How not to be a friend.

I have always blithely said to people I have met in my life ” I’m rubbish at keeping in touch.” I let people fall out of my life because they are not geographically close enough, or because we don’t have much in common ( let’s be honest here, they don’t knit or appreciate knitted things), or -and this one mainly- because I don’t think I’m cool enough to be thier friend. I still have that hang over from school of there being grades of cool and the tough thing is that no one tells you what grade you’ve made. In the real and grown up world friends are all ages sizes, levels of cool and if someone is happy to spend time with you then don’t write yourself out of thier life because you’re second guessing how they feel about you.

I have been a rubbish friend on every level and this week it has been brought home to me what that can really mean.

One of my mates from uni has passed away. When I knew him he was such a cool guy. We both loved archaeology and we would sit up for hours chatting over the interesting things we’d read recently, and how some new cool thing had been found under Rome, or in the Temple of Dendra, or wherever we wished we were digging that week.

Then life happened and he and his wonderful wife, also a great friend of mine, had children and grew up whilst I was still living in a garage and dreaming of adventures I’d never make happen because really I’m happy being an armchair archaeologist. I watched thier social media feeds fill up with the thousand joys and struggles that come with a family all of your own, and even though I had time I didn’t visit and rarely got in contact. Then I had a family and I didn’t have time but still I watched, I rejocyed with them in good times, and broke my heart for them when some news of the hard times they were having leached on to the squares in my Instagram feed. I metaphorically jumped with joy and felt not a little pang of jealousy when my mate got a job as an actual real life archaeologist after years of desk jobs and that’s as far as it went. I was busy, so busy, new baby, toddler, moving house, less time on my hands then I thought possible – is minus time an actual thing, am I actually so busy I’m also using up a bit of my life from the future, when I get there they’ll be a sign up saying ‘all used up in 2017-18 – and then I get a call. Very kindly his wife didn’t want me to find out on social media and I am beyond grateful that she thought to call me because I didn’t deserve it. He had gone. I hadn’t be there for either of them in the last few years other then sending useless messages through Instagram, stupid little heart emojis instead of, calling, writing, doing something human and now I wouldn’t get the chance again.

This then is my self indulgent justification of my own crappness, and my injunction to you if you’re like me and reading this, send a message get an address, write a real letter, make a real phone call, cause if you were friends, you are friends. Friends are more than pictures in a phone and they need to know that. Keep in touch cause one day you might get the chance for a big adventure and the one person you knew who would love hearing about it the most is no longer there.

I am not going to advertise this post. It is in no way about knitting so it won’t be of interest to anyone who made it here because of that. In some ways I don’t really want it to be read, but I do want it to be out there in the world. If you have read it thank you for your time, now (in the politest possible way) get away from your screen and go and do something human.

How not to be a friend.

Nordic knitting and stash busting.

I’ve been digging into the stash and looking through knitting books. I’m a sucker for knitting magazines. I love to see a pattern, buy the wool, and then get distracted by something else which I have to do first. I have now a pile of wool with no real purpose, slot of it bought for my little lad who has since grown out of the pattern sizes or the season is all wrong by now. I’ve decided to tackle the pile of purposeless wool. Also after Christmas I realised I hadn’t made anything for myself for an age.

I dug out Knit Nordic by Eline Oftedal and made a start.

Starting off

I enjoyed it so much there aren’t many photos from the fair isle knitting sections. The wool was drops extra fine merino left over from a project for my daughter. ( I knitted her a jumper that makes her look like Xuli from The Go Jetters. Because I was a bit unconfident in my own designing abilities I over ordered on the wool just in case.) It was enough for this hat.

In the bubbles

Normally when I get around to knitting for myself it is starting to warm up for spring. I’m actually pretty pleased that it’s been cold enough to wear it.

Sunshine and knitting, lovely day, rubbish picture.

At the moment we are really pushing to move house. There is a deadline to do with my daughter’s school application that is making me have nightmares by how close we’re cutting it. The stress of the paperwork, emails and phones calls (made while hiding from the kids so I can hear the person at the other end), are starting to get to me too. Knitting is helping so much. Making something and running my hands over it calm me in a way nothing else does. The move will be worth it. I will be within walking distance of a wool shop and near a library with a knit and stitch group. I am am really looking forward to it! Cross your fingers for us, and (if you’re anything like me) uncross them and get knitting!

Nordic knitting and stash busting.

Little check stitch, January week 2

Well I must admit I looked at the picture of this stitch and thought, I’m not going to enjoy this, it looks like a basket weave stitch which means a fair bit of back and forth with the yarn. I am not a massive fan of a rib stitch, especially 1*1 I tend to adapt any pattern to 2*2 at least. There’s a brilliant Elizabeth Zimmerman quote about knitting rib for as long as you can stand it and surprisingly that will be how long the ribbing should be. Of course I have looked for this quote and it can’t be found. I start to doubt myself, as happens when I’ve been searching for a citation for four days, and maybe in fact it was from a Stephanie Pearl-Mcphee (Yarn Harlot) book. If anyone know what I’m talking about please feel free to drop me a line in the comments.

This stitch however is not a chore. In fact it might be a bit of a new favourite of mine. You do swap between knit and purl every five stitches on one side, but

on the other you just do all knit or all purl depending where you are in the pattern.

So here’s the pattern,

Cast on a multiple of 10 stitches and 5 extra stitches.

Row 1: *k5, p5, rep to last 5 stitches, k5

Row 2: p

Repeat last two rows twice more then row 1 again.

Row 8: (note now the pattern moves to the even numbered rows) k5, *p5, k5 rep from* to end.

Row 9: k

Repeat last 2 rows twice more, then row 8 again.

I found this pattern in ‘The Knitting Book.’ by Patmore and Haffenden Dorling Kindersley 2011. Which I can really recommend as a starting book, with a useful stitch dictionary section at the back.

Little check stitch, January week 2

English Rib January Week 1

New Year’s resolution – to kick the blog up the bum and keep going with it once a week every week.

I am going to knit a little sample once a week of a knitting style, changing each month. January’s style is knit and purl and combining them to make interesting patterns. I plan to use this challenge to use up some of my considerable stash.


I am starting with a simple rib just for a bit of a change I am using a stitch called English Rib. On the second row of rib you knit through the back of the loop. To be honest I don’t think this made a very big difference and so I has to stick a bow on the right side so I could tell it apart from wrong side. it wasn’t too faffy for me though because for my first four months of knitting I knitted every stitch through the back of the loop, and only changed when Mum mentioned my stitches looked a bit different from usual!

Here is the pattern any way.

Cast on an equal number of stitches.

1st Row : Knit 1, purl 1

2nd Row : KBL1 (knit through back of the loop), Purl 1

Repeat these two rows to desired length.

I will also be working on big projects which use the style. however I am going to finish a scarf from the Curious Project by Sincerely Louise, after which I’ll cast on some gloves which will have a rib cuff.



Wrong Side
Right Side
Casting on
English Rib January Week 1

Friday Update Blanket Squares and Ancient Egypt.

FO: Success! I have finished the hitchhiker shawl (see last weeks update) and given it to my mum as a thank you for all her help recently. I loved the pattern and I already have plans to cast on another one. 

WIP: I am taking part in the Enchanted Cottage Knit Along in Knit Now magazine. Twelve squares should knit up into a lovely blanket. This month’s square was a crochet pattern which looked beautiful, but I know my own limitations and crochet is sadly one of them so instead I am knitting last months pattern in the colours of the crochet square. 

CURRENTLY READING: I’ve been faffing about with different books but I’ve finally landed on Isis in the Ancient World by R E Witt. I was listening to A Good Read on radio 4 last year and Joann Fletcher was on it. She recommended this and I am enjoying it, although with the knowledge it was first printed in 1971 I get the feeling some of the details might be a bit out of date. Joann Fletcher did mention she might be writing a more up to date book on the same subject, which I would love to read. 

LISTENING TO: This Sceptred Isle by Christopher Lee. 

I’ve been finding out about Wyatt Tyler and the reign of Richard II. A very interesting period especially when you know it leads to the War of the Roses.

WHAT I’VE MAINLY BEEN DOING THIS WEEK: Trying to keep the house as tidy as possible for people to come and view it, whilst planning for a weekend of viewing other people’s houses. 

Friday Update Blanket Squares and Ancient Egypt.

Friday Update

Work in progress: Hitchhiker shawl in Drops fabel in white and blue lagoon.
This is such a great pattern it grows in such a clever way. It is almost entirely in garter stitch which means I’ve been able to read and knit which is a total bonus. I would definitely recommend it. 

Here’s a link to the pattern
Reading: just finished ‘A Very English Affair.’ By John Preston.

This is all about the Jeremy Thorpe scandal in the 1970s which has been a great thing to read in the middle of a general election. It really isn’t catalogue of errors by the people (men) who thought they were intelligent enough to be in charge of us. 

Have mainly been doing: getting the house tidy to have photos taken and get the house on the market. It looks so amazing I am half tempted to stay put. 

Friday Update


This week has been all about hash tags for me. I find my instagram account is getting plenty of likes but they aren’t translating to Etsy views, let alone sales. That is because alot of my likers are fellow makers. I am of course very grateful to have any likes at all, and approval from other makers is always welcome. I would however be happy to get a few more likes from people or organisations with an interior design angle as I think this is the market most likely to be interested. So I have ‘done a google’ (Grandmas House reference: anyone else remember that excellent BBC2 comedy). I found a blog by Brabantia which listed 19 of the best interior design hashtags. I have taken screen shots of what other makers of cushions use hashtagwise and I have been seaching google and buying platforms imagining I am after a brighter sofa. What would I type in if I wanted to buy my cushions. It’s quite tough to switch your think around like that,but worth a try. 

So far my likes have remained roughly consistent but I have been picking up followers at a rate of knots, about ten in the last two days and Etsy is seeing more views. I know this probably seems little to propel with wizz-bang accounts but it’s progress for me.

I have also started selling on Folksy too. I find it much easier to list items, especially having longer tags, you can be more inventive with your descriptions. However, no sales there either. The higher price point is certainly putting off the kind of buyers I am able to attract at the moment, however I cannot drop the prices by too much and still call myself a business. The solution is to try and attract different buyers, and that requires a bit more work on my part. The Handmade Fair will hopefully push my profile up, along with a few other projects I have in mind.

 As ever the battle is to find the time to do all this, do my day job, look after my family and lose some damn weight. It can’t be impossible though, busier people than me have managed it. And if someone can do it, it must be possible, if it’s possible, then I can do it. 

Hopefully in few years I’ll look back on the days when getting 11 views on Etsy and no sales felt like a success and smile to myself as I am packing up yet another big order for posting.