christmas made a crafter

So it was a busy few days, filled with family, food, fire poking and rain.  I just sat down with my camera and realised that I took very few photos, but almost every single one is of my Dad.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABefore Christmas he didn’t knit, but he likes to talk about knitting.  He’s picked up crafting words and phrases from my mum and likes to drop them into conversation, just like Mr Saz does.  When he visits, he takes me aside and quietly asks for new phrases to add to his crafting vocabulary.  His latest is asking my mum when she’s going to knit him socks “with an afterthought heel.”  At Christmas he gave us some very confident crafting chat about “Jenny’s bind-off” and “how amazing blocking was.”  It’s funny, and very sweet.

So for Christmas I gave him a french knitting thingy as a joke, and was pretty astounded when he asked for yarn.  Rebecca obliged, and my Gran eventually got him started (the printed directions made no sense!)  Before dinner he had about 2 feet of icord trailing from him, and he was asking for different colours.

Dinner was ending and I realised he wasn’t at the table – he was sitting alone in a corner of the living room with his knitting.  He decided to go back to the green he started with because “the green wool Bex gave me is my favourite, I like that one.”  His crafting masterplan is to alternate three colours and then finish with some yellow.  Right before he left it became clear he needed a project bag, and we were all coming up with possible Ravelry names he could use.  It was hilarious, and very endearing!

The only photo on my camera that doesn’t feature either my Dad, his hands, his cord or his yarn, is this one –

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPenny loves my brother because he invites her up on the sofa.  But the minute he got up to poke the fire she spread into his space…

I hope the last couple of days of the year are calm and peaceful for everyone.  I’ll be back on Hogmanay with a finished embroidery project.  Just need to hang it…

a little quiet stitching

My knitting has been mostly set aside this week, in favour of teeny tiny stitches.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABefore I knew it there were three different projects switching around in my hoop.  My favourite though is one that’s been made with help and inspiration by my family and friends.  I’ll write more about this when its done.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATonight though, things are very calm.  Tomorrow my lovely family start arriving, so Penny and I are making the most of the quiet.  Mr Saz is away out with an old friend.  (Anyone remember the episode of Friends where Gandalf returns to town to party with Ross and Chandler?  It’s a bit like that.  I told Mr Saz to take his passport and a snake-bite kit.)


my boreal

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe pictures have been up on Ravelry for a few days – but here is my finished Boreal Cardigan!  This project is full of happiness, I knitted the snowflakes with glee and rushed to the finish with the help of some late nights because I was so keen to wear it.


It was knit pretty much to pattern, except the rather obvious difference of buttonbands and buttons.  I cast on with an extra 6 stitches up the centre of the front for the steek, and knit the neck ribbing in the main body colour instead of continuing with red so it would match the buttonbands.  I swithered for ages over buttons – my instinct is to go for something really contrasting (I was edging towards dark teal), but in the end I felt that this sweater had enough going on already so I opted for pale grey, but with red thread.

Wearing it makes me feel more festive, and it was given several bemused glances on the train.  I’m going to pretend they were admiring glances.  They probably were.

All the yarn details etc are on the project page here.  Making Boreal was a festive, fun, stash-busting joy – thank you (again) Kate! x

handspun hourglass

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis one took a while!  It started off as my Tour de Fleece project back in early summer, when I was looking for something to do with a big bump of pink shetland fibre from Jamieson and Smith.  My buddy Mel reminded me that our spinners guild has a drum carder for hire, so I jumped at the chance to play with a new toy…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI made many little piles of evenly divided fibre, carding the original pink shetland with bits of coloured merino, silk, and a purple merino/silk blend.  I ended up with a daunting pile of 15 batts for spinning, but they were little and I got through them pretty quickly.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI loved the finished result – 5 skeins of a DKish weight true 3ply yarn.  Rustic and wooly, but soft at the same time, with lovely subtle colour variation.

On the day the Olympics started, I cast on for a Hourglass Throw by Anne Hanson, from Wool People Vol.1.  I worked away slowly, enjoying every stitch, and spending more time spreading out the blanket and admiring it than actually working on it.  But then my life turned crappy and I put it aside, not picking it up again until a few weeks ago when I finally finished spinning the last batt.  I tried to cheat the yardage by adding an extra repeat, but I was beaten and had to cut short the final ribbing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s beautiful, and perfect lap blanket size.  The problem I have though is that I put so much meaning into my crafting, associating everything I make with what I was doing or where I was at the time that I made it.  Every time I look at it I think to myself, ‘oh, it’s so pretty, it was so much work but totally worth it, but oh yeah, it’s what I was making when awful things happened, remember that Saz?’  And so, after I took photos of it draped on my mum last week, I left it with her, where it has found a very lovely and appreciative home, and where I know it will be treasured.

Also – thank you for all your nice comments on my last post about Penny’s jumper.  The pattern is actually called ‘Big Penny Sweater’ from the book Doggie Knits by Corinne Neisssner and is ravelled here.  As you can see from the photo above, Penny is Chief Protector of my mum.  I’m sure that my mum reminds her of her previous owner, and her love of her was instant.  Whenever we’re visiting she is permanently at my mum’s feet, and sneaks out of her bed to wait at her bedroom door in the morning.  Only when she’s sure my mum isn’t going anywhere, does she move a metre away to here –

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI hope you all have a good week!

a walk with penny

Working flexible hours from home is truly a wonderful thing.  It meant that today, as I sat at my desk with a nasty cold, I could just dress Penny in her little jumper and take her outside to try and clear my head.  We’re also heading towards the shortest day, which means that here normal office workers get to their work in the dark, and then watch the sun go down from their desks at 3.30pm.  I know it’s worse in further-north places, but it feels pretty grim.  Luckily I can soak up more daylight than most people.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASpot the dog in the above picture!  Penny got a little overexcited at this point, I think she could smell her best dog buddy Buster, and ran off chasing the scent.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlso, while I am grateful that the winter has frozen the all the bogs (cleaner dog!), it does make things a little treacherous, leaving little ice sheets in places they shouldn’t be.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADespite my best efforts, Penny is yet to learn the command ‘stay still and look nice at the black thing your lady is pointing at you.’  She is a sensible dog and prefers to bury her head in bushes/tall grass/piles of rubbish.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI think Penny is one of the most contented dogs in the world.  She runs about like a loon in the woods, sleeps in my office as I work and chases away grey squirrels in the garden.  And when she goes to stay with my in-laws, she gets human food of mince and potatoes for dinner.  Right now I’d like to swap places…

Next time – actual crafting content!

crazy thinking

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANone of the things I posted pictures of on Friday actually saw any progress.  I only really had the evening free for crafting since Mr Saz was away at a Christmas party.  I made the most of it by making lots of mess.  By the time I went to bed it looked like a craft shop had exploded in my office.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABy the end of it i did get three cute little tree decorations.  I made a template using a much reduced version of the Peep Boots pattern from Lizzy House, roughly quilted them, added some ribbon and improvised the construction.  Done!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy mind keeps wandering into a crazy Christmas place.  Over the weekend this included:

1. This Christmas every spare room will have someone in it, but I don’t have enough quilts to go round.  I know!  I could make a double-bed sized quilt so that everyone gets one.

2. I like Christmas stockings.  I know! I could make a full-sized stocking for every single person who will be in my house on Christmas day (11 people), sneak downstairs in the night and hang them up over the fireplace on Christmas Eve.

3.  The biggest bedroom in my house had a nasty incident with a dodgy bit of wall on the outside of the house and looks a bit grotty.  My parents will be staying in there.  I know!  I’ll completely redecorate the room in time for Christmas, and make cushions to match the new colour scheme.  Oh, but then the quilt won’t match, I could make another quilt!

4.  I know I said I wasn’t making everyone presents this year, but maybe I just need to simplify things a bit.  I know!  I’ll just look over the old gift list and convince myself that its actually all possible.  It definitely is.

Um, no.  I talked myself out of all of it.  I might repaint the one dodgy wall in the spare room since the plan went far enough to actually buy the paint, but that’s it.  There will be no new quilts or cushions or Christmas stockings for all.  I might hem the curtains in the hallway which have been hanging since we moved in, unhemmed.

Other than that I am covering my house in tiny lights and candles and calling it Christmas.   And last night me and Mr Saz opened a chocolate present we bought for someone and ate it.  It feels good to be a little selfish sometimes.

whoops, i started a blanket (again)

My new plan of only making things that bring me happiness is definitely a good thing, but it means that for now, a few things have gone into hibernation.  Two of them are blankets, one old and one fairly new.


The old is my lovely Handspun Beekeeper which I cast on last year along with many other knitters.  It stalled at 100 puffs when I ran out of handspun scraps of the right weight, but I’ve since collected enough little bits to add to it and it hasn’t yet made it back onto my needles.  (I’ve just realised that the needles I use for puffs are currently stuck in another unfinished and hibernating thing, so it might be a while.)


And the newer is another handspun blanket, but in my aran and chunky scraps this time.  I went for the Snowdon Blanket from the Juju’s Loops book, but this one went on hold after just one sitting of working on it.  Chunky yarn scraps don’t go as far…

This week is another high-production craft week due to more long car journeys as a passenger.  I started Stephen West’s In Defense of Tights from the ChoreoKAL using some Natural Dye Studio Dazzle Sock to work on in the car, and ended up buying a ball of Regia Hand Dye Effect to stripe.  I never knew double moss stitch could be so addictive, and I finished one yesterday.  Because the pattern uses so little of the striping yarn, the first one started off contrasting nicely with the solid, but then stayed on a new colour that didn’t work so well.  I love it though.

So I looked for ways to move on the striping colour a little before starting the second armwarmer, and somehow the best plan I came up with (other than just winding off a little, that seemed too easy) was to, um, start a crochet blanket.


I’m sure the idea was in the back of my head somewhere after seeing this one.  This little square was so quick I’m going to try and work up one a day, and then join them all with a neutral colour.  I can’t decide though whether to stick to the reds, oranges, purples and pinks, or if I should work some in many colours and then fade through them all in the blanket.  Any thoughts?!  Bearing in mind though my blanket-making speed, it’s probably going to be about five years before I have to make any decisions.



I had a pretty relaxing weekend, lots of nice food and family to keep my mind busy.  We had our first little snowfall overnight, and this was the view from the back garden this morning.  The last week though has been properly cold, and the hard frost was really beautiful all over the garden.


The influence of the weather is still appearing in my crafting projects.  I spent yesterday knitting Boreal until my hands hurt, and I am almost done with the yoke.  And I came up with plans for a new embroidery project which I think might form part of a new Christmas tradition.  But more later, I am away to buy Kate’s new book, Colours of Shetland