Posts Tagged ‘yarn’


Finally! The laying and sanding of our sitting room floor has unfortunately eaten up rather a lot of knitting time, but after a few hours in the car last weekend visiting friends and the odd row snatched here and there, my Jared Flood shawl is at last finished.


It consisted of three sections, all knitted using different techniques, which kept it interesting, although I was ready for it to be over with by the end!


I did try take some photos of it without the use of children and dogs as props, but the colour just didn’t look right. It’s a gorgeous Shilasdair yarn dyed using tansy flowers. My sister is the recipient- I hope you like it Sophie!



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As often is the case, a quiet blog belies a busy time here at the cottage- the Easter holidays promted a huge push on the ‘garden’ (still more accuratey described as scrub land) and I’ve not been idle on the crafting front either. In addition to wee Fergus’ quilt, I’m still knitting ‘Quill,’ a Shetland hap-style wrap for my sister,which is a Jared Flood pattern. There’s no rush on this, and the progress on it creeps ever more slowly as each round gets larger. It’s great TV knitting, though (until I get to the rather more complicated-looking border!)

Also on the needles is another Old Shale baby blanket, this time in a dark grey superwash merino, which is soft and bouncy. I’ve knitted this (yep, another one of Jared’s) pattern several times now, so despite its lacey appearence, is also now quite happily mindless.


It’s the first Easter holiday we’ve spent at this house, and I must say I’m loving the days warm enough to spend outside but evenings cool enough to still warrant a fire. The cold, dusty hearth of summer is such a sad sight, I feel.

As always, the last weekend in April heralds the Banchory Scout Jumble Sale, a bit of a Deeside institution which raises in excess of £10,000 for the Scouts every year. It must be a mammoth undertaking, but, as ever, the queue snaked round the block. The bric-a-brac table was  full of hidden gems and slightly out of breath punters jostling for space as we raked through the piles of baking tins, china and a large porcelain white tiger figurine (which, along with two very, um, sculptural candelabras, was sold to a most satisfied chap). I did my best to steer clear of the embroidered textiles this year -tempting as they always are- because I am amassing a huge collection and am rapidly running out of space! Instead I bought some glass jars for flour, lentils and the like, for £2, and 9 beautiful hand thrown pottery mugs, interior and rims glazed in a lovely bluey green, also for the measly sum of £2. I feel very much the cat who got the cream as I sit here sipping tea.


I also bought two very large, very fluffy and -crucially- very absorbant towels for… the dog. A 5 year old German Wirehaired Pointer named Amber came to live with us just over a month ago, and after a few issues here and there, is settling in pretty well. She’s very sweet and very affectionate, and despite now having to sweep the floors pretty much constantly, the happiness she brings the boys and the joy of taking her for walks (good recall! A first for most dogs I’ve known!) is worth it.








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sol's bed, lily's blanket, coast dress, boden jacket 008

After the dispatch of the ship quilt to baby William, I was asked to knit a blanket for a baby Lily. I plumped for the faithful Old Shale Baby Blanket by the amazing Jared Flood and was even as unimaginative as to use the same exact yarn in the same exact shade as my first one, Drops Merino superwash in a soft dove grey.

sol's bed, lily's blanket, coast dress, boden jacket 007

But I make no apologies, as it’s fantastic yarn: not too expensive, soft, washable and with nice stitch definition. And I much prefer this sort of grey to any pale blue or pink out there aimed at babies. The pattern, which flummoxed me utterly on my first attempt, is in fact very simple and easy to memorise once you get going. It’s a great one for a beginner with YouTube at your fingertips!

sol's bed, lily's blanket, coast dress, boden jacket 009

Spring is (at last!) in the air, but even at the height of a Scottish summer those long light evenings need a wee blanket to keep the chill at bay. Happy snuggling, Lily! (Sol’s just testing it out)

sol's bed, lily's blanket, coast dress, boden jacket 011

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Sometimes a change is a good thing. I haven’t abandoned my current, secretive knitting project; but I need to knit something that will progress a bit. Plus the birthdays and babies are piling up, and the Christmas one can wait a bit. Sorry, Pip. My sanity depends upon it. So from this:

To this wonderful, sheepy yarn I bought at my favourite Wool Shed yesterday:

It’s undyed Flying Flock wool from The Scottish Wildlife Trust. This flock of sheep are flown around the wilds of Scotland by the Trust to preserve grassland habitat through their grazing. Their wool is spun at the New Lanark Mill for the Wool Shed, and they have their own blog by shepherdess Laura.

Can’t wait to get it on the needles. Although the chances of sitting in the scene below, unbothered during waking hours is very, very slim.

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The thing about second hand, vintage, thrift stores, charity shops, jumble sales- is that stuff has a story. Some I might know, like the baby clothes and toys that once belonged to Oli and I that have found new lease of life with our boys. Some isn’t really very important: at the nearly new baby sales that are hugely popular round here, I don’t go round feeling all melancholic and thoughtful about some good condition boy’s trousers for 50p. But then there is history that you do wonder about. The antiques shop we went to at the weekend acquires much of its stock from house clearances. The job of clearing out the house of a relative who has passed away is overwhelming, sad, gritty and tiring. Once the family has taken what they want, the rest often falls into the hands of clearance folk and then into the dusty, crammed corners of various shops. And that story is lost. I might know from the label, or google, that the pretty inlaid box is an escritoire. But that dent? The replaced lock? The letters written, the journeys taken. ‘Wanted on Voyage.’ What voyage? These are up to the imagination now, and are often, I’m sure, more interesting than the reality. Thus many a novel has been born. But to me there is always a certain sadness in the deep patina of meaning that surrounds such a simple thing as a well-looked-after tea set or embroidered handkerchief.

A friend of mine lost her mum recently. She had been ill, but then she had been better; and so her death was sudden and shocking. Clearing out her belongings was made harder, my friend told me, by the fact that it had only been recently that her mother had come into some money. All of her life, she had worked hard and spent little. She had only just been able to buy herself nice, more expensive clothes, and my friend felt terrible giving these away to charity. When I mentioned I had taken up knitting, she asked if I would like her mum’s collection of patterns and some yarn. She would feel better knowing they were going to someone who would appreciate and use them, she said. I feel quite honoured. I never met her, and I will never know the full story behind the wool; what it was bought for, what she had planned for it. But I shall treasure them. And imagine.

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