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!!

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.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

A pretty bonnet and bootees set...

Having previously knitted some very plain patterns from The Big Book of Baby Knitting* by Mary Healey, I felt the need to immerse myself in some pretty knitting. So I made this lovely bonnet and bootees set in 4ply yarn. 

I started with the bonnet and very soon had a love/hate relationship with the pattern.  It was an 8 rows repeat, only two of which were remotely tricky.  But I must have made every mistake possible, usually forgetting to pass a slip stitch over.  I even did this more than once on the same row at least twice!

I love the way the bonnet looks.  It is actually a simple pattern even though I managed to make very heavy weather of it.  I was really glad when it was finished but I continued with my original plan to make the bootees. They are mostly stocking stitch with just a couple of pattern repeats near the cuff.

When I added the ribbon to the bonnet, I cut little v shapes from the ends.  This was how my hair ribbons looked when I was a child.  I had completely forgotten that piece of useless information until I made this bonnet.

These should fit a baby aged about 3 months.  I have put them away for the next family baby.  That is two sets that I now have in reserve.  Amazingly, the hat used only 22g of yarn and the pair of bootess used only 13g.  I would knit this pattern again at some time in the future even though it gave me some problems!

* the term "baby knitting" make me think of someone knitting a baby.  I just can't get that image out of my head.  I tell a lie...another image has just taken over the silly slot. This time it is of a baby holding knitting needles and a ball of wool.  I think I need a lie-down.

Friday, 5 June 2015

The Ombre Scarf..

I follow lots of blogs including the colourful Dayana Knits.  Dayana is a knitter who takes knitting to the next level.  In my eyes, she literally paints with yarn.  Her output is so great that I sometimes wonder how she finds time to sleep.  If you haven't come across her blog before, take a quick look and prepare to be amazed!

I first met Dayana when she answered an appeal for help with adding handwriting to a photo.  At the time I had an old computer which was sadly lacking in editing programs.  Not only did Dayana suggest how to do it, she actually did it for me!!

I had already decided to use up some of my 4 ply scraps when I read Dayana's post about ombre knitting.  She had managed to knit a whole jumper just using her leftover scraps.  Ombre is French for "shadow" and describes a technique for knitting with two yarns together in a way that bleeds the colours into each other.  

I sorted out my greens, creams and beiges and produced this scarf. It breaks the mould for me as I soon realised that it is not reversible.  But I carried on because I found the stitch interesting to knit.  It produces a strong fabric that would actually make a lovely cushion cover.  The only change I made to Dayana's pattern was to change the colours every eighth row instead of every fourth row.  That halved the number of ends to be sewn in.  But if I ever get around to knitting something smaller such as a cushion  cover, I would change the colours every fourth row for a more subtle effect.

Most of the yarn that I used is real wool and came from an English convent that closed down.  4 ply yarn goes a long way and I only used 103g, so there is still some left for other projects.  The scarf is not a thing of beauty.  But it is very warm and will eventually go to Operation Orphan.

Summer has finally reached my part of the world.  It is a very busy time of year for me and I am now knitting nothing bigger than a hat..... unless the urge to start a bigger project grows too strong!

Saturday, 30 May 2015

More preemie items...

I couldn't resist knitting another of these baby kimonos.  This one should fit a 5lb baby and used just 50g of dk yarn.  I love this pattern because it is knitted in one piece.  It requires concentration in some places, but is otherwise a very easy pattern.  If knitting it for a baby not yet born, it is just a case of sewing the buttons on the correct side as soon the baby arrives.  The unused buttonholes then become places to tie little bows inside the top.  Here is the Ravelry link.

I also continued my mission to use up my 4ply yarn and knitted 2 simple 16" diagonal blankets which used just 86g each.  Like the preemie kimono, these will go to PreemiesUK who distribute clothing, blankets and teddies to hospital maternity units.  PreemiesUK has a very active Facebook page with news, photos and patterns including this absolutely gorgeous crochet cardigan. That has definitely been added to my "to do" list!  

Their Facebook page is open to everyone.  It's not necessary to be a Facebook member to read it.  It's worth checking before starting a new project because the type of items that are required often changes.  Sometimes they need more cardigans.  At other times small blankets are in demand, etc etc.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Very easy crochet edging...

I recently needed to add an edging to a shawl that I had crocheted.  I tried various edgings but they did not meet my criteria which were:

  • must be strong and preferably not too stretchy
  • must be fairly quick
  • must be added directly to the shawl i.e. no sewing involved
  • must be economical i.e. not use up too much yarn
  • must be easy

So, masquerading as an expert crocheter, I decided to invent my own edging stitch. I'm reasonably confident that I haven't accidentally stolen anyone else's idea as I haven't seen this stitch in books or on the Internet. 

So, this is a summary (in UK terms) of what I did:
  1. Use the same size hook and yarn weight as the item that you are edging
  2. Edge the item with double crochet stitches (UK)
  3. If working around an item such as a shawl or blanket, use a slip stitch to join the last and first double crochets
  4. Chain 2
  5. Slip stitch into next double crochet
Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you reach the last double crochet.  Slip stitch and cut yarn.

The green needle in the photo is pointing to where you slip stitch after chaining two.  It really is that easy and almost feels like cheating!

The corner of my shawl was slightly less than a right angle and I was able to get around it by simply chaining two and slip stitching once into each double crochet. There was no need to squeeze two stitches into one as is often necessary with some edgings.

The end result of this edging is a row of tiny points almost resembling a faux picot edging.  I was using dk yarn.  But this edging would also look very pretty on 4 ply baby items.

I'm thinking of adding this pattern to Ravelry.  But if anyone has prior claim to it and lets me know, then I will obviously not do that!