Are we nearly there yet?

I intended not to write the blog for the next few week ……getting away from it all!!! But in the spirit of knitting envy ……..

The journey was of epic proportions, the 6 hour first stage took longer than 8. Averaging  34 miles an hour. Included were wind blown branches, scenic tours of Newtown, Kerry and Abermule; lunch at Howard’s cafe; detours for queues at Pant, Oswestry, and a huge wind turbine. That only got us to the M6 at 5pm on a summer Friday….. it was not pretty. The leisurely arrival at the B&B aand pub grub, turned into an M&S sandwich at Burton Services and arrival after dark. It have been could be worse.

The B&B however turned out to be a gem, only 3 miles from the M6 on the Annan river at converted mill site. Otters and red squirrels before breakfast, things were looking up. (So much so we are stopping off there on the way back!) Then another significant journey 3 hours in the car to Oban and another 3 plus, on a packed ferry …..we arrived late Saturday evening…… we were nearly there yet???

DSCF5620Well two days in and I have started the grey cardigan, with a few alterations in design…

Oh yes….. this is the view from the cottage bench where I have been knitting in the sunshine.DSCF5622

Knitting envy anyone???





Oplymic Knitting ?

On Chris ‘the’ Evans’ Radio 2 show this morning  the  tenuous link was to the 23rd March. Apparently half (exaggeration for effect) of all UK  Olympic Gold metal winners (Chris Hoy and Steve Redgrave etc) have the connection of having the same birthday. Sadly I am One Day out of this auspicious bunch which makes it even more unlikely that they will introduce knitting as an Olympic event. There go my medal hopes.

I like these random connections with people but have rarely come up against others with the same birthday as me.The only notable occasion was a training weekend I shared with 12 other people (and plus 3 trainers) of the 15 of us three had the same birthday and all shared the same Chinese birth year of Ox.  I got a lot from that course!!

I don’t have 365 friends that I know (or remember) the birthday’s of but my diary of card reminders doesn’t have many clashes. My Mum has just had a very big day and I seem to have a lot of relatives with August birthdays and as most are Leo they like to party!! My best day is the 14th April (which is now sadly one name down) and is celebrated three lovely men who’s only connection is to be unfortunate enough to know me!!

Enough…. the date on my mind is the 19th August –Red Apple is about to be left far behind as I sail off into the Atlantic for a week (re)treat on the secluded island of Tiree. Seals, sand and … significantly few people. I am leaving the shop in 4 pairs of very capable hands. Thank you, ladies very much and not too many parties!!


It is nothing personal, but I will only have himself for company. What to take has been a task –we have  the car (I have been allowed to take my sewing machine but not the wire pliers and hammer!), there is quite a deal of knitting time between Lampeter and Oban, even if I do my share of the driving so….

I have packed so far …. a half-finished lace weight shawl; the Wonderwool purchase of pink Whistlebare mohair for a scarf (also started); a hank of John Arbon’s wine coloured alpaca laceweight; some grey/green merino for a cardigan from Any Herzog’s Knit Wear Love (with the book) and some baby alpaca for a sample for the shop. Scotland has its own knitting traditions and I’m told you can get Hebridean wool on the island ……..Do they charge excess baggage on CalMac?


Lady in a pink cardigan

Friday was a day of details. It started with the issue of fasterns for my jumper and ended late last night in workshop frustration (my eyesight can’t cope with the lack of daylight).

Several hours of rummaging, revamping, twisting wire and hammering and polishing – delivered these shawl pins. I need to spend more time practicing wire winding techniques and sketching ideas. The hammer,block, pliers and wire may have to come on holiday.

I’m going with the shawl pin until something better hits me.

Strangely this morning my thoughts were not on the hammer but with ‘the lady in the pink cardigan’. I saw her in the morning across the car park. I first spotted that pink though the green trees that flank the car park. She walked confidently, bobbing like lots of ladies do when wearing high heels.  She was petit and younger than me, with dark hair and the pink colour suited her. It was a soft pink, some yarn companies would call quartz or soft peony, and one calls it old rose (oh how I’d love to work in the naming department of some wool company!). It was a nice pink definitely not the pink of a certain American fashion doll and just too bright for ‘old lady’ pink.

As we passed where the road and the path meet, I saw the heels were matt black, pointed and sling-back. Her hair was swept back and I recall it as a French pleat. That might be why she had an air of fashionable French elegance, so that might be associated thinking. I didn’t recognise her as local. Even the black bag she carried was large enough to be fashionable, small enough not to swamp her frame. “Well presented” my mother’s aunt would have said (not the giddy one, the maiden one).

She passed me and I followed her across the road.  The knee-length black pencil skirt that completed the outfit was matt black. Smart but it had quite a long kick split at the back and it was twisted.  It wasn’t by design as the split was in the back seam. The line was off and the impression was lost with one little detail.

I don’t know why this has stuck in my head – I don’t usually worry about fashion detail. Comfort and colour rule my wardrobe and I rarely notice what other people wear.  That lovely pink is on my shopping list – if I can find it.  Now where do I get rearview mirrors fitted?

All in the detail -Rainbow

The satisfaction of a completed garment – the rainbow cardigan is finished. With a  minor revamp or two along the way – my design as I go creation is done.


It like, a lot of items for grown women, does not sit well on a hanger – but it is difficult to do fashion shoots on myself. You will have to try to imagine it worn with my new lagenlook dress (in a matching grey purple colour, tight at top, loose and draped skirt, also made myself and almost finished). If I can get someone to take a decent photo of the outfit I’ll let you know.


The issue now, is fastening. The style needs to close at the top and how to do it? I don’t want too fussy that will detract and it need to close edge to edge. Should have considered this before …….

Currently I have used what I think is a nordic sweater clasp (a pair of buttons with a hook and eye, from my button box picked up somewhere in my travels). It is heavy, the buttons twist and it needs more than one. It needs more to be firmer. I have considered a corset look with small hooks and eyes that don’t show at the back. But that means using small on tape maybe not a  sensible size for wool. Fur hooks are bigger but when I have used them before they are clumsy. I-cord ties maybe?

It sent me back to the jewelery workshop – and copper wire experiment to make my own. Then I scoured the shop we have more sweater/jumper clasps and metal buttons to chain together cape style. I even tried the butterfly jewelery clasps -too small. Resorting to the ‘net’ there are artisan made creations of all styles and I’ve discovered the world of  cardigan guards. Lovely mostly 1930’s and 40s chain broaches specifically designed to hold your cardi in place while it is artisically draped over you shoulders and shawl pins might work there was a lovely s shaped pin ( like a butchers hook) — easily distracted me –   I’ll keep looking ……..


Cool Happed

Well just thought I’d show you I have finished the Welsh Hap in Cambrain Mountains Wool. It looks so different with a fringe in the bright colours!

Today is probably the last day you would think to use it though “too darned hot”

The shop isn’t the warmest of places, in winter is can be freezing but today it is probably the coolest place (especially in the facilities) in Lampeter. Enjoy the sunshine keep taking the water.

The Duffy Duck Escapade

We have a sewing session on Tuesday evening. This group of ladies has been with me since almost the begining of Red Apple. They are a lively bunch always looking for new ideas to sew – last week they had a copy of Yours magazine with a cute little crochet duck….


On Tuesday afternoon (I had forgotten the rainbow cardi and still haven’t decided on the fringe on my hap),  I took a look at the pattern for the duck….  Fun to make it said, easy crochet rounds, DK yarn, 3.5mm hook, at 7 1/2″ tall shouldn’t take too long……. By teatime I had a head, a beak and part of the body and things were looking slightly arye…

It got worse this morning.. I have the rainbow cardi with me and want to get going with it . However I decided to be good and the ducky would not take me long to finish!!!

The pompoms were a puzzle from the start I have a pompom maker that makes quite small pompoms but those would have to be minute. I began to consider alternatives. But as the stuffing progressed I thought maybe that isn’t going to be a problem. Having sewn it up I realised the issue was big rather than small!! The parts all fit together and it looks like the pictures apart from the odd eyes a characterful addition to the plan, I thought, and the pompoms were in proportion. looking good.

Scarf ah ah .. whos a silly Billy then? DC  means double crochet hook in, pull through loop pull through both loops – there is no wrap first. I have completed the poor ducky in half trebles what a numpty!!! The pompoms however fit just right.

It is now 3:30 and said duck is finished but well he is not 7 and a half inches tall. I’ve upsized again for the shop. This is Duffy  – named in honour of some little Scots visitors we had today in the shop -who wanted to see him finished with his hat on !!!


Little Peter my grandson, has a very old and wise head for a two year old. Yesterday he travelled a very long way in the car with us for a very serious grown up reason. He was serious too. On the way home he pointed out some little pools of sunshine on the hillsides as we drove by. It was raining on the car and he wondered if there would be a rainbow. He very solemnly told me all about rainbows how they are made by sunshine and rain and only appear for a little while. He had seen one at home and it was “so beautiful” he wanted to keep it forever – his mum and he had managed to take a photo but “the rainbow went away”. It had made him a little sad.

It was OK though, because he and mum would paint one on his bedroom wall so he will always have his own rainbow. It reminded me of a song “I can sing a rainbow” and the words came flowing back to me. So I sang it to him in the car on the pass above Corris.  I think I got the colours in the right order but with that particular ditty it doesn’t matter. And a small happy memory was made.

.As it happens I am knitting my own version of a rainbow – and soon I will knit him one and one for little Jacob too. The order of colours doesn’t match a rainbow but that doesn’t matter either. The stripes need to go long ways not across so, it is knit from side to side. the pattern is K2 rows colour, K1 row, P1 row in the main colour. It is in my current favorite yarn the DK Cambrian Wool (I have no shame) – I have a sleeve, a front and am working to the centre back. Then I will start the other side….