Blankie re-worked

It’s been quite a while since I posted. I thought I had to move home at the start of spring, so I’d packed all my yarn and associated stuff away, as lots of dust was flying about in the packing process. And I thought that knitting was a distraction I didn’t need!

Anyway, the move got postponed a year, and it took a long time before I delved into my woolly pursuits again. I took the time to catch up with some reading because I don’t read much when I knit, and I was feeling deprived. Around May, I decided to grit my teeth and re-do blankie which really was too narrow, as I’d skimped on the full amount of motifs. It did just about keep me warm during the chilly weather resulting from a visit by the Beast from the East, but I had to be careful not to be too vigorous when I turned over in bed and get a draft! So I undid the edging (which I wasn’t particularly happy with) and added a longitudinal row of motifs.  I knew I would run out of the tattoo blue yarn, so I decided to try and use up some contrasting purple yarn, which also worked nicely in the edging. (The picture makes the main colour seem a brighter blue than it actually is.)


I am much more satisfied with the result. And it’s coming in handy already as September is feeling a lot like October.


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Stepping into the New Year

Last day of January … Is it too late to write a new year post??

I must confess to complete failure with my Festive Season makes – even Twelfth Night didn’t save the day. My fella requested hand-knitted gloves, but I’d never made them before and I wasn’t getting on with the pattern. Then he told me an old wives’ tale that states if you make or give a pair of gloves, you wave that person goodbye! Well that certainly didn’t encourage the crafting process, and the festive deadlines came and went. Then there was the hat I was trying to complete for my friend’s birthday on New Year’s Day. It was a simple enough pattern, but had lots of yarn overs, and a small lapse in concentration could spell disaster. And disaster struck so many times, I ended up giving up!! I told my friend if hours of effort counts for anything, and if an hourly rate applies, she would have a very expensive gift! Shame you can’t wrap up “it’s the thought that counts!”

IMG_3120I consoled myself with a safe-knit – a pair of toe up socks that I made last year in orange.  And as I have quite a lot of this purple aran yarn hanging about I’ll no doubt make another pair or three of socks with it. Now that my gardening work is picking up, I’m stepping into the new year with cosy feet. Yay!

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 I’ve almost finished the blanket I wrote about a few posts ago. It’s taken me all autumn, but I’ve had to put it down, otherwise I wouldn’t get any Xmas knitting done (which isn’t going well, by the way!) I scrimped on the motifs, doing only 15 of the large ones instead of 20, cos it was doing my head in. Seriously, I couldn’t bear to do anymore! So it’s a narrower blanket than it should have been – I figured I’d just work a bigger border.

It’s large enough that I can use it on my bed, and I was very glad of it when we had snow recently. I know, I know, when Britain has snow, we make a song and a dance about a few inches, compared with places that have feet of the stuff! But my bedroom is north facing and can get quite chilly. With its aran yarn and folded over rounds, this is one toasty blankie!

This is the closest I’ve ever come to finishing a blanket, and it did take a concerted effort! I think that, although I’ve paused the completing of it, I will finish it in the not too distant future. (Shh… I’ll need to get some more yarn first..)IMG_3102

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Figgy Pudding

A few years ago, I made some figgy pudding Xmas decorations, and gave one to everyone I knew as a gift. I made too many, and had at least eight left over. What can I say, I got carried away in the making! They’d been sitting in my Xmas-Things box, languishing…


I thought of selling them at the cafe in my local woodland, to help raise funds for the community kitchen garden I volunteer in. Well, these sold quickly, so I decided to crochet a few more, and do some stash-busting in the process. How annoying that to get rid of stash, I had to get hold of some more yarn! Does anyone else ever have that problem?? I’d run out of white and now have a surplus of that – at least I have a lot less of the brown. And I had to get more toy stuffing, but I’m thinking of making a toy for my friend’s three year old anyway, so it will come in handy..

Oh boy, did these puds take me longer than I’d remembered! I was up until 1am trying to finish them, and still had to put in a few extra hours worth this morning – good thing I’d had a job cancellation!

Hope they all sell, and rake in some pounds and pennies for the garden!IMG_3091


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I was on my way home this afternoon, galumphing down the hill, when I spotted this lonesome looking bear…


I don’t know what he was doing there. He reminded me of a much-beloved cat waiting for its owner to return.

Perhaps Mr. Bear had been abandoned. The garter stitch around his girth is broken, like he’s been in a scrap. I was tempted to take him home and administer some TLC. If he’s still there in the next few days, I may well steal him away, poor thing!


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Cinnamon Dust

With gritted teeth, I am working my way through the motifs needed to make the blanket I wrote about in my last post. I’m not doing any other project, as I know this one will too easily go the way of the other blankets I’ve started but never finished! I’ve already decided I need less motifs than the pattern specifies, and may well make a few other adjustments. But more on that when I have finished the project and have pictures to illustrate my point.

In the meanwhile, I wanted to show off some wool I inherited today, which I’m quite excited about.IMG_3083

My friend’s lodger moved to another country and left 5 balls of Wool & the Gang’s Crazy Sexy Wool. It’s in the appropriately autumnal colour, cinnamon dust. I don’t know what to do with it yet – whether I’ll knit with it, or crochet. I don’t want to do a hat or a scarf.. Maybe a shawly thing..? Anyone have any ideas, or recommended patterns..? There is also a ball of neon-orange acrylic yarn, and a pair of WATG 25mm needles for me to play with.

I’m trying not to think about it until I get the blankie out of the way. I just don’t need the distraction!

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Blankets are not a WIP that have ever become a FO for me. For some reason, I never complete. Why then, have I just started a new one??


Well, I’ve had my eye on this pattern for a while, a few years in fact. It’s called Ringtoss Afghan, designed by Barbara Worn-Wurtz, from Crochet World August 2012. As I had some yarn in the right weight to stash-bust, I thought I’d finally get started on it. Except I’ve had to get more of that yarn… So much for stash-busting. I’ll probably end up with the same amount left over again!

I love the texture of this blanket, but I didn’t fancy faffing around changing yarn colours all the time, so I’ve opted for a monochrome of blue. I’ve been trying to work out what kind of blue this is – the photo makes it look too bright. It’s darker, and greener.. Perhaps a woad blue..?


Apart from this blankie, I have a handful of motifs which are nowhere near enough in number to make a blanket yet. I took these out of their storage place recently and Hmm-ed a bit. The problem is, I was whipping up these motifs in DK but I haven’t used that weight yarn in a while, and I’ve more or less used up my DK stash – at least in decent yarn and colours that I’d want in a blanket. (Anything else will be for toys or something.)


One way or another, I am definitely aiming to finish at least one blanket by the time the colder months arrive..

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Bo-Peep and The Owlers

Wool may not have been high on my list of priorities when I holidayed in Hastings last week – my focus was more botanical, exploring plants of the coast – but my discoveries were to include wool after all!

Best known for the events of 1066, Hastings is also famous for its links with historical smuggling. As I found out at a popular visitor attraction, The Smuggler’s Caves, wool was one of those commodities subject to illicit handling and movement. The activity was originally a shifting of illegal exports (rather than imports). Wool was smuggled out of the country  as early as the 13th century when it was a luxury item, and King John had stamped an Export Duty on wool in 1203. This covert transportation of wool became known as owling due to participants’ use of the owl hoot as an alarm call. The Owlers plied their illegal trade for several centuries and by 1700, approximately 150,000 packs of wool were smuggled from the Sussex and Kent shore alone.


In the 1800s, when the Napoleonic Wars raged, circular forts known as Martello Towers were built along the coastline. Their primary function was defence but they were also used to incarcerate smugglers caught by the Preventive Services. A mile or two from Hastings Old Town stood Bo-Peep Martello Tower. Within an innocent-sounding nursery rhyme about a shepherdess of the same name as the tower lurks a darker story:

Little Bo-Peep (Preventive Men)

Has lost her sheep, (smugglers)

And doesn’t know where to find them.

Leave them alone 

And they’ll come home,

Dragging their tails (tubs*) behind them.

I wonder which came first – an innocuous children’s rhyme reappropriated by criminals? Or the smugglers’ tale hidden in the rhyme, a jibe against the law enforcers? I’m don’t why that particular Martello was known as Bo-Peep – I’ve noticed there is now a pub of that name, and the rail tunnel next to the station of St Leonard’s: Warrior Square is called Bo-Peep Tunnel.

The other unexpected woolly discovery was to be found on the new Hastings pier:


Very typical of British seaside resorts – except they’re normally painted, not knitted. Of course I had a photo take with my mush in the face slot.. but I won’t be sharing that pic!


* Tubs: Booty was hidden in barrels or tubs, and the locals employed to carry them from the beaches to their hiding places were called Tubmen.

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Crocheted urchins

Hello! It’s been a time. Knitting was taking over my life a bit, so I wanted to shift focus for a while, back to the horticultural. I found this article while researching something on orchards. It shows a stunning use of crochet to decorate a public space. That would definitely stop me in my tracks!

Choi+Shine Architects





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Toe Up, Two Down

The path to sock enlightenment is not proving an easy one. My first pair – years in the making – shrunk in the wash.. Oops! I put them in the ordinary wash at 40 degrees, and I can’t even get them on my feet anymore (now I know what Cinderella’s ugly sisters felt like if they were trying on her socks rather than her glass slipper!) Maybe I’ll use them as dusters..

I wanted to make another pair quickly before I forgot the process, so I went to good ol’ Ravelry and found this freebie pattern:  As the design calls for worsted yarn and chunkier needles than the first sock pattern I attempted, they worked up more quickly. The only hiccup was grafting the toe – this time I tried the proper Kitchener stitch instead of the crocheted graft I used before. The only thing I would change if I made these socks again would be to use a different sized needle for the cuff: the pattern called for 2.25mm needles compared to 2.75 for the rest of the sock, but I reckon I would either use the same size as the main body, or 2.5mm if I went smaller for the cuff, as I thought 2.25mm was a teeny bit on the tight side..


Cuff down socks: Seersucker stitch and Rye Pattern

I then decided I wanted to try a toe up sock pattern, and went for a basic pattern from the book Socks From The Toe Up by Wendy D Johnson. But I made a couple of idiotic decisions. To begin with, the pattern specified 2mm needles – eek! Titchy takes too long! And the yarn I chose was not great for the ripping back which is inevitable when learning  new techniques (i.e. Turkish cast on, fleegle heel and I was rusty on M1 increases). The yarn in question was Debbie Bliss Rialto Luxury Sock. It has a haze, and this tends to catch on itself when ripping back, especially as 2mm needles create small stitches which knot up easily. Eventually I reached the leg of the first sock and managed to accidentally break the yarn (even though I was doing plain stocking stitch at that point, my brain sometimes rebels at repetitiveness, and I did something wrong, so had to unravel..) At which point I got so exasperated, I lost the will to continue, and decided that pattern in this yarn on those needles was too much trouble! So I went large again. Far more sensible to learn on chunkier yarn and thicker needles. The pattern was another freeby from Ravelry and it went a lot more smoothly.


Toe up socks

By then I had thought of a title for this blog post I wanted to write so I knew I wanted to make another pair of cuff down socks. I thought I’d have a go a go at designing my own sock. I’d seen several stitch patterns I liked and I opted for the Seersucker stitch, which was written for flat knitting but was easy enough to convert to circular knitting. I had to look up what a seersucker was – sounds like some sort of leech to me! But it actually means “a lightweight fabric with a crimped or puckered surface”. In green yarn, it brings to mind dragon scales..

The final test is how comfy they are in my gardening boots and, of course, if I can wash them without shrinking them. Dusters anyone..?

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