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 20 December 2016

Season's greetings.....

Image result for free christmas clipart
Just a quick post to wish everyone a peaceful Christmas and a new year better than the last one we have all endured.
I have loved reading all my favourite blogs and am looking forward to more of the same next year.
I was hoping to have some completed work to show today.  But time flies etc and my work is still on the knitting needles.  Watch this space...

Image result for free christmas knitting clipart                                                 

Thursday 1 December 2016

A new hat for a new charity....

This has been the coldest week of the year in my part of the UK.  It is cold enough for snow, though I haven't seen any yet.  After crocheting a large blanket, I am in the mood to relax a little with smaller items.  This hat is for a 6 months old baby. I started with a couple of rounds of pale pink, followed by a variegated ribbing and a solid purple for the rest of the hat.  All the yarn was left over from the same blanket. So it all matches nicely. 

I followed one of my favourite simple hat patterns. It is the Basic Baby Hat by Heather Tucker and I have knitted this many times.  The 6 months size uses only 27g of dk yarn. I can recommend this pattern.  It is knitted in the round; so there are no uncomfortable seams to worry about.

At this time of year, I like to post off any knits that are ready.  It's become a traditional end-of-year winding down ritual. This little collection was in my "completed" box. I had intended to send them to Operation Orphan but discovered at the last minute that they don't really want baby knits as they supply only schools and nurseries. 

So, I logged in to the wonderful Loving Hands website and posted my quandary. Within a few minutes, I received a reply that suggested sending them to Knit for Nowt.  This is a new charity that supplies knitted and crocheted items to people of all ages in East Yorkshire.  I sent off an email to make sure they are still an active charity and once again received a reply in a few minutes. So within thirty minutes of discovering my items were homeless, I had found a really worthwhile home in a part of the UK that I really love.  Result!

Knit for Nowt collects the type of things that I like to make....mainly hats and scarves. They also collect knitted glove and finger puppets. These are used as therapy puppets. There is more information about them HERE.

Saturday 19 November 2016

A blanket of finishes....

Do not adjust your set.  My latest blanket really is this bright! I'm using up a cone of shocking pink yarn that I bought a couple of years ago. It knows how to pack a punch!

I started this blanket with a daisy motive.  It turned out much bigger than expected. All was explained when I read the pattern more closely and discovered it was for 4 ply yarn...Duh!

Then I introduced my last ball of grey yarn and kept going until it was all used up. I also finished the variegated yarn except for a nugget which wasn't enough to complete a whole round of crochet. 

The blanket was still too small.  So I took the opportunity to make inroads into my shocking pink cone and I like the effect of the wide border so much that I might repeat it again in a future blanket. The shocking pink yarn ISN'T finished.  So it will star in another project next year.

This blanket has gone off to SIBOL from where the busy Sue will deliver it with many others to Care Homes in the Birmingham, UK, area. I find it very satisfying making blankets for elderly people who may have few visitors to give them gifts at this time of year.

Now that my blanket is finished, I can make some smaller things and blog about them more frequently.  I have missed writing blog posts, though I have still enjoyed reading all my favourite blogs. I am thoroughly enjoying my enforced retirement.  I think that is an odd word.  A better phrase would be "new beginning".

Monday 24 October 2016

Time flies when you're having fun....

I can't believe nearly a whole month has gone by since my last blog post.  A lot has happened in that time.  I suppose the most momentous event was my retirement at the grand old age of 61.  It wasn't my choice.  I was in a batch of 50 amazing staff who have spent the last 10 months rejecting the offer to apply for jobs on lower grades and with time sheets completely unsuitable for anyone with an actual life.  It was a no-brainer for me.  I have been working since I was 13 and have earned a rest!! I am now....drum roll....

That should mean that I have lots of knitted and crocheted items to show you.  Not true.  I am working on a blanket that has a bit of a deadline.  So I can't leave it to make something small and photogenic.

I celebrated my first week of freedom by doing a lap of honour through Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.  I enjoyed it so much that these little mini-breaks are hopefully going to become a regular feature of a less stressful life.

I have also started volunteering for a charity that converts books to alternate formats more suitable for people who are partially sighted or have dyslexia.  I will be proof reading and changing formats.  This suits me more than any other voluntary job I have done in the past.  I have already completed two books and learned a lot about using the intricacies of various computer programs.  

The voluntary job will keep my brain ticking over.  Regular gym visits will hopefully do the same for the rest of me.  

Tuesday 27 September 2016

Wrapped in a cloud...

Having recently knitted with a dk yarn that was more like 4ply, I have just gone to the opposite extreme and knitted with a dk yarn that was more like Aran.  This was the Peter Pan Cupcake yarn that was kindly donated to me by Loving Hands.  

It is listed on Ravelry as a dk yarn. But, very tellingly, it does not say that on the wrapper.  However, it does recommend needle sizes 3.5-4.5mm which would imply that it is a dk yarn. Believe me, it isn't.  So, for any project that has to actually fit, a swatch would be essential.

But I had already decided to knit a preemie blanket, so fit wasn't important.  I had 100g of white Cupcake which was enough for a 15" square.  This will eventually be going off to PreemiesUK.  Normally, a yarn this thick would be unsuitable for a newborn baby of any size. But this is so beautifully soft that it will be like wrapping a baby in a cloud.

I still have a lot of the Cupcake in other colours. Ravelry has some pattern suggestions for this yarn.  Many people seem to have made blankets and toys with it. A few brave crafters have knitted cardigans and hats.  I will probably err on the side of caution/cowardice!

Thursday 22 September 2016

NOW it's autumn.....

I am ready to face up to the fact that autumn has arrived, even though our weather here is warm and I still haven't turned on the heating.  Woo hoo!

This is a photo of a tapestry that I sewed over 40 years ago!!  I loved the tapestry when I bought the kit, loved it for the two years** it took to sew and loved it enough to have it framed when it was finished.  I knew it would take a long time to sew, so I started with the dark colours and ended with the light colours.  That hint of genius meant it stayed as clean as possible.  I'm quite impressed that I managed to think like that when I was 19.

I bought this in the 1970s when brown and orange were in fashion. Styles changed and it sadly ended up in the loft where I recently rediscovered it while on a cleaning/sorting/disposal marathon. The photo isn't brilliant as I was still in the loft and the flash came on. The tapestry, along with everything else in the loft, was covered in a layer of dust.  But I was very happy as I thought it had gone missing during a house move thirteen years ago.

Coincidentally, I spent a lot of time this year decorating my walls in neutral colours and I have just thought of the perfect place for it. Today's mission is to find a pretty chain, polish the tapestry and to hang it in full view before sunset. 

Here it is hanging on my wall.  It doesn't look straight in the photo but it really is!  I must do a photography course one day!  It was hard to hang because I wanted to line it up with a mirror and bookcase further along the wall.  It is doing a good job filling a gap that was left after culling my books and removing a bookcase.

**I noticed that I was so proud of this work of art that I signed the back of the frame in my best handwriting.  I also added the dates.  It actually took less than a year.  It just felt like two years!

Sunday 11 September 2016

I don't like to say it....

.....but I told you so.  Summer is still shining down on us in my part of the UK and the forecast for next week looks just as good with temperatures close to 30 C.  That will do nicely, thank you.  Some years, I don't reach September without turning on the heating.  This year, I am aiming for October.

I pressed on with the scarf that I have been crocheting with this very thin dk yarn.  I used just over 100g and stopped at 5" wide because it will eventually be going off to Operation Orphan for their Keep A Child Warm campaign.  The acrylic and wool mix is perfect for a strong but warm and soft scarf.  

The very long colour changes look great in this type of scarf that is crocheted sideways.  I used one of my favourite crochet scarf patterns.  I usually use a size 4.5 or 5mm hook.  But the yarn was so thin that I had to use a size 4mm hook instead. That is one reason this scarf took so long to make.  The other reasons might have had something to do with making the most of our SUMMER while it lasts.

Thursday 1 September 2016

Oh no, it isn't.....a bit of a rant.

Start of rant****
Since when did September 1st become the first day of autumn?  Maybe it was about the same time we dumbed down and started talking about "going to uni".  In my day(!), every school child knew that autumn started on September 21st and people could actually be bothered to say all five syllables of "university".  

This morning, I heard a chirpy weather forecaster say that we use September 1st as the first day of autumn because it is easier to remember.  Never mind that we might have several weeks of good weather left.  Using that logic, Christmas Day will be on December 1st this year.  End of rant****

But just to show that I can move with the times, here is what I am working on at the moment.  When I bought this King Cole Country Tweed at an outdoor market, the sun was blazing and it looked like pink and grey.  At home, I realised it was more like autumnal rust and brown. My original plan for a baby item had to change to a scarf.  It is beautifully soft.  But there is no way on earth that this is a double knit yarn.  It feels like 4 ply and takes forever to crochet with.  

I have made this scarf many times and know that I would be finished by now if this was a real double knit yarn.  The stallholder told me the yarn had been discontinued. I can see why.  It is perfect for a soft scarf.  I have checked on Ravelry and many projects made with this yarn tend to be scarves and shawls.  But there are also some cardigans and jumpers.  I can only assume that the knitters/crocheters avoided sizing disasters by making a tension square first.

So, if a double knit yarn feels more like 4 ply, then it probably is.  Likewise, if it feels like summer and looks like summer, it is still summer!

Friday 19 August 2016

Wow! Look what I just received....

This beautiful yarn arrived today.  It was sent to me by Kate at Loving Hands. This is the biggest online community of knitters, crocheters and sewers that I know about.  I was delighted when I came across it years ago.  There is a very active forum where many members log in every day for a chat. The group is heavily into making items for several charities, though there is no obligation to do this.  Many members are busy just making things for friends and family.

Occasionally, people send donations of yarn to Loving Hands.  When that happens, Kate puts a note on the forum inviting members to ask for it.  She then does her best to divide the yarn fairly among everyone who replies.  Loving Hands is a non-profit making organisation but still pays the postage costs which are very high in the UK.  It is entirely optional whether or not members send in a small donation to cover the charges.  Many members use the Easyfundraising website to raise funds when they shop with participating stores.

Some very generous yarn donations were made recently.  I made a request as I am running short on baby yarn for my preemie items.  What arrived certainly exceeded my expectations.  There is some lovely quality yarn here including the very soft Peter Pan Cupcake.  I have never knitted with this before.  There is just enough white to make a small preemie square.  So I am off to cast on now...

Friday 12 August 2016

Birthday bounty....

Today, I am another year older (unbelievable but true) and another year wiser (really?).  I noticed that it is a whole month since I updated this blog.  Summer is always my busiest time.  I have been knitting, but only have a preemie blanket to show for my efforts.  Here it is.  It is so plain and boring that I didn't open it up for the photo.  Just picture this multiplied by four and you get the idea.

This morning, I decided that the weeds and grass can party as much as they want to.  I went to the shops under instructions to buy a new blouse.  I don't need a new blouse.  But, if someone else is paying, I'll attempt to buy one.  The weather here is very warm and summery.  The shops, however, have brought in their autumn jumpers.  No wonder they struggle to get customers through their doors.  I eventually found a lightweight jacket, which I do need, and bought it.

My mind then turned to wool.  I don't need any of that either and have been very good about not buying any recently.  But a charity shop was selling balls of aran wool for £1 each.  I bought two grey balls which will make a lovely scarf as they are an acrylic and wool blend.  I was very restrained because I picked up and then put back two more balls.  They were a sickly mustard shade and even I would have trouble finding a use for them.

Then, I saw a wool stall which is normally only open on a Thursday.  I think it must be under new management because the prices are now very reasonable as opposed to jaw-droppingly expensive.  The range of wool has also improved.  It now resembles what most people would actually knit with.  Before, the wool was so specialist and expensive that I was almost afraid to touch it.

The stall holder was very chatty and told me he was selling 100g balls of King Cole Country Tweed for £2 each because they are now a discontinued line.  He had a huge range of colours and choosing what to buy was difficult.  Eventually, I bought 2 variegated pinky balls and two maroon balls.  Again, these are an acrylic and wool blend.  I am going to look through my patterns and start something today with this lovely yarn.  Decisions, decisions!

Tuesday 12 July 2016


This little quartet was posted recently to PreemiesUK.  Sometimes I hear about people who struggle to find homes for their preemie items.  Well, I love this group because it has a very active website that is regularly updated with photos of donations received and news of deliveries to premature baby units all over the UK.  I knitted the angel pockets with them in mind.  I added the blanket and hat to the parcel at the last minute.  I was saving them for family and friends' future babies. But, although they are newborn baby size, I decided they would be outgrown very soon.

I still remember happily knitting a little jumper when I was pregnant with my daughter many years ago.  She wore it ONCE before she outgrew it. That is one reason I now prefer to knit things with a longer shelf life.  Blankets and hats meet that criteria.  

I couldn't bear to part with the little jumper. So, it is now in the loft which might or might not be a complete waste depending on whether or not Daughter has a baby of her own one day.  No pressure then!

Wednesday 6 July 2016

More 4 ply...

Well, the scarf that I have been working on is now finished.  It is 48" long and will fit a young child.  I was knitting with two balls of 4 ply pink yarn together and kept going until one of the balls was completely used up.  The remainder of the second ball has gone back into the bag and will star in a future project.

Then I took a couple of balls of 4 ply blue yarn and made an aran weight hat to fit a toddler.  I still have quite a bit of blue yarn left.  But my 4 ply mojo has left the building, flown the coop and gone awol. My collection of 4 ply yarn barely fills one carrier bag.  But it will probably last me for five years if I keep using it at the current rate. Never mind.  It will eventually be turned into useful items.

Both these items will go to Operation Orphan for their Keep A Child Warm project.  I'm afraid I don't have links for the patterns. They were both so easy that  I just scribbled them down instead of printing them off.

I am now happily looking at blanket patterns.  I want to knit one that will be easy enough to qualify as mindless knitting and interesting enough to take my mind off some very depressing world and UK events.  Enough said...

Thursday 23 June 2016

Not much to show for three weeks......

I don't have much to show for the past three weeks.  This is my crazy busy time of year.  Even though I cut some activities out of my schedule, the rest just seem to have expanded to fill the void.

The angel pocket in the photo is a smaller version of the one I blogged about at the beginning of June.  It used up another oddment of blue yarn and some of the white yarn that I bought recently. The pattern is here.  I used 36g instead of the 30g stated in the pattern. So anyone thinking of knitting this pattern should be aware that it might use more yarn than expected.

I am knitting the scarf with two balls of 4 ply yarn held together. Both these yarns were donated to me some time ago.  It is a one row pattern and very easy.  I never made a note of the link, so I can't pass that on here. But there are lots of one row patterns available on the Internet and I can recommend them as great for when mindless knitting is all that can be managed.

Saturday 4 June 2016

Angel pocket...

When summer arrives, I tend to feel more inclined to use up my 4 ply yarn.  It is a dwindling supply mainly made up of odd balls.  It barely fills a carrier bag.  But, as it goes a long way, it takes me a long time to even make a dent in it.  I'm very aware that most of the things I knit or crochet are the opposite of delicate.  The word "clunky" comes to mind.  So, I occasionally relish the opportunity to make something more refined.

I decided to knit an angel pocket and found what I thought was the perfect size ball of pale blue yarn.   Anyone who has knitted one of these angel pockets will know that you first knit a diamond shape. Then you pick up the stitches along two sides and knit a triangle shape to form the pocket.  When I finished the pale blue diamond, I knew that I would not have enough yarn to knit the triangle.  I have other blue yarn but the shades didn't look good together.  

As I couldn't match the blue, I decided to use white instead.  But I used up all my 4 ply white yarn last year.  So, I had to go out and buy a ball.  I can't remember the last time I bought yarn, but it definitely wasn't in the past twelve months. I like the way the white looks with the blue though, so it was all a happy accident.

The pattern I used was this one from Ray of Hope.  I knitted the third size which, according to the pattern, should have used 40g of yarn.  I don't know why but I actually used 60g.  I have made a note on my pattern as I will knit this again.  When I have enough for a small parcel it will go off to one of the Preemie charities. 

Meanwhile, my 4 ply collection has grown by an almost complete 100g ball of white yarn.  Hey ho.

Tuesday 24 May 2016

Off they go....

This hat looks 100% better in real life!  I had some variegated yarn left after finishing my recent blanket and, as usual, didn't want to "put it back in the bag".  So I knitted a hat to fit a toddler.  I had a tiny amount of matching plain pink yarn and thought this was the perfect opportunity to use it up.  There was enough for the 8 rows of ribbing and also to insert a very subtle single round every nine rounds in the main body of the hat.  These contrast rounds barely show up in the photo.  You can just about see one on the left side of the hat above the ribbing.  But I am very pleased at how they look and will do this again with another hat.

I added the hat to the parcel of goodies that I have just sent off to Operation Orphan for their Keep A Child Warm campaign.  That is 4 scarves, 8 hats and a jumper out of my home and on their way to keep someone warm.

I managed to use up every last scrap of the plain pink yarn.  I love it when that happens.  However, I still have some of the variegated yarn left and just had to put it away.  I'm all pinked out for now and have started a little project in blue...more about that soon.

Tuesday 17 May 2016

The Tickled Pink blanket....

Why is this called the Tickled Pink blanket?  Apart from the obvious fact that 99% of it is various shades of pink:
  1. I learned how to crochet a new granny square
  2. I learned how to crochet a new edging
  3. I used up some of my shocking pink yarn
  4. I managed to sneak in some grey
  5. I finished it!!
The new granny square is the Not So Square Granny by Bob Wilson and I added the link to the brilliant video tutorial in a previous blog post.  I will definitely use this square again in future as it is so pretty.

The edging is the Attic24 Bobble-shell Edging by Lucy. This is another great tutorial with some very helpful photos.  It is a quick and easy edging and most crocheters would fly along with it.  However, I made things difficult for myself because I was using two strands of yarn held together.  That meant that, at one point in each cluster, I had eight strands of yarn on my hook!  This slowed me down a lot.  It would obviously be a much easier with one strand of yarn and I will definitely use this edging again.  A lot of people commented on Lucy's page that this is a great edging for a baby blanket.  I think that is probably because there is something for baby fingers to wrap around but no holes to trap them.

I vastly overestimated how much shocking pink yarn I would need for the rounds and the edging.  Consequently, I still have miles of it left to use on more blankets. That will not be a problem.  I like the colour when it is used in small amounts.

This blanket has gone off to SIBOL from where the busy Sue will include it in her next delivery of blankets to a care home for the elderly somewhere in the UK.

What is there to do when a blanket is finished?  Well, I could start another one.  So I will, though it will probably take longer as the summer months are always busy for me.  Watch this space...

Tuesday 10 May 2016

And now, one for the boys...

Having recently knitted some bright pink hats, I decided to play fair and knitted a balaclava with some grey wool left over from a recent project.  I added three stripes in a variegated grey yarn to add some interest and because I really like this yarn. I bought it a couple of years ago from an enterprising lady who was selling items from her front room.  The plain grey yarn came to me in a bargain joblot and is very soft. This will be a warm and comfortable hat.

This balaclava should fit a child aged 3-4 years.  It is from this very easy balaclava pattern.  I have knitted several of these in the past and never cease to be amazed at how little yarn is needed.  100g of dk yarn is more than enough to knit two of the age 3-4 years size.  This one will be going off very soon to Operation Orphan.

Friday 6 May 2016

Pretty in pink hats...

This time last week I was on the last round of a very big crochet project that I have been working on.  It has gone surprisingly quick because I have worked on it exclusively.  Then I needed a bit of a break from it.  So I knitted these two hats.  

The bigger one is toddler size and follows the Simple Lines Baby Hat pattern by Heather Tucker.  The smaller one is for a six months old baby and is a slight variation on the Basic Baby Hat pattern also by Heather Tucker.  I just added a row of eyelet holes above the ribbing because I felt like it!  I managed to use just 27g of yarn on the smaller hat and about 44g on the larger one.

I love the pink and the variegated yarns in these hats.  Little girls seem to love pink even when their mothers try to steer them towards other colours.

If I had stuck with my larger project, it would be finished by now. But the weather here is very warm at the moment, so it still doesn't appeal to me.  I feel one more hat in my system before the temperature cools down a little next week.  Watch this space...

Friday 22 April 2016

A sneak preview of that shocking pink....

I finally made a start on using the shocking pink yarn that I mentioned a few weeks ago.  I have a huge ball of it.  I found it in a big bag of tangled yarn that someone was trying to sell at my local market.  I said "Oh, it's all tangled", offered a cheeky price, and the stallholder snapped my hand off!  I quite enjoy sorting out tangled yarn.  So I did that first and then mulled over what to do with the shocking pink.....and mulled, and mulled.

Then I remembered a pattern that I had saved on one of my Pinterest boards.  It must be good because lots of other crafters have taken the pin.  Here it is:

Observant readers might notice that I copied the colours.  That was by sheer coincidence.  They are exactly the colours I needed to use for the start of my project. The pattern and video tutorial are very well done.  I was able to follow them easily and I did so until I reached the grey rounds.  Then I winged it a little as I wanted to continue making a much bigger granny square.  

The fact that I was able to crochet something that looks like a flower and then adjust the pattern to make a larger square has me stupidly chuffed.  I might be starting to understand this crochet business!  

I usually stay well within my comfort zone when crocheting.  But this pattern has made me think that I might tackle one of those beautiful mandalas that I see on other blogs.  At least it's on my future "to do" list and that is progress for someone who always has to look at instruction books whenever she starts a new crochet project!

PS: If I regularly comment on your blog and appear to have stopped recently, it could be due to a new Blogger problem.  Some comments are coming back as "undeliverable".  I'm hoping this is just a temporary glitch.