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!!

Thursday 30 January 2014

That's better........

The random collection of squares that I am sewing together into a blanket for SIBOL now look like this.  They were all made by different knitters and crocheters and measured from 4.5" to 7".  I edged them with the same colour and added some extra rows to make them the same size.  The good news is that I developed my sketchy crochet skills and finally understand how to make a granny square.

I'm still getting to grips with editing photos on my new laptop.  The colours are a little darker in real life than in my photo.  The top square is definitely the prettiest and will take pride of place in the centre of the blanket.  The other squares range from completely plain to interesting!  I've been experimenting with the best layout and think I have arrived at one that is slightly better than just tossing them up in the air and seeing how they land.

Hopefully my next blog post will show the completed blanket.  SIBOL blankets are distributed to elderly residents in UK care homes.  Sue at SIBOL welcomes completed blankets and shawls but is no longer able to accept orphan squares.

Monday 27 January 2014

I finished my Jana vest...

I finished my Jana vest and it turned out just how I wanted it, long and slightly loose.  It is perfect for the smart/casual dress code at work and could even be dressed down further with jeans.  My photos are dreadful and don't do it justice.  Today was wet and gloomy, so outdoor photographs weren't possible.  

The yarn is Rowan Wool Cotton in navy blue.  The first photo makes it look like 2 shades of blue, but it really is just one shade.  It was a lovely yarn to knit with and well worth the extra expense.

I'm really pleased that I knitted the cable pattern on the back as well.  It is a very interesting detail.  I'm already planning to knit more of these.  This one took only about 6 weeks which included Christmas festivities and a few days spent on sorting out computer problems.  

I recommend the pattern.
It was well written and had absolutely no errors.  All that was required was total concentration especially when knitting the cables which consisted of a 32 row repeat.  

The link to the pattern is on Ravelry but the only way to obtain it is to buy a book. However,  there are many other lovely patterns in the book which I know I will eventually knit.  I will definitely knit another Jana vest.  I work in a warm but draughty building and this is perfect over a blouse.

Saturday 25 January 2014

Grow Your Blog Party 2014

Welcome to all my old and new readers.  I'm taking part in this year's Grow Your Blog Party which is hosted by Vicki at the 2 Bags Full blog.  This is a great event which helps to introduce bloggers to each other.  It worked for me in 2013 when my blog was still quite new.  I'm hoping to find many more blogs to follow this year.

I have lived in London, UK, all my life and am a very busy person.  I used to work full time in a library until 2011 when my employer decided that making me and 25 other colleagues redundant was part of the solution to the world's economic problems. Luckily, I was just the right age to take early retirement, so I now work only one day per week in a library and the rest of the week is spent enjoying a new lease of life. 

After a few weeks getting used to being a lady of leisure, I had the brainwave to return to knitting which I used to do many years ago.  I had given away all my knitting needles and didn't have one ball of wool in the house.  I restocked my needles, built up a good collection of wool and the rest is history.

I started my blog at the end of 2012 mainly to record my knitting projects.  I used to have a gardening blog with a total of 6 followers.  I didn't have any higher expectations for my knitting blog, so reaching the dizzy heights of nearly 100 followers has amazed me.  The figure is only approximate as some of my followers use Bloglovin', some use Google Friend Connect, some use Ravelry and some follow me through other blogs.  

If you have come to my blog as a new reader, I would love you to follow me.  I write about knitting, crochet and sewing.  Knitting is my first love and I have been doing it for over 50 years.  I am a competent sewer and occasionally make girls' dresses for charity and tops for myself.  I am teaching myself to crochet and very slowly making some progress.  

I don't think one day goes by without me picking up knitting needles or a crochet hook.  I mainly make things for various charities and seem to concentrate on blankets, hats, scarves, and babywear.  I sometimes make things for my family and just recently I vowed to make my own knitwear instead of buying it.  That could be interesting!

I find that reading other blogs and seeing what other people make is very inspiring. I follow many many blogs and have "met" some lovely, generous, helpful bloggers.   There are some great blogs out there!  I love reading them and looking at the amazing photos.  Let's all have a great party in 2014!

Friday 24 January 2014

Works in progress.....

I'm currently working on sewing squares into a blanket for SIBOL which is an organisation that distributes blankets and shawls to care homes for the elderly in the UK.  An avalanche of squares hit the SIBOL HQ in December and some of us offered to sew them together.  (Please note that SIBOL now welcomes completed blankets and shawls but cannot accept any more squares due to the extortionate postal rates in the UK.)

My little parcel of squares arrived at the beginning of January.  Here they are:

As you can see, they are a mixture of knitted and crochet squares in a variety of colours.  They range from 4.5" to 7" square....quite a challenge!  I decided my first task was to make these squares the same size.  So I found the largest square and edged it with a row of double crochet (UK) in a soft pastel green.  I had a huge ball of this green in my wool bag.  It goes with most of the colours in the squares very well and there will be enough to make an edging after the whole thing is finished.

The first square I edged is at the bottom of the pile in the photo.  The edging will make it easier to join to other squares.  All the squares have to end up the same size as this one.  Yesterday I sat down and completed nearly half the squares.  I just added 2 or 3 rows of double crochet until the squares were big enough.  I have a few of the knitted squares to finish.  Then I have 7 crochet squares to make bigger.  I have already practised adding more rows of granny shells (is that what they are called?) and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was.  I might even use this as an edging for the whole blanket.

My navy blue Jana vest is almost finished.  I'm really pleased with how it has turned out.  I just have to sew the side seams and then it will be starring in a future blog posting.  I'm also taking part in the Knit a Block a Week Challenge which is hosted on Linda's Crafty Corner blog.  I am averaging 3 blocks per week and plan to sew these into another blanket.

I normally only blog about completed projects.  But this year I am working on bigger projects that take a while to complete.  So I think this is the first of many "works in progress" posts.

Monday 20 January 2014

On their way.....

I've been really busy relearning computer skills.  About a week ago my ancient laptop gave up the ghost.  It had already been in for repair a few months ago and I decided to stop throwing money at it.  So I went out and bought a new one.  Things have moved on a lot in cyberland and I think I have just about got my head around Windows 8.1, Microsoft SkyDrive etc etc.  It hasn't been easy!!!!!  This was partly because my computer skills are a bit rusty and also because there are definite problems with the latest software and operating systems.  Internet forums are full of people having the same difficulties I had.  It has been a steep learning curve.

I resented the amount of knitting time I had to devote to setting up my new laptop.  But I'm up and running again.  Just being able to edit a photo and add it to my blog has been a major achievement.  Woo hoo!

Today I posted off a parcel of sewn, knitted and crocheted items which will be divided between Greenfields Africa and Operation Orphan.  There are 8 hats, 2 scarves, 1 cardigan and 5 drawstring bags which will eventually be filled with goodies for new mothers and their babies in Africa.

I have various knitting projects on the go.  They had to bow out gracefully while I got up to speed on my laptop,  But, fingers crossed, it's all systems go  and I'm firing on all cylinders again.  Hopefully, my new laptop will do the same!

Saturday 4 January 2014

The Bouquet Blanket...

I finished this blanket before Christmas and have just sent it off to Sue at SIBOL which is an organisation that distributes blankets to residents of care homes in the UK.  Now that Sue at SIBOL has received it, I can show it to the rest of the world.

I really enjoyed making this.  The basic blanket is from this pattern.  I used some Cygnet Grousemoor Aran yarn that I found at a reasonable price in a charity shop. This yarn is 75% acrylic and 25% wool and it is machine washable.  It is a lovely warm yarn with little flecks of colour throughout.  The edging and decorations were made from yarn left over from previous projects.

SIBOL likes the blankets to be at least 36" square, so I kept knitting until it reached that size.  Then I edged it with one row of double crochet (UK) to brighten it up.  The flowers are from this easy pattern.  I made them in different sizes as an experiment and then decided to use all of them.  I added green stems made from simple chain stitch. The finishing touch was a knitted bow from this pattern.  For the bow, I combined 2 yarns to give a glittery effect.  Everything is stitched on really well as I always picture these blankets spinning around in large washing machines.

Here is a close up of the blanket.  You might just about be able to see the coloured flecks.

Sometimes I have trouble parting with my favourite blankets.  But I know it will be appreciated where it is going and I have my photos to remind me.