Saturday, July 30, 2011

A REAL Knitting Mystery

I am a true fan of Agatha Christie mystery novels. I think I've read about 25 of them. Poirot and Miss Marple are both so fun to read about. And I love all the other characters as well.

Speaking of Miss Marple, several years ago, I was watching an Agatha Christie televised movie called "A Caribbean Mystery", and noticed that the cameraman looked over Miss Marple's shoulder to show what she was knitting (a baby cardigan). It showed an actual pattern book, and the name of the pattern was "Diddle Dumpling".
Diddle Dumpling - Miss Marple Knitting

I immediately went searching on the internet to find out if the pattern was real or not. After searching all over the place, I finally gave up. It must not be a real pattern after all. :(

Segue to 2011, and I'm perusing Ravelry, as I do every day. I had recently joined an Agatha Christie Ravelry Group called "Delicious Death", and mentioned the sweater in one of the discussions. The other group members were interested in the sweater as well. In fact, they said that this pattern has been the quest of several knitters for quite a while now.

Great minds can do wonders, especially if we are all tuned in together. Believe it or not, one of us FOUND the pattern!! She watched the episode over and over again, until she was able to figure out the name of the publisher. (Bairnswear) Then, she kept at it until she discovered the actual pattern book that had "Diddle Dumpling" in it. (Bairnswear #107) She even found a lady that sells PDF copies of the book!

Diddle Dumpling is in this book

We were all SO PLEASED to have the pattern available to knit, so several of us quickly purchased the PDF from Sue at The Retro Knitting Company.

Now, we are doing a knit-along, making the same baby sweater as Miss Marple made. I think we are dedicated fans, don't you? :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Oddball Charity Blankets

As usual, I've been doing lots of charity knitting. It's always a joy to share my knitted items with people who really appreciate them. :) I have several friends who feel the same way. Over the past 4 years, more than 200 of my knitting friends have been working together to make Oddball Blankets.

The project started in the Knitting Help Forum back in February of 2007, when I posted about an idea I had. I really loved talking to all my friends in the Knitting Help Forum online, and wished that I could see them all face to face. I thought that one way we could "connect" would be to work on a project together. So, I grabbed some knitting needles and started a blanket by casting on 200 stitches.

(Oddball Blanket) First Knitter - Shandeh

The next day, I posted about my idea in the forum, and everyone was interested! I showed them a photo of the blanket I had started, and by the end of the day, I had several knitters signed up to knit more sections on the blanket. It was a WILDFIRE! All of a sudden, MORE knitters signed up. I had to start four more blankets, so there would be spots available for everyone that wanted to participate.

Our blankets travelled from one knitter to the next, with the original knitting needles still attached. All each knitter had to do was choose a similar yarn, and knit a 3 inch section of the blanket, then mail it to the next person. Some of us added little gifts to give to the next knitter. It was a very special way for us all to connect with each other. We wrote about our time with the blanket in a little journal, and also posted about it in the forum, and on our knitting blogs.

The large blankets were very exciting, but took a very long time to complete. So, we decided to make smaller versions for babies in hospitals. They are really fun to make. The baby blankets each get a name, so they are easy to follow online. They finish up quickly, and in the end they are given to charity.

Our baby blankets are now being knit by people all over the United States and Canada. At one time, there were some Oddball Blankets being created in England and Australia as well. I haven't heard any more of them for the past two years, so I don't know if they are still going or not. One thing we've added with the Oddball Baby Blankets is a touch of crochet. Each of our baby blankets looks so much better with a crochet border. So, we've added a "Crochet Border Patrol" to our list of workers.
Angel Wings Complete

Fairy Land Crochet Border

You'll find some Oddball Blanket groups on Ravelry: Oddball Charity Knitters, and Western Canada Oddball Blanket Society. There is also a group there that knits 100% WOOL Oddball Blankets: Wool-Aid

Our exciting project has been fun and has been a benefit to charity as well.

Today, I am packing up a box of two of our larger blankets, and mailing them to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota - the poorest spot in the US. The unemployment rate is 90% and the teen suicide rate is four times the national average. Basics such as running water, heat and food are scarce for many residents let alone jobs and health care. I've heard that they really appreciate handmade blankets, so I'm very happy to send our blankets their way.

Here are the blankets I'm sending to them:

Oddball Blanket #1
Oddball Blanket #1 Complete

Oddball Blanket #4
Blanket #4 with me

Those blankets are two of the ones I started back in February of 2007. Now, it's four years later, and our blankets are finally ready to go to charity. It took a long time, and a lot of love. We should all be proud of the work we did. :)

I've already mailed one of our blankets to another Native American reservation in California. And I'm working on finishing up two more blankets as well. It's a joy to finish them up and see them finally going to charity.

Our projects are a joy to create, but expensive to mail. If you want to help out, but can't knit or crochet, you are more than welcome to help out with postage. You can donate by clicking the Paypal button on this blog, or by sending stamps to any of our Oddball Knitters. We appreciate any help you can give. :)

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I'm a forum moderator and blogger for Spinrite Yarns (, and I spend WAY too much time there. :D You can also find me on the Knitting Help Forum occasionally