I have a list…..

Only 5 more sleeps till Edinburgh Yarn Fest!

I’m alternately more excited than a certain 7 year old on christmas eve, and totally daunted by the amount that I need to get done before I go.

On top of being really busy at work, and having a school trip to Tescos to go on (don’t ask), I need to finish off the books I’m making, organise all the things I might need for my trunk show and sort out some nice simple knitting to take with me for when it’s all too much and I can’t think any more.

The trunk show is a bit worrying – I’ve never done one before so it’s all a bit unknown. I have business cards (how grown up does that make me feel?), I’m blocking the samples that need it. I need to sort out some download codes, and print some pattern examples. And then sort out some sort of display plan. Which is complicated needing to carry whatever I use I need to carry down with me on the train.

So I’ve written a very big list, and am going to try to tick as much of it as I can before Wednesday. Now I’ve written this post I’m off to find my most cheerful pen and cross the first item off.


Well, here I am, half way through the summer holidays already (thoroughly enjoying the first day by myself for what seems like forever). I can’t believe how fast it is going, but at the same time it seems have that everlasting quality I remember for when I was little.

I’ve had a lovely couple of weeks down south, visiting Steph, going to Legoland, and then spending a week catching up with all my family. The weather was nice and warm (or we thought it was warm, compared to Scotland, but everyone else was complaining) and we did all the things I can remember doing from when I was little. There were walks in the woods, dam building, swimming in rivers, digging on beaches, swimming in the sea, fishing for newts in the pond…..

And today is the first day I’ve had to myself since the start of the month. So I’ll be doing some knitting and listening to podcasts if any one wants to know where to find me!

I’ve finally finished something!




It’s my new Washi Dress. I am supremely pleased with myself.

As a record here are the key facts:

Fabric – a low stretch viscose jersey that I got in the sale from My Fabrics.

Pattern – Washi Dress from Made By Rae. I made a the sleeveless tunic version, without the cutout at the neck.

Alterations – I cut the largest size, which was to fit a 42″ – 44″ bust and did a Full bust Alteration to add another 1.5 inches to the front piece. I split the bust darts, and added in darts to the waistline because I wanted it to be nice and fitted under the bust.

Things I learnt – How to use my new sewing machine. Because the jersey was so unstretchy, I just used a regular straight stitch for the seams, and then finished them on my overlocker. I used one of the stretch cover hem stitches for the bottom hem. I might still make it a little bit shorter, but I think I’ll wash it a few times before I make a final decision.


First time I’ve shirred (not nearly as hard as I thought it was going to be, but I might buy a spare bobbin case so that I don’t have to adjust it every time I


Or not.

Somewhat predictably, about 20 minutes after I wrote that last blog post, my boss rang. It’s back to work, and no more free time for me. My pre-washed fabric is folded on the ironing board, looking at me.

But it will mean that my bank balance is healthy enough that I can afford a new sewing machine. Now the serious decisions begin.

Do I get this one, or this one? I’m very proud of myself for narrowing the options down to two, but am having a really hard time deciding if I want a mechanical machine (more durable, simple and robust, but slightly fewer options) or a computerised machine (fancy buttonholes, loads of features I probably will never use).

The choice is just too hard.

Peace and Quiet

Today is the first day for a couple of weeks that I’ve been at home on my own. While work was interesting and rewarding (both personally and financially), it was also challenging. Francis was away, I’ve used all the child sitting favours I possibly could to fit in all the hours at the office. By Saturday there was no food in the house, on Wednesday there was a ‘no clean school uniform’ crisis, and by the end of Thursday I’d quite had enough. I now remember that a lot of the reason I needed a change was the constant tail chasing required to organise someone to look after the child, and trying to make sure that we have food to eat and clean clothes to wear*.

One of the things that quickly fell by the wayside were selfies for MeMadeMay. Which is a shame in some respects, as it was very instructive to actually see photos of myself wearing different things. I managed to wear something hand made most days (excepting a couple of days one weekend when I spent the whole time doing DIY or cycling), but almost everything I wore was a repeat of previous outfits, though possibly in different combinations.

And my other challenge, to make myself new things to wear? Well, that didn’t happen at all.

I’d very much like to be doing that today, but then last night I realised that I needed to pre-wash fabric before I started anything. So today I’ll be plotting, knitting, listening to podcasts and waiting for things to dry. And tomorrow I’ll start on sewing.

*Yes, I know in the modern day and age, such household organising should not rest entirely on my shoulders. But the reality of motherhood in our little family, with Francis working longer hours and travelling quite a bit, is that mostly it ends up being me.


roisinis 4

So, finally a new pattern!

roisinis 4

I am super pleased to introduce Roisinis. It’s a super versatile, totally reversible hat/cowl with an interesting twist. As a hat, it’ generous and slouchy with a lovely spiral twisted crown. When you wear it as a cowl, it’s snuggly and warm and will prevent any neck draughts.

Roisinis Cowl photo

Roisinis – £4.00

Sizes: Lg adult (Adult, Child, Toddler, Baby, Newborn)

Finished measurements:
58 (53, 48.5, 43.5, 38.5, 34) cm, 23.25 (21.25, 19.25, 17.5, 15.5, 13.5)in

Depth: 33 (29.5, 26, 23, 20.5, 18) cm, 13 (11.5, 10.25, 9, 8, 7) in.

Yarn: Posh yarn Kirsten Heavy Lace, 100g = 500m / 550yds, 2 (2, 1, 1, 1, 1) skein.

Or substitute with 680 (540, 430, 340, 270, 210) m / 740 (590, 470, 380, 300, 230) yds light fingering weight yarn. I would recommend choosing a bouncy plump yarn that will show the textured stitch pattern well.

Notions: Waste yarn for provisional cast on, 2 lockable stitch mark

Techniques: Provisional cast on, knitting in the round

All change please….

Well, it’s been a strange week. Though I officially left my sensible day job as an engineer last summer, I did agree to doing some contract work if it was needed.

And this week I got that sort of call, and it turned out that popping into the office for a chat was going to end in a couple of weeks of pretty intense input on a flood project. I’ve rather surprised myself by actually enjoying it. Turns out that I rather missed feeling experienced and competent and knowledgeable. Now I know that I am knowledgeable about knitting, but designing and pattern writing is still fairly new to me, so a lot of time is spent thinking and figuring out how something might work (there is a lot of frogging involved). Which isn’t surprising as there is so much of it that is new to me. And going into an office, slipping back into online meetings and phone calls and risk workshops and chat about geology and parameter selection and seepage modelling is sort of relaxing as a contrast.

In this situation I am the expert. I know what needs to be done, I can list off all the questions that need to be answered, point out all the stuff that is missing, and everyone listens to what I say. Then I can order all the minions to things, get everything on track and start producing results really quickly.

So, on the whole it’s been a rather refreshing and welcome experience. I know that I don’t want to do it all the time, but I am glad that I didn’t give it up altogether. Because it’s really good to be respected for being competent and experienced. I’m sure if I stayed I’d end up feeling as worn down by everything as I was last year, but for a couple of weeks of (well paid) excitement – bring it on!

The only down side, is that I need to achieve about 75 hours of office time over the next 2 weeks. So goodbye sewing plans (and hello massive pay check and a new sewing machine!)

Half way through

Collage MMM

So, it’s about half way through May. Above is a collage of most of my clothes this month…..

Things I have learnt:

1: It’s hard to get someone to take a photo of you every day. I should get some sort of stand for my phone so that I could do it myself.

2: My 6 year old is a surprisingly able and willing volunteer (as long as I’m not interrupting an important game).

3: Things look very different in photos. That navy skirt…. not convinced. The teal linen trousers… much nicer than I thought and I should wear them more often.

4: I need to make more blue clothes, you’d not really know it was my favourite colour based on what I wear.

5: I should wear more of my clothes. Even though you’ve now seen over 50% of my everyday clothes wardrobe, there are things there that I just don’t take out on a regular enough basis.

6: I would like to learn which skirts suit me, and fit in with my everyday running around. I’m always going to wear trousers more, but I do like skirts.

7: The clothes that I have made are the ones that fit me best and that I like the most. Which is reassuring!

8: I should wear my hair down more often – it’s not hard but I rarely make the effort unless someone is going to take a photo of me.

Me Made May

So today is the 1st May, and most importantly the first day of MeMadeMay. This is the first year I’ve signed up to do the challenge, and I am really interested to see if I can manage to complete. My pledge is to wear one ‘Me Made’ or altered garment every day for the month of may, and also to make myself some more clothes to wear.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my wardrobe in the last few months. There are some amazing resources out there on the internet to do with planning and making a wardrobe, all of which has got me thinking. I’ve been working through the ‘Collette Wardrobe Architect‘ series, with some success. I’ve also been inspired by others, such as Karen Templar, who are attempting to make more of their own clothes.

So I started by clearing out my clothes. In the spirit of KonMari I took out all the clothes that I own and went through them. A good few bags went to the charity shop or recycling, depending on their state of wear. Then there was a small pile that were things that I truly loved. Then there was another in the middle pile, that either don’t fit very well or which are so worn as to be very close to the end of their functional life. But the on reflection they all went back into my wardrobe because without them, I really wouldn’t have had enough clothes to last me through the week.

But why not just buy clothes? Well, the more I knit and design stuff for myself, the more I am dissatisfied with what is available. I no longer want to wear t-shirts that are too wide in the shoulder so that they aren’t stretched over my bust. Maybe the reason that I wear hardly any woven tops is in fact due to the fact that I can’t buy any that properly fit me (the stretch in jersey clothes does mitigate this to some extent). And where are the trousers that are cut for those of us with ample thighs and a defined waist?

It turns out that those few items of clothing that I have made for myself are the ones I like the most. And I want more of them.

So this month I am going to carefully consider and make 4 items of clothing to feel some of the most needed gaps in my wardrobe. And concentrate on wearing the stuff that I really like (and as a consequence doing my washing far more regularly so that I can get them back into circulation quickly!).

Edinburgh – the rest

On Saturday afternoon, after having a quick sandwich in the cafe, it was time to go shopping!


I actually found it quite overwhelming, which surprised me. I did a lap of the stalls, and then went back and bought myself this:

Edinburgh yarn festival photos

Which is not as much as I thought I might buy, but I did enjoy seeing lots of other stuff. I am most excited by the Toft Chunky – I have a skein of blue and I am going to make myself a (really quick) hat to wear skiing. And there is some Old Maiden Aunt Corriedale, as well as some Gotland Dk from Midwinteryarns. Oh, and the delight of all those colours of Titus mini skeins.I’ve also expanded my collection of Chiaogoo interchangeables to include all the larger sizes, as well as getting some more cables for the smaller ones. And then there were the books – Knitsonik (which I’ve coveted for a long time) and Knitting Fresh Brioche by Nancy Marchant.

But the absolute best thing was meeting all the lovely lovely people. There were amazing coincidental encounters, and lots of missed opportunities. I didn’t leave enough time for just sitting around (which I will remember for next time).

And that is as much concentrating as I can manage, I still have a post yarn festival hangover and am not managing to focus on anything for very long. Maybe a super chunky hat is just what I need to make!