Jacqueline mitts - continuing the P/HOP mitts tradition


Thanks to P/HOP and Cranford mania, I've become a fingerless mitt addict. So it seemed appropriate to donate this design to the fundraising project for Medicins Sans Frontiers.

Typically for me, they are worked in 4ply yarn of relatively fine needles, but the pattern with a little texture is straightforward and they are an excellent stashbuster.

I've written a blog post for it explaing in more including why I'm doing this for P/HOP.

And you can find the pattern here.


Woolly Hat Day 2011

As I mentioned the other day I have been knitting a bobble hat for the St Mungo's Woolly Hat Day which raises awareness of homelessness.

However, St Mungo's also features in my life already - by day I'm the group editor of Community Care a magazine and website for social care, so I'm well aware of the charity's work. So a few of the team kindly agreed to publicise the campaign before the hat was sent off to St Mungos. Who knew there were so many ways to wear a bobble hat.

Making Monday: Making a difference

This Monday I'm meeting up with Lauren O'Farrell of Stitch London to collect yarn for a very important orange bobble hat just like this one modelled by Martin Freeman.

Martin Freeman - Orange Woolly Hat (1)

Stitch London are making 30 of these hats to help homelessness charity St Mungos publicise Woolly Hat Day which encourages peopleto don a woolly hat on 4 November and donate to support homelessness projects.

Charity projects for knitters used to be about squares for blankets for Africa but now we can do all sort'son things. I've written before about p/hop raising money for MSF and right now it's Innocent Smoothies' Big Knit - where you are asked to knit hats for smoothie bottles which are then sold to raise money for Age UK

There are always ways where making can now help to amke a difference.It's a matter of keeping your eyes open for opportunities to to do something you love and help at the same time.

Making Monday 1: Tea and fundraising

The idea of making Monday is to share some thoughts about making whether sewing, knitting, card, cooking, etc, etc. This whole blog falls under this theme but as it's Monday and I have something to share I thought I'd join in.

My office recently had a reorganisation which resulted in my team moving from next to the kitchen. As a result we needed to invest in a teapot and a tray. Once we had those someone suggested we needed a tea cosy and I had a light bulb moment.

I'd jut been volunteering for MSF P/hop at Knit Nation where we have been promoting the latest pattern, a Cricket themed cosy by Ros Clarke.

So I put out an envelope for Médecins Sans Frontières donations and rewarded my generous colleagues with this.

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The Knit Nation Experience

This year my Knit Nation didn't start in South Kensington but in just off Hatton Garden more usually associated for me with jewellery school days.

The area is also home to Médecins Sans Frontières and the p/hop fundraising project. As my employer allows me two volunteering days each year, I was using one to help p/hop co-ordinator Clare Storry (aka GingerKnits) get ready for two days running a stand at Knit Nation.

P/hop is all about persuading folks to donate to MSF in exchange for knitting patterns donated by some very talent designers. So preparing for an event means checking display samples, and lots of counting, stapling and printing patterns, before packing it all up to transport to the show. For me it also provided to an opportunity to see the MSF office in action and hear the reports coming in from those tackling malnutrition in Somalia.

Then it was off to Imperial College to deliver the p/hop goods, as well as a yarn stand for the Yarn Yard stall and in my case a version of the South Kensington shawl (which I recently test knit) to OneHandKnits so she could wear it on the stand with the Bothered Owl.

Having these jobs to do and offering to help out vendors I knew, meant I was inside the market place when it opened, so was able to witness the now traditional Wollmeise stampede and visit some of my favourite yarn dyers. With lovely but quite modest results:

Yarn 015
The turquoise is Sweet Clement Besotted, the grey is Yarn Yard Crannog, the champagne is Natural Dye Studio Dazzled Sock and the cone some very interesting linen and steel yarn from Habu.

But mainly it was lovely to chat to a whole bunch of lovely peeps who I usually only speak to online.

On Saturday it was up early to attend a class on Vintage Fit and Finishing from Susan Crawford of A Stitch in Time fame. This proved marvelously educational with tips on adjusting knits to fit, advice on key measurements - we all now know where our waists are - and putting garments together. For me, the most fascinating thing was the realisation that in the past women thought of knitted garments in the same way as dressmaking and learning about the weight-bearing structural importance of seams.

The class was so interesting that it over-ran but I soon had to depart for my next activity - the podcast picnic. Sadly the monsoon conditions forced this into a hallway but it was still lovely to meet up with iMake Guernsey and HoxtonHandmade of Electric Sheep fame.

 A quick chat (some recorded) and a bag of crisps later, it was time to man the p/hop stand which was under siege from lunching knitters. This year p/hop was in the Tea Salon area, just opposite the food queue. A fantastic position, especially on a rainy day, because pretty much anyone needing a snack or a sit down saw our tempting range of patterns. From newby knitters to established designers and magazine editors we had a constant stream of visitors most of whom became fans of the latest addition to the p/hop selection - Ros Clarke's cricket tea cosy which formed the centrepiece of the stall.

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Tea time?

But a whole range of patterns were popular and I so enjoyed chatting to knitters and finding the right pattern for them (I hope) and even on occasion answering queries from those who had cast-on there and then.

It was great to meet so many people and talk knitting all day. I hope everyone else had as much fun as me.

Joining the Cranford club

Knitting a pair of Cranfords - horseshoe lace fingerless mitts inspired by the BBC series based on Elizabeth Gaskell's book - has become a sort of badge of honour for supporters of the Medecins Sans Frontieres p/hop project.

P/hop or pennies per hour of pleasure is a fundraising scheme (in fact the Awards' creative fundraising project of the year) where you can download knitting patterns and donate to MSF based on what value you put on the  patterns and your experience. Knitting to bring much needed help to people in need round the world - what could be better.

As a p/hop fan and very occasional helper, Cranfords were a must do and here they are - allbeit adapted.

Glove 008