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!!

Sunday, 28 April 2013

My top hats.....

I looked up the collective noun for hats but could only find some joke suggestions such as a millinery of hats or a brimful of hats.  Maybe it should be a box full of hats because that is what I nearly have now after finishing this latest quartet.

They are all knitted with Aran weight wool.  So they are very warm and will probably end up being sent to Operation Orphan which is an organisation that distributes clothing to children in Eastern Europe.  These are all roughly toddler or small child size.

Sometimes I knit the same pattern several times.  This time I felt like knitting a variety of hats.   My theory is that heads come in all shapes and sizes, so hats should too.

The bright red hat is from this pattern  and is a real favourite of mine.  I have knitted it many times in the past and will in the future as well.

The maroon and cream hat is my version of the above pattern but I used seed stitch for the main part of the hat.  It all went swimmingly until I reached the decreases at the crown and I had to wing it a little.  I just about got away with it.

The aqua and cream hat is from this pattern  The visible colour joins are part of the design.  It can be two or more colours and is great for using up oddments. I originally found the pattern on  Ravelry.  The beauty of  Ravelry patterns is that you can read comments from other knitters.  Most people said the hat turns out too big.  So I followed their advice and cast on 80 stitches instead of 96.  I also used a smaller needle for the brim to keep it tighter.  I will definitely knit this pattern again.

The cream hat is from this pattern  You may need to log in to Ravelry to see it.

I found the perfect box this afternoon and will soon be able to post off a pile of knitted and crocheted items.  I probably enjoy posting them even more than making them.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

My latest preemie items...

I'm amazed at what I was able to knit from one largish ball of wool.  Here's a simple baby blanket measuring  approximately 20" square with matching preemie gowns and bonnets.  The wool was white with little flecks of pink, blue, lilac and yellow.  I combined it with some very fine pink yarn that I am trying to use up.  The white wool is now finished, but I still have miles of the fine pink yarn on a cone!

Continuing a trend, both yarns came from a bargain buy.  Yet again, someone's unloved yarn has been put to good use.  I often wonder what the original purchaser intended to make with the wool and how they would feel if they saw the finished items.

I added little bows to the dresses and small ribbon ties to the bonnets.  The dresses are only slightly bigger than the average adult hand, so they are probably angel size.  I like to think that they will be worn by 2 little princesses one day.  It will be a sad day, but hopefully made slightly easier by treating the babies with respect and dignity.

The patterns for the gowns and bonnets came from the Heavenly Angels In Need website.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Loving Hands

Like many people, I used to sew and knit a lot until life took over.  Then, when I had more time on my hands, I rediscovered knitting.  The quandary then was what to do with my knitting.  There are only so many items that can be usefully passed on to family or friends.  A key moment was when I realised that my little creations were useful elsewhere.  

For anyone looking for a good home for their knitting, sewing or crochet, I recommend taking a look at the Loving Hands website.  A huge range of worldwide charitable causes are supported ranging from preemie babies to bald chickens, from cold elephants to new mothers and many more!!!

Every few months some challenges are created just to add interest.  The new challenges were posted yesterday and include baby cribs, socks, penguins and anything BRIGHT.

The link above will take you to the homepage which is currently still listing the spring challenges.  But if you click on "Forum" and register, you will have full access to patterns, chat forums, a list of charities, and the new summer challenges.

The challenges are just for fun.  If nothing grabs you, it's fine to carry on making what you enjoy most.  The list of charities will give lots of ideas about where to send your items.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

The peach wool challenge.....the result is a draw

Here's the finished peach dress.  The pattern called for a moss stitch bodice but I decided that the knobbly peach yarn and the bobbly moss stitch would have been too much.  I tried a ribbed bodice but the weight of the dress just pulled it down into holes.  I didn't think garter stitch would look good, so I tried stocking stitch.  I'm glad I did as it made the most of this beautiful pink yarn.  It is called Soft Cotton by Sirdar and definitely lives up to its name.  I can't remember knitting with cotton before but I am now a convert.  I think I had a strange idea that cotton yarn would be hard when, in fact, it is as soft as feathers.

This dress is my least favourite of the dresses I have knitted from this pattern.  The peach yarn was hard to knit with and has made the dress very "full".  On the plus side, there will be plenty of room for a baby to kick its legs.

I had enough yarn left to knit a matching hat.  To coin a phrase, "the photo doesn't do it justice".  The cotton yarn is so soft and perfect for a baby hat.  As both items are going off to a charity in Africa, it is unlikely that they will be worn by the same baby.  But they are both newborn size, so the possibility remains.

I won't give a link to this hat pattern as I found it very difficult to knit.  To be fair, lots of people have knitted this pattern and left good comments on Ravelry.  So maybe I was just not in the zone.  I have been meaning to knit this for some time and I'm glad I did.  But I found the topknot part VERY fiddly to knit.  It took as long as the rest of the hat and I even dreamed about it.....more of a nightmare really.  I was unhappy with my first attempt, ripped it out and knitted it for a second time.  Boy was I pleased when I finished it.  

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Peach wool challenge....

I had enough coordinating wool remnants to make another little dress which will eventually go to a baby in Africa.  I knitted the first few rows in a soft peach wool that was left over from an earlier blanket project.  I have now reached the main body of the dress and the yarn I'm using is white with flecks of yellow, peach and dark pink.  So far, so good.  But it also has big lumps of what I can only describe as cotton wool.  These lumps make it quite slow and difficult to knit with.  Luckily most of the lumps are on the inside of the dress.  I've checked carefully and they are not at all scratchy.  So they will hopefully just make the dress extra warm.  

I'm knitting from the hem upwards on a circular needle which turned out to be a good decision.  Trying to sew a seam in this knobbly wool would have been interesting to say the least.  I'm even struggling to think of any other uses for wool like this.  This wool came in a bargain lot so it looks like I'm not the only person clueless about what to do with it.  I have another ball in a different colour and that will probably end up as a dress unless I have a better idea.

It will be a relief to reach the bodice of this dress.  That part of the pattern is moss stitch and the dark pink wool I'm going to use is the perfect texture.  Just a few more centimetres to go......

Monday, 1 April 2013

One blanket finished, another started....

Here's the finished shocking pink blanket.  It measures 28" square and I will eventually send this off to a charity that supplies blankets to newborn babies.  I thought I was running out of wool, so the centre of the blanket is knitted from different balls of various shades of pink.  I edged the blanket with one row of crochet in white to bring it all together.

As it turned out, I had enough of the stripy wool left to knit 2 baby hats.  Having placed the hats on the blanket for this photo, I don't think there would have been enough wool to knit a stripy pattern repeat in the centre of the blanket.  The really scientific way to work it out would have involved using a small digital weighing scales.  I don't have this type of scales and can't really justify buying one.  So, hey ho,  we have a blanket and 2 hats.

I've just started my next diagonal blanket:

I'm using a ball of baby wool in white with pink, green, blue, lilac and yellow flecks.  The random, pearly  effect of the flecks is a nice change from the almost regimented pattern of the pink stripy wool.  I'm also still trying to use up the cone of fine pink 2 ply yarn.  The stripy blanket barely made a dent in this cone!!  I'll just keep using it for various blankets until it's finished.  

The flecks in the baby wool make the plain garter stitch look a bit more like moss stitch and the coned yarn is giving a faint background pink tint.  That makes it a bit more feminine, which I don't think is a problem as the pink flecks already made it more suitable for a girl.

I have weighed the baby wool on my kitchen scales.  They are not very accurate but I will hopefully be able to judge better when to start to decrease the number of stitches.  Unlike the stripy blanket, this one doesn't have any obvious pattern repeats.  So I should be able to keep going and turn the corner on the right row.  Only time will tell!!