‘Thoughful Thursday’ Loving Hands

Loving Hands Charity Knitting Group is a Knitting, sewing and crochet group and was formed by Lou Jaap after a very succesful 24 hour Charity Knitathon which took place in the Volunteer Centre in Kirkcaldy, Fife to celebrate National Volunteers Week. The event went so well they decided to start up a group to continue the great work started during the Knitathon. They now have a blog site and forum and have members from all over the UK who knit and crochet for various charities. Loving Hands are happy to accept donations of yarn, needles, patterns,toy stuffing, material, thread, lace trimmings, wedding and bridesmaids dresses (to unpick and turn into burial gowns), blankets, duvets, towels, bedding, baby clothes, cloth nappies, etc.

How You Can Help

They need Help with the Spring Challenge, several items on a list that are urgently required. There is still time to help them as challenge finishes  Saturday 28th April  2012.

 BOOBS! . Knitted breasts will be used by breastfeeding support workers, midwives and community mothers, to give instructions on hand expression to new mothers. Loving Hands get direct requests from hospitals and health boards to supply them by the hundred so they are always in great demand.  They do not need to be realistic ’flesh’ tones – the midwives say the nice colourful ones go down a treat.   If you wish you can send them in ‘flat’ and Loving Hands will stuff and finish them off. They are hoping to get 1000 of these.

Double knitting wool – 1 ball (choose your flesh colour!)
similar but darker colour – 1 ball
Pair of 3 ¼ mm needles/UK size 10 
Cast on 6 stitches for base of breast
1st row. Knit
2nd row K1 (m1 k1) to end. 11 st
3rd and every alt row to 15th row Purl
4th row K1 (m1 k1) to end. (21 st)
6th row K1 (m1 k2) to end. (31 st)
8th row k1 (m1 k3) to end. (41 st)
10th row K1 (m1 k4) to end. (51 st)
12th row K1 (m1 K5) to end. (61 st)
14th row K1 (m1 K6) to end (71 st)
15th row Knit
16th row Knit
17th row purl 
Work, starting with a knit row, st st for 20 rows

38th row: K1, *K2 tog, K5, rep from * to end
39th and alternate rows: Purl
40th row: K1, *K2 tog, K4, rep from * to end
Continue to decrease in this way and after 3rd decrease change to darker wool to
make the areola.
Continue decreasing until the K1, *K2 tog, from * to end has been worked.
Nipple: st st 4 rows (see below for amendments).

Break yarn, thread through rem stitches, draw up and fasten off.
With work inside out, sew sides together but leave a gap for stuffing. Gather round cast on sts and sew seam.

In darker wool on the wrong side of work, make a draw-string stitch around the
base of the nipple, draw up and fasten off. If this stitch is drawn tightly it makes a
“Page 3” nipple. Drawing up less tightly makes a less prominent nipple.
Experiment to get the type you want. (Wish it were this easy in real life!) NB It is
good to have a variety of shapes and sizes, just as women do (very flat, very
small/large, inverted etc), so they can see that all can work! 
Turn right side out and stuff. Close seam.

Different sizes of breast can be made by amending the
pattern, and different firmness achieved by amount of stuffing.

NB colours are not important but flesh colour is more realistic.

 Sands blankets – made in white or cream they are used to go into the treasured memory boxes given to parents who have lost their tiny angels. They hope to be able to send in 200 of these this challenge.

This lace border makes the easy blanket, very special. Use the lace all around for a shawl, or on the top edge only for a crib or pram blanket. The blanket is our basic pattern. This pattern knits to approx. a 24″ square. It will always come square.
250gm of Double Knit Wool in white or cream and size 8 (UK) – 4 mm needles 


Cast on 1 stitch
Next row :- Make the one stitch into two stitches.
Next row :- Knit 1, into the next stitch make another,3 stitches on needle.
Continue to knit, ALWAYS knit the first stitch and into the 2nd stitch make another.
Only increase this way at the BEGINNING of a row
Continue until you have worked 20 inches if you are putting border all the way round, 22 inches if you are just putting borders top and bottom or 24 inches if it is to go just on the top edge or no border at all (this should ensure you can complete the blanket with your 250 grms).
Knit 1 row plain.
Next row:- Knit 1, Knit 2 together, Knit to end of row. Continue this way, always knit the 1st stitch then decrease into the next stitch by knitting 2 together until 1 stitch remains. You should now have a neat square.

Using Double Knit and size 8 (UK) needles Cast on 8 stitches
Row 1 ( Wrong side) Slip 1, Knit 1,(Yarn fwd knit 2 tog)twice, Yarn fwd Knit 2 (9sts)
Rows 2, 4, and 6. Slip 1 Knit to the end.
Row 3. Slip 1, knit 2 (yarn fwd knit 2 tog) twice. Yarn fwd Knit 2 (10sts)
Row 5. Slip 1, knit 3 (yarn fwd knit 2 tog) twice. Yarn fwd Knit 2 (11sts)
Row 7. Slip 1, knit 4 (yarn fwd knit 2 tog)twice . Yarn fwd Knit 2 (12sts)
Row 8. Slip 1, Knit 11 sts
Row 9. Slip 1 Knit 11 sts Row 10 cast off 4 Sts Knit to the end ( 8sts) These 10 rows form the pattern. Continue in pattern until it is long enough to fit one edge, or all around, as you wish. Sew onto the blanket

They will also collect the usual items to be included in shoe boxes : hats/scarves/gloves/mitts/socks/glove puppets etc, toiletries, writing pads, pens, colouring books, pencils, toiletries, razors, etc, etc. Items for all ages they do boxes for categories boy/girl 3 to 7, boy/girl 8 to 12, teenage boy/girl, man or woman and elderly woman.

They have a very comprehensive list of patterns available to members through Their forum Pattern Central pages –
and can only be accessed when a member is signed in to the forum using their username and password. It is a very simğle process to join. You will find hundreds of patterns and links to patterns for knitting, crocheting and sewing there to inspire you.
Loving Hands now have many charities on their  books – all have  been checked to make sure they take all the donations and they give them directly to the people or animals in need.  They do not supply items to be sold in charity shops.
Here is a list of some of the charities you can veiw the whole list on the web site:
Boobs for Breastfeeding Initiative
Blythswood Care

UK Maternities, Morticians and Pathologists.

Animal Shelters (SSPCA, RSPCA,Cats protection league, Fife cat shelter, the donkey sanctuary, Little hen rescue centre, Help the animals Wales, WSPA, Edinburgh Zoo and others)
Teddies for Tragedy
If you would like to know more about Loving Hands or the work they do, or would like to ask for items for your organisation or join them and help to make things better for people and animals all over the world  cantact details are:
Lou Jaap
Loving Hands Charity Knitting Group,
18 Clentry Crescent Kelty, Fife  KY4 0LG  Scotland.
Web site:www.lovinghands.org.,uk
email : charityknitters@yahoo.co.uk
Tel : 01383 830277
If you wish to join them they will do their best to supply you with most of the materials you need to create items for the charities.  Their policy is that members give their time and talent to help and do not want to empty their pockets but it’s quite alright to use your own yarn. No matter what you choose to make they can find a home for it.
If anyone would like to donate to Loving Hands postage and materials fund you can do so by Paypal to charityknitters@yahoo.co.uk  or by cheque or postal order made out to L. Jaap (loving hands) they also raise funds for postage through Easyfundraising you can find details on the web site:

Please remember your help is needed all year round!

‘Thoughtful Thursday’ Knitting For A good Cause

Knitting for charity is a wonderful thing. Not only does it allow you to knit more than you’d ever want to for your friends and family, you also get the good feeling that comes with helping other people. Charity knitting is a great group knitting activity. If you have a group of friends who knit (or who would like to start) a group knitting project for charity is a fun way to get everyone excited about knitting. An afghan made of simple squares is great even for beginners and will keep someone warm even if it isn’t fancy. Even if you don’t know the person who is to receive your homemade article, knowing that it is out there in the world is a great feeling. Many knitters love to share their skills by knitting for charitable organizations. Whether they’re making blankets for kids in the hospital, chemo caps, teddy bears or sweaters for kids in far away countries, there are many ways to knit for charity.

photo from knit a square

There are  probably organizations in your town that will need knitted goods for people undergoing  chemo therapy, newborn babies, children in protective custody, children involved in accidents, children in hospitals, veterans in VA hospitals, soldiers, homeless animals, and many others.

You can use a national organization as inspiration or even join a national group that provides charitable knitting by taking  the ideas of a larger knitting charity and focus them where you live.

Knitting for someone else who has a greater need than yourself often helps put your problems in perspective. Many knitters enjoy knitting for charity, but if you’ve never done it before you may not know where to start. You could check with your local yarn shop, your local hospital, or shelters to see if they have a need for warm items.

Here’s a list of some organisations that would benefit from your knitting or crocheting:

1. Lily- Love In the Language of Yarn https://www.facebook.com/LilyLoveInTheLanguageOfYarn
Need  Squares  to make blankets blankets for Syrian refugees in Turkey.

2. KasCare  Knit a square  http://www.knit-a-square.com and  https://www.facebook.com/Knitasquare
Need squares to make blankets for Aids orphans of South Africa also Slip-Overs, Hats, KASCuddles Jerseys, cardigans, jumpers and baby clothes.

3. Lisas Stars  http://www.lisasstars.org.uk  and
 http:// www.facebook.com/pages/lisas-stars/159738440713941 Need Blankets Hats Booties Cardigans

Angel Pockets Burial Gowns Buntings Sleeping Sacks.
4. Knit with Love  http://www.knitwithlove.org  need scarves, beanies, blankets and other knitted items.
5. RSPCA www.rspca.org.uk  need blankest for dogs.
6. Loving Hands http://www.lovinghands.org.uk/For the elderly:-Hats, Scarves, Mittens, Gloves

Lap Rugs, Blankets, Bed Socks, Jumpers,Cardigans,Bed Jackets,Hot water bottle covers.

7. Strickpate  http://strickpate.wordpress.com/ and www.facebook.com/strickpate need Socks, Gloves, Hats, Scarves, Fingerless / arm warmers, Leg warmers for childrenof all ages.

8. Bridge and Beyond http://homelessbridge.blogspot.com  need Hats, mittens, scarves, and slippers for homeless men, women, and children .

Another thing to keep in mind is that the need for garments or knitted items is all year round and not just in the winter time. Shelters and hospitals are often overwhelmed with donations at the holidays, but still need items throughout the year. There are nunerous international organisations who require knitted items and may have a local Office near  you or a collection point not too far away. 

Knitting For A Premature Baby

A premature baby, or preemie, is born before the 37th week of pregnancy. Premature birth occurs in between 8 percent to 10 percent of all pregnancies. Because they are born too early, preemies weigh much less than full-term babies. They may have health problems because their organs did not have enough time to develop. Preemies need special medical care in a neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU. They stay there until their organ systems can work on their own. Premature babies are amazing – they can grow and thrive despite huge obstacles, and catch up to full-term babies in both size and development.

When I get question from people who are looking for premature baby knitting patterns to knit for an early baby, often they don’t know what they are looking for. Usually they want to know whether the clothes  for a Baby doll are suitable to knit as garments for the tiny premature child. To help i have put a selection of preemie baby clothes together in an e booklet. Please leave you email address and i will be happy to send you a free copy.

A premature baby has very delicate skin so make sure you use baby soft yarn. Sometimes premature babies are allergic to wool, so it’s best to steer clear of using wool mix. You can use cotton and acrylic yarn. 100% Egyptian cotton is very soft, a fantastic soft yarn for delicate skin, warm when it is cold and cool when it is warm.

  Don’t put too much emphasis on trying to perfect the size of a preemie garment. There is a great variation between premature baby sizes that an item of any size should be suitable for at least one baby. As a general guide premature babies head circumference is approximately the same as their chest circumference. The average prem baby’s chest measurements are 8″-14″. However clothes of all sizes are required for preemies, so no matter how big or small your item is it will most likely fit at least one baby.

Plain flat half-inch buttons are best to use for fastening. Avoid nylon and metal fastenings, as they get very hot under the incubator heaters. Do not use Velcro as a fastening, it is very scratchy on the hook side and also damages knitted garments when they are laundered. Ease of dressing is vital for preemies and as a general rule it is best not to use ribbon as a fastening as ribbon can often be fussy to tie on a garment so small.

Knitting items for premature babies can be very rewarding and is definitely appreciated by the charities and the families who receive them. If you are excited by the prospect of getting your knitting needles working for charity please see ‘Knit for Lisa’s Stars’ and ‘Knitting with Loving Hands’ earlier posts on this blog.

For Free E Booklet ‘Knitting For Premmies’ please leave your email address in the box at the base of this blog. I promise to respect your privacy and will not pass your details on to anyone else.

Chunky Pink Mittens

Mittens are a form of  winter wear that keeps the hands warm and comes in a variety of styles. Unlike gloves they are easier to knit because they lack defined fingers other than the thumb.Mittens are one of the easiest garments to create because you only need to use minimal shaping techniques. Knitting mittens is much like knitting socks, they’re quick, easy, inexpensive, and make an ideal gift.This pattern is suitable for novice knitters. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you can customize the fit and design to the suit the needs of your intended recipient.

To knit these mittens you will need:

1 ball Chunky Type Yarn
Knitting Needles: Size 5 mm (U.S. 8) or whichever needles you require to produce the tension given below.

Tension: 18 sts and 24 rows = 4 ins [10 cm] in stocking st.

Left Mitt: **Cast on 34 sts.

Row 1: (RS). K2. *P2. K2. Rep from * to end of row.
Row 2: P2. *K2. P2. Rep from * to end of row.
Rep these 2 rows K2. P2 ribbing for 2 ins (6 cm) ending on a 2nd row.

Box Pattern:
Row 1: * k2, P2 rep from * to end
Row 2: as row 1
Row 3: * P2, K2  rep from* to end
Row 4: as row 3
These four rowws form box pattern

Work 4 rows box pattern**
Shape thumb: 1st row: work 15sts in pattern. (M1. K1) twice. pattern to end of row.

2nd and alt rows: pattern but Purl thumb stitches.       

3rd row: pattern 15 sts. M1. K3. M1. pattern to end of row.

5th row: patten 15 sts. M1. K5. M1. pattern to end of row.

7th row: pattern 15sts. M1. K7. M1. pattern to end of row.

9th row: pattern15. M1. K9. M1. pattern to end of row. 44 sts.

11th row: pattern27. Turn. Cast on 1 st. P13 (including cast on st). Turn. Cast on 1 st. K14.

 ***Beg with a purl row, work 9 rows in stocking st.

 Next row: (K2tog) 7 times. Break yarn. Thread end through rem sts. Draw up and fasten securely. Sew thumb seam. With RS of work facing, join yarn to last st on right hand needle. Pick up and knit 2 sts at base of thumb. pattern across sts on left hand needle. 34 sts.

Cont even until work from top of ribbing measures 6 ins [15 cm] ending with RS facing for next row.

Shape top: 1st row: K1. Sl1. K1. psso. pattern 11. K2tog. K2. Sl1. K1. psso. pattern 11. K2tog. K1.

2nd and alt rows: Pattern (no shaping)

3rd row: K1. Sl1. K1. psso. pattern 9. K2tog. K2. Sl1. K1. psso. pattern 9. K2tog. K1.

 Cont in this manner, having 2 sts less between dec every alt row to 18 sts. Cast off purlways. Sew top and side seam.***

Right Mitt: Work from ** to ** as given for Left Mitt.

Shape thumb: 1st row: pattern18. (M1. K1) twice. pattern to end of row.

2nd and alt rows: patter but Purl across thumb sts.

3rd row: pattern 18. M1. K3. M1. pattern to end of row.

5th row: pattern 18. M1. K5. M1. pattern to end of row.

7th row: pattern 18. M1. K7. M1. pattern to end of row.

9th row: pattern 18. M1. K9. M1. pattern to end of row. 44 sts.

 11th row: patern 30. Turn. Cast on 1 st. P13 (including cast on st). Turn. Cast on 1 st. pattern14. Work from *** to *** as given for Left Mitt.

Mittens are an excellent project for using up all those leftover yarn scraps you don’t need special supplies, not much yarn. Why not donate a set of mitts, hat and scarf to a Christmas gift fayre. Or if you’re looking to do a good deed, try knitting mittens to donate to charities in the winter months and help keep someone warm.
If you would like to knit these mittens for charity please see :

‘Knitting to Help Bridge and Beyond’
‘Knit with loving hands’
‘knit with love’ posts also on the blog. These charities and many more like them need your help.