Thursday, 29 April 2021

Knit and natter

Time for a little knit and natter. As the seasons change I knit a little less because the light nights lure me outside in the evening. This year is no different and with a brand new garden to tend to there there is much less chance of sitting indoors to knit than normal.

My winter knitting draws to an end with another Kate Davies knit from Ten years in the Making called Evendoon. Evendoon is a scots word for straight guessed the rest right? It is made with Drops Lima in rust mix, a new colour for me but very welcome.

What I did find out was that the length straight from the Kate Davies pattern was absolutely spot on for me and shows that I don't need to keep lengthening her designs for fear of showing my midriff.

Armed with this useful information I have done something I have never done before, call it maturity getting older but I have frogged a previous garment to get the length right! Five years ago I would never have considered unpicking anything but today, as I look at that unworn-too-long-tight-sleeved Carbeth Cardigan the feelings of having a tinker with it seem just right.

The buttons have been saved; the safety line marks the actual armhole to hem length and the wool on the tray holds the sleeves. In all honesty, I don't know how I am going to tackle this further because the arms were too tight in the circumference on the original and I don't have more wool (also you loose some during frogging) so I am letting this project evolve into a Carbeth creation of some kind over time.

In other knitting news,I had 2 balls of left over drops Paris from my sleeveless sweater in 'heather' (see raspberry!) and a nearly full ball of blue left over from a Heidi fair isle knit.

Today I finished a rather useful pattern for a shawl called the Counterpart from the Knitter issue 161. Useful, how so?  Well, you follow one chart with your first ball until it runs out and then follow the second chart until your second ball runs out! Those are actually the instructions, allowing me to create something to fit the materials to hand. So this pattern will be useful for any two balls that are left over. I did shoehorn the last bit of blue in the centre too. I struggled with the second chart but added more garter stitch where I couldn't work it out - still, a great pattern to try again.

Knitting with Drops Paris is an acquired taste. I always like the finished garments and the price tag but it is a bit like knitting with string and can be tough on your fingertips which is why it is a good project to have in between another. 

She always chooses the hat from the cupboard

and now has a matching scarf.

All done with Drops Paris for a while. Back to scratching my head with that Carbeth now. Thank you for dropping in.

Jo xxx

Friday, 23 April 2021


 I am loving a swish and a float around in my new Lyra Dress by Tilly and the Buttons. 

The fabric is a linen viscose mix which means it has a beautiful texture and a wonderful drape, ideal for gathering into tiers.

The pockets are brilliant and the collar had good instructions if you are ready to take your sewing to the next level.

I am wearing it with leggings today (I have brown ones but I couldn't be bothered to change) but it would be lovely with sandals or thick tights and boots. 

My rust coloured cardigan is on its second sleeve so I am hoping to have a full Autumn outfit in a couple of months time.
Thanks for stopping by as ever. 

Ps. I have a haircut booked next Thursday. YAY!

Saturday, 17 April 2021

From Scratch

Starting a garden from scratch is not easy, it should be. Putting everything just where you want it and building a structure that you can use functionally should be easy but from scratch, there are just too many decisions to make all at the same time.

This was the site 2 years ago - me and the little pup in April 2019

In the end, we decided that after two years of building a complete house, surviving lockdown and home-schooling with our children we could not muster enough motivation to do all of the hard landscaping ourselves - it was just too epic. 

  Andy made the raised border in the centre last autumn which we began under planting with bulbs. It was quite a feat to get the horse drawn potato lifter which belonged to my great-grandfather into the centre but we managed it by swinging it from the digger bucket.

Our neighbour does large scale groundwork and landscaping so in the end we asked him to do our drive. He was mega meticulous in his preparation.

The daffodils are going over now but the tulips are ready to come next then a succession of other summer flowering bulbs. I think I will make a little update of this border in my ing posts so I can see how it changes over the seasons. This border has a colour palette of red/orange/yellow. I have always wanted to do that, split the garden by colour and now I can.

Ta dah!

There is grass on the lawn, albeit patchy at the moment but it fulfills the function of making a seamless view to the South Shropshire hills without a boundary. There is a 1.5m 'haha' dropping down to the field which stops the sheep getting into the garden but eliminates the need for a fence which would spoil the view.

The edge of the lawn has a sweeping border to draw your eye to the hills. This area is pink/blue/purple with four cordon fruit trees at the back to create a screen in Summer. Two apple and two pear which fruit at different times in the autumn. Again I am recording how it develops over time with photos.

My bloke bought me a greenhouse for my birthday in January where he roped in his brother to help put it up. This lead to marking out the veg patch which has a water tap next to it. I can't tell you the joy of that - a tap right where you need it!

The fruit bed was dug out first where we added thirty raspberry canes, thirty strawberries, four rhubarb from a neighbour, one redcurrant, one jostaberry from my mum and one blackcurrant bush. In essence the veg patch is half fruit and complete apart from general annual weeding. On a small holding, it doesn't matter where you try to take a picture from, there is always some kind of rubbish in the background but we are getting there.

My big girl is doing her bronze Duke of Edinburgh award. For the skills section, she has challenged herself to grow salad, in succession, for 6 months. She is using these old water tanks. I am looking forward to seeing this unfold.

These are google maps street views of the site in 2009 - an overgrown stackyard with a stone croft where our house now is. All of the bale sheds have been taken down, the wall has been rebuilt and we have hard standing. It feels quite an achievement when I look at this photo.

You know what they say about spinning plates, this was the inside of our house today. You can't keep them all spinning, all of the time!

It's been a busy early spring outside. I hope to keep the gardeners among you up to date with some flower, fruit and veg action as the seasons unfold.

Feet up, oesteopath booked, thank you for dropping by. Jo xxx

Saturday, 10 April 2021

and Sew on...

Lordy, lordy, will someone, anyone, please cut my lockdown hair! It resembles a horse's tail - all dry, split and unmanageable. Anyway...

I have made a rather funky Linden sweatshirt(number 5 between myself and Heidi)in a bold retro print from graziela fabrics. The fabric is fleecy on the back and super stable.

It was a little treat with some birthday money back in January, in fact it actually felt like a present when it arrived in the post all wrapped in tissue with ribbon and a postcard. I nearly fell into the trap of 'saving' it because it felt so special. However, not sewing fabric I own is not one of my special skills so it was turned into a fab sweatshirt by April.

I'm not gonna lie, I just about squeezed the pattern out of the 1.5m fabric to the point that I had to make an alteration to get the front and back on the fold. I made the front and back pieces shorter and cut hip bands from the remaining fabric. I also used navy ribbing for the cuffs and neck binding.

At least the pattern matching makes up for the alteration and it wears really well at just the right length. There was not a scrap of fabric left over. :)


My sole job next week will be to book a hair appointment. Seriously, the dog has one before me!

Stay safe. I hope you all have hair appointments booked... Jo xxxx

Sunday, 4 April 2021

Celebrating - Easter and Spring with lovely weather, a church service outdoors, gardening and a Sunday dinner.

Getting - around to recovering the seat on the grubby chair in the office. The woodland fabric works well with the green maps.

Collecting - all of my house plants in the greenhouse for a re pot. Most have outgrown their homes and some needed cuttings taking. It was a very satisfying job.

Sewing - some delicate linen batiste into beautiful summer jammies. They took me far longer than they should have for something that will be worn in bed but only because I enjoyed every moment of the details: pintucking, rouleau loops, binding, gathered shoulders etc.

Knitting - a new cardigan from my Kate Davies book.

Watching - my girl find something to do. She set herself up with some whittling by going out and finding fresh hazel to cut and all the tools she needed. She made her and her sister magic wands with gold painted handles.

Loving - the daffs of course. These are the ones that blew over in the wind last week so I popped them in a jug. The variety inthe second photo are stunning, they have outlasted all of the others - I saw the bulbs in Lidl for £1.99!

Growing - windowsill herbs. We are still building the garden and I have really missed having herbs to cook with so Meg planted up some seeds for indoors.

Baking  - a blueberry and almond cake. 

Eating - crispy duck and noodles. We are a long way from a takeaway now so Friday night is always a takeaway style meal that I cook myself.

Finding - out that my big girl is now Size 1 on Tilly and Buttons patterns. This is a momentous day! I can continue to make her some clothes which she likes. She has grown so much in the last lockdown year and not being able to get her proper clothes that fit has been a real trial.

Continuing - to grow hair, look at the view and count our blessings.

Stay safe and well with a little bit of spring hope in the air.
Jo xxx