Hello! Thank you for dropping in. We are absolutely sweltering here and I can't remember if it has rained in June at all and while I know some people who love the heat, I really don't. I was not made for hot weather.
For the last few weeks I have been attending a weekly craft group and for Refugee Week, which was 18th-24th June, we were invited to join the Craft Council's project to knit or crochet hats for refugees. The requirements were that we should use a yarn of good quality, the kind we would use to make something for ourselves or for a loved one, in a "unisex", dark colour (this notion of genderised colours is a bugbear of mine, I often dressed my blue-eyed daughters in blue and the Best Beloved looks fab in a pink shirt). I looked through my small stash of yarn and found a ball of teal Hayfield Baby Chunky, a very soft acrylic yarn which has a high tog rating so would keep a homeless head nice and cosy. It seemed like the perfect yarn for the job so I tucked a pair of 6mm bamboo needles into my bag along with a basic knitting pattern and tootled off to the café for the session.
When I got there I discovered that our group leader had crocheted a sample beanie and written out the pattern, together with a sizing chart. Now, I have been crocheting for a couple of years and the only things I have made have been blankets, simple rectangles made of clusters of treble stitches, either stripes or squares which I have joined together as I have gone along. All very simple and straightforward, no shaping of any kind, so I wouldn't have dreamt of crocheting a hat. However, I like learning new skills, and our leader, who taught me how to crochet a mandala last month, encouraged me to have a go at crocheting a hat, saying that if I could make a mandala, I could make a hat, so my knitting needles stayed in my bag and out came a 6mm crochet hook instead.
I soon found the rhythm and really enjoyed it. Round and round I went, making only treble stitches and increasing by twelve stitches in every row.
Once I had reached my desired circumference, I stopped increasing and just carried on round and round.
I got this far before the end of the session and at home that evening I made two more rows of double stitches to hold the hat close to the wearer's head before finishing, cutting the yarn and sewing in the two ends. I had made a hat in about three hours, an actual wearable garment, and I was ridiculously pleased with myself.
I felt at a bit of a loss after finishing this hat because I had enjoyed the making process so much so I went back to my small stash of yarn and found a ball of green Wendy Mode DK, a mix of 50% merino wool and 50% acrylic, so again, just right for a soft, warm hat. Using a 4mm crochet hook, obviously this one needed more stitches to reach the right size (I made both of these to fit a large adult head) and so took longer but this week I was as pleased as Punch to take my two completed hats back to the group and place them on the pile - I think we have made about fourteen altogether. Fourteen gifts of warmth for people who have very little.
We were encouraged to write messages of support for the recipients and attach them to our hats and I felt a bit sad that I was the only person in the group who did that because I think a few kind words can make a big difference to a person who is in a difficult situation.
During the making of these hats I had to try them on for size and it occurred to this unabashed Abba fan that she could now make her very own Agnetha hat!! I'm going to the yarn shop next week to look for something blue and sparkly.
See you soon.
Love, Mrs Tiggywinkle x