Schoolhouse Tunic

Today I had another playdate…this time, my lovely friend Rosanna came to see me.

As she carried her spinning wheel in from her car, I immediately noticed an amazing yellow leather bucket/basket hanging from her wheel, in which was some very pretty peacock blue roving…it was the little basket that I really loved (why didn’t I take a photo?). I have placed an order for a green leather basket to hang from my spinning wheel, so I’ll show you as soon as I have it in my clutches! I have never seen such a useful thing that is so good looking, well, that’s not strictly true, I think Barry comes into that category too :D

Talking of Barry, he’s still in Melbourne but arrives back in the UK on Saturday morning. I have missed him so much but in order to keep myself happy, I added plenty of activities to my calendar to make the fortnight that he’s been away, a little easier to bear…it still seems to have taken an age to pass

Whilst I was waiting for Rosanna to arrive this morning, I cut out a Schoolhouse Tunic, using some pure linen fabric I bought from Sew Much to Do in Ely, it is wonderful stuff, I’ve also got some light navy in the same cloth and might just make another of these tunics

It was so quick to put together, I added lots of fine top stitching to mine, I just love the look of top stitched linen :)

Incidentally, the linen is slightly duller than in the photos….

I’m looking forward to wearing this, perfect for a warm Spring day…

I lined the bodice with some fine Tana Lawn that I bought in London last year when I met up with another special friend, Carle, who was here on a business trip from South Africa..that was another magical day in my life….

Love the surprise of the pretty fabric peeping out

Tomorrow, I am meeting another friend for lunch, then I think I need to get on with some shop sewing!

Happy Birthday Emilia…my beautiful first born Granddaughter is 13 today!!

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Keeping Busy and a winner!!

Barry left for Australia on Friday, another business trip….really miss my husband :(

However, to keep myself busy whilst he’s away (2 weeks), I have filled my diary with exciting things to do, like visiting friend’s I’ve not seen for years, going for walks with friends, having a couple of playdates(craft) and a few free days so I can please myself a bit

I picked Maisie, my youngest, up from the railways station on Friday evening. Maisie came to spend the Mother’s Day weekend with me, perfect timing! She travelled by train from Chichester where she’s studying for a degree

We had a lovely weekend, on Saturday we went into Cambridge and I treated Maisie to a meal at Jamie’s Italian, it was scrummy even though Maisie finds the man himself a bit hard to take lol

Sunday morning we had lunch in a garden centre, yummy roast! After which we went in a few shops and then it was time for Maisie to get on the train again…we both had to hold back the tears, she’s lovely company and I knew I was driving back to an empty house :(

I’ve been ok though, keeping busy, today i joined in with a Sew Along on Facebook, to make the Cinch It In Tote bag, I loved the pattern and was keen to make it, what I didn’t realise was that it was a large bag!!

I cut out all the pieces and then started joining them and was pleased to read that the joined strips could be quilted, and I just love to use the pretty stitches on my sewing machine

I also added interfacing even though the pattern didn’t tell you to, some of my fabrics were a bit lighter weight than others and I felt they needed more support, the straps were interfaced too

I love the grosgrain ribbon on the underside of the straps

I do not like grommets! I ruined three of them, good job there were 8 in the pack…I’ve never used this size grommet before and found that the hole that the tool cuts out was on the large size. I put in a tiny running stitch about 1/8th of an inch from the edge and pulled it in slightly. This slight gathering worked really well and my edges stayed inside the confines of the grommet.

When you lift the bag by the handles it cleverly pulls in, hence the name…cinch!

I love it, and it is mine this time I’m afraid, I needed a new bag which would hold all my paraphernalia!

Last week I finished these two cute little Mini Wigwams for a customer, I had been thinking about sewing some smaller ones but having a request prompted me to see if it would work on a smaller scale…it did! A bit more fiddly to make but the results are well worth it

So tomorrow I am off for a walk, a 5 1/2 mile walk!! Denver Sluice, sounds interesting, I’m taking my camera so will show you photos…that’s if I have the strength to click the shutter after such a long walk…can you tell that I’m a bit wary?!?!?

I’m going to put my feet up and do a bit of crochet this evening…

but first I have decided that the winner of my name the colourway is Karen Hancock….I just loved the name, Elephants in Custard! Hilarious….I’ll be in touch soon Karen, for your address. I loved all the different names but as soon as I read Karen’s I just had a chuckle to myself, and every time I re-read it I chuckled again.

Thank you to all that took part xx

Elephants in Custard…I ask you!! haha

Posted in bags, crochet, Friends, giveaway, mothers day, patchwork, quilting, sewing, walking | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Sewing Dyeing Knitting and a Giveaway (Now Closed)

I’ve almost finished this jumper for a short film being made in Lincolnshire about how a family was affected by two brothers who fought in the Great War. You can watch a teaser trailer of the film here Tell Them of Us , it really does look like the filming is going to be so beautiful. I am so proud to have had the opportunity to do a small bit of knitting for a boy’s sweater. I’m sorry I moaned about the colour, I am very pleased with how it has turned out. Just need to add some buttons on the shoulder

I have now cast on something pink

As soon as I have finished this blog post I shall be working on that cute little cardigan, it’s A Wee Liesl by the very talented and clever designer, Ysolde Teague…I have knitted 2 of the grown up version so when she produced this tiny version I couldn’t wait to cast on :D

I have since heard that there will be some pink yarn available for me to knit something else for the film….oh and that the boy’s jumper will be used on a child in one or two scenes! How flippin’ exciting is that?!?!


Barry was working from home earlier this week so I took myself upstairs to my sewing room, gave it a bit of a sort out and then set to work on these two sewn items

My customer had been soooo patient with me, I can’t remember how long ago she asked me if could make a smallish bag to go inside another using some of the sugar skulls fabric I had used in a bag for her previously. I knew I only had a scrap of that fabric left and the search began. I soon found it in the tub of green fabrics scraps. I have four coloured bags of scraps which sit on the top of my storage units, I toss any larger pieces of fabrics into them as I am cutting out other projects, it is a good system and works well for me.

I drew the heart freehand onto some Bondaweb, twice, then trimmed a border off the smaller heart….I am beginning to love appliqué and I also love how my spell checker adds the little thing on the ‘e’ :)

I used some sparkly embroidery thread for the quilting and the appliqué, very girlie…the design is by Norwegian Designer AnnaK, and the pattern is called Anna’s Sminkepung

Another part of the request (I don’t like to use the word ‘order’ because this customer gives me free reign with fabrics) was to sew one of my Quilted Baskets, I loved putting these fabrics together. I showed the world this basket yesterday in my Facebook Group and had loads of interest. Today I realised that I wasn’t going to be able to get any more of that fabric in the UK. It’s Kaffe Fassett’s Bekah fabric in Orange….such a shame, it was discontinued in 2012, I must have bought the remains of it last year!

I will be sewing more of these, they please me no end and I had forgotten quite how much I love sewing!!


Then of course I did a spot of dyeing, I had a few orders for some more of the latest club club fibre so I thought I’d dye up a bit more in some different colours as I had become a bit fed up with dyeing the same over and over lol

I came up with these amongst others

There are three different blends there, a merino/nylon, BFL/Baby Alpaca/Silk and a very luxurious Camel/Silk

I will be putting these into my shop as soon as I’ve sorted it out, I am doing a stock take and will re open as soon as I can….I hope to have some new sewn products to show you so I better get busy!!

This braid of Twinkle in Babbacombe colourway only weighs 90g so I am selling it for £8 plus postage, just send me a message via my shop if you’re interested

and this last braid is a new colourway…it has no name as yet…

It was dyed so it will stripe, big bold stripes of black, charcoal and yellow…it’s my Twinkle Blend, 75% Superwash Merino and 25% Superbright Trilobal Nylon, so it really sparkles

There are 150g in this braid, so plenty for a pair of socks or anything that takes your fancy, it is very soft…

Would you like to win it? I’ll post it anywhere… do enter if you fancy spinning up this lovely blend, you have exactly one week to enter, I will close this giveaway at 9pm UK time next Thursday 27th March

Just leave me a comment with a suggestion for a name and a thought as to what you would do with the yarn that you had spun from it

Easy eh?

Looking forward to hearing from you and good luck!


ETA: I have a busy weekend but as soon as I have a spare moment I will look through all the comments and choose a name which most pleases me..thank you for all the suggestions :)

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Coffee with Colin

Today I went to have a coffee with Colin…such lovely company, and it was great to meet his husband John after reading about him so many times on Colin’s blog and Facebook…

As we chatted, I sat and sewed up a little cardigan I was keen to finish. I had been sewing it the evening before at Barry’s band practice…I did love listening to the brass band, going through their music and playing loads of Tom Jones songs…even started on Sex Bomb which really got my toes tapping

I was given a delicious cup of coffee, not sure who made it for me, think it was a joint effort, and we chatted away. All the while their really adorable dogs came and said hello to me….any of you that know me will know that I am not an animal person on the whole. I think I am becoming soft in my old age as I am finding smaller, not too small, dogs rather appealing…and these were all so charming and very pretty!!

Out of a litter of 7 puppies, there were three still in Colin’s possession, oh how I loved them, think I might have managed to fit one of them in my knitting bag but I feel that it might have been missed lol

They are Lhasa Apso’s

and so photogenic, but very wriggly and they move a lot, constantly

so getting a good photo and in focus was tricky

note those shoes that Colin is wearing…he’s known for his shoes as well as his knitting and yarn dyeing oh and these rather adorable dogs

Barry says I can have a puppy if I want one…not sure I’m ready to own one though…

I had a great time, and hopefully I’ll get to see Colin again soon, and not the almost 3 years since we last met…I only live about 25 minutes away for goodness sake!

I came away with two skeins of yarn, dyed by Colin, which I have yet to photograph

Thank you for a lovely happy chatty time

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New Luxury Fibre Base and My Slouchy Cardigan

I put this photo at the top because I didn’t want to see the photo of me below showing up on facebook…lol…scary!! You’ll find the details about this bit of knitting towards the end of the post ;)

I finished this on Monday, yesterday and have been wearing it ever since…such a comfy cardi which cuddles you up…

Tummy in, lower shoulders, smile, focus, click, doh, smile, tummy in, drop shoulders, focus, look in mirror, smile, focus, click, doh, remove glasses, tummy in, shoulders down, stand up straight, focus, can’t see, hope for the best, smile, tummy in and CLICK!! (you should see the out-takes!)

I like the look of the purl side as the outside, I like the way the edges roll towards the purl side and show the stripes of the inside and the seam detail along the mid back and the sleeves, which just adds a bit more interest….I felt the purl side softened the stripes, which were worked every 2 rows using two contrasting variegated yarns, it could however, be worn totally the other way round…

I love the way the sleeves ruch up at the wrists, they also fit my arm well but not too tight that I can’t push them up my arm when necessary….

The cardigan can be worn as a shawl type shrug and will fall off your shoulders when you let the neck line fall down further at the back, perfect for summer evenings, wearing strappy tops or dresses
If you let the neckline roll and lift it higher up to your neck, then it will drape on your shoulders in a most delicious way (as I am wearing it in the photos)…can you tell that I love this cardigan?!?

Here’s a rear view of it so you can see the seam detail better

There’s a seam down the centre of the lower skirt, it hardly shows…

I have taken possession of some more yarn which is easily available in the UK. My intention is to knit another, writing loads of notes and taking lots of photos so I can publish the pattern, I also will be writing up a child’s version…my mind is working faster then I can cope with right now as I have another, more complicated design for a child’s cardigan that I want to get out of my head!

I also have some sewing to do, a few bags which were ordered a while ago…I am finding it easier not to take orders at the moment, just to work at my own pace, being kind to myself seems to be working for me, leaving me feeling calmer inside. I had begun to feel overwhelmed with everything that needed doing, even the washing up felt like a mega chore! It’s my own fault, I keep getting new ideas and then I feel so proud of my makes that I have to show them off and then I get orders…. :D

Anyway, less of that, because I am now feeling much more myself and the sun keeps on shining, the Spring flowers are popping up every where and life is good…except that now the garden needs attention! Thank goodness for longer days and sunshine…

I’ll leave you with a photo of Fluff-n-Stuff’s new fibre base, New Darling….Polwarth, Cashmere and Mulberry Silk, absolute luxury, truly, soft and a wonderful fibre to spin, so open and when it is spun it turns into the most deliciously soft and squidgy yarn (the original Darling used Superfine Merino)

These two colourways were for this month’s Luxury Fibre Club, their names are McDreamy and Meredith….I have become addicted to Grey’s Anatomy and these are the main characters. I do please ask you not to give me any spoilers about the show, I am only into series 7 and I do believe that series 10 is airing!….

I spun it into these yummy floofy fat singles

and I have started to knit those singles into a lovely cowl, it’s a scarf in the pattern but this is knitted on 8mm needles and is so dense and squidgy I feel a cowl would work better, i am thinking of closing it with some buttons…not exactly needed now that the weather is warming up but still fun to knit and I’ll be one step ahead when it turns colder again, probably tomorrow! Hah! The cowl had used up 100 grammes so far and I have spun up another lot so I can finish it, oh the joys of being a supplier ;) I found the stitch pattern on Pinterest…another of my time wasters!!

Now back to my designing…Oh no! The day has already turned into teatime and Barry is home early…oh well, I guess there is always tomorrow ;)

Posted in 2014, fluff-n-stuff, knitting, machine knitting, spinning | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Sally’s Cardigan

On Saturday, my lovely friend Sally came round for a playdate. We always have a lovely time together and between us we usually come up with something creative. This day was no exception…Sally was keen to get her hands on my knitting machine!

Having attached the YC6 Colour Changer a few days previously, I had a fair idea of how it worked…I’d always wanted one of these clever gadgets, all those hundreds of years ago, well about 25 to be sort of correct. It changes colour automatically, well it does for 2 colours, I need to try it out further to see if it will change the colours automatically for 4 yarns…I was pushing the buttons manually in my trials of more than one yarn :3

YC6 Colour changer

I had briefly written down the pattern of the slouchy cardigan that I had made a few weeks ago and Sally tried it on and thought that she’d like to make one using her very precious handspun 2ply laceweight yarn! Her yarn was stunning, wish I had taken a photo before she’d knitted it up. Oh and not only had Sally never used a knitting machine before but she’d like to do stripes! Oh goodness…I just hoped she would cope with all the colour changes..every 2 rows colour changing…arghhh! I knew Sally was a capable girl and a brilliant hand knitter but stripes!?!? Barry suggested that Sally use the colour changer, I agreed, it might make things a bit easier

So it was decided, 2 row stripes of laceweight handspun and coned yak yarn

After a couple of false starts she was off, following my instructions and noting down any changes as we went along….it only fell into her lap about 4 times…no panic but it’s horrible when it happens lol. I carefully put the stitches back on the needles and set her going again

Sally took her completed pieces of machine knitting home with her so she could sew it up and block it…..

Isn’t it adorable?

As Sally said, “Aren’t we clever!!”

I am going to write this pattern up, I have ordered some suitable yarn and will be taking lots of photos and writing lots of notes as I go

Hope you’re enjoying the lovely Spring weather…19° yesterday, here in the Fens!!

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Reasons to be cheerful

Remember that storm in October 1987? Well I was living in Jersey in the Channel Islands when that storm happened at it was scary but the devastation it caused to that small island was immense!! My Mum had come over to stay with us, she took some brilliant photos the day after the storm…I’ll have to have a hunt through my old photos to see if I can find any

Anyway, what I am really wanting to show you is this cardigan (further down the page) that I have just finished making on my Knitting Machine…..the connection with the above statement is the date, it was when I last made the jumper in this photo

Look at all those ends that I had to weave in!!

I changed the design to a cardigan as I do enjoy cardigans more than jumpers these days….it is soo warm and snuggly, the strands at the back of the fairisle all add to the insulation so it will be great to wear as soon as Spring arrives. The sun has shone all day today and so many bulbs are popping open….made me realise just how much work there is to do in the garden when I walked back from the post box earlier today

Machine Knitted Fair Isle Jumper

My lovely new cardigan is now on the airer, finishing drying, I only pegged it on the line for the photos ;)

The yarn I used in the jumper that I made in 1987 was the proper yarn for the design, Rowan Fine Tweed, I found it for sale, on cones, in a wool shop in the Market. I loved it in that shop, that was so much inspiration to be had. I couldn’t believe my luck in finding the exact yarn, in the colours that pleased me, on that tiny island!! Would love it if Rowan decided to stock that yarn on cone again, all the winding of balls into free flowing yarn cakes, takes so much more time! I have no photos of me wearing that jumper but I know I loved it to bits, and I wore a hole in the bum of it eventually….how I wish I had kept hold of it, I can’t remember what I did with it in the end…I remember that I made the buttons from some Fimo

I used KnitPicks Stroll Tweed yarn this time, I really wanted to keep to the original colours if I could….what pleased me most was finding the original, but slightly yellowed, punch card, and seeing my own handwriting on the the card, telling me where to change colours….it was such a long time ago, and so much has changed in my life since that time

I fed all the yarn into the machine by hand, the balls of wool were on the floor beside me and I soon got into a rhythm. I did take much much longer than I used to take to make a garment. There was a time when I could knock one out in a day, and that was when my children were little! I do think my energy levels are low at the moment though, February is always a difficult month for me and having that sickness bug last month really knocked me for six

I’ll leave you with a lovely pot of Polyanthus that I won a couple of weeks ago…they really look so pretty on my kitchen windowsill and make me smile when I notice them

Anyway, I must dash, my husband is home after 3 days away….. :D

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Lace Cardigan and a Romantic Evening

Barry treated us to an overnight stay in Peterborough last night….we had a lovely meal in Carluccio’s where we drank rather more than was good for us. Lots of love and laughter was had but today, I feel a bit drowsy, think it’s a bit of a hangover but no headache so that’s a good thing B)

Benjamin Teddy with Valentine Flowers

I left this lovely cardigan blocking whilst we were away, I can’t tell you how delighted I am with it. I loved knitting the lace, not so much the rib which is always harder work than you want it to be but the results are worth all the effort. I used some King Cole Anti Tickle Machine Washable merino and love how soft it feels….and the colour is beautiful

Machine Knitted Lace Cardigan

I am now thinking of my next machine knitted project and went into my overly full stash store and found this lovely fine BFL from Fleece Artist. I bought it a few years ago now to make myself a Tempest Cardigan…I might see if I can get the correct tension on my knitting machine, or I might just keep looking for a pattern as I really love the fabric when it’s knitted at a tighter tension. I could tell it was BFL when I washed the sample, it ponged only as Blue Faced Leicester can. It smells lovely now it is dry though…actually, I don’t mind the sheepy smell either ;)

I have also chosen some more of my precious handspun to knit up for my informal Ravellenics challenge in my Ravelry Group

the three on the right were some of my very first hand spun…I have downloaded some patterns and hopefully one or two of them will fit the thickness of the yarn… to wind it into yarn cakes now so I can start some knitting

I made this cute little jacket with some of my hand spun Twinkle fibre, think it’s the Maddie colourway but as I spun it up a long time ago I can’t remember…note to self, label the yarn!!!

Time for a drink now…we’ve a lovely log fire burning at the moment, but the wind is so strong it keeps blowing the smoke into the room, my eyes are stinging!!

Hope you’re all having a lovely weekend, I’m taking my shop to Flitwick tomorrow so I better get a better night’s sleep tonight :)

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Flower Socks and Machine Knitted Lace

set up for knitting laceAs you know, I am enjoying a revisit to machine knitting and have replaced both my knitting machine and ribber. But I did keep hold of my old lace carriage, when I say old, I mean over 30 years old! I was amazed to find out that this lace carriage is still available and it is a LOT of money. Something was telling me to find out whether mine was still working, so lovely Barry delved deep into the garage and found it for me. The rotating things that pick up the info from the punch cards were a bit stiff, the left one more than the right. I took it upstairs and blew my hair-dryer at it to see if it was old hardened oil that was the problem.

Well the right one responded well but the left one, although it was moving, still didn’t moved easily. I removed as much of the old fluff as I could but still the left one stayed less responsive to a flick that the right. I removed the old oil on all the moveable parts and gave them a smear of new oil. I thought I would try it out regardless and it was absolutely fine. See My sample below.

So me being me, set to on a whole lace cardigan and have managed to knit the back of it without any errors so far. I found that my machine prefers the lace to come in from of the ribber so I covered the bed with a couple of tea towels and hung weights on the ribber bar, less than was used for the actual rib. I can’t wait to knit more of it but Barry is working from home and is on a tele conference for a while…I’ll soon be playing again

I have also finished some of these rather pretty Flower Socks, although the beads are only balanced on at the moment….lol Really love this pattern, which I have made before but this time I sort of understood it more. They are knitted toe-up in the round until you get to the part where you leave a gap for the crocheted flowers, then it is knitted pretty, hope the beads don’t annoy me in wear though ;)


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Machine Knitting

My old Knitmaster 360 knitting machine almost fell to pieces, it was over 30 years old!! The plastic was discoloured and brittle and pieces kept breaking off, then it fell over in the garage where it was being stored and broke into quite a few pieces. So it was taken to the dump…the needles were rusted in places so there wasn’t much left of that machine that could be salvaged

So Barry, being the darling that he is, kept asking me to look for a new machine, I wasn’t sure that I needed one, but persist he did and so with a little trepidation, I ordered a new Silver Reed 280 with a ribber. In all honesty, I was a bit scared about making such a big decision, after all, I have plenty of other hobbies that are crying out for my attention

On Monday last week I was feeling a bit off…then by Monday night I was really ill, with what I think was the Norovirus….eugh…nuff said!!! I really didn’t like being ill on my own, Barry was working in Iceland but his lovely texts and phone calls kept me company, he’s such a darling xx

My shiny new knitting machine just kept on looking at me…I knit a few tension squares and then crept back under the safety of the blanket on the sofa and continued to plough my way through the box set of Grey’s Anatomy…I love that show…still got loads of episodes to watch

I started to feel a bit better on Thursday and yesterday, Friday, I was still feeling queasy, as I am today…but I’m sure I’m on the mend.

Anyway, yesterday, I knitted the pieces of a Fair Isle Jumper using one of my old punch cards. I was using a 50/50 blend of cotton and acrylic and the machine was ok with it, just didn’t love it. It might be me still needing to get to know my new machine, I was glad to have got all the machine knitting done so I could go and sit and sew it up

I am quite pleased with how it turned out, a bit worried that the floats might cause the wearer to get annoyed though…I will warn that they will be troublesome. I am pleased to have got the first one off the needles and am giving a lot of thinking to what I will make next…a cardigan for me I think, but what style shall I choose….?

Posted in 2014, knitting, machine knitting | Tagged , | 7 Comments