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!!

Tuesday 26 February 2013

Last baby dress....for now

When I returned to knitting just over a year ago, I went into a local shop and bought a few balls of wool.  This was one of them.  I promptly fell out of love with it because it is quite a strange shade...not quite peach and not quite pink.  But it suddenly seemed just right for the baby dresses I have been knitting this month.  I also had the perfect matching buttons and, ta dah, here we have a dress that will look lovely on someone.

I've filed the pattern away now as the novelty is wearing off.  But I will definitely knit it again.  For anyone interested in knitting this dress, here is the pattern  As I have said before, please read the forum notes at the end of the pattern as they explain a counting error in the front bodice.

Saturday 23 February 2013

Matching baby hat....

Here is the matching baby hat I knitted with the wool left over from the baby dress in my last post.  The pattern is very easy.  I have knitted quite a few hats from this pattern  It's a simple, well-written pattern with no errors.

This is the newborn size and is quite stretchy so the baby should be able to wear it for a few months.  The pattern has 5 different sizes from preemie to toddler.

I particularly like the decreasing detail.  I think it makes a proper head-shaped hat with a roomy crown suitable for a boy or a girl.

Wednesday 20 February 2013

Another pretty baby dress....

Here's another cute baby dress that has just come off my needles and gone into my charity box.  I'm really pleased with it.  One of the advantages of buying cheap joblots of wool is that I sometimes find little gems that I haven't used before.  The stripy wool is King Cole Comfort Prints DK and this shade is called "Pomegranate".  It is beautifully soft and fine and perfect for baby clothes.  I have enough left to knit a matching hat.

I knitted this dress on a circular needle as I wanted the stripes to flow around the dress.  That also meant there was no bulky side seam to sew up.  I found the perfect pearlescent buttons in my button box and I'm delighted with the result.  

For anyone who wants to knit this pattern, it can be found here
Please make sure to read the comments that come after the pattern as they explain a counting error in the front bodice.

Monday 18 February 2013

The four seasons pet blanket is finished....

Definitely not an object of beauty, but I have been knitting this for several weeks and it is going to a good home where it will be appreciated.  I have decided it is more an animal blanket than a toddler blanket.  So I omitted the embroidery that I was planning to do.  Apparently little paws and claws can catch painfully in embroidery stitches.  I have just found the perfect size box for it and it will be winging its way to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home this afternoon.  They always need blankets especially in winter and this one is very warm..  

Knitting such a big project was a perfect winter tonic for me as well.  It helped to use up some colours that I wasn't keen on and also gave me the chance to knit with the lovely, soft "meadow" Orlon wool.  I had a whole cone of that and managed to use it all.

The weather is slowly improving and spring is knocking on the door.  I have already seen people cutting their lawns and hedges.  I will soon have to start some serious gardening, decorating and spring cleaning.  So I will concentrate on smaller knitting and crochet projects for the next few months.

Friday 15 February 2013

My latest charity box is ready...

Here are the contents of my latest charity box.....8 hats and 8 scarves.  I buy my wool as cheaply as possible so I often end up with odd balls that are perfect for smaller items.  I have been making these for a few months and the box is now full and ready to post.  It is actually so long since I started knitting these that I had forgotten some of the items.  I hope my sense of excitement at rediscovering them is mirrored at the charity.  

This lot will be going to Operation Orphan which is an organisation that delivers warm clothing to children living in poverty in Central and Eastern Europe. 

There is a video here that shows what they do.

Operation Orphan is still advertising their Winter 2012 campaign on their website.  But I have had it confirmed by email that they have already started collecting clothing for 2013.  Their headquarters are in the UK and clothing can be sent to them at the following address:

Operation Orphan
c/o Big Yellow
20 Lenton Lane

Tuesday 12 February 2013

The scarf race: and the winner is.....

One of the things that persuaded me to learn to crochet was the opinion expressed by many people that crochet is quicker than knitting.  I have knitted more scarves than I can remember.  But I have crocheted only 2 scarves.  As they were my first proper crochet projects, I was painstakingly slow and careful.  "Faster than knitting?  Not the way I crochet!", I thought to myself.  Then I realised that I had crocheted both scarves in less than a week.  I have never knitted 2 scarves in such a short time.

So I decided to conduct an experiment.  I knitted a scarf and I crocheted a scarf.  Spot the difference.....

Both are made with the same size needle and the same Aran wool.  Both have a similar ribbed pattern.  The knitted scarf on the right is smaller than the crocheted scarf on the left.  Amazingly, it took twice as long to complete.  Yes, the scarf that crossed the finish line first by a mile was the crocheted scarf.  I could see it galloping along before my eyes, whereas the knitted scarf stubbornly rewarded 30 minutes knitting by moving only an inch or so.  Guess which method I will be backing in future.

These are scarves for children and will be going off soon to a charity.  Just for information the knitting pattern is as follows:
Aran wool and size 6mm needles
Cast on 27 stitches
Row 1: (knit 3, purl 3) and repeat to the end of the row
Row 2: (knit 1, purl 1) and repeat to the end of the row
Repeat these rows until the scarf measures between 36 and 48 inches.
For an adult scarf, I would cast on 33 stitches and work until the scarf measures about 60 inches or whatever suits you.

The crochet pattern can be found here:

Both patterns produce a pleasing end result.  But, as my very unscientific experiment  proved, the crochet pattern is quicker even for a novice.

Saturday 9 February 2013

Follow me on Bloglovin'

Follow on Bloglovin   Last month I took part in the very successful "Grow your blog" party that was generously hosted by Vicki at the 2 bags full blog.  As a result, I gained most of my 50 followers and also found many blogs that I wanted to follow.  My list is constantly growing as there are so many lovely crafting blogs.  I have added links to most of them on my home page and check them regularly for updates.  But it was starting to get a little unwieldy.

I  like the simple life and so I tried  Bloglovin' as a way to keep track of updated blogs.  They send me a daily email that lists all my chosen blogs that have been updated.  This meets my needs completely.  There is also an option to receive an email every time one of the blogs I follow has a new posting.  But I didn't opt for that as the amount of emails would be overwhelming.

I don't usually advertise other websites so blatantly and I have found that many other bloggers already know about Bloglovin' .  But some don't and I can definitely recommend this as a site worth looking at.

I love having followers and have added various ways for people to do that.  Now anyone who uses Bloglovin' can choose to follow me that way by clicking on the widget above or on the left hand side of my home page.

Tuesday 5 February 2013

Pretty in pink baby dress...

I felt like knitting something quick and pretty. This pattern has been in my queue for quite a while and it fitted the bill perfectly. I just used wool I already had and it took only about 60g. I already had the buttons as well and they match the cream stripes beautifully. 

I sewed the buttons on very carefully. This is a charity knit and it is always in my mind that these knits will get a lot of use. If a button were to come off, it is unlikely to be sewn back on again and that would be a shame as, hopefully, this dress will last for years and fit many babies.  It is even designed to grow with the baby.  When it becomes too short to be worn as a dress, it can still be worn as a little top over shorts or leggings.

It is a quick knit and I will be doing many more for either charity or friends. Here is a link to the pattern

Anyone planning to knit this pattern should read the notes at the end as there is a counting error in the front bodice. It is mentioned in the notes and the pattern writer has promised to correct it, but hasn't yet done so. 

There is also a pattern version for knitting on a circular needle. I knitted the flat needles version and was quite happy with sewing up the side seams as they are short. The pattern recommends sewing up with a mattress stitch which I have just investigated and will use next time. It gives a flatter seam; but isn't easy to use with I discovered too late.

Saturday 2 February 2013

Easy Aran hat...

I had a lot of Aran wool left over after finishing my daughter's jumper last month.  I also have an almost full box of knitted hats and scarves waiting to go off to a charity.  The frugal part of my brain won't allow me to post the box until it's full.  But the other part of my brain wants to see these items being put to good use.  

I think 2 or 3 of these Aran hats will fill the box nicely.  Here's the first one.  It's a lovely simple pattern in 5 sizes from newborn to youth.  My charity box already has baby hats in it, so this time I'm concentrating on the larger sizes.  The hat in the photo is the youth size.  I've completed the ribbed brim and have just started on the stocking stitch part of the hat.  

I have a busy week ahead of me.  But I would be a happy bunny if I could have these hats finished and posted off by this time next week.

I have knitted from this pattern several times in the past and it is really well-written with no mistakes.  Here is a link: