Monday, 3 April 2017

A Bag Full of Potential

I've heard it said that the only things people happily give away for nothing are kittens and rhubarb... 
...but I'd like to add knitting wool to this list - especially after being recently 'gifted' a huge black bin bag of the stuff by the warden of the local sheltered housing complex.  The wool was no longer wanted by the weekly craft group so the warden wondered if I might find a use for it.

I said I'd try.

A few days after I got the bin bag home, I tipped it onto the floor of my craft room - only to find that it was one great big massive tangle!  The Scots word 'fankle' would sum it up pretty well.

At this point it was tempting to stick it all back in the bag the way it came but, whilst some might see a giant mess, knitters know this is simply a bag full of potential!

Sorting it out took some time.  There were very few ball bands to give any clue as to what kind of wool it was.

Finally, all the balls of yarn formed a woolly rainbow on my sofa.

Now I had to decide what to do with it and how to distribute it as there was no way I could knit it all myself..

Fortunately I know a number of ladies in my local area who knit for charity so pictured below is the wool I gave them and the projects they support.

Phyllis knits vests which are sent to Malawi so the very poorest families can take their babies home in cosy clothing rather than being wrapped in newspaper, which coined the term 'fish and chip' babies and led to the development of this simple garment.  I've included an image from a nearby church newsletter as there are no photos of any sent from Oldmeldrum - despite over 3000 having been knitted by local ladies so far!

Gladys makes toys which also go to Africa to bring joy to children who have none.  I gave her lots of mixed colours and baby wool as she also knits baby garments for charity.
June knits lots of things, including these characters, which she sells locally on behalf of a Scottish autism charity.  I'm gifting her all the novelty yarns.
I sent a package away to the charity Knit For Peace who use donated wool in their work with marginalised sections of society, such as in prisons, where they set up knitting groups.

There was some chunky stuff in tweedy browns and purples which was rather coarse but which I believe to be 100% wool so I made a hat for my husband, Geoff, to try it out.

The pattern is called Chunkeanie and is generously shared free by hat designer extraordinaire Woolly Wormhead here.  Geoff has worn it to golf and can testify that his new hat is really cosy.  There's enough to make five more so I've another on the needles as you can see.
Even after all that sorting, gifting and knitting, I was still left with lots of small oddments in bright colours.

I wanted to make something myself to give back to the sheltered housing residents.

Recently I'd been inspired after seeing photos on Instagram of crocheted African flower motifs made into a blanket  by Heather of the blog The Patchwork Heart so I decided to have a go.  I followed this tutorial by Sarah-Jayne who writes a lovely lifestyle, crochet and craft blog with clear crochet instructions called

Here's my first attempts at African flowers.
Soon I was making the flowers in every spare moment and my kitchen table was covered in motifs!  They're quite addictive.

My Mum has been living in sheltered housing in the village for nearly two years now and it was her suggestion that I made a couple of cushions for the resident's lounge.
Each cushion comprises 28 motifs so I made 56 of them altogether.  The motifs are joined by crochet and there's a button opening for removal of the cushion pad.

I raided my button jar for all the colourful ones!

I'd better hand them over before I get too used to seeing them on the craft room sofa.

I won't see everything that's made with the wool from the massive bag but I know there's potential for a lot of knitting to make a lot of people happy - and that makes me happy too.

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