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, 4 September 2019

And off they go....

This happy bunch of memory bears and little blanket squares is now in the post and on its way to SiMBA which is an organisation that donates memory boxes to bereaved parents.

There is a selection of knitting and crochet patterns that can be found on SiMBA's website. They are very easy. I soon learned the teddy pattern off by heart and could make one in a day, or two days if you count the sewing up.

This is a very fleeting blog visit. I just have to run and watch the tv. Anyone who has been following UK politics lately will know it is like watching a slow-motion car crash. Knitting is one of the things that usually takes my mind off the craziness.

I'll be back!....

Thursday, 22 August 2019

A new charity to knit for...

Wow! Another month has gone by since my last post. I have no excuses. Summer is always really hectic chez moi.

I recently discovered a new (to me) charity to knit for. It is called SiMBA which is short for Simpson's Memory Box Appeal. They are based in Glasgow, Scotland, and provide support to parents who lose babies during pregnancy or at birth. 

One of the things they do is to make memory boxes containing small teddies and blankets. The items are knitted in pairs because the idea is that one is given to the baby and one to the parents. Then they are swapped so that the parents can treasure something that was touched by their baby and something that the parents touched stays forever with their baby. It's a lovely idea. So how could I resist?

There are patterns on the SiMBA website for the bears and blankets as there are specific colours and sizes needed. My two bears fit in the palm of a hand. They were super quick to knit and a great way to use up scraps of yarn. Twenty grams of dk was enough to knit the pair.

I have a few more of these bears at various stages of completion. Then I might add a couple of blankets. But first I really have to visit all my favourite blogs again. Look out, here I come.....

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Impeccable timing...

With my usual impeccable timing, I have just finished a scarf to match the hat I knitted recently. The timing is impeccable because the temperature in London is hotter today than ever recorded. It's approximately 39 celsius which is probably nothing out of the ordinary to some of my blog readers. But the weather is coming up from North Africa and we are just not used to this type of heat here. Luckily, thunder storms are forecast for tonight. That is usually how heatwaves end here. Meanwhile, anyone who can stay indoors is doing just that.....but maybe not knitting scarves for the winter!

I used the same Aran yarn that I used for my hat; so I now have a matching set waiting for the colder weather. Even if I never wear the hat, I will definitely wear the scarf. I prefer scarves to be quite short and snug. My tried and tested method is to knit for 41 inches. I then turn down 6 inches at one end and sew it along the scarf to make a loop. The scarf then goes around my neck and the other end feeds through the loop. I can then pull it as tightly as necessary to fit my neck. Today, I couldn't bear the thought of wearing a scarf; so my glass head is modelling it for the photo. 

This is one of those occasions when making something beats searching the shops to buy it. This style is just not available to buy. It is easy for anyone to copy. Simply knit or crochet your favourite scarf pattern and sew one end into a loop. The only thing I would say is that, if your scarf is 7 inches wide the loop should also be 7 inches wide, and so on. That way the scarf will sit neatly around your neck without unsightly bunching up.

My busy summer is in full swing and I have been absent from blogland. I am now going to spare some time to catch up on all my favourite blogs. See you soon....

Saturday, 22 June 2019

A hat for me...possibly!

Well, I finally finished the Northmoor Watchcap. Midsummer is a good time for knitting hats, don't you think? The link takes you to the pattern and I can definitely recommend it. There is even a good chance that I will wear it if we ever have a severe winter. 

I really like the way it turned out. I ploughed on with the 120 stitches per round because nobody on Ravelry commented about that part of the pattern. It was monotonous; but sometimes that is just what I need. It also used up a lot of yarn; but that has made a very warm hat and means I am nearer my goal of using up all my Aran yarn. Win, win.

Some knitters, however, commented that they started the crown shaping one inch earlier than specified in the pattern. I tried it on (very carefully) when I reached that stage, and that was the right size for me as well. So I started the shaping. Like the brim, it was a little more complicated than some hat patterns. But it has made a very neat crown. It doesn't show up in the photo. But I like to think that whoever sits behind me on the bus will think "what a lovely hat"! In fact the whole hat looks quite professional.

On a different topic, some bloggers occasionally tell me that they can't add comments to my blog. Never fear; I discovered some comments awaiting moderation yesterday. It seems that the comments are reaching me; but I don't always receive a notification. That is probably what is being blocked. I have no idea why. I have checked my Blogger settings and everything seems ok. It remains a mystery. But please keep commenting. I always see and read them eventually.

PS: having written that, I just checked my settings again because I was no longer able to reply to comments. I have now changed one setting and that should make it easier for everyone. Phew!

Saturday, 1 June 2019

Busy, busy, busy...

Thanks to everyone who left comments on my last blog post and apologies that I haven't found time to answer them. But, rest assured that I read and appreciate every comment. 

However, only comments relating to my blog reach the publication stage. The increasing amount of spam that I receive about restaurants, cleaning materials and other highly irrelevant topics is deleted immediately. I don't even open the links (I'm not daft!!), so whoever is wasting their time sending spam really is wasting their time. Rant over!

I love this time of year. But it is really busy as I make the most of  the good light. If I'm not in the garden, I'm up a ladder with a paint brush in my hand.

I have just found time to start this hat:

The pattern is called Northmoor Watchcaps by Luise O'Neill and is available on Ravelry. I love the way there is a choice of brims. I am knitting the fancy brim which you can just about see in the photo. It has a very clever cable effect that does not need fiddly cable needles. The whole hat is knit on a circular needle. Unusually for Aran yarn it uses a size 4mm needle. The advantage is a more professional finish. The disadvantage is the 120 stitches on each row!

With impeccable timing, I am knitting this on our hottest day of the year so far. As this hat is for me, it will probably be the coldest day of the year before I actually wear it. I generally don't like hats. That's why I am knitting the cable brim for a bit of extra je ne sais quoi.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Third worry monster...

Good things come in threes, so here is my third worry monster. It is supposed to be a type of winged insect, though the wings don't show up very well against the wicker background. Oh well, there is no chance to take a better photo because all three monsters have now gone off to Knit-for-Nowt from where they will be distributed to therapists who work with traumatised children. The busy Clare has just received them and emailed me to say how much she likes them. You're welcome!

The therapists have requested lots of details and colour as these start conversations with the children. I have problems making my monsters scary, so I tend to use strong, clashing colours to add drama. Instead of my usual white eyes, I used green and edged them with black woolly eyelashes. They have ended up looking more like slices of kiwi fruit. Yummy; though that probably wasn't the look I was aiming for.

I learned a new skill. The hair is loopy knitting and here is a close-up:

I was pleased with how the loops turned out and the fact that they don't unravel or pull apart, which is a consideration when young children might be playing with them. They are quite slow to knit, so I could never knit a whole loopy garment. But as a detail they are interesting enough.

The green pocket on the front is a little post box for the children's worries. You would never believe how long it took me to crochet this square. I have been knitting most of my life, but only learned to crochet a few years ago. I am still not a natural crocheter and have to read instructions every time I make something. Otherwise I go horrendously wrong, which I did twice with this square. This is actually my third-time-lucky attempt. I was starting to wonder how many times I could crochet with the same yarn before it disintegrated!

Monday, 6 May 2019

Second worry monster...

Here is my latest worry monster. I'm not sure what has happened to its right ear. It does match the left one, honestly. This will be going to Knit-for-Nowt and will eventually be part of a therapist's work with traumatised children. The pocket on the front is where the children post notes about their worries.

The therapists have requested lots of colour and details. I used some VERY bright variegated yarn, added a messy hairstyle and my trademark eyebrows to change the look from gormless to anxious. The eyes themselves came from my huge spare button collection. They are a mottled brown and look very life-like.

I've just noticed that the wide arms are almost inviting cuddles from the children. I think this is my favourite monster...... so far.