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!!

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

A Wednesday work in progress....and a quick poll

This baby blanket is likely to be "in progress" for several Wednesdays!  I have 300g of this lovely bright yarn called Robin Paintbox and I am going to keep knitting until it is all used up.  This is a simple diagonal garter stitch pattern from What A Woolly Life. Here it is.

I like this pattern because the edging is knitted on once the blanket has been finished.  That means there is no sewing up to do.  My big decision will be which colour to use for the edging.  I have enough of all the colours in the blanket:
  • pink
  • primrose yellow
  • lilac
  • soft green
  • and white
The blanket will go my niece who has just announced that she is expecting a girl in March.  I'd love to hear which colour you would pick for the edging.  Please see the poll to the right of this post and cast your vote.  The poll will be open until December 1st, by which time I might be ready to start the edging!

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

The Snowy Sky blanket...

This was finished in June but the colours, if you can call black, white and grey  "colours", looked all wrong for the summer.  So I waited until November before sending it to SIBOL.  Our weather this week is very foggy and I expect we will see snow before spring!   The amazing Sue from SIBOL will deliver it and many more to care homes for the elderly in the UK.

I enjoyed making this giant granny square.  The idea for the centre square came from the Sunshine Granny Square pattern by Theemuts Tinka on Ravelry.  One of my 2015 resolutions was to crochet a snowflake.  I decided that this square looked close enough despite its sunny name.  

The rest of the blanket was just a typical granny square and the edging was the Double V edging that I found on the Knot Your Nana's Crochet blog.  Once again, it was a new skill for me.  But it was easy and really finished off the blanket nicely.  This photo isn't very good.  I promise you that the edging looks better in real life.

Sue likes to attach a name to each blanket that she delivers and I think "Snowy Sky" suits this one.

The vital statistics are 37" x 37" and 380g of dk yarn.  Most of the yarn came from donations and bargain buys.  I have quite a bit of black yarn and like to sneak it into projects with a bit of white and variegated grey to lift the mood.

On a slightly different subject, my second cataract operation went ahead as planned and things are looking good.  Eyesight takes weeks or months to recover after surgery.  But I am already happy and looking forward to what future improvements might bring.  My crafting pace is increasing again, though I am supposed to be resting for a few weeks.  "More haste, less speed" definitely applies to recovering from surgery.  The rest of 2015 will be quite gentle for me.  In 2016, I can start firing on all cylinders again.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Quick scarf and hat....

This is just a quick post to thank everyone who has sent me best wishes for my second eye op.  It took place a week ago and it is a big relief to have both eyes finally working together.  I'm also happy that I can now read, type, sew and knit to my heart's content.  

I will definitely need reading glasses for finer work. But it's a bit too soon to order them as my prescription will continue to change for a while.  So I am making do with off-the-shelf reading glasses. However, I find that I don't really need to use them until the evening. Our energy-saving light bulbs at home might need some rethinking as even my husband finds them useless for reading.  It's all a bit of a learning curve at the moment.

I started this scarf a few weeks ago.  The hat took just 2-3 days.  The yarn is a 100% wool by Jaegar and it was donated to me by a generous person on Freecycle.  The scarf is a simple crochet v-stitch and the hat is one of my regular favourite patterns by Pyrrha Designs.  These will go off soon to Operation Orphan for their Keep A Child Warm project.  I chose to make these two items in a size suitable for a teenager.

Yesterday, I treated myself to a rummage in my bags of yarn and picked out some really pretty yarn for a simple baby blanket.  But that's another story.....

Friday, 16 October 2015

A finished blanket....

I'm glad to say that the baby blanket I started 7 weeks ago is now finished.  It has served its purpose by keeping me company through some rather trying weeks as I recovered from one eye operation and prepare for the second one next week. 

I had a very thorough check-up on the operated eye recently and the hospital staff are really impressed at how well I can see.  I can read the bottom line on the eye chart which I have never been able to do before.  I'm happy and amazed by that.  The close-up vision for reading etc is also getting better, though I might eventually need glasses for very fine work.  But that is ok and I am actually looking forward to being able to go back to my optician and surprise her with my new prescription.

The blanket pattern is here on Ravelry.  For my version, I cast on 172 stitches on 5mm knitting needles.  Just 270g of dk yarn gave me a blanket measuring 30" x 33". The pattern was easy to remember.  Every fourth row involved yarn overs and careful counting and I'm pleased to say that I managed not to make any mistakes.

This blanket will go to a family baby at some time in the future. The 5mm needles have given it a lovely soft drape.  The Robin acrylic yarn that I used means that it will wash well and put up with a lot of use over the years.  I have more lovely baby yarn and will definitely make more of these.

Though my blogging has slowed down in relation to my knitting output, I am still enjoying reading all my favourite blogs.  Happy October to everybody and thank you for all the good wishes you have been sending me.  They really helped to cheer me up.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Eye eye...

This is all I have managed to knit this month.  It is approximately half of a baby blanket.  Just before my 60th birthday, I received the less than welcome news that I had cataracts.  That was a real party pooper.  But, strangely, it was also the catalyst for doing something that has been on my mind for years.  I have had bad eyesight all my life.  An optician once told me off for using the word "bad".  I suppose there are others, such as restricting, limiting, challenging.  But "bad" is what most people in my position use.  

For the past few years, I have been watching developments in eye surgery techniques. There was an operation that would help me.  But all eye surgery carries risks and I always told myself that I would only take the plunge if I had no choice. Being diagnosed with cataracts qualified as "no choice, get on with it".  So I did.

My first surgery was on September 3rd and it went well.  I can read and knit...slowly. The second op was supposed to have happened last week.  But it was delayed for reasons far too boring for this blog. Until my second eye is fixed next month, my vision is going to be extremely unbalanced.  I am currently very shortsighted in one eye and marginally longsighted in the other eye.  I craft when the lighting is good, but I don't want to end up with eyestrain and headaches.  So I am pacing myself very carefully.

The pattern for the blanket is Emily's Baby Blankie.  I deliberately chose to knit it in my favourite blues to cheer myself up.  One good side effect of cataract surgery is that blues look even bluer.  I wasn't expecting that and I don't know how long ti will last.  But it is a very welcome little gift.  

Note to self: keeping informed is good.  But Googling eye problems and operations can be a bad idea.  There is such a thing as "too much information".  Just saying!

Thursday, 17 September 2015

3 more hats...

At the beginning of the summer, I set myself a target to use up all my 4 ply yarn.  In my last post, I described how I used up the last of my white and cream.  I then set my attention to using up my darker shades.  Once again, I combined yarns and managed to knit 3 toddler size hats.  I followed the Be Loving pattern.  This is written for Aran yarn; but 4 ply doubled works just as well. 

I actually had lots of little nuggets in various greens, blues, beiges and browns and was quite pleased at how they worked together.  Admittedly, they are rather dark for toddlers' hats. But they will be going off to Operation Orphan for distribution in countries where warmth and sturdiness are the most important attributes in children's clothes.

I am now looking at a bag of 4 ply yarn that contains only blues and pinks.  I think my job is done.  I am quite happy to save this for future family babies.  In fact, there is already a great niece or nephew on the way.  I must put on my thinking hat....

Friday, 11 September 2015

The last 50g...

I recently knitted some preemie items and had just 50g of white 4ply yarn left.  My 4ply mojo returned and I paired it with 50g of cream 4ply to knit these two hats. Combining the two colours produced a lovely shade of pale banana.  The white was a baby yarn and the cream was ordinary yarn.  Together they made a texture just right for a toddler.

I followed the easy Be Loving pattern which is really for Aran weight yarn, but 4ply doubled works just as well.  The pattern comes in many sizes from toddler to adult and I can definitely recommend it as well written, simple and quick.  I managed to make two toddler size hats with just a tiny amount of yarn left.  I think there might be enough to make bootees or pompoms.  Nothing is ever wasted here!

NB: there is a reason why my posts are a bit on the short side this month.  All will be revealed in a couple of weeks time!