Saturday 24 February 2024

North Ronaldsay Wool

Did you know that North Ronaldsay sheep have a diet that is primarily seaweed? I learned that a few weeks ago, and so thought that a background of seaweed would be a nice way to photograph Blacker Yarns new North Ronaldsay wool. This is a lovely 100% pure wool. I am planning to buy some myself, for a new jumper for my husband, who is keen to have a Norweigan fisherman's jersey. I had better get a move on, as I can see orders flying in.

No trip to the Orkney Islands, but we set off to our nearest beach in Bude. I was down in the rockpools looking for a good seaweedy spot, when my husband pointed out that the frothy brown liquid that was all around us would not be a good look for the photos. Quite appalled that a beach in a town that relies on tourism and was teaming with people, it was half-term, could be in this state. Later that week I watched a tv programme Joe Lycett vs Sewage, and it seems this is problem everywhere.

So we hastily left, and decided to go to Duckpool Beach a little further north. We got to the turning, and there was a Flood Sign, "but that could have been there for ages", I said. A bit further down the lane we realised the road really was flooded, so we reversed back up the country lane.

Third attempt we went to Sandymouth Bay, and finally success. Beautiful clean beach, not many people, with lots of lovely seaweed on the rocks. Although a bit overexposed, I love this photo of the beach, as it gives the feel of the wind and the sun, and the space between the people.


Sunday 4 February 2024

Tamara Way - Stage Three - Part One

We have a bit of a gap since our last walk, but today my son and I walked another section of the Tamara Way. Our only excuse was we have been waiting for a day of nice weather. As you will see we didn't have it today, but it was only mizzling when we set off. We started at Bere Ferrers railway station, from which the route took us back to the Tamar River. At this point it is still wide estuary, with interesting reed beds and marshes, as will as historic mining works.

I was really hoping to see some of the avocets, that are sometimes seen here. These are the beautiful birds with the upcurving beak that are on the RSPB logo. No sign of them, but I was delighted, given where I work, to see some new born lambs.

We eventually arrived at Weir Quay, and were happy to find the cafe at the boatyard was open. I'm not really one for posting food photo, but the hot chocolate and warm cheese scone were very welcome, with a delightful view of a working boat yard. I really should have photographed that scone.

Shortly after our stop at the cafe my husband turned up. He had driven to the end of the walk, and we had planned this meet up. Pretty soon the River Tamar changes, from a wide estuary to a meandering river. What was nice was we were quite high above the river for much of this part of the walk with some lovely views.


Eventually, having passed Cotehele Quay on the Cornish side of the river, we arrived at Calstock, with its impressive railway bridge. From here it was a short but steep walk up the hill to Bere Alston station and the car. Having done about 8 miles, the bulk of this section, we are planning to not leave it quite so long before doing the next part.

Saturday 27 January 2024

Child's Foxy Jumper Pattern

I've been working on this childrens'  jumper pattern for quite a while. When I look back the first small version was knitted in August, so I realise I am not working at a very fast pace. But finally the pattern is complete and published on ravelry, Etsy and LoveKnitting. The photo below shows Age 1-2 years, and 2-3 years, and the pattern comes in two more sizes up to Age 7.

I really like the little fox border, although in the last week one of our lovely chickens has disappeared. I suspect perhaps a fox, my husband a stoat, and we have also wondered about a bird of prey. But there was no sign of feathers, so my neighbour, who also has chickens, says she may have got broody and be hiding, sitting on a nest of unfertilised eggs somewhere. That would be great, but I am not very hopeful. If it was a fox I know foxes just do what they have to do to live.

Apart from the fox border the jumper pattern is really quite simple. It is knitted in 4-ply, from the bottom up. It is seamed, and has raglan sleeves. The bottom and cuffs have a border of garter stitch, although this could be altered to rib if you prefer that, and the neck is a simple roll collar. You need a small amount of two additional colours for the foxes, and a tiny bit of black for their eyes and noses, which are embroidered on at the end.

I so love these little foxes I am thinking of knitting a bigger version for myself.

Saturday 16 December 2023


I love seeing projects made from my patterns, and this one is special as Wendy has made a this lambretta for her husband using my vespa pattern. It is not an easy pattern, as there are a lot of little pieces to attach, and an insert to keep it rigid. She has done a great job!

Sunday 3 December 2023


In the Spring my son and I did a linoprinting course, and was thinking at the time about printing Christmas cards. So over the last week or so I have had a go at this, using one of my old carvings and making a few new ones. I wasn't going to post about this, but if my friends and family do see this post they still don't know which card they will receive.

I had the idea of putting some cards in my Etsy shop, but think I need to work a bit more at my carving precision and printing, which as you can see is sometimes a bit smudgy. I printed straight onto the card, but see a lot of cards in the shops and fairs print onto cartridge paper and then mount this. Perhaps this would be better, as I have had to wash my hands between each print, and also then it would be easier to get the print nicely centred on the card.

I had a lot of fun doing this, and have some ideas for some more prints.

The robin's red breast was added with water colour


Tuesday 21 November 2023

Final Garden Post for This Year

I thought I had written my last post on the vegetable garden for this year as the only vegetables outdoors that I am still picking are some leeks, and the sprouts that I am hoping will get a bit bigger for Christmas.


But I had forgotten about these little beauties - the Jerusalem artichokes. I had noticed this year their lovely yellow flowers, which were impossible to photograph because of the long stalks. They really are the no-effort vegetable, as every year up they come, and however thoroughly I think I have dug, there are clearly enough bits of tubers for the plants to come up again the next year. So I think these are destined for a nice hearty soup.

Most of the vegetable garden has been put to bed under some dark sheeting, but I have planted one area with some green manure. I can see the seedlings coming up, and these will be dug back in the spring to add nitrogen.

The polytunnel has been tidied up, and I have just one trough left, where I have planted some sweetpeas. I never have much luck with sweetpeas, but saw the tip on Beechgrove Garden to plant in the autumn so they have a head start.

There is still quite a bit to do in the other bits of the garden, buddleia to cut back. I am hoping for a nice crisp but sunny day, which never seems to come.

Friday 10 November 2023

Medlar Fruit Jelly

I have been busy making jelly again. Perhaps this is becoming more of a cookery blog than craft blog. We have a single medlar tree in the garden, and other years I have not picked the fruit. But maybe because we did not have as many apples and pears as other years, this year the medlar tree seemed full of fruit, so I decided to give them a go.

I had not heard of this fruit, but apparently they were very popular in medieval times, and because of its appearance had some quite rude names. As you can see they are rather a strange looking fruit, and really quite hard. You have to pick them, and leave them to blett, which means ripen until they look as if they are almost rotten. Some I left a bit too long, but I ended up with about a kilo of usable fruit, and used this recipe on the RHS site to make the jelly. It is a lovely colour, and tastes of apples.


My dog is the one who loves the medlars, and if I cannot find her she will often be under the tree snacking.