Thursday, 24 November 2022

Christmas Sale is Open


The final patterns that will be included in my sale which opens today include my Christmas Bird pattern. You could make your birds fair isle, or with a sparkly wool, embroider on them, hang them or even make wire legs. There are just so many choices.

My Tiny Elf Clog pattern is one of my Christmas regulars. I used to hang these little shoes on the tree every year, but now because of my greedy dog, they have to be hung up somewhere a bit safer, as she would definitely go for the chocolate.

And the Christmas Elephant decoration. I am still backing elephants to be the new Christmas animal. Elephants are lucky, cheerful, and I really think Santa could do with a few elephants to help him with the sleigh. The pattern contains instructions for an adult and baby elephant to hang as decorations.

So just a reminder that you can purchase any of the patterns listed below at 50% off by using the code GINXMAS22. The sale runs up until Christmas Day. Just click on the names below to see the pattern, or you can look back through my posts of the last few days. The code will only work on ravelry, and once per customer, so remember to get all the patterns you need to make it a Woolly Happy Christmas!

Christmas Arctic Hare

Christmas Baby Penguin

Christmas Bird

Christmas Elephants

Christmas Polar Bear

Christmas Sand Dollar Decoration

Christmas Tree Decoration

Little Minnows


Spiral Shells


Tiny Clog Decoration

Christmas Sale Thursday

The next group of patterns that I am including in my Christmas sale are a little bit left field. The seaside themed Christmas tree decorations include - Scallop Shell, Sand Dollar, Starfish, Little Minnows, and I have included my Spiral Shell

It was 10 years ago that Mary Ann asked me to design a Christmas Sand Dollar pattern, to hang on her sister-in-law's ocean themed Christmas tree. I had a lot of fun with this design, which was helped by the real sand dollars that she sent me, which still decorate my bathroom. 

So while not completely traditional, why not have an ocean-themed tree? Tomorrow I will be showing the last group of Christmas decoration that are included in the 50% off sale, and publishing the discount code. The sale starts on Friday and continues until Christmas Day, and there will be a few more not very traditional decorations. 

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

Christmas Sale Wednesday


Some more patterns that will be included in my Christmas sale (which opens on Friday) are my three little Arctic animals: Arctic Hare, Baby Penguin and Polar Bear

What I enjoyed about the Baby Penguin and Arctic Hare was photographing them in the frozen world of "Fluffy Dressing Gown".

The full list of patterns and discount code will be listed on Friday 25th November!

Christmas Sale

I've decided to run a sale on some of my Christmas patterns, which will open on Friday 25th November, and run until Christmas. On Friday I will publish a discount code for use on Ravelry, which will give you a 50% discount on my Christmas patterns. Over the next few days I will be showing on my blog and Instagram the patterns that will be included in the sale. 

So you will have some days to see the Christmas patterns. The code can only be used once per customer, so do remember to include everything you might want to make, and to allow yourself enough time to make any decorations before Christmas.

One of patterns that will be included in the sale is Christmas Tree Decoration. This is one of my favourite patterns, because you can use any oddments you have left from other projects to make a really stylish hanging decoration. You can also use your imagination with the decoration. It is the only pattern I ever tried out with the most advanced knitter at the primary school knitting club I ran. (I wonder if Ron continued with his knitting? He was quite a tough kid, and would sit knitting in the playground, and got no grief from the other children.) So if you know a beginner knitter, (or are a beginner yourself), who is learning how to decrease, this is an ideal pattern.

I will be posting about some more patterns that will be included in the sale tomorrow.

Tuesday, 15 November 2022

Baby Sail Boat Hat

Another view of my new pattern - Baby Sail Boat Hat. Same cute little great nephew who was in my other photos, who came to visit and has grown a little.

Pattern is for sale on ravelry, Loveknitting and Etsy.


Saturday, 29 October 2022

Fashion Project Bag

My daughter had her eyes on a bag that I use for my knitting, to take as a project bag for college. But I didn't want to let it go, so said I would make her one of her own. Looking back at my blog it is hard to believe that I made the original bag over 10 years ago. I guess it is doing fairly well, as I use it a lot.

I was hoping to find some heavy weight denim for the new bag, but my local sewing shop didn't have this, but did have two lovely pieces of linen in the remnants bin, which were the perfect size. Like the last time I made this bag the sewing was not too difficult, and the biggest job was ironing interfacing on to every piece. I have now realised what the term "bagging out" means.

Knowing it is off to fashion college, I took a lot of care with my sewing. This time I have got the pockets the right way round, so this time it is a reversible bag. Photo below just to prove this. Last time my cat decided to have a nap in the bag, so I wonder if she will do the same with this one before I mail it off.


Lots of other lovely patterns in this book, so I may have a go at another style of bag.

Tuesday, 25 October 2022

Baby Sail Boat Hat

I have been busy working on the three sizes for my new sail boat baby hat. I made this pattern up for a hat for my great nephew, which you can read about on a previous post. The pattern comes with instructions for three sizes: Newborn, 3-6 Months, and 6-12 Months.

You can see all three hats together below, after they were knitted. I then spent a little while considering whether to add pompoms or not. I really love my instant pompom maker. On the second size hat I knitted a cover for a button, which I also really like, and for the largest hat a plait with a tassel (but not so long that the baby could reach or get tangled with it). 

I had my usual problem with the lack of a baby model. Secret - some of the photos above involve a grapefruit and a kitchen bowl. So here again is my lovely great nephew modelling the original version of the hat. And now to work out sizes for the babysuit, so you may not hear from me for a little while!

The pattern will be published shortly in all the usual places, ravelry LoveKnitting and Etsy, and my sample hats will be for sale in my Etsy shop.

Thursday, 20 October 2022

Working in a Woollen Mill

I have been a little absent from this blog for a few weeks, as I have been busy at a new part-time job working for Blacker Yarns, the retail section of The Natural Fibre Company in Launceston.

The Natural Fibre Company is a really unique woollen mill: real experts in producing wool from natural fibres, and the only woollen mill in the country that spins wool from wool and worsted fibres under one roof. So while the busy mill, with its whirrring machines is producing wool on the floor below, I am on the upper floor packing wool up for the online part of the company Blacker Yarns.

After four weeks I have learned so much, and it is really nice having work colleagues who talk about wool and knitting. I have also been allowed to use my passion for photography, and the photos for the new Shetland Coffee range were taken by me. Check out there lovely ranges of wool, all made from natural fibres on their website, and their selection of patterns, which really show off the qualities of the wools.

I really can't believe that I have been lucky enough to find a job that lets me use my real interests, knitting and photography, so you will probably be hearing a bit more about Blacker Yarns here.

Sunday, 2 October 2022

Autumn Garden Diary

I spent some of today doing a few jobs in the vegetable garden. The pumpkins are still coming along, so will leave them a bit nearer to Halloween.

I am also proud to present my melon, which is still growing in the polytunnel. There is also a smaller one. They are called Melba, and I guess I will leave it a bit longer, and pick when there is sign of frost.

We picked some more apples, which although more abundant than last year, don't seem to produce as much juice. My husband has been pressing them most of the day. I suppose it is because of the dry summer, so overall I think we may end of with much the same amount of cider as last year. Still a lot more on the trees, and pears as well.

Quite a lovely day, and still some colourful wildlife to photograph.

Saturday, 24 September 2022

Granny Square Cardigan

Finally the granny square jacket for my daughter is made, and she has left for her course studying fashion in Brighton. I wrote previously about when I started making the squares for the granny chique look. It was a close thing getting it finished, with me running in ends up to the night before she left. Will it get worn? I'm not sure, although she is planning to join the surf club, and I can imagine her sitting on the beach in it after a swim. I would really quite like one for myself, maybe in more muted colours, but will take a break from crochet for a while.

It really did take a lot of work making it. I had the idea to try and make the squares look a bit like a stained glass window, but after joining a few by just sewing together with black wool, I realised that they really needed a black crochet edge. Also that gave it a much baggier look. The sleeves, neck and button bands, and bottom rib are knitted. My crochet skills really weren't up to improvising those parts. 

So feeling a bit sad at the moment, but hoping she will have lots of exciting times.

Sunday, 4 September 2022

Cushions and the Cat


A few weeks ago I showed a piece of 1950s curtain fabric, which I has bought from Penny Baker Vintage in Tavistock market to make some cushions. Finally the cushions are made, and these are just two of the four cushions. I love them. Although genuine old fabric, I don't think that they were ever hung as curtains, as there was no fading on it at all.

The backs were made from some linen material bought from Soft Touch Needlecraft. I liked this colour, and wanted to make as many cushions as I could from the 1950s fabric.
But although I had intended these cushions to be for the kitchen, I haven't quite brought myself to put them out yet. Mainly because of my cat, who is a little old lady now. Despite having two lovely soft baskets, she likes to hang out in the kitchen, and will sit on anything soft. I keep finding her having made herself all comfy on the oven glove. And although I think she is fairly healthy, and still brings us home the gift of the odd mouse, she is occasionally sick. Although I am not overly house proud, I just can't bear the thought of the cushions having to go through the wash straight away. So for the moment they are still by the sewing machine. But last winter there was a point when she decided to spend most of her time in the airing cupboard. So that may be when the cushions come out. Am I turning into the sort of person who keeps plastic covers on their sofa? Possibly.

Wednesday, 31 August 2022

Garden Diary August

Time once again for my monthly garden diary. I do realise that I do this diary mainly for myself, as although I keep a note of where I planted each year, and the seeds, it is sometimes really useful to have a look back and see how things went.

Blackberries are what are filling my days (and freezer) at the moment

It's been a funny old year, with all the hot weather and no rain for a long time. Although it is raining now, we have recently dug two lots of potatoes. A much easier job than last year, as the soil just seemed to fall away to leave lovely clean potatoes, but really shows that we need a lot more rain to penetrate the soil.

The plants that looked like they were doing okay, but then really didn't flourish like last year were the runnerbeans, french beans, broad beans and peas. Yes we had some, but I have not put any in the new chest freezer as we just ate them as we went. This is a photo of my entry in the village show for longest runnerbean. I came third, but I guess I have to admit that there were only three beans entered!


But the freezer is coming into its own with berries. Raspberries did really well, and now we are filling it almost daily with blackberries and elderberries. Even I am starting to think that perhaps I should stop picking the blackberries, but they are just so lovely. We have one lot of blackberry wine bubbling away, and plan to make more throughout the winter. We have already bottled dandelion flower, elderflower and cherry wine. My husband was worried that if we picked the elderflowers, we might not have enough left for berries. Although some of the bushes have suffered a bit from the dry weather, there seem to be plenty of berries. I have just weighed all the elderberries in the freezer so far, and it is over 3kg. I am also planning to make some jellies and jams. My husband made some raspberry jam already, which was so much better than mine.  

Dandelion labels made by hand and elderflower on the computer

The other berries that look great are the sloes, but this year I am not going to be drawn into picking until we have a frost.

Things that did well in the veg garden were the courgettes, and patty pan squash. I managed to mainly pick the courgettes small, but must try to remember that even 6 plants was too many. The patty pans are still flowering and producing, but I seem to be the only one keen on these cute little vegetables. Also the onions did fairly well, despite me planting them too close to each other, and having to replant. We now have several strings of onions in the kitchen. 
There is now a plant and produce donation cabin in the village, which is a great way to share. I have given, and am excited to see how the watermelons, aubergine and broccoli that I received do.

The main problem for me seems to be that a lot of my plants seem behind. Sweetcorn are only just starting to swell, one baby butternut squash has appeared, melons and watermelons I am hopeful for, tomatoes are still very green, and the spinach just seems to have stopped growing. Hopefully we will have a mild and wet September, and some of these things will catch up. The celeriac is also still looking very healthy, and I see that should not be ready until October, so there is still time.

My one butternut squash

I nearly forgot to mention the apples and pears, which are looking so much better than last year. It will not be long before the cider press will have to be got out.

And finally the pumpkins - each plant seems to producing a good sized pumpkin, which are starting to turn orange. 


Although not strictly the garden, but we had a visit from the Woodland Trust to look at our growing woodland, which we planted in the spring of 2020. In the spring this year we looked down all the tubes (a mammoth task in which I had to keep reminding myself "this not as hard as actually planting trees"), and we replaced the 20 or so trees which had died. But out of 1400 trees this did not seem too bad. 

But my husband has been quite worried about the trees in the dry weather, but the tree people were very reassuring that they would survive. The photo below is not really a good comparison, as the first was in February just after the trees were planted, but you can see in the current photo below a lot of the trees are well out of their tubes.

Monday, 22 August 2022

Poor Man's Capers

Not everything has gone to plan in the garden, and I'll be doing my monthly garden update for August soon. One of the plants that has grown well are the nasturtiums, which I planted as a companion plant to distract the critters from the vegetable. I think there is a saying about making lemonade if life has given you lemons, so I decided to do what I can with this surprise success. You can eat the leaves for a spicy salad, and I even saw a recipe for nasturtium flower wine, but the family drew the line at this. I also found out that the seeds can be pickled to make "poor man's capers", so this is what I decided to do.

Here is a link to the recipe that I used Nasturtium Capers. There are a lot of other recipes out there. Some people like to soak in brine before pickling, to reduce the pepperiness. Also I have stored them in the fridge, but some recipes say just store in a dark cupboard. I added a bit of garlic, and they should be ready to eat in about 4 weeks, so I will let you know how they turn out.