Saturday, 28 September 2019

Summer Review

It has been a long hot summer and I have been experiencing some of life's lows and have been thankful for the gift of crafting which has been a salve during very difficult times.


In July I went to Fibre East and had a wonderful time discovering lots of new yarns and fibres and came away with a couple of projects worth of goodies.

Two lots of wool for jumpers A Bear in Sheeps Clothing and Belinda Harris Reids Designs - top row, bobbles for hats, The Knitting Shed skein just because
two balls of sock yarn - middle row, shawl yarn and stitch markers from Owl About Yarn - bottom row
The three skeins on the right in the top row became a Soldotna cropped top which was a lot of fun to make.

I also talked to the lovely lady at The Knitting Shed stand and discovered I had two mini skeins I'd bought previously at Unravel to make their free pattern for fingerless mittens and was delighted with the result.

A New Knitting Book

I am in the KnitBritish group over on Ravelry where we are having a read along for Esther Rutter's new book 'This Golden Fleece' a journey through Britain's knitted History.

I went to one of the book launches in Bury St Edmunds at the beginning of September where Esther spoke and thoroughly enjoyed listening to this delightful young writer, knitter and Mum who has obviously worked so hard on her wonderful book and well deserves all the lovely praise and publicity she is getting. It was a lovely afternoon and we were treated to home made cake and tea and were able to get signed copies of the book too.

I posted about the first three chapters on the Ravelry Group page and said:

It didn’t take long before I realised I would need a pencil and tags because there was so much meat to Esther’s writing that would need some digesting. I also found my page anchor handy so I could knit whilst reading.
So I found I needed a system for my markers: 1 = something that I wondered about, 2 = a word I needed to look up eg, first page of Chapter 2 “thole” (new word for me Esther), 3 = something catching my interest that I might have to do more research on, 4 = about sheep breeds, 5 = something with a link to buy or a book to get to read around the subject. I’ll pick out a few at random:
Chapter one Dentdale Gloves page 22 Esther talks about the Terrible Knitters using needle guards which were often made from a single piece of wood as a lover’s token and I would really love to see a picture of these and learn a bit more about them. Then on the next page Esther talks about Soay sheep and St Kilda and I am reminded of a wonderful book I read called “Island of Wings” by Karin Altenberg which I would now like to re-read.
Also in Chapter one is a reference to Penelope Lister Hemingway, ‘Playing with a Piece of String: The Story of a Dentdale Knitter in The Retreat Asylum, York’ in Knit Edge, 3 (May 2013) which I found was available here on Ravelry for £7.17 and is a magazine I was unaware of but am delighted with my purchase and the wide ranging articles and eight patterns.
Here’s another find in Chapter two, a writer I have read but not the book mentioned: Neil Gunn’s “The Silver Darlings” set in the fisheries of the Moray Firth so that has duly been ordered on-line to be delivered to my local library (encouragingly all copies are currently on loan) so I will have to be patient until it arrives but good to also note that Esther’s book is now being stocked and also has all copies out on loan.
I learn that Southwold and Lowestoft were the county’s major herring ports - Suffolk is a few miles from here and now I’d like to explore that bit of those town’s history.
Chapter three and a bit of serendipity as my best friend is reading Stephen Fry’s “Mythos: a retelling of the myths of ancient Greece” and mentions Penelope at the same time I read about Mrs Ramsay and her knitting in Virginia Woolf’s “To the Lighthouse” and Esther points out the relevance of knitting as a salve and mentions Penelope here - now I have another new book I want to read and a re-read of Woolf too.
I am thoroughly enjoying this book and will post again when I have the next few chapters read and digested.


I have also been making progress on my goal of thirty books this year over on Goodreads and this is a quick review of the last one I logged:

Where the Hornbeam Grows: A Journey in Search of a GardenWhere the Hornbeam Grows: A Journey in Search of a Garden by Beth Lynch
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed reading this but it felt like a longer essay rather than a book as there wasn't a lot of depth of detail within the writing and found it particularly sketchy in the end about gardening and plants and it was quite repetitive which felt like poor editing or padding. There were some wonderful insights about inner life which was why I gave it three stars. The few paragraphs about loneliness towards the end of the book were very insightful. I don't think I'd like to meet any Swiss people after the observations in this book!


I am a member of Ladies Who Sew which is held in the Village Hall and we have been learning patchwork and quilting techniques. So a friend and I decided we would like to visit the Festival of Quilts held in the NEC in Birmingham. What an experience. The hall is vast and to be honest quite overwhelming. That being said it was wonderful to see the stunning work that can be done with needle and thread which was both inspiring and daunting too. I bought this kit (below) which was lovely to sew.

Cross Stitch

I joined FlossTube vlogger 'Halfstitch Cross Stitch' for a stitch along to make the 'Christmas Tea' from Brenda Gervais's Mice in the Sewing Room series. I stitched on mine whilst on a lovely short break in Norfolk. It was a delight to sew along with Dena:
And this was my finished piece:

I have also started a block of the month with Liberty Bell to make the four seasons vintage sewing machine by Buttermilk Basin. This is a new technique to me and I am thoroughly enjoying it.

There has been some dress making too and I will post more about that later.

Local Quilt Show

Today I went to see the Cotton Scatterers Quilt Show at Wickham Bishops which was excellent and spent a wonderful morning enjoying the quilts and, of course, some coffee and home made cake.


The Garden

We have had an interesting time in the garden this year. Early in the summer the garden was looking so green and full and we had a bumper crop of cherries and everything was flourishing. Then the sun beat down and there was almost no rain at all and the garden shrivelled up and burnt to a crisp. That's the reality of global warming in the South East of England and it has been concerning to read about what is happening to our planet and my hope is that every little change we can make however small will help. So I will leave you with one of the good things about having the right amount of water and sun - fruit!


Thursday, 18 April 2019

Teatime Reading

 Spring and teatime

One of the delights of Spring sunshine is the opportunity for taking tea in the garden on the patio.

Armed with some sewing and a good book or magazine nothing could be more relaxing and calming.

I am enjoying reading a, new to me, journal called Elementum which Rob Cohen describes on the cover as "as much a doorway as a publication". It is a collection of writings on nature, landscape and people but more than that it has beautiful photographs, paintings and crafts too. 

In the photograph above you can see the page showing a medieval book of hours illustration for 'none' which is appropriate as that is 3pm - teatime! Here is a snippet of Psalm 126 used at afternoon (none) prayer:

 It is vain for you to rise before the dawn
  and go late to your rest,
  eating the bread of toil –
  to those he loves, the Lord gives sleep.

I am embroidering "Chatelaine" by Inspirations which is another beautifully produced magazine that I adore reading. There are so many stunning projects in the magazine many of which I have thoroughly enjoyed sewing.

In the vein of Christian reading I am about to start book three of Elizabeth Goudge's The Eliot Family Trilogy. The books are:

The Bird in the Tree

Pilgrim's Inn

The Heart of the Family

These are the editions published by Hendrickson and I love them for the quality of production and the beautiful cover photography. They are printed in America.

The last one was written over a decade after the first and it will be interesting to see if there is any change in her writing by then.

We follow the family life of the Eliot's after the World Wars as they "struggle to make sense of life in the peaceful and spiritually-renewing surroundings of Damerosehay" the house at the centre of the stories.

Elizabeth Goudge's writing has a great sense of personal sacrifice for the greater  good of family and very much reflects her own life. She writes beautifully about landscape, inner thoughts and wisdom. I am looking forward to this last book in the trilogy and to lovely afternoons in the garden sewing and reading.

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Seeing Red


What a Winter it has been. We have had temperatures in February reaching 18 degrees Celsius and now in April we have snow showers and sharp frosts here in some parts of the UK. 

One thing that will always come in useful during the cold spells in the winter months are some bright, warm accessories and I have been experimenting with yarns and reds. 

I had already started, and wanted to finish, Veiled which is by Martin Storey and was in Rowan Magazine 62. It is a scarf in moss stitch which buttons up to create a continuous loop. It uses Rowan Kid Classic in 847 Cherry Red. The Kid Classic is made up of loosely woven strands which can split easily when knitting. I found the recommended beads fit very snuggly when strung on the yarn and was causing damage to the wool so I opted for applying them with a thin crochet hook as I went along instead. The wool does give a good stitch definition and the scarf is very warm and pretty to wear.

Next I decided to try some Di Gilpin wool and she had a pattern for Seol Gansey Mittens which used one ball of the Lalland 100% Scottish wool in 50gram balls. The pattern was easy to follow (except for the times I kept going wrong because I have terrible powers of concentration) and the finished mittens were absolutely beautiful. I loved using the wool although I know lots of people found it very splitty (much like the Rowan) as it is made up of loosely woven threads but blunt ended knitting needles will help with that problem. The pattern definition this wool gives is superb.

Pattern, 100% Scottish Lambswool and shade card all from Di Gilpin

My final foray into red yarn was also to try a new, to me, wool which was Rowan Moordale  and I made The Buckler Hat also by Martin Storey. This was a beautiful traditional wool with an added softness achieved by blending it with  very soft alpaca. Technically then it  would be described as a skein yarn rather than a skein of wool.   70% wool and 30% alpaca in 100g skeins. The hat took one skein of yarn and I used smaller than recommended needles to achieve a tighter gauge and I also knitted a deeper ribbed section which I folded back on itself to make a less slouchy bobble hat. I used a Toft Alpaca pom pom which I bought at the Knitting & Stitching Show at Olympia. I loved knitting this hat and am so pleased with the finish. You have to pay attention to the stitch Martin uses which is similar to brioche where you knit one below because unravelling will be very difficult if you go wrong. 

I thoroughly enjoyed exploring some British yarns and wools and the lovely cheerful reds have resulted in some gorgeous Winter accessories. 

It is good to finally get back to blogging as Instagram seems to have overtaken how I have been sharing my crafting life but there is no time for more detail there so I have enjoyed sharing in a little more depth with you some of my finishes so far in 2019.

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Making Needles Fly - Christmas 2018

Where has the time gone?

Looking back over the year I have found very little time to keep up to date with my Ravelry projects page and my blog here. But I have enjoyed a very varied crafting year. Looking back to last Christmas I enjoyed making these socks by Dani of LittleBobbins podcast for our Christmas Eve Cast On.

Ellie of Crafthouse Magic had some great tutorials for owls and a Christmas tree and I had fun making them using some lovely fabrics I had bought in the summer at Cowslip Workshops.
This year I have been enjoying Vykky of WestGreenLoft Yarns' Advent Sock Along using her beautiful hand dyed yarn.
Earlier this year

I have been enjoying cross stitch again and have lots of projects on the go after discovering a whole new world of floss tube:

In the summer there was Tour de Fleece and I finished my set of 'seasons' from Hilltop Cloud:

 I started a cosy memories blanket to use up all the new minis I had been acquiring - this is a lot of fun but will certainly be a long term project:
Then there was the Flower Power Fund raising money for the work of the Marie Curie nurses and we knitted a pair of socks so that everyone on a Marie Curie ward would have a pair for Christmas Day:

 Another final flourish was the Little Box of Crochet Advent box and we made a series of decorations, great fun!

I enjoyed stitching with Nicki Franklin's The Stitchery Journal 2018 and went to a workshop which was such a lovely day:

At my quilting group we made these cute little quilts for the Linus Project for children:

And I finally finished our mystery quilt which I gave to my lovely son for Christmas:

And my Christmas Eve Cast On with Dani of Little Bobbins for this year was with this beautiful Nora Gaughan yarn for Jooles of Sew Sweet Violet which seemed perfect for Dani's new Twinkling Trees pattern:

Now I am off to plan out my crafting goals for 2019. Happy Crafting!

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Oh Hello 2018!

How lovely it was to welcome in a New Year and feel there are just so many possibilities to be explored and enjoyed.
My Year of Colour from Instagram (

I like to take time in January to take stock and set some goals for the year ahead. I'm going to put them under types of activity to make it more organised. My general goal for the year though will be to get my projects and craft room under control and organised. I will have to try really hard not to jump on band wagons when I see shiny new things on social media (it is now March and I am only just about to post and as you will see this resolve did not last long!). Here we go:



The Knit along with Marie Wallin for the edge to edge colour work cardigan Lerwick is going very well and I am enjoying knitting on this project. I am very pleased with all I have learnt along the way which I can see is making an improvement in the technique and the resultant patterning and tension in the fabric is much better. We have begun the section with the steeks for the sleeves and are awaiting our next video. 

I would like to make a goal of finishing all other colour work projects that I have waiting or already started.


I knitted or cast on socks for every month of the year in 2017 in an attempt to get through all the sock yarn I have and although I am not going to attempt that again I wanted to  aim at using stash rather than buy new yarn for sock projects but along came the Flower Power Fund     which is raising funds for Marie Curie Nurses. There will be twelve yarn collaborations throughout the year and I just had to support that. Norah George Yarns brought out a Snowdrop yarn and pattern for it in January. Then Helen of Handmade Curious started a sock club releasing a pattern every month that just seemed perfect for this. Just after that Danni of Little Bobbins Podcast released her new trilogy of sock patterns based on a romantic notion of the two names inscribed in her antique engagement ring. 
My goal will be to complete the sock society patterns.


I have yarn now for three cardigans or jumpers and would like to finish them this year and also to complete already started projects such as the Betty Mouet jumper and a slipover which has been on the needles far too long.
My goal will be to finish three garments this year.


I completed Carol Feller's of Stolen Stitches Bubble Wrap shawl knit along which was great fun and the yarn was fabulous to use.

My goal is to take part in Ravellenics, Tour de Fleece and sock knitalongs.

Then there were all the new books and magazines that require separate posts and lots of sewing and cross stitch projects too. I hope to get back to my blog soon for some more crafting updates. Next will be a review of Rowan Magazine 6

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Island hopping Wool - Shetland to Mersea

Marie Wallin's Fairisle Club Three - Lerwick

::My beautiful box of wool has arrived and now there is a flurry of activity sorting it out, getting everything organised and starting a swatch for gauge::

 ::This is the inspiring Club design and it looked so inviting - so let's dive in!::

::All the scrummy, yummy wool in gorgeous Shetland inspired colours and a folder with the pattern inside and the canvas project bag::What a wonderful project this is going to be to improve my colour work technique and to learn new skills too::

::So the first thing I did was to start my organisation and in addition to my folder where I am storing newsletters, the pattern, and notebook, I decided I wanted to make some cards in which I could record the colour name and number and the pattern symbol for that wool and the number of balls for each colour::I also put in a few strands of the wool with it's name so that I could refer to it if the ball band went astray::

::I took my inspiration from the Quince & Co colour cards but obviously tweaked it so that they would reflect the information I wanted to store and also to keep the aesthetic of the Fairisle Club Three:: 

::Another reason for going a bit above and beyond was that I am trying to learn new computer skills and to develop my knowledge of pages on my mac::

::I think it will be good to have a reminder of this beautiful project in the years ahead::

::I have already learnt some more about swatching techniques::how to knit a swatch flat using circular needles::how to work out the number of rows and stitches you need for your swatch::

::Another Ravelry user, Anne, had a very interesting blog post here about "following the straight and narrow in stranded knitting" which makes very good reading::

::I am already seeing lots of knitting expressions coming up on the Ravelry forums for this project that I am going to have to explore::"taking up"::"throwing"::

 ::Here I am then all set to start Chart A for my swatch for gauge::what is it about a new ball of wool and that first row that makes a knitter so happy::simple things::simple living::bliss::

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