Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Knitty dilemma

Do you ever find it hard to decide whether a Finished Object is a triumph or a disaster?  I might have mentioned slouchy hats made from sparkly yarn last week; about all the cooing over the idea at knitting group and the rushing out to get yarn.  Even after some mods (tighter here, bigger there....) the two hats took me just two evenings to make.  The yarn is certainly very pretty

The sparkly bits (silver sequins) pop out just a little, the colours are perfect and yarn (despite my prejudice against synthetic fibre) is soft with just the right amount of fluffiness.  BUT it was a bit of a different story when I showed them to Dear Daughters 1&2. There were hoots of derision and gales of laughter.

DD1 said they reminded her of hats worn to cover hair loss, worse DD2 said they were like something Nora Batty would wear.  The little Model put one on her daddy's head and the other on Little Brother.  LB loved playing peek a boo, the hat came down to his shoulders.

Perhaps I need a rethink...  But I have so much to do.  There is this quilt

Well not actually this quilt.  This is the prototype/pattern for the main event, and is only 50cm square, I wanted to see how piece the colours together and whether they went with the sample piece of wall paper (OK I think)

The main event has reached this stage

So you can see I am a bit pressed for time but the question is what to do with the hats?  They were destined for non-knitting-friends.  Now I know that even if they would never dream of actually wearing the item, knitters would look at the soul of the FO.  I'm not saying that NKF's don't have soul - they do, in buckets but knitters can go a bit off piste about some things that NKs find it hard to grasp. 

For instance all knitters are going to understand AlliDecks need to travel halfway across the globe with two spinning wheels and more than one packing case of yarn.  Or the raptures we can go into when there is the mention of Brittany needles or Yarn from Blue Faced Leicester Sheep but we don't expect others to do the same.  I might have raised the bar a little too high last year with cashmere gloves - but what do you think?  Give or keep as dog walking hats? (if I ever have a dog!)



Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Planning and prioritising

There is a small problem with a resolve not to begin Christmas shopping till at least 1 December yet nothing in your stash is remotely suitable for the presents you want to make.  It's called TIME, it's needed for making things, you can't beat it.  So although I have got out my Christmas note book and begun planning...

I also need to buy some yarn NOW if I'm going to make the presents on time.

Last night at Knitting group we all ooohed and aaahed over a little something Claire had made.  Perfect I thought for presents - but no, it simply won't do in any of the yarn in my stash (there's a vital little something missins).  This from the position of lying in bed thinking this morning.  No need to actually go to the stash in the cupboard over the stairs.  No, no need to risk life and limb and an avalanche by opening that door before Christmas.  Which reminds me of something else said last night - Cathy admitted to not opening any cupboard door in her house in the presence of visitors.

So its off to the yarn shop I go later this morning to buy just the right stuff for the project.

It is going to mean one or two other projects are put on the back burner till I finish the Christmas projects.  But at least I have finished my summer knitting project and even though it is fine and cottony it is still looking good with a pair of black trousers.

The pattern is so very heavily modified, I shall probably write it up for downloading from Ravelry (but not till after Christmas).  The yarn I chose is twice as fine as the original pattern, so I cast on twice the stitches. I prefer to knit as much as possible without the need for seams, so the only ones are the under arm and sewing the band on.  The band itself is an invention, a wide'ish piece of rib meandering around the neck, in two pieces from the bottom up that meet at the back neck with a seam made with a three needle bind off.

So I don't feel too bad putting aside the half finished cardigan,

The P3 shawl

A replacement for the MLI  (I know!  This is my oldest WIP)

and the modular blanket.

I can pick them up later.

But I am still going to fit in some more hats for the veterans and one other secret project that I shall reveal day by day in December (that's a clue :-))



Tuesday, 6 November 2012


Golden days

The last rose of summer

November 5th

Wovember and remembering to wear wool

As knitters we can put away the fine cottons and linen threads we knitted up in the warm days of summer and look forward to knitting socks and chunky sweaters that are made in a week of watching winter evening fodder on the TV.  But it's not so jolly and cosy if you are homeless.

During a summer I met a man at a cricket match (as you do).  In between precious few overs of cricket, as we watched the skies for a clear patch so that the covers could come off and play resume, he told me about Veterans Aid.  An organisation that for the past 80 years has been working to look after former members of our armed forces who need help.  Men and women who spent a good part of their best years serving our country - serving us. Not only combatants but medical personnel, caterers and admin support.  While most men and women who leave our armed forces go on to live happy fulfilled lives some do not and without the support of an organisation like Veterans Aid would end their days sleeping rough, very often seriously ill as well.

Well during the course of our conversation I told this chap that I was a knitter and he (knowledgeable man that he is) asked if I belonged to a knitting group and if so would we like to make some hats for his clients.

Tracey, Joan and I  made just six

Knowing they were mainly for men we had to curb our enthusiasm for fancy yarns in bright colours

But some brightness snuck in

I was really touched by the e mail we received from Colonel Cordoza who works at the veteran's drop in centre in Buckingham Palace Road.  He told me about a nurse who had served in the Queen Alexandra's Royal Nursing Service, then for 35 years in the NHS who became ill and unable to cope with a problem at her home.  She was made homeless and had to sleep rough in a park.

Once a nurse?  like me!  Depression? like me!  Without the support we receive from family and friends none of us could say we would not have found ourselves in such desperate circumstances.  I am happy to say that she is now being well looked after and will be supported first in her convalescence and then as she moves into a new home, all by Veterans Aid.

If I sound a bit like the BBC good causes appeal I don't apologise.  We all see people on the streets, particularly in London and we may buy a copy of the Big Issue from time to time to do our bit but this is a call to arms to knitters.

Please get out your pointy sticks and make something warm for someone this winter.  Perhaps your local shelter or perhaps send hats, gloves and scarves to:-

Colonel G Cardoza
Veterans Aid
40 Buckingham Palace Road
London SW1W 0RE




My Google stats tell me I get readers from all over the world but that my second largest number of visitors are in N America.  Hurricane Sandy has left a lot of people without a warm home or warm clothes.  So if you are from across the pond you may like to visit Knitting for New York and New Jersey and send your hats and other warm things there (saving on postage to spend more on yarn)

Kathleen is from N America but living in Oxford UK and blogs as Knit Like You Mean it.  She has linked to my blog this week and told me about this group.  There is an added incentive to visiting her blog this week as she has a great give away going on there