Tuesday, 26 April 2011


Easter came late this year. As late as it can be. That combined with glorious, sunny weather makes the old gardening saying sound a little absurd. My grandfather always said, 'Get your plants in by Good Friday.' If you'd relied on that you'd be too late this year. Daily, the view in the garden changes. Only last week the garden was full of tulips. Yesterday this is what we had.

We were lucky we had them at all. The winter had been so cold. It wasn't the fact that it snowed. It was the ice that hung around for weeks afterwards that killed so much in the garden. It's been a case of clearing out the dead wood but there have been successful plants too.

Sitting in the garden on Easter Sunday the scent from the plants was amazing. We went on a perfume hunt - well, we'd found all the eggs. Our noses led us here,

The horse chestnut blossom is spectacular. It's so pretty with its pink and white but the scent, combined with the bluebells, should be bottled.

There are clumps of bluebells all over the garden.

The clematis montana has now reached the top of the hawthorn and is stretching out for the chestnut on the other side.  Perhaps next year we''ll have a tunnel.

There are literally thousands of pale pink flowers. The birds use it for nesting because it's so dense.

The mountain ash, or rowan, is also in full blossom.

Sometimes you get plants that grow just where they want. For years I've been trying to grow lungwort in the border. Its sweet pink and blue flowers are sometimes the first to open. No sign of it this year. I'd put it down as another casualty of the winter but as I was clearing up at the side of the greenhouse I found this.

Struggling in the debris of winter, I'm almost afraid to move it. It makes my heart glad that it made it through and has chosen its own spot, even if it is bare and untidy.

Pasg hapus i chi. Happy Easter.

Monday, 18 April 2011


I've taken the plunge and sorted out my Etsy shop. I spent two days last week repackaging my garlands and bunting. Previously they had been wrapped around card because it was the only way I could think of to display them when we went to Milgi at Christmas. I've got hold of some recycled boxes, measured all the garlands again, simply coded them and tied them up with ribbon so that they don't get tangled up.

2 metres of red, white and blue flower garland.

3 metres of red bunting

2.2 metres of multicolured bunting

Etsy has some great help pages but when you're faced with US dollars it all gets a bit complicated. It is better to go with dollars or UK sterling? What about postage? How much does it cost to send to EU, non EU and everywhere else?  Measurement conversion? (These garlands stretch when you measure them so everything is an approximation) Shop policy? All the things I should have thought about before I listed.
Any tips or help gratefully received!

I've found a great measurement conversion site and the Royal Mail also has an overview of postal charges. I'm going to do a spot of editing today. Write my policy and anything I should have done way before now.
Then I'm going to put the flags out!


Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Picnic basket

I wanted to share with you some of the scenery of the Brecon Beacons National Park. This is what I had to drive through on my way home from Wonderwool. It's a hard life!

The road from Builth Wells runs alongside the River Usk. Two years ago after a day at the Royal Welsh Show I had my car towed out of one of the fields by a tractor. The rain during summer of that year had been horrendous. I also spent three days in wellies during the National Eisteddfod but that's another story

From the road between Brecon and Storey Arms.

and from Storey Arms to Cefn Coed. It was just further down from here that I had to pull off the road to take this.

With such delightful company I switched off the engine and opened my picnic basket. No food - already eaten but some things to keep me occupied.

My knitting on the go - fish. Or what do you call a fish with no eye? fsh

Rhod Gilbert's "The Cat That Looked Like Nicholas Lyndhurst" CD - because in these mountains there is no radio reception and because his anger management issues make my road rage disappear.

Beth's biscuits - squirrels this time as I have no heart cake left.

4711 body spray - rediscovered. I needed it after spending time with all those sheep plus I've found out accidentally that it's perfect for getting rid of the summer windscreen film. It's truly vintage with a fascinating history. Check it out here

Bowie Style, "Print and Pattern" for inspiration.


After my usual, I've run out of wool, day last week I've finally finished my cushion cover.
I had completed six motifs based on #118 from Edie Eckman's book "Beyond the Square". I was using Sublime's organic cotton in borage which is a beautiful, delicate shade. Sadly it's another of my favourites that had been discontinued. So I played around and came up with a solution. I had been making a collection of tiny granny squares and the more I thought about it the more sure I was that the lacy motifs needed a border.

I played around with it and decided to go with a border of the same colour granny squares rather than the contrasting darker grey.

The envelope back was already completed but was now too short to match the added width of the front.  Using Twilleys organic cotton I added a few rows of the darker contrast. I used the same colour to join the front and back added three shell buttons I already had in my stash

and hey presto!


Monday, 11 April 2011


On Saturday I went to Llanelwedd for the annual Wonderwool. It's a great showcase for wool of all descriptions whether on the hoof or finished articles made with amazing skill. There was so much yarn on display that I had to go all the way round before concentrating on the stalls that really took my eye.

It's also a place to catch up socially. It was great to meet one of my old friends who was busy buying from Snowdon Angoras. Being a spinner she has been nagging the same organic farmer as I have to keep some specialty sheep especially for the fleeces. Most of his flock are Welsh Mountain, ubiquitous but not good for spinning. We both agreed that we might be better off with rabbits!

The one good thing about this show is that you can get up close to the star turns.

The Manx posed beautifully on the Manx Loaghtan Sheep Breeders' stall but the Wensleydale from  West Yoe Farm was having none of it. This is the best I could do.

Around the corner the Shetlands were posing for everyone.

From my previous blogs you might have gathered that I'm not the best at calculating how much yarn I need. Determined not be be caught again making that mistake I went back around to look for some hand dyed organics. True to form every colour I really liked was in limited quantities.

A chance conversation took me to a demonstration of dyeing given by Helen Deighan. Having talked to Helen and bought her book, Dye One Knit One,  I think this might be the way forward. Of course it also helps that Helen's friend and colleague Linda De Ruiter also stocks a range of organic wool at Tall Yarns just screaming out to be dyed. I will have a go - one day.

Uppingham Yarns also did a good range of organics. If I had sat down during the show and read Helen's book I would probably have bought some but they gave me a flyer and said to phone when I know what I want.

Stalls that took my eye, well apart from the sheep. I was really taken with Excelana It's a collaboration between knitwear designer Susan Crawford and John Arbon of Fibre Harvest here. They've produced a range of 100% British wools in vintage inspired shades to complement Susan's designs

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Heart cake

I heart cake. It's a heart cake. It was a heart cake. Who ate all the cake?

For Mother's Day Beth the Baker baked me a sumptuous cake, full of gorgeousness and calories.

Find a tutorial here

It survived the car journey back to my house and as you can tell from the crumbs, it was delicious too.

All gone!

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Good news!

Yeah.. I've found enough borage in my stash to finish my cushion cover. But as it's Mother's Day tomorrow and I'm going out, plus Rolla's home from London for two days it might get finished on Wednesday. Will post photos then.

Picnic basket

What's inside my picnic basket?

This week has been grey and I've been crocheting grey. On Thursday not wanting to put on the lights at midday to see what I was doing I decided to get out of the house. I packed my picnic basket and heading off , via the post office - bro's birthday and Mother's day all on the same weekend.

Where to go? It's a tough choice living where I do, mountains or sea, sea or mountains. Sea won out.

Inside my picnic basket are my essentials.

Crochet (of course) hook 3.5, scissors, stitch markers, organic cotton (Borage, Sublime organic cotton)

Cath Kitston's wild rose hand cream because it's in a little pot and smells good.

Beth's biscuits because I wasn't going out for hours but you still need snacks.

On the coast road I was overtaken by two VW camper vans. The shame of it! They had a long build up and a following wind and I was keeping within the speed limit! That was my first hint. Surfers in a rush could only mean one thing - waves.

This is a quiet stretch. The surf is good on the two beaches either side of the headland. It was windy but the light was good. There's a lovely bench here that, on a good day, has fantastic views over the Bristol Channel to the North Devon coast. This is where I sat and crocheted until the sea mist came rolling in.

So I packed up, sat in the car and ate Beth's biscuits. Yum.

Back home I blocked my motifs to finish my cushion cover but, and this will come as no surprise, I've run out of cotton. Sublime's organic cotton, shade borage, had been discontinued.

I so hope this is not the start of a theme.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Paper bunting

Playing around with paper on recycling day. I have so many Thompson and Morgan catalogues that I've been hanging on to in the hope that one day I'll actually order some seed. Procrastination is my life.
Having seen Between The Lines tutorial  here I gave it a go.

You need paper - plenty of that - scissors, template, pencil, thread and a sewing machine.

Once you cut enough shapes they were stitched together using a sewing machine threaded with two different colours for that twisted look. Feed the shapes though and carry on stitching for the breaks in between.

and finally hang.

Easy peasy!