scrappystickyinkymess


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Knitting charity squares that are SQUARE

So I mentioned yesterday that I was knitting charity squares for a local project, the Gillingham CommunKnitty KindNose “Bringing Gillingham together while keeping apart” project for Red Nose Day.

So once I confirmed that when they say WOOL they mean YARN and acrylic is OK, I started knitting. I really need one of my British friends to explain that to me – why is all yarn called WOOL, no matter the fibre content? It matters, sometimes, if you need to consider washing items (mixing cotton, wool and acrylic fibres in one blanket, for example, is a recipe for wash-day disaster) so why use a misleading term? Or is it that one should assume if a charity wants a particular fibre ONLY they will say so and if they don’t you could assume WOOL and YARN are interchangeable? Except when they say WOOL they might mean either ONLY wool or any yarn. {sigh}

I have ALWAYS struggled to knit “perfect” squares. There is just too much pfaffing about with gauge for all the different sorts of scrap yarn, adjusting the cast on and stitch count, getting the right pattern (if other than a straight stocking stitch or garter stitch square… Bah! I waste so much time trying to get it right, I went on a hunt for a few foolproof patterns that knit up as a square, almost despite my best efforts to screw it up! I found three (two for sure, one sort-of.) Bear in mind none of the squares are blocked at all, so maybe looking a little wonky in the photos LOL!

The traditional dishcloth pattern.

This is simple and has a cute YO edging and only two pattern instructions, after the cast-on of 4 stitches and Knit one row.

  1. Increase row (and every row till one side = your finished measurement): Knit 2, YO knit to the end.
  2. Do this till one side is the desired size of your final square. My squares need to be six inches so I knit till one side = 6 inches
  3. Decrease Row (and every row till four stitches remain) Knit 1, K2Tog, YO, Knit to the end.
  4. When four stitches remain, bind off all four stitches, break the yarn, and pull thru.

Easy peasy.

An easy corner-to-corner square.

  1. Cast on 3 stitches and knit the first row
  2. Increase half, every row: K1, KFB, K to the end of the row (you can also KFB in the first stitch, K to the end – swings and roundabouts….) Do this till one side is the size of your final square. My squares need to be six inches so I knit till one side = 6 inches
  3. Decrease half (till three stitches remain): K1, k2tog, to the end of the row
  4. When three stitches remain K3tog, cut tail and pull through. 

A super easy and cute variation on this is to do all the increase rows in ONE colour and then all the decrease rows in another. Perfect when you have a bit f yarn but not quite enough to manage a full square. Like so:

An easy mitered square – OK so this one does need you to cast-on a guess and knit at least a couple of rows to see if you got it right but somehow I find this easier than any other pattern square. For me, with 4.5 mm needles and DK yarn, 58-60 stitches to begin is about right for a 6-inch square.

  1. Cast on double the stitches you need.
  2. Row one: Knit one row, placing a marker in the middle (so for 60 stitches: CO 30, place marker, CO 30.)
  3. Row two (and every even row): Knit to two stitches before the marker. K2Tog, slip the marker, K2tog. Knit to the end
  4. Row three (and every odd row): knit

This is the easy garter stitch version. I also do a variation on this that has a Slip 2 as if to knit, K1, p2sso on the right side and a purl in that stitch on the wrong side, and a stocking stitch version, also with a purl in the centre stitch on the wrong side, but this simplest version is the best one for charity squares!

So, those are the three squares I settled on, after knitting a few only to get to the end and find they were A. NOT square or B. not 6 inches! I feel for the people who will be putting these together, so I really want to make them as close to the right size as I can. Only 12 done, but I hope to get to 20 or 25 by Saturday.

Back to papercraft tomorrow, I’m sure – oh – and it’s WOYWW day so I’d better get tidying for sure. But not before I add my 100 days page:

Keeping well away from bulk in the middle LOL!


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Trauma Teddy, Bobby Buddy, whatever.

{sigh} I have been fighting with the WordPress editor all morning.  I made a post but when I viewed it there were too many weird things happening (like 20 tin, near invisible lines at the end, and text that just kept getting smaller and smaller till at the bottom it was almost unreadable.I kept editing it and in the end I just gave up and deleted it.

I have no idea what was triggering it but I am not going to do it all over again and have it be more of the same.  So here is my PDF.

I did try to make a schematic/visual image of it, kinda like to Trauma Teddy image that is all over the internet, without much luck!

The original is pretty streamlined.  MINE is a bit chaotic, LOL!

My pattern is based (size-wise and stitch count) on the one available for the Dorset Police Bobby Buddies program – Get their pattern here

I wanted a minimal sewing version with no attached pieces. Almost got it! The radio will need to be stitched on for the Dorset Bobby Buddies. 
So long as there are NO BUTTONS or BEADS, this is suitable for that program and should also work for ANY trauma teddy scheme, if the size works.

I WILL add the photos of how to fold the unstuffed bear to match the right sides together and do the SECOND 3-needle bind off.  It;s the only bit that is even remotely tricky.

Once you have done the first 3-needle bind off

You need to fold the head over on to the body

Then fold the legs over on to the head

Then finally fold the upper body (yellow)over the legs – it’s hard to see because of the black, but the right side of the upper body and the right side of the lower body should be matched up for the second 3-needle bind off.

There are links within the PDF for tutorials or videos for some of the less common methods, like the Turkish cast on.

I’ve already sent off a bag of these and have more on the needles.  If you are in the UK, especially if you are in Dorset, feel free to join in the program.

And sorry to subscribers who got a link that disappeared.  Honestly, that post was a MESS. You didn’t miss anything! 🙂


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Crochet Preenie Beanies – pattern OKed!

I got the word back from Baby Beanies that the crochet pattern is OK so I am going to share it here.  I found a really nice sizing chart here – although the post is old, and the blog is no longer active, I found it very helpful.  I’ve snipped a bit out to add to the pattern and added a link to the PDF, so you can use it to assess your own crochet version and check the sizing.

I can do one of these in about 30 minutes.  I’ve tried to make the pattern apply for both the US terminology and the UK terms.  The US is in RED and the UK is in blue.  I do hope I got it right.  I would really appreciate any feedback.  I don’t usually do patterns for knitting and crochet, although I have done them occasionally, I’m not an expert! And once I’ve done something a few times I go on autopilot, and then forget to take notes.  But this is very very simple, and very, very forgiving.  Given there is a need for beanies of ALL sizes, full size newborn ones, the odd added or missed stitch isn’t going to render the beanie unusable.

That’s basically what it looks like, although some of these substitute a hdc (or htr in UK terms!) for the dc (tr) stitches.  I thought it might work better but in the end I liked the dc/tr for all rounds until the edging round(s).

6basicbeanie

 

Now I have discharged my duty – I’ll try to pop back tomorrow and make sure I email any commenters or email-ers who asked for a copy when I got it OKed.  Have fun using up your scraps making something useful for charity.  My stash of bits of yarn are getting consumed quickly, making room for more new yarn….

{wink}


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A collection of Charity Beanies

As you may know I have followed Jan’s lead and joined in with the Baby Beanies charity, knitting beanies for Preemies.  I have a lot of small bits of yarn and this is perfect for using it up.   The smallest beanies use 9 to 15 oz of yarn (the cotton is heavier) for the knitted one with rolled brim.

But I am not a particularly fast knitter – I am a MUCH faster crocheter.  So I went looking for an “approved” crochet pattern.  After my experience with the Knockers I wanted to make sure I wasn’t wasting my time.  The organizer didn’t have a pattern but said she has had requests.  I figured this is something I can help with! so I went hunting for patterns to test, because you just don’t know till you try, right?

I found what I thought was a winner – a 10 minute, really simple pattern.  But when I tried it, there were issues.

The first issue is it has a very small crown and the sides come straight down.

basicbeanie

Then there is a slip stitch edging that keeps the edges from stretching out.

2basicbeanie

So I set about tweaking the pattern to make it more like the knitted version.  I think I managed that but it took quite a few attempts to get it “right.” I will send them along and hope to get some feedback from the hospitals to say whether or not the pattern works for them – because that is the real test, isn’t it?

6basicbeanie

Simply varying the number of beginning stitches, and the hook size, gives slight variations in the sizing.  If it gets the OK then I will share it.  No point in sharing if it’s not usable, right?

But I will add the links to a few places I found and some good patterns.  They are all listed as preemie beanies.

One of the biggest selections of patterns is at Mama That Makes.  And this pattern is my favourite.  A little more time-consuming because of the ribbing, but so cute it’s worth it.

5basicbeanie

The hat on the left is this one.  Also ribbed.  The reason I looked at ribbed hats to begin with is the denser fabric.  As preemie beanies are meant to help keep the heat from escaping and help the babies regulate their temperature, I wanted a crocheted hat that wasn’t hole-y.  Most of them are, tho’, so I set that aside.  I mean, would 1000s or people be crocheting beanies if the “holes” were an issue?  Probably not. Similar issue, tho’ as the sides are quite straight – they SEEM stretchy because of the ribbing, but are they stretchy enough?

There seem to be two styles – one that is a circle crown with more or less straight sides or a continuous spiral, that increases slightly.  I didn’t test this one, and be warned, the site is littered with ads and not all the arrows mean what you think they do!  Click carefully.  I really hate that trick and tend to click away pronto….

This one is a gently increasing one, and probably my 2nd favourite.  The size can be adjusted by stopping the centre circle sooner, using finer yarn and a smaller hook, etc.  As all sorts of sizes are needed, and as this is hdc (htr in the UK) it is a bit denser than the dc (tr) versions.

4basicbeanie

I love the LOOK of this one but the there were so many instructions it sort of did my head in.  Seemed more like a choice for making something for someone you know and love, rather than for cranking out charity items where quality matters, but so does quantity!

This is by no means either ALL or the BEST versions, just the ones I looked at and wanted to try, that fit my own criteria (ie fast, easy, dense, even slightly re-sizeable or in different sizes) and where the end product seemed usable.  There is no doubt in my mind the knitted version is “finer” and the stitches tighter so the fabric more “solid” but I can make four crocheted beanies (maybe five)  in the time it takes me to knit one.

Are you a neonatal nurse?  Have experience of beanies?  Leave me a comment on the best patterns, knit v crochet, anything to help me focus my energies on the most useful version.

Now I have some WOYWW visits to return.  Yesterday the day got away from me, due to my aching back and some unavoidable stuff that needed attention.  And OMG my ATCs for the crop need attention too.  I have a lot more to make and time is slipping away….


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Beanies

I got sidetracked yesterday.  Actually, a phrase used by the culprit, the one who sidetracked me, is “my butterfly mind.”  Oh I do love that, it fits perfectly.  My brain flits and flutters all over the place too.  I’ll explain.

In visiting WOYWW yesterday I landed at Jan’s (that’s LLJ, or Lunch Lady Jan, who caters the WOYWW crop) and saw the diddy little hats she was knitting for charity.  I mentioned I would hunt up the link, but before I could she linked in a comment (and probably lucky, too, as I got a good 20 or so visits to desks before following the link.)

The site is Baby Beanies. What they say:

Baby Beanies is a non profit organisation run solely on the dedication and support of it’s volunteers.

 Neonatal units across the UK are in constant need of knitted hats for the premature and poorly babies in their care. 

Premature babies are often unable to maintain their temperature by themselves and statistics show that simply by wearing a hat it helps them to regulate their temperature. In some cases this can be the difference between being allowed home or not!

Sounds like a worthy cause, and ideal because they suggest a 50gm ball of wool will make FOUR beanies and I have tons of bits of wool and cotton.  Plus they knit up fast.  I emailed to the CONTACT US address at 9:01 and by 9:06 I had the welcome pack and patterns.

Of course I had to convert the flat knitting pattern with a seam to one for circular needles, and one I made one and worked out how I needed to alter it to be able to do two at a time, I gave that a go.

2beanies

When knitting ONE in the round it’s easy to slip a stitch from one needle to the other, when the decreases start, so you aren’t trying to K2Tog with one stitch on the front needle and one on the back. Magic Loop won’t allow that.  But tiny tweaks sorted it.

beanies

Just doing to rolled brim ones (I do HATE purling, but might do a ribbed brim a some point) and with 150 mm cables I can do three hats for sure, and might even be able to push it to four!

3beaniesOf course it takes a bit longer to complete a three hats – it isn’t really about saving time, it’s about seeing if I can.  You know me….

So I’ll aim to get a handful done, it’s great watching-TV knitting, since the tricky casting on is done and it’s just rows of knit for a while, then ship them off.  And maybe help a wee one get home sooner.  That would be nice.

And NOW I have a few WOYWW visits to return so will set down the needles for a bit and get them done!