FO Friday 02.06.23

We’re in the middle of a heatwave in the UK, so of course I decided to finish off a pair of gloves.


This is the Easy Peasy Knitted Gloves pattern on Rav, and the yarn is Caron Simply Soft in the Teal Zeal colourway.

I started these because I wanted to see if I could manage gloves with fingers and it looks like I can, hooray!  I will admit the thumbs were not meant to be offset but the first one somehow turned out that way so I fiddled with the other one to make them mirror images.  Now I want to try a pair of those fingerless gloves with a flap that converts them to mittens, but that can wait until the weather calms down a bit.




The Great British Yarn Crawl

We’re almost to the final month of the Great British Yarn Crawl, organised by the UK Handknitting Association. It’s easy enough to join in; you need to collect six stamps from at least two different participating yarn shops before the end of June, hand in the card once all 6 spots are stamped, and wait to see if you’ve won any of the amazing prizes.  I’m a slight over-achiever so I decided to go to six different yarn shops to get my stamps.

The first two are not far from work so I visited both on a Friday afternoon; Susie’s Wool Shop and Threads Wool Shop. They both stock big name brands and no indie-dyed yarn so I went for some James C Brett Shhhh! From Susie’s and some Ricorumi Spin Spin from Threads. I already have plans for these.



Next up was the Wool Haven, where I managed to find some actually-pretty green yarn! Plus it’s West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply, which I love working with. This is definitely going to become at least two pairs of socks for me.


My local yarn shop is called The Yarn Cake. I’ve had some not-particularly-friendly interactions with them in the past so I very rarely go, but they moved to a new premises that’s closer to home, and I urgently needed some more blocking pins, so I gave them another chance. The layout is much more spread out and accessible than the last place, and the staff had a wee chat with me while they were ringing up my items so I’d probably be willing to go back again. It could be dangerous that they’re so much closer now.

I was planning to get some more generic sock yarn, there was a green and pink colourway that I particularly liked, but then I caught sight of this absolute beauty and there may as well have been no other yarn in there.


It’s Mothy and the Squid (of course, they always get me with the beautiful jewel tones) in the colourway Northern Lights, and I think it might be too beautiful to relegate to socks that hardly anyone sees. I’m still deciding exactly what it will be.


The penultimate stop was The Wee Crafty Owl in Greenock. There were a few indie-dyed skeins in stock but they were all quite…interesting colours so I passed on those. After squishing a few other skeins I came across this Wee County Yarns kit for a Glasgow skyline hat/cowl and I just had to buy it.


It even includes tiny bits of orange and white yarn to add in the detail of a traffic cone that sits on the Duke of Wellington statue (no matter how many times the council removes it).

I ended my yarn crawl at the shop I wish could be my LYS, Jinty & Baa in Dunoon. I only get to visit here very sporadically but the owner always recognises me and we have a wee chat while I’m browsing. 

I picked up this ‘Magic Bead’ by Schoppel yarns because I just love the colour transition, and the sample cowl on display looked so beautiful. 


Deborah asked what I was planning to make with it and I mentioned how nice the sample looked, thinking I would have a look for a similar pattern when I got home, but then she offered to send me the pattern for that exact cowl once it had been translated! Honestly, I would move to Dunoon just to be closer to this place.

That was the final stamp on my card and the very last of my birthday money so my Yarn Crawl is over for this year. Now I’ll just keep my fingers crossed for winning one of the prizes that include fancy new needles, although I wouldn’t say no to the yarny prizes either.




I feel like I’m stealing everyone’s ideas this year. It all started with Liz thinking about ‘less’ and Nana Cathy looking to ‘divest’, which led to me clearing out a few areas of my flat. These are the boxes of yarn going to Knit For Peace, taking 74 skeins out of my stash.


I’ve also gone through my books, CDs, DVDs, clothes, shoes, and the unnecessary number of mugs in the cupboard. It feels so good to get rid of things I don’t need and gain a bit of space back.

Next up was Kim who mentioned Yarnpond, a site for pattern testing. I applied for a couple of tests and got accepted for one of them, which features this interesting texture.

img-20230522-wa00024060401110431166152I’m only allowed to post teasers at the moment so no more details on that.

Bonny posted about her mittens for Loose Ends, an organisation that matches unfinished projects from people who have passed away with local crafters who can complete the project and return all that love and care to the families. I so love using my crafting to help others so I signed up right away. It might be a while before I’m matched with an item but I’m on the list and ready to go when needed.

And then CA made a Heidi Bears dinosaur and inspired me to get going with making my own, after holding on to the pattern for 5 years without even starting.


These are the flowers I’ve made so far. Only 10 to go.

So if anyone finds themselves wondering what’s the point of their blogging, keep it up and you just might inspire someone else (probably me) to action with your writing.




This morning Facebook let me know that it’s been three years since I finished my first ever pair of socks. How time flies!

I’ve made at least 20 pairs since then, but these lovely fire-coloured ones are still my favourites.

It’s funny to think how long I kept knitted socks on my ‘one day’ list because they seemed so scary, and now they’re my standard choir-knitting project because they require so little concentration.

I will, of course, learn nothing from this and keep all new skills on that list until I can work up the courage to try them. In the meantime, I’ll keep on churning out socks!



Scrap Happy May 2023

Yessss I’m finally organised enough to join in with Scrap Happy!

I have some organza bags of leftover yarn. Anything too long to count as ‘ends’, but too short to be made into anything by itself goes into the bag. A couple of weeks ago I was inspired to start a Heidi Bears triceratops and I decided to make it a scrappy one, using these leftovers.


The first step was to pull out all the acrylic yarn of roughly DK weight (very roughly, as I just eyeballed it) and stick it all in one bag for easy use, and then I started my African flowers by pulling out random colours. My only rule is that if I pull out too similar a colour to the previous round then I’ll pick a different one.


To prevent it looking like total chaos I’m doing the final round of each flower in cream yarn, which I’ll also use to join them all together, and I deliberately repeated a couple of the colour combinations. I’m not sure if the cream yarn counts as scrappy; it was left over from wildly overestimating how much I would need to finish off a blanket a couple of years ago and there’s so much left I could probably make a whole dinosaur out of it. Either way, I’m enjoying putting all this yarn to good use!

If you want some scrappy inspiration, check out the other Scrap Happy-ers (happy scrappers?) and their blogs:

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, 
Jill, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
ClaireJeanJon, Dawn, Gwen,
Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue LVera,
NanetteAnn, Dawn 2, Carol,
Preeti, DebbieroseNóilin and Viv



FO Friday: Harry Potter and the Whirl blanket

I actually finished my Whirl blanket weeks (if not months) ago, but finding enough space to block it proved challenging. Scheepjes Whirls are 4-ply so it’s quite small by blanket standards but still too big to fit on my blocking mats, so I’ve had to use a bit of space on the carpet in the living room.


There are still two ends to sew in once it’s dry but even I can face two little ends, and then I think I’ll gift it to one of my friends with children.


The pattern is the Order of the Phoenix blanket from the Harry Potter Knitting Magic book. I used a Whirl in the colour Indigo Plain, and I had to miss out a final repeat of the feathers pattern because I ran out of yarn.


I’m proud of this blanket, and I’m glad I stuck with it even after six or seven false starts. Part of me wants to make another in DK or aran weight yarn just to see the difference, but the other part would be quite happy if I never even thought about making it again. Only time will tell which one wins.



WIP Wednesday 03.05.23

Current WIP count: 5

I’m 99% sure that there are no more forgotten projects lying around so I’m going with 5 WIPs at the moment. That’s pretty reasonable for me!

It was down at 4, but then I read this post and remembered that I have a few Heidi Bears patterns which, for some reason, have been sitting in my download folder untouched since 2018. I only started yesterday so there’s not much progress to show, but at least I’ve started.

Further news on my Love Note, and I find myself wondering how much I really want one. The original yarn is so sticky that I could only knit it with my metal needles. The only cable I have left for my metal needles is pretty short, so I’m knitting it scrunched up. It didn’t seem massively squished on there so I thought I was good, but I decided to stick it on some waste yarn and try it on just in case. Turns out I should have done that much sooner because it was enormous. Tent-like. So ridiculously big that strategic decreasing would never be able to fix it.

So I frogged it riiiiiight back to the beginning, cursing the sticky yarn with every stitch, and started again with a smaller size and helical knitting just to see if I could do it. I can! But now there’s a nagging voice in my head saying this size will be too small and I’m wasting my time. Sigh. I’ve decided not to check this time; I’m going to finish it and whatever size it ends up, somebody in the world will be able to wear it and that’s good enough for me.



A North Berwick birthday

For my birthday earlier this month the Fiancé booked us a few days away in a dinky little cabin in North Berwick.


Isn’t it gorgeous! Initially the inside was really cold, but with being so small, it only took ten minutes to get more than warm enough. They’re run by Rock & Castle Escapes if anyone is interested in a stay on the East Coast of Scotland.  

On day one we dropped off the bags and headed straight out for something to eat. We found Why Not? and ordered the deli platter, which I 100% recommend.


Then we had a wander up the main street, popping into any shops that looked interesting for a browse, including the local yarn shop, Chandlers. I had birthday money to spend and newly-empty shelves in my stash so I could have gone mad in there, but I restrained myself to these pretties:


The two hand-dyed skeins are local dyers, the green yarn is Albanach 4 ply, the purple is Artisan Yarns North Berwick 4 ply, the rainbow skein is WYS signature 4 ply, and the buttons just jumped into my hands the second I laid eyes on them.

After the shops we went down to the harbour to look at the view, but the weather was a bit too cold so it was back to the cabin for a wee warm up and a birthday chat with my parents before tea. 


Day two started off with a coffee at Drift, and look at this view:


The water looked so beautiful I just had to get down there. My Aunty pointed out on my birthday that I’m now technically middle-aged, and on the way down that mountain hill my knees certainly felt like it. But the descent was entirely worth the peaceful, sheltered little beach at the bottom.  The Fiancé got to play with his fancy new phone camera and got some amazing photos, and I kicked my shoes and socks off and went for a paddle in the sea.


This would be the North Sea, so it was freezing!  I stayed in there though and got some not-terrible photos of my own, and after a while it barely felt cold at all.  When I’d had enough, we climbed back up the hill (a lot slower than we went down it) and drove a couple of minutes to Tantallon Castle.

I was looking forward to seeing inside the ruins, but sadly the castle itself was closed off for maintenance so we made do with walking round the grounds and admiring from a distance. By this point I was starving so we headed back into town for something to eat. This time we went for JP’s Deli and café, who served excellent soup and sandwiches, and a cafetiere of their house blend coffee. I liked it but the Fiancé wasn’t convinced. The best part of JP’s was the wall of pick n mix coffee beans and loose-leaf tea. I went for French Vanilla and their North Berwick blend of coffee so every time I drink it, I’ll be reminded of my lovely birthday break.


Then it started hailing. The joys of the Scottish springtime! There wasn’t really much else we could do with the weather misbehaving, so we popped into The Rocketeer to book a table for later and spent the afternoon keeping dry in our nice warm cabin, snuggled up in front of some daytime TV.

Service at the Rocketeer wasn’t exactly first class, but I loved the food so much that I would be willing to give them another chance if we’re over that way again. I had the crab fritters to start and salt and pepper squid for main, but honestly the highlight of the whole thing was the curried mayonnaise that came with the crab fritters. I’m going to work out how to make some of that stuff at home so I can have it with everything.


On our final day we loaded up the car and said goodbye to the cabin before heading into town again. While trying (and failing) to find a car park I’d seen from the main street, we came to Steampunk Coffee and stopped in for a drink. I ordered a chai latte that was unlike any chai I’ve had before and so delicious. The Fiance went for an iced americano, which was also tasty but a wee bit like drinking rocket fuel. 

Our last stop on the main street was to Bostock Bakery, joining the queue out the door and down the street; that’s how amazing their pastries are. We got two blueberry and mascarpone pastries and what looked like a slab of brownie but was actually some kind of chocolatey, almondy, crunchy pastry that I would definitely eat again. 

On the way out of town we stopped in at Alandas for some award-winning gelato. I went for one scoop each of salted caramel and vanilla bean, and I honestly couldn’t say which was my favourite. 


Then finally we headed back to Drift to meet with a friend who lives near North Berwick. There were no tables available inside, but the outside seating is a free-for-all and thankfully the weather was starting to behave itself so we got to sit in the sun and admire the view while catching up.


I loved my birthday break, I loved North Berwick and the beautiful scenery around it, and I would love to go back again some day.



WIP Wednesday 19.04.23

Current WIP count: unknown?

I’ve been having a sort through my yarn, and in the process found some WIPs that I’d forgotten about. Like my second Beachcombing blanket, which I apparently abandoned mid-square for some reason. I’m still sorting (I have way too much yarn) so it’s entirely possible that even more unfinished projects will turn up and get added back on to my WIP list.

To balance things out a bit, I frogged the jumper I was making with Rico Melange and put the yarn back into stash for another day. I didn’t think the jumper would fit me, plus I wasn’t that keen on the pattern, and I realised I’m actually still set on using that yarn to make a top for myself rather than giving it away to someone else. It will probably need to be a short, lacy kind of top to make the yarn last, but I can work with that.

The other active WIP right now is my Love Note jumper. Oh, the drama.  I had some Yarn Bee Tender Touch in stash for ages and I wasn’t sure I even liked it, until the idea of a Love Note crossed my mind and suddenly, I couldn’t wait to use it. Yes, it’s thicker than the pattern calls for, but I can make that work and the mohair-like fuzz was perfect. However, I wildly overestimated how far each skein would go and by the time it resembled a bralette with sleeves, the yarn ran out.

That’s fine, I thought, I’ll just buy some more and carry on. Nope. There was no Yarn Bee Tender Touch Amber to be found anywhere in the UK, and further digging revealed that it had been discontinued.   There was a shade called Mustard that looked similar (on a screen), but I could only find it on Ebay from sellers in America who were not shipping to the UK.  I sent several begging emails and one seller got back to me and said the shipping was very expensive but if I was willing to pay then they would send it to me. Done!

Then came the weeks of waiting for it to arrive, tracking every stop along the way (including bouncing between Palatine and Elk Grove three times), and finally it arrived on my birthday!  But…

These two yarns are not the same. The Amber yarn is very fuzzy, and it’s matte. The Mustard yarn has a tiny bit of fuzz, and it’s shiny.  I have already knit a few rounds with the Mustard and I can’t decide how much this bothers me; will I carry on and pretend that it’s a subtle form of colour blocking, or will I undo the whole thing and have a go at helical knitting so they blend together? I just don’t know yet.



Sock it to me Monday 45

I start a new job today, at the ungodly hour of 7:45am so wish me luck. And coffee.

The only sock knitting currently going on is this stripy number that I work on during choir rehearsals to keep my hands busy.

About halfway through a song last week I noticed this little dropped stitch right here.

Ugh. It’s away down before the heel turn so I’m not keen on crochet hooking it all the way back to the top, but the other option is undoing aaaaaaaaaaall that work to pick it up and knit again. For now it’s sitting in the naughty corner until I decide which of the two evils to go for.



Christmas crafting gifts

I am aware that we’re nearly at the end of March, but life has been a bit up in the air since January so I’m letting myself off the hook.

Here are the crafty gifts I got for Christmas 2022.

There were a few from my Mum, who is excellent at finding presents. I got a couple of amigurumi sets:


A box of fruit-themed yarn and patterns to go with it:


And a few yarn-adjacent presents:

I got a yarn swift from The Fiancé, which he let me have early so I could wind all the mini skeins for my advent socks. What a game-changer! I never want to wind another skein without it.

My cousin gave me this really cute origami pets book:


And my sister sent a voucher to put toward some sewing lessons. It’s for a course in Glasgow that I’d already looked up, but the cost was a bit too high for me to pay it all myself. They have options for one evening per week over several weeks or an intensive weekend for the same price, so I need to decide which would work best. Once I’m employed again.



WIP Wednesday 15.02.23

So it’s been almost a month since I had a job and the days are starting to blur together. I’m very proud of myself for realising that today is Wednesday in time to get a blog post done!

Aside from a baby bonnet with teddy bear ears (that I forgot to take a photo of), I’ve been working exclusively on my Harry Potter and the Whirl blanket these last few weeks. It currently looks like a jellyfish.


Thankfully, there have been no more mistakes that required frogging and starting all over again. The wordy section went smoothly apart from some SSKs that should have been K2TOGs and vice versa – annoying to me, but not wrong enough to go all the way back and fix them.


There was also one point where I had to tink back around 1,500 stitches because I had messed up a pattern repeat three rounds previously. That wasn’t fun. But it’s back on track now and I actually think I’m getting close to the end. Thanks to being jobless, I’m going to finish this beauty much earlier than expected.

I can’t wait to see how it looks laid out flat.