Earth laughs in Flowers*

What do you give someone who has everything they want?  I've given gin, jam, marmalade, more gin, chocolates and indoor plants. A mug, a tea cloth, an egg cup cozy, all patterned with daffodils.  Whatever the gift, it's always been accompanied by a bunch of daffodils.  Did I mention she loves daffodils? It's great to have a theme for presents and cards for a special person, and this year I was wandering, lonely as a cloud... through pages of patterns for knitted flowers...when all at once I saw a crowd, a host of…Read more …

Today You are One

Aah, one year old.  Where has this year gone?  How can she have become this little person with her own personality, likes and dislikes, choices and demands so quickly?  With my fingers itching to start on this special project, dishcloth patterns came to mind.  So easy to follow - 35 or 36 stitches on no 7 needles with cotton yarn. Bright colours, her initials and birthday number one on cloths for all purposes.  To clean sticky fingers.  Wipe a muddy face.  Wash a weepy dolly.  Maybe even put in a frame to mark…Read more …

Bootees for Babes, Dolls and Rabbits

I’ve always preferred knitting novelties, items for fun as well as practicality, and items of clothes that are no more time-consuming than a scarf, a head band or some hand warmers.  And when the opportunity to knit something for baby came along, bootees were the obvious choice. Strictly speaking, I did once make a coat for a 4” doll from a pattern for a Christmas jumper tree decoration, a pair of Mary Jane shoes and a cardigan for an 18" doll; a jumper for a boy doll and a gorgeous pair of bootees…Read more …

It’s as Short as it’s Long

How fashions change.  I am amazed by how a simple item is re-invented over and over by a tweak here, a tuck there, then hey presto it’s a must-have of the modern wardrobe.  Take cardigans. We’ve all worn a cardigan at some time in our lives, if only when at school.  It might have been shop-bought or if you were lucky, or unlucky, depends on where you stood in your family group, hand-knitted and handed-down.  Made unique by choice of buttons, a straight or picot edge or just by the tension of your…Read more …

A Space Yarn

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…blah, blah, you know how it continues.  We all probably know at least one fan, and have bought or made a Star Wars-themed card present at some point.  Would I be able to find something to knit along those lines, I wondered?  Ha! Oh, ye of little faith.  Surely, by now I had realised that the knitting community has a pattern, a design or just an idea of absolutely ANYTHING I might want to represent in coloured yarn? Of course, I was not disappointed. …Read more …

Table Manners

I wanted something simple, seasonal and novel for my Christmas gifts this year, something quirky that would knit up quickly.  I found it with this very simple pattern for a Knitted Napkin Ring by Shellie Wilson.  All those paper napkins, used and abused at Christmas lunch and tea, could last well into Boxing Day if looked after properly.  A good linen serviette could last for days.  I had some appropriately coloured craft string, so got cracking.   Did I say simple?  I made the same mistake over and over until I got it right. …Read more …

A la Carte

What to give as a 50th birthday present to a party girl who talked of visiting the south of England from her home town in the south of France in October (apart from an umbrella)?  A lover of the wacky, the wild and the daft, and a mean foot on the accelerator… Why, a map, of course.  Not too detailed, just an outline, to show where we are in relation to where she is.  Maybe with a symbol or an arrow to indicate our actual towns, and a colour scheme to give a…Read more …

Degrees of Colour

Now, you and I know that knitting is great, it’s fantastic, it’s relaxing, productive and over all GREAT.  What I love about it most of all is the fact that knitted gifts are unique.  People can buy and receive new baby cards or 25th wedding anniversary cards, and they might even keep one or two of them, the rest hitting the recycling box at some time in the future when it’s time to declutter.  However, a knitted memento is different – could be useful, certainly unique and, without doubt, special.      …Read more …

Twelve Year Itch

I have, what I describe as, a tolerant nature.  I can put up with things and situations that others would find intolerable, even abhorrent.  But there you are.  If you buy a French farmhouse, complete with barn, outhouse and cellar, you need to let things be or just turn a blind eye sometimes.  Cobwebs adorning the landing window (so delicate and symmetrical you have to admire it)?  So high up that to reach them involves a plank and ladders?  Well, they’re not hurting anyone and it’s not like we can look out of…Read more …

Pest Patrol – Successes and Failures

Our new Sweet Cherry tree, just a stick in the ground when we planted it back in November, now stood taller and fuller with lots of lush new growth…and was hosting many, many Blackfly. Using the Spray Away technique passed on by his mum – fill plant sprayer with warm soapy water, aim, squirt, bye bye Blackfly – DH worked his way around the tree, diligently turning each leaf, always thorough, some might say obstinate.  Let’s go with persistent. But so were the pesky Blackfly.  Next morning, the Spray Away technique having been…Read more …