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 21 October 2013

Milking butterflies.....

I love Flickr.  Someone who works there has a sense of humour.  I always read what it says on the screen when I am uploading photos and today it was "milking butterflies".  It brightened up what was until now a humdrum day.

In my last post I mentioned that I was going to combine some 2 ply and 4 ply wool.  Here are the baby hats and a scarf that I managed to knit.  The variegated mauve and purple yarn is 2 ply and the other yarn is 4 ply.  The hats are different colours because the 4 ply wool is cream on the left and lilac on the right.

All three items will eventually go to a charity for distribution to children in need.  I just need to make a few more things to fill a box before I post it. I'm guessing that I will miss the deadline for this winter's deliveries.  But there is always next year.

As usual the hat pattern is my favourite baby hat pattern.  The scarf is from a crochet pattern that, as a learner, I find fairly quick and easy.

Friday 18 October 2013

More baby hats...

I recently went through my bag of wool scraps and used up all the pastel dk yarn.  A few days ago I made a start on the brighter/darker dk yarn scraps.  Some of the wool came in a bargain lot and some was kindly donated to me.  These are the baby hats I managed to knit.

  • The rust hat was a great way to use up an oddment of brown and some very dubious beige wool.  I like the way the colours work together.
  • The bright yellow in the next hat was from a ball of wool that had been used previously and was all crinkly.  A good soaking in special wool detergent has softened it up beautifully.
  • The green hat was the biggest surprise.  I love this shade of moss green and would definitely consider using it again for baby blankets or hats.
  • The variegated blue and pink yarn is one of my favourites.  I knitted a hat and scarf for myself and this is all that was left.  It is supposed to be dk weight but I had to add some fine coned yarn to it to make it the same thickness as the pink brim.
Most of these colours might seem strange for a baby.  But these are charity knits and will eventually go to countries that specifically request darker colours.  The charity I will probably send these to is Greenfields Africa.  This organisation gives baby clothes and blankets to pregnant women to encourage them to attend antenatal lessons.

I enjoyed knitting these hats.  There was a little bit of design skill needed when putting colours together and a little bit of maths skill needed when judging yarn weights.

The pattern I used is here.  I love this pattern.  It makes what I think of as a real head shaped hat and the decreases at the crown are very neat.  

My brighter/darker dk wool scraps are now nearly all used up.  But I have coned yarn and 4 ply yarn that is just crying out to be matched together to make more watch this space!

Wednesday 16 October 2013

Owl(ish) mitts....

I recently blogged about some fingerless gloves I had knitted for my sister.  They were so quick and easy that I decided to knit some for my daughter.  This time I cast on only 26 stitches as my daughter has a slim hand.  

I used the wool that was left over from a scarf I knitted for her last month.  Once again the wool was chosen for warmth.  These will never be delicate fashion items!

I decided to add an owl motif.  The owls are based loosely on a chart I found on Ravelry.  The chart is a lot more detailed.  But I didn't have enough stitches or rows to knit the full design. 

I fully intended to knit it in moss stitch but was concentrating so much on the chart that I didn't notice I was actually knitting reverse stocking stitch until it was too late. Moss stitch would have shown up better, so that is a lesson learned for the future.  I could have easily ripped the work back.  But I genuinely don't think my daughter will notice the difference.  She will just be amazed to see owls on her gloves.

The eyes are pearls that came from a broken bracelet....waste not, want not.  It was the first time I have ever knitted with beads or pearls and I was amazed at how easy it was.

(Note to self: 26 stitches fits me perfectly as well.  So cast on this number if I ever knit some pour moi.)

Sunday 13 October 2013

Little knitted waistcoats....

This is a waistcoat I knit from time to time as it is easy and quick.  It is knitted in one piece and the only sewing is the side seams and buttons.  It calls for dk yarn to be used doubled.  I chose a navy blue yarn and combined it with a pale blue yarn that has little fluffy white bits in it.  The end result is chunky and warm and it should fit a child aged 3-4 years old.

 The pale blue yarn has some wool content and I think it might be in the white fluff.  Normally I am wary of using wool that needs to be handwashed.  But these waistcoats will be going to a charity that distributes items to parts of the world where electric washing machines are not used.  So that won't be a problem.

The pattern is called "Mayflower's Basic Bodywarmer" and is available free to registered members of the Loving Hands website.  This is a free website for people who knit, crochet or sew and is well worth looking at.

Thursday 10 October 2013

Very quick fingerless gloves pattern.....

I just knitted these fingerless gloves.  The pattern is so quick and easy.....just 34 rows on straight needles.  The dk yarn is used doubled so it knits up very quickly and makes a very strong and warm glove.  I'd say they are functional rather than fashionable.  The photo makes the colours look washed out.  They are actually a very vibrant dark pink and navy blue.

The pattern is for men's gloves and these are for my sister!  Her hands are much larger than mine so the gloves look huge on me in the photo.  But they have a lot of stretch and will be perfect for my sister.  I noticed on Ravelry that lots of people knit this pattern for women.  

It's easy to adjust this pattern.  I cast on 30 stitches as the pattern suggested.  But by subtracting or adding 4 stitches these could fit hands ranging from dainty to enormous.

The pattern is here.

Friday 4 October 2013

A quick scarf pour moi....

I knitted a hat with this wool so the obvious next thing to do was to knit a matching scarf.  This wool came as part of a bargain lot and has lost its labels.  It seems to be a type of mohair and I used the wraps-per-inch method to deduce that it is probably a double knitting yarn....though a bit on the thin side.  Clever shawl knitters could have used it as it was to make a lacy shawl.  But I just wanted a chunky warm scarf so I knitted with 2 balls of yarn together.

I only had enough wool for a short scarf but that is fine as I like to just cross them at the neck and tuck them into my jacket.  I love the colour.  It is a mixture of blue with bands of pink and very pale green.....just enough to cheer up a dull winter's day.

I remembered too late that the matching hat was knitted in rib.  If I was being super clever I would have knitted the scarf in rib.  But I didn't and life goes on.  Hey ho.  It's not the end of the world as the hat might get an airing once or twice a year, whereas the scarf will be worn regularly.

Note to self:
2 strands of dk yarn together
Size 5mm knitting needles
Cast on 29 stitches
Knit in garter stitch rows to desired length

Wednesday 2 October 2013

I can breathe again....the smelly Aran wool is all used up....

Here are the hats I managed to knit with the smelly Aran wool I  blogged  about recently.  Once upon a time, someone was so in love with their Aran jumper that they unraveled the wool to use again.  It's just a pity they didn't wash it first.  I ended up with the wool in a bargain lot and recognised quality even though it was in a challenging condition. It must be my Celtic ancestry, but I was really determined to reuse this Aran wool.  

There were originally 6 hats.  Daughter wanted one of them.  She actually needs it as she travels a long distance to university and works outdoors at the weekend.  So I was happy for her to take it and secretly pleased that such a trendy young thing liked something I had knitted!!  I'm afraid the sixth hat went into the recycling bin as no amount of washing would remove the stains from the wool.  My local Council recycles fibre and fabric and turns it into insulation, so it wasn't wasted. 

The remaining hats have all been soaked and washed twice.  There is no trace of anything unpleasant and they washed exceedingly well.  The whole process was well worth it.  I posted the hats and the scarves in the photo to Operation Orphan which is an organisation that distributes warm clothing to children in many countries including Syria.  I initially intended to send these items to a UK charity but the recent news from Syria persuaded me that they are needed more there.  I can't imagine what it must be like to leave your home and worldly goods and march to another country.  I don't want to get all serious and political in what is supposed to be a knitting blog, but what human beings do to each other is unbelievable.  Rant over.