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, 7 January 2018

Worry puppets...

2017 was a  year I will be happy to forget for lots of reasons. By December I felt just about ready to knit something daft but useful. I don't often knit toys. But a charity I have knitted for in the past (Knit for Nowt) has changed its focus from hats and blankets to therapy puppets and worry monsters. These are used by social workers, therapists and teachers all over the UK who are helping children through various traumas. The idea is that the child writes down a worry and posts it into a pocket on the puppet. This acts as an ice-breaker which, hopefully, leads to discussion and eventual help for the child.

There are lots of patterns ranging from knitting to crocheting and sewing available on the Knit for Nowt website. The pattern I chose is on this page. It is the seventh pattern in the list and is called "Another Worry Puppet". Clicking on the link brings up a word document containing the pattern. Your imagination can run riot when making these puppets. I think my imagination was only strolling along as my puppets are very plain compared to some of the other wonders on the website. I simply gave mine blue jeans, a cream jumper and a big red pocket for a mouth.

But I think I have now caught the bug. There are lots of good ideas on the Knit for Nowt website and their latest newsletter shows just how much these puppets are used and appreciated. It even mentions that there is a high demand for finger puppets. I know some people love to make these; but I'm not one of them! They are far too fiddly for me. However, Hubby finished with a perfectly good cotton jumper today and I just saved it from the bin. I'm intending to print off some sewing patterns for glove puppets from this page. Watch this space...

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Cosy, just in time for winter...

It must be winter. The first snow of the season is on the ground outside my window and I am craving stodge and all things bad. But my halo isn't completely tarnished because I have done my bit for the planet. I turned these four cushion covers that had seen better days into a runner for the end of the bed.

These covers are at least 10 years old. The zips were playing up and the material was faded with the odd splatter of ink (Daughter) and paint (me). I still liked them and couldn't bring myself to throw them away when I bought some new covers. So...

I cut 8 equal size panels, sewed 2 strips of four panels and then sewed the strips together. I discovered the insides of the covers were still perfect and the material was as good as reversible. The well-worn outsides are now hidden forever inside this runner. The colour in the top photo is more true to life. It was taken on a sunny day. The finished item was photographed by artificial light today. What a difference a couple of weeks make.

Ignore the white material in the top photo. I was planning to use it as a lining, but I didn't feel it was needed. This material is thick and will make the perfect feet warmer on cold nights. I even feel warm just looking at the rich coral colour.

I can't claim to have made the lovely patchwork duvet cover. But I can appreciate it....probably even more because I could never imagine making something like this. I vaguely considered going the extra mile and quilting the bed runner, but reality and common sense prevailed. Time is marching on and I know my limits!

Eagle-eyed blog readers will notice that my iron did not come anywhere near the duvet cover or bed runner. I know these creases will drop out in a couple of days, so why waste electricity? That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

I have a busy couple of weeks ahead of me. So this is probably my last post of 2017. Once again I have really enjoyed the blog world and am sending

to all my lovely readers. See you all in 2018.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

A start, a finish and a big donation...

I received another bag of lovely donations from Hubby's colleague. Pastels predominate because she used to knit for her grandchildren, who are now older and wiser and more into grunge. I can't remember the last time I actually BOUGHT a ball of wool.

The wool is mainly dk which suits me perfectly except for the fact that I am currently trying to blitz my 4ply yarn. Here is a photo of a corner-to-corner baby blanket that I have been knitting for quite a while. I am using blue and white 4ply and loving the stripes. Sorry, they don't show up well in the photo. The only problem is the lack of daylight at this time of year. I have learned the hard way that knitting this blanket in artificial light leads to mistakes. I managed to knit a blue stripe instead of a white one, not once, but twice. I tried to live with it, but couldn't, and had to rip back a couple of inches each time. That is no fun when you are crawling along in the 4ply lane

So, my modus operandi now is to knit the blanket whilst watching the midday news. It distracts me from all the doom and gloom which, in turn, distracts me from the endless 4ply knitting. Then, in the evening, I knit with dk yarn. The photo shows a hat that I was able to knit in a couple of days. It's satisfying to be able to finish something quickly. The blanket looks like taking me the rest of the year. I only manage to knit a few rows per day because I have to concentrate. I don't want any more mistakes! 

Here is another photo of the same hat together with one I finished months ago but never got around to photographing. These will eventually go off to Operation Orphan. I will knit more hats until I have enough to fill a reasonable size box. There is no rush as they tend to dispatch the warm clothing donations during the summer. That way,  they are in situ and ready when winter arrives.

Monday, 13 November 2017

2 more shirt cushions...

Here are two more cushion covers that I upcycled from Hubby's shirts. I have now made four of these, which is probably enough for now. Three of them will be gracing the sofa bed in the spare room when we have visitors over the Christmas holidays. I'm hoping that one or two of the visitors like them enough to ask me to make some for them. I love making these, but there is a limit to how many a sofa can take before looking weird.

Most of Hubby's shirts are blue. So I have been lucky to have these other colours to tone in with my furniture. However, I do have my eyes on some particularly lovely denim type shirts that would make useful bags. One day...

PS: I know this is primarily a "woolly" blog. I'm still beavering away using up my 4 ply yarn. But it takes me so long to finish anything that I like to sew something quick just so that I have something to blog about. I'm not a huge Facebook fan, but I recently joined an upcycling group on there and some of the ideas are very clever. 

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Another shirt cushion plus curtain tie-backs...

We live in a 1930s house that is a bit of a money-pit. For most of the year I have been decorating/repairing/updating things that nobody except me seems to notice either before or after. Hey ho. However, it has all created a feeling of quiet satisfaction with our house and we talk less now about moving than we used to. Result!

My last hurrah before the cold weather arrives and just makes me want to hibernate was to add a finishing touch to the dining room. There was a bare corner loved only by the cat because that was where we kept her food bowl.

Now it looks like this:

I brought down a wicker chair from a bedroom where it was rarely used. Then I made a cushion cover from another of Hubby's discarded shirts. The colours are perfect as we have a green and cream theme going on in this room. I even turned the shirt cuffs into curtain tie-backs. There are lots of online tutorials for making phone cases from cuffs. But I wasn't able to find a tutorial for tie-backs. So these could be the world's first.

They were so simple to make. I cut off the cuff and buttoned it up around the curtain. Ta dah! That would have worked perfectly if the curtains had been lightweight. However, mine are quite thick cotton that creases easily. 

I decided that the tie-backs needed to be a bit longer. I considered various ways to add length. The curtains are floor-length so there needed to be a way to untie the tie-backs to take them off. I could have simply sewn a ribbon or more of the shirt material onto each end. I checked with Hubby whether or not he would be prepared to tie and untie knots every day. It was a NOT...which I already knew but thought it would be polite to ask.

So it was back to the drawing board and I came up with a less elegant but more practical solution. I sewed a piece of elastic to one end of each cuff. Then I snipped a little hole in the other end of the elastic and used this as a button hole.

You can just about see it here:

You can't see the elastic when the tie-backs are on. So I am very happy with how everything turned out. This room faces south and catches the sun for most of the day. It will be a lovely corner for reading a book.

The cat is currently sulking because I have moved her bowl to another part of the room. It must be a whole 5 feet away! But the cat is studiously ignoring it and sitting under the chair waiting for the food bowl to come to her. By tomorrow she will be hungry enough to realise that isn't going to happen!

Thursday, 12 October 2017

A shirt cushion cover...

I have been busy sewing today. I needed a break from knitting with 4 ply yarn that seems to last forever. The catalyst was finding a perfectly good shirt in my waste bin. Hubby has to dress well at work. He buys expensive shirts and, much to my annoyance, discards them when there is plenty of wear left in them. I usually rescue them for the local charity shop.

This time I loved the material. It was thick and strong. Hubby ... I'm resisting cracking a joke about "thick and strong" ... usually buys blue shirts. He must have found his feminine side when he bought this one because it is a lovely mix of jewel colours. Here is a close-up:

It might look like a lumberjack shirt here. But the quality was amazing. I just happened to be walking along Regent Street in London this morning and noticed a whole shop full of shirts by this designer. 

I know from experience how surprisingly difficult it is to sew with checks. This shirt made it look easy. All the colours and checks lined up perfectly at the seams. That made cutting up the shirt and sewing the cushion cover a walk in the park.

In less than an hour, I turned this rather large shirt

into this cushion cover

I found the idea on the Internet. There are many online tutorials for turning shirts into cushion covers. Most tutorials are identical; so I won't link to the tutorial I followed because that would be favoritism. But this cushion cover really is easy to make. It cost peanuts to sew and the inner cushion pad was a bargain in a bulk buy from Argos. 

Anyone who wants to make one of these could simply go to a charity shop and buy a very inexpensive shirt. Some people make "memory shirts" to remind them of someone who is no longer here.

I love how this turned out and even Hubby, who rarely comments on my craft work, is impressed. I'm planning to make a few of these for the sofa bed in our guest room. I just have to wait patiently for more shirts to become available!

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Three preemie hats...

Here are three more hats that I have just knitted from the Andycrafts pattern which is fast becoming my favourite preemie hat pattern. That's because it is small but perfectly formed. You can find it on page three if you go to the above link and download the patterns. There are some lovely patterns for preemie cardigans, hats, mittens and socks.

This is very easy to knit and knitters who shy away from knitting in-the-round will be pleased to hear that this one is knitted flat. Personally, I like to knit in-the-round but have to admit that it wouldn't be very easy to do with tiny hats. These will eventually go off to PreemiesUK. This month they especially need:

Knitted blankets 
Crochet blankets

This pattern called for 4 ply yarn. I'm on a mission to use up all my 4 ply. I have very little left but, because it goes so far, it looks like taking me the rest of the year. Watch this space...

PS: I have lost count of how many times the words "knit" and "patterns" are repeated in this post. I must try harder to think of alternatives!