home from the holidays



The holiday photo album could be long, very long indeed. We have an arrangement where ‘himself’ takes photos on a snazzy all zoom and buttons camera and I take snaps on my digital thing. We compare notes back home. I take flowers and scenic shots …….. I never know what he has until later. Glimpses of myself in shots I’d rather not know about (I am not photogenic) and landscapes usually. This is my selfy….


Blue Beyond Cottage was marvelous – cosy and chic!! Do take a look  it is lovely and such welcoming people, Colin and Susan. Soooooo peaceful and just what we needed.

The Weather was….  I think it is in Shetland where sunshine is a ‘break in the weather’ so Tiree has many such breaks in the weather.

I seems so long since we returned from holiday I need another already. Thought I’d share a few more photos before it fades completely into the autumn mists…..




Old hen doorstop

We won’t get into the discussion on what is chicken, what is hen. I’m from farming stock and suffice to say hens are what run about ….

Maybe this isn’t hen …………anyway.

Version One was complete by Sunday night. in Aran wool, either all circular or some straight. It has changed the nature of the class/es but as a three day event (6hour) it is very do able.  It comes in stages and covers all the proposed knitting techniques – Fairisle, Circlular (knitting in the round), charts and sewing up!!!! (I know circular knitting don’t have side seams but this has beaks and bottoms),  even 3 needle bind off and it can be down sized to a phone cover for those with only a day to spare  …oh clever? It requires stuffing and a strategic rock!!

Perhaps a comb?

Version 2 tomorrow maybe I’ll get round to washing it too and a new pattern with chart

come and have a go ………

Chicken run

The plan- to find an idea for the Fairisle beginners class (October Events) something a bit different, big enough to show up in the window and easy!!. I had come across this pattern for a doorstop in Lucinda Guy’s book Northern Knits Gifts. Its similar to the Fancy Hen cushion pattern by Ella Austin and is very Scandi which I like…… Chickens in two colours strictly not Fairisle I agree but would you start with a Kate Davies (Colours of Shetland) complete jumper or one of her less complex mitts like Jazz Hands ?

Saturday afternoon I have 2 hours to show basic concepts (people can come back as often as they need) and all knitting takes time and practice. So it might not be true ‘fairisle’, but it has to be wool. At least covered some of the bases. Working colours like this has similar elements/pitfalls: reading the chart, two threads working at the same time, the floats at the back, potential puckering, the tangle and twisting together of the yarns. I know its still ambitious…….


I started a sample yesterday. The Lucinda Guy is done in 4ply on 3mm needles (I used a skinny dk as I knit a bit baggy) that was all I achieved –revisit idea.

This is simple on colours and has a few too many long floats but for a beginner relatively simple. It is done on circular needles and that is another 2 hour event. Completed item is appealing but it needed to be simpler.

Adaption – aran on straight needles (not completely traditional but …) and pencil, graph-paper (printable knitting graph-paper) and alot of rubbing out later — mark 11 has begun and is looking much more promising. Still won’t be “done” in 2 hours but …….

we might have a simple chicken by ….. Tuesday?



Coming back from a little holiday , yes lovely, yes peaceful, yes I want to go back now.dscf5760

Has been …… manic.

I have rearranged the shop a bit, taken in the New Lanark Mill Chunky, knit a few samples, finished the Cambrian Crochet sample (that is a later when it’s ready pattern), finished a this year’s mitten kit (in 2 colour ways), and started the Ecclefechan sample…


Sorted out some October Events

AND the various nights of frivolity have started again Join us for:


on a roll and pheew heavens I need another hoilday

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?