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!!

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Grow Your Blog...

2 Bags Full

Welcome to all my old and new readers.  I'm taking part in this year's Grow Your Blog Party which is hosted by Vicki at the  2 Bags Full blog.  This is a great event which helps to introduce bloggers to each other.  It worked for me when my blog was still quite new.  I'm hoping to find many more blogs to follow this year.

I have lived in London, UK, all my life and am a very busy person.  I used to work full time in a library until 2011 when my employer decided that making me and 25 other colleagues redundant was part of the solution to the world's economic problems. (It wasn't!!)  Luckily, I was just the right age to take early retirement, so I now work only one day per week in a library and the rest of the week is spent enjoying a new lease of life. 

After a few weeks getting used to being a lady of leisure, I had the brainwave to return to knitting which I used to do many years ago.  I had given away all my knitting needles and didn't have one ball of wool in the house.  I restocked my needles, built up a good collection of wool and the rest is history.

I started my blog at the end of 2012 mainly to record my knitting projects.  I used to have a gardening blog with a total of 6 followers.  I didn't have any higher expectations for my knitting blog, so reaching the dizzy heights of nearly 100 followers has amazed me.  The figure is only approximate as some of my followers use Bloglovin', some use Google Friend Connect, some use Ravelry and some follow me through other blogs.  Blogger has a great "stats" feature which tells me the various countries that my visitors come from.  Most recently, there have been visits from:
  • United Kingdom

    United States

    Czech Republic



    South Africa




Previously, there have been visits from Vietnam, Iceland, Australia and many other exotic places.  I find that truly amazing.

If you have come to my blog as a new reader, I would love you to follow me.  I write about knitting, crochet and sewing.  Knitting is my first love and I have been doing it for over 50 years.  I am a competent sewer and occasionally make girls' dresses for charity and tops for myself.  I am teaching myself to crochet and very slowly making some progress.  I still think of myself as a knitter who crochets.

My family work or go to college full time, so I am usually aided and abetted by Fleur:

I don't think one day goes by without me picking up knitting needles or a crochet hook.  I mainly make things for various charities and seem to concentrate on blankets, hats, scarves, and babywear.  I sometimes make things for my family and even for myself, though there is a limit to how many scarves one person needs.

I find that reading other blogs and seeing what other people make is very inspiring.  I have been so inspired that I have made things I never dreamed of a couple of years ago.  I love taking photos of them and showing them off.  Every year I select my best photos and use them in a banner at the top of my blog.

I follow many many blogs and have "met" some lovely, generous, helpful bloggers.   There are some great blogs out there!  My favourites are listed at the top of my home page and also further down the right hand sidebar.  I love reading them and looking at the amazing photos. I love to receive comments, though I can't always think of witty replies!   Let's all have a great party in 2015!

Friday, 16 January 2015

A Cuddles crochet blanket....

I am still on a mission to use up my 4 ply yarn after deciding it is perfect for preemie baby items.  This week I sorted out the white yarn.  I have a few small oddments that will probably become hats.  I also have 3 or 4 larger balls that will have to be used for different projects as they are either different shades of white or different textures.  

I found the pattern for this preemie blanket on the Cuddles website here.  It is the pattern imaginatively called "Crocheted baby blanket".  It is very easy as every row is the type of pattern!! It was quick to make as it required very little concentration and could be done with various family distractions going on around me.  

The great thing about tiny blankets is that they give you a chance to try a new stitch before committing to a huge project.  This pattern could be easily adapted for a larger baby blanket.  It is also a great stitch for lap blankets and scarves in any ply with the appropriate size hook.

Note to self:
I used 4 ply yarn and a 3.5mm hook.  73 chains gave me a finished width of 18".  I had approximately 85g of yarn and kept going until it was used up.  That gave me a length of 16".

Monday, 12 January 2015

The "Something Blue" blanket

Here is my biggest ever granny square.  It measures 36" x 36" which is the perfect size for SIBOL whose founder, Sue, distributes blankets and shawls to care homes for the elderly in the UK.

It weighs 400g and consists entirely of dk yarn that I already had left over from other projects.  I enjoyed planning the stripes and even relished the suspense of whether or not I would have enough of each shade as the blanket grew bigger.

I will definitely crochet more of these as I have now progressed enough to understand what other crocheters mean when they say granny squares are therapeutic to make.

I used a 4mm hook and crocheted 2 chains in the corners and 1 chain between clusters along the sides.  I find that combination works for me as it gives a compact and even finish which I like.  I also turned the square at the end of every complete round.  That method avoids the twisted spiral effect.  I would post the link to the website where I found that tip, but I unfortunately can't find it at the moment.

SIBOL blankets are usually named before being donated to the care homes.  The name "Something Blue" suggested itself to me.

Something old, something new.
Something borrowed, something blue.

I think many care home residents would love the romance of that old wedding rhyme.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Drumroll for Jaqueline....UPDATE

Jaqueline of the Opening The Front Door blog correctly guessed that I am working on a shawl.  Here is another photo.  The first person to guess the actual pattern that I am following wins £50 for a charity of their choice.

The closing date for entries is February 6th, 2015 or earlier if someone gives the correct answer.  I will publish a link to this pattern when the challenge closes.  
HINT: it is a lovely pattern!!

Thanks to everyone who has submitted guesses so far.  There is no limit to guesses per person.

***UPDATE: Snazzyb from Ravelry has guessed that this is the Easy-Peazy Shawl pattern.  £50 will be going off to a charity of her choice soon.  Well done to Snazzyb.

Snazzyb chose the Cancer Research charity and they have just received a donation of £50 which increased to £62.50 as I ticked the Giftaid box.  I am delighted that Snazzyb chose that charity.***

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Is it a bird? Is it a plane?...UPDATE

M.K. of the Through a Glass, Darkly blog asked whether or not I am inviting people to guess what my latest knitting project is.  I remember having some fun doing something similar on Linda's Crafty Corner blog.  So, why not? 

I'm starting with a photo that doesn't give much away!  I'll post more photos in the next few days.  If anyone guesses correctly, they will win a big mention on my next blog post.  If anyone discovers the actual pattern I am following, then I will donate £50 to a charity chosen by the first person to guess corrrectly!!

The closing date for this challenge will be February 6th 2015 or earlier if someone guesses correctly.

UPDATE: Snazzyb from Ravelry has guessed that this is the Easy-Peazy Shawl pattern.  £50 will be going off to a charity of her choice soon.  Well done to Snazzyb.

Snazzyb chose the Cancer Research charity and they have just received a donation of £50 which increased to £62.50 as I ticked the Giftaid box.  I am delighted that Snazzyb chose that charity.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

A tiny baby sleeping sack....and a mystery project

I am used to knitting preemie items, but the size of this sleeping sack surprised me. The pattern gave no indication of the size, so I was quite surprised when the finished item weighed only 20g and barely made a dent in my ball of 4 ply yarn.  

Some knitters find it upsetting to make these small items, but I find it strangely uplifting.  I suppose I am happy to be making something useful that is hard to find in the shops.

I found the pattern here.  It is the "sleeping sack" pattern at the very end of the list.  It was fairly easy to knit and involved minimal sewing.  It also let me use up some of the many buttons that I have saved over the years.  I will definitely knit more of these.

I find it amazing that I could, in theory, knit 5 of these from one ball of yarn. I probably paid about £1 for this yarn.  So one sleeping sack costs 20p to make.  What else can you buy for 20p these days?

......and now here is a sneak preview of something that I will be working on for several weeks/months.  I am combining these 2 coned yarns to make a mystery project and I'm already loving how it is turning out.  The pink really is that bright and I'm relying on it to cheer me up during the grey winter months ahead.  Watch this space!

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Preemie hats and an old memory........

Free time is at a premium at the moment and I felt the need to make things that I could finish quickly.  I have also been in denial for too long that I have a large bag of 4 ply yarn.  Most of it has wended its way to me hidden among bargain lots of other more user-friendly yarn.  I have decided to make serious efforts to use it up.  So I sorted out the pastels and knitted some preemie baby hats.  

I always remember an elderly lady who stopped me in the street when I was pushing my daughter in her pram.  She told me her granddaughter had no clothes small enough to fit her premature baby and she wondered if I knew where to buy them.  We were outside a major babywear shop at the time and even their smallest baby clothes were too big.  This elderly lady was quite upset and was prepared to trudge the streets until she had found some tiny baby clothes.  This was in the days before Internet shopping and she had no other realistic option.  I hope she was successful.  

Sadly, I wasn't much help on that occasion; but the memory has stayed etched in my mind.  One ball of yarn and a few hours work can produce preemie hats and clothes more valuable than the sum of the effort and materials that went into them.

In no particular order, here are the patterns I used:
Tiny Knitted Preemie Hat by Bee Rowert
Three Hats from Cuddles

PS: the bobble hat and scarf that I gave my daughter for Christmas were a great success.  She wore them all day indoors!!