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, 17 February 2019

Preemie items; off they go...

I have been busy knitting bootees and mittens for PreemiesUK. The pattern is a really basic one which is on their website somewhere. Each item weighs about 5g, so it's a great way to use up leftover yarn. I usually prefer to knit bigger items such as blankets and hats, but they are currently snowed under with them and have specifically requested bootees and mittens.

They have also requested items that could be sold at an Easter craft fair, so I threw in a bunny blanket and a couple of trinket bags that I knitted years ago.

Daylight is stronger today, so the yellow colour is showing up better than in my last blog post. I really loathe any shade of yellow. After knitting the bootees I had to force myself to sew them up just so that I could post them off. To prove that my heart was not in the sewing, I actually managed to sew across the top of one of the bootees. Duh! Luckily I was able to undo it. Phew! I wonder what daft mistakes other people have made...

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Another bunny blanket, and a gift...

Here is another small bunny blanket that I knitted recently, this time for charity. It will go to PreemiesUK as they are having a sale at Easter and this might suit the theme. It's hard impossible to tell from the photo, but the colour is a pale lemon. I think that is perfect for an Easter bunny; more perfect than for a baby unless it likes the jaundiced look.

The pattern came from Ravelry. It is a free pattern, but you might need to register and log in to view it. It would be fairly easy to adjust the pattern if you wanted to turn it into a cat or dog.

Another photo that suffered from our lack of real daylight at this time of year is:

These woven towels are a rich shade of terracotta. They were handmade on a loom and sent to me by Joanne who writes the Cup on the Bus blog. This a chatty blog written by a feisty lady and well worth a visit. Thanks for the gift, Joanne; they are really well made. I don't think I own anything else that has been hand-crafted to such a high standard. The colour actually suits my kitchen which is basically cream with a few pops of terracotta in the vain hope of making it feel warmer. I can't complain too much about the weather though. Our thin layer of snow this week is nothing compared to what is happening in other parts of the world.

Oh...and as for the big, thick, pink wool. I managed to knit a square measuring about 18" x 18". I will probably donate it to the first family member to have a baby. It is beautifully thick and would make a nice liner for a pram. Here is another photo that doesn't do anything justice!

I don't know what went wrong with photo. It looks like the bottom edge is wonky, but it really isn't.

I thought I hadn't achieved much this week. But, reading this back, I'm satisfied, especially as I tend to hibernate at this time of year!

Saturday, 19 January 2019

While waiting for my huge needles to arrive so that I can carry on with my super chunky pink yarn, I knitted this quick project. It was quite a lucky move as it was one of the patterns I was considering for the pink yarn which, on reflection, would have been far too thick. I actually used dk yarn doubled and love the way it turned out.

I found the pattern here. You might need to log in to Ravelry to see it. There is apparently also a crochet version available. The beauty of patterns on Ravelry is that you can see how other knitters got on with them. Ravelry has some useful notes about an error in one of the pattern rows. That is the only error in the pattern. Some knitters had other problems; but they were entirely caused by not reading and following the pattern carefully.

I will definitely knit more of these. Most baby colours would look great, even those that can look odd on some babies e.g. lemon and mauve. Strangely, the only colour I would not use is white. This is supposed to be a rabbit, in case you were wondering! I think white would make it look more like Casper the ghost.

I'm planning to knit a few of these in different colours over the next 12 months. Several of my nieces are reaching the age when babies are a possibility and this would make an unusual and easy little gift.

Well, the big thick knitting needles have arrived and I can now begin the chunky pink this space!

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Best laid plans....

Having finally succeeded in using up my 4 ply yarn, apart from a few scraps, (which may have a future use, after all), I decided to use up my Aran yarn which is taking up an unreasonable amount of space. I knitted my favourite, easy hat pattern. I have knitted many of these in the past. It is very simple. I found the pattern on the Loving Hands website. I don't know whether or not it is still there, but it is called Ellie's Easiest Ever Hat and certainly lives up to its name. It is knit in the round with Aran wool. You simply change the needle size to make it fit a child, teenager, woman or man. I definitely recommend this as a quick, easy pattern.

This one will fit a teenager and will go to Operation Orphan when I have enough to post. It barely made a dent in my bag of aran yarn, so I can see another year of knitting hats ahead of me.

My plans to clear the big yarn fell apart when someone gave me three of these humongous balls of wool for Christmas. The beauty is that it won't take me long to knit something with such a thick yarn. The downside is that I have had to order new larger broomsticks knitting needles and I also have no idea what to knit. 

A quick search on Ravelry shows that most people use it for thick scarves. I have enough of those, so will probably make a simple, thick lap rug. Any other ideas? I only have 150 metres of it....all pink!

The person who gave me this wool is not a knitter. They just thought it was lovely and it was a kind thought, so I'm not really complaining. The original expression about best laid schemes comes from a Robert Burns' poem about a poor mouse whose home was ploughed up in a cold winter.

With thanks to Robert Burns, To A Mouse, 1785, and Wikipedia 2019:
The original wordingThe poem in modern English
Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie,
O, what a pannic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi' bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murd'ring pattle!

I'm truly sorry man's dominion,
Has broken nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An' fellow-mortal!

I doubt na, whiles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen icker in a thrave
'S a sma' request;
I'll get a blessin wi' the lave,
An' never miss't!

Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!
It's silly wa's the win's are strewin!
An' naething, now, to big a new ane,
O' foggage green!
An' bleak December's winds ensuin,
Baith snell an' keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste,
An' weary winter comin fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell-
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro' thy cell.

Thy wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble,
Has cost thee mony a weary nibble!
Now thou's turn'd out, for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter's sleety dribble,
An' cranreuch cauld!

But, Mousie, thou art no thy-lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!

Still thou art blest, compar'd wi' me
The present only toucheth thee:
But, Och! I backward cast my e'e.
On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear![5]
Little, sly, cowering, timid beast,
Oh, what a panic is in your heart!
You need not start away so hasty
With bickering prattle!
I would be loath to run and chase you,
With murdering paddle!

I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
And justifies that ill opinion
Which makes you startle
At me, your poor, earth-born companion
And fellow mortal!

I doubt not, sometimes, that you may steal;
What then? Poor beast, you must live!
An odd ear in twenty-four sheaves
Is a small request;
I will get a blessing with what is left,
And never miss it.

Your small house, too, in ruin!
Its feeble walls the winds are scattering!
And nothing now, to build a new one,
Of coarse green foliage!
And bleak December's winds coming,
Both bitter and piercing!

You saw the fields laid bare and empty,
And weary winter coming fast,
And cozy here, beneath the blast,
You thought to dwell,
Till crash! The cruel plough passed
Out through your cell.

That small heap of leaves and stubble,
Has cost you many a weary nibble!
Now you are turned out, for all your trouble,
Without house or holding,
To endure the winter's sleety dribble,
And hoar-frost cold.

But Mouse, you are not alone,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!

Still you are blessed, compared with me!
The present only touches you:
But oh! I backward cast my eye,
On prospects dreary!
And forward, though I cannot see,
I guess and fear![citation needed]

Sunday, 16 December 2018

My 4 ply days are OVER...

I have never knowingly bought 4 ply yarn. But I seem to accumulate quite a lot of it via kind donations. It definitely comes in useful for tiny baby items, which I like to knit occasionally. It's also easier to knit with during the summer when the thought of working with aran or even double knit wool is often far from enticing. Those are the plus points. The big negative is how long it takes to produce anything on tiny needles. 

So, it seems like I have been working my way through a large bag of 4 ply for YEARS. I'm delighted to say I have finally finished. Woo hoo! 

I knitted two hats for PreemiesUK. I love this shade of pale green because it is very easy on the eye. The little scraps in the photo are all I have left in my 4 ply collection. There isn't enough to knit another hat, so I am officially declaring my 4 ply days OVER. I won't waste the scraps though. They will end up as little decorations or motifs on other future projects.

The weather is freezing cold here at the moment.....just right for the aran wool project I have planned to start next....

I hope everyone is having a peaceful end to the year. I couldn't resist adding the following photo. I'm sure it applies to dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, and small children!

Sunday, 4 November 2018

All fingers and thumbs...

No photos of any recent projects for the simple reason that there haven't been any.

I've been taking part in a nutrition study that is, apparently, the biggest in the world. That's quite a claim; but experience tells me it could be true. Have you ever heard someone say they can't lose weight, or say they can eat anything and not put on weight? Well, nutritionists are starting to realise there could be some truth in this. 

The messages about fat, sugar and carbs are too simple. Different people react to them in different ways and this study is trying to find out why. It is thought that the bacteria in our gut influence how we react to food. The ultimate aim is to be able to predict how everyone can live more healthily by following a personalised nutrition programme tailored to their unique bodily composition.

The study is being run from St Thomas' Hospital which is just across the River Thames from the Houses of Parliament. There are thousands of participants, mostly twins, and I can't begin to imagine what it is costing. Luckily, a private company is paying for it, as the great NHS has other things to pay for. But if we all become more healthy, society and the NHS will eventually benefit. The private company will obviously also benefit as it is in the business of nutritional drinks.

So what has all this got to do with a knitting blog? I won't go into detail about everything. But part of the study requires regular blood tests. After a one-day training course at the hospital, participants are sent home with twelve kits for taking blood from the fingertips. These have to be used over 4 days. For complicated reasons, you can only use certain parts of certain fingers. My fourth day was yesterday, woo hoo! Did you hear the sigh of relief as I posted my tests back to the hospital? 

But I am now like a bruised pincushion and knitting or crocheting is out of the question until I heal. Even typing is painful unless I do it very slowly, and my fingerprints are no longer recognised by the security settings on my phone! Oh, dear.

I came home from the hospital with 2 bags of freebies: food for breakfasts and lunches for a fortnight, a food weighing scales, drinking flask, and cool bag. There is no financial reward. But I had a very thorough medical at the hospital and will receive a personalised list of which foods do and don't agree with me. If I choose to take any notice, which I intend to, I will become more fit and healthy and happy in the knowledge that I contributed to something important.

Now, I just have to wait for normal feeling to return to my fingers so that I can pick up the knitting needles again.

Meanwhile, I am still busy reading all my favourite blogs. Keep writing!

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Another worry monster...

I have just finished a second worry monster for Knit-for-Nowt. This one is an insect with golden wings (made from shoe laces) and a knitted pocket for the worries.

I'm still a bit bemused by these monsters. But, apparently, anything that gets the children talking to their therapists is a good thing. That's why we add eye-catching and quirky details. I stuck mainly to my own pattern that I blogged about here.

So, I have just posted two monsters to Knit-for-Nowt. Here they are snuggling up together:

That is just the tip of the iceberg of what is actually needed. If anyone else feels like knitting, sewing, or crocheting a monster or therapy puppet, there are more details on the Knit-for-Nowt website.

As always, I'm busy busy busy and already planning my next knitting project...