Spare swatches?

Simply Knitting magazine gave all their spare swatches to The Alzheimer’s Society in Doncaster, who used them to make blankets for Alzheimer’s patients.

If you’ve got any spare swatches, then it sounds like the Alzheimer’s Society would gladly receive them.  They can be sent to: Jill, Alzheimer’s Society, 1st Floor, 58 Balby Road, Balby, Doncaster DN4 0JL

Read more here on the Simply Knitting blog.

Knitting with friends

I forgot to write about my knitting night last week when I went to a friend’s house and helped her to knit her first scarf. She’d knitted years and years ago, so there was a degree of familiarity as I showed her how to cast-on, knit and purl. By and large she picked it up quickly. I did confuse her a bit though as I showed her how to cast-on with the thumb method, which I find to be a lot neater, but she had vague memories of casting-on another way (knitting and then putting the stitch back on the left-hand needle). When she went to try casting-on by herself she tried to do a combination of both methods!

We practiced with some old acrylic yarn and after a while she got into the rhythm and knitted a slightly odd shaped swatch! Much laughter ensued at one point when she realised that she had started knitting a row with the tail of the cast-on yarn, rather than with the yarn from the ball.

With the swatch under her belt, the next task was to start the scarf. We’re knitting scarfs for christmas boxes for Eastern European orphans and I have quite a lot of eyelash yarn in my stash, so I thought it would be a good way to use some of that up. I guess it was slightly adventurous to get a beginner to work with such fluffy yarn, but it does make soft and pretty scarves. I gave her fairly large needles (7mm) so that the scarf would grow quickly and I think that with that sort of yarn, it would be easier to see the stitches if they weren’t too small.

When I left her that night, she had done about 10cm of the scarf. I saw her at church last night, and she said she’d managed to get quite a lot more done during the week and was almost at the end of her ball of yarn. Pretty impressive for a beginner who also had to help with the last minute preparations of her sister’s wedding which was at the weekend! She said that she went funny at a couple of points, and she thought she’d dropped stitches, but she’s still got the same number of stitches she started with and it doesn’t appear to have laddered. She doesn’t know what she did wrong, but you the fluffiness of the yarn hides the mistakes pretty well!!

She’s probably doing better than I did when I started. I remember gaining stitches when I made my first scarf and I had the benefit of living at home, so Mum was on hand to bail me out of tricky situations. My friend’s husband wouldn’t be able to do the same for her sadly. I think he secretly wanted to have a go actually, so I left a learn to knit DVD at their house… just in case he wanted to watch it 😉

We’re getting together again one night next week to carry on. I’ve finished the scarf I started, so not sure whether to start another one, or perhaps make some blanket squares for one of the charity knitting projects.

pink funky fur scarf This is my scarf.

I’ve been having fun on Ravelry lately too, checking and approving patterns and I made a banner and button for the new West Country Knit and Crochet group. I was quite pleased with how they turned out and delighted that the group admins chose to use them.

wckc-banner.jpg wckc-button.jpg

Knitting for others less fortunate

I recently mentioned how my friend wants me to teach her to knit, so that she can make some hats and scarves for Christmas boxes for underpriviledged children. I’m certainly going to help her with this, both teaching her and knitting a scarf or two myself. But it got me thinking about how else I could use my knitting skills to help others.

Two projects I’ve come across and thought I would mention are:

Both projects involve people knitting 7″ squares to be sewn together as an blanket. Gracious Parcels gives their blankets to Habitat for Humanity (who provide housing for people in need) and The Ghana Project sends theirs to crippled children in Ghana who are undergoing surgery. After visiting Malawi a few years ago, my heart goes out to Africa and those who are in extreme poverty, so The Ghana Project really appeals to me in particular.

Making squares doesn’t take long so over the next few weeks and months I’m definitely going to knit some squares for these projects.

On the Ghana Project website I was reminded of one of my favourite verses from the Bible:

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24.

I really must strive to apply this in all aspects of my life, not just knitting.