Saturday, 22 December 2012

Last minute elving...

The elves work is pretty much done, but I thought I would just cast on one more thing, just in case there's time....

Wednesday, 19 December 2012


It's about time I 'fessed up. There is another major WIP underway.... 

This is the last one I made, a few hours after her birth... So, yes, there is another baby coming to live with us (all being well). No. 3 is now half-way (roughly) through the cooking process and should be with us early May all being well. 

All the tests and scans have been fine so far, despite the fact that I'm the wrong side of 40. It has been a bit of a surprise, so we are taking time to get used to the idea, and to think about all the (baby) things we need to reacquire, and work out how we will fit into our nice but not terribly big home and car. Maybe I'll just have to move the stash....?

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Elving #2

More elving today.... This will be a hat for my brother, and those pink socks I showed you on Friday are now finished and safely stashed in the gift pile, and a small boy sock sprang off the needles as well today. Progress.

On the down side there is only one mince pie left....

Friday, 7 December 2012

Elving ..

I'm listening to some presentations, and doing a spot of elving at the same time. Small girl sock no. 1 now at the toe.....

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Hats Off (FO)

Despite the blog silence there have been a few FOs here lately. Among them these sweet hats, made for my cousin's twin girls that arrived two (TWO!) years ago. 

Pattern: Fair Isle hat by Zoe Mellor in Nursery Knits
Mods: adapted the number of stitches to suit my gauge; knit one flat and the other in the round
yarn: 4-ply from stash (various)
dates: started and finished in October 2012

As identical twins, they have been colour coded from birth by their parents. One is red and the other blue, so I made hats which are (virtually) identical except for the bobbles.... 

The jelly bean has taken a fancy to them, and has requested one of her own. She did quite a good job of modelling don't you think? 

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

An autumnal flood

I've been away too long for comfort, and have oodles of news and FOs to share. So, expect a virtual flood of blogging from me. Here's a sneak preview of the things I've been up to...

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Cutting it fine

I'm away from home at the moment - in Coventry for a conference - so I brought some knitting to keep me company on the train, and in the hotel. I just had a toe to kitchener to finish the pair currently on the needles. There was almost nothing left over, just a few centimetres of yarn.

As usual, I striped the socks using 2 yarns - although the effect is quite subtle because of the colours I chose. You can see the difference in the cuffs.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Progress #2

So, after a week at home, this is how the list looks now:

1. Finish Dolly (baby cardigan), block, assemble and send to recipient. 

FAIL. Sat down to finish fronts, but when measured against back, discovered that they bore little resemblance to the size of the back I had knitted. So I ripped them. Completely. From almost finished to nothing. Just like that. I did not cry, I just swigged my beer a little more vehemently, and got out some crochet (ha!) 

2. Before sending Dolly in the post, check that recipient is still small enough to wear 3-6 month size. If not, pass onto smaller baby and start knitting a bigger Dolly for first recipient. Do Not Swear.

Fail (see above). Now inevitable that first baby will be too big for 3-6 month size... 

3. make some cloth nappies for jelly bean's dolls

Have made a paper pattern, but nothing stitched. Part Fail. 

4. make some more doll blankets/quilts for jelly bean/gift stash

Fail. Concentrated on Other Things.

5. make birthday crown for jelly bean

Success! It was even completed in time for the jelly bean's birthday. But there are no photos (yet).

6. make birthday cake(s) for jelly bean

Success: Two cakes were made. DH is now complaining that there is no butter in the house. Oops. I will not mention the slight issue of cake batter leakage which meant one of the cakes had to be stopped mid bake and (successfully) reassembled. 

7. dye some (old) clothes

Fail. I did look at some dye in the shop, but didn't have any cash.

8. tackle UFO pile: ripple blanket; man socks; sewing pile

Part Success: ripple blanket has got another stripe, man socks have now got a second heel and I made a start on (my first) quilt top! Eek. 

9. make a large pile of gift bags 

Success: it may not be the largest of piles, but I managed to whip up 9 bags. All made from the stash. 

10. do some gardening (back garden: veggie plot)

Success: weeding and clearing was begun. Harvests were gathered (broad beans and potatoes) and eaten (yum). 

11. do some more gardening (front garden: flower plot)

Complete Fail. 

12. take books back to library

Success. Whizzed up on my bike one evening, and came back with some new goodies :)

13. ride my bike

Huge Success. I have cycled to school and back with one child; I have cycled to school and back with two children;  I have cycled to cake shops to hire cake tins; I have cycled to town to buy fabric and bits and bobs and new bras; I have cycled to the library (see above); I have cycled to (Edinburgh) Fringe shows with the family and to meet friends for a grown up night out; and yesterday we cycled to the pool for a swim, and then to the park to play with friends. 

14. drink coffee


15. eat cake.

There was plenty. 24 fairy cakes and 2 birthday cakes were baked last week, and I had my fair share. 

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Progress #1

The Blogger app on my phone is misbehaving, so all I'll say is: progress has been made on The List.

Here are some gift bags I made earlier in the week.

Friday, 17 August 2012

New beginnings...

Today the bean started school. A momentous moment for every parent. Our first born, at school. It is hard to take in. 

He's there for a gentle morning in a small group to get started. Then another gentle morning with the whole class on Monday, and then 4 more weeks(!) of gentle mornings getting to grips with this new environment and new routine. 

I'm taking some annual leave next week, to be on hand for the bean's first week at school, and in anticipation of an hour or two of me time time for housework and gardening and crafting, I am making a list.

It goes like this:

  1. Finish Dolly (baby cardigan), block, assemble and send to recipient.
  2. before sending Dolly in the post, check that recipient is still small enough to wear 3-6 month size. If not, pass onto smaller baby and start knitting a bigger Dolly for first recipient. Do Not Swear.
  3. make some cloth nappies for jelly bean's dolls
  4. make some more doll blankets/quilts for jelly bean/gift stash
  5. make birthday crown for jelly bean
  6. make birthday cake(s) for jelly bean
  7. dye some (old) clothes
  8. tackle UFO pile: ripple blanket; man socks; sewing pile
  9. make a large pile of gift bags 
  10. do some gardening (back garden: veggie plot)
  11. do some more gardening (front garden: flower plot)
  12. take books back to library
  13. ride my bike
  14. drink coffee
  15. eat cake.
That is all. I'll let you know how I get on....

Sunday, 29 July 2012


And we're off...

Down to London to join in with the Games madness. We are very excited!

Thursday, 26 July 2012


The bags are now ready for gifting: washed, ironed, ribboned. Tonight they will be filled with a few small chocolate gifts, ready for the big day.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Stash bags (FO)

It's a big week this week. 

On Friday our son - the bean - has his last day at preschool. And, a new big scary chapter in which he starts school, begins. He is most definitely ready for this, but I am not. As the yarnharlot might say: it scares the snot out of me. 

Anyway, that's all for another day and another post, and this is meant to be about the fruitful stash diving and sewing that went on over the weekend. So, as I was saying - the bean finishes preschool this week, so I have been wondering idly about the best way of thanking his teachers. Of course, whenever there is idle wondering, there is idle googling and reading of blogs. 

Kelly at handmade at home hit the spot with her post about fabric bags. I half read the tutorial, and let the idea marinade for a few days. I talked to the bean. He thought it was a good idea.I went diving into the stash and pulled out some likely bits and bobs. The bean  had a look, and made his preferences clear.

So, Saturday evening, I unpacked the sewing machine and the cutting mat and set them up, along with the ironing board and iron. I folded, measured and cut fabric - enough for 8 bags. And then I sat down to sew.

At that moment, that very moment, the planets aligned themselves in a most unfortunate, er, alignment. It was now after 9pm, and the jelly bean - who had snuck a 1 hour nap that afternoon - was not sleepy. Not. At. All. No sir. She was as far from sleep as a 2 yr old can be. So, she was wriggling and getting in and out of bed and generally making us aware that she was wide a w a k e. 

While that was going on, my cousin rang to talk about our Olympic trip and meeting up and life with twins and parenting and Boris Johnson (London mayor) and all the other things that cousins talk about when they don't see each other from one year to the next. It took more than an hour...

It was now near to 10.30pm, and not a stitch had been stitched, and the jelly bean was still very awake. Surrender was the only course of action possible. We made our bed (sheets stripped and washed and hung out to dry at the first glimpse of sunshine earlier in the day) and offered her the chance to sleep with mummy. It was 11pm. I climbed into bed next to a wriggling jelly bean and wondered what sort of useless parent I was for giving in like that. 

It was gone 11.30 when the wriggling finally stopped and the warm feet on my belly could be gently moved away. Asleep, at last.

Sunday morning was slow and gentle and full of sunshine. We pottered about, reading books, eating, giggling. I caught up on my missed sewing session - sitting in my pyjamas at the table, while people around me drank and ate and dressed themselves. I consulted the bean on progress. He seemed happy, so in the evening after they went to bed (exhausted by swimming and cycling and lots and lots of fresh air) I sat down to finish things off. By (my) bedtime, there was a pile of 8 little bags. Start to finish in about 24 hours. Not a bad days work. 

Monday, 9 July 2012


It's that time of year again. The one where I have my birthday (41, ahem) followed shortly after by our wedding anniversary (7 years). To add to the excitement, my brother and sister in law arrived last weekend with their two young sons. 

It's such a shame that the weather has been so awful - but if I have learned one thing in my 41 years on this earth, it is this: moaning about the weather never, ever, ever make one jot of difference to the weather that comes. You just have to make the best of it. So, the driest days have involved trips to beaches, farms, play parks and walks around and about; and the wettest days have involved trips to museums, swimming pools, soft play and inside sorts of places. Edinburgh's blessed with a number of such venues, so it hasn't been too hard - but still, a shame for them not to have seen some Scottish sunshine.

My in-laws organised a gathering of the wider family to celebrate the visitation from the American branch. As both my mother and father in law celebrate their 70th birthdays this year, we made the most of the opportunity to celebrate, and surprised them with birthday cake and champagne! They were completely unprepared for the surprise - but both seemed really delighted. Significant birthdays are always worth celebrating, and the greater the age, the more reason to take stock and give thanks for health and happiness. 

Meanwhile there has been knitting. Dolly (age 3-6 months) now has 2 sleeves. A back will follow methinks. There is also a sock making good progress - mostly encouraged by the tennis, which was superb this year - and one or two other things have sprung on and off the needles. A tank top began a week or so back, but was no sooner started than ripped again. Not. Quite. Right. 

Thursday, 5 July 2012


Whilst I have been working hard on the stash busting over the last couple of years, there are some corners of the stash which look decidedly dodgy. There is some really awful acrylic and wildly coloured yarns which came either from charity shop raids, or from my grandmothers knitting basket. I think I inherited her thrifty ways, as well as her bag of yarn unravelled from long forgotten jumpers. 

But, I have a plan. It is cunning, and a bit daring and probably also rather mad. And I'm hoping it might look a bit like this...

Apparently highly coloured acrylic yarn is just the thing cos it lasts for ever .... who knew?

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Moving on...

Things are moving on here. The new kitchen is almost finished, and the days of chaos and the to-ing and fro-ing of joiners and painters and plumbers and the gaffer and the architect and all and sundry are almost at an end. 

I'm ready for it to finish and for things to return to normal. 6 weeks with only a microwave - even if we did have a washing machine and a dishwasher and a sink - was a bit wearing and wearying. But the results are just as good - if not better - than we hoped. We can now see through the house from front to back; we can see out into our garden in a way that we couldn't before. It's nice. Really Nice. I like.

Today the new floor was laid. The fitter left the paper template in situ because of the painting and grouting work happening tomorrow. We couldn't really pass up the opportunity to draw on such an enormous piece of paper, so after supper the chiddlers and I got to work...

As you can see, the decorating didn't stop with the paper, oh no. The jelly bean drew on herself. A. Lot.

In other news, I finished some socks. They are pink, and a bit stripey and I really love them (although they are impossible to photograph). Trouble is, I lost concentration somewhere along the line and they are teensy bit too small for me. 

pattern: generic top-down socks
yarn: Kaffe Fassett Random Stripe for Regia (#02901 colourway) 
combined with some plain pink 4-ply in a grumperina stripe (tute here)

Seeing as I have a dozen or more pairs of handknit socks in my drawer, I don't really need another pair. And, in these days of austerity I don't want to appear to be greedy - so I've put them in the gift stash

and promised myself that 

if I happen to pass the shop where I bought the yarn, I might allow myself to buy a couple of balls because, well, most of my handknit socks are a year or two old now, and must be quite close to wearing out. So, making some more would just help me to keep the others going a bit longer because I wouldn't need to wear them as often....and if there's anything a girl really needs, it's a pair of hot pink stripey socks.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Beanies and bobbles (FO)

The pink hat I lost last week is still hiding in Glasgow somewhere, but the other #9 baby beanies are all washed and ready to drop off at the Pregnancy and Parents Centre.

They look kinda cute all stacked up and ready to go...

Baby beanies (9 here)
pattern: own 
yarn: any and various odds and ends in the sock/4 ply stash

At the weekend we went to a friend's fifth birthday party (happy birthday Aisling!). I was itching to make something for her, so I spent a happy half an hour or so trimming scraps of felt to make this sweet pair of rainbow hair bobbles. I did it while watching England play Sweden in Euro 2012. There were places where my cutting was decidedly wonky; but, I just think that adds to their charm.

And, in other news (in case you were wondering) the building works are still on-going, but due to finish this week. We can't wait! Things already look and feel so different, it's hard to remember what it looked like before... 

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

FOs reporting for duty.

Deli is done - finished on Sunday evening while watching the color purple. (We have a Love Film subscription, and I'm trying to fill a few holes in my (our) cinematic education). Here is a bad phone photo of it in action on Monday.

Today I was in Glasgow at a conference. I took some small knitting with me and polished off baby beanie no. 10 before lunch. Then I accidently cast on a sock in the afternoon plenary. All I can say in my defence is: there was yarn, needles and a requirement for me to sit and listen to some people talking for an hour or two.

I'd show you the hat - which is super scrummy, using some Kaffe Fasset striping sock yarn in hot pink - but it has escaped somehow. I suspect it jumped out of my bag at the conference...  If you are in Glasgow and find it wandering about, do send it home!

Friday, 8 June 2012


Things are happening here. Big things. Things that have been planned and thought about and discussed for some time. In fact, I knew I wanted to do some of these things when we first saw the house (7 years ago!)

We have builders in. We have a temporary kitchen (aka the batcave) and many boxes. There are tiles and lights and worktops and all sorts waiting to be unpacked and installed. 

It's an exciting thing. We've just moved beyond the slow structural elements of the build, and into the quicker and more palpable progress of wall finishes and kitchen installation. Yesterday the kitchen arrived in a myriad of boxes, and this morning the joiners arrived to start putting it together: a three dimensional puzzle of components. 

It feels very grown up, although we are not thinking at all about the grown up bill that will also arrive shortly. 

 the jelly bean tidies herself away in the old kitchen

The contractors have been great - tidy, considerate and punctual. The gaffer, is a very likeable man who says things like 'no problem', 'we can do that' and 'its all pretty straightforward'. We like him. 

There is knitting here too, of course. Hat no #9 sprang off the needles yesterday and no #10 is just being cast on. Tonight it's a knitting night, so I'm planning to take Deli for a night with the girls. Hopefully it'll be her last night as a UFO!

In other news, some sunshine and the long jubilee weekend meant a wee bit of time in the garden. The chiddlers helped me plant the rather wizened seed potatoes that had been waiting to be planted. And, the wigwams for our climbing french and runner beans are also up. Must plant the seeds now!

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Gormley with guerilla crochet

Have you seen this? 

Antony Gormley - Another Place

I love Anthony Gormley's figures - in Merseyside or in Edinburgh. The ones in Crosby have been decorated with crochet (not sure how someone who's trademark is crochet can be described as a knitwear artist!) Dontcha just love a bit of yarn bombing? 

Full story here:

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Knitters place

Tomorrow I'm involved in a meeting about some research we have been doing. We are meeting beforehand in a local cafe and gallery.

It's a knitters sort of place with cones of bright yarn lined up in the window, and textiles in the galleries.

As if that wasn't enough, hot drinks come with their own knitted cosies - which are really cute. And, there are scrummy cakes with and without gluten.

Do try it if you are in town: the dovecot cafe and gallery, infirmary street, Edinburgh.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Waving, not drowning

Yesterday, a short session in the gym ended with a knee injury. Nothing to do with technique or pushing the limit, just slipping on a wet floor in the changing room. Grrr. I suspect a medial cruciate ligament strain, so I am resting on the sofa while the others are out.

The view is not too bad (see painting below), and I am making some waves of my own with my blue ripple blanket. I'd rather be on Bryher with the others, but as things go it's not a bad place to put your feet up.

Monday, 21 May 2012


We are on Tresco in the isles of scilly for a week. We are enjoying sunshine and playing on the beach, pootling on bikes and looking at the sea and the sky.

(and doing yarny things)

Thursday, 17 May 2012


I think I mentioned the endless trim on Deli, which I have been knitting for most of the past year month week or two (really, who would attempt to sew that on?!!!)

Well - it's finished - not quite, but the end is almost in sight, and I've managed a sneaky trying-on session to see how it looks. 

I like it. 

It doesn't look anything like the one in the book (which is very long and more like a coat than a cardigan), but it seems to fit me well. 

We'll be away next week on our hols, so expect some Scilliness (we are going to the Isles of Scilly). Haven't decided what knitting to take with me. Something small for sure, but what else?  I could really do with some more cardigans in my wardrobe, but it's so much easier, not to mention quicker, to knit something for a small person. 

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Hat attack (FO x 4)

Here are some pics of those baby beanies I've been knitting... so cute. The top one is made with a really nice sock yarn. I can't decide whether to use the rest to make some socks, or another hat (or two).

Friday, 11 May 2012

Clickety Clack Hat (FO)

I've got another one of those bugs. You know the sort.

When you know you should be knitting something else, you just have to keep on scratching a particular sort of itch. 

At the moment it's hats. Not just any hats, baby hats. Plain and striped baby beanies are springing off my needles one after the other after the other. I'm on no. #7 now. 

7!! I've hardly managed any FOs all year, and then there's a blizzard of them... I also managed to finish those birthday socks, and gifted them a week or so back, (but failed to take any pics, doh). 

The first beanie is for my babylost friend and her new rainbow baby (kisses to you all x o x ), and the others are all for the Pregnancy and Parents Centre. If my premium bonds ever come in, then they'll be top of my list for a large donation for the quiet work they do with parents across Edinburgh. I used the centre during both of my pregnancies - attending yoga classes there and their home birth group. But it's not all yummy mummies and yoga classes, they have breast feeding support and international groups and nearly new sales and counselling and all sorts. It's a great place, always in need of funds and volunteers. And I'm hoping to help by making a few wee hats for a few wee heads. I'm just using my baby beanie recipe and any odds and ends of 4ply/sock yarn (of which there are plenty - so we all win!) I'm planning to make about 10 or 12 and then drop them off for the PPC to sell. 

In other news, I've started plodding away at Deli's endless lacey trim. I have devised a method for knitting this *onto* said garment and not knitting it separately to sew on late (seriously? sew it on?) I'm still only about a third of the way round though....