Welcome to my blog. I live, knit and craft near the Northumbrian Coast (but not too near – the waves won't be splashing my knitting!).There's a story in every stitch, every grain of sand, every blade of grass. I thought I'd blog about it…
I’ve been skirting, washing, carding and spinning some of the gorgeous alpaca fibre that was given to me recently. When I took up spinning (I got an Electric Eel Wheel Nano e-spinner for my birthday) I thought it would be wonderful to be able to make something beginning with the raw fleece and taking it right through to the finished garment. With enough yarn spun and a dear friend’s new baby granddaughter to knit for. This was the perfect opportunity.
I started with the socks (Perfect Baby Socks by Hey Sister Yarn Co) The pattern gives a choice of designs, cable or rib: I chose the rib one. Knitted on DPNs I have to say these were fiddly to do and with all the complexities of turned heels and Kitchener stitch toe grafts, they probably took almost as long as adult socks to make, so I probably wouldn’t use this pattern again, but they do look so amazingly cute and feel so soft.
The hat was much simpler to make – the Maine Baby Hat, also from Ravelry. This is such a useful pattern. It gives the cast on stitch numbers for three sizes and several different yarn weights. My handspun alpaca is probably on average somewhere between DK and 4ply so I was able to find the right one. Then it was pretty straightforward to knit up on circular needles with a K1P1 ribbed band and the rest in stocking stitch, only moving on to DPNs for the last of the decreases.
I’ve also learnt a new cast on – the sock pattern recommended the German Twisted cast on to give a nice stretchy edge. I watched a couple of YouTube videos and soon got the hang of it. It really is very stretchy so I’ll be using this on all socks (or anything else that needs a stretchy edge) from now on.
My spinning still lacks consistency in that the thickness of the yarn is rather variable and this certainly shows up in the stocking stitch, Even after a very light press!
The socks and hat feel so soft and warm though – so the baby will be very snug and cosy in them. Daughter was delivering them today. Baby’s mum is a close friend of hers. I hope she likes them!
Today I’ve been busy writing Christmas cards and finishing off a bobble hat for a friend’s little girl. I always seem to get very close to last posting date, especially for the cards that are going to family and friends abroad, but, with a little help from K this evening, managed to get everything written, addressed and with letters and photographs included for the people I’m not in touch with on social media. Just need to get them stamped and posted tomorrow now.
I also finished off this bobble hat.
I always knit (or crochet) something when anyone I know has a baby and somehow I missed this one, so when I saw L and her baby girl the other week I asked what she would like and this is what she was after – a warm bobble hat in a dark grey, to go with a pink and grey snowsuit. I used this free Cabled Baby Hat pattern by Marianna Mel that I found on Ravelry and used a really soft washable DK – Women’s Institute premium acrylic from Hobbycraft in grey.
I added a pompom made using one of these.
It works the same as two cardboard discs but as the plastic rings are hinged and fold out to two semicircles it’s much easier and quicker to wind the yarn round. I used the largest in a pack of three pompom makers and it produced a lovely fat, even pompom that barely needed any trimming – I just needed to snip a couple of stray pieces of yarn off.
It’s very stretchy, so I hope it’s not too big for L’s baby, but it’ll certainly be lovely and cosy.
Do you make pompoms like this or use the old-fashioned cardboard discs or another method?
I love it when you find the perfect item to knit for someone. I just have to knit something when anyone I know has a baby, so when my friends had a little girl I found this Sirdar pattern (since discontinued). I simply had to make it as they have a little black terrier.
I had to change the colours a bit – on the original pattern, the dogs were white with a black eye and collar. I did the dogs black of course, but that would mean there was something missing – I had to find a way of doing the eyes and I settled on using shiny black beads.
I figured that sewing beads on a baby garment wasn’t terribly safe, so I decided to knit them into the design. Threading beads with small holes on to double knitting weight yarn is not easy, but I found a solution. I painted the yarn end with clear nail varnish and rolled it between finger and thumb to make a sharp point. When it was dry, it was quite easy to thread on the required number of beads.
I knitted a bead into the front of the stitches that would have been the eyes on the chart.
Overall the cardigan came out well. It was one of my early attempts at colour work and the pattern section came out a little bit tighter than I would have liked. The little shoes were less successful- there was no way a baby could keep these on!
Have you ever found the perfect item to knit for someone? I’d love to hear about it.
Those attending today’s Knit and Natter group at Alnwick Medical Surgery, once again brought along an impressive haul of beautiful handknitted items. The little angel tops for premature babies are proving popular with some of the knitters, along with hats, baby cardigans and bootees. The item in the foreground is one of the “fish and chip baby” tops that we’ve made for a maternity clinic in Zambia, Knitted items were needed because newborns were being wrapped in newspaper (like fish and chips) to keep warm. We are grateful for all the donations of yarn and knitting needles that have been donated to help us make these items.
Over the weeks we’ve also swapped knitting and crochet patterns, taught each other new techniques and made some good friends. Sometimes there’s more nattering and laughter than knitting!
We were all pleased to see that the refurbishment of the room where we meet is going well – we now have new lighting and windows!
The practice staff are very supportive and have totally embraced knitting too – here is Jon, who managed to find a spare moment to knit in a break from officiating at a swimming gala.
My local GP surgery has started running a variety of activities beneficial to health, through their social prescribing initiative. The knit and natter group are thriving – it’s a lively group with a purpose – dozens of items have been made for good causes by the group over the last few months – they meet on Friday afternoons.
One of the GPs has done voluntary work in a clinic in Zambia, where baby clothes are scarce, to the point that newborns had to be wrapped in newspaper for warmth. We started by knitting “fish and chip baby “tops, blankets, bootees, hats to go to the clinic and others nearby.
We continues with this and have also been making items for premature babies at RVI, Newcastle, hats for the homeless and twiddle muffs for dementia patients. Here is what group members have made in the last week alone
There’s more waiting to be posted off to where it’s needed.
My tiny contribution this week was a pair of bootees made with yarn left over from a pair of socks I knitted recently.
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