… and I’m taking up knitting again

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about needing a new hobby, since my hobby (patchwork and quilting) became my job. I also showed off a recently crocheted hat (click here if you missed it).

I also showed a picture of a beautifully knitted Swiss hat, created – in conjunction with the Innocent drink company – to raise funds for the elderly in that country.

I was intrigued and have since found out more. In the UK and Ireland last year the scheme (known here as the Big Knit) raised £200,000. With every smoothie bottle with a little hat, sold by Innocent, the company gives 25p to Age UK (or 30c to Age Action in Ireland). That means a LOT of little hats were made.

I found this quite irresistible, so of course I have made a little hat of my own and rather enjoyed picking up my knitting needles again.

Small hat for The Big Knit.JPG

You could make one too. There’s a website: www.bigknit.co.uk which includes a gallery of quite dazzling hats and a good number of patterns. They all have to be completed by 31 July 2017 and sent to The Big Knit, Age UK, Fruit Towers, Canal Building, 342 Ladbroke Grove, London W10 5BU.

I followed the pattern in the ‘Knitter Knatter’ booklet published to support The Big Knit, which made the genius suggestion of making a tiny pom-pom by winding wool round a fork – great idea.

Knitter Knatter magazine.JPG

Now, as it happens, I have a sock person with a head (if one can call it that!) just the right size for the small hat.

Sock person in small hat.JPG

The sock person itself was a gift at Christmas a few years ago when we had a £5 present challenge within the immediate family. I can recommend this: it was a very inventive year! Two small sock people came into the house at the time; the other one is wearing the Swiss hat mentioned in my previous post:

Sock person in small hat (2).JPG

The duo looks quite fetching in their hats.

sock people in hats.JPG

This week, in a completely different context I read about the Innocent drinks company’s charitable activities and about how they committed from the very beginning of the company to giving at least 10% of their profits to charity. I found that impressive. You can read more about that here. It’s a good model and one I am interested in following with Amanda Jane Textiles. Right now,  I clearly need to send off a knitted hat to the UK charity, so I’m getting on with knitting the next one…


Taking up crochet

Two and a bit years ago, my hobby became my business. Now, there are sixteen patterns (so far) for sewing and quilting, and many more in development.  Click here to see them, if you live in the UK/EU) or click here to see them if you live outside the UK/EU.  There have also been five magazine articles (one of them is mentioned here) and there are over a hundred fabric designs (click here to see them).  I love sewing and quilting, so I have every reason to enjoy my work.

But what to do when I’m not working? I’m not good at sitting still doing nothing, so I thought I might head back to something I did in the past.  Crocheting is something I used to do as a teenager, but which I haven’t done much since. Crochet has become somewhat trendy of late so I though I would like to have a go. I came upon the box below on one of my charity shop searches and decided that making a warm hat would be a great idea, as there was a ski trip coming up. I had a longish train journey to fill, so felt that could work…

Crocheted hat kit.JPG

Alas, I should have looked more closely at the box and spotted the German words near the top of the lid. Once installed on my train, the box opened, it became clear that all the instructions were in German. Now, I did study German until I was 18, but oddly my course did not in fact cover crochet terminology! It took me most of the three-hour journey just to translate the instructions and to practise a few stitches. Once that hurdle was over, I got on OK, although I did swop the rather vibrant bright green yarn (as depicted on the box-lid) for some white, to go with the purple and peachy-pink colours. Here, then, is the hat.

Hat crocheted by Amanda Ogden.JPG

While on the subject of the German language and woolly hats, I should also say that when away on the above-mentioned ski-trip, I had occasion to purchase an Innocent mixed-fruit smoothie, which was close in colour to that of the hat above.

Innocent smoothie bottle.JPG

To my delight, I found that the top of my bottle was covered by an exquisitely-knitted small hat. I was aware of the Innocent campaign in the UK, where for every knitted hat a donation is made to Age UK, as can be seen from this article in their magazine.

article from Age UK magazine.JPG

Clearly, this happens in Switzerland as well, and donations go to national charities for the elderly in that country.  The label on the hat translates ‘This little hat helps’.  Apparently over one million little knitted hats have been made in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.   So I am in possession of this beautiful, tiny item (it measures 2″/5cm high), which is knitted in a fine cottony yarn, complete with a plaited thread ‘bobble’ at the top. I love it – and sadly, I will probably never know who the skillful maker is.

Tiny knitted hat.JPG