Sunday, 3 July 2011

Knitted blankets (Charity knitting)

I became hooked on charity knitting when in my last years at Snowsfields primary school when we knitted 4 inch (10 cm) squares and joined them into blankets for the Hungarian refugees. I was very careful with my squares, working diagonally from corner to corner to form a true square and not casting on a guestimated number of stitches and working 4 inches and so producing an oblong which was difficult to fit into a blanket. I also made sure that all my knots were on the same face of the square. (Nowadays knots within knitted fabric are not part of my policy [except for shaggy knitting].) A pity that the sewer-uppers did not notice this, with the Right Side and the Wrong Side of squares being joined willy-nilly. But we were still at primary school and did our best – and not everyone was an avid hand knitter as me.

When I moved up to secondary school, I met Janice, Christine and Linda (among others). Jan’s father was a member of the Red Cross, and Jan was a member of the Junior Red Cross. I can’t remember whether Chris was then a member or not but she was a member at the same time as I was. Anyway, Linda and I both joined. Every Tuesday Linda came home from school with me and we had tea at mine. My parents were not very imaginative and every week it was baked beans on toast. Afterwards we went to the Junior Red Cross meetings. We studied first aid, and mothercraft. I remember one meeting, when I wasn’t paying attention; I can only vaguely remember what the question was. The tutor asked things we could do [for something or the other] and I was the first person to be asked. “Knitting Squares for blankets,” was my reply. What else!?

My parents joined the Civil Defence as Wardens and went every Tuesday for training. Eventually a cadet force was set up and I joined my parents, leaving the Red Cross.

After secondary school I travelled to Oxford to study science – including chemistry and geology – at Oxford College of Technology, now Rupert Brookes University. Oxford, of course, was the birthplace of Oxfam. With all the freedom I had, much time was spent knitting, including squares and blankets for Oxfam. Because of the then pressures upon me to return home and study, I did but still continued to knit.

Eventually I moved to Glasgow for postgraduate study at the University of Strathclyde where I joined an Oxfam group raising funds and awareness. Still more donated squares and blankets, and donated knitted items made from Oxfam patterns that had been published over the years. Nowadays the jumpers Oxfam wanted made are no longer required, and the cost of storage has caused Oxfam to decline donations of knitted blankets except for those sold at events, such as the Glastonbury Festival. To be honest, I would prefer to donate the money that would have been spent on the yarn and the time.

Since leaving Strathclyde my heart has been yearning to make more blankets, throws or whatever the name currently in fashion calls them. Now I have retired, I am back in my element. As well as blankets composed of squares I intend to make blankets composed of triangles or strips. Currently I am working on my fourth Ten Stitch Blanket (pattern © Frankie Brown 2008), worked as a spiral. Indeed, I have discovered causes that require blankets, as well as scarves, hats, gloves and so on. Oh, lucky me!

Blanket sizes
It’s sometimes difficult to know the size to make a blanket or shawl, so here are some standard sizes and some ideas. Be aware that actual blanket sizes will depend on whether the user tucks in the edges or not, how high the bed is from the floor, depth of the mattress, &c or whether it will be used as a lap blanket or to wrap around the body.

cm = centimetres, in – inches, ft = feet

Baby shawl (square)
100 cm x 100 cm/40 in x 40 in
122 cm x 122 cm/48 in x 48 in
132 cm x 132 cm/52 in x 52 in (Standard)
168 cm x 168 cm/66 in x 66 in (Large)

Baby shawl (circular)
132 cm/52 in diameter

Personal blanket
92 cm to 150 cm x 92 cm to 150 cm/36 in to 60 in x 36 in to 60 in (3 ft to 5 ft x 3 ft to 5 ft)

Pram/Cot blanket
72 cm x 92 cm/28 in x 36 in

UK Bed, flat sheet and duvet cover sizes
Please note that conversions are approximate
These dimensions are intended as a guide to blanket sizes

Small single bed 2 ft 6 in x 6 ft 3 in or 6 ft 6 in/76 cm x 190 or 198 cm 
Flat sheet: 72 in x 102 in (6 ft x 8 ft 6 in)/180 cm x 260 cm
Duvet cover: 53 in x 79 in (4 ft 6 in x 6 ft 6 in)/135 cm x 200 cm.

Single bed 3 ft x 6ft 3 in/90 cm x 190 cm
Flat sheet: 72 in x 102 in (6 ft x 8 ft 6 in)/180cm x 260 cm
Duvet cover: 53 in x 79 in (4 ft 6 in x 6 ft 6 in)/135 cm x 200 cm

Small double bed 4 ft x 6ft 3 in/122cm x 190 cm
Flat sheet: 87 in x 102 in (7 ft 3 in x 8 ft 6 in)/220 cm x 260 cm
Duvet cover: 79 in x 79 in (6 ft 6 in x 6 ft 6 in)/200 cm x 200 cm

Double bed 4 ft 6 in x 6 ft 3 in/135 cm x 190 cm
Flat sheet: 87 in x 102 in (7 ft 3 in x 8 ft 6 in)/220 cm x 260 cm
Duvet cover: 79 in x 79 in (6 ft 6 in x 6 ft 6 in)/200 cm x 200 cm

King size bed 5 ft x 6 ft 6 in/150 cm x 200 cm
Flat sheet: 104 in x 108 in (8 ft 8 in x 9 ft)/265 cm x 275 cm
Duvet cover: 89 in x 87 in (7 ft 6 in x 7 ft 3 in)/225 cm x 220 cm

Added 16th April 2013
Pram duvet 28 in x 28 in/70 cm x 70 cm
Cot duvet 39 in x 47 in/100 cm x 120 cm

Added 15th October 2011
Following a fire Oxfam is requesting knitted blankets which are sold at festivals to raise funds.
The blankets can be made from strips or squares sewn together.
48 inches x 72 inches (4 feet x 6 feet)/122cm x 183cm
Blankets can be donated to your nearest Oxfam shop.
Information from http://www.ukhandknitting.com/data/knitting_for_charity_11.htm

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