Blog Archive

A Walk in the Woods


Like most of the UK, here in the Ribble Valley we have experienced a winter more cold and snowy than any we have had for several years.  Daisy Dog loves the snow, but hates the cold, so it has been a challenge juggling the best time to take her for good long walks.

Monday morning the sun was shining and the birds were tweeting, so we bundled up in our coats and headed for the woods.

Daisy was not for posing for the camera - too many exciting sniffs and smells to be discovered!

Spring Wood is an ancient woodland and is managed very well.  It is a joy to visit at any time of the year, as there is always something to see.  The bluebells are a particular joy, but that is a joy yet to come...

The woods are still clothed in the stark beauty of their winter coats, but little chinks of spring are starting to emerge and it was soooo good to see the sunshine. 

Daisy loves it here, and runs and runs and runs to her heart's content.  Bits of it are very hilly indeed but she gambols up on her four little legs, impatiently looking behind her, as I puff my way uphill.  

After a good (and somewhat muddy) walk, we headed home for Betty's hot chocolate for me, (in my opinion, the best hot chocolate on the planet), and a good long drink of water for Daisy, and an afternoon snoozing in front of the fire (for her, not me!)  Bliss. 

Donna x 


Well.  Who would have thought it?  I, who thought I was such a rubbish knitter, preferring to stay in my comfort zone of dressmaking and crochet, have knitted a pair of socks!  I am so delighted with them!  

It all started at Cooper's Creative on a Tuesday afternoon.  I had admired the other ladies who knitted socks, but dismissed the idea for myself, as I am really not a knitter.  On this particular Tuesday afternoon, POH had come with me for lunch, and was going for a look around the shops whilst I stayed at the cafĂ© to crochet and chat.  Lucy, from Attic24, was knitting a pair of socks and POH was intrigued. I insisted I could never do this, but Lucy was adamant that if I followed Christine's Winwick Mum's Sockalong pattern I really could!  So, before we headed home that day, we called into Purl and Jane and POH selected some West Yorkshire Spinners sock yarn, and Jane knew just the needles I needed to buy, and off we went!

I started quickly, and things were going well...

(I love my iPad row counter!)

As the sock grew longer, and I reached the heel, I realised I must have made an error in my calculations, as the sock was HUGE!   I sought some advice from Lucy, Christine and Jane, and pulled the whole sock back.  I strangely wasn't at all downhearted as I felt I had already learnt so much.

Knitting it a second time was certainly easier and it came together quite quickly, despite having a break when I was feeling poorly.  

I was fortunate enough to see Christine at Cooper's whilst I was knitting it and she gave me some excellent pointers on bits I felt weren't as neat.  

The second sock then flew off the needles and I made it in five days flat!  All it needed then was for POH to try them on...  Ta Daa!!

The photo was taken at night, by table lamp, so the colours aren't as good as they are in real life.  POH loves them!  He suffers with cold feet and he says these are the warmest socks ever.  To say I am very pleased is understatement of the week!

DD, home at the time, had sock envy, and asked me if I could knit her a pair!  Of course I said yes, and the wool this time is from Regia.  This colourway is apparently called 'Ocean'.  

It is knitting up beautifully, and is firm and smooth to work with.

I can't believe how much fun knitting socks is!  It is rhythmic, with each separate part having its own separate rhythm.  I found turning the heel not nearly as daunting as I thought it would be, thanks to Christine's fabulous step by step tutorials.  Likewise the heel flap.  

The bit I struggled with the most was the Kitchener Stitch for the toes.  I don't think I will ever be able to do this without following Christine's instructions for each step!  

I think I am a little bit addicted to sock knitting, and I cannot believe the amount of beautiful sock yarns available! I was back at Purl and Jane's last week, looking at DK socks, as POH has put in a request for wellie socks.  Oh, and DS has asked for ski socks!  He has size UK 13 feet, and finds it difficult to find good ski socks to fit him.  I have a sock queue!!

A new creative addiction hobby is born, and I am very happy indeed.

I would love to hear your sock knitting stories and how you got hooked!  Please do leave a comment below.

Bye for now.  Need to turn a heel...

Donna x 

The Big Freeze

Hello!  Well, safe to say it's been pretty cold here in the UK!  More snow too than I can remember for a long time.  

I lived in Canada and the USA for a few years and experienced extreme cold and bucket loads of snow, but here in the UK we are just not used to it, and understandably not geared up for this amount of the white stuff, as it would be a bit of a waste to have garages full of snow ploughs that were used once or twice every few years.  Tales of people helping one another, and going all out to keep hospitals, and the emergency services running, have been very heartwarming.  Human nature at its best.

On a lesser note, I am pleased that I made a couple of cold weather items over the past couple of weeks, as they have certainly been put to good use!

The first was a warm and snuggly wrap that I started about three weeks ago, when I was feeling poorly and couldn't focus on my socks.  The pattern is 'Fronds' from The Crochet Project, and once the pattern is established, is a simple two row repeat.  I used the incredibly soft,Rowan 'Lima' (now discontinued) and it is so soft and warm!  I've lived in it for days now.

I do love the way the clever edging really does look like the fronds of ferns, unfurling in the spring sunshine, (Spring sunshine... Ha!)

I also made up Tilly and the Buttons pattern, 'Coco', which I bought a little while ago.  This was such a quick and speedy make, and I had it cut out and sewn in an afternoon.  I made it in a sweatshirt fleece and it is probably one of the most comfortable items of clothing I have ever made. I followed Tilly's tips for making it in sweatshirt fleece, which was mainly adding extra fabric to parts which are 'turned' i.e. hem, sleeves and the funnel collar.  

After I wore it the first day I decided I wasn't sure about how baggy the back was on me, so POH pinned in a couple of darts which ran each side, from under the shoulder blades to just below the waist.  That improved the fit on me no end, and I will now mark those darts on the pattern ready for the next dress.  Oh yes, there will definitely be another Coco dress and I also plan to make some Coco tops!

I've got a bit of a thing for Tilly and the Buttons patterns at the moment.  I love the clean lines, modern shapes, and, above all, the fact they are such 'blank canvases' and can be adapted and tweaked in so many ways.

The cold and snowy weather seems to make comfort food so much more desirable too, and I particularly love baking bread.  I whipped up a batch of garlic, rosemary and cheese rolls.  

Mmmmmm... they were scrummy!  I made quite a few, so popped some in the freezer for quick lunches.

It turns out our little dog, Daisy, absolutely LOVES the snow and has been eagerly running around the garden, burying her face in it!  When she's out walking on the fields she runs towards the deepest drifts and leaps right in!  Bonkers. 

After all this excitement there's nothing else to do except snuggle in her basket in front of the wood stove and have a little snooze.

Wherever you are, I hope you are keeping warm, and you and your loved ones are safe.

Take good care,

Donna x