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, 30 December 2012

Sustainable knitting and a little bit of silliness...

I am a keen recycler and hate to throw away anything useful.  I had a cheap old pair of gloves that were shapeless and worn out.  I know they were cheap because I never pay very much for anything!  I noticed they were badly made and were already unravelling.  That gave me an idea.  

I continued the unravelling.  The first photo shows how much wool there was in just one cuff.  This was the most difficult part to unravel because it had a thin elastic knitted in with the wool.  

The second photo shows what I had after unravelling the first glove.  By now I was fascinated to see how the glove had been made.  The knitted-in elastic stopped after the cuff and unravelling it became very easy, fast and thoroughly satisfying.  The biggest ball of wool came from the cuff, the lower palm and the thumb.  Then the next ball of wool came from the upper palm and the little finger.  The three remaining fingers each produced their own little ball of wool.

The third photo shows what I now have after unravelling both gloves.  This is a dark grey 2 ply wool.  It is still in a good condition and I have put it away with my other 2 ply wool which is mainly pink and white.  I think, for hand knitting, 2 ply wool is completely useless.  But knitted together it quickly makes a 4 ply yarn that can be used for all sorts of things. 

That project was my little bit of silliness over Christmas.  It was also a very welcome bit of light relief from my current project of knitting a very complicated Aran jumper.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

When I grow up....

These twins weighed in at 400g each and already take up a seat of their own on the sofa.  When they grow up they are going to be an Aran jumper for my daughter.  I steered her towards the Aran patterns on Ravelry in the hope that she would choose something quick to knit.  Unfortunately, she chose quite a lacy pattern which means I am constantly counting and can't get into a steady rhythm.  The pattern is written in a really odd way and it took me several attempts at knitting a tension square before I managed to sort out which needles to use.  I suppose the fact that absolutely nobody has tried this Ravelry pattern should have set the alarm bells ringing.  Hey ho; it might be ready by next Christmas. 

 For any other masochists out there, this Ravelry pattern has the memorable name "6-4 sweater in English rib with v-neck knitted in cotton "

Saturday, 22 December 2012

3 little stocking fillers...

So hubby decides at very short notice to fly to Ireland to visit his sister.  She has 3 girls aged 4-12.  I offer to knit something "small" for them and he asks for 3 scarves!!!!!!!  No, this photo is not of 3 scarves.  They are pencil bookmarks and the pattern can be found on Ravelry

If you are looking for the pattern, you will need to log in and search under the term "Pencil bookmark".  The pattern I chose calls for 4 ply wool.  There is a pattern that uses dk wool, but I thought that would be too thick.  I had to use dk for the black nibs as I didn't have any black 4 many people do?  That explains why the nibs are quite chunky instead of nicely pointed.  If I knit these again, I might pull the black dk wool apart to make it more like a 4 ply wool.

All the wool I used came from my bag of oddments which tends to come in useful when I least expect it.

I am reasonably satisfied at the way they turned out considering the time available.  My teenage daughter made all the right noises when she saw them and I think the girls will use them.  I made them all different so they can swap them around and hopefully not have too many arguments about who gets which colour.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

And here's the finished blanket....

Here's the baby blanket I blogged about last week.  I'm really pleased with the way it turned out.  Using two strands of dk wool together has made it thick, warm and very soft.  This type of diagonal knitted blanket doesn't always need an edging.  But I added one in cream to pull all the colours together.  This edging was simply one row of double crochet and 1 row of half treble crochet.  I'm ridiculously proud of myself for doing it as I am a novice at crochet.  My plan A was to do a shell edging, but there wasn't enough wool.  I will do it on another blanket in future instead.

I am definitely going to donate this to one of my favourite good causes.  It will keep one lucky baby very snug.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

In the pink....

At this time of year, I like to cheer myself up by knitting something bright and pretty.  Here's a blanket that fits the bill.  I'm using pale peach and cream dk wool knitted together on 6mm needles.  Even the dark pink colour of the needle tips makes me smile.

The blanket is turning out beautifully soft and is a great way to use up some peach wool that I bought a year ago.  It is proper "baby wool" but, since buying it, I have seen several comments that peach is not a recommended colour for baby clothes. Apparently, it doesn't look good against the skin of a preemie baby or even a full-term baby who may be jaundiced.  But I think it will be welcome as a cot blanket in a cold country.  I'm determined that this blanket will end up with a charity.  I must break the habit of falling in love with my knitted blankets so much that I can't bring myself to give them away!

This blanket has more or less designed itself.  I had varying amounts of different shades of peach and cream and have really enjoyed blending them into stripes.  I'm going to pull the whole thing together by adding a cream border.  I haven't chosen the exact border pattern yet.  I might be adventurous and attempt a crochet edging.  The blanket has been a "quick knit" as it is simply a large square knitted diagonally in garter stitch.  So taking a bit longer adding a special edging will be time well spent.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Buttons, buttons and more buttons....

Serious knitters will, sooner or later, have to put down the wool and pick up the buttons.  I love buttons.  I grew up in a home where buttons were never thrown away.  They were snipped from worn out clothes and saved in "the button box".  Even well cared for clothes eventually wear out; but buttons are almost indestructible.  I would often take this box to the dining table and spread out its contents.  There was something comforting about finding that the old favourites were still there.  I still remember my favourites....a big set of chunky red coat buttons.

When I grew up, I started my own button collection.  It helps that there are 3 of us in my family.   Hubby in particular is terrible for ruining shirts which explains why I have so many shirt buttons.  I have been a bit more choosy about which buttons I will save but have still amassed a collection of two or three hundred.  These were thrown haphazardly into one compartment of my lovely old wooden sewing box.  Whenever I needed matching buttons it would take me ages to sift through them.

Recently, I decided to sort them into a more useful order.  I bought some little clear storage bags from Ebay and made a start.  I'm not rushing the job, partly because I still enjoy fishing through buttons to find lost treasures and partly because good daylight is a necessity for distinguishing various shades of many shades of white can there be?.... and this time of year is not known for its long days!

The photo shows that I have nearly finished.  There are just fifty or so loose buttons to match up and put into bags.  They are mainly black, brown or dark blue and definitely call for good daylight before I can confidently sort them.

Almost all the buttons in the photo have come from family clothes.  There are a small number of exceptions, namely the lovely little anchor buttons I found in a charity shop and some pretty flower buttons I found on Ebay.  So far I have resisted the many joblots of buttons that are listed on Ebay.  But I feel an onset of cardigan knitting coming on and, if I ever use up all my buttons, I know where I can buy some more!

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Same wool, two different blankets....

This lovely wool was the main reason I bought my most recent bargain lot from Ebay.  The labels were missing so I don't know anything about it apart from the fact that it seems to be somewhere between dk and Aran in weight.  It was just crying out to be knitted into baby blankets.

Here are 2 blankets that are on my needles at the moment.  I started the rectangular blanket first and it will eventually measure approximately 2' by 3'.  I'm not over the moon about the way the colours are making big patches.  I also think the stocking stitch was a bad choice for this very crinkly yarn.  I much prefer the more evenly spaced small dashes of colour on the diagonal blanket to the left of the photo.  The garter stitch also suits the crinkles much better.  Oh well, life is a learning curve.

I  love the way the diagonal blanket is turning out so much that I am going to keep this one.  The rectangular blanket will eventually end up at one of my favourite charities though I haven't decided which one yet.

I should have finished both these blankets by Christmas.  That's my aim anyway as I am really looking forward to starting some smaller pretty baby cardigans.