Saturday, 30 April 2016

No longer a work-in-progress

A while back I posted pictures of some jumpers that had been on the needles for a while.  This was one of them:

I am delighted to say that, about a year after casting it on,  I have finally finished it:

It is knitted from a pattern that I made when my children were small, and I've really enjoyed the variety in it.  Having 4 different patterned sections to knit has made it interesting and a bit challenging - I found myself having to pull back rows because I became a bit blasé about reading the pattern properly at times.  The main colour is Copper, in Stylecraft special DK.  I was a bit afraid that the colour would be overpowering, which is why I did the rib and pattern bands in a contrast.   I'm feeling rather sorry that it's finished, although I don't think I'll be casting on another just yet!

My goal was to complete 12 boy's jumpers in 2016 - it's the end of April and I have completed 6, so I am well on target.

Monday, 25 April 2016


Last week a lady from the Alzheimer's Society came into the scrapstore.  Our local branch are preparing a display of 3000 knitted and crocheted forget-me-nots to go on Weston's pier during Dementia Action Week in May.  She was looking for something to use as a backing to display the flowers.

 We got talking, and I mentioned that I had made a couple of twiddle mats and a twiddle muff.  These are used by people with dementia to keep their fingers and hands busy and stop them picking at their clothes.  I offered to show her some, and asked for her input on whether I have got the activity level right.  So on Saturday I got the sewing machine and my box of bits out, and started twiddling.

These two are ones that I made a while ago:

The top one is rather 'loud' in that there are lots of different patterns and textures, but there are lots of things to discover, including the crocheted dog who lives in a pocket.  The fleece muff in the lower picture is very soft and comfortable to have over my hands, but the standard of sewing is sadly very poor because I got the dimensions and construction of the muff totally wrong - and on top, my sewing machine decided it didn't want to sew through several layers of fleece.

For the ones I made on Saturday, I used an old valanced bedspread that I had bought in the scrapstore.  I started with the intention of making a muff, but again, got the dimensions wrong, so I ended up with a long and narrow mat.

There are lots of things to fiddle with, including metal buttons on a thong and a large bead underneath the fleece heart on the right, which can be pushed around within the shape.

Not to be defeated, I cut out yet another piece of the quilted bedspread to make a muff.  More success this time, and as you can see, there are lots of things to twiddle with both inside and out.

I hope to get some feedback on these this week from the Alzheimer's Society, and then I can make some more.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Experimenting with colourwork

I don't often knit with chunky yarns, and I don't think I have ever bought any, but I found I had several part balls of chunky in my stash - I think it could be part of the breeding programme that seems to go on in my yarn cupboard if I leave it closed for a few days!

I picked out white, green and lavender, and felt there was enough for a scarf, so off I went, knitting on size 6.00 needles.  I chose a broken rib pattern because it offers stretchiness and texture as well as interest to what can be quite a boring accessory to knit.

The scarf turned at just over 4 feet long.  It's very warm and drapes well, and should be suitable for a 6-8 year old child.  Apparently the rule of thumb for scarves is that they should be as long as the child is tall.

There was still some of the yarn left, so I thought a hat would be good too.  But frankly, knitting the scarf had been a bit boring, even with the rib pattern, so I thought I would go for something a bit more challenging in the hat.  Opting for basic colourwork, I used the lavender for the brim, then started rounds of alternating coloured stitches.  The first round was one green stitch, one white stitch, then the next round was one white stitch, one blue stitch.  This is the effect it produced:

I was particularly pleased because I finally got the hang of holding one colour in each hand while knitting - a really important skill for fair isle and similar knitting.  I also got the tension reasonably right, so that the yarn behind the stitches doesn't pull, but forms a good insulating layer.  This will be one warm hat for whoever gets it via Operation Orphan.

There was just enough yarn left at the end to make a pompom!

This is the completed set.  Does it look like a set?  I'm not sure that it does, but it doesn't really matter.  Incidentally, the scarf is doubled in the photo, which is why it doesn't look very long.  So far this year I have now made 14 hats towards my target of 52 - just about right for mid-April.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Childhood reminder

When I was a very little girl, in the mid 1950s, women and, to an extent girls, still wore hats when they went out.  Thinking about it, the men did too, mainly tweed caps or trilbies.  I remember that my mum had a couple of knitted hats which she wore regularly when she went into town to shop, or when she went to church or to women's meetings.

My hat that I wore to Sunday School each week was a knitted pale lemon beret made from angora wool, so that it was soft and fluffy.  Mum had pinned a small brooch in the shape of a celtic harp made of coloured enamel, to the front of it.  Oh, how I loved that hat!  It was never a problem to get me to wear it.  I'm not absolutely certain who knitted it, but it could well have been Auntie Elsie, one of mum's older sisters (mum was one of 12), who didn't have children of her own so semi-adopted me.  I used to go on holiday with her and her husband for two weeks in Cornwall each summer (during tern time!), and I spent much of my school holidays staying with her.  She was an expert craftswoman who encouraged my knitting, and taught me to crochet.  She knitted and crocheted, but her speciality was embroidery, and I still have several tablecloths adorned with her work.

All of this came flooding back when I was given some brushed acrylic yarn.  I scrolled through Ravelry to choose something to make, and came across a pattern for a child's beret.  Crocheted, not knitted, but I just had to have a go at it.  And this is the result:

It isn't as fluffy as my beret was, but it is soft and I am sure will be very warm.  The front post crochet  'ribs' give a lovely structure to the hat.  Now I need to find a small brooch to pin to the front of it!