crafting · Knitting

Today I’m Making… Fuss Free Festival Shawl


I am a member of the excellent FaceBook group Everyday Knitter run by the knitting designer Louise Tilbrook.  I’ve watched for ages people making her simple garter knit shawl and finally got around to casting one on while on holiday in Bulgaria last month.  To be honest I didn’t really enjoy the holiday so I was glad of it.  It was like a home for sausage obsessed grumps.

It is a very simple design so perfect for showing off a nice interesting yarn, and because it’s lovely and simple to knit it is perfect for holidays and knitting in front of the telly.


I am making mine using 200g of DK yarn, its a Rico Design Creative Galaxy that I bought in a sale at Pack Lane Wools in Basingstoke earlier this year.  I’m pretty sure I only paid a couple of pounds for it. It’s lovely yarn, really soft and a little bit fuzzy which offsets any scratchiness you might have felt from the hundreds and hundreds of little holographic sequins it is shot through with.  The pattern only asks for 100g of sock yarn but I love a big snuggly shawl so I’m doubling up and using DK. This is mine at the half way point.


So far I have knitted it on holiday by the pool in Bulgaria, in front of the telly at home, commuting to work by train and at my new Saturday afternoon knitting group at the library café in Fleet, Hampshire.  Tomorrow I have a hospitable appointment I am frankly dreading so I’m going to take it with me as a sort of comforter.

Here is a link to my one on Ravelry, where you can also buy the pattern though I think Louise is still sending you a free one if you sign up to her newsletter so check that out first!img_0394


crafting · Knitting

Today I’m Making – Ankle Socks in Spain

I’m just back from holiday in Tenerife, I stayed at the Sandos San Blas Nature Resort which was all new to me.  I have never stayed in a 5* all inclusive resort before and to be honest I’ve always turned my nose up at all-inclusive but I’m a changed woman now.  I loved it, it was all very fancy but very chilled and calm and I’d definitely go back.  I’d go back for the slippers alone.


This is the view from the lobby cafe bar with a rare picture of me, I take terrible pictures and in this one I look like I’ve lost my eyebrows in some sort of accident that’s left one side of my face swollen. It’s probably something to do with my high mojito content by this point.


On my last holiday in Greece I made a load of flower puffs towards making a blanket, and I need to make another 600-odd so I really should have taken that project with me, what with the ease of making the flowers and the simple portability of small crochet projects but my friend has started making her first pair of socks and I’ve been suffering from crushing sock envy ever since so…. Socks in Spain.

Last year I was knitting a pair of tiger stripe socks in Skiathos, they were the first pair I made and I’m very fond of them but they are quite big and baggy on me.  I wear them as fall-down socks but I prefer ankle socks so I’ve not made any more the same length since.

I bought the yarn for these ones I think at the Knitting & Stitching Show at Olympia in March, I think it was there but to be honest I buy so much its hard to keep track of what came from where.  Anyway, I remember it being on a stall in a basket full of sock yarn that was ridiculously cheap – something like £2.50 a 50g ball and it was nice stuff too, mine is Drops Fabel Print no. 677 in Green/Turquoise.  It comes out in varying width stripes of several shades of blue and green and feels fantastic.


I based them on the pattern that came with the sock kit I bought from Knit’n’Caboodle but I made the rib shallower, the cuff is a lot shorter and I adjusted the foot length so that they fit my foot exactly.

The other thing that’s different is the cast-off at the toe, it was supposed to be Kitchener stitch but I forgot to take a yarn needle away with me so I did a double row cast off instead.  To be honest its probably for the best because I’ve been blessed with the sort of toe nails that if not carefully restrained turn sharp enough to cut through steel overnight so  bit of extra reinforcement there won’t go amiss.  They do have a bit of a funny ridge across the toes but I’m not planning to wear them with sandals so it won’t matter.


I only finished one sock and that was on the flight home so I’m going to have to get a move on with the other one because I want to wear them to Kirstie Allsopp’s Handmade Fair on Saturday.

image  Since this photo was taken I have started on the heel flap. I’m quietly confident.

crafting · Knitting

Knitting Socks in Skiathos

When I go on holiday I go for the classic fly and flop. All I want is good weather, lounging about, swimming in the sea and stuffing my guts with overly rich food.  If you’re going to put in several hours a day just loafing about the pool or beach you need to take some entertainment, and I can’t do nothing but read for a fortnight so I always take some sort of craft project with me.

This year I took the sock knitting kit I bought at The Knitting and Stitching Show from the excellent Knit ‘n’ Caboodle the year before last I think; it might have been last year but I’ve got a guilty feeling it was longer ago than that.  I know two years is a long time to get around to buying a kit but I buy a lot of things at craft shows and I go to a lot of craft shows. Plus a lot of my time is taken up crocheting 1940s style snoods for my Etsy shop, and oh I’m sounding defensive… Anyway it can be difficult to fit other things in.


I have fancied having a go at knitting socks ever since The Great Sock Knitting Craze started a few years ago but I got it into my head that it was really difficult to turn the heel and its frightened me off.  I thought there would be all sorts of mathematical workings out that would be beyond me but it turns out I needn’t have worried. They’re a cinch.


I have been slowly slowly working on Frankie Brown’s 10st blanket pattern to use up some odds and ends, and its big feature is short row shaping which I thought all sock knitting involved.  Turns out that’s no trouble either so that gave me the confidence to pack my Knit ‘n’ Caboodle Tiger Feet sock kit and fly off to Skiathos with it.  I’m so glad I did.  Turns out they don’t use short row shaping in the pattern, its really simple decreases so no trouble at all.

The kit itself is fantastic, you get a lot for just £10 (that’s how much mine was and I think the price is still the same), plus it comes in a clear plastic poolside friendly bag.  In the kit is:

  • Two balls of 4-ply sock yarn, they do lots of yarn but I went for the one that comes out looking like a tiger, not only is it a gorgeous yarn but Tiger Feet was actually No.1 when I was born.
  • 2 cute beaded stitch markers
  • 5 x 2.5mm bamboo dpns that look worryingly like giant toothpicks but are actually tough little fellers.
  • The pattern which is really well written and super easy to follow.  I think even a relatively new knitter would get on fine with this kit. It even explains Kitchener stitch really clearly which I think is a bit of a feat in itself.

So that was me, the odd woman at the pool and beach knitting socks.  I don’t care, I had a great time with them. I’d had a minor operation to have a couple of moles removed from my knees shortly before our holiday and the stitches had only come out a few days before our flight so while I could sit by the pool, it wasn’t  wise to actually get in or swim in the sea. That was a massive shame because swimming in the sea is the thing I enjoy most on holiday but I didn’t want to risk an infection 1,300 miles from home. Plus being a redhead I don’t really tan so I’m usually huddled under a parasol fairly covered up anyway.

So the upshot is the moles turned out to be nothing to worry about beyond their ugliness and I’ve fallen in love with sock knitting.  I’m going to this year’s Knitting and Stitching show for three days this year and I know Knit ‘n’ Caboodle are going to be there on stand L36 so I’ll be visiting them with my heart set on buying a TON of sock yarn.  I can’t tell you how satisfying it is putting on a sock you’ve knitted yourself. They feel amazing and they’re just the nicest thing to knit. Love them.

make-up reviews

eyelash extensions

I have to be honest, I look hideous without makeup. So bad on fact that the only times I’ve tried the natural look I’ve actually had abuse shouted at me in the street and my own mother thought I had become a heroin addict on the space of one week.

So when I go on holiday makeup is a problem, we all know waterproof mascara is a lie but its a lie I’ve fallen for over and over again. This year I decided to give extensions a go. I’ve got quite short, fine sumptuous lashes so the effect on me is not the best possible but here is the photographic evidence.

First here I am normally with makeup.Now here is the horror of no makeup…Now we have the magic of lash extensions by Lisa of Farnham.

I loved them, a week of swimming in the sea did them no harm at all. At the moment I can’t afford the upkeep but I intend to have them redone when I’ve finished my driving lessons. They lasted a good six weeks.

The cost? 85 for a full set of 100 lashes which takes nearly two hours, then its 35 every two to three weeks to top up regrowth.

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