Mar 21, 2014

Crochet and Knit Hats For Heroes

A while ago I came across a Facebook Group called Hats for Heroes that was asking people to crochet hats for children in Ireland affected by cancer.

At the time I wasn't very experienced in crochet but I was and I still am learning, so I thought I would give it a go, since I would be doing something I enjoyed for a good cause.

I contacted the people at Hats for Heroes to ask if the hats could be knitted and the answer was yes, but I still wanted to try crocheting some, so I looked for a nice pattern online and I found this lovely Tweetheart Hat crochet pattern which gives intructions for all sizes from newborn to adults.

Of course, as usual, I used a different wool from the one in the pattern, but I wasn't doing a specific size so I could experiment with different yarns, as long as it was soft (scratchy isn't an option when you've lost your hair after chemotherapy).

Here is my first Tweetheart hat made with soft Aran (worsted) yarn following the size for child: it is smaller than I expected but will fit a baby (maybe 3 or 6 months old), I'm not sure of the exact age since I don't have babies lining up to try on the hats:

Baby Tweetheart Crochet Hat

Then I used similar weight yarn and followed the adult size and I got a hat suitable for a child: I thought it would look prettier without the ear-flaps and I added a frilly picot edge and flower:

Child Flower Crochet Hat with Frilly Picot Edge

Then I thought it was time to make something less girly so I went out and bought some chunky navy and blue yarn to make a teen sized beanie hat, following the instructions for child size because the yarn was pretty thick:

Teen Crochet Hat with Navy and Blue Stripes

Since I had leftover yarn, I decided to knit a hat this time, casting on as many as I thought I would need for a child's hat and using a pattern I already had, but modifying it slightly it as I went:

Child Knitted Pompom Beanie Hat

Guess what? This one will fit a toddler or small child, just as I intended! The pompom was added as a result of feedback on my Facebook page (I think I was going to add it anyway;-)

As soon as all 4 hats are finished drying (I like to wash them in gentle shampoo or wool friendly detergent before shipping any knit or crochet clothing item I make), they will be off in the post on their way to Hats for Heroes who will forward them to Irish Hospitals where they will be given to children with cancer. I hope these hats will cheer the children up!

As much as I've enjoyed knitting and crocheting hats and daffodils for charity, I must really get a move on and work a lot harder on knitting new items and publishing new knitting patterns for my Etsy shop, which is slowly depleting itself as my Christmas items are coming to the end of their 4 months listing (the maximum before I have to pay commission to get them re-listed) and I am not planning on re-listing those until next October.

So off I go and pick up my knitting needles (after I've had my lunch of course, I need to eat yummy food and drink coffee to keep my creative brain cells active!)

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Mar 17, 2014

St Patrick's Day Crochet Scarf

My daughter's class is learning how to make crochet granny squares in school and I've been roped in to help once a week, so since we were so close to St Patrick's Day, I decided to make a granny square using the Irish colours: green, white and orange:

St Patrick's Day granny square

I wasn't sure what to do with it, so I made 5 more like this and 6 using the same colors, reversing them (orange in the middle and green at the outer edge) and then I joined my 12 granny squares to make an Irish St Patrick's Day scarf:

St Patrick's Day scarf

Since I have to stand outside in the cold watching my 2 daughters playing with their school band in our local St Patrick's Day parade, I might as well be warm doing it!

And in case I'm not brave enough to wear the St Patrick's Day scarf outside, I'll always have my crochet shamrock pin:

Crochet Shamrock pin

Happy St Patrick's Day!

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Mar 13, 2014

Blue Cabled Cardigan Finished!

I am very happy to say that between the time I finished knitting all the pieces of my blue cabled cardigan and the time I sewed all the pieces together, no more than 2 or 3 weeks have passed, with an extra week to wash and dry it and deciding my cardigan needed some buttons.

The knitting pattern did not provide for buttons but mentioned that a shawl pin can be added if the cardigan was to be worn closed, so I knitted as per the instructions, without any buttonholes.

Last night I tried making a flower pin using a large safety pin to keep my cardigan closed but I wasn't happy with it, so this morning I added a crochet button band on one edge and 4 nice wooden buttons on the other side. The cardigan was then ready to be worn in public after roughly 2 months of starting it (please don't judge my awkward posture, I just don't know how to stand without looking weird):



 Now I must get on with my St Patrick's day scarf which I'm not sure I will dare wear in public: I might just hang it in the house as a decoration, but that's something I won't share here until Paddy's Day.

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Mar 7, 2014

My Daughter's Giant Granny Square

For the last few weeks my daughter's class has been learning crochet and even though my daughter already had basic crochet skills before starting, she had never made a granny square.

The lesson last Friday was granny squares, and it seems a certain 12 year old in our house is getting addicted to granny squares. Here is what she has been making since last Friday:

Ganny Square Blanket by my daughter

 She has got me to drive all the way to Knitwits and Crafty Stitchers on Monday to get her 2 new balls of each color (she's using King Cole's brightest dolly mix colors). I'm not sure how big she wants this blanket to be but I have a feeling she doesn't want to stop and will soon start yarn bombing our house!

I had never made a granny square before either so she made me try one and here's my first attempt:
My first (wonky) granny square
I know it's a bit wonky and I must admit there is now a bit of healthy competition between both of us (she won this round), but this was at the end of a long day and I was rushing to make this granny square before bedtime.

Granny squares are a lot simpler than they look and I can understand how one would get addicted to making granny square blankets.

That's it for today, I have a lot more knitting and crochet things to share but these are going to have to wait as my afternoon will be taken over by a certain 12 year-old birthday party.

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Mar 2, 2014

Knitted Daffodils for Irish Cancer Society

Each year in Ireland, daffodils are sold in every street corner to help raise money for Irish Cancer Society.

This year I found this blog post on Michelle Made This where you can find instructions on how to knit daffodils and the details on how to forward them to Irish Cancer Society so that they can be sold to help them raise money for their organisation.

So far I have knitted 11 daffodils, and I plan to make some more in the next two weeks which I will bring to the coffee morning in Roscommon on March 14th, unless I can find somewhere closer. I haven't contacted them yet (I have a bit of a phone phobia, and try avoiding making phone calls whenever possible, unless it's for a job that pays me to use the phone or a medical emergency). For more more information on any local events you can contact Irish Cancer Society on 1850 60 60 60.

Here's what I made so far:

Knitted Daffodils for Irish Cancer Society

I used the knitted pattern which can be downloaded for free here with a few changes in order to avoid bits of fiddly sewing:
  • To make the trumpet, instead of casting off after the last row of petals where you get 7 stitches, I knit one row with one increase in each stitch: kfb (knit front and back of each stitch), which gives me 14 stitches. I can then knit the 4 rows of the trumpet and cast off before closing the daffodil, which does involve minimal sewing.
  • In order to make the stem, I turn the closed daffodil on its back and pick up 5 stitches, trying to get them from around the middle, and evenly spaced to try and include one from each petal, then I use the i-cord method to knit the stem using green yarn - you can do this using 2 double pointed needles or 1 circular needle: once you have knit the first row, slide the stitches to the other side of the needle and knit the new row; you will need to knit the first stitch of each rows quite tight to avoid a gap and after a few rows you will start seeing a small tube shape. When you get to the length you want (I knit until I have an 8cm long stem), no need to cast off, just cut the yarn leaving a 8 cm tail, insert the yarn tail in a tapestry needle and thread through all 5 stitches starting from the stitch furthest to your yarn and make a knot to secure. Hide the tail inside the stem (I try bringing it up all the way to the top of the stem to make the stem a bit stronger).
  • Add a safety pin. I'm afraid my safety pin doesn't look as neat as I would like it too, but this will not show once the daffodil is worn:
Back of knitted daffodil
The daffodils may look a bit complicated for beginners but they are actually very easy and I find them almost addictive to knit.

I'll get back to knitting some more next week, as I am busy crocheting a few bits which I can't share yet for my daughter's birthday party (which is coming closer than I thought since I realised there were only 28 days in February!) and I also need to sew the blue cabled cardigan I finished last week and gave myself today's deadline to do (5 pieces of knitted cardigan pieces aren't doing anyone any good when they're left in a shopping bag!).

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