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, 26 July 2015

Preemie blanket....

This blanket looks bigger than it really is.  In fact, it measures 15.5" x 16.5" and will eventually go off to PreemiesUK.  I used just 73g of Patons Baby Fab which is machine washable and can also go into a  tumble dryer.

This pattern is called Daphne's Blanket and the end result is rows of puffy lozenge shapes.  It used to be on the Wye Needlecraft website together with a lot of other similar blanket patterns.  Sadly, the patterns are no longer online.  But, luckily, I printed the pattern pages some time ago.  

The Wye Needlecraft patterns are intended to use just one 100g ball of dk yarn as the blankets are for special care baby units.  However, they are easily adaptable for any ply yarn and any size.  I am going to knit a couple of these in 4 ply yarn.  If I really like them, I will then knit some larger blankets in dk yarn.

REMINDER:  there is still time to enter my Big Birthday Giveaway.  For more details see my post here.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Matching blanket and hat set...and a giveaway reminder

I was in the mood for knitting a baby blanket and my mind went back to a gift that was given to me by a friend when my daughter was a baby.  It was a small blanket and came with the promise that it would be very useful.  Well, it was.  The smaller size made it perfect for tucking over my daughter when she was in her pram or car seat. There was no excess fabric to drown her, to collect dust from the ground or floor of the car, or to trip me up when carrying her.  My friend was a new mum and, like me, fairly short.  So she knew exactly what would be useful.

I had the following pattern in my Ravelry queue: Lilac Blossom Baby Blanket by Marianna and it seemed perfect.  I followed the pattern as written and ended up with a width of 22".  I stopped knitting when the blanket was 27" long to keep it in proportion.  It is easy to increase the number of cast on stitches to knit a bigger blanket if that is what you are aiming for.

I used a gender-neutral cream Robin Double Knit yarn.  I found a big bag of this yarn in a charity shop last year.  It receives mixed reviews on Ravelry.  But I really liked it. It is soft and bouncy and, being acrylic, will wash well.  I will even look for this yarn again when I have used up the remaining balls.

The combination of the bouncy yarn and the slightly puffy knitted stitch makes this blanket cosy.  The stitch is basically 2 x 2 ribbing with something clever happening every fourth row to make it interesting.  Though this is not strictly a reversible pattern, it looks good on both sides of the blanket.  You might just about be able to see the detail in the next photo.

The blanket used less than 200g of yarn, so I had enough left to knit a matching hat.

This time I followed the hat pattern from the Lilac Blossom Baby Set by Marianna.  It was so easy and took only a couple of hours.  

Here they are together  I think a matching set has more "wow effect" than individual items.

The hat will fit a baby aged 0-3 months and the set will go to a future family baby.

REMINDER:  there is still time to enter my Big Birthday Giveaway.  For more details see my post here.

Monday, 13 July 2015

My Big Birthday Giveaway...

I will be celebrating a big birthday in August, the big 60! It is a number I find very hard to believe.  I don't know why.  All my misconceptions about being 30, 40 and 50 should have prepared me.  
When I was in my twenties I thought that 50 was really old. That birthday was an eye-opener as I was still firing on all cylinders with a full time job and a very demanding young daughter.  Now that I am approaching 60, I am working only 1 day per week and that same daughter has finished university, left home, started a new job and met a lovely young man.  Such a lot has happened in the last 10 years.  I don't know how I am supposed to feel, but it isn't old.  I think the word "excited" is a better description.

Plans are in progress for how to celebrate this milestone with family and friends.  I couldn't leave out my virtual blogging friends.  I've been lucky enough to win some giveaways since I started blogging and I have been on the lookout for some items to make up a tempting giveaway worthy of a Big Birthday.

Here they are:
  • a Cath Kidston notebook
  • a tin for storing buttons or other knick knacks
  • 5 lovely buttons covered with Fair Trade fabric
  • an owl keyring from Oxfam in support of independent artisans in India
  • a 50g ball of Jaegar Spiral-spun double knitting wool in a heather shade
For a chance to win, simply leave a comment on my blog and some way of contacting you.  This giveaway is open to everyone anywhere in the world.  My last giveaway was won by a blogger in New Jersey.  Any entrant who follows me via Bloglovin' or Google Friend Connect automatically wins a second entry.  

I originally planned to pick the winner on my actual birthday.  But I have been receiving some very heavy hints that I am being whisked away on the special day and I probably won't have access to the Internet.  So I will draw the winning entry at 9 a.m. UK time on August 1st.

Good luck!

Monday, 6 July 2015

My mission hits the buffers...

Well, my mission to use up all my 4 ply yarn has hit the buffers.  I have finally realised how far a ball of 4 ply yarn will go.  I gathered together some small oddments and actually managed to knit 6 hats and a scarf.  I held two strands of 4 ply together and knit the Aran pattern Be Loving by Melissa Simpson.  This is a lovely, easy pattern and the finished hat can be worn with the brim up or down.

I enjoyed combining different colours to create a variegated effect. To keep my interest going, I played around with different stripe patterns.  I even experimented by using a tiny remnant of beige yarn to cast on the brown hat at the top of the picture.  I had just enough left to knit the first row and I really like the way it looks when the brim is turned up.  I might use that design feature again on future hats.

I also knitted a simple pink stripy scarf by just repeating blocks of garter stitch.

Apart from a few balls of white baby yarn, I know I have NEVER knowingly purchased 4 ply yarn.  All this came to me mainly as donations from generous bloggers, Freecyclers and Ravelry members. 

I still have plenty of 4 ply yarn left and I will slowly work my way through it.  But I stopped when my shoebox was full enough to send off to Operation Orphan.  I heard that they have a lorry full of donated items going to Nepal this month.  I'm hoping I haven't missed it.  But, if I have, there will always be another delivery.

*****My next post will be all about the giveaway I am planning to hold for my Big Birthday in August.  Watch this space for more details.*****

Monday, 29 June 2015

Two more balaclavas....

I love this balaclava pattern.  It is very easy and I have made many of these.  The garter ridges are optional.  I omitted them from the variegated hat as the yarn is already stripy enough. 

I've had this yarn for several months and found it when on a drive around Kent.  A lady had turned her front room into a small antiques and collectables shop and was selling a big bag of this for a very reasonable price.  I was her only customer at the time as it was a cold day.  I hope she did well as initiative like that deserves to be rewarded.

I can't remember where the navy blue yarn came from, but it would have been another bargain purchase.  Both yarns were lovely to knit with, though there were no labels so I am not quite sure what they are.

These two balaclavas will fit boys aged 3-4 years old and are destined for Operation Orphan.  Each one used only 36g of dk yarn.  The pattern also has instructions for an eighteen months to 3 years size.  I think that would look lovely in slightly prettier colours, so it is now on my fairly long to-do list.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

More preemie items....

I'm still on a mission to use up my 4 ply yarn and decided to knit these two preemie knitting patterns.

On the right is the Angel's Pocket.  This pattern includes instructions for 4 different sizes and 3 different ply yarns.  I was able to knit the 9" size with just 25g of 4 ply yarn.  It is a simple project.

On the left is the "Sleeping Bag With Hood" which can be found on the Cuddles UK  patterns page.  This weighs just 27g.  It is a top down knit and very easy as there are no arm holes.  So, after the increases, it is just a case of 8 inches of stocking stitch. The hood is picked up and added later.  It is another simple project.

These will be going off to a preemie charity eventually.  I have knitted many angel pockets in the past and have managed not to think too much about the sadness behind them.  The sleeping bag, on the other hand, is tugging at my heart strings and I don't know if I will knit more of these.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

The variegated hat...

Having already crocheted with this Robin variegated dk yarn, I wanted to see what it would look like when knitted.  The colour changes are VERY short.  It is really only possible to knit 2, 3, or 4 stitches before the pink changes to purple, then to lilac.  I actually looked forward to the colour pooling in larger blobs because otherwise the effect would have been just small speckles.  

I slightly prefer the knitted effect to the crocheted effect, but don't think I have yet found the ideal pattern to use with this yarn.  I have another 300g of this yarn just waiting for a project.  I'm open to suggestions!!

The hat pattern is one of my favourite as it is so simple.  The "small adult" size used only 33g of yarn.  Here it is on Ravelry.