Get creative and help Innocent’s Big Knit collect a record two million hats

This year’s The Big Knit, from Innocent, is calling knitters, crafters and creators to submit their weird and wonderful woolly designs, to make it the biggest ever. The campaign run by Innocent, the smoothie company, raises money for Age UK by asking knitters and crocheters to create hats for the drink bottle. For every bottle sold with a hat, Innocent donates 25p to Age UK to help keep older people warm and well over winter. The campaign has raised over £1.9m so far. And this year it’s aiming for the biggest knit yet with a target of two million hats.

So we have decided to help them on our stands at some of the big craft shows this spring.

And as you can see from this selection of mini hats made on our stand at the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show, it is possible to be very creative with 28 stitches and just and few rows.

You can find a wide range of patterns on the Big Knit website or you can use the basic beginner hat pattern as a template to let your imagination go wide. Try a new stitch pattern, create a mini sculpture or go made with colour – this is an opportunity to get creative and use up your woolly oddments

Then simply send your hat or hats with a little note of your details to The Big Knit, Fruit Towers, Ladbroke Grove, London, W10 5BU.

Or find us at the Hobbycraft and Sewing for Pleasure Shows at the NEC, Birmingham, 16-19 March, to make a mini hat with our volunteers.

the big knit

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Knitters have their own hygge

There is a lot of talk at the moment about “hygge” and a lot of different explanations about what exactly it is.

I’ve variously read that it is a Danish, a Norwegian or a wider Scandinavian idea and come across a lot of different explanation of what the word means.

However, there are some things that most of the explanations agree on including an idea of taking pleasure in simple or small things, and creating a warm, friendly atmosphere.

When you think about it, in that case knitters and crocheters have a head start in the hygge stakes. We are the sort of people who take pleasure in simple but lovely things – a soft skein of squishy yarn, a pair of hand knit socks, or a successful stripe of fair isle.

What could be more cosy and homely than being on your sofa with a knitted cushion and some handmade socks while you work on the jumper or blanket in your lap.

With that in mind we’ve put together a selection of patterns that might qualify as hygge.

hygge knitting

Clockwise from top left: Hayfield Blanket; Cabled handwarmers from Debbie Bliss; King Cole tea cosies; Swift knit wrap by Stylecraft; Rico Slipper Socks; Mermaid blankets from Wendy; Crochet cushions from James C Brett

 

Volunteers wanted for Knitting & Stitching Show at Harrogate

The Knitting and Stitching Show at the Harrogate International Centre is just around the corner and we are looking for volunteers to pass on knitting and crochet skills to visitors. You can read more here about volunteering if you haven’t helped on one of our stands before,

The show runs from Thursday 24 November to Sunday 27 November. The show opening hours are: 10am – 7pm on Thursday, 10am – 5.30pm on Friday and Saturday, and 10am – 5pm on Sunday.

Volunteering slots are usually two hours, and we ask that you do a minimum of two slots and it is possible to volunteer for a whole day. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come basis. All materials for teaching and demonstrating purposes are provided.

If you would like to volunteer at the show please click here to tell us which days you are available to help and confirm your contact details.

We will be in touch by 17th November with the draft rota, further information about the show, and where to go to collect your pass when you arrive etc.

Many thanks again for your continued support of the UK Hand Knitting Association and we look forward to hearing from you.

Knitting world records

We recently posted on our social media about Sixty Million Trebles.

This is a project from a team of UK ladies who want to create crochet blankets representing the 60 million displaced persons and refugees around the world and hopefully be able to beat the current Guinness World Record for the biggest blanket which was set in India last year.

To achieve this the blanket must contain 60 million treble stitches – that’s around 13,000 squares measuring 36 inches square. Once the record attempt is over, next summer, the blanket will be taken apart to create life sized blankets for UK charities and Hand in Hand for Syria. You can find out more about the project here.

sixty million trebblesSome of the Sixty Million Trebles squares

As well as feeling inspired to do some crochet, the UK Hand Knitting team has been taking a look at some of the other crochet and knitting records people might want to tackle.

Other size records

Longest scarf – Helge Johansen  (below) of Oslo has spent 30 years working on his scarf which measured 4,565.46m 12 November 2013. He keeps the scarf in roll because wearing it could be somewhat challenging.

knitting world record

What we don’t know is if Helge’s scarf will be a good match for the largest knitted hat made by achieved by Industrias Textiles de Sudamerica (Peru). It is 20.2m  in circumference  and 17.34m.

Speed

You might think you are a quick knitter but the world record for the most stitches knitted in one minute is held by Miriam Tegels of The Netherlands who hand knitted 118 stitches in 60 seconds. Tell us below how close you can get to that record.

On the other hand you might be tempted to challenge the record for Fastest Time To Cast On 15 Stitches While Dressed As A French Girl  – it is currently held by Lu Sommer who took 18.95 seconds.

The world’s fastest crocheter is Lisa Gentry. She managed 5, 113 treble sts in 30 minutes which works out at 170 trebles per minute.

People

The most people knitting simultaneously . How big is your knitting group? It will take a few groups to challenge the WI’s record of 3, 083 people knitting in a single location. However, the equivalent record for crochet might be one you fancy tackling. That stands at 485 and was achieved by American University of Nigeria (Nigeria) in Yola, Nigeria, on 24 April 2015.

Unusual

One of the most fun records is that for largest knitted sculpture a 61m pink knitted rabbit placed by The Gelatin Collective of Austria on the side of a mountain in Piedmont, northern Italy using 1,000kg (2,200 lb) of wool. It took more than a year to make.

pink-rabbit

Knitting monogamist or a project for every occasion?

So are you a knitting monogamist who sticks to one project until the bitter end or do you have two three four or more projects on the go at any one time? I’ve come across lots of different names for the latter group (some of them not that polite) but I like the term I heard from a local yarn shop owner – “WIPsters”.

It has been known for the monogamists to view WIPsters as disorganised or a bit flakey and for WIPsters to think of the monogamists as boring. So we thought it was time to take a look at the admirable qualities of both groups.

Here I should make a declaration of interest: I am not nor ever have been a knitting monogamist (except by accident when I’ve finished all but one project when travelling).

Knitting monogamists must be admired for their tenacity and determination. However difficult the pattern or no matter how many miles of stocking stitch are involved, they persevere through frogging or multiple progress checks (the type where you measure hopefully every few rows but it is never long enough) or even having to put their knitting down because the TV programme has got too exciting.

All of which means they must have a good eye for a great project – if you are going to only have one on the go, it needs to be something you’ll enjoy in all circumstances. Anyone stuck on choosing a new project might well be advised to seek the help of a knitting monogamist.

Knitting monogamists also have a great advantage over WIPsters – they are more likely to have finished items as opposed to piles of pieces needing the ends woven in, cardigans with single arms or orphaned socks. NB WIPsters have been known to argue that a single sock is a finished object in its own right.

knitting

A typical project pile for a WIPster

However, WIPsters also have their virtues, surprisingly for some the most prominent of these is being organised. You may think that having multiple projects is a sign of complete disorganisation but in fact each project requires its own project bag with tape measure and notions, patterns have to be wrangled and needles of all types must be available. So there is plenty of kit to keep track of.

It also means that a WIPster is exactly the right person when you need advice on sourcing project bags or need to borrow a stitch marker or a tape measure.

The WIPster’s organisational streak also emerges when you ask about all those projects. Many WIPsters have different projects for different circumstances. There will be the intarsia project that can’t be moved from the sofa for fear of tangling multiple balls of yarn; a small project for commuting; the complex lace project that needs total commitment; and some TV knitting ie something that doesn’t need a lot of concentration. Some knitters refer to TV knitting as “stitch n bitch knitting” or “pub knitting” because it is for when you want to think more about the chat than the needles.

WIPsters always have a plan – and a project.

What sort of knitter are you – and why? Tell us below.