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. 

Thursday 2 November 2023


Could you photograph Rylan, I thought they said! And I started dreaming. My first celebrity photoshoot. Imagining him with those purly white teeth, perhaps wearing a purly white jumper, or maybe black, he often wears black. Alas, I was mistaken! 

Here is the Ryeland that I photographed. Equally lovely, this Ryeland from one of Britain’s oldest sheep breeds, originally known for Merino-like softness. It has just been launched by Blacker Yarns in their Limited Edition and Rare Breeds. If you visit their page you can read more information, and see some lovely photos of the flock that this wool came from.


Sunday 29 October 2023

Sloe Syrup

I have been looking at the sloes in the hedges around the field for some time now, and trying not to get ahead of myself and pick them too soon. Some books say wait until you have had a frost, but we are quite mild here, so that might be a while. But the other day I noticed that quite a few were starting to shrivel, and looked a bit like raisins, so decided it was time to pick.

My son and me both picked a colander, so we had about 3kg between us. Although I have made sloe gin other years, I decided this year it might be better to make sloe syrup. We could put this in gin, but it might also be nice to have on porridge, or yoghurt, or even icecream. It is meant to be packed full of vitamin C and antioxidants, so hopefully will ward off any winter colds.

Thursday 19 October 2023

Samite Silk Blend - Morte d'Arthur

I almost forgot that I have one more series of photos to show you that I took to illustrate Blacker Yarns new Samite silk blend. This book was my father-in-law's school prize, Le Morte d'Arthur by Thomas Malory. Volume 2 - so I wonder if he also won Volume 1?

I decided to use some of the new range of Samite yarn to make some patches with an Arthurian theme, and sewed them together to make a bookmark.

The beautiful plates in the book were part of the inspiration for the patterns used on the wool bands and colourcard.


Sunday 15 October 2023

Walking the Tamara Way

My son and I have decided to walk the Tamara Coast to Coast Way. A route following the River Tamar, with a few detours, from the south coast of Cornwall and Devon to the north. The River Tamar is the border between the two counties. We are planning to do it in eight sections over a few weeks. 

I have been posting photos on my personal facebook page, but then thought why not do some posts here. We are doing the walk in a stage each week, and picking days with nice weather. 

For the first stage my husband kindly drove us to the start at St. Cremyll, did half the walk, and then walked back to the beginning to get the car to meet us at the end Totally exhausted and put off by a rain shower, we did not quite finish all of stage one as written in our guide book, but made it across the Torpoint ferry.

I have my camera with me, and with the aim of getting on with the walk I am trying only to photograph large scenic views, not every leaf and petal, which apparently is a bit annoying in a long walk, when I find myself left behind. 

Setting off from St. Cremyll Beach

Passing Empacombe Garden gate

View acros the estuary to Plymouth

View from Millbrook Lake Dam

View from the Torpoint ferry

View from the ferry of the ferry going in the other direction

The second stage of the walk we had a bit of catching up to do. This time we got the train to Devonport, which was an adventure itself. My son was very insistent that we return to the exact spot where we ended last time, and I guess (grudgingly) he is right.

Walking out of Plymouth was a bit of a slog, with our first highpoint being the views of the Tamar rail and road bridges at Saltash Passage.
Tamar rail and road bridges

Detail of the rail bridge built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel
The bridges from the other side
It was a walk of bridges and crossings, as our walk along the Tamar and then Tavy shores took us under the Tamerton Bridge, which we had earlier crossed on the train.
Tamerton Bridge
Eventually we made it to the Lopwell Dam, which is quite a narrow stone walkway, that can only be done when the tide is low. This crosses the River Tavy, a tributary of the River Tamar. Very proud that with some handholding I made it across. A photo of us crossing would be hysterical.
From Bere Ferrers Quay

We walked much further than last time, and despite being exhausted we walked up the hill from the quay to Bere Ferrers railway station, our starting point for the next stage.

Hawthorn Berry Jelly

There seem to be more than usual hawthorn berries around this year. Is that a sign it will be a cold winter? So I decided I would have a go at making some hawthorn jelly. I used this recipe from Practical Self Reliance.

I am not sure why my hawthorn berries were not particular juicy, but it took me three colanders before I thought I had enough juice to add the sugar. In the end I made this single jar of hawthorn jelly. Plenty of hawthorn berries were left for the birds.

And now I can hear the rose hips calling to me. Recipes say they will be juicier if you wait until you have had a light frost, which we haven't yet, so I am trying to be patient.

Monday 2 October 2023

Little Pumpkins

I have been busy working on a pattern for some little pumpkins for Halloween. The pattern contains instructions for two sizes of pumpkins, which are really quite simple and quick to make.

The pictures above are knitted in DK, but searching through my stash of oddments I found a lot of pumpkiny (is that a word) wool in other thickness. It is very simple to adapt the pattern to whatever wool you have simply by changing the needle size. For DK I used 4mm, for 4ply 3.5mm and for the scrummy thicker wool 5mm.
So here are some photos of some individual pumpkins that could be used as decorations. 
The pattern is available here on ravelry, and Etsy and will be on Loveknitting in due course.
One other idea that I think would work well would be to make a bunting mixing the pumpkins with my knitted bats. Still working on this, but here is a link to the Bat Pattern on ravelry. 
Just to show that you could make your pumpkins in any colour here is a photo of my own homegrown pumpkin and squash.


Sunday 1 October 2023

Garden Diary - Tidying Up For Winter


I have been busy tidying up the garden. Bean poles are down, potatoes have been dug, and all the sweetcorn have been harvested. Quite a lot of areas have been weeded and covered with sheeting until the spring. I thought I would do one last post. Above are two vegetables which came from the village plant exchange. The aubergine plants have been looking healthy with lovely flowers for ages, but I had thought that it was a bit late to develop into full veg, but then hiding under the leaves on one plant I found these lovelies. They are in the polytunnel so I am leaving them to grow and ripen a bit more.

And above are some cucamelons, also from the plant exchange. I had not really known what to expect with these. They look like very tiny watermelon, but taste like a mouthful of cucumber. To show you the scale here is a cucamelon next to the only cucumber that I got this year. Fun to try out some new plants!


I am really pleased with the leeks, which I had not grown before. As you can see below they do look like proper leeks. They like the onions don't seem to be troubled by pests, which is a bonus. I lifted the onions fairly early, as it was raining so much they seemed to be going rotten, but as you can see below they have not turned out too bad.

The other plants that have done well, are these Heart of Gold squash, and the pumpkins not as well as last year, as I only have one large one. But perhaps that is enough.

Although my husband and I garden together, we tend to also have our own areas. I do most of the veg plot and polytunnel, while his area is the greenhouse. Tomatoes are still doing well in both places, in fact so well that we are getting a bit tired of tomato soup, and yesterday I made some passata for the freezer. He has also had success with a variety of chilli pepper, which you can see below.

His other special project are the six grape vines, which were planted at the edge of the veg garden. I notice that he always gives them extra attention when watering. This year we were not really expecting fruit, as they were just getting the plants established, but there have been a bunch or two of very tasty little grapes.

Apples have all been picked, and some of the best I have wrapped and stored for eating in the winter. Following the technique shown on my new favourite gardening programme The Beechgrove Garden. It has lots of very practical advice, and also reminds me of when I lived in Aberdeen for a year. The rest of the apples are destined to be pressed for apple juice and cider. So pretty soon there will be a day of chopping and pressing.

One vegetable which has again not gone well are my celeriac. The plants tops look really healthy, but I have dug one and just as last year it has not really developed the root underground. Last year I thought that perhaps I had not watered enough, so this year despite all the rain I have watered nearly every day. So my next thought is that perhaps there is not enough organic material in the soil. So despite saying I would not try again, I may give it one more go next year, with my new special weapon. I am still collecting the girls poops, and am hoping they will really help in the veg garden next year.