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!!

Friday 30 May 2014

A bear selfie.....

.....I never thought those words would leave my mouth!!  I knitted one of my favourite teddy bear glove puppets and couldn't resist taking a photo of it in action.  This is a very easy pattern to knit and can be found here UPDATED LINK.

This will eventually go off to a children's charity.  My sisters and I would have had hours of fun from a puppet like this when we were younger.  Come to think of it, taking the photo was fun as well!

Wednesday 28 May 2014

A little sew and sew.....

My daughter has just started a weekend job in a fifties themed teashop.  The staff are encouraged to dress in fifties style clothing.  The other staff wear circle skirts and Daughter tried to buy one but was put off by the price.  So last Wednesday she asked me to make her one and added "Oh, and I need it by Friday".  To give her due credit, this was her plan B.  Plan A was to borrow my sewing machine and attempt to make one herself (while destroying my sewing machine, sewing scissors etc in the process).  Naturally, I preferred plan B.

Two days sounds like plenty of time.  But I also need to sleep and have other things to do.  That left me a few precious hours that I was prepared to devote to making a circle skirt.  As my daughter is quite careless with her possessions, making anything for her is a triumph of hope over experience.  But I like to reward her strong work ethic and still love to make things for her.

I went out with Daughter to buy the material and it was lucky that I did because she liked bold checks which I didn't think would work well for this project.  The material I liked, she hated.  Eventually, we found something we both liked.  We queued for AGES and then discovered there was much less material left than we thought.  It was lovely though, so we bought it anyway and have already set it aside for some shorts.  

We still needed some skirt material but I couldn't face looking for more in that shop as the queue was too long.  There comes a point when economising on staff wages actually loses money for a business!

Outside the shop was a market stall where I have bought material before.  We decided to take a look and found the perfect material for the skirt.  It had small dog tooth checks which met Daughter's approval and looked easy to cut and sew....which met mine!  This market stall specialises in selling good quality samples and end of roll remnants.  We bagged this bargain for only £3, didn't have to queue and both came home happy.

There are myriads of tutorials about making circle skirts.  My main requirement was "NO ZIPS" and I managed to find a very helpful tutorial here.  I used it mainly for inspiration and for the maths calculations.  You don't need a pattern to make a circle skirt.  But you do need to measure and cut very carefully.

Our material was just the right size to cut out the circle in one piece without much wastage.  This meant there were no side seams to sew.  All I had to do was to make a waistband casing with bias tape, insert some elastic and sew the hem.  Easy peasy.  

The instructions I followed for making the waistband came from here.
Sewing the hem of a circle skirt is a little tricky.  I followed the instructions here.

Though I didn't allow Daughter to use my sewing machine, she learned a lot about material and how a skirt is made.  My initial misgivings about her making it herself were confirmed when I had to explain more than once why the waist has to be big enough to pull up over her hips!

The proof of the pudding is in the eating and Daughter has just gone off to work wearing the skirt.  The only photo I managed to take is pretty poor as she was in a rush.  Asking her to take off the jacket for the photo was nearly enough to send her into a meltdown!  She will take off the jacket at work though and the skirt will look much better than it does here.  She has already asked me to make more skirts and we are planning another material hunting expedition soon.

Note to self:
Finished length = 24".
Radius of centre circle = 5" which makes a waist big enough to pull up over 36" hips.
Fold material in half to cut.  10" diameter + 24" + 24" + 2" small hem allowance means that material measuring 60" x 60" is just enough for one skirt.

Saturday 24 May 2014

What 100 rows look like....

This is the progress so far on my blanket for Operation Orphan.  It is simply row after row of crochet trebles (UK).  I am aiming for a length of 60" and these 100 rows equal 39".  So I have just over 50 rows left to crochet.  Even if I crochet only 2 rows per day, I should have finished before the end of June.  I'm following a stripe pattern that was generated by the Random Stripe Generator.

Thursday 22 May 2014

Another baby hat.....

I'm working on two big projects at the moment which are going well but won't be finished for a while.  I felt the need to actually finish something, so I cast on my favourite hat pattern.  This time I knitted the six months size.  

My scraps of yarn are building up and I realised I had enough to make something wearable.  I knitted a white ribbing which is becoming a bit of a trademark for me. Then I knitted 3 or 4 rounds in mauve, 1 round in pale blue and the rest in a variegated yarn that included both these colours.  I'm really pleased with the way it turned out.  This will eventually go off to a children's charity.

My blog posts are short at the moment because this is a very busy time of year for me.  I relax by catching up on my favourite blogs and I love to read the comments left on my blog.  I know I don't often answer the comments, but they are what makes blogging worthwhile.  Otherwise I would just be talking to myself!!

Thank you for visiting.  I know we all have lots to do everyday!

Sunday 18 May 2014

Top-down baby cardigan: finished....

Ta dah!  Here is the top-down baby cardigan that I blogged about recently.  I was inspired by our beautiful weather and by the lovely photos in many of my favourite blogs especially Dayana Knits.  So I went out into the garden and gave the neighbours something to wonder about!!  The pale patch at the bottom right of the cardigan is just a reflection.  I should go back out and take another photo; but I'm off to work soon, so there isn't time....sorry.

It could have been a quick knit, but I have been manically busy recently.  Luckily it was a fairly easy knit and I'm pleased at how it turned out considering it was the first time I have knitted this type of pattern.  It was knitted in one seamless piece, though I had to pick up stitches for the collar and sleeves.  The collar was actually easier than expected as the pattern is well written.  The sleeves were the first I have ever knitted on dpns and went so well that I might use this method in future.  

The yarn I used was Chelsea Silk which is 65% silk and 35% wool.  It was donated to me by Joanne of the Cup On The Bus blog, It makes a very warm and strong garment.  I wouldn't normally use such a thick yarn for a baby knit but this will eventually be going off to a cold country where keeping babies warm is very difficult.  This seamless pattern was perfect as I can imagine that seams sewn from this yarn would be too bulky for a baby.

The buttons are nice enough but not brilliant.  They were in my already big collection and I couldn't justify buying more.  As usual, I sewed them on very carefully as I hope this cardigan will be worn and passed down for years.

 I found the pattern on Ravelry here.  I knitted the 6-12 months size and it took just under 200g of Aran weight yarn.  Knitters on Ravelry have commented that this pattern knits up big. From distant memory of my daughter when she was a baby, I think this would be suitable as a coat or jacket for a baby and then as a cardigan as the baby grew bigger.  The beauty of knitting for charity is that it will fit someone out there!  

When I started knitting this pattern I wasn't sure if it was easier than knitting a cardigan in individual pieces.  But once I got past the increases on the yoke, it was a breeze.  I will definitely knit this again.

Monday 12 May 2014

Liebster award...

Shelly of the Family, Books and Crochet...Oh My! blog nominated me for a Liebster award.  This is all a bit of fun aimed at bloggers who wish to grow their list of followers.  

Participation is entirely optional.  I know life is busy.  But, if you wish to take part, the rules of engagement are:

1)  Post 11 random facts about myself
2)  Answer 11 questions the awarding blogger has asked
3)  Nominate 11 blogs with less than 200 followers, add their links to this post, and let them know they've been nominated
4)  Create 11 questions the nominated blogs have to answer

I love to grow my blog. goes:

11 random facts about myself:

1) I love dark blue.
2) The first thing I bought myself was a dark blue leather pencil case which I still own.
3) I do all my computing on a laptop.
4) I lost 30 pounds in weight five years ago and have mostly maintained a healthy weight since then.
5) Being made redundant in 2011 was the chance to start knitting again.
6)  I learned to crochet recently and am really happy about that.
7) I volunteer at a school as a reading helper.  The children are so funny.
8) People who haven't seen me for 50 years still recognise me.  I'm not sure what to make of that!!.
9) I have trouble resisting chocolate.
10) I will be forever grateful that I never started smoking cigarettes.
11) I have just had a tooth implant after a year of gruelling dental appointments.  It was all worth it.  :-))

Answer 11 questions set by Shelly:

1)  What is your favorite item to crochet/knit?
Hard to choose, but I think I have knitted more hats than anything else.  I'm even thinking of buying a head model to display them better for photos.

2) Have you ever done any yarn-bombing?  If so, describe it.
No, but I never say never.

3)  Do you belong to a crochet/knit club?
There are a couple I could go to but I always think the travelling time and fares could be better spent on knitting and more yarn.

4)  What is your favorite thing to cook?
Anything with pasta, but I don't do it often as my fussy family don't like it.

5)  Do you have a favorite yarn to work with?
I will work with anything, but I really enjoyed knitting with Rowan wool cotton a few months ago as the texture was lovely.

6)  Do you enjoy sports?  If so, what is your favorite?
I prefer to take part rather than watch.  I'm a bit of a gym bunny, love Pilates and walk everywhere.  I sometimes watch tennis and swimming.

7)  What is your favorite TV show?
Coronation Street of course!!!!  I'm going to visit the old film set in August.

8)  Are you a coffee or a tea person?
Neither.  I gave up coffee years ago because I loved it so much that I would drink cup after cup.  I never liked tea and finally stopped drinking it when I saw the insides of an ancient tea pot at work.  My family all love tea and coffee though.

9)  Do you grow a garden (containers count)?
Yes, I enjoy gardening for the exercise and pretty results.  I wish I had more time to sit and enjoy it.

10)  Do you have a pet?
A tabby rescue cat called Fleur.  She follows me everywhere in the house and garden.

11)  What is your pet peeve?
People who put their feet on seats in buses and trains.  Why do they think that is ok??

My 11 nominated bloggers with fewer than 200 followers are:

Evelyn of The Soaring Sheep
Diana of My Paper Daisy
Snoopydog of Snoopydogknits
Daisy of Daisychains
Joanne of Rose & Dahlia

11 questions for nominated bloggers to answer:

1) What is the last thing you knitted or crocheted?
2)Where would you go on holiday if price was no object?
3) Do you think there is intelligent life on other planets?
4) At what age did you learn to knit or crochet?
5) What is your natural hair colour?
6) Which is your favourite season?
7)  Are you a books or e-reader fan?
8)  Do you prefer curtains or blinds?
9) Are you wearing earrings right now?
10) Do you have a special crafting area at home?
11) If one person could rule the world, who should it be?

Thank you for nominating me, Shelly. 

Saturday 10 May 2014

Top down baby cardigan...

Continuing with the theme of enjoying the lovely yarn donated to me by Joanne of the Cup On The Bus blog, I couldn't resist this Chelsea Silk which is 65% silk and 35% wool.  This is sheer luxury to someone like me who usually buys acrylic yarn in balls. Somehow a skein looks more elegant than a ball and these skeins are particularly easy to wind without creating a tangled mess.

I'm saving some skeins for a blanket.  But I also decided to use some for a top down baby cardigan.  I have never knitted this type of pattern before and, while it is an interesting new experience, the jury is still out on whether it is easier or harder than the more usual cardigan pattern.  I usually avoid any pattern that says "place markers" and I had 2 false starts with this one when I forgot to increase on both sides of the markers.  Hey ho.

But I persisted and I have now worked past the difficult increasing part of the pattern and am on the main body of the more markers required!  When that is finished I have to pick up and knit the sleeves on dpns.  That will also be a new experience as I usually only use them for the last few rows of a hat.

This cardigan is a charity knit and will go to a part of the world where it is very unlikely to be tossed into a washing machine.  It is knitting up to be a very strong fabric and I'm happy that it will survive lots of wear.  

I found the pattern on Ravelry here.

Wednesday 7 May 2014

On their way....

On their way at last to Operation Orphan are 11 hats and 4 jumpers of varying sizes. This little collection is a team effort.  The yarn was supplied by:
  • Fiona of the FC Knits blog
  • Joanne of the Cup On The Bus blog (who also knitted the blue hat and the 2 larger jumpers)
  • Nuns in a UK convent that was closing down
  • and a local family that was giving away items prior to a house move
I really, really enjoyed making these items.  People have commented on how good I am to knit for charity.  It doesn't feel like that.  I am just very grateful that there is an outlet for my hobby!

The highlight for me is when I can finally pack a box and send it off.  Now for the next box.....

Saturday 3 May 2014

Two more hats....

These are the last 2 hats I needed to knit to fill my charity box.  I used yarn that Joanne of the Cup On The Bus blog donated to me.  The yarn was approximately 4 or 5 ply and I knitted with 2 strands held together as this is an Aran pattern.  One of the yarns was dark and beautifully soft and the other was pale and a bit rougher.  Together they made 2 very strong and warm children's hats which will be going off to Operation Orphan very soon.

I found this pattern on Ravelry here.  I have knitted it many times and it has become a firm favourite.  I had just enough of the paler yarn to knit the youth size and then the child's size hat.  The small amount left over will just about make a stripe in a jumper or hat.  I never waste anything!!