Tuesday, December 27, 2016


I only made two Christmas presents this year. The pink Wee Chickadee by Ysolda, for my great-niece Kelsie (in her Baby Claus outfit below), and a blue snowflake Wee Chickadee for my great-nephew Curtis. I finished sewing the buttons on Kelsie's cardigan on Christmas Eve, and only managed to knit half of one sleeve on Curtis's cardigan. It turned out I wouldn't be seeing him on Christmas Day so I decided to put it aside and finish it for the next time I'll be down visiting and give it to him then. I think the whole of Kelsie's cardigan works really well. I love the colour combination and the dark pink sparkly buttons.
I decided, three weeks before Christmas, to join Slimming World. I did Weightwatchers successfully a few years ago and lost two and a half stones in five months. I kept it off for a good couple of years, then with life changes put a stone and a half back on again. I did briefly return to Weightwatchers a couple of years ago, in which time their programme had changed, but somehow never really took to the new Propoints system.
Every year I get to December and feel sick of the glut and over-indulgence that is happening in the run up to Christmas. And when I noticed a colleague had lost weight I asked her what she was doing, and she explained Slimming World to me. It caught my imagination and I joined a couple of weeks later. 

Having done both now, I would say Weightwatchers is easier if you need to grab ready meals (most supermarkets do a range and it's easy to work out how many points there are in a product) but I actually much prefer Slimming World now. It is making me cook for the first time ever! (And actually the results are delicious!) It means planning ahead a bit more, but essentially there is no weighing and counting on lots of food I already really like and eat. The only thing I have to count is a few treats a day. There are 5-15 syns available each day, and, of course, I spend all of mine on chocolate and sugar-related items. The mince pie is home-made and only three and a half syns each, and the Mikado chocolate stick is half a syn. The violet cream is three syns (and totally worth it). 
This is Kelsie in her Baby Claus outfit on Christmas Day. She is nine months old now and is turning out to be a sweet girl. 
She loved the Chocolate Yule Log when dessert was brought out.

Today is the first day in a long time that I don't have to go anywhere or do anything (except clean out the chickens!). I'm fighting off a cold (sore throat, heavy head) and have a twitch in my eye that I only get when I am extremely tired. I don't intend achieving anything today except for sprawling on the couch, maybe reading a book, or listening to the vintage Christmas murder mystery I downloaded from Audible, drinking hot tea and letting everything go. (Like Elsa in Frozen, which I watched for the first time today.)
**Update - Kelsie wearing her Wee Chickadee cardigan and looking gorgeous in it. 

Monday, December 05, 2016


This scarf took only a few evenings to complete. It's knitted in Rowan Cocoon. Really soft and luxurious. 
I forgot I'd knitted 2x2 rib at the first end and duly knitted 1x1 rib at the second end.I unknitted rather than ripping back, so all the stitches would remain turned the right way when it came to reknitting.
I love the colours.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Knitting Frenzy

I finished the charcoal Chickadee. I've still to sew on the buttons but the (very few) ends have been sewn in. I love it, and I'm glad I decided not to include a motif. 
It's impossible to photograph the buttons to full effect but they're great.
I've been in an absolute storm of knitting recently. I can't stop. As soon as I cast off the charcoal cardigan, I cast on this gorgeous, luscious red cardigan. Another Chickadee. I go into a trance. I knit when I'm happy, and I knit as therapy, to distract myself from difficulties.
And somewhere in amongst it I knitted two Christmas balls. 
The heart ball was knitted on 3mm needles, the snowman ball was knitted on 2.5mm needles. Half a millimetre obviously makes a big difference in size! The heart ball is too big.
I decided to park the luscious red cardigan when I got to the point of knitting the sleeves, so I could knit this scarf. My coat and jacket are purple this winter, and my handbag is purple and yellow tweed, really cheerful colours, so I decided to knit matching accessories. The wool for the scarf is Rowan Cocoon. I got it from loveknitting.com and coincidentally ordered on a day it was £6.60 a ball, instead of the usual price of just under £10! I also ordered 4 ply to knit matching mittens too. The scarf has only taken 3 evenings of not much effort to get over halfway.
It has turned frosty at last. Whole days where the sun doesn't thaw certain parts of the land. I like walking to see what has changed in the countryside. There are many moments of beauty.
And this great friend of ours. She is very busy these days. She has found a cache of big, fat mice over the back wall, and she spends a lot of time out there hunting (and bringing them in - dead and alive). She is jealous of anything I give my attention to (that isn't her) and has taken to sitting on my knitting patterns so I have to STOP and pay attention to HER. And with this much beauty, why would I want to look at anything else?

Monday, October 10, 2016

Chickadee progress

My plain charcoal Chickadee cardigan is at the coasting stage. All the fiddly bits of knitting have been done (until the rib cast on) and now it's just knit knit knit until the bottom. I'm glad I didn't add a motif for this. However to pep the cardigan up I found THESE buttons:
Black, glittery - I had such a job getting them. I found the buttons I liked in John Lewis but they only had two in stock. So they offered to order me some from another store and post them direct. Great. Except when the buttons arrived they were the wrong size. So I went online and two separate companies posted me glitter buttons that were the right size but the wrong glitteriness. The first company, to be fair, advertised them as silver glitter on black. The buttons were too silver with no black glitter on them. The second company had a photo and they definitely matched the buttons I had, however they also turned up too silvery and not enough black. I finally found the last company, Marriner Yarns, and their photo matched the product that arrived. So I was very happy. I think the glitter buttons will add just enough sparkle and interest to an otherwise plain cardigan.
I finished Curtis's cardigan (except the sleeves, but they won't take long to knit). It's very sweet. I still have the buttons to choose for this. Not sure what I'll go for. I saw Curtis yesterday and he is a big boy. The cardigan is knitted for a two year old and at Christmas Curtis will be one year and three months old, so I hope it fits him okay!
And these are the pink sparkle buttons I got for Kelsie's cardigan. I might get darker pink sparkly buttons if I can. These seem a bit too light.

I have many other things I'd also like to be knitting - Christmas baubles, for example, but I'd better finish these first.

Saturday, October 01, 2016


After the runaway success of the pockets in my pyjama bottoms I decided to make a skirt with pockets. I love pockets, particularly pouch pockets (good for egg collecting), but I was so impressed by how easy these were to sew, and how effective they are.
The pattern is Bettine, by Tilly and the Buttons. Bettine is actually a dress pattern but I'd seen a skirt version online and as I only had enough material for a skirt decided to do that. I thought it might make an easy slip-on skirt for work.

I'm really pleased with how it turned out. I had to take a couple of chunks out of the side seams as the tulip shape made it too puffy, but that was easy and I will definitely make more.

The material is lightweight cord from John Lewis.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Sewing Tetris (almost)

I so love my new pyjama bottoms. They are 3/4 length, because I only bought a metre of fabric. I didn't plan the staggering of the pink tents across both legs, they just worked out that way - a happy accident!
And, I decided to insert side pockets! I got the pocket pattern from the Tilly and the Buttons book Clemence skirt pattern, and also the instructions.
They are very silly and were fun to make.
Because I always struggle to tell the front from the back, I added a wee 'hand made' ribbon.
Next up, I hemmed my apple tree skirt. Love it too.
And finally, I also made pyjama shorts! I really love these. Haggis brought me back one metre of this material from Japan, hoping I could get a skirt out of it, but it was only 112cm wide, not 150cm, and initially I didn't even think I'd get pyjama shorts, but with very careful pattern-placement I managed it. I stupidly ran out of pyjama elastic so they are all hemmed just waiting for the elastic, and just in time for.... winter!
I have looked at this material and these patterns for ages and finally pressed the 'buy now' button when my online shopping basket had them in. I love the aesthetic of the Merchant and Mills patterns. So functional.
The weather is decidedly turning autumnal. We went for a walk last week and ended up on the scout bridge.
Meg looking cute and cheeky.
I love the countryside around here.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Chickadee Tetris

In my touring days, when I travelled the world with my husband's band, I played a game called Tetris, to while away travelling time. Shapes would fall from the top of the screen to the bottom, the object being that once a line was complete that line would disappear, making room for new shapes/lines.

And this is an apt analogy for my Chickadee-knitting obsession. I realised I had so many almost/partially complete/just started Chickadee cardigans on the go, that I had to stop and finish what I could before continuing with/making room for the others. 
I finally put buttons onto the Devil's Beeftub cardigan. Choosing buttons for knitwear is extremely important. There is a right button for every project. These purple coconut-shell buttons spoke to me. I loved the (kind of) woody nature of them, and the colour perfectly matched the cardigan. I sewed in the few loose ends, sewed on the buttons, et voila - cardigan complete. I love it.
I thought I had finished this cardigan, until I wore it out one day and found wool dangling out of the sleeves. I hadn't sewn in some ends. It didn't take long, but it's been in my 'to finish' pile for ages.

Button detail. I love these transparent-with-a-blue-tinge buttons.
And so to the unfinished cardigans. My charcoal, plain cardigan now has a sleeve. But then I saw the Wee Chickadee pattern, thought of my great-niece and great-nephew and bought the pattern and some wool.
This is for my great-niece Kelsie. It took so little time (comparatively!) to knit this. I was spurred on, wanting to see what the yoke looked like, then wanting to see how knitting the body compared with the adult version. I really love this. As you can see, just the sleeves to knit and it will be finished. In the wee version the body is knitted before the sleeves. I've already chosen sparkly pink buttons for it.
I then put the pink Wee Chickadee on hold so I could start my great-nephew Curtis's cardigan. I've decided to knit snowflakes into his, instead of the birds. 

Meg, of course, was keen as always to be where the action was.

Next post - sewing tetris! Which will consist of: one pair of pyjama shorts, one pair of 3/4 length pyjama bottoms (both cut out but not yet sewn), one skirt to hem (I mean, that will take no time at all, why haven't I just done it yet?), and one new phone cover to make from scratch. I lost my last one. I loved my last one. I found it again, all covered in black marks from being out in the rain for a week. Will probably re-make it in exactly the same material. I might also make a back-up phone cover as well! 

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Cast Off, Cast On

I think this is my favourite make EVER. My Devil's Beeftub cardigan. My interpretation, in knitted form, of the drive from my home to my Dad's. Such stunning, inspiring, breathtaking scenery. The cardigan made me gasp when I finished casting it off. The heathery-purple, the tree motifs, the buttons. I love it. 
The tree motifs in detail.
They worked out well, after a lot of fiddling with charts and researching on the internet. (Buttons still to be sew on). 
Coincidentally, I finished my Apple Tree skirt at the same time, It is the same design as the daisy skirt in my last post, i.e. an altered Amy Butler A-line skirt, front and back cut on the fold, invisible zip at the side, and shortened. I think they go well together! Definitely a future combination for an outing.
Every so often I CAN'T STOP KNITTING. And I'm in one of those phases again. I couldn't wait to cast off the purple cardigan, so I could cast on the charcoal cardigan. It is the same pattern but I think this time I will knit it plain and not add any motif. I have red wool ready to knit the same pattern as well, but I thought I'd save the red wool for WINTER.
I actually love dreich, drizzly, cool Scottish days. They remind me of my childhood in Scotland, after living in the south of England for 25 years. London had what felt like its own thing going on, but I never felt comfortable in the Norfolk landscape. It was too flat. There was no relief in the land and it had a psychological impact! Whereas I love the Pentland Hills, and the countryside and weather and light and nature of where I live now. It all feels nutritious! Perhaps everyone has an inclination to their childhood environment (if that environment was healthy). 
Next up on the sewing table will be pyjama bottoms made out of the egg material. I don't think I'll ever buy pyjamas again. Making them is too much fun.
Followed by a Bettine dress made out of the blue and brown Amy Butler material that I got in a sale a couple of years ago.
I'm not a shoe person, but I do love my new Converse trainers.

We have been absurdly busy lately. My work takes a lot of mental energy. And we have been doing lots of drives to visit elderly relatives. And now Hagos's work is upon us as well. There are some days it feels like we go from one thing to the next without any rest in between. So when we do get a day off it feels very luxurious.