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 28 April 2015

The little and large preemie tops...

After crocheting five Aran wool scarves, I have gone from one extreme to the other and turned my hands to knitting with 4 ply acrylic.  I had 4 complete balls of white/cream and a few oddments.  This is exactly the yarn requested by hospitals as it is suitable for small preemie babies and is easy to wash.

The pattern for the sleepsack came from the Cuddles website.  I altered the pattern slightly.  As written, it does not produce the garter ridge across the chest.  I corrected that by knitting what should have been a purl row.  I then ran out of  yarn just before the end.  I had a remnant of cream that was more banana in tone.  The difference is only obvious in a really good light, so I didn't actually realise when I started knitting that I had 2 shades of cream.  There was a timely flash of sunlight just before I joined the new yarn.  I added another garter ridge and it looks absolutely fine.

I can't remember where the other pattern came from, but it was lovely to knit as it is a seamless top-down pattern.  The only sewing was to sew in the ends and attach a button.  I chose a lovely pearly button from my recycled collection.  I also had the same buttons in the perfect shade of cream for the sleepsack.  I have been saving these buttons for years and can no longer remember where they came from.  But I am glad I saved them.

I don't know why I am surprised at the huge size difference in these two items.  Preemie babies come in all sizes, so they will fit someone.

These items were a great way to use up what looked like quite a small amount of yarn.  The sleepsack used 30g or yarn and the sleeveless cardigan used 36g.  These will eventually go off to PreemiesUK for distribution to hospitals in the UK.

Now, what to do with the 4 complete balls of 4 this space!

Tuesday 21 April 2015

The One Lovely Blog Award...

I was recently chuffed to be recommended for the One Lovely Blog Award by Corrie of the Plutonium Muffins blog.  Like me, Corrie is a London based blogger who writes regularly about knitting while trying to keep fit and sane in this often overwhelming city.

Recipients of the One Lovely Blog Award have to list 7 facts about themselves; so, in no particular order, here goes:

  1. I learned to knit when I was 7 and learned to crochet 50 years later.  I have discovered that being a good knitter is NOT an advantage when learning to crochet.  Crochet is a whole new set of skills and mind processes.  It took me ages to get used to the fact that you can remove the crochet hook and not lose all your stitches.
  2. I was one of the lucky people who were allowed into the moat of the Tower of London to pick the poppies from the 2014 display that commemorated the 1914-18 World War.  It was cold, wet and muddy; but the sense of being surrounded by centuries of history made it all worthwhile.  
  3. I used to be addicted to chocolate until I read "Chocolate Busters" by Jason Vale.  This is a life-changing book because I have joined the many readers who are happy to never eat the stuff again.  I read the book more out of curiosity than expectation and was amazed when the penny finally dropped.
  4. I have visited Land's End in Cornwall and John O'Groats in Scotland on different holidays.  They are both windswept and disappointingly commercial places where you are supposed to pay to take a photo of the signpost.  Apart from that, it felt rather special to cross both places off the bucket list.
  5. Another ambition that I achieved a few years ago was to be a Poll Clerk in a General Election.  The hours were long but the pay was extremely good!  There were actually 2 different polling districts in one large polling station and we kept up a friendly rivalry to see who would receive the highest number of voters.  At the end of 15 hours, we had both had exactly the same number!
  6. I used to love to cycle and later progressed to riding a motorbike.  I gave up when the roads became too dangerous, but would love to cycle again if there were proper segregated cycle lanes near my home.
  7. I don't believe in ghosts; but I do believe in atmosphere.  Whenever I visit somewhere like Hampton Court Palace or the Tower of London I can sense the history and almost hear the people who lived there hundreds of years ago.  The Tower of London seems to me to be a sad place of imprisonment and execution.  Hampton Court Palace, though the scene of some sad events, is more a happy place of celebration and love.
The next part of the One Lovely Blog award is to nominate 10 more bloggers.  This is where Corrie will never speak to me again!  I follow a huge number of blogs that are all special in their own ways.  I noticed that some blogs that I would have chosen have already been nominated by other bloggers.  I also realise that some bloggers don't have time to take part in this type of award.  So I am going to take the easy option and just say that if you have read this far, consider yourself nominated!

Wednesday 15 April 2015

A hat sextet....

Apparently, the collective noun for a group of hats is a "millinery". But I think my version suits this collection better and is guaranteed to increase the visits to my blog! 

I had some Aran yarn to use up and I chose the Be Loving pattern by Melissa Simpson.  It was extremely easy to knit and I had memorised it by the second hat.  So I experimented with different stripe patterns to keep myself awake!

I never cease to be amazed at how far a ball of yarn goes.  The smallest hat is toddler size and used only 37g of Aran yarn.  The others are child size (41g) and teenage size (53g).

Most of the yarn was left over from previous projects.  The red yarn came to me as a donation.  Someone had wound balls of Aran yarn together to make a bulky weight yarn.  I decided to unwind them and use them as nature intended.  That was easier said than done, but it was worth the effort as it added some much needed brightness.

These will be going off very soon to Operation Orphan.  A few scrappy remnants of yarn will keep 6 children warm.  Good result!

The weather here is glorious this week, so I have declared the Aran knitting season to be over.  I am now going to concentrate on small and pretty 4 ply items.  Watch this space...

Friday 3 April 2015

A quintet of scarves...

I had half a bag of real wool Aran yarn left over from a blanket I made last year. There wasn't enough to make another blanket and I really didn't want to buy any more.  I decided that crochet scarves would use this up quickly.  One of my favourite crochet scarf patterns is this one.  It really is a quick and easy pattern as every row is the same.  I can recommend it to beginners or anyone else who feels like some mindless crochet.

I managed to crochet five scarves in just under two weeks. I was completing one scarf every two days and I carried on with the rest of my life as well.  It would probably take me two weeks to knit just one scarf, so this is where crochet wins. 

The scarves are roughly 5 inches x 45 inches which is perfect for Operation Orphan who distribute clothes and blankets to children in need around the world. They have specifically requested smaller scarves for the younger children.  

I don't usually work on the same pattern five times in a row.  But I really enjoy this pattern, so it was a happy fortnight.  I must admit that the enthusiasm was starting to fail halfway through the fifth scarf!

I have some Aran yarn left and will start to make hats with it as soon as Easter is over.

Happy holidays everyone.