I’ve decided to stop being scared of knitting in the round. I want to knit socks, mittens and hats and possibly even a proper garment one day!
So, last time I was in London I took myself to Loop and asked the lovely ladies there to help me and help me they did.
First I was guided through the hat patterns and I chose the Effie beret from Quince and Co in my very favourite green.
Then I went downstairs to buy the daunting circular needles and the lady downstairs told me I had to learn magic loop, it was almost silly to learn anything else and besides it saves money and I could even knit 2 socks at the same time!
After a knitting demonstration and lots of assurances that I could possibly master this magic loop thingy off I went happy with my purchases.
Many, many attempts, youtube videos and increasingly bad tempered mutterings later I had cast on properly and was knitting in the round.
And then I got all blaise and blocked my beret having forgotten to knit a whole four and a half inches of rib…
So, I did rather a lot of frogging!
And started the whole process again, reading the actual pattern this time.
It was a steep learning curve but I must say I’m pretty proud of my green beret now!
And this year I plan to ‘optimize’- my energy, my surroundings, my business and all the myriad opportunities I am given.
My first optimizing challenge for 2015 is to de- clutter and tidy our house. Like many others I have been inspired by the charmingly eccentric Marie Kondo and her book ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying’.
We are a family of hoarders, so this will be a long process.
But I have made an excellent start and now have a very tidy and organised studio to work in. If I did not love an item or know it to be essential it went out to find a new and loving home with my thanks (that’s one of the eccentricities in the book).
So, now my studio where I spend so much of my time is now a truly inspiring and comforting place to be.
We sent out the winter newsletter with this rather rotund penguin today. Henry, age 10 (our resident penguin expert) pattern tested for me and did a brilliant job as you can see (penguin onesie from Marks and Spencer).
If you’d like to join the club please subscribe here and we’ll send you your penguin.
The next newsletter will be sent in March 2015.
A proper grown up, professionally managed email club no less so please subscribe here to receive my welcome message which includes a free pattern for our ‘Hugo the logo’ club badge (all the best clubs have badges don’t they?)
I’m planning on sending quarterly newsletters with lots of perks for my club members.
Can I count you in?
Just before leaving for Quilt Market I made myself a couple of dresses from my ‘More Hearty Good Wishes’ fabric (shipping in March 2015) and I even remembered to take a photo of me wearing one of them taken in my ‘oh so glamorous’ hotel bathroom!
The pattern is the ‘Anna Dress’ from ‘By Hand London’, which is very well written and produced. I have 3 Anna dresses now (all with French seams!) and plan on making even more- I’d like to add some sleeves, but will need to learn how to draft some first!
I also made myself a belt to wear with them.
The dresses were washed when I came home and I’m pretty sure they’re still in the ironing pile…
Each ceramic poppy has been hand made and ‘planted’ individually.
We shall remember them.
Of course, I more often than not have nothing whatsoever in the cake tin (not even a shop bought something) but one can always dream.
But, today we have plum cake! This is actually pretty healthy for a cake as it is packed with prunes, wholemeal flour and has no added fat either. And it even tastes good too.
My two will eat anything (even prunes!) if it’s in cake.
250g prunes, roughly chopped
160ml apple juice (I didn’t have any and used water)
1 large egg
225g self raising wholemeal flour
150g soft brown sugar
1 tsp mixed spice
pinch of salt
1 tbsp demerara sugar
2lb loaf tin, lined
pre- heated oven 180c/ gas mark 4
Place the prunes in the apple juice or water and heat in the microwave or a small pan over a medium heat. Remove from the heat and add all the ingredients except the demerara sugar. Mix well. Scrape mixture into the loaf tin and sprinkle the top with the Demerara sugar and bake for about 35 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin.
This is also really good with some thick salty butter and lots of tea!
Thank you to every single one of you who left a comment on my previous post. I read and enjoyed every single one!
So, here’s the news you’ve all been waiting for… the winner of my ‘Field Guide’ layer cake as chosen by the random number generator is comment 240- congratulations Beth! I will run to the post office as soon as I have your address.
This week I’ve been busy getting a new and improved email club put together. I’m aiming to make my little club a thank you for all your interest in and kind support of my work, so if you’d like that and regular (ish) updates on what I’m doing, sneak peaks and the occasional free pattern or discount then please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org and you can join my club!
One last love: the Tufty Club! I was a member, were you?
The theme is LOVE and we’re to share some things we love with you!
I also have a layer cake of my latest fabric line ‘A Field Guide’ for you to win and a video of a technique I use that isn’t widely known. So, without further ado here we go…
I love drawing with my sewing machine.
I love my fountain pen. My lovely husband gave it to me and I write in it every single day and I even draw all my fabric designs in it too.
I don’t like black (never use it) and so spend too much money on fancy grey ink.
I love that Moda accept my hand drawn, fountain pen designs and don’t make me re-draw them in Illustrator or Photoshop!
I love to draw my own feather quilting patterns. I’m sure I didn’t invent this technique (my brain just isn’t wired that way) but typically can’t find any reference to it on the internet now I need to!
So, here’s my video tutorial on how to design a feather quilting template.
The Moda designers were all asked to create a quilt in their latest line of fabric using the exact same pattern.
I love how different all the quilts are! I put bugs and bunnies on mine.
Don’t you love how generous Moda are?
I love to collect old books, phrases, quotes, notes and words.
I love handwriting, old photos and the glimpses into past lives these offer.
I’m creating my next book which is inspired by this love of eloquence, ‘The Wordsmith’.
I love to find broken pieces of china when out walking. These are surprisingly common and can be found in fields, gardens and the beach.
I have pots and pots of them and I sometimes even use them: here is my knitting needle pot.
I’m fairly certain these chipped pattern fragments will become a quilt or a fabric design one day.
Knitting was my first crafting love.
I love that all these things: the drawing and fountain pen doodles and the collecting words, unearthing patterns whilst walking the dog in a muddy field can all be called ‘work’.
How lucky am I?
And now, it’s your turn: leave me a short comment about something you love and you could be the lucky winner of the layer cake!
I’ll draw a winner on the 13th.
I wish you the very best of luck!
Now, go and visit Camille