Thursday, 25 February 2016

And now for something completely different....

.........knitted nests!

Soon spring will be upon us (yesterday was very sunny here in Somerset, even though the temperature dropped to below freezing overnight), and that's when wildlife rescue centres become inundated with baby birds and animals which have somehow become separated from their parents.  At this time of year there is a huge need for nests of varying sizes and shapes which can act as substitutes for the ones the babies have come from.

As part of Loving Hands Winter challenges, we were encouraged to make nests for wildlife centres, ready for the spring influx.  Using patterns from this Nest Guide, I have started making nests and caves:

These need to be knitted and crocheted very tightly so that little claws cannot get trapped in the fabric, and they need to be quite dense so that they will stand upright with firm sides.  The small nests were knitted on size 5.00 double pointed needles with 2 strands of dk.  The cave was crocheted with one strand of aran and one of dk with a 4.50 crochet hook.

Secret World Wildlife Rescue Centre is situated quite close to where I live in Somerset, and they have a collection point in a local supermarket for people to donate suitable pet food, kitchen towels and other useful items for the Centre.  I shall pop these in on Saturday when I do my shopping.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Busting my stash in different ways

I've spent the last couple of weeks finishing off  projects and using up some more of my stash.

This is the second cowl made from the would-be aran blanket that I wrote about in my last post.  Again, when doubled over it wraps twice around my neck and is beautifully warm.  I have been tempted to wear it myself as our central heating boiler gave up the ghost last Thursday, and for various reasons the installation of its replacement is only being completed now as I write this.  I am looking forward to a toasty warm weekend after a week of huddling over the living room gas fire!

This man's scarf was crocheted with several different strands of yarn in black, blue and white.  It is over 6 feet long and very chunky.

I was donated a ball of Rico creative micro dk.  Although it is acrylic, it feels and looks very like cotton.  I wasn't sure what to make with such a pretty yarn, but then I remembered the Colin vest pattern that I have made once before.  I adapted the pattern slightly to knit it in the round rather than knitting the front and back separately, and I really like the resulting 22 inch chest toddler size top.

Finally, I have finished the corner-to-corner baby blanket that I have been making at our Monday night craft club meetings.  It is about 28 inches square, in cream coloured dk.  I find c-to-c blankets very quick and easy to make, particularly when talking, eating cake and drinking tea!  This one has been added to the box of items I am getting together to send to Cuddles UK.

Not much progress so far this month on the hat and boy's jumper targets, but I am just starting the second sleeve of a grey aran jumper, and I have a hurricane hat on the needles too.  Pictures soon!

Friday, 5 February 2016

The blanket that turned into a cowl

Last year, I had the bright idea of knitting an aran blanket in strips rather than squares.  Less sewing up, fewer ends to darn in, what's not to like, I thought.  4 strips, each 12 inches wide, and 6 feet long, will make a sizeable blanket.

I cast on 60 stitches on size 5.00 needles and set off using a broken rib stitch.  I did the first strip, using 3 different lots of aran yarn.  I got to about 4 feet long (I was getting bored by this point) and slipped the stitches on some spare yarn.  My reasoning by now was that I would do 6 strips each 4 feet long, and end up with the same result.  I started the second strip, and again got to about 4 feet long.  When I put the 2 strips side by side they just didn't look right.  The colours went together, but using different brands of Aran weight meant that the strips weren't uniform in width.  Also, the colour changes were totally random, which gave a really messy effect.  To frog or not to frog?

Rather than make a decision, the strips were relegated to the back of the cupboard, only coming to light when I weighed my stash at the start of January.  I laid them out again, and then realised that, instead of a blanket, I had the making of two scarves or cowls.  At 12 inches they were really too wide for scarves, but would make brilliant cowls.  I knitted another foot or so on to the first strip, made some buttonholes, sewed on some buttons, and I now have a really cosy and warm cowl which will double up and wrap twice around the neck.

This is the cowl full width.....

.....and this is it doubled over.......

and this is it wrapped twice around my neck!

Knit for Peace is a charity that sends knitted and crocheted items to people in need in the UK and abroad.  In their latest newsletter they mention that they are really short of scarves at present, so these cowls, together with some scarves, will be sent off to them shortly.  

As for the blanket, I think I'll go back to making squares!