Knitting, Cross Stitch, Karen's Korner

A Busy Start To 2018

I don’t know about you but I have had rather a busy start to 2018. It has involved family, friends, knitting and cross stitch, so it has also been a very good start.

One of the special things about Christmas is being able to catch up with family, and this year was no different. Following that, on the 6th of January, our elder son arrived with his two little dogs to stay with us for a few weeks. He has just completed “The Longest Walk New Zealand” during which he walked just over 5000 km around the country to try to help raise awareness of animal welfare organisations. You can find out more about his adventures on his website (see link above).

A Busy Start To 2018I have been spending quite a lot of time in the last few weeks with two of my grandchildren who live locally. The weather has been lovely for most of the time and we have been on a number of “adventures”. These have ranged from a paddle in the local stream accompanied by a crowd of curious ducks, to a bush walk and a walk along the shoreline of the local harbour. It is great when kids enjoy doing simple, outdoor things. I feel very blessed to have this involvement with them.

A Busy Start To 2018On the crafting front, I have knitted a couple of little hats for some twins girls who were born prematurely to a young couple from our church. I also made a larger version for their three year old sister. It was fun to do such tiny knitting, especially knowing that the twins and their mum are all doing well.

A Busy Start To 2018Over the last couple of months I have also been busy with three more cross stitched cushion covers. These are for the three grandchildren who live locally. They all have their birthdays within a few weeks of each other at the end of January / beginning of February, so it is good to have them finished. I just need to put the backings on them all now.

I hope you have all had a good start to the year and look forward to sharing more with you soon.

Knitting

Christmas Knitting Ideas

Christmas Knitting Ideas
The last post in my Christmas series is Christmas knitting ideas. I have rediscovered a wonderful pattern book on my shelf called “Jean Greenhowe’s Christmas Special”. All the photos I have taken for this post are of pictures in this book. It is a Sirdar book (number 236).

Christmas Knitting IdeasI am not usually overly keen on knitted Nativity scenes, but I find the one in this book quite delightful. I won’t have the time to make it for this year, but plan to give it a go next year. I really like the way the figures all seem to belong together.

Christmas Knitting Ideas Christmas Knitting IdeasThe book has a great selection of knitted toys too. They come in a range of sizes and would all make lovely gifts for children and maybe even some bigger people too. There are several versions of Santa, including a Mrs Claus, and several different snowmen too. They are joined by such things as an upside down doll, a teddy, a reindeer, an elf, and even a fairy for the top of the tree.

Christmas Knitting IdeasChristmas Knitting IdeasAnother thing which interested me was a collection of small Christmas stockings. They look like a great idea for putting just a few small treats in. I find that a lot of stocking patterns seem to be a bit big. I find that a lot of stocking patterns seem to be a bit big. It can also be fun to use up some of your yarn scraps knitting little tree decorations.

If you are looking for a bit more inspiration for projects to add to your Christmas craft selection, I suggest you check out some of my affiliate sites listed below. Enter “Christmas” in their site search bar and you will find a treasure trove of ideas. Enjoy your browsing!

Affiliate sites:

Leisure Arts, Craftsy, Annie’s, Knit Picks, LoveKnitting, Creative BugConnecting Threads

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Crochet, Knitting, Lace Making

So What Is Lace Anyway?

So What Is Lace Anyway?
What do you think of when you hear the term “Lace”? If you are anything like me you will probably think of something white, intricate and delicate, possibly even frilly. We usually associate lace with things like wedding dresses, christening gowns and ball dresses. Lace fabric and trims are often used for special occasions like these.

A fairly generic definition of lace is “a fine open fabric of cotton or silk, made by looping, twisting, or knitting thread in patterns and used especially for trimming garments.” As you can see, this includes a lot more than the traditional idea of lace. I would like to share with you some personal examples I have at home.

So What Is Lace Anyway? The more traditional items I have are crocheted and tatted. These items were all made by my grandmother, and I inherited them from her. The small round table cloth is crocheted. It was made using a small hook and fine cotton.

So What Is Lace Anyway? So What Is Lace Anyway?The tatted items are a bit older. These items used to be more common when lace was a lot more expensive and less readily available than it is today. People made collars, cuffs, and neck trims which could be transferred from one garment to another. This set is two collar points and a central trim a bit like a cravat.

So What Is Lace Anyway?I have also included a rather basic example of bobbin lace. This is one of the test book marks I made when I started to learn to make bobbin lace. It was made using coloured crochet cotton. You may also remember the needle lace sampler that I started earlier in the year. Unfortunately I have not made much more progress on it as yet, but hope to do some more in our upcoming school holidays.

So What Is Lace Anyway? So What Is Lace Anyway?The last photos are of a shawl I knitted for one of my grandchildren. This is a bit heavier than the other examples, but the border of this shawl still qualifies as lace. I have made a lighter, lacier baby shawl but, unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of it.

I plan to follow up with some more examples of different types of lace soon.

Karen's Korner, Knitting

Homeless Knitting

Homeless Knitting

A couple of months ago, in my post “Another Octopus and Some Scarves”, I was interested in trying to get some knitting done to donate to local homeless people. Unfortunately I was a bit late to get myself organised for this winter, but I am working on getting some significant supplies ready for next year. We are officially into spring in New Zealand now, although the weather has been a bit slow to get the memo so far.

Homeless KnittingI have been going through my “stash” and experimenting with different ideas to knit items that might be useful to donate. The first scarf I made was a simple garter stitch one that used up a number of leftover partial balls from previous garments. I had planned to use only double knit (8 ply) yarn, but I think I accidentally included some cream yarn of a heavier gauge. When using this weight of yarn I suggest using 4mm (UK size 8) needles and at least 40 stitches. I like to make scarves at least 140cm long, but this is a matter of personal preference.

Homeless Knitting Homeless KnittingThe stitch I chose for the second scarf was broken double rib. I used 10 ply yarn and 4.5mm (UK size 7) needles for this one. This stitch is most easily knitted using multiples of four stitches plus three stitches at the end. For my scarf I used 51 stitches (48 stitches plus 3 = 51). For 8 ply yarn I would suggest at least 59 stitches and 4mm needles.

Broken double rib pattern using this guide for stitch numbers:

  [knit 2, purl 2] to last 3 stitches; knit 2, purl 1.

Repeat this row until required length is reached. Cast off and sew in the ends.

 

Homeless KnittingAnother experiment I have tried is a double rib hat which I made in 8 ply yarn, using 4mm needles. I have made the pattern I developed for this available as a PDF on my Downloads page. I plan to do more experimenting with different yarns, stitches and patterns, and will share them with you as I go. I hope you will consider joining me by making things to donate to people in your own local area.

See also: “Handcrafting to Support Charities

Crochet, Knitting

Yarn Bombing – a Global Phenomenon

Yarn Bombing - a Global Phenomenon
Image courtesy of geograph.org.uk

Have you heard of Yarn Bombing yet? Yarn bombing is an activity which is spreading around the world. If you Google yarn bombing you will come up with some amazing images. For me one of the most impressive ones would have to be a train consisting of an engine and four carriages, all of which had been very colourfully covered.

It is thought that yarn bombing began with knitters in Texas in 2005, who used it as a creative way to use up leftover, unfinished projects. The movement has since spread worldwide, and evolved into things like the “stitched story” concept. This uses handmade items to tell a story or illustrate a theme. The first recorded example of this was in August 2009.

Yarn Bombing - a Global Phenomenon
Image courtesy of geograph.co.uk
Yarn Bombing - a Global Phenomenon
Image courtesy of flikr

Yarn bombing may have started off with knitted items, but there are now a large number of crocheted projects as well. The “stitched story” projects can include amigurumi figures in them as part of their narrative process. (See also “The Origin and Popularity of Amigurumi Crochet”.) I have even seen photos of projects done in cross stitch. Yarn is used to create cross stitch patterns on a wire grid which is then hung on a fence or wall.

Over the last few months I have seen yarn bombing weekends advertised in two different communities in my local area. These have involved people meeting together throughout the weekend at an arranged venue. Individuals can attend for whatever length of time suits them. It is a social gathering of people working together to produce community adornment projects.

Yarn Bombing - a Global PhenomenonA couple of weeks ago I took my camera with me on my morning walk to take photos of some yarn bombing that had appeared on the fence of one of our local primary schools. The weather here has been a bit unfriendly, as we are in the middle of winter, but the colourful webs seem to be lasting fairly well.

I see yarn bombing as a rather fun way to inject a bit of colour into some of our public spaces. Having said that, I also think that the “bombers” need to be sensitive with the areas they choose to decorate, and respectful of local regulations and significant structures.

I would love to hear other people’s opinions on this, so please feel free to leave a comment.

 

Crochet, Karen's Korner, Knitting

Knitted Knockers

Knitted Knockers
Image courtesy of Ravelry.com

Several months ago I came across a wonderful initiative called “Knitted Knockers”. As the name suggests, knitted knockers are handmade prosthetics for women who have had to undergo a mastectomy. They are soft, light-weight, fully adjustable, and can be made in a huge range of colours.

Knitted Knockers.org was founded by an amazing lady named Barbara as a result of her own experience with breast cancer. Complications with her initial surgery meant that she couldn’t follow her original treatment plan for immediate reconstruction, which meant she needed to look for an alternative interim solution.

Her doctor showed her a picture of a knitted knocker, and provided her with a pattern. A special friend was able to make one for her quite quickly (she actually made her two) and this is what she says on her website:

“It was FABULOUS! It was light, pretty, soft and fit in my own bra perfectly. I took off my jacket and knew right then that I wanted to make these available to other women going through the same situation. I thought, “what if my doctor had real knitted knockers to give to women rather than only having a photocopied picture on a sheet of paper to show them?””

Knitted Knockers
Image courtesy of Ravelry.com
Knitted Knockers
Image courtesy of Craftsy

I highly recommend that you visit Knitted Knockers.org and read Barbara’s story in full on the site. There is also a lovely video you can watch. Barbara has taken her idea and run with it. She is now trying to make knitted knockers available to any women who need them. Through her site she is connecting people in need with people who can donate. There are also a number of patterns available on the site, including crochet as well as knitting, which you can download.

While Barbara began her initiative in the United States, there are knitted knocker groups in many different countries. A quick internet search will allow you to find the group or organisation closest to you. I encourage you to get behind this wonderful movement and become part of an outreach which is making such a meaningful difference in the lives of so many women who are going through such a traumatic time in their lives.

 

See also: “Handcrafting To Support Charities“, “Octopuses (Octopi?) For Premature Babies“, “Two Jumpers and an Octopus“, and “Another Octopus and Some Scarves“.

 

Knitting

Enjoying Today’s Many Knitting Patterns

Enjoying Today's Many Knitting Patterns
Image courtesy of AllFreeKnitting.com

Knitting patterns are one of the things that makes knitting such an exciting activity for so many people. Once you master the basic skills of knitting, you have the ability to make countless projects come to life. Knitting patterns are like recipes that can be followed to recreate your favorite dish.

Knitting is more than merely a hobby for many people. Knitting is a way to spend time with others in a relaxing fashion. Many people enjoy getting together to work on their respective knitting projects while enjoying great conversation. Knitting is not only relaxing, but it allows a person to create many essential items. You can create new clothing for yourself or your family or friends. Finding exciting knitting patterns to create items of interest for others is a great way to make it through your Christmas list! Whatever it is you want to knit, there are usually many knitting patterns available to guide you.

If you are a new knitter, then you will pleased to learn that there are literally thousands and thousands of knitting patterns available. Once you have mastered the basics of knitting, you have the ability to create nearly anything. Searching through various knitting patterns can be almost as exciting as knitting itself. You get to see all the potential items you could make, pick out the perfect one, and then get to work bringing it to life.

Once you start looking at knitting patterns, you will discover they exist for virtually everything you could possibly want to create. You will find patterns for purses and bags. You’ll find patterns for cardigans, pants, and sweaters. Hats and scarfs are some of the most common patterns. There are even patterns for creating a wide array of stuffed animals.

Enjoying Today's Many Knitting Patterns
Image courtesy of Craftsy

Knitting patterns are relatively easy to find. Most fabric stores have an ample supply of knitting patterns. Sometimes these knitting patterns are fairly generic, but once you get a little experience it should be no problem to add on or modify them to create your own unique creation. (See “Using Patterns as a Guide“) The Internet is also an outstanding resource for knitters. There are thousands of free knitting patterns available. Many knitter enjoy sharing their newest pattern with the world. Additionally, there are many quality patterns for sale online at affordable prices.

There are countless  sites with great patterns. Just perform a few searches on whatever knitting patterns you are after and you will see lots of great sites to look through. Two sites I would highly recommend are “Ravelry” and”LoveKnitting“. You could also check out “Annies“, “Knit Picks“,”Craftsy“, or “Leisure Arts“.

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

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