Knitting for Charity with the Knit for Winter Campaign #knitforwinter

knit for winterI often have a knitting project or two (or three, or four, who’s counting really!?) on the go at any one time, partially because I have a short attention span but more because there’s so many good patterns or events to make for! At the moment I’m knitting a hat, an octopus, possibly a fish (I keep taking it apart and restarting) and I’ve just finished two of the cutest hats you’re ever likely to come across. These were made for Sunrise Senior Living’s annual Knit for Winter campaign.

Every year Sunrise supports a different charity and challenges knitters to use their wool to help. This year it’s in aid of the premature baby charity First Touch. Sunrise with the help of Jane Gois have written two patterns suitable for beginners or advanced knitters. Make a blanket or bonnet to be used in incubators to help keep the most delicate babies warm.

All of my children were born early with the youngest going straight into an incubator to be ventilated so this is a campaign close to my heart. It was for that very reason that I wanted to knit the bonnet and give it a bit of personality!

When your baby is unexpectedly taken away from you moments after birth, you don’t get a chance to dress them in that perfectly selected outfit hiding in your hospital bag. They’re placed into an incubator and wires seem to obscure almost every feature, I didn’t even know what colour my son’s hair was! The wires prevent most clothing but the hospital usually provides a teeny tiny hat. But… baby wool often comes in limited colours, pale blue, pink, yellow and white etc. When I made these tiny hats I had myself in mind, just because my baby wasn’t well didn’t mean he wasn’t an individual little person. I wanted to knit hats with personality, so instead of using standard baby wool I made hats using the softest 3ply acrylic sock wool. I think the end result really stands out, they’ll be no denying which baby is which in hats like these! I hope the recipients feel the same way too 🙂

If you’d like to get involved pop over to >Sunrise Senior Living’s website for the patterns and get knitting! You can also use the hashtag #knitforwinter to showcase your creations on social media.

Artistic Advent Calendar to be auctioned on eBay for Oxfam

box4This Christmas I’ve joined forces with Parcel Hero and Oxfam to create a truly unique Advent Calendar to be auctioned on eBay.

International Courier company Parcel Hero contacted myself and 24 other well-known craftsmen and women to ask if we would donate our time and skills to create an amazing advent calendar which would be auctioned to raise money for Oxfam. It sounded like such a fun and worthy project that I jumped at the opportunity to get involved.

In October Parcel Hero sent out 25 plain wooden boxes to artists across the globe with one simple brief… ‘turn them into something spectacular!’

So what happened to my box…

boxThe Outside

The outside was painted using some of my favourite colours and motifs (look at my logo to see what I mean). I think twisted leaves set on a cream background is such a restful image and I wanted to share that with the lucky recipient. The painting was then waxed.

The Inside

In complete colour contrast (I like to keep people guessing) I painted the inside with deep colours to look like a simple silhouetted street. Dark skies and lights in windows all conjure up images of the season and I loved how deep and soporific an image they create.box2

I also wanted to add a 3d element to the scene so created a Fir Tree made from pipe cleaners.

The Poem

In the lid I wrote a poem to explain the gift inside:

‘I’m a special Christmas bunny

Made with love and care

My fur is fine Alpaca

I’m so soft and fair

My dress is fine Merino wool

It looks so smart on me

But now I need a brand new name

And place upon the tree’

box5The Gift

The poem may have given you a clue. The gift was a small (and I mean teeny) rabbit I knitted who can be hung upon the Christmas tree. She was made from the finest Alpaca wool (it’s so soft!) then clothed in a hand-knitted Merino wool dress complete with bloomers and a scarf. I hope she will be loved by her new family and grace the tree for many years.box3

Of course this box was just my contribution and with 24 more boxes from the likes of Matt Jones of Lunartik, Jenny Barnett Rohrs of Craft Test Dummies, Hilary Pullen of UK Craft Blog and Pablo Lentile there’s definitely something to delight everyone!

Oxfam’s partnerships manager Peter Hall commented: “Oxfam gives a massive thankyou to every artist who has taken part. These advent boxes will help change lives. We are so impressed with the amount of effort and creativity that has gone into these creations. Let’s hope they raise loads of funds to help Oxfam end poverty sooner! Happy bidding!”

Parcel Hero’s head of PR David Jinks, added: “This is probably the most unique and inspired advent calendar ever created; but sadly only one person can own it.”

If by now you’re wondering just how you can get your hands on this wondrous creation, then head on over to eBay here and bid bid bid. The auction closes on 26th November and all money raised will go directly to Oxfam.




The Great Lord of the Rings Cake Off!

A weekend spent at home can quickly become boring if you don’t have any activities or projects with which to occupy yourself. My husband and I found ourselves in just such a situation a few weeks ago. Rather than spend a weekend in front of the television, I challenged him to a cake off! The rules were simple, we would both make a cake and decorate it on a chosen theme and then let our friends vote for the winner.

After watching the recent Hobbit film we decided on a Lord of the Rings or Tolkien theme. Both cakes were mini cakes (so they could be eaten quickly and therefore keep their freshness).

I chose to make a Hobbit Hole, the cake was baked in a pudding basin and carved to give the shape. I was really quite pleased with it 🙂

My husband (the ambitious fellow that he is) chose to make Minas Tirith, it was constructed of multiple layers of mini brownie cakes, then covered in icing.

We put the photos onto our personal facebook pages and let our friends and family vote for a winner. The results crowned…..

My Hobbit Hole victorious!

It was a hilarious way to spend a weekend and basically a free activity as we had everything we needed in our cupboards.

So if you find yourself slipping into boredom one weekend how about challenging a friend or family member to your very own cake off or bake off. You can even do a challenge with a group of friends, or perhaps in aid of charity. Not forgetting that it doesn’t matter who wins as everyone gets to eat cake!!