Tuesday, 27 October 2009

So little time

Time is flying past, our little jelly bean is 9 weeks old already and much has been knitted and crafted since she came into the world, but nothing has been blogged... still, we thank the stars and the firmament above for all of that, and resolve (as with everything) to Do. Better. In. The. Future.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

WIP: baby jelly bean

She's here!

A small girl arrived in our lives on 22 August at 0612, weighing 8lb 4.5oz. [Edited to add photo below.]

She was born at home in water, as planned, and in the same room and the same pool as her big brother 2 1/2 years earlier. Similarities ended there, as the two labours were completely different - but equally empowering. A birth story will follow no doubt.... you can read the bean's birth story here should you be so inclined.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

FO: Dolly

Finally. The finishing took a bit of time - it's such a nice little knit, but the finishing is a bit time consuming... every time I make one (I think this is the third one), I think there must be an easier way of doing this, but I havent yet bothered to work out what that is.

Item: Dolly from JB29 by Martin Storey
Yarn: Patons 4 ply (I think), 100% wool
Time taken: a while! April-July 2009
Mods: picked up and knit the stitches for the ties, rather than sewing them on separately. No other mods.

Now that's Out Of The Way, there are other things to get on with. I really need to knit a hat for a friend's upcoming birthday, but instead, I have cast on for a childrens cardigan from the Rowan Family Collection. I decided that it would be a relatively quick project, and that it would make a useful inroad into my stash, which is still overflowing - although things are easing slightly. Last night I was able to organise some of the overflow into one of the storage tables, so something must have happened!

I'm knitting the cardigan using some balls of Jaeger Prelude which I picked up in a charity shop for 50p per ball. It's washable - but has some woolliness - and should make quite a good children's garment. Hopefully it will be fairly gender neutral, although it's primarily destined for a smallish girl. I managed a few rows over lunch today, while I was flicking through the Rowan magazine and newsletter which arrived through my letter box this morning. Mmm.

Monday, 13 July 2009


We're having quite a nice summer this year - one with warmth and sunshine and a bit of rain here and there. Despite various hiccoughs this weekend, I managed to get a few things done:. One baby hat. Tick. Dolly(cardigan) knitted and now blocking. 3 jars of pink grapefruit marmalade. Tick. A batch of lemon and raspberry muffins. Tick. Haircut. Tick.

Maybe its the late pregnancy nesting kicking in, or just the weather, or just the cricket.... but I'm in a domestic frenzy at the moment, constantly thinking of the next thing to finish, to start, to do - whilst at the same time entertaining an energetic 2 1/2 year old who needs regular watering and feeding and constant potty encouragement.... (I wont mention the episode in the post office).

Just while I'm on the pregnancy thing: the very good folk at the Pregnancy and Parents Centre in Edinburgh are fundraising at the moment. The PPC (formerly Birth Resource Centre) is a very good thing - they offer lots of different types of support and activities for pregnant women and parents with young children. I find their antenatal yoga classes really helpful - and did last time I was pregnant too - and have had good support from local women including doulas and midwives through their homebirth support group. They do lots of other stuff too - baby music, birth preparation workshops, breastfeeding support.... check out their timetable for details and pass on to anyone you know who is pregnant or lives with small people....

If anyone is inclined, then you can donate directly via their website, or you can email them if you have any bright ideas about helping them to raise some cash. I've made one or two suggestions, and if you live on the southside of Edinburgh, then you can 'vote' for the PPC in this month's community matters draw at Waitrose. Shoppers spending more than £10 can receive a token to place in the box, and at the end of the month £1000 will be divided between the 3 local causes depending on the tokens they receive.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

FO: Danish Blue socks

Here are the danish blue socks in all their glory and in use. Finished at last!

Pattern: generic top down pattern

Yarn: Bumbo sock yarn with Aloe Vera (bought in Denmark)

Now that these socks, and Wimbledon, are over, it's time for something else. The new series of Torchwood has me hooked, and while I watch I'm doing my best to crank through the small and very pink Dolly that I started earlier in the year. Last night I finished both fronts (knit at the same time) and started the back. Oh yes, and if Torchwood wasnt diverting enough, there's also the Tour de France and the Ashes to keep my inner sports enthusiast on edge...

Saturday, 4 July 2009


Late June and early July is a time for celebration in our house. It's my birthday at the end of June, and as always I enjoyed a family time with cards and treats from my nearest and dearest.

Among these this year was Jane Brocket's lovely book 'The Gentle Art of Domesticity'. I've been dipping in and and out of this since it was unwrapped, and have ever since been fighting a strong desire to do some quilting. I've been nurturing some plans to take up quilting for a while, particularly since inheriting my grandmothers patchwork stash, with its handstitched hexagons backed with individual templates cut from cards and magazines... The bean has recently started sleeping in a bed rather than a cot, and I'd really like to make him a quilt top to cover his bed, using up some of his great grandmothers fabrics and various things I've got lurking in my stash. Reading Jane Brocket's book is in danger of sending me over the edge, but I know I've got other things to finish off first....

As well as family pleasures, we managed to venture out for some grown-up celebrations, and spent a lovely evening with old friends at a dinner dance organised by New Destiny, a charity working with children and young people in Brazil. One of our friends volunteered for them a couple of years ago, and helped them to build a safe house in a Brazilian slum. The work they do is important and sobering, but the evening was also fun, and I was more than astonished to win a prize in the after-dinner raffle. Just what I need: a posh haircut in Stockbridge!

As well as my birthday, we celebrate our wedding anniversary around now. 4 wonderful years of married life, one son and a soon-to-be-born babe adding to the pleasure. Happy Anniversary dear husband.

Finally, a huge congratulations to Clare and Andy, who recently celebrated the arrival of baby Emily a little earlier than anticipated (34 weeks). Best wishes to all including big sister Abigail - we hope you are well.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Finishing off...

July is all about finishing things off. I'm trying to work my way through an endless list of work tasks before starting my maternity leave, AND to hoover up various knitting and stitching WIPs which are cluttering my mind as well as the house. It's part of the tidying we (I) need to do before the new baby arrives.

Since we came back from holiday, I've made/finished:
- a sundress for a first birthday
- one pair of repurposed red trousers for the bean
- and, the socks I took on holiday...

Alas, because there was a bit of a rush to make the dress I did not take any photos before sending it off in the post. But, we've had a lovely thank you card, so I hope that means the dress is vaguely the right size and shape! Happy birthday Harper!

The repurposed red trousers were made with cut offs from a favourite pair of red trews of mine which had the audacity to wear out! They were fabulous in many ways: I bought them in a sale, they were one or two sizes smaller than I normally wear, they didnt fade at all even after several years of wearing and washing and their in-built stretch meant that they were comfortable to wear. What more could a girl ask for? Anyway, once they had given way in the upper thigh, I cut off the salvageable parts of the legs, and turned them into a pair of toddler trousers. I used a favourite pair of the bean's trousers as a pattern. Because I did not taper the legs in any way, the finished trousers ended up slightly on the flared side (actually, they were quite hilariously flared). Perfect for the late 1970s, but not quite so fashionable now. To cure this malady in the most minimalist way, I elasticated the cuffs - again using the original trousers as a pattern (these also have elasticated cuffs).

The socks have been plodding for some while now, but now that Wimbledon is on (c'mon Andy!), I've been making the effort to pick them up everytime I stop to watch a set or two. Yesterday I finished sock no. 2 - but discovered that I had a reasonable length of yarn leftover. Although I am not normally a perfectionist about such things, in this case I decided it would be worth the effort to lengthen the leg of each sock and use absolutely every gram of this vibrant yarn. So, they are finished, sort of.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009


Before I share anything else, I must say something about the fabulous holiday we had in the Scillies at the end of May/beginning of June.

We were blessed with 7 days of stunning weather, and enjoyed cloudless camping for a week - which certainly made things a whole lot easier when it came to entertaining and occupying an energetic 2 year old. We still wonder what we would have done if it had been dreich and cold for days on end.... but it wasnt, and we enjoyed ourselves mightily in the sunshine.

The bean learned a lot about the possibilities of sandy beaches, and the enjoyment that comes from squashing whatever it is that your dad has lovingly and carefully constructed (castle, moat, car), as well as the joys of paddling in clear blue-green water. We also had lots of fun looking at and going on boats, looking out for helicopters and eating the occasional ice-cream. It was lovely.

[Oh yes, and the bump didnt get in the way too much, although I did sometimes find getting up off the floor a bit of a struggle...!]

Wednesday, 20 May 2009


Next week we're off on our holidays. Nowhere foreign, just plain old England, and the furthest away bit of England from Scotland that you can find.

We are going to the Isles of Scilly. This will involve 2 days of driving, a trip on the infamous Scillonian from Penzance to St Marys, then a short boat hop from St Marys (the main island) on the Firethorn to Bryher, and then along the track to Bryher campsite where we are staying.

This will be the fourth time we have been to Scilly in recent years. Last time we took the bean who was a jolly 8 months or so and not yet walking or talking. Now he's 2 and 4 months, and it's a whole different ball game! But Scilly is a magical place for children - no cars to speak of, lots of beaches, rock pools, tracks, footpaths, places to scramble and explore, and lots and lots and lots and lots of boats.

As we are camping and have to pack all our kit ready to be manhandled from boat to boat to tractor and campsite, knitting isnt high on the list of Things Which Absolutely Must be Packed. However, I'm hoping to squeeze in a wee bit of sock yarn and to finish a sock or two while I'm there. Keep your fingers crossed for fine weather!

We normally take our summer holidays at the end of August and beginning of September, but this year decided that the impending arrival of bean no. 2 sometime in August made that just a teensy bit tricky. So we're going now instead. Who knows whether its a good idea to go camping for 2 weeks when you're 6 months pregnant, but we'll soon find out! Fortunately I carry my babies neatly, and the bump isnt very large just yet (I can still ride my bike without too much difficulty), but I'm not sure how I'll cope sleeping in a sleeping bag with a snoring toddler only inches away and no mountain of pillows to keep me comfy...

Monday, 4 May 2009

Knits in action...

Here's a quick snap of the bobble cardigan in action. We were at a friends house enjoying the spring sunshine and the first lolly of the season, and it seemed to do a good job of keeping the bean warm in the bracing Scottish wind.

Since then I've also finished another of those totty tank tops for the bean. This time in blue with black stripes. I still love this pattern, although I'm coming to the conclusion that the sizings are a bit small. The bean is a perfectly average sized 2 yrs and 3 months, looking quite comfortable in this age 3-4 tank. It's a good stashbuster though, and used up just about 2 balls of the main colour. 2 down, rather a lot to go....(!).

Pattern: Child's striped tank (Rowan Family Collection)
Yarn: Jeager Matchmaker DK (2 x 50g balls, plus oddment of unknown black yarn from stash)
Mods: none, knitted as written - but worked flat on DPNs in order to effect one-row stripes without cutting yarn
Comments: next time may try out the round neck version

Given the number of babies due in and around these parts this year (bump now approaching 6 month mark!) I thought I would cast on for something small and pink just to replenish the stash of baby knits. There's bound to be at least one girl among the babies that come along, so I cast on a bubble gum pink Dolly (Martin Storey for Jaeger's baby book). Two-at-a-time sleeves are almost done -being mostly knit on trains to and from London over the last couple of weeks.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

FO: Bobble Cardigan

What happened to March? It's such a long month, but this year it's stolen away without me really noticing. Anyway, news to report: the bobble cardigan is finished (hurrah), has been worn (several times) and washed (once).

Pattern: Bobble cardigan by Zoe Mellor
Yarn: unknown 100% wool bought in a charity shop

Buttons: vintage from the button box

Mods: no bobbles (clearly)
If I made this again, I would: add a bit of length to the arms
Time taken: inordinate for something so small (September 2009-March 2009)

It's great; it looks good on, and the bean seems to like it most of the time. Late afternoon has become a time of ripping off cardigans, and this one is no exception. "Cardigan off mummy" he says and pulls the buttons and buttonholes much too hard for comfort. Toddlers dont really know about handknits, do they? But it looks cute... I'm not sure it will last till he's 3 (this is the age 2-3 size) but no matter, there's plenty of yarn left in the stash.

Another FO sprang off the needles this week: a baby beanie - as always knitted in the round using a grumperina stripe (alternate rounds of colour with no jogs). This one is destined for the head of a newly arrived baby boy (probably called James) who was born at home, in water on Monday evening a year and a day after his parents were married. Many congratulations to you Tim, Tee and baby James (probably).

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

FO: Lottie (Kim Hargreaves: Rowan Junior)

At last there is something to show for 2009. Here is little Lottie, knit for a sweet 1 yr-olds birthday and now on its way to her in the post....

Knit as written except for the flash of pink at the cast on edge. I had an urge to make it a little bit girly (although I didnt knit the optional flower) and thought the pink would perk up the beige/coffee colour a little. I wasn't completely happy with the neckband though, but time was pressing and it I'm not sure that reknitting would have improved things very greatly. I cant decide if it was me or the pattern.
Here's another much older FO, which I dont think I've ever posted here. This is my delightful 2 year old son, snapped yesterday trying to pinch Lottie for himself. 'Scuse the wild hair - we'd just woken up from a 2 hour nap and had earlier been swimming - never a recipe for ruly locks in my experience!

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Simple pleasures

Knitting is such a simple pleasure isnt it? I love the process AND the end result - especially when it is worn and loved and appreciated. There seems to be so much to catch up on, so I'll be short and to the point here.

Much Christmas knitting has gone unblogged, and worse, unphotographed. I sent a pair of mittens and a lacey scarf to friends in Denmark. I also made socks for my dear father - maybe I'll be able to catch them in use next time we see him.

I did however, manage to make myself another pair of socks with the leftovers from Dad's socks. I combined the plain blue from his socks with some of the self patterning yarn from 2008's christmas socks, and used a grumperina stripe (one round plain, one round patterned yarn). I really like the end result, comfy, machine washable, stash-busting and pretty!

At Christmas I was lucky enough to be on the receiving end of some fine knitterly gifts.

My dear husband not only got me a copy of EZ's knitters almanac, but also added membership of Rowan for the year.

I like getting things in the post, so regular instalments of Rowan loveliness via their newsletter and magazine is a great treat. The free gift is a kit to make a bag from 6 balls of rowan denim. As I dont really need any more bags, I'll probably knit something for the bean instead.

I also received this lovely skein of sock yarn from my parents (thanks mum!). I'm itching to cast on, but there are other. things. to. do. first.

One of those other things is finish this: the bobble cardigan (sans bobbles). I need to reknit the collar/neckband as it's a bit flabby, and then finish the seaming and find some buttons. I like the way's it's turning out though...

Meanwhile the first birthday is looming and Lottie is still on the needles. Yikes! Better get on....

Thursday, 12 February 2009


Seriously good news is springing up everywhere at the moment. Not only has the mojo come back but there is a new WIP which is thrilling, exciting and scaring me a bit too. Any guesses?

Yep, it's a new baby. Due to arrive sometime in August, so I'm trusting that Edinburgh will be as cool as usual and I wont melt in the heat of a fierce Scottish summer. After all the shenanigans of last year, we are really thrilled, and now that the first (horrid) trimester is over, things are starting to get exciting again. Yesterday we saw a midwife for a booking in appointment - another lovely homebirth has been ordered and life seems pretty good.

As if this wasnt enough, my knitting mojo has crept back into view and yesterday I took knitting with me to the hospital. I snatched a few rows here and there while we waited. It feels good to have something growing on the needles again. I had cast on for Lottie from Rowan Junior the other day - there's a first birthday coming up and a stash to consume. If we're going to have another wee person in the house, toy storage will become even more important and the stash will have to make way!

Monday, 9 February 2009

Joining in

There is good news to report, my mojo has been seen (somewhat fleetingly) and I actually managed to finish something teeny and tiny over the weekend, as well as starting to sew up the bobble cardigan, which I blocked sometime before Christmas!

More of that another time. I was struck today by Ysolda's recent post about designers rights (even if I'm not knitting, I do like to keep up with the blog world). It's an important thing for all of us who knit - whether designing or 'consuming' patterns. When I buy food I like to buy things which I know (because of the fair trade marque) have been produced within a system which pays a fair price and which supports workers rights (it isnt perfect, but it's the best thing we've got at the moment). It seems to me that as grown ups we should also be prepared to suppport knit publishers and knit publications which also operate on a fair trade basis. I have written to Vogue Knitting to tell them so (email below) and I urge you to do the same.


Did you know that the blog world is talking about you and the way that you treat designers? (see: Ysolda Teague's blog, and Anne Modesitt's blog). I'm joining my fellow knitters and knit designers and walking away from your patterns and magazines until you begin to treat your designers more fairly. Why would I support Vogue Knitting over the Twist Collective or Ravelry or IK?

You know, the fair trade movement has been pretty powerful in relation to food staples (coffee, tea, sugar, bananas) and is now starting to shape the fashion industry. How about a bit of fair trade in the knitting world?

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

New Year New Mojo?

Mid winter goblins have been at work in Edinburgh this year. One of them moved my mojo, and I havent yet recovered the poor wee thing. I've been trying to coax it out of hiding with a couple of quick projects, but alas, alack without my mojo both of those small things were sent off to the frog pond.

Something will rescue me soon I hope. There's unblogged Christmas knitting to report and lovely knitterly gifts to tell you about. Soon my lovelies, soon.