you may have noticed that I haven’t been showing you the ‘latest’ in my shop for ohh at least a fortnight (it’s still there!). I’ve been doing some ‘me’ knitting. I’ve made myself a cowl in the same designs as those in my shop from some lovely mohair and alpaca pink and grey yarn I received on a destash swap. Some fingerless mitts that I’m trying to pluck up the courage to felt (they are currently too big for that purpose) and I’m back to knitting some preemie cardigans for Loving Hands – from some yarn I received from a fellow charity knitter in a yarn swap and some beautiful merino and silk yarn I received from Yarn box. I hope to post pictures of them all later this week (you can see the Yarn box yarn in my flickr photos below).

On chatting with my mum I explained that I now find it hard to put the knitting needles down, it’s my way of relaxing, so no matter how busy I am with work I always have to have one project on the needles – today she gave me a pattern and her choice of yarn for a cardigan she’s fallen in love with – solves what to get her for Mother’s Day!

Back at the beginning of this month I wrote about Erin. Earlier this year I met a fellow crafter who had suffered a similar loss last November. Today she has launched two charity auctions of her fantastic nappy and wool soaker outfits with 100% going to the charity SANDS. Clair says on her blog:

‘As some of you may know my daughter Abigail Scarlett was stillborn on 21st November 2007. We were devastated but help was there from the charity SANDS. I have been running a series of auctions on the 21st of each month to raise money for SANDS. Some auction lots have been kindly donated by my friends, others I have made myself. To celebrate what would have been Abigail’s 1st birthday I am running 2 very special auctions.  I have made 2 nappy and wool soaker outfits, one with a pink snails theme and one with a daisies theme.’

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Now if I’ve done it correctly you should be able to click on the pictures above and be taken directly to the auction on eBay – if not go to Clair’s blog (in fact go there anyway) as she has the links there.

Tomorrow may be ‘Bonfire night’ to many but it’s also the day where you’ll see something strange in Sainsbury’s. They’ve teamed up with Innocent to sell their popular smoothie drink topped with little hats.

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Why? Well the aim is to raise £250,000 for Help the Aged – 50p from each be-hatted drink sold. So if you’re popping out for your lunch tomorrow pop into your local Sainsbury’s and treat yourself to a smoothie, you know you want to.

p.s. a lot of the hats are much, much better than mine – have a look at the Hat of the week gallery.

I’ve been going through the yarn sent via the Yarn Box Charity De-stash trying to decide what to make. One of the balls is 100% Soy Silk. It’s made by a company called South West Trading Company and is totally and utterly gorgeous. There isn’t really enough to make anything with but I think I’m in love.

You can see it on the bottom left of the picture. Unfortunately it seems that it isn’t available in the UK – there are some SWTC yarns but none are pure Soy – there seem to be a few sock versions that are 70% wool and 30% Soy. It knits up slightly too chunkily to be a preemie item and there isn’t enough for a scarf.  So for now I will keep fondling it and musing on what I can make whilst I knit up the rest for various charity projects. If anyone knows of a stockist please let me know!

to Yarn Box and their customers.

They are currently running a de-stash programme – where their customers can send in any yarn that they no longer need and receive a 20% off voucher to spend in the Yarn Box shop. The de-stash yarn is then sent out to those that contacted Yarn Box with details of the charity that they knit for.

I received this parcel this morning and the contents will help replenish my stocks for the knitting I do for Loving Hands.

A big, big thank you …

The Feed the Children Charity have released a new knitting book for their supporters.

‘This 12 page, full colour booklet includes original designs from Anna Garde, Rita Gulliver, Val Pierce, Kim Tame and Carol Warrington. By popular demand, Heather Cawte’s practical jumper for a boy, and Mary-Louise Quick’s feminine girl’s top have once again been included. Rita Gulliver’s ingenious design for a school jumper can be knit in 4-ply or DK from the same pattern.  Or try one of the fun fundraising ideas; Anna Garde’s chunky bedsocks, Val Pierce’s cute elephant, Kim Tame’s egg hats or Carol Warrington’s crocheted bookmark.  There are ideas for our army of blanket knitters, too!’

You can find out more about knitting for Feed the Children and order the new pattern booklet here.

Loving Hands have new Winter Challenges – Lou, the founder, has made a miraculous recovery from her accident in the Summer and is back on board with the following challenges:

Here you go then – you have all been ever so patient waiting to hear about the new challenges – this challenge will run from now right through to New Year so it is definitely Winter Knitting :0)

While I was ill we had loads of emails and two of them gave me the inspiration for two of our challenges.

The first one came from Alice a student at Bristol University. She is a member of the Kenyan Orphans society charity group and is going over with a large group of fellow students to help out. She requested 300 teddies with their bags to take with them to give to the orphans as a way of ‘breaking the ice’ and helping the kids to trust them. I thought this was a lovely idea – we have 10 bears to start this challenge off already so just 290 bears and 300 bags to go!

The other email was from a church group who are helping a community in Zambia – they are looking for blankets of all sizes for an Aids Hospice, School and Orphanage – apparently there is a great shortage of bedding and the temperatures can drop so low at nights. It would be great to be able to send them 200 blankets to help out their charitable quest :0)

We have also decided to help out the Sailor’s Society again this year and are looking for 300 hats to send them to help the sailors keep warm – as we are now almost 300 in number this should be simple :0)

Specially for our stitchers we have a challenge just for you – we are looking for 100 pairs of pyjamas or nightdresses for Linda McDonald’s orphans – I believe Suzanne will still have some of the packs of fabric and patterns available for this challenge as we didn’t get any made last time round. Thought you would like a special challenge for yourselves this time. Obviously we will still need the teddy bags as well if you want something quick and easy to do :0)

Needless to say if none of these challenges appeal we still need all our usual things so feel free to continue with warm clothing for all ages for Blythswood or Linda McDonald or if you like fiddly things then toys for the orphanages or knitted boobs might fit the bill.

Hope you are happy with these challenges – keep up the great work team – you are all stars :0)

If you’d like to join the group – either as a knitter, crocheter or a stitcher – drop by to the website http://www.lovinghands.org.uk and send Lou your details. There’s a lively forum of other members to keep you motivated too.