Collage

Collage
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, 15 July 2018

Nothing much happening...



I don't have any finished items to show, so here is a photo of my latest charity shop find. It's a lovely little ceramic sheep and cost the bargain price of 99p. It usually sits on a low wall in my garden and makes me smile every time I see it. I'm intrigued by the little holes in its hands and wonder what, if anything, it used to hold in a former life. Any ideas?

While I'm on the subject of daft garden ornaments, here is a photo of some wise monkeys that found their way into my garden a couple of months ago:


After taking this photo, I heard that these monkeys don't tolerate the British weather very well. So I have now given them a good coat of yacht varnish and they look much better. I will bring them indoors for the winter months, but they are now waterproof and should shrug off most rain showers. Having said that, of course, my part of the UK hasn't had rain for about 2 months. Here is a photo I took this morning on Blackheath which is a good, healthy stroll from my house:


That is NOT a beach. It should be lush, green grass and it will be again when the rains come...usually as soon as the school holidays start!

The overpowering heat and little distractions such as the football World Cup and the Wimbledon tennis tournament have really slowed down my knitting needles. I am halfway through something that is still at the ugly duckling stage. It should be ready by the time I write my next blog post.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

More hats for Operation Orphan...



We are going through an intense heat wave here in the UK. Comparisons are being made to the heat wave of 1976. That one was totally wasted on me as I was busy taking exams that year. So this year has been a bit of a shock. It hasn't rained for goodness knows how many weeks and temperatures have been above 30C every day for at least 2 weeks, with more of the same forecast. So what do I do but knit a woolly hat 😎.

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.

I have added the hat to others and made a small parcel for Operation Orphan.


I try to send my favourite charities at least one parcel per year. This is a much smaller parcel than I would usually send. But I have been ridiculously busy this year with lots of visits from distant relatives, sorting sheds, trying to keep the garden alive, going to the gym etc etc.



Sunday, 3 June 2018

Free knitting pattern for a stuffed toy dog...



STUFFED DOG KNITTING PATTERN


This pattern uses dk yarn doubled (i.e. two strands of dk yarn knitted together) and size 5.5mm knitting needles. It produces a dog measuring 14 inches long.
I find that doubling up the yarn and using 5.5mm knitting needles makes a strong fabric that knits up very quickly and contains the stuffing securely.
Don’t worry if the monster looks small when you are knitting it. It will look larger after you have sewed the seams and stuffed it.
Remember: the yarn is used doubled throughout except for the ears and the facial features.

You will need
5.5mm knitting needles (except for the ears which use 4mm knitting needles)
Approximately 65g of dk yarn
Approximately 65g of toy stuffing
White felt and black or brown felt or buttons for the eyes
Small black pom-pom or felt for the nose
Black yarn for the mouth
Red yarn for the tongue

Right leg
Cast on 9 stitches
Work 10 rows  (stocking stitch, commencing with a garter stitch row and ending with a purl row)
Cut the yarn and push the leg to the far end of the left hand needle

Left leg
Cast on 9 stitches on the same knitting needle that is holding the right leg
Work 10 rows – (stocking stitch, commencing with a garter stitch row and ending with a purl row)

Join legs
Knit across all 9 stitches of the left leg.
Turn your work and cast on 2 stitches
Turn your work again and knit across all 9 stitches of the right leg
You should now have 20 stitches on your needle

Body
Work 23 rows – (stocking stitch, commencing with a purl row and ending with a purl row)

Cast on 10 stitches at beginning of next 2 rows (stocking stitch, commencing with a garter stitch row and ending with a purl row) You will have 40 stitches on your needle
Work 10 more rows – (stocking stitch, commencing with a garter stitch row and ending with a purl row)
Cast off 10 stitches at beginning of next 2 rows. You should now have 20 stitches on your needle

Head
Work 50 rows – (stocking stitch, commencing with a garter stitch row and ending with a purl row)

BACK VIEW
Arms
Cast on 10 stitches at beginning of next 2 rows – (stocking stitch, commencing with a garter stitch row and ending with a purl row) You will have 40 stitches on your needle
Work 10 more rows – (stocking stitch, commencing with a garter stitch row and ending with a purl row)
Cast off 10 stitches at beginning of next 2 rows (you will have 20 stitches on your needle)
Work 24 rows straight – (stocking stitch, commencing with a garter stitch row and ending with a purl row)

Left leg
Knit 9 stitches
Turn your work and continue on these 9 stitches for 10 rows – (stocking stitch, commencing with a purl row and ending with a garter stitch row)
Cast off these 9 stitches

Right leg
Rejoin yarn to remaining11 stitches
Cast off first 2 stitches
Knit 9 stitches
Work 10 rows – (stocking stitch, commencing with a purl row and ending with a garter stitch row)
Cast off

Ears (make 2)
Remember: size 4mm knitting needles and one single strand of dk yarn
Cast on 8 stitches
Rows 1-22 – (stocking stitch, commencing with a garter stitch row and ending with a purl row)
You will increase one stitch at both ends of rows 3, 7, and 11 until you have 14 stitches on your needle
Row 23 Join new colour (garter stitch row)
Rows 24 - 45 (stocking stitch, commencing with a purl row and ending with a knit row)
You will decrease one stitch at both ends of rows 35, 39, and 43 until you have 8 stitches on the needle
Cast off
Fold in half, right sides together, and sew the 2 long side seams
Turn right side out
Stuff lightly with approved toy stuffing

Making up:
Embroider facial features as desired. If used, sew on pompom and buttons firmly.
Sew up outer leg seams, both sides, around arms and head
Stuff firmly with approved toy stuffing and check that it is not escaping through any holes
Sew up remaining leg seams
Attach the ears, taking care to close the top seam of each ear

Variations:
Let your imagination run riot
To make longer legs, add 2, 4, or 6 rows
Change the colours as required. Use pastels or bright colours as well as doggy colours.

Congratulations, you have completed one beautiful stuffed toy dog. Now all you have to do is to decide who to give it to! Woof!

The knitting pattern and photograph are © Una O’Malley


Sunday, 27 May 2018

Too cute to be a Worry Monster...



During my recent knit-exploits for Knit-for-Nowt, I noticed a plea for dog glove puppets. I knitted a couple and then amended the pattern slightly to make a dog Worry Monster. Well, it didn't matter how hard I tried, I just could not make it look scary enough. So I have decided to keep this one for future grand babies or great nieces/nephews.

It is knitted with dk yarn doubled and stuffed with child-friendly stuffing. It measures about 12" long, so it will be a good, cuddly armful for someone.

Because I didn't actually send this one to Knit-for-Nowt, the pattern is still a lot of scribbled amendments on another pattern. Maybe I should write it up properly. What do you think?


Monday, 7 May 2018

Free knitting pattern for a dog glove puppet...


Here is a pattern that I wrote for Knit-for-Nowt. 

Clare, who runs everything, likes to include a dog puppet when she sends families of puppets to the therapists. Children will often say things to their dogs that they won't say to adults.

PATTERN FOR A KNITTED DOG HAND PUPPET


You will need
28g dk yarn
4mm knitting needles
Felt or buttons for eyes
Wool or embroidery thread for nose and mouth

Body
Cast on 20 stitches
Rows 1 – 4 are garter stitch
Then work 24 rows – (stocking stitch, commencing with a garter stitch row and ending with a purl row)

Cast on 10 stitches at beginning of next 2 rows (you will have 40 stitches on the needle)
Work 10 rows – (stocking stitch, commencing with a garter stitch row and ending with a purl row)
Cast off 10 stitches at beginning of next 2 rows (you will have 20 stitches on the needle)
Head
Work 50 rows – (stocking stitch, commencing with a garter stitch row and ending with a purl row)

Arms
Cast on 10 stitches at beginning of next 2 rows (you will have 40 stitches on the needle)
Work 10 rows – (stocking stitch, commencing with a garter stitch row and ending with a purl row)
Cast off 10 stitches at beginning of next 2 rows (you will have 20 stitches on the needle)

Body
Work 24 rows(stocking stitch, commencing with a garter stitch row and ending with a purl row)
Work 4 rows garter stitch
Cast off

Ears (make 2)
Cast on 6 stitches
You will increase one stitch at both ends of rows 3, 7, and 11 until you have 12 stitches on the needle
Rows 12 - 16 (stocking stitch, commencing with a purl row and ending with a purl row)
Row 17 Join new colour (garter stitch row)
Rows 18 - 20 (stocking stitch, commencing with a purl row and ending with a purl row)
Rows 21 - 29 (stocking stitch, commencing with a garter stitch row and ending with a garter stitch row)
You will decrease one stitch at both ends of rows 21, 25, and 29 until you have 6 stitches on the needle
Row 30 (purl row)
Row 31 (garter stitch row)
Cast off
Fold in half, right sides together, and sew the 2 long side seams
Turn right side out

Making up:
Embroider facial features as desired
Fold in half, right sides together, and sew the seam
Turn right side out and attach the ears, taking care to close the top seam of each ear
The inspiration for this pattern came from the BASIC PATTERN FOR A WORRY PUPPET by Diane Fenney


If you feel like knitting, crocheting or sewing some worry monsters or worry puppetsfor Knit-for-Nowt, there is currently a competition to win a wool voucher on their website HERE.  There will be four winners and everyone has an equal chance as the winners will be selected at random by a senior social worker. The closing date is May 25th.


Sunday, 29 April 2018

Two more Worry Monsters...



Here are my latest two Worry Monsters that I have knitted for Knit-for-Nowt. I found myself buying some bright colours for these two. My wool collection is heavy on pastels that don't really look right for these monsters. I also needed the bright colours to cheer me up after months of really dull, wet, cold weather.

When I start knitting I have only a vague idea of what the end result will be. It's interesting to see how the faces come alive and, as usual, it's a fine line to tread between worried and totally traumatising.

I was going to make some i-cord for the insect's wings but was very happy to wimp out when I remembered my large collection of old shoe laces. Many of them are round and stiff enough to use as wings. I have absolutely no memory of where these yellow laces came from. I'm just glad they did!

The little pockets on the front are an easy way to try out new techniques. The insect has a mock dog-tooth pattern pocket. It was very easy to knit and I will definitely use it as a detail in other patterns, hats, scarves, blankets etc. It wasn't so forgiving to sew on. It really shows up how skew whiff my sewing was. It reminds me of a stair carpet I once saw in a hotel. It was a tartan pattern and must have seemed like a good idea in the shop. However, the crooked stairs in the hotel, which was about 400 years old, made the tartan look wavy. Climbing a few flights of these stairs resulted in a dizziness which is the last thing you want when every step is a different height and angle!


Sunday, 15 April 2018

Free knitting pattern for a worry monster with legs...


PATTERN FOR A KNITTED WORRY MONSTER WITH LEGS

Here is the pattern I wrote recently for a worry monster. I have donated it to Knit-for-Nowt and it is already on their website. 

This one is in intentionally scary.  But it could easily be amended to make it cute and cuddly!




This pattern uses dk yarn doubled (i.e. two strands of dk yarn knitted together) and size 5.5mm knitting needles. It produces a Worry Monster measuring 13 inches long.
I find that doubling up the yarn and using 5.5mm knitting needles makes a strong fabric that knits up very quickly and contains the stuffing securely.
Don’t worry if the monster looks small when you are knitting it. It will look larger after you have sewed the seams and stuffed it.
Remember: the yarn is used doubled throughout except for the pocket and the facial features.

You will need
70g of dk yarn
5.5mm knitting needles
70g of toy stuffing
Felt or buttons for eyes

FRONT VIEW
Right leg
Cast on 9 stitches
Work 10 rows – (stocking stitch, commencing with a garter stitch row and ending with a purl row)
Cut the yarn and push the leg to the far end of the left hand needle
Left leg
Cast on 9 stitches on the same left hand needle.
Work 10 rows – (stocking stitch, commencing with a garter stitch row and ending with a purl row)
Join legs
Knit across all 9 stitches of the left leg.
Turn your work and cast on 2 stitches
Turn your work again and knit across all 9 stitches of the right leg
Body
Work 23 rows – (stocking stitch, commencing with a purl row and ending with a purl row)
Cast on 10 stitches at beginning of next 2 rows
Work 10 rows – (stocking stitch, commencing with a garter stitch row and ending with a purl row)
Cast off 10 stitches at beginning of next 2 rows
Change to head colour
Work 4 rows – (stocking stitch, commencing with a garter stitch row and ending with a purl row)
Mouth
Knit 5 stitches with the face colour
(you are now going to change to the mouth colour. But do not cut the face colour as you will need this on the next row)
Change to mouth colour
Work on next 10 stitches only as follows:
Knit across 10 stitches
Turn and purl or knit across 10 stitches (knitting this row produces a raised, knobbly texture which is similar to teeth)

Change back to face colour
Knit across 10 mouth stitches and remaining 5 face stitches
Work a further 11 rows straight – (stocking stitch, commencing with a purl row and ending with a purl row)
Decrease 1 stitch at the beginning of the next 4 rows – (stocking stitch, commencing with a garter stitch row and ending with a purl row)

Change to hair colour
Decrease 1 stitch at the beginning of the next 4 rows – (stocking stitch, commencing with a garter stitch row and ending with a purl row)
You should now have 12 stitches on your needle

BACK VIEW
Increase 1 stitch at the beginning of the next 8 rows – (stocking stitch, commencing with a garter stitch row and ending with a purl row)
You should now have 20 stitches on your needle
Work 16 rows straight – (stocking stitch, commencing with a garter stitch row and ending with a purl row)
Arms
Cast on 10 stitches at beginning of next 2 rows
Work 10 rows – (stocking stitch, commencing with a garter stitch row and ending with a purl row)
Cast off 10 stitches at beginning of next 2 rows
Work 24 rows straight  – (stocking stitch, commencing with a garter stitch row and ending with a purl row)
Left leg
Knit 9 stitches
Turn your work and continue on these 9 stitches for 10 rows – (stocking stitch, commencing with a purl row and ending with a garter stitch row)
Cast off these 9 stitches
 Right leg
Rejoin yarn to remaining11 stitches
Cast off first 2 stitches
Knit 9 stitches
Work 10 rows – (stocking stitch, commencing with a purl row and ending with a garter stitch row)
Cast off

Making up:
Embroider facial features as desired (the rosebud lips effect was achieved by Swiss darning)
Make plaits if desired and sew on firmly
Sew up outer leg seams, both sides, around arms and head
Stuff with approved toy stuffing and check that it is not escaping through any holes
Sew up remaining leg seams
Using a single strand of dk yarn, knit or crochet a square measuring 3.5 inches and attach it to the front as a worry pocket. (I find it easier to add the pocket after stuffing the monster. But you might prefer to add it first.)

Variations:
Let your imagination run riot
To make longer legs, add 2, 4, or 6 rows
Change the colours as required
To make shoes change the colour of the first four rows of the legs
Use all your left over oddments to make stripes

To knit a monster with ears at the top of the head

Follow pattern until
Change back to face colour, then
Knit across 10 mouth stitches and remaining 5 face stitches
Work a further 43 rows straight – (stocking stitch, commencing with a purl row and ending with a purl row)
Change to body colour and continue with the rest of the pattern
When making up, sew a running stitch across the top corners and pull tightly to make 2 ears

The inspiration for this pattern came from the BASIC PATTERN FOR A WORRY PUPPET by Diane Fenney

If you feel like knitting, crocheting or sewing some worry monsters or worry puppets for Knit-for-Nowt, there is currently a competition to win a wool voucher on their website HERE.  There will be four winners and everyone has an equal chance as the winners will be selected at random by a senior social worker. The closing date is May 25th.