Fair Isle first

I knit another hat. I knit a stranded colourwork hat. I can knit Fair Isle! Woah! This opens up a whole load of new knitting adventures!


This is the free pattern Clayoquot Toque from Tin Can Knits. They’ve just run a week long blog series on using colour in knitting, which inspired me to have a go at something a bit different from usual. Their post of tips for knitting fair isle was really helpful.

I used Stylecraft Special DK as I have a lot of that in my stash, in a variety of colours. After reading some of the posts on colour choosing strategies, I picked 3 colours that I thought would work well together and would suit Pumpkin, and got knitting. I was surprised by how easy it was once I worked out how to flick with one colour and pick with the other. Rows of three colours were more tricky, but there’s only two of those so it wasn’t too much of a challenge. I loved seeing the pattern emerge and will definitely be knitting more fair isle in the future. Even the floats on the reverse side look quite pretty!


Pumpkin wanted a pompom added after I took these photos. The pom pom was not entirely successful but it’ll do for now. Pumpkin likes it.


Now I think I’d better get back to those crazy annoying sleeves.


Coffee table

Well, believe it or not, I’ve managed to complete a second project this week.

I bought this table for the princely sum of eight English pounds from a local charity shop.


I spent a few hours sanding it down, then spent this week painting the legs using a tin of Autentico chalk paint I had left over from the little desk I did up a couple of years ago.


I also used the same wallpaper on the under side of the table as I lined the desk with.  Probably, nobody will ever know it’s there, but I like it!


A coat of wax to seal the paint and finish the bare pine top and job done!


I’ve had a quiet week, the like of which I’ve not known for quite some time! The usual school runs and children’s activities have happened as normal, but I’ve had no rehearsals and I’ve run no errands and done no shopping. I needed some downtime. That’s not to say I’ve done nothing at all. I’ve been working on two projects, one of which is still in progress, but I hope to reveal the finished object soon.

The second was a very quick win. I’ve been itching to cast on something different for a long time but have been steadfastly resisting as I want Crazy Stripes finished. I’m so bored of the sleeves though that I’m just not knitting at all. On Tuesday evening I gave in and dug a ball of yarn out of my stash. This yarn was destined to be a hat for Pickle. I bought it a couple of years ago with the intention of making him a Benjamin Bunny hat a la CBeebies Peter Rabbit cartoon. I tried coming up with my own pattern for it but after a couple of attempts, for reasons I don’t recall any more – it probably didn’t fit or didn’t look right – it got frogged and banished to the stash box.

On Tuesday it reappeared, a quick trawl of Ravelry was executed and knitting recommenced. By Thursday evening, it was off the needles and on Pickle’s head.

It’s called Leaf Hat available free on Ravelry. Its a lovely pattern to knit, but unfortunately isnt terribly well written. The guage seems off, although I was adjusting for a difference in yarn weight and for size, and the crown decrease instructions are particularly unclear. Fortunately, reading back through other completed projects often proved useful and someone had taken the time to rewrite that part of the pattern, so it was no bother in the end.

Pickle loves it and it fits well. I’d definitely consider making another! Perfect for cold weather. Maybe he’ll help with raking up the leaves in the garden over the weekend!



Mario Kart cake!

This weekend was Pumpkin’s birthday party, which of course means cake time! Mr Jack pulled out our old GameCube for the boys a couple of months ago and they’ve been loving playing Mario Kart and Mario Party. So when it … Continue reading



I’ve got the post-show blues. It’s always quite a big come-down after taking part in a big stage production, but even more so when you’ve really loved being part of not just the show itself, but the show-family that forms in the process. I’ve learnt so much from taking part in this particular production, and genuinely enjoyed it from start to finish, that it’s a hard one to let go of. I miss the theatre, I miss the people. I miss the backstage laughter and the onstage buzz. I miss my little knitting circle too. I think half the cast had had a go at knitting something by the end of the run!

Fortunately, I already have the next couple of shows lined up, which always helps limit the bluesy feelings. One is in rehearsal already and the next one starts rehearsing in December, so I’m going to make the most of a slightly quieter November before I start juggling two sets of rehearsal schedules!

This week is also busy enough to keep my mind off it anyway, as it’s cake-time again. We’ve recently celebrated Pumpkin’s birthday, and so it’s party time at the weekend, which means another elaborate cake creation is on the cards. He’s into Mario Kart at the moment, so I’m trying to plan something on that theme. Watch this space!

I’ve done a bit more work on my coffee table. There’s a little more sanding to go and then I can paint it. My knitting is going as slowly as ever, but little by little I’ll win.

We harvested the last of the veg from the garden at the weekend, so I’ll leave you with this colourful photo to banish the blues.



Oh October!

It’s October again. October always seems to be when silly season begins and then, well, it’s non stop til Christmas really.

Rehearsals are stepping up a gear for the show I’m performing in at the end of the month. We still have our little knitting corner when we’re not required for a particular scene, and generally it’s all very enjoyable.

I’ve also just auditioned for two more shows – a musical and a play – and have ended up being cast in the role I wanted for both of them! They’re like buses. I did heaps of auditions in the summer and was only cast in one and now two come along at once! Typical! Should be lots of fun though, as long as I don’t wear myself out with all the rehearsals!

As for the knitting, it continues, just very very slowly, not helped by the fact that one of the new needle tips I bought was already catching in the grain so I had to get back to the shop to exchange it. Fortunately Knitpro have a great policy of replacing faulty needles so it didn’t cost me any more.

I took a calculated approach to the remaining grey yarn. I weighed and divided it into two balls, then I cast on and knit a cuff to a length that would match the other edges of the cardigan. I weighed the cuff and the remaining yarn to work out how much I had left for stripes. Then I ripped the cuff out again and got to work. I managed to do the two stripes at the top of the sleeve out of what was left and know I still have enough for the cuffs at the end.


I’ve started striping in the lighter grey yarn and quite like how it’s looking so far, I’m just not sure how it will look with the whole sleeve done in a different grey. Time will tell.


As if I needed anything else to work on, I just spotted a small but solid pine coffee table outside a charity shop which I thought I could tidy up by stripping it down and painting or waxing it. We don’t have a coffee table in our living room and I’ve wanted one for ages and at only 8 quid and with some paint leftover from the desk I did a couple of years ago, it couldn’t hurt to try and see what happens. Just gotta find the time to do it around everything else!


The eagle-eyed amongst you will also have spotted that we’ve done absolutely nothing more with the study. Still a sidelined work in progress. As is the garden currently. It’s silly season out there too as the garden is gradually getting covered with leaves and chestnuts and I remember how much hard work it took to keep on top of it last year. Speaking of which, it’s very nearly a whole year since we moved in here and I just can’t fathom where all that time has gone!

I’m still running. After doing very little over the summer it actually felt great to get back to parkrun. My times were much slower than back in July, and then I ran a couple with the boys – both of them have now run/walked a full 5k – so I was pleasantly surprised to get a new PB last week when I ran it on my own again. Unfortunately rehearsals mean I can’t do parkrun for the next couple of weeks but I’ll keep up the weekday running and get back to it as soon as I can.

The icing on the cake of October is of course Pumpkin’s birthday. He’s very into Mario Kart at the moment, since Mr Jack busted out the old GameCube – retro gaming! – so ideas on a postcard please, for how to make a Mario Kart cake without it being insanely complicated!

I must say, I’m very much looking forward to half term. The boys are exhausted from new school adjustments but they’ll be packed off to the grandparents for half the week while I’ll be rehearsing all hours. But a change is as good as a rest, and I’ll hopefully get a few lie ins.

What do you have going on in October?



Yesterday I discovered a new yarn shop. My car was in for a service and MOT so I walked nearly an hour to get there, (which was very enjoyable until the pavement ran out and I had to walk on the road and hop onto the verge every time a car passed.) Unfortunately they didnt stock knitpro needle tips. They had a good selection of yarn though so I hoiked out my cardigan and had a chat with the proprietress about possible solutions to my lack of yarn dilemma. I ended up buying a skein of sock yarn in a lighter grey which I will try incorporating into the sleeve stripes to see how it looks. I’m anticipating it looking too odd to work but I’ll try it and if I hate it I have something else in mind for the grey sock yarn.


Since the needles were still lacking, I paid a visit to my regular yarn shop today. They had the knitpro tips I was after and I also picked up some 2.25 fixed circulars, since anything less than 3mm is a bit too delicate for the knitpros. I also grabbed a spool of knit-in elastic for socks. I wore my one and only pair of hand knit socks yesterday evening and decided that they would probably benefit from a little elastic so i though I’d try it in whatever future pair I make.



It’s not going well

The button bands are finally finished. I knitted and frogged, knitted again, tinked, knitted and tinked some more before I was finally happy with it, but its all cast off.

The only problem now is that I am rapidly running out of yarn. I have plenty of the teal colour – in fact, a whole skein I’ve not started yet – but this is all I have left of the grey.


I roughly measured it this afternoon and I reckon there’s just under 50m there. That’s barely going to be enough to do the two cuffs, let alone any stripes down the sleeves. I guess I’m going to have to do the sleeves as a solid colour, but its not really the look I was going for. I was hoping to at least have enough grey to do a handful of stripes. I did try to get hold of another skein of grey, but its hand dyed and seemingly a very unusual shade of grey as I couldn’t find anything that came even close to matching.


To make matters worse, I just managed to snap one of my knitpro needles. This is not going well.

What would you do with the sleeves?


A quick project

I’m great at coming up with ideas for things I want to do around the house, not so good at deciding the details and terrible at executing the idea from page to practical completion. So this one is an exceptionally quick win for me!

When we come home from school, bags and coats get dumped on and around the stairs, shoes get kicked off wherever, or get lost in a pile in the cupboard, and books letters and homework get strewn around the house, leading to a mad panicked hunt for them when they’re needed the next day.

I decided we needed a sort of docking station for all school related stuff, to keep us more organised and hopefully therefore less stressed!

The space under the stairs has been a ridiculous dumping ground since we moved in and I’ve been trying to decide how to put it to better use, so this seemed like a good way to do it.



The games have been moved upstairs to one of the boys rooms. The wooden cupboard keeps getting shifted around and hasn’t found a home yet. Everything else got shoved out of the way to make space.

We have repurposed the white toy unit to make a hallway bench/ bag and shoe cubby. I dug out a couple of old empty magazine holders so the boys can put any books, homework or letters in them. A set of pegs above was the only thing I bought especially, and….


Everything is in one place and ready to go in the morning.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, the piles of bags and shoes are still there, just out of shot under the bottom of the stairs. My house is far from perfect, it’s a work in progress, but I’m happy to have achieved something this weekend and look forward to seeing how it works for us over the coming weeks. I’ll try to do an update later on.

What setups and tricks do you have to keep you organised?


Buttons and bands

One button band is finally bound off! I used the tubular bind off again, which I’ve really got the hang of now. I just remind myself how it goes using the Very Pink Knits Tubular Bind Off tutorial, http://verypink.com/2011/12/01/tubular-bind-off/ and that gets me started.


Now I need to pick up the second band and decide where the buttonholes need to be.