Wednesday, 30 August 2017

A bit of sewing for a change

I don't do a lot of sewing, but sometimes Loving Hands is asked for sewn items and the challenge of making them appeals to me.

The Neonatal Sister at University Hospital Coventry and Warwick asked for some small drawstring bags  to hold memory items for bereaved parents.  Without the bags, parents would have to take their precious items home in a paper bag.  Among the fabric stash I found some Peter Rabbit fabric and a small piece with nursery animals on.  These two pieces made eight bags, which will be sent off later this week.  Other Loving Hands members have made some bags too, so hopefully we can keep the hospital supplied on a long term basis.  

I've also enjoyed myself making some hand puppets.  The charity Knit for Nowt supplies family puppets (which can be either sewn or knitted) to social workers and therapists for use with children.  The puppets have two faces, one happy and one sad, to enable children to express emotions that they may not otherwise be able to show.

So far I have made four puppets: Mum, Grandma, Girl and Boy.  Grandad is under construction, and Dad is at the cutting-out stage!

Can you spot the differences between the two photos???

Friday, 4 August 2017

How many strands?

Chunky yarns are very useful for making warm hats, scarves and mittens ready for winter, especially the cold winters in middle and eastern Europe.  I don't have much in the way of chunky yarns, but I do have lots of thinner coned yarns which I have been combining to make chunky or thereabouts weight for knitting mittens for adults in Bulgaria.

The first pairs were made with charcoal and blue yarns.  If you look closely at the picture above, you will see that the 2 balls of yarn comprise 5 separate stands - one of 4 ply, 3 of 3 ply and one of 2 ply.  A total of 12 ply is roughly chunky, and knits into a tight fabric on 5.5 mm needles.  The pattern I used is Marlene's mittens.

Using so many strands slows my knitting a bit as I have to check that I am working all of the strands all of the time... Occasionally a couple of stitches have to be unpicked and reknitted because of a lost strand or two.

After making a couple of pairs in the grey/blue mix, I moved on to a brighter combination of colours:

How many strands this time?  Well, actually it's seven:

There are two strands of 3 ply and five strands of 2 ply - 16 ply altogether.  In fact the white and black strands may only be 1 ply, so I could be exaggerating slightly!  It is definitely knitting a thicker fabric than the grey/blue.  I have found that stacking the 3 balls on top of each other makes it much easier to control the strands, and there is really no difference in knitting with seven rather than five strands.  The mix of colours works well together too:

Mitt number one still missing a thumb.  For some reason my strategy when making mittens is to knit the bodies of both, then to knit the thumbs after.

Can I beat 7 strands?  We shall see!