Hardware Jumper

This week I’ve made a bit of progress with my Hardware Jumper, which is a pattern (and yarn) from Erika Knight. I have little to no discipline when making things for myself. If I’m making something for my Etsy shop I’m focussed and deadline driven, but when its for me… It can wait. For years.

This has been the sad life of this jumper, which I love and really want to wear but has been on the needles for a very long time but I’ve nearly finished the back so that means I’m about a quarter in doesn’t it and that feels pretty good.

I bought the yarn on one of the Great London Yarn Crawls, if you’ve never heard of that, it was a yearly event organised by the Yarn in the City team where you paid a very small fee to join one of several groups who visited several yarn shops on pre-planned routes through London and sometimes beyond, ending with a shindig in the evening. If you think that sounds fun, it was. I’m not sure when or if it will happen again, because a) The ‘Rona and b) one half of Yarn in the City emigrated which would make organising an event in London a bit of a hurdle. So this jumper lives in one of my Great London Yarn Crawl bags, though I think this bag might be from a later year. They always did a really nice goody bag on the day too.

I’ve gone a bit off track there but I bought the yarn from Stag & Bow in Forest Hill, it was a complete impulse buy mainly because Erika Knight herself was in the shop doing a sort of trunk show with on the spot advice and I loved this jumper. It’s designed to be knitted using her cotton yarn but I’m not a massive fan of cotton so I plumped for her British Blue (Blue faced Leicester) in the Regents Park shade which is a green toned teal, its a much stronger colour that it looks in my photos.

It was a great day and brilliant to get advice on the yarn substitution from Erika Knight herself, she was very generous with her time and even gave me her studio’s mobile number in case I ran into any problems. I haven’t. The pattern is so clear I really think it would take some effort to stuff it up. So I put that effort in and used the ladder placings from a different size to the jumper I’m actually knitting but it doesn’t make a wild difference.

I cannot tell you how much fun it is doing the ladders, at the time Erika said I’d want to put them in everything and she’s right, I do. Granted the yarn I’m knitting them with is a bit more toothy than what was intended so I do find I have to encourage the stitches to drop all the way down but that’s fun too. I know its going to be fine but there is still that moment when you drop the stitch that you imagine it just dropping away right to the end and unravelling the lot. Totally doesn’t happen. Its the fun sort of fear you get from reading a thriller.

Ideally I’d like to be wearing this when the weather turns colder, it is just beginning to get a bit nippy but it’s not cold, cold so I’m not being exclusive with this jumper yet. That day will surely come quite soon, I’ve started daydreaming about what I can wear under it that will show through the ladders for maximum effect. I’ve set my heart on a gold metallic t-shirt that so far only exists in my imagination.


London memories

I’ve been looking through all the images I’ve kept in cloud storage and came across this one from 2017. This is was an absolutely stunning display outside a restaurant at Aldwych in London that I used to pass every day on my way to work. The flowers were all fresh and the colours were just so bright and beautiful. I loved it. It was a highlight of my day the whole time it was there and I would stop for a minute just to look at it from across the road.

Which I’m sure absolutely delighted all my fellow commuters rushing past.

This building is gorgeous too. I loved that the display worked in sympathy with the moulding above it; look at the expression on her face, its just magical. I really recommend looking up when you’re walking around London, or just get on the top deck of a bus and look at things that are above street level, there’s another layer of London up there that will take you right out of whatever ordinary thing you are doing.

This is one of those pictures that I come back to a lot when I want to see something that will lift my mood. I’ve realised looking at this again today that this is the exact colour scheme I’ve been planning for my garden next year.

We moved house at the end of July and have been clearing out what was a pretty scruffy garden, next year we’re going to have a bit of decking laid, the rest is going to be just grass with some stepping stones but on the decking we’re going to have just a few really beautiful pots with flowers in orange, hot pink and bright yellow, so yes it’s exactly this photo that is going to be our inspiration.


Today I’m Making… red snoods

Classic lipstick red

Today I’m concentrating on restocking my classic red snoods. In the picture it looks a bit brighter than in real life, thus is like the perfect shade of red lipstick, it’s an intense red without being too bright.

I think red can almost be used as a neutral, it will add a pop of colour to a dark outfit without looking too colourful and don’t believe that old wives tale about it clashing with red hair, I’m a redhead and I’ve seen other redheads wearing this shade and it looks cute.

If you’re like me and tend to wear mainly dark colours a red snood can be a nice way to add a bit of colour without feeling overwhelmed by it.

As you may know already I moved house not long ago so quite a lot of my yarn is still in boxes, I have only been able to lay my hands on this one back of red so there won’t be many of these in my shop but it is a staple colour for me so if you miss out this time it will be coming back at some point.


Today I’m Making… Shell Cottage Socks

We’re settling in nicely to our new home, we love this area, the people are so friendly and smiley – I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy anywhere I’ve lived.

Of course the house needs a few bits and bobs doing but nothing urgent and we’ve almost unpacked everything, I think there are about 18 boxes left, and most of that is stuff that really belongs in the loft or it’s my craft supplies that I need to buy new storage for. So now that we’re pretty much sorted I have been able to do some lovely relaxing Sunday knitting and what is better than a nice pair of socks?

Teensy bit too long for my blockers

These are my Shell Cottage Socks, they’re a design by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade and were the first socks in last year’s Sock Society. I love this pattern its so pretty and effective, I actually have two pairs of these on the needles but these grey ones are my favourite. I think they look just like those lovely cobblestone cottages you see driving through Hampshire.

I cast these on when the pattern was first released but because I like to cast on all the things and knit them all at once progress is painfully slow on with every single thing I make. I only recently finished the first sock – a good 18 months later.

I’m quite pleased with my gusset

This is absolutely no reflection on the pattern, I love Curious Handmade patterns, they’re so well written I’d happy knit nothing else but when I enjoy something I want it to last so here we are. I mean really, what is the rush? I’ll still have feet next week…

I’m knitting them on my lovely Knitpro wooden cubic out of Debbie Bliss Rialto Sock, which is very pretty but a bit too keen on unplying for my peace of mind.

Debbie Bliss Rialto Sock
Yarn bowl from Little Wren Potteries on Etsy
This is where they sleep, this bag is from Flying Tiger on one of their £2 sale days.
Lou Lou is not that interested in knitting.


New house!

We did it! Finally we completed on our new house and we have now moved in. We’re not doing that again in a hurry… the stress!

If I say so myself we have been pretty good about unpacking boxes straight away and getting things sorted out. The only room now that looks awful is the spare room, that’s the space I’m going to use as my home office and workroom and I’m not back at work until Friday so it has become a bit of a dumping ground for the last few boxes full of things I don’t know what to do with. My chair has been delivered today but the desk will arrive on Saturday so I am going to use this weekend to get that room done and the furniture set up ready for Monday.

So here are a few little things we’ve done so far.

Bedside cabinets from The Range

We went shopping yesterday to buy a few things for our new home, at our flat we had built-in furniture in the bedroom so we didn’t have stand-alone bedside tables. The ones we wanted were in a different shop but they only had one in stock so we had a look in The Range and were about to buy a different set when I spotted these in the bathroom section. Our wardrobes are white painted lattice work so these go really well and we love them. We’re going to paint the surrounds of the wardrobes in a washed out grey to match.

At the flat I had a bright blue oversized-knit footstool that really didn’t go here and to be honest it was looking a bit ropey so I picked up this heart shaped crushed velvet one also from The Range. I absolutely adore it. Call me an old softie but I do have a bit of a thing for heart shaped bits and bobs. I also think this would look really nice with a little cat sitting on it but it’s early days to be thinking about getting a pet. At least not while the spare room is full of boxes.

We’re going to replace these three bookcases, there’s another larger one too that has to be replaced at some point but I’d like to have a long bookcase made that fits the space under that white rail and goes along that part of the wall from the radiator to about where the trunk is. The reason I’m showing you this is because I’ve been able to organise my books into colours the way I like them and that has made me feel instantly at home here. We both love the vintage trunk (which is full of my materials) and I like having the grey metal trunks stacked on top of it with the jug of flowers. There’s a small grey metal trunk missing in action somewhere in a box in the spare room that I’m hoping to unearth over the weekend.

Finally just a couple of little kitchen bits.

The previous owner painted the kitchen this glorious shade of pink, which we are definitely keeping. The dinner maracas are out with a good selection of tea and we picked up this super pretty doormat out shopping yesterday which goes really well I think.


We’re moving! – wardrobe death cleanse

Finally, finally, it looks like we’ll be moving in the next 2-3 weeks. It has been a long road, my friends, and there were many times when I pretty much gave up hope but fingers crossed it looks like it will happen. Soon.

See how I have blocked access to the big windows just in time for the heatwave.

I’ve probably just totally jinxed myself saying that.

You know what this means, don’t you? The dreaded packing. It’s not too bad because we’re moving from a flat to a house so we’ll have more room and in theory that means we could just take everything without sorting it out but that was never going to happen was it? I have recycled so many magazines in these last few weeks I could have probably saved us all the pain of The Great Loo Roll Shortage of 2020 if I’d started when we accepted the offer back in March.

About 6 years ago I started boring my friends with the idea of doing a death cleanse on my wardrobe and curating a perfect capsule wardrobe in its place. Well the time has come. I have a lot of clothes, I started packing them for the move last weekend and I put some things to one side to donate to charity but packed away quite a lot of my clothes leaving myself just what is in the laundry and complete outfits for seven days. I warn you, it looks pretty brutal.

Harsh but fair

Now I’m not claiming this is my forever capsule wardrobe. Let’s not forget the full laundry bin and the ever present ironing pile but this feels pretty good. Today I’ve taken two giant bags of clothes to a donation point and I feel so…. light.

I hit that wardrobe with two ideas in my head. I picked every single item one by one and if it failed both of these questions it was doomed.

1. Does it fit?
2. Do I feel good wearing it?

Now on the face of it this seems pretty simple but for me clothes are loaded with guilt and self-loathing. I very rarely try clothes on in shops because I don’t like to look at my reflection, loaded on top of that I am the worst returner ever. I try things on at home and if they don’t fit or look foul I somehow convince myself that the day will soon come when all that changes. That day does not come.

The problem I then have is those clothes then sit there in my wardrobe for an age and every time I look at them they remind me that I am a good two sizes bigger than I’d like to be and that as yet my breasts have failed to shrink to darling little b-cups.

I’m left with two bags of clothes that I’m not going to wear ahead of the move. The stuff in the laundry and the ironing pile is going to get the same treatment and when I start to flag or waver I imagine I’ve died and Carrie Bradshaw has been sent to sort through my effects. So far nothing with tassels has survived her twisty-mouthed disapproval.

Etsy · vintage hair

The snood of the week – pastel pink

Every week I make black snoods for my shop, they’re THE snood staple and I simply cannot make enough of them, but I also cannot only make black snoods because to be brutally honest, it would be very very boring. Don’t get me wrong, I love a black snood, its the colour I wear most of the time but I like to have a colour going too so each week I choose a different colour to work on alongside the classic black and this week it is pink.

No winkers please

Pink to make the boys wink as they used to say when I was a girl. Thank god they don’t say that anymore and who wants random boys winking at you?

When I say pink, I mean pastel pink, an unashamedly sweet shade that will see you through from spring and into summer and also looks absolutely cracking with navy or brown.

The pastel pink is quite different to the sugar pink I also sell, have a look at them here side by side to see what I mean. Sugar has more of a flamingo legs/coral tone. In the pictures below the one on the left is the pastel and the one on the right is sugar, which is much stronger isn’t it? They’re both nice but they do slightly different jobs.


Today I’m Making – Bob Socks

You’re impressed with my progress, I can tell.

I had to check my projects page on Ravelry to remind myself how long ago I cast on these socks. 29 September 2018. 2018! That’s pretty bad isn’t it, and to have only got this far. I’m a little bit ashamed of myself. So I suppose these socks should be what I concentrate on making this week. I mean, they should be but knowing me I’ll be distracted by all the other things I have on the needles but my intentions at this part of this day are good.

If you’re not familiar with the pattern, these are the Bob socks by Louise Tilbrook designs, Bob is really BOB – it stands for Build on the Basics and they’re aimed at beginner knitters really. I just like a nice simple sock. They’re mainly vanilla but they have two options of simple side detail that I think looks quite vintage menswear. The pattern is very clear and is laid out simply so that you aren’t constantly flicking back and forth. I’d say that if you’ve never knitted a pair of socks in your life this would be safe place to start if you don’t want to do a plain vanilla sock.

Twisted rib panel

I have a ton of sock yarn but most of it is highly coloured, variegated and/or speckled which is lovely but sometimes I don’t want my socks in the foreground of my outfit and I really fancied a pair of dark grey socks to wear with black trousers and DMs. I’m imagining myself a vision of monochrome cool in a slightly beatnik style. Its nice to have an imagination to prop yourself up with.

The yarn I’m using is Opal Style, I’m not sure that you can still get this yarn seeing as I bought mine some time prior to September 2018 but good luck hunting. I bought mine from InterKnitCafe who vends at a local monthly artisan market. Hopefully that sort of thing will be back up and running again soon but in the meantime she has a good selection of Opal and other sock yarns in her Etsy shop. The owner is a really nice, chatty and approachable person to so if you are close to either Fleet in Hampshire or Farnham in Surrey those are the two places where I know you can find her in person for a nice squish. Of the yarn. Obviously.

Lyn Roberts Designs solid silver dpns

But here comes the really special bit. I’m knitting them on my solid silver dpns. Yes you read that right. They’re the ultimate in knitting luxury. I bought them from Lyn Roberts Designs, I’m a big fan of her work and although obviously hand made silver dpns cost a fair bit more than commercial needles they’re nowhere near as expensive as you might imagine. I love mine, they feel lovely in your hand and they’re really pretty. They are weightier than you might be used to but I like that. I don’t really like lightweight wooden needles, they feel too flimsy in my hands so if you’re are committed Symphonies knitter these might not work out for you but I really recommend looking up Lyn at a yarn fairs in the future, I think once you have her knitting tools in your hand you’ll be so enchanted you’ll want to own them yourself.

I keep them protected by this very ugly but massively practical dpn holder that I bought at the Westcliffe Knitting Hotel in Blackpool. There’s no maker’s label on it but they do stock these regularly and I have bought a few in much prettier fabrics, I got this one just because I needed one at the time and I think it was the last one in stock. If you ask maybe Paula (the owner) will be able to put you in touch with the maker.

Look! There’s a cat in a sheep onesie.

These socks live in this adorable pyramid sock bag that I bought from I Knit London (sadly a victim of souless commercial regeneration in Lower Marsh, London). I really like pyramid bags for socks, you can actually get quite a bit in there and the print is perfect. They’re cats in onesies. Its just the cutest thing every and those are totally my colours. I don’t think Gerard made these himself, I wish I knew who did. I nearly said purrfect but that would be cringy cheap. I’m so glad I resisted the temptation.

Is the one in the stripes having a poo?

I doubt whether making pyramid bags can be that difficult, can it? I might have a look on YouTube and waste another 18 months not knitting my socks.

Hallmarked and everything.

Oh hi!

Good grief but its a long time since I updated this isn’t it? I blame YouTube. You see for a while there I fell down the YouTube rabbit hole of watching craft podcasts, dozens and dozens of them until I started to think I would fancy doing that myself. So I did. For several months. It turns out its not my thing. I don’t really like seeing myself on screen and that is a problem with a YouTube podcast isn’t it? Really should have thought that through a bit more. So here I am, back to the blog and let me tell you the editing is much easier.

So what I’m planning on doing with this is sort of using it like my Instagram feed. I do really really like Instagram but I prefer typing on a keyboard and I generally have more things to say than my patience with thumb-typing allows. I think what I’d like to do is a weekend update of everything I’ve worked on that week and then maybe during the week I could share little bit here and there of all sorts of things.

Books · Knitting

Today I’m making… The Eren jumper

Good morning. Here we are again at Sunday and a nice long day of knitting ahead. It absolutely tipped down with rain here all day yesterday so that would have been a perfect day to make some progress with this jumper but I had a few things I needed to go to the next town along for so I spent the day getting drenched in between getting a hair cut, shopping (boring household things) and going to the post office.

So today the skies are clear and I’m staying indoors with YouTube, podcasts, Jewellery Maker and Sewing Quarter for company. Lovely. I’ll probably nip out to Costa later for a black forest hot chocolate but I really like a nice day in so I’m not that bothered if I don’t.

So here we are with today’s main project – the Eren jumper that I’m making for The Mister. I only have a female stand so please excuse the breastiness. Let me tell you, putting this on the stand still on the needles was not my best move. Getting it on was not easy and getting it off was worse. Even though I was careful I pinged the end caps off my needles and about 15 stitches came off. Thankfully alpaca yarn isn’t eager to unravel itself but it was a hairy moment.

Not that I’m not capable of picking up dropped stitches but I’d rather not. The yarn is locally produced at the fabulous Pennybridge Farm, they get it spun locally somewhere and sell the yarn in their farm shop. I bought five skeins and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that will be enough because I the chances of getting the exact same shade again are pretty low I would have thought. I’ll see where I am when I’ve finished the body before doing the rib, if I have to get another skein I’ll do the ribbing and neck in with that.

I would say the spinning of this yarn is generally excellent but there are the odd nubbly sections which we’re choosing to see as enhancing the natural beauty of the yarn, but best to let you know if that sort of thing bothers you. It is the softest most beautiful yarn and the colour is such a beautiful blend of pale faun. I’d happily knit with this again and again.

Can you see here the the colours? There’s a biscuitty beige, a taupe an almost yellow tone and also an underlying greyness that looks much more pronounced in this photo that in reality. Its beautiful. I cannot stress enough how enjoyable this is to knit with and the handle is a delight. We’re both in love with it.

I think they sell it for £14 a skein or 5 for £60 which is a very good price for alpaca. Its all undyed with very high welfare conditions.

This is the rear view, its going to have raglan sleeves and I’m pretty sure the neck will sit much higher than this, its just rolled a bit. Excuse the rumples, I’m using quite a small project bag to store it because it squishes up really small but it won’t fit in there much longer, certainly not when I get started on the sleeves. I estimate I have another 13 rows on the body to go, that will mean it will sit about hip length on The Mister.

There’s my Little Wren yarn bowl. That was also nearly a casualty of putting this jumper on the stand. At the point where the end cap pinged off I also nearly knocked the yarn bowl off its perch which would have been the end of that because we have hard floors and that’ how the last one went. Though you can buy kintsugi kits on Etsy and if I’d thought of it I would have got one to repair the last yarn bowl. That’s definitely what I’d do if I broke this one. I’m not going to break this one. I’m not.

Between bouts of knitting I’m reading this excellent book. A woman at work lent it to me, she said she couldn’t put it down and even thought about booking a day’s holiday to finish reading it. I can absolutely see why. Its so gripping. I’m going to buy The Mister a copy, he doesn’t get a lot of time to read so he’d need to have it for too long really and to be honest, it’s such a good book I feel bad for denying the author the royalties.

I can’t really tell you too much about it without giving any spoilers but basically this absolutely lovely guy has his world turned upside down on a spur of the moment decision. I said to my friend the other day that I know it’s not real, but I’m really worried about this guy. He’s such a nice person and I want things to be alright for him but I don’t think they will be.

As usual I’m limiting myself to 50 pages a day but I can completely see how you’d want to read the whole thing in one sitting, the descriptions are so evocative I can really see the characters, they seem so real its excruciating. I really think you should buy this book.