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Dare you take a teenager away from electronic gadgets for a few days? (And for me, time to use up some of my woolly stash)

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When I started blogging I intended to write a post every day. Now I realize that is just not practical as ‘life’ gets in the way so I shall blog as much as I can, aiming for three times a week and hope I shall have more interesting stuff to write about.

I have just had a few days away in Normandy, France and for me that means no internet, no phone, no tv, which is part of the reason I like going to our little haven there, and also one reason I have been post-less here. I took a bunch of knitting and crochet projects, a box set of Gavin & Stacey DVDs for the laptop (just something to play the dvds on) and of course, my lovely family. Teenage son complained about being removed from his electronic ‘world’ – a host of complaints we ignored as we knew once he got there he would settle into a more simple life and enjoy himself if past visits were anything to go on. Are we cruel? I don’t think so. I believe we are amongst the brave in daring to take a teenager out of his comfort zone these days. I have friends that can’t believe we ‘settle’ for nothing less than an action packed activity holiday! Actually, whilst I was there I read an interesting article in a magazine. It was talking about how kids now have so much instant entertainment via games consoles, online games, instant chat that they do not have the opportunity to be truly ‘bored’ and have to find something else to do. They lack imagination and social skills, they are losing the art of learning something for themselves. At the touch of a button everything seems to work immediately and they are not interacting face to face with their peers very much at all. It seems a sad world ahead of many of them. I am not saying my son can’t enjoy the electronic gadgetry of his teenage world, just that sometimes it’s good for him (and for us too) to take a step back and see what else is out there. It was lovely to spend time together as a family, chatting, chewing the cud, catching up on what he expects when he goes into further education shortly. A great time was had by us all.

For me, sometimes a few days away help me concentrate on my latest craft project. I have finally finished a knitted wrap I’ve been working on for a friend. It had been hanging over me for the last week or so, I could see the end but just couldn’t reach it. Every time I picked it up I dropped stitches or discovered I had done so the evening before and had to undo a few rows. I think I had been trying to pack too much into my life without concentrating on anything – this recent break was so needed!

I still have several other knitting WIPs. One is a lovely purple short sleeved summer top which I am going slow on. It is enjoyable at times, tedious at others, but I do actually intend to finish this one. Before we went away I had been sorting out other knitting projects and actually made myself RIP out one I know I will never complete. It was so refreshing to make the decision to do that – I should have done it 6 months ago. It was never going to be flattering and I wasn’t proud enough of my work to finish it and gift it to anyone else. So, more yarn in my stash! It’s a beautiful turquoise bamboo mix for another project one day.

Talking of my stash… well I could probably rival a small wool shop! How is it that I never quite have the wool I want for a project or have a pattern but not the suitable wool for it? I am sure I am not alone here. Yesterday I decided to treat myself to a quick new knitting project. It had to be quick for a summer trip coming up – it had to be sage green or navy blue to match one of twospecific outfits – could I find anything suitable? No, not in my local wool shop. There is a huge range of yarns and patterns but my brain just couldn’t engage! That isn’t to say there wasn’t enough choice – no, I think this shop has more than I have ever seen. I came away with nothing this time! I think someone somewhere is trying to tell me to dig deep into my own yarn stash at home and use something I already have…. the trouble is, new stuff is sometimes so much more exciting! Today, I will decide what I am going to make if anything.

So, that’s me for now. Chilled, satisfied one knitting project down, less to go. Some good parenting recently done, so I say.


Pink Sheep

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Ooh, so sorry to have been away from WordPress for a while …

So, I have often wondered why someone hasn’t bred multi coloured sheep (apart from the usual white/off white/beige/brown ones).  As a knitter and a lover of some barmy things I have thought, number one, how pretty it would makes our fields, and number two, would it be possible to get pink wool ready dyed??  I know it sounds a little crazy, but    … look what I found recently?  I have been told they appear in fields in Suffolk around the time of the Latitude Music Festival.   Festival details at  Photos from
Before anyone says I must be completely gullible, yes, I know there aren’t really pink ones, but what a thought …

12994 stitches knitted so far. Have you ever estimated how many you may have knitted?

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89cm long, 12994 stitches
89cm long, 12994 stitches
MY WIP is growing …

I am so enjoying my latest new project, a sparkly wrap for a good friend. I posted a blog entitled Lunchtime in Dubai/knitting at home last week and showed a photo of this project. I would like to share my progress here and challenge others to do what I have just done ** see below

I was reading somewhere about whether a knitter ever considers how much time she/he spends on each item they make. I do not usually add up time spent creating, unless I am working to a deadline and consider how many days or weeks (not broken down into hours or minutes) it has taken me to complete something. I do not often have an actual deadline unless I am working towards finishing a Christmas gift or a similar kind of date/event. This is actually a retrospective Christmas gift for 25th December 2012!! Luckily my dear, dear friend is completely understanding as I made all 5 of her children presents which were delivered on time. In fact, her gift was going to be something totally different but I hated it when I was half way through, gave up and have only just started this new one this June.

So, it’s a sparkly wrap. I am using 6mm needles, it’s a RICO design pattern. Last week it was approximately 45cm long. Today it measures 89 cm. There are 73 stitches per row. I estimate 178 rows have been knitted so far. ** therefore possibly I have wealded my knitting needles through 12,994 stitches. Wow! I think I could be 60-70% finished. As well as a little note of love, I shall also add the number of stitches worked into the wrap onto the note when I present the gift. I have never considered just how much work goes into such an item. It’s a good job it’s a delight to knit!

Who’s ever estimated how many stitches they have knitted in a garment before? Have you?

Kaffe Fassett at FTM

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What’s not to like in these photos?

mandy munroe

I just spent a fantastic Saturday in London that included a visit to Zandra Rhodes Fashion and Textile Museum. The brightly coloured building in Bermondsey is hosting an even more brightly coloured exhibition by Kaffe Fassett until 29th June and I would definitely recommend you take a look, there is so much to see.


It is packed with his needlepoint and knitting designs, sketches and inspirations. There is a feeling wall with samples of his fabrics and knits labelled PLEASE DO TOUCH.


Beautiful, interestingly displayed quilts.



Kaffe and Brandon Mably were teaching upstairs and Lady Sew and Sew had an amazing selection of their fabrics for sale – bonus! I picked a good day to visit!


If you can get along there don’t delay, there is only a few more weeks left!

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Lunch in Dubai? Knitting at home?

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ImageHusband has been away for a few days.  He returned this morning, trying to gain entry to the house when the bolt was still up on the door. I ran downstairs to let him in and there he was, travel-weary, unshaven, barely able to stand up straight, obviously shattered from the journey.  I’d been looking forward to having him back. I have been home whilst he’s been away. I have local jobs, a very local life this month, and the phone conversations we’ve been having have been quite mundane and hurried (him: between meetings/on a different time zone, and me: whilst cooking dinner/mid laundry/being domestic).  Our son is in the middle of GCSE exams so I am at home making life a little smooth and easy for him.  It’s been difficult with my own two jobs and in effect being a single parent but we’ve managed. One giggle of the week has been an email exchange with hubby.  He sent a lovely photo of the view from a restaurant  where he ate lunch. The vista was sparking sunshine bouncing off a Dubai beach and palm trees.  I zapped back a photo of our lounge, saying it was where I was having lunch that day. It brought him back to earth and life back ‘home’.

We have a strange life together. Hubby’s in bed for a nap but will be waking in a while, then he will head up to London for a meeting and dinner later. (I can’t believe he keeps going like this, worried he will burn out soon!) He will rest at the weekend, whilst I will be ready to do something interesting! Occasionally we are on the same wavelength, but not this week.

Husband travels a lot with his job.  I would like to say I stay home to ensure the household runs smoothly, but it isn’t like that.  Yes, we seem to have clean clothes and food (not always what we want to wear or eat, according to our son!) but we muddle along.  I craft a lot, which leads to a little chaos. Take, for instance, one of my latest projects (did I say I craft a lot?!).  I sewed a bag.   I then left the finished article, fabric scraps, pins, all the sewing paraphanalia on the dining table and I have ignored it for more than a week.  I guess there was just no need to clear it up.  My son and I have been coping with half a free table!  I keep running out of time to do everything. My mind moves onto the next thing, be it work or fun so some things I let slide.  Now husband is back I guess I really should have a bit of a tidy up – he was too tired to notice everything remained the same with my craft chaos from last week but there again if he says anything I shall remind him at least he will find clean shirts when he opens his wardrobe!

First job of the day, to tidy up sewing ….. or is it? No, I have come onto my blog instead.  You see, temptation is everywhere.  I craft, I write, I work a bit, I relax.  Life is too short to get stressed about things that don’t matter. I love the saying that dust comes back even when you’ve dusted, so things like dusting are a low priority.  I now sit in my office, looking at the grey (yes, grey!) summer skies outside.  I have my 2 plaques in here which say ‘Sing like no one is listening’ and ‘Keep Calm and Eat Cake’.  Later as I do a bit of vacumming  (I can’t do it now as it would wake hubby up!) I shall sing along to whatever cd I decide to play, then I shall sit with a coffee and a cake and get out my knitting.  Oh that’s one thing I’ve been doing.  I am half way through a shawl for a friend.  It’s her birthday in August. I promised her a knitted gift last Christmas but was disappointed at how it was turning out so I am making something else and I am determined to finish it soon.   Photo attached is WIP.

There must be a fair few people staying home and supporting the family whilst their partners whizz off to distant pastures.  This is just how I cope. Thank goodness for the support of good friends.

A Hand to Hold

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What an almost surreal event. I can only imagine what must go through your mind when you see roofers. You were in the right place at the right time to give comfort and help to someone in need. It was such a shame you could never find out what happened to the man who fell.

Katrina Anne Willis, Author

Our neighbors across the street are getting a new roof. These past few early summer mornings have been sunny and cool and beautiful, and I’ve been drinking my coffee and catching up on some front porch reading to begin each day. This morning, though, I had to angle my chair away from the neighbors’ house. I couldn’t watch the roofers, even though I could hear their rhythmic hammers and their happy songs.

You see, close to a decade ago, we’d just moved into our new dream home. We had four young kids, a full life ahead of us, and we were painting all our new rooms the colors of life and love and happiness. Pink and purple for our one and only girl, cowboy denim blue for the baby of the family, Eagles green for the oldest, ceiling clouds for our aviation lover, and circus stripes and polka-dots for their…

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Classic Fabric – time to string out the bunting!