New year yarn clear out

When we asked on social media if you were planning to make any yarn or crafting-related resolutions for 2017, a number of people mentioned having a stash clear out or tidy.

For me that would produce a lot of orphaned single skeins or balls of yarn left over from projects and a great many more half balls. Usually once I have cleared these into a box or bag, I find myself wondering what to do with them – and I’m sure that other people have had the same problem.

It is easy for your stash to become disorganised over time

To help, UK Hand Knitting will sometimes collect your left over yarn for a charity when we are at a big event, but because we have other things coming up in the next few months we haven’t any plans to do that for while. However, we do have some other ideas for you.

  • Charity knitting groups – you may find that a knitting group near you has a charity project to produce preemie baby hats or squares for blankets and would happily take some yarn off your hands. My last box went to a hospital knitting group making Twiddlemuffs for dementia patients. Check our knitting group directory as a starting point.
  • Schools and Craft Clubs may be interested in receiving yarn to teach kids knitting and other skills. One place to start to find a school or club is via the Craft Council’s Craft Club initiative.
  • Care homes – some care homes have craft activities for residents. Why not contact local homes to see if they are interested in your yarn.
  • Freecycle – I’ve advertised yarn oddments to giveaway in my local freecycle group. Mine went to an art project.
  • Scrapstore – this is an initiative that collects unwanted craft materials from indviduals and businesses and makes them available to schools and voluntary organisations at a fraction of normal costs. Many Scrapstores also have shops open to the public selling high quality art and craft materials from glue to paintbrushes to complement the scrap. There are Scrapstores all over the UK and you can use the organisation’s directory to find your nearest branch.

Wherever you choose to find a home for your excess yarn, it will feel good that it will be used and appreciated by someone else.

 

 

12 days of Christmas decorations

As you have probably seen, we’ve been encouraging people to make mini Christmas stockings that we’ve been turning into bunting for care homes, hospices and other worthy recipients. It has been huge success with close to 800 stocking collected – that’s a lot of bunting.

Not only is this spreading cheer across the country, but chatting to some of the knitters and crocheters who made stockings for the appeal, we’ve realised that making Christmas decorations like the socks or baubles are a great way to try out different techniques.

Once knitters and crocheters got hold of our mini stocking patterns, lots were inspired to add motifs, stripes, lace, etc to personalise their work.

knitted christmas decorations

Some of your mini stockings

This made us think that December might be a good time for a mini-making challenge that can double as a stash buster. Why not download one of our mini-stocking patterns or a basic bauble pattern (knitted or crocheted) and choose 12 patterns or techniques you want to try, delve into your stash and get creative.

You’ll end up with a set of unique tree ornaments designed by you and have increased your knitting and crochet skills.

Please share your results – we’d love to see your ideas,

Join our Christmas Appeal and hone your sock skills

Over the past few weeks on the blog we’ve looked at baby knits being a great way to learn new skills with out the commitment of an adult garment.We’ve also had tips on making socks for the first time.

UK Hand KNitting stocking appeal

If those two ideas interested to you, the UK Hand Knitting  Christmas appeal is just the thing for you. We are asking knitters and crocheters across the country to join our Christmas appeal and spread some festive cheer by making mini stockings which will be made into bunting. We want to bring a little Christmas spirit to care homes and lunch clubs by getting as many people involved as possible to make some festive bunting.

Anyone can get involved simply by making a mini Christmas stocking from left over yarn. We have created two special knit patterns and Raveler RhonddaM has kindly donated a crochet pattern, all of which can be found on the UK Hand Knitting website.

One of the patterns, mini Christmas sock, is worked in the round and has all the components of a full adult sock in minature. Perfect for learning sock construction while using up the odds and ends in your stash.

We are keen to make as many metres of bunting as possible. Knitters and crocheters can drop off their bunting at the UK Hand Knitting stand at the Knitting and Stitching Shows at Alexandra Palace and Harrogate, or by sending them to
Christmas Stocking Appeal
60 Bridge Road East
Welwyn Garden City
Herts AL7 1JU
Please join with UK Hand Knitting to spread some cheer this Christmas

Join or organise a Commit to Knit event

There is still time to join in or even organise your own Commit to Knit month event.

We have suggested that knitting groups could hold charity knitting events on Worldwide Knit in Public Day, 18 June. This could be by linking up with your local library or arranging to knit at a picnic, in a café or in any other public space. One of our team will be on a ferry that day so she plans to knit an item from our charity pattern collection and have spare yarn and needles if anyone else wants to join in.

Commit to Knit month

Why not talk your charity knitting on an outing and share your love of yarn crafts with others

More than 90 libraries from across the country have offered to host Commit to Knit events. You can find the one closest to you and a list of the knitting groups already planning activities here.

If there isn’t anything happening near you, why not organise you own charity knitting in public event. It doesn’t have to be anything very formal, you just need the following:

  • Some knitting friends to meet up with
  • A venue – café, library, pub, park. Remember if you go for an outdoor event, have a back-up plan.
  • A willingness to talk about knitting and crochet to anyone who is interested
  • Be welcoming to new (to you) knitters
  • Your yarn and needles.

Once you’ve decided on your plan please use this link to let us know what you are doing and if it is on Saturday 18 June list your event on the WWKIPDay website as well. You can find more ideas here.

If you don’t think you can manage a special Commit to Knit event why not persuade your knitting group to give a regular session to charity knitting. We’ve heard of one group that are planning to make Twiddlemuffs for dementia sufferers and then have a finishing session at their regular meeting where they’ll share buttons, beads and trimmings.

Click here to find out more about this year's Commit to Knit patterns including the Twiddlemuff

Click here to find out more about this year’s Commit to Knit patterns including the Twiddlemuff

Whatever you decide, don’t forget to let us know how you plan to Commit to Knit this month.

Why we like to knit for charity

It is Commit to Knit month  and we’re asking you to sign-up to knit or crochet an item for charity during June.

We’ve come up with a list of charities that could benefit from your knitting and put together a collection of patterns for those organisations. The patterns are available in a booklet issued with the June issues of Simply Knitting, The Knitter and Simply Crochet magazines, and will be published on our website during the month.

 

Commit to Knit Month

Some of our Commit to Knit patterns – Egg cosies for Oxfam, Preemie Hat for Bonnie Babies and Tulips for AYME Mums.

Commit to Knit month was inspired by the 1,000s of you who knit for charity every year, but we’re sure that some of you are wondering if it is for you – so making a single charity item is a way to try it out.

To inspire you we’ve been asking some of our followers to tell us about their charity knitting and found so much variety in what they do. Charity knits come in all shapes and sizes. It could be something traditional like a blanket of squares or a hat for a preemie baby but equally it could be prizes for a tombola, a crocheted prosthetic breast or a knitted flower to raise awareness of a cause. Charity knits might be donated or sold – or they might be something you make from a pattern sold for charity. As knitters and crocheters, you do all of these things, proving once again the variety in the yarnie community.

And why do people knit for charity?

When you look at what people have to say about their charity knits, the underlying reason is that we love knitting and we can use something we love to help others. So it is a win-win. Plus we can think about the object we create being loved by someone who will really value a warm garment or a comforting blanket. Or of someone benefiting from a charity that has raised money through our stitches.

So whether you’ve knitted for charity or not in the past, please join in this great tradition and share the love this June.

commit to knit

Are you ready to Commit to Knit?

June is Commit to Knit month 2016, when we ask you to pledge to knit an item (or more than one) for charity.

The month follows on from our first Commit to Knit campaign last year when hundreds of knitters and crocheters signed up to make items for a number of charities with yarn based projects. This year we have decided run the campaign in June to coincide with Worldwide Knit in Public day on Saturday 18 June, and we hope that some of you will organise charity-knitting events through your knitting groups on the day.

This year we are focusing on eight charities and have worked with our member yarn companies to put together a set of patterns – one for each of the charities The charities are we are supporting are Knit For Peace, Project Linus, Knit A Square, Oxfam, RSPCA, Mission To Seafarers, Bonnie Babies and  AYME Mums.

We have teamed up with Immediate Media, publisher of Simply Knitting, Simply Crochet and The Knitter, to create a Commit to Knit pattern booklet which will be given away with copies of those magazines over the next few weeks.

The patterns will also be made available of the UK Hand Knitting website over the period of the campaign. Three of the patterns are already on the site for you to make a start – click here to see our egg cosy, crochet tulip and preemie hat patterns.

How to Commit

If you want to knit or crochet something for charity during June please sign up to the campaign here. And if your knitting group would like to pick a charity to knit for during the campaign or would like to organise a charity knitting in public event, you can join the campaign here.

There will be suggestions and advice on organising an event in future weeks and we’ll be running prizes draws for individuals and groups who sign up during June.

commit to knit

Look out for the Commit to Knit booklet with Simply Knitting, Simply Crochet and The Knitter magazines

 

It’s National Knitting Week – get involved

Today marks the start of National Knitting Week, 5-11 October 2015. Although at UK Hand Knitting every week is about encouraging people to knit and crochet and share the love of everything yarnie, National Knitting Week is a time when we encourage other knitters, crocheters and yarn retailers to get on board and make a noise about yarn crafts too.

Central to National Knitting Week this year is Commit to Knit our campaign to get 1,000 knitters and crocheters to sign up to make at least one item for charity this autumn, but signing up  is not the only way for you to support knitting week.

You could support one of our Commit to Knit charities, the Mission to Seafarers  by knitting a hat this Friday of the Campaign for Wool Woolly Hat Day.

nationalknitting week

You could go to a knitting group for the first time. These are a great way to meet new people, learn new techniques or to just have an excuse to knit without interruption for a while. If you don’t know of a local knitting group email Bronagh@ukhandknitting.com so we can check our lists to help. Once our new website is up there will be a searchable database of knitting groups.

If you are already part of a knitting group use this week to invite learners or to plan a learn to knit event for the run up to Christmas.

If you don’t want to be part of an organised event why not knit on the bus or in a public place and chat to the people who ask you about your knitting.

Or wear your best hand knits all week.

We just ask that you are loud and proud about your knitting this week.