is a bit of a "fingers crossed" exercise.  But the least I can do is to try to help.

I have very limited space for storing finished items.  This is partly deliberate as I believe that my items do nobody any good until I post them off.  I had just the right size box and it would have been silly to waste it!  There is now a big empty space waiting for me to fill with more items and someone will be a bit more warm and comfortable.  Win win.

Friday, 17 October 2014

A real red head....

Here's my latest knitted hat.  I used lovely red yarn that I bought cheaply in a summer bootfair.  I love the coloured speckles in it.  I made this slightly bigger than the last 3 hats because heads come in all shapes and sizes.

This hat was inspired by the Awesome Hat pattern.  But I swapped to stocking stitch after the ribbed brim as I think it shows off the yarn better.

My obsession with neat hat crowns continues.  So here is the crown:

I love it!

This has to be a short blog post.  The 3 girls for whom I knitted the little fingerless gloves are arriving tomorrow.  I will finally find out if they fit them!