Tuesday, 31 December 2013

A new year

It wasn't a white or frosty Christmas this year, but we had a good time.

There was plenty of food, and drink, and family and presents. Santa and his helpers brought me a small pile of yarn, including some sock yarn and some of Natalie Fergie's silk. Two skeins. Yum. I'll have to think carefully about what to do with that.

As well as all that there were trips to the panto, the cinema (Frozen and free birds - the latter most definitely a complete turkey), and a bit of time outdoors and plenty of hunkering inside watching the rain lash and/or the wind howl.

I didn't get all of my Christmas crafting finished, but no one seemed to notice. I did make lots of fudge, and some fabric sacks for under the tree, and some shoe bags for my husband man and two raglan tees for the jelly bean. So, it wasn't a complete disaster.

As for 2014, well now. Next week I will be back at work and adjusting to another new pattern of daily to-ing and fro-ing. Time for crafting and blogging may be hard to come by, but I live (always) in hope.

Happy New Year. Let's make it a good one.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Girl socks (FO)

Hurrah. The Christmas crafting planets are now beginning to align themselves and progress has been made.

Last night:12 mince pies and one batch of peppermint bark.

This afternoon: another batch of peppermint bark and finishing the girl socks. It's amazing what you can do when the baby sneaks a crafty nap into the middle of the afternoon.

Pattern: generic top down (44 stitches)
Yarn: Regia Mosaik (4 ply)

Monday, 16 December 2013


I'm in denial. I must be.

I've finished my Christmas shopping (probably) but I haven't really got going on the crafting. I'm still knitting the first pair of socks,  and strangely I haven't started to panic.

Maybe it's the sloe gin? Or the thought of mulled wine that is keeping me feeling so optimistic. Christmas is definitely coming. Our tree is up, most cards written and sent, presents are nestling in their hiding places. But there is still a huge list of things I'd like to make...

Status update:
Cards received: 14
Cards written: 41
Cards posted: 40
Mince pies made: 18
Socks made: 1.75 (toe shaping to go)

Thursday, 12 December 2013

On the twelfth day...

Status update:

Cards written: 21
Cards received: 12 or so
Cards posted: 20
Mince pies made: 18
Socks completed: 1

The shopping raid was a reasonable success. I managed to gather a fair number of suitable gifts by visiting only two shops. There are just one or two things to left to buy, but still a whole host of things to make. Yikes!

Better get on....

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Christmas list update #3

Cards written: 20ish
Cards received: 5
Cards sent: 12
Mince pies made: 18

Socks knitted: 0.5

The sock is crawling along slowly, but I have turned the heel and almost finished the decreases for the foot. Of course stealth knitting always goes a bit more slowly. Well, that's my excuse and I am sticking to it.

I love the yarn - it's so fabulously multi coloured and with enough pink, I think, to please the jelly bean. This one is Regia Mosaik.

I managed a spot of Christmas shopping on Monday and ticked off a few things for the children. I'm planning another raid tomorrow to do the grown ups and that. Will. Be. It. Wish me luck. 

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Things I have learned this week...

1. You should always read the label. Always.
2. The green tin next to the green tin of pears in the back of the cupboard might not be pears. it might be chickpeas. You should really read the label before you open the tin (see 1).
3. An unexpected tin of chickpeas can be harder to use up than you think. Particularly when your mother-in-law has already offered to bring supper for the following day.
4. Crawling babies always make for the dangerous things (particularly sockets and fireplaces). (I knew this one already, but little bean is reminding us of it all over again)
5. You should always read information about deadlines carefully. Sometimes there is a little bit of small print which is critical. 
6. It is good to get things done well ahead of a deadline. But immensely satisfying to think you might miss it and just manage to do it with a few minutes to spare.
7. Christmas shopping is best done in an organised fashion - weekday mornings are preferable. The objective is to cross things off the list, and not to visit as many shops as possible. If you can do all your shopping in one place, then don't hesitate.
9. Soft play and wifi makes daddy happy and the children happy and whiles away a gloomy Sunday afternoon.
10. Ordinary puddings can be made Christmassy by adding a spoon or two of mincemeat. 
11. Making your own pastry may induce (well-deserved) feelings of smugness (I mean, it's pastry:  flour, butter, water. What's difficult about that?)
12. School nativity plays are always, always brilliant. 

Sunday, 8 December 2013

One week in

We are one week into Advent, and already finding it hard to remember to open the calendars each morning! I cant imagine why that is, given the amount of chocolate which is available therein. 

Before you gasp in horror at the thought of chocolate advent calendars, I hasten to point out that the three calendars we have (yes, three) are the result of some grandmotherly rivalry generosity. 

We have a lovely fabric calendar with pockets, made by my mother-in-law, and for which she supplies chocolate each year. In addition, my mother sends the children a chocolate Advent calendar as well. So we have three. All of them chocolatey. 

In other news, progress on the Christmas list is going slowly because there have been some w o r k things to get out of the way. Still, the sock has grown a bit since yesterday, and I have ordered the turkey. The Christmas tree is next.

In other non-knitting and non-Christmas news, little bean is now crawling. He spent a week or so moving around in a non-conventional double knee shuffle, and then on Monday he managed to co-ordinate his limbs. He is only 6.5 months! So, we are rapidly adjusting to life with a very mobile baby.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

On the seventh day...

Status update:
Jelly bean socks now cast on.
Christmas cards received: 3
Written: 13
Sent (or delivered): 1

Last night the husband and I went out together, probably for the first time since little bean was born. It was the husbands work Christmas do. We had a great time, with some really lovely food (really lovely) at cafe st. Honore. (It's a lovely place to eat and if you are a fan of Alexander McCall Smith you might have seen it mentioned in one or two of his Edinburgh novels).

My in-laws babysat and we got home to find two out of three children had been wailing and/or gnashing their teeth at our absence. Oh. Dear.

The evening out also meant no time for getting on with Christmas things, but hey, I'm feeling super relaxed about everything this year. I don't know why as I have done next to no gift shopping and no real plan of strategy for the people I do need to buy for.

But I have made the cake and a hat for the baby. Its a start.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Homework update (FO)

It has been a wild wild day here, with snow and rain and howling winds. We are all safe (so far).

While little bean and I were inside keeping cosy by the stove, I managed to finish off the last few rows of his hat. I still need to make a pompom and sew in the ends, but I'm ticking this one off the list. Done.

Baby hat, knitted in 4 ply oddment (grey ribbed brim) and variegated sock yarn (Regia I think). No pattern. I just winged it based on 100 stitches on 2.25mm needles, with a few stitches added after the ribbing to make it comfy.

As if babies were not charming enough, they are so amenable to modelling knits even at the dinner table. Cute huh?

Christmas 2013 in numbers:
cards received: 2
cards written: 12
cards posted: 0

Tuesday, 3 December 2013


We collected the hamper yesterday. It was pretty heavy, and full of lovely things including:

2 bars of soap
2 bottles of sparkly nail varnish
1 bag of ground coffee
3 bottles of wine
2 miniature pannetone
3 jars of jam
Several boxes of biscuits
Lots of chocolate, including a chocolate Santa
A chocolate log cake, and
A make your own Christmas crackers kit.

I don't think we'll need to buy anything chocolatey for a while! We have been sharing things out and delivered biscuits to our elderly (but not frail) neighbours this afternoon. It is nearly Christmas after all...

Christmas homework update: I'm currently concentrating on little beans hat - it's fairly mindless, and I need to read some things for work, which I can do at the same time. I got past the ribbing and onto the main part of the hat. The finish is in sight, but do I go for a pompom or an I-cord stalk?

Christmas List

As usual there are an infinite number of Things To be Done before Christmas. I'm trying to pace myself with a bit of Christmas homework every day, and I thought I would start the month by making A List.

Here goes:

::Peppermint bark
::hat for little bean (started)
::t-shirt for jelly bean (cut out & ready to stitch)
::socks for the bean
::socks for the jelly bean
::quilt for ma and pa
::finish the Phoebe cardigan
::shoe bags
::drawstring bags

Seems impossible really, but you never know I might find a tear in the space time continuum which would give me some extra days to get it all done.

In other news - school rang today to say we had won a hamper at the Christmas fair on Saturday! The bean said "OMG" when I told him. Indeed.

Can't remember the last time I won anything in a raffle...

Monday, 2 December 2013

Christmas crafting

A little while ago I realised I had some perfect Christmas craft ingredients in my knitting stash. So, at the weekend we got started on a some seasonal making.

We took two empty cones (previously holding yarn) and painted them a greeny colour (to match the yarn we had chosen). Then, when they were dry we wrapped them with some lovely dark green yarn, using PVA glue to secure the ends. 

To make the decorations look a bit more festive we then threaded some small glass beads onto some more yarn, and then wrapped that around the cone too. 

Tada! Two lovely Christmas tree ornaments to put on the mantelpiece... Made with little effort, and using only things from the stash. I did think about using buttons or sequins instead of beads, but I'm really happy with them as they are. We can always refresh them in a year or two...

Thursday, 28 November 2013

This I know...

Sometimes you have to buy new clothes. This week was one of those times, when I was down yo just one pair of wintery trousers. Now I have three pairs - and a new cardigan.

It's all very well thinking 'I could knit or sew one of those' but if you don't actually have the time to knit or sew it for yourself then you just have to remember you are wearing big girl pants and Buy It.

Shopping with a baby is good for focussing the mind. If you like it, if it fits and meets your requirements then buy it.  Do not hesitate or wonder if there is something nicer/cheaper somewhere else.  Babies are only small for a fleeting moment, best not miss it.

Do not believe size labels. Ever. Use them as a rough starting point and adjust as required. It's silly to reject something which fits/looks nice just because it has the 'wrong' size on the label.

When you are shopping for clothes it helps to have a good idea of what you want/need and to stick  to that notion without getting distracted. Step away from the lovely skirts (you have lots of those) and Concentrate on Trousers!

Wearing a new cardigan for three days straight is a good sign that you have bought something very useful, even if it was a bit of a whim... It is also a sign of something which does not show baby dribble or sticky handprints. Double bonus.

Stashes are meant to be used. There is little more satisfying than sending my son to school with a home sewn shepherd costume made entirely from the stash.

Muslin squares make good shepherd headdresses if your tea towel collection is unsuitable.

Families can be very surprising. My mother surprised me in a wonderful and generous and thoughtful way this week. It will affect the whole family for some time to come and was completely unexpected. Thank you Ma.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Six months

Little bean is 6 months old.

He's such a lovely baby - capable of fantastic smiles, and now able to roll in any direction. He's started the hands and knees backwards shuffle and bum wiggle that mean crawling is likely soon. Yikes!

Those big children will really need to pay attention to the small bits of Lego/plastic that they scatter hither and thither as they go. ...

I am just trying to enjoy these baby days while they last. 6 months already! We love you little bean.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Stripey hat #1 (FO)

The autumnal weather has brought a few mornings cool enough for a woolly hat. I've been wearing this one which I finished a couple of weeks ago. 

It's not too thick, and squishes easily into a pocket - but, best of all it works perfectly with my purple rain jacket. I don't quite know how I ended up making a tam - there was no pattern involved, just instinct! 

The yarn was a gift, a ball of Lang Jawoll magic degrade, in a fabulous self-striping purple, pink and red. I think my mother in law gave it to me two or three years ago.

As soon as I finished the man socks the other day I cast on for the hat I promised the jelly bean. I hope to get the sizing right this time...

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Charles (FO)

Finally, after aaaages languishing in my knitting bag, toddler Charles is finished. All sewn up with buttons and everything!  

I love it. For some reason the plain sleeves and self-patterning body appeal to me. (For the record I love the contrasting sleeve/body combo in the first one too). It's neat. I still find the neck finishing a bit of a faff, but didn't find any obvious way of improving it this time round.

Pattern: toddler Charles (size 1-2 years) from Jaeger book JB29

Yarn: Regia sock yarn (self patterning); Patons diploma gold 4ply (plain raspberry)

Mods: have made the body slightly longer than suggested in the pattern, just to try and extend wear.

Notions: pink heart buttons from the stash.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Man socks (FO) with squidgy toe

It was half-term here last week, and we went to the Lake District for a few days. I took a goodly pile of projects close to being finished, in the hope that I would get a bit of time to knit.

These socks were top of the pile - a gift for my dad which stalled somewhat when the little bean was born. As is my usual style I combined two yarns. However, for the first time I changed the way I knit the toe in order to create a thicker fabric and strengthen the area around the ball of the foot which - I find (YMMV) is the first place to develop a hole.

The effect, as you can see, is to change the pattern of the fabric and make the stripes run perpendicular to the those on the rest of the sock. All I did was to knit alternate stitches with my two yarns (rather than alternate rounds) and make a double weight fabric as you would in any Fair Isle knitting. It does shrink the width of the sock slightly, but I haven't had to adjust the number of stitches  to maintain fit (my dad tried on the first sock a wee while ago).

I'd be interested to hear from anyone who 1) already does something similar or 2) gives this a try. I need to refresh my sock pile, so I'm definitely going to make myself some squidgy toed socks to see how they work out.

Thursday, 10 October 2013


September turned out to be all about knitting rather than sewing after all. Autumn is here, and the morning school run is getting cooler. We've started thinking about hats and scarves again, and last weekend we got them all out of the cupboard for a sort out. 

Much to my husband's disgust we each now have our own bag for hats and gloves etc. Last year there were two bags - and I was the only one who could find anything! And, since I am keen to foster independence, the move to one bag each should mean that the children can find and, importantly, put away their own things. 

While we were sorting things out, the jelly bean persuaded me that she needed a new hat, so we went shopping in the stash and something sprang onto the needles. I don't have a pattern, I just made it up as I went along. 

Unfortunately it turned out a bit bigger than I anticipated, so it's turned into a hat for me (yay!). A smaller one will surely follow....

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Coming soon

Normal service (e.g. semi-regular blogging) will probably be restored in the next week or two. There are some insurmountable technical issues which are currently being surmounted, and after that happens I should be able to blog a bit more easily and a bit more frequently.

In the mean time:

1. knitting news - I have been casting on a few things here and there. I think I must be the queen of small things, for everything currently on the needles is 4ply and destined for a small person. 

2. sewing is much thought about but little done. life just gets in the way somehow. 

3. i am enjoying - really enjoying - being able to use my knitting skills to adapt and alter things I have made, so that they continue to be useful. Little bean is growing before our eyes, getting longer and longer and longer. The beanie hat I  made earlier in the year was a bit too small when I put it on his head the other day: now embiggened. The once fitting Charles is now too short in the body, although the sleeves continue to be a perfect length. I have dug the grey yarn out of the stash (just as well I didn't use it for something else) and plan to add an inch or two to the body to extend (my) enjoyment of this little sweater.  

Thursday, 5 September 2013


The rhythm of the new school year and a new weekly patterns of comings and goings is being established again. School - home - toddler group - swimming - gymnastics - mini-rugby - football - dancing. It's quite busy. 

For some reason, my knitting needles have been silent over the last couple of weeks, and there has been no knitting or crochet for a while. The stripey Charles I started earlier in the summer has been washed and blocked and given a neck band and button band. I just need to sew up the arms and side seams to finish it, but has been languishing in my knitting bag for a week or two now. Still unfinished.

We were distracted somewhat by the jelly bean's fourth birthday, which was a Great Occasion, just as it should be. There was cake and bunting and cards and grandparents and an outing - with a few young friends - to see a show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. I managed to sew a couple of things for the great event, including 5 fabric 'party' bags for the friends who came to celebrate, and a purple wizarding robe (upcycled from a pair of wide-leg velvet trousers) to add to the dressing-up basket. 

She's a right one that girl. She has a t-shirt which says 'Though she be but little, she is fierce'. Fierce and beautiful and bright; and we wouldn't have her any other way.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Deli refit

Like many women, I periodically edit my wardrobe. And, over the last couple of years I've got a lot more reflective and critical about my clothes - and I've been finding it easier to get rid of things which don't fit, or don't work (anymore). I've been reading some of the advice from Amy Herzog and Ysolda Teague on the fit of knits and this has clearly influenced my thinking about some of the things I have made in the past, and some of the things I am planning to make next...

I had a good hard look at the Deli cardigan the other day (which I finished last year), and didn't really like what I saw. The slightly frilly trim was a bit too much - making it difficult to fasten neatly, creating a flare at the bottom hem, and making the back ride up. I decided to do away with it there and then. Well, it was warm and I was feeling rash and brave. For the record: there was no alcohol involved.  

Cue frogging....

Little bean watched the ripping. He had no idea about the significance of this, given the great endurance required to knit the blinking thing, but when he grows up, I will be able to show him proof that he was there for the great frogging of 2013...

I am happy to say: Deli looks a Whole Lot Better Now. I do need to replace the frill with something else - but actually, it hardly needs anything, so there will be a plain and simple button band in due course that will allow me to button the darn thing up. 

Wednesday, 7 August 2013


Lots has been happening here, but the blogger app on my phone has stopped working, so none of the posts I have written recently have made it through the ether to the blog. I'm having to write this on a laptop, which feels very retro and strange...

Anyway, if you are sitting comfortably, then I'll begin.

The other day I found myself at home with two boys (one larger, one smaller). It was raining, so we needed something to do other than watch TV (which the larger boy would do all day if permitted). 

I had seen a blog somewhere (can't find it now) about making superhero masks, which seemed perfect for the bean, as his role play usually involves being a superhero or a ninja (or both). We have a good pile of craft felt in the house, and we set to work using the felt and some aged bondaweb.

The bean chose which masks he wanted to make; we made some templates using paper and bondaweb; cut them out and ironed them onto the felt. Easy peasy.

Of course, I will not mention at all, the small - really very small - incident with the new iron and a piece of black felt. I guess it must be another of those arcane rules of physics that when buying a new iron it is necessary, in a balancing kind of a way, for the dial on the new iron to work in the opposite way to the dial on the old iron. So, I feel entirely blameless here when I tell you that innocently turned the dial the wrong way and melted lots a tiny bit of black felt onto the footplate of our new iron. I say 'our' iron, but I should be clear about this: my husband bought the iron; he chose it and paid for it and has - until last week - been the only person in the house to use it. Fortunately I did manage to remove the evidence of this small mishap from the shiny iron, so my husband is None. The. Wiser.

Anyway, superheroes are not to be phased by such happenings, and we made 3 masks in all, one for each child superhero in the house. Note the glinting eye of Batbaby...

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

In the mood

Despite resolving to sew down my stash, so far I have failed miserably.

Last night I took advantage of a quiet evening and a sleeping baby to make a start on the mountain of projects and mending. The result: 6 baby wipes upcycled from an old top, and a third pair of pyjamas shorts for the bean.

The wipes were ready to stitch, and the shorts just needed a bit of finishing - neatening a seam or two, stitching and elasticating the waistband.

The two projects had been waiting neatly for some weeks, and it is good to move them from the WIP pile to the FO pile. But, I still feel rather gloomy about getting to grips with the rest of it.

A big issue for me at the moment is the constant internal dialogue about what to do with the time available. Naps are still a rather moveable feast (little bean is 11 weeks), so there isnt much certainty about when or how much nap time there is to: do housework, play with the bean and the jelly bean, make supper/lunch, read, work (grrr) or craft.

Of course crafting tends to come lower down the list than most of the other things - after all, you can't feed small children with fabric or yarn. And hungry children are - in my experience - pretty bad company. Although they are not quite as bad as (my) children when they are hungry And tired. Oh man.
Still, we are where we are, and there is a fourth birthday to plan and sew for, so. Watch. This. Space. I have a plan... 

Friday, 26 July 2013

Berry nice...

We are starting to enjoy some produce from the allotment, including a goodly amount of raspberries.

We take no credit for these as they were on the plot when we arrived. But, we are enjoying them nevertheless - here in a tasty cake. Mmmm, yum.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013


Things are pretty stripey here. First there is the never ending blanket, and then there is a toddler Charles. And then there are the dad socks.

 All stripey I tell you.

Progress somehow seems faster when I am making stripes. Maybe it's the 'just one more row/stripe' thing, or just the way in which the completion of a new stripe makes progress palpable in a way that plain knitting is not. Is that just me?

Anyway, the blanket is coming along and gobbling yarn to the extent that I am wondering whether I might have to buy some yarn to make it big enough. But, as is often the case, I am getting ahead of myself, and therein lies danger.

The danger is mostly to do with unecessary stash augmentation. I am getting a whole lot better at putting off yarn (and fabric and clothing) purchases safe in the knowledge that today's bargains will be replaced by tomorrow's bargains. And, over the last couple of years my yarn stash has been slimmed and trimmed.
My fabric stash on the other hand has not. It grows when I'm not looking, fattened up by discarded clothes and linens: a ripped shirt, an old duvet cover, some tired t-shirts... The challenge is finding the time to do some sewing which slims and trims the fabric stash in the same way as the yarn stash.

It's my summer challenge: sew my stash.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013


Ooh, look what has just arrived in my neighbourhood: a new yarn shop.
I have only peered through the window so far, but could see lots of pretty skeins hanging up...
I might just have to nip in and buy myself a birthday present.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Craft In Action

Here's little bean wearing his mama-knitted Charles. And here he is snuggling under the endless blanket in its current form.

The blanket is coming on fine - in line with my little and often philosophy I'm trying to manage a row or two every day. Unlike knitting, I can just about manage to crochet while I am feeding the baby. Who knew crochet was amenable like that?

And look at all that wool at midsummer! What on earth? For the sake of balance and accuracy I should point out that yesterday we were all in short sleeves and sandals. It's not always grim up north...

Thursday, 20 June 2013


I have gone and done it: cast on the pink thing which was pulling at my inner knitter the other day.

And, here I am drinking tea in a coffee shop, with a sleeping baby beside me in his pushchair, making a start.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Starting. Again

Maybe it's my hormones. Or the weather. Or the phase of the moon. Or something. It seems I am powerless to resist the siren call of the yarn goddess, and today I pulled yet more yarn from the stash for another project. 

I haven't cast on yet, but that's only because I've been busy feeding a baby, trying to ensure most people in the house have clean pants to wear tomorrow, and make something dinner-like from the dregs left in the fridge. How is it, that a fridge that was respectably full only yesterday now looks as though it belongs to an impoverished student, close to the end of term? 

I digress. The new project is going to be something small, and pink, for a small girl I know who recently had her first birthday. I failed to make her anything when she was born, and I owe her and her big sister BIG time. The blue sparkly Phoebe (which is not quite finished) is for her sister, and I have an idea about making her a bigger and pinker version of the Charles which I made for little bean, and which is proving to be even nicer on a baby than it was on the needles. 

In other news, the crochet blanket is starting to look a bit less like a very long brown wolly bookmark. After two blocks of colour (each block = one small ball of yarn) I've devised a stripe pattern for the next part of the blanket. This is partly because I like stripes, and partly to keep life interesting. There is something more-ish and manageable about knitting just one more stripe, in a project that is likely (if I think about it logically) to take a Very Long Time. It could be a never ending blanket...

As well as the blanket, there is poor old Phoebe to finish off (really, there is not much left to do...) and those man socks which, it turns out, aren't for my husband at all, but for my dad. The Regia jazz stripes are, apparently, well outside the acceptable sock comfort zone for my husband. He was fairly diplomatic about it and while we were talking about the colour thing, he also let me know about some of the fit issues he has with the other socks I have made him. These have all been noted, and no doubt as a result of my wisdom, maturity and age, I managed not to take these comments to heart or run from the room beating my breast and gnashing my teeth. I took it, as knitters do, with grace and good humour (ha). Its hard to say whether he will be getting any more handknit socks in the near future... 

Happy Fathers Day, Dad. There are some socks coming your way. 

Saturday, 15 June 2013


So, what was I saying about WIPs? Reader, I am weak and couldn't resist any more: I cast on a new project.

This is not just any project; this is a stash battering project that should take care of a good amount of yarn. It's another crochet blanket - big enough for snuggling under on the sofa, or covering our bed. I say this confidently, although I am not following any pattern, and don't really know how much yarn I've got or how much I might need to make a blanket of the size I imagine.

It must be a crochet thing, i'm not usually so blase about knitting projects and yarn amounts. But my fingers were awfully itchy, and I just had to start. Today.

I cast on (do you cast on in crochet?) this morning, managing a few stitches here and there whilst out and about with the children.

Most of today's crochet action happened once the small people were asleep. It is gobbling yarn already, and the end of the first (small) ball is nigh.

I won't bore you with any pictures of this narrow ribbon of dark brown woollyness. Instead I offer this - a picture of little bean enjoying some afternoon sunshine in the garden. (Yes, we do have sun in Scotland, despite rumours to the contrary!)

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Little and often

One thing I have learned over the years is that action little and often is no bad thing. Most of my knitting is done this way - a round or two on the bus or waiting for a doctor's appointment.

Now that the little bean is here, this is more true than ever. However, there are lots of things to do, not least of which is to stop fantasising about new projects and finish some of the WIPs piled up here and there.

I managed to grab some time today for more sewing. The third pair of pyjama shorts got some attention, and I quickly rustled up a couple of washable baby wipes.

These wipes are modelled on some fab Imse Vimse wipes a friend passed on to us. I made use of a top I deconstructed the other day because the stitching and fabric were tearing. Two layers of this fine cotton were sewn together to make a thin cloth perfect for washing/wiping a baby's creases.

Sunday, 9 June 2013


As well as welcoming a new baby to our family, in recent weeks we have also been blessed with our first Edinburgh allotment.

We had an allotment in Bristol, which I acquired only a few weeks after moving to the city. Getting an allotment in Edinburgh has been a completely different story. No quick chat with a committee member and turning up to see which plots were on offer. Oh no.

In Edinburgh there is a waiting list; a really LONG list. Shortly after we moved here, we added our names to the list.

8 years later we have finally got a plot. Yes, eight years. A lot has happened in that time: we got married, moved house, moved jobs, had 3 children, put in a new bathroom, put in a new kitchen, had significant birthdays and all the time we were waiting for an allotment....

It's lovely - only a couple of minutes walk from our house, and well loved by its previous holder. So, before we started work there was rhubarb and currants and raspberries and mint and other herbs.

Today we spent a couple of sunny hours at our plot, sewing seeds with the children and doing a bit of watering and tidying up. Not a bad way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon.

When we got home, a bit of water play in the garden helped take care of the worst of the mud. I hope our little beans look back fondly on these afternoons - carefree play (no roads, no cars) in the sunshine, getting really really dirty.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Shortly (FO)

Little bean is taking up most spare moments, as you would expect of a 3 week old baby.  And, to be fair I am trying to savour these baby moments as I know how fleeting they will be....

Yesterday was the first day I managed a stitch of any kind. I got my machine out of the cupboard and finished a second pair of pyjama shorts for the (biggest) bean.

I upcycled them from some pyjama jackets I didn't wear - and which were taking up shelf space in my wardrobe.

As the bean often complains about being hot at night, I thought some short pjs might be a good move. I cut out 3 pairs using some existing pyjama trousers as a template. The first pair were quickly pressed into service, and have been a great hit - and yesterday I fixed the elastic in the second pair.

I'm so pleased with these - they are filling a need and helping me to declutter my wardrobe, and they cost only pennies to make....

Monday, 20 May 2013

First Knits

All is well here - we are enjoying getting to know our littlest bean, and adjusting to life as a family of five.

We are lucky enough to have a few knitters in the family, so here is the little bean in his first handknit....

Tuesday, 14 May 2013


At last, a baby arrived at our house this morning.
He weighs a healthy 9lb 12.5 oz, and was born just over 2 weeks late!
Another WIP.....

Monday, 13 May 2013

Waiting Game #2

Still waiting for the baby to arrive, and finding things to occupy my time and hands.

Alas, knitting does not really appeal - I need short discrete tasks: sorting washing, hoovering, tidying etc. I'm not sure if that's to do with brain power or just physical discomfort - sitting still is hard at the moment.

Soon. It will happen soon.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Waiting Game

The waiting game continues, with little sign of the impending arrival, despite various encouragements.

Whatever my own feelings, at least my midwives and husband seem to be fairly relaxed about things. We'll review our options at the end of the week if nothing has happened by then....

Keep your fingers crossed.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Doll Quilt (FO)

I'm not an experienced quilter, so doll quilts seem like a good way to get some practice.

This is my latest offering, made with some scraps from a couple of other recent projects.

I felt brave enough to try my walking foot, and some freehand wiggly stitching lines. The jelly bean seems to like it, so I think that counts as a success....

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Knitting Gods

The knitting gods smiled on me yesterday and I found an extra ball of the blue yarn I needed.

The most miraculous part of this is that it is the same dye lot as the other balls I have. Yippeeee!

However, despite walking round Edinburgh for several hours, the baby has not yet taken the hint about moving towards the exit. So, today's list of things to do includes a quick hike up nearby Blackford hill...

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Projects a-gogo

Much is happening in these parts,and there are oodles of finished and in progress projects stacked up.

The sewing machine has come out of the cupboard again, so I've been whipping up a few things for the children....

This morning I'm off into town to get a few things (thread, ribbon, elastic) including an extra ball of that sparkly blue yarn - if I can find some. Phoebe is coming on nicely, but I think I'll run out of yarn....

Still no sign of the baby.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Phoebe (WIP)

A new project cast itself on yesterday: Phoebe from Rowan Kids. I'm using some sparkly yarn I bought in the sale a few months ago. It's for a friends daughter, soon to be 5, and much neglected by me on the knitting front in times recent. 

It's just what I need while we wait for this new baby to arrive...

Wednesday, 24 April 2013


It's my husband's birthday today. He left for work early, so the grand presentation of gifts will come this evening.

I'm trying to finish this sock, so he'll have something handcrafted in the pile. We'll just gloss over the fact that this is sock no. 1, and there is no chance of sock no. 2 before then...

Happy Birthday my love.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Charles (FO)

Wouldn't you know it: you wait ages for a FO and then 2 come along at once.

This is Charles (0-3 months) another pattern from Jaeger book JB29, knit in some Patons Diploma Gold (4 ply blue) and some grey yarn from the stash.

No modifications to speak of, although I am not terribly enamoured of some of the fiddly finishing around the neck, and I might do things a bit differently next time.

Dolly (FO)

Dolly is finally finished - she has taken an absolute age because of all the errors and false starts along the way.

Sewing up took longer than necessary because I managed to mismatch one sleeve and armhole, and it took a couple of attempts to apply the trim to the neckline without casting off and sewing on.

Anyway, here she is in all her glory: pattern is Dolly from Jaeger book JB29 size 3-6 months; yarn is Patons Diploma Gold 4ply - the colour is a deep raspberry.  Only modification was to apply trim directly without first casting off.