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!!

Wednesday 26 November 2014

A lacy Sands blanket....

Here is a little blanket that I have just posted off to Sands which is a charity that gives memory boxes to parents of babies who died before or just after birth.  The babies are often wrapped in these blankets when presented to their parents who then keep the blankets as comforting keepsakes.  It is a sad item to knit but I find that I can still think positive thoughts and try to make one each year
Patterns for knitted and crocheted versions of the Sands blanket can be found on their website here.   I found the modifications in the What A Woolly Life blog really helpful as they show how to knit and sew on the edging at the same time.  My photo shows the right and wrong side of the edging which is actually very neat on both sides.  The last time I knitted this blanket, I found sewing on the border to be the most tedious part and was delighted when I found out that it could be knitted and sewn on at the same time.  There is so much to be learned from other bloggers and knitters/crocheters.

Sands like the blankets to be white.  They also have specific size requirements which vary depending on how many sides are given a lace edging.  My blanket has a lace edging on all four sides and the inner square measures 20" x 20".  This used less than 200g of yarn.  I bought the yarn at my local hardware store!  It is called Premier Value Baby DK and looks brilliantly white and crisp.  It was lovely to knit with and had absolutely no knots......if only all yarn could be the same.

These blankets also look very pretty in other colours and many people use this pattern when making a simple baby blanket.  It is knitted on the diagonal and the size can be adapted as required.

Thursday 20 November 2014

Three quick scarves......

I had some wool left over after knitting a child's jumper recently and I wanted to use it up instead of putting it back into the wool bag.  It was a lovely pure wool Borgs S.N.2 garn in light brown which was donated to me by Joanne of the Cup On The Bus blog.  I also had some Debbie Bliss 4 ply beige wool left over from a previous project and I realised that both these yarns would combine beautifully.

So, hey presto, I managed to knit 3 children's scarves for Operation Orphan which is an organisation that delivers clothing and blankets to children in need around the world.  For all threes scarves I used 6mm knitting needles and cast on 26 stitches.  The result?...3 warm, squishy scarves with a great drape.  

I used a one-row pattern for the two ribbed scarves.  I can't remember where this pattern came from, so thanks are due to the author.....though it is so simple that there may not be an author. Even so, I don't feel right giving out the pattern without permission.  But there are several one-row patterns available on the Internet and I recommend them as easy mindless knitting projects.
STOP PRESS:  I have found the pattern, so here is the link:
scarf pattern.

By the time I reached my third scarf, I was tiring a bit and I had heard from Linda of the Linda's Crafty Corner blog that there is an Operation Orphan delivery to Syria in December.  So I quickly rushed out a garter stitch scarf which used up the last of the brown and beige wool.

Two of the scarves have a few colourful stripes created from oddments of yarn.  I added them to break up the monotony for both myself and the younger children.  I wouldn't say these scarves are beautiful.  But the important thing is that they are real wool and will tuck inconspicuously into most winter coats.  Three children will be a little warmer this winter.

Tuesday 11 November 2014

Lazy lacy scarf....

When I first saw this scarf pattern on Marianna's Lazy Daisy Days blog, I thought it was a crochet pattern.  I was so convinced about this that I even added it to my favourite crochet patterns on Pinterest!!  Then I read closer and realised it was a very simple but clever knitting pattern.  The pattern repeat is 5 rows of garter stitch followed by an easy eyelets row.  I recommend it to anyone who is looking for a pretty and quick scarf pattern.  It can also be found on Ravelry here.

My scarf measures 6" x 65" and used approximately 70g of yarn.  I rarely recommend any particular yarns; but this one deserves a mention.  It is an acrylic dk yarn called "Knitting Essentials" and came from my local Poundland in London.  It is beautifully soft and a pleasure to knit with.  It easily matches more expensive yarns and I would be happy to use this even for baby items..... a great find.

This scarf has gone to SIBOL from where Sue will add it to her Christmas deliveries to care homes for the elderly.  The care homes are not prisons!  The residents are encouraged to go out into the gardens or even further afield on day trips, so they need warm accessories.  I like it so much I might just have to knit another one for myself.

Friday 7 November 2014

Finally finished the jumper.....

Here is the jumper that starred in my recent blog post.  It was, in theory, a simple pattern.  But the multitude of mistakes and vague information in the pattern mean that I cannot recommend it.  Bizarrely, now that I have peppered my printed pattern with corrections, I will definitely knit this again in future.  

Next time, it will be a quick knit.  It is a top-down pattern and the seamless design means there is no sewing and no bulky seams.

This jumper should fit a 3 year old child and will eventually go off to Operation Orphan.  It is a sturdy little jumper and will definitely keep someone warm and hopefully be passed down to other children over the years.

Thanks again to Joanne of the Cup On The Bus blog for donating the brown yarn which I used together with some light blue 4 ply yarn.  

(Note to self: the jumper weighs just under 250g and I have plenty of suitable Aran yarn.)

Sunday 2 November 2014

The Warm-At-Home shawl.....

This shawl is basically a large knitted triangle.  It measures a generous 64" from point to point and 29" down the back.  Here are the front and back views on an average size person:

It is a very simple shawl that involves a lot of mindless garter stitch knitting.  The end result is a shawl to keep someone warm indoors. If you prefer a delicate, lacy shawl to wear to a wedding, stop reading now!!

I made up the pattern as I went along.  I plan to knit it again.  So, for myself and anyone else who might like it, here it is:

  • Aran yarn or 2 thinner yarns held together to add up to 10 ply.
  • 5.5mm knitting needles.  My stitches fitted onto straight needles even at the widest point of the shawl.
  • Cast on 3 stitches.
  • Row 1: knit 3.
  • Row 2: slip 1 knitwise, knit through the front and back of the second stitch, knit to the end.
  • Row 3: slip 1 knitwise, knit to the end.
  • Repeat rows 2 and 3 until the shawl measures 32" across the top edge, ending on a row 3.
  • Row 4: slip 1 knitwise, knit to the end.
  • Row 5: slip 1 knitwise, knit to last 3 stitches, knit 2 together, knit 1.
  • Row 6: slip 1 knitwise, knit to the end.
  • Repeat rows 5 and 6 until there are only 4 stitches left.
  • Next row: slip 1 knitwise, knit 2 together, knit 1.
  • Next row: slip 1 knitwise, knit 2 together.
  • Next row: knit 2 together
  • Cut yarn, thread it through the last stitch and sew in the end securely.

Your choice of needle size will influence the amount of drape in this shawl.  I tried 4.5mm needles which produced a very dense fabric that was more like a rug!  I then tried 6mm needles but thought the stitches were a little too loose.  I eventually used 5.5mm needles which have produced a very warm shawl that will withstand daily use and regular washing.  But everyone knits to a different tension, so different needles will work for different people.

This pattern is a real yarn guzzler.  I used about 400g of oddments.  You could just use one colour if  preferred. If you are knitting in stripes, it might help to know that you will be knitting from the right hand corner to the left hand corner.  On my shawl I started with the green stripes and ended with the pink stripes.

As my shawl is garter stitch stripes and I always joined the new colours at the top edge, there is a definite right and wrong side.  But it might not be obvious to a non-knitter.  So I knitted 2 flowers and sewed them to the right side at the front points. These are also useful for weighing down the shawl to keep it in place.  You could add other decorations such as buttons, tassels or ribbons.  Or you could just leave the ends undecorated.

That's it.  When you sew in the yarn ends, your shawl is finished.  No blocking is required!  I found that commencing every row by slipping a stitch knitwise produced a firm edge that did not need any other additional edging.

This shawl has gone off to SIBOL from where the industrious Sue delivers shawls (and blankets) to care homes for the elderly.  Take a look at the SIBOL blog if you feel like knitting or crocheting a blanket or shawl.

Breaking news:  I uploaded this pattern to Ravelry here.  I'm chuffed to see that 14 people favorited or queued it within the first 2 hours.  Incidentally, most of these Ravellers live in countries such as Canada or Germany where the winters are cold.  I hope this shawl keeps them warm!