Tag Archives: peace

Knitting, patterns, wool and charity

Nelson Knit-out in the Park

Nelson Knit-out in the Park (Photo credit: Grant Neufeld)

English: Man of Taquile knitting. He is also w...

I said I would blog about my knitting at some point – so here goes.

As I have osteoarthritis in my hands I am no longer able to hold pens and paints and needles very well. I have also had one of the tendons for my right thumb cut so it is has little grip left. This means that my ‘old’ craft and painting activities are now not really available as I have such difficulty gripping. Though my thumbs are less painful since I had steroids injected earlier this year.

My main craft activity is now knitting. This is actually recommended for people with arthritic hands as it keeps the fingers mobile and indeed if I miss a day or two then my fingers all hurt…

Since my injections my ability to keep a tension has improved and so I have started knitting more seriously, as for the past many years all I’ve done is knit blankets and taken them to a charity shop – any one that would accept them. Oxfam no longer accepts blankets as they prefer to use special rather than knitted items when sending abroad.

I have however, found another charity – or two- that not only will accept blankets but other items also, so I have sent them a couple of large parcels just recently. Luckily their HQ is not far from where I live and my husband bikes the parcels round to them.

I sent them some baby jackets and hats I had knitted and some blankets of various sizes and shapes including some for dolls – some of the clothes were for dolls too, and was very pleased when a letter came back from them saying:

We recently  sent a large delivery of knitted goods to street children in India and Afghanistan, orphans in S. Africa’s Cape Flats as well as refuges and asylums in the UK. A number of the smallest blankets were also sent to the premature baby unit at Stoke Mandeville.

So my dolls blankets have gone to prem babies! How nice.

The charity runs groups when it can see http://knitforpeace.org.uk/, and offers free patterns especially for particular projects such as for babies in Sierra Leone which the UN says is the most dangerous place in the world to give birth. The charity is non-aligned to any religious groups and indeed the idea of the knitting groups is to encourage a a cross-section of people to take part even in prisons – as they say: groups are placed where there is a pre-existing community that could gain real benefit from a knitting group, and as such, are open only to people from those communities.

I have also knitted coats for dogs – very small dogs that are not in homes but being fostered and the site http://www.ukhandknitting.com/knitting_for_charity.php has lots of ideas for charity knitting.

I mainly use free patterns which I find on the web, there are great archives out there, and try and find my wool at charity shops or pound stores – I resent paying more than £1 for wool I then give away to charity, but it is getting harder to find good wool at that price [I’ve seen balls at over £20 in some ‘posh’ shops!] – some stores such as Lidl and the Pound Stores do stock wool from time to time but often very strange stuff… funnily enough seaside towns are often the best place to find wool, I wonder why?

My grand-daughter loves the very big balls that you sometimes get, and plays with them. She drags them around behind her as a ‘dog’ and so on. But she has requested some cardigans for her ‘Katie’ doll, I have just completed them with some leggings and hats to match. This reminded me that the weather was getting colder so I decided to knit some winter garments for the charity. Hats no problem – scarfs also easy, but mittens… I challenged myself to re-learn how to knit on four needles and produce some mittens. The thumbs are a real challenge not get holes in the base and to make them look a good shape. So far I’m getting the hang of that again, but my sizing is way off! Much too large, so I’ll keep trying and maybe someone will have big hands!

I have also been requested to knit a ballet cardigan for my grand-daughter as the hall is chilly. Problem is what size is she? I’m guessing here as the pattern is in inches not ages. Still it’ll fit the younger one if not the older and I can always knit a larger size if needs be…. When looking for a pattern I met an owner of a knitting shop who agreed with me that knitting is the best physio for arthritic hands – so I’m not alone in this.

I am off to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace with a friend on Sunday – looking forward to seeing / hearing the sonic wallpaper that plays you music – yes really – check out the website below: