A knitting pattern for a warm earflap balaclava hat with a monkey face and ears—

Sock monkey stuffed animal toys have been around since Victorian times, believe it or not. Victoriana became enraptured by monkeys and their exotic world in the 1890’s. When the Rockland, Illinois wool work sock factory started making socks with red heels, that’s how the arts and crafts creation got his red mouth and behind.

Rockland still celebrates a “Sock Monkey Festival” in the 21st century.

Last winter when my granddaughter’s middle school friends latched onto the sock monkey hat craze,  I designed this sock monkey hat knitting pattern with earflaps for Charlotte, who is  eleven years old. The pattern has now been knitted for adults, teens, and children alike.

Cheeky sock monkey hat pattern (more…)

As a beginner sock knitter, just this summer, these strawberry socks were a breeze, using a free easy sock pattern I wanted to share with you. If you are wondering what knitting socks is like, how to turn the heel, graft the toe, and afraid to try, don’t be. This is a great beginner sock pattern that still has enough stitch definition, really doesn’t look like a first attempt at knitting socks, does it? Well, it’s the pattern, not the knitter, for sure.

Socks are a wonderful knitting technique, easy to learn, mesmerizing and addicting needlework…. (more…)

The Grassmarket Mission has taken on knitting and weaving as part of its therapy intercession for its clients, who are either drug addicts, alcoholics, homeless, ex-cons, or all of the above…in general, a significant part of the world’s humanity with no hope. Here the words ‘weaving, knitting and crocheting’ take on their idiomatic properties, weaving community, knitting together one life at a time.

“The Grassmarket Mission is a charity dedicated to getting alongside people who are poor, marginalised, excluded, homeless, struggling with addiction or mental illness.

Our ethos is based around trying to meet people’s needs both physically and spiritually.”

The Greyfriars Community Project now includes classes and team involvement learning and creating with a focus on age-old traditional crafts. The effort is twofold: to give addicts and those who live a chaotic lifestyle a purpose, and also to reinvigorate traditional crafts and the skills needed to produce them. Men and women from the streets of Edinburgh, Scotland are learning weaving, knitting and crochet to give their lives purpose and a sense of structure. Learning new skills and in the end producing a tangible product has fostered re-built lives with direction and organization.

One 21 year old male, convicted of attempted murder and has spent many years in jail is now participating in this project says, “It’s like a dream come true. I’ve been in prison several times, more than several times, and then I started in here and from then on I’ve found a better person within myself. I come here to clear my head and just focus on doing stuff instead of being out in the streets gang fighting and taking drugs.” The Grassmarket Mission also offers a community run herb garden, cooking classes, art, and hill-walking, and a valuable sense of belonging, missing in the lives of its service users.

And then there is the project called GROW (Greyfriars Recycling of Wood), which teaches wood joinery skills and provides vocational outlets. GROW utilizes old church pews, antique and discarded wooden items to make high quality furniture, mirrors and the like. It’s called “unique furniture with a social conscience.” One self proclaimed “drunk punk”, a classic alcoholic frontman from a punk band with body piercings and tattos on head and neck, has found a less anarchic passion at GROW in the making of beautifully crafted clocks from the reclaimed wood. The clocks are then sold at craft markets and the money goes to support GROW. One volunteer instructor notes, “It’s not about recycled wood, it’s about recycled lives.”

Nordic Whimsy, Baby sweater and hat hand knitted original

A little spring green sweater and hat with a touch of Nordic whimsy, hand knitted in alpaca with bits of the softest cotton at the neck. It’s a Wattery Totteries original with

a little lace-edged seven-cornered hat

a Scandinavian theme, edged in Nordic knitted lace. This toddler sweater set is perfect for that special new baby shower gift. Designed for the one to two year old carriage set.

Available at Wattery Totteries, my Etsy Shop.

Original baby and toddler children hand knitted sweaters and hats at Wattery Totteries.

Custom orders gladly accepted.