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Guilty as charged, for knitting Innocent hats!

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This year, we participated again in the Innocent Big Knit. This fundraiser, organised by Innocent Smoothies, calls for knitters everywhere to make little woolly hats for its smoothie bottles. For every ‘hatted’ bottle sold, 30c is donated to Age Action. Each years the event raises thousands of euro for Age Action’s Care and Repair programme which provides volunteers who perform DIY jobs that elderly people may not be able to do themselves.

Hats

Innocent Big Knit Hats

Anyway, our knitting needles have been out for a few weeks and we have just sent off our contribution. In 2014, we made 16 hats, this year our count has reached 22, all complete with pom-poms! We went for variations on the basic striped pattern, on the grounds that although the animal and fruit themed hats are more fun to knit, they take longer and use more wool. This is fine, but they raise no more money per hat than the simple ones.

However, we did have fun with choosing colour combinations for the stripes and experimenting with moss stitch and ribs. We also went for two-coloured pom-poms, many of which dwarfed the hats to which they were sewn! Our resident bear enjoyed modelling the hats and insisted on keeping a Santa Claus themed one for himself, in preparation for the festive season.

'HATS' display

Go mad for hats!

Have you been knitting little hats for the Big Knit? Or working on any other projects you’d like to share with us? Drop us a line in the comment box below…

Bear with hats

Laying in the winter hat store

More Innocent Activity: Hats Galore

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Verity has previously posted about her Innocent Big Knit activities on Curiously, Creatively and so as not to be outdone, I have been diligently plying my needles in the same good cause. It’s a long time since I have undertaken any knitting projects so I have enjoyed having a go at a fun, yet useful challenge.  I used to be quite a keen knitter, though I have never attempted any major creations; I’m more of a small scale devotee really. That makes the Innocent project an ideal one for me as you can have lots of fun creating the mini hats. It’s also nice to feel that you can help a charity at the same time. As we’ve said in the earlier Innocent post, the campaign operates in both Ireland and the UK so knitters on both sides of the Irish Sea can get involved. In Ireland, Age Action will benefit and over the water the benefiting charity is Age UK. Irish knitters have a target of 65,000 hats this year and their British counterparts need to hit 800,000 to break the record. The hat deadline is 12 December 2014 so there’s still time to grab a pair of needles and get gartering and ribbing with a vengeance.

Innocent Beginner Pattern

I chose deliberately to tackle the basic, beginner pattern first with the intention of completing a few hats quite swiftly before moving on to the trickier designs. This was made much more rewarding by using a bright mixture yarn that knitted up into several jolly smoothie hats. It felt rather like cheating, as the random colour variations produce a great finished effect without much effort on the knitter’s part. Then I moved on to the intermediate, stripy version of the hat for the last two that I made. If you want to have a go at either of these patterns, just click on the images to view a larger version. I scanned in the knitting pattern leaflet that we acquired a while ago, though you could also search online and find plenty more Innocent design ideas.Innocent Intermediate Pattern

Once I had finished knitting a few pieces, then came the fun of creating some pompoms for the tops. A hat isn’t a hat without a pompom to add a finishing touch. My pompom making technique is a little rough and ready and so some of them are a not as fluffy as others. I discovered that it was actually quite tricky to make a pompom small enough to fit on the hat and yet not too fiddly to work properly. I found a small jar lid to use as a pattern and a marked the centre hole by drawing round a coin (a handy use for the spare change jar!)

Teddy Bear with Hats

A model Bear!

I discovered that it is easy to make the mistake of trimming some longer ends off, and then some more, and then… You get the picture. However, overall I was pleased with my first knitted creations in many years and with my first Big Knit contributions. I wish it hadn’t taken me so long to get around to joining in the knitting activity. Knitting hats for bottles can be a strangely compelling business and I feel sure that I can manage a few more before December.

Here is my collection, ably modelled by a small bear (who would really like to keep all of the hats for himself) before I pack them away.

 

Any more knitters out there working Innocently away?

 

 

Innocent Big Knit

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Now I know it’s a bit early in the year to blog about the Innocent Big Knit but the earlier you start, the more you can knit! This is the first year we’ve actually knitted for the Innocent Big Knit despite discovering it several years ago. The Innocent Big Knit raises money for a charity called Age Action. Age Action is a charity promoting positive ageing and better services for older people. S0, how does it work? Everyone is invited to knit or crochet as many mini hats as possible and to send them to Innocent before the deadline (October). Innocent put your mini hats on their bottles of smoothies, which are then sold in shops. For every hatted bottle sold, Innocent will donate 30c to Age Action. The target this year is 65,000 hats. As you can see, the more hats, the more money raised. When you have made a hat, send it to:

The Big Knit,                                                                                                                             Fruit Towers,                                                                                                                              342 Ladbroke Grove,                                                                                                            W10 5BU

Include a note with your name, address and how many hats you are sending.

Innocent Big Knit hats

A model displays the hat collection

Your knitted hats can be very simple or very complicated, depending on your skill. Innocent have two pages of patterns, which range from the simple stripey to the tricky bunch of grapes. I have made four hats so far, all complete with pom-poms. Personally, I think that making the pom-poms is the best thing about making mini hats! I have made three plain ones, but two are in multi-coloured wool, a blue mix and a rainbow mix. There is a plain black one and a green and purple striped. The simplest pattern runs like this:

1. Cast on 28 stitches with small needles (between 3.25mm and 4mm worked best for me)

2. Knit two rows. Starting with a knit row, do 12 rows of stocking stitch.

3. Next row, knit two together (14 stitches). Then purl two together (7 stitches)

4. Pull wool through last stitches, leaving a long tail. Sew up from top to bottom.

That’s the basic pattern, you can easily adapt it to make a striped pattern with thick stripes or thin as you please. The link should take you to some of Innocent’s other patterns. There are quite a few harder ones, but remember that the simple ones raise just as much money. By the way, as you can see from the photograph, these hats are a perfect size for small teddy bears, who would make great models for your mini hats!

So, what are you waiting for? Become a mini woolly milliner today…

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