Sunday, 31 May 2015

Squares and squares

I firmly subscribe to the theory that time speeds up as you get older.  When I was a child, days seemed to go on for ever, whereas now they're gone in the blink of an eye.  Undoubtedly this has something to do with Einstein's theory of relativity, but I was 'advised' to drop physics after the third form, so I didn't get much beyond finding out the heat conductivity levels of a range of different metals.  I never really used that learning a great deal in later life, although I do remember its importance in how a thermostat works.  Isn't it odd how we remember the wierdest things?

So somehow, although Easter only seems a fortnight ago, we have arrived at the last day in May.  Today it seems as though the weather hasn't caught up with what month it is either, with cold, overcast conditions outside, and barely 53 degrees (I'm old-fashioned, I use Fahrenheit).  End of the month means it's time to take stock of what stash busting I have achieved. And I have managed to get through 910 grammes of yarn, which is very pleasing.

There's always an urgent need for blankets, and I have been doing my bit by concentrating on knitting squares this month.  I have managed 36 x 6 inch knitted squares - well, actually 35 and a half squares, but there will be 36 by the time you are reading this.  Here they are:
 Above are the 35, sewn into strips so that they can quickly be added to contributions from other Loving Hands members to make large blankets; and below is the half, which will be finished while I watch the Test match cricket on TV this afternoon.

I have made a few other things this month (I'm afraid I'm a bit of a gadfly and I get bored doing too much of the same thing), including a striped aran sweater to fit a 2-3 year old - I was attracted to the variation in the stripe pattern on the sleeves:

a range of hats:

and a Carole Barenys Yoked Baby Sweater.  I have made several of these in the past, and love the way it knits up.

So, quite a productive month all round.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Lily of the Valley

For a time when I was little, there wasn't much money for Christmas presents, and so one year for my present, Mum bought a remnant of material and made a bride's dress for my favourite doll.  To finish it off she made a tiny bouquet with some  plastic lily of the valley and attached it to the doll's hand with a rubber band.  It was the perfect present as far as I was concerned, and lily of the valley became my favourite flowers.

Mum always had loads in her garden at this time of year, and would give me a bunch or two during their brief season.  After she died, I dug up some roots from her garden and planted them in mine.  They have produced a couple of blooms each year, but for the first time this year, they have produced masses of flowers, and their scent drifts across the front garden.  There are so many that I felt justified in cutting some and bringing them into the front room.

There they are, sitting on the mantelpiece in their crochet-covered jam jar, filling the room with their fragrance, and bringing back lovely memories.  It beats an air-freshener any day!

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Open Day

We had our Scrapstore Open Day on Saturday, and very popular it was too.  Lots of families came through the door and purchased scrap for children to play with.  I embellished a few more bags with hot-air balloons (appropriate since I was using balloon fabric) like this one, which we sold for £2 to fill up with scrap.

The tiger who has hitched a lift is one of a range of very cute little finger puppets that we sell! I thought that a child might like to be able to put a tiny doll or lego character in the balloon basket. As the 'ropes' are made of elastic, it should help to keep the toy in place.

On the knitting front, I fancied making some bootees after seeing the ones that Una made.  My never-ending stash of 4 ply provided some contrasting yarns. When I have done a few more pairs I will send them to the Freedom from Fistula Foundation. 

 In the meantime, however, I am concentrating my stash-busting on making 6 inch blanket squares for Loving Hands to make into blankets which will go to Nepal via Operation Orphan.  It is good to feel that we can do something practical to help those poor people after their earthquakes.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Stash busting? Some hope!

First the good news - I busted 650 grammes of stash during April, getting it down to under 9.5 kilos.  The total weight surprised me, given that I spent so much time on the dreaded pink aran cardigan.  I managed to finish off another project that had been hanging around for a while - a cot blanket to use up lots of oddments of blue yarn.

There must be 5 or 6 different types of dk in there, including some Aldi magic yarn, and the overall effect is quite pretty, I think.

I also used yet more 4 ply (single stranded this time) to knit up this textured cardigan.  The pattern was a free one on the Australian Spinners website.  It was a very easy pattern to follow; all I did differently was to pick up stitches to knit the front band, rather than knitting it separately and sewing it on.  I find it easier that way.

Both of these items have been put in a box ready for my next parcel to Loving Hands, and will probably go to Operation Orphan, which is one of the charities we support.

OK, so that was the good news.  The other news is that I succumbed to the enticement of 25% off Stylecraft and James Brett yarns in Deramores sale.  I probably wouldn't have, except that I also had a small win on the Premium Bonds, and the coincidence of the two was too hard to resist.   I splurged, and before I knew it I had ordered 4 kilos of yarn in dk and aran.  So is this bad news?  Yes, on the basis that I am trying to reduce my stash and I now have more yarn in total than I had at the start of the year.  But emphatically no, because now I have lots of yarn in beautiful colours, and in plys that I shall use!