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!!

Monday 30 January 2017

The déja vu blanket...

The blogging world is a marvellous, friendly place. Jo who writes the inspiring Three Stories High blog contacted me a few weeks ago to offer some baby yarn. Of course, I said yes...what else? So I soon received 200g of  Water Wheel Comfy 4ply in a soft shade of green. I haven't heard of this brand before and there is no barcode on the labels. I might be wrong, but I usually take that to mean the yarn is vintage.

Jo suggested it would be suitable for preemie knitting. I looked through my patterns and eventually settled on an old favourite called Daphne's Blanket. Sadly, there no longer seems to be a working link to the pattern. Luckily, I printed it off a few years ago. 

I love this pattern because it is easy and gives a puffy lozenge texture to the blanket. I'm calling this one "Déja vu" partly because I have knitted it several times. The other reason is that it would now be twice as long if I hadn't had to rip back about 2 inches!  It was turning out very flat and it took me a while to realise why. I thought I could remember the pattern and ploughed on through it. But I was garter stitching instead of purling on some of the rows.  Eeek!

I tried to convince myself that it looked just as good flat. But my heart wasn't in it. So, after 3 honey sandwiches and some chocolate, I pulled out the needle and ripped back to where I had started to go wrong.  Taking inspiration from my new blog button, I managed to keep calm while doing it. I'm glad I did because Mark II is looking lovely. 

I think I will be able to knit 2 preemie blankets with this yarn and they will eventually go off to a Preemie charity. Thanks again to Jo. Her blog is well worth a visit.  She is a clever crafter who makes something every day and writes regularly about it.

Thursday 19 January 2017

Two hats...a blog button...and lots of links

Here are two very simple hats to fit an adult. They will go into my charity box until I have enough to post off to Knit-for-Nowt.  I used a pattern called "Ellie's Easiest Ever Hat" which I think I found on the Loving Hands website.  It really is easy.  It is written for 2 needles, but I always knit this on a circular needle to avoid a bulky seam.

The pattern calls for chunky yarn or dk doubled.  I used Robin Paintbox dk in shades of blue and purple.  There is just one set of instructions.  You simply alter the size of knitting needle to adjust the hat to fit a teenager, woman, or man. I used a 5.5mm needle and dk yarn doubled to knit the woman's size.  The finished hat weighs 80g. So a standard 100g ball of dk yarn could easily be divided and then knitted together to make a cosy hat.  I think that is a great way to use up those 100g balls of yarn that are not big enough for anything else.

Moving on to a completely different subject, huge thanks go to Amy at Love Made My Home for suggesting sites that would be useful for making a blog button.  Eventually, I used a combination of Bannersnack to make the poster, Canva to turn it into a button and Inlinkz to generate the code.  Another useful site for generating code is Mycoolrealm.  I plumped for the Inlinkz code because it added my blog name under the button.  But I really liked the Mycoolrealm site as well because it lets you change the colour of the rather unattractive code box. I would have chosen this code if my blog name had been more obvious on the button. 

The days here are dreary at the moment and perfect for sitting indoors geeking.  It has been time well spent because I have been able to refresh my html skills which used to be quite good. I had to tweak the code which originally gave me a HUGE code box and I altered some of the wording.  There are still areas that could be improved; but there is a limit to how much time I can spare!  I could probably change the colour of the code box if I'm ever snowed-in for a fortnight.

So my sidebar is now hosting a blog button!  The jury is still out on this.  Some people love them and some hate them.   I have always had some belonging to other blogs on my sidebar, so I must be in the first category.  It is interesting to see that my blog stats show a huge spike in visitors since I even mentioned making a blog button. I'll watch the stats.  If they fall dramatically, that will be time for a rethink.

Sunday 15 January 2017

My new blog poster....

In my last post, I said I might make a poster of my wildly witty and highly original (I hope) "Keep Calm" quotation.  The weather outside (is it ever inside?) is only fit for ducks.  So I spent an hour or two (yes, really) designing this poster.  

I found lots of websites that offer free customisable templates of the well-known "Keep Calm" posters. By trial and error, I eventually found one that didn't put their logo on the poster and try to sell me keyrings etc. I recommend Bannersnack to anyone with a banner-shaped gap in their lives.

I then decided to add my own watermark and found another free site called PICMARKR which I can recommend. 

The next step could be to turn this into a button for my blog sidebar.  I mean the type of button that other bloggers could add to their sidebar that would lead back to my blog.  What's the general opinion?  Would there be any point?  I've had a look at all the ways to do this and it seems to be very complicated. Any suggestions for the easiest way would be gratefully received!

Tuesday 3 January 2017

By request, five hats...

Towards the end of last November, I sent a parcel to Knit for Nowt. This is an organisation that supplies knitted and crocheted items to people in Hull and East Yorkshire.  I was impressed at how quickly the organiser contacted me and even more impressed when she asked me for more hats and scarves in adult sizes. I do like a good communicator and I am happiest when I know that what I am knitting is actually needed.

I finished the toddler size hat that was already on my needles and then started on the adult hats.  I had some aran in grey and some in a sparkly beige colour.  Neither of them looked appealing to start with, but both knitted up beautifully. I don't remember where it came from, but I think it must have been filling a space in a job lot.  The grey is Sirdar Supersoft and definitely lives up to its name.  The beige was missing its label but measured as aran. The sparkle is just enough to make the boring beige more interesting. Both colours were perfect for adult hats.

I used up all the beige on two hats and then most of the grey on another two.  I still have enough grey left for another hat. But I was knitting so fast that I actually wore out the circular needle! I had several near disasters with the last hat when the stitches flew off the end of the collapsed cable.  Luckily, it is fairly easy to pick up aran stitches if you stay calm.  I wonder if there is a poster that says "Keep calm and pick up stitches". Maybe I will design one.

I wasn't too upset about the cable.  I have used it for several years without problems. I always knit hats "in the round" to avoid seams. I have another cable on order.  But the parcel is going off tomorrow with the five hats I managed to finish.  I want them to reach Yorkshire while the weather is still cold.