Tag Archives: handmade

Loom Knitting

Last week I bought a set of circular knitting looms from my local yarn shop. I’ve always wondered how to use them and after watching a video on Youtube I have it all figured out (at least the knit stitch – haven’t tried the purl yet).

And it is so QUICK to knit on. I made the smaller hat in an hour and a half and the larger one over 2 evenings. They both use 2 strands of yarn, the smaller hat using aran weight and the larger one chunky weight yarn.

The smaller hat was made on a 36 peg size loom and the larger one on a 41 peg size loom.

I followed this tutorial on Youtube. She’s really good and has a website, just google Loomahat and see what comes up.

Have a go and see how quick and easy it is to knit things in the round! The looms are not expensive at all to buy and you will wonder why you didn’t try it earlier! 🙂

There were no seams to weave in, it was all knitted in one piece with no increases or decreases and the only thing I had to sew in was when I gathered it all at the top at the end.

P.S. you can add a pom pom to the top if you want to finish it off properly.



Charity Knitting UK

Knitters and crocheters are often generous people, both with their willingness to spend time on making gifts for friends and family, with their willingness to spend time teaching others how to knit or crochet, and with their willingness to make things for strangers.

From what I have seen, people in the US seem to have lots of different channels and organisations geared up to receiving and distributing homemade items to those who need them, such as church organisations, local shelters etc. But I have always felt that places like that are harder to find in the UK. It’s not that they don’t exist, it’s more that they’re not often open in advertising what they want and need.

I have found a site with lots of links for charity knitting in the UK, so have a look and see if anything takes your fancy.


There are a variety of different charities you could knit or crochet for. Blankets and afghans for your local care home, knitted mice and toys or blankets for your local animal shelter, baby items such as blankets, cardigans, hats, mittens for local maternity ward/ neo-natal ward although not all hospitals accept items like that, maybe knit a really cool blanket for children undergoing cancer treatment – its something to hug and keep when they leave hospital. Maybe you have/ had a loved one in the armed forces and could knit a nice pair of socks/ hat or something?


I like the look of this charity below so will have a nosy around the site later. They make blankets for children in hospitals, among other projects.


I have a pinterest board called inspired by others which is full of random stuff I like but which doesn’t fit in a category of it’s own. Right at the bottom there are a few pins regarding minion blankets and superman blankets, ninja turtles scarves etc. which can really set off your creativity for kids- not just a granny blanket for them, no, they need a star shaped spiderman blanket thank you very much!

There are also lots of groups on Ravelry regarding charity knitting. The people behind these groups manage to churn out an astounding amount of happy warm items for a variety of different causes.

If you fancy having a go at knitting for charity and spreading the homemade happy around a bit, then the above are just a few links to get you started.

Ellen xx


Crafty updates

One of the reasons I haven’t been blogging for a fortnight or so is that I have been beavering away at a couple of projects. One of which is this little lapghan for my friend Angela. The colours are very her and it is just big enough to drape over your lap – ideal whilst watching TV!!

The wool was from a pack from Deramores…either the crystal or the gem? Can’t remember the name, but it is 100% acrylic and very soft! 🙂



angela blankie

I have also been working on a cross stitch project I mentioned a few posts back.

I had this pattern as a giveaway with a magazine about 15 years ago, before patterns were in colour!

There are no colour pictures with it (maybe there were in the magazine but that got recycled ages ago!) so every new colour is a surprise.

It’s not finished…maybe another week or two to go. In case you cant tell they are balloons, although the sun in the corner looks REALLY sinister! And I hate working with metallic threads – you have to use a shorter length and be more careful which means going slower. But I have done about 60 -70% of it. And I am really loving it! It is going by quick and I’m glad I finally decided to pick it up, rather than leaving it unstarted in a drawer for 15 more years.


ballons 2

Sacred Shawl Society

Hello everybody!

I hope that this Thursday finds you well. I am wonderful as I have just been out for a scone with my dad…the first time we have for quite a few months so it was nice to have a catch up with him!

And now for something a little different…


Today I am going to tell you about a new shelter that is opening up on Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota. And hopefully you will be able to help them by spreading the word and donating if you can.

As a British citizen living in England I must admit I had never heard of Pine Ridge until January this year. I first found about it when I googled the word Lakota and a website called Friends of Pine Ridge Reservation popped up. I only googled it because it felt like every book I was reading at the time had this word in it somewhere…even a spaceship called The Lakota in one of them!

As I read through this website I was shocked at the living conditions of the Oglala Lakota tribe that lived there and looking at what was needed, they are the most basic, bare essentials you could think of. Like food, clothes, toiletries, school supplies…

Sadly, this isn’t just on Pine Ridge Reservation. Many Native American Indian reservations are under similar strains.

I don’t know a lot about Native American history, so I can’t really give you a history lesson here. Bury my heart at Wounded Knee is a good book to read if you want more information. And, just as an aside, what really struck me from reading this book, is not just the fact that the treaties were broken, that there were countless atrocities committed and how much the Indians lost, but how many times Indians of all different tribes would keep bringing the offer of peace back to the table. Peaceful resolution of conflicts. Peaceful enacting of treaties. Peaceful requests to be heard at the White House and in other political places. Very inspirational. But I digress.

But Pine Ridge Reservation is an Indian reservation with about 40, 000 people living it. It is mostly plains, I believe, with extreme weather, especially in winter. Not much of it is suitable for agriculture. There are few industries in the region which provide employment prospects for the residents. Some of the poorest counties in the country are in South Dakota.

The more I read, the more fascinated I become.


I have seen lots of different statistics regarding this place, but here are just a few of them…


  • Unemployment is high. I have seen some sources say it is as high as 80%.
  • And the average YEARLY wage for some of those is just $4000.
  • The high school drop-out rate is approx. 60 – 70%.
  • The diabetes rate is higher than average at, as is the infant mortality rate and the foetal alcohol syndrome rate.
  • The child/ teen suicide rate is 4 X higher than the US national average. And the adult suicide rate is higher too.
  • There is an acute housing shortage and what houses there are, often have many problems like Black Mould (which is toxic), outhouses, no running water or sewer systems, and no electricity. Many people live in trailers (like static caravans in England) but with temperatures dropping as low as -12degrees Celsius in winter, and no money to spend patching up the holes in the walls or the roof, or to buy proper insulation, families often struggle. I have read reports of people freezing to death in their own homes because they cannot afford to heat it.
  • Many households will have lots of people living under the same roof. The Oglala Lakota are a very generous and family-orientated people and will often welcome extended members of their family into their home (sometimes as many as 22 people in a 3 room house). But with so many people to look after, many families often run out of food before the end of the month or will have the difficult decision of whether to feed their family or heat their home in winter.
  • Alcohol has been forbidden on the reservation for a long time, yet alcoholism is still a massive problem. There is a town in Nebraska called White Clay, which has only 12 registered residents. The 4 shops which sell alcohol there, mainly to the people on the reservation, sell over 4.9 million cans of beer a year. That is over 13,000 cans a day.
  • Pine Ridge Reservation is also a ‘food desert’, which means families have to travel many miles to get to a shopping mall or even a grocery store. Which naturally costs a ton in petrol (gas). Fresh produce is scarce.
  • I think, for me, the most shocking statistic is the life expectancy. Numbers vary, but roughly they are 47 for a man and 52 for a woman. I have never seen a figure over 55. And this is in America. The USA. In the western hemisphere only Haiti has a lower rate.


Since you have so many people living under one roof, some of whom may have a drinking problem, most likely out of work, then that is when you start to get problems like sexual assault and child abuse.

I am building up such a dire account here! It’s not all doom and gloom, there are a whole range of wonderful charitable organisations working on the rez.

Have a long look through www.friendsofpineridgereservation.org

If you sew, knit or crochet have a look at www.sewforkids.wordpress.com and if you have a WordPress blog, like me, follow them.




You can find out more information about them on their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sacred-Shawl-Society/881667535205875

Or here: http://www.wildhorsebutte.org/#!sacred-shawl-society/c1hui


They are opening up a women’ shelter, hopefully in October this year, for women and children who need help because they have been victims of domestic abuse or sexual assault. This means that they can stay on the reservation, which is beneficial as it prevents them being isolated from their culture and lessens the risk of any further trauma through being sent away into the unknown.

The Sacred Shawl Society has done a wonderful job so far finding a suitable building, refurbishing it, resourcing desperately needed essentials such as bedding, non-perishable food, books and toys for the children etc. Many of the women and children will come in with only the clothes on their backs.

They just need a little help with funding the staff to work there. Unsurprisingly there isn’t much funding available and so they have created a crowdfunding page on Go Fund Me which you can find here:


If you do ONE THING today, please share this link. On Twitter, on Facebook, Instagram…whatever social media platform you are on. And donate to this worthy cause if you can. It doesn’t matter how little or how much (and for us people in the UK, the exchange rate from £ to $ is pretty good right now…£10 = $15 approx).

If you can send any other donations (I mean things, not money) then please have a look at this post from sew for kids which has an extensive list of what they need.





Ellen xx


P.S. I’m loving the idea of knitting/ crocheting pretty shawls for the mums so that they can have something nice that’s handmade especially for them and will keep them warm…ideas, ideas…

P.P.S. I tagged this post with knitting and crochet because I thought if there were any crafty people who wanted to make something to send…just a thought

P.P.P.S. There are many differing sources of information on the internet. If I have made any mistakes in anything written here, then they’re all mine and I apologise!