Farewell, ’14


It’s hard to believe that this is only my second post of the year. I have three or four posts sitting in draft from throughout the year about things that I’ve been up to: a new sock design; some embroidery inspired by a day trip to Culross Palace; new recipes using the fruit from the garden (including our first attempt at making our own cider); the shawl I’m knitting for my sister’s wedding. I’ve struggled to finish the drafts though.

I don’t tend to share a lot of my personal life on the blog which means that when something big (and bad) happens it’s difficult to know how or even how much to share. My Dad died earlier this year and it’s been hard to work out how to post about what I’ve been doing without mentioning that or acknowledging the effect that it had on me. Instead, I mostly just dropped off the internet.

However, I am starting to get back to feeling and acting like me again and the approaching New Year has me thinking about what I want to do differently next year. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions but I do want to do more crafting next year and I want to be able to talk about it here. So, I decided to post this farewell to 2014 and acknowledge that, while large chunks of the year were awful, there were good bits as well as the bad and plenty of laughter along with the tears. And, come midnight tonight, I’ll raise a glass to my Dad and to a better year next year.

Emerging from my cave

View from my front door

The view from my front door yesterday.

The past couple of months have been insanely busy between my day-job and exams but the exams are now over and things are getting a little quieter at work so it is time to dust off the blog and get crafting again.

There has been a little bit of knitting while I’ve been offline and even more crafting that I didn’t manage to blog about before I disappeared so watch this space!

Christmas 2012

I’m sneaking in a last post of the year to share some Christmas decorating and baking photos.

Our tree:

Christmas Tree 2012

The mantelpiece:

Christmas 2012

The cake:

Christmas Cake 2012

Looking back at last year’s Christmas post, I was complaining about November/December having slipped past in a blur of sickness and craziness at work and, unfortunately, this year has been no different.  Much like last year though, we pulled it out of the hat at the last minute and the cake was decorated, mince pies were baked, and handmade Christmas cards sent. I don’t seem to have remembered to take any pictures of the cards though so I’ll need to rectify that in a future post!

End of an era

I’m typing this on my phone while a team of guys pack all of my possessions into boxes and then put the boxes on a van.

I’m really looking forward to being back in Scotland but still can’t quite believe that I’m actually leaving London.

Anyway, by Friday evening my boxes and I should be safely in our new home and then the unpacking can start.

See you on the other side!

Finishing touches

Lots of finishing touches being put on things around here at the moment. My Real Ale Socks pattern got finished and published.

The other sock pattern I’ve been working on is also nearly finished and should be being sent to be edited in the next couple of days. Here’s a little peek at the sample before it was blocked:

Sneak Peek


Also, after nearly 4½ years, we’re finally putting the finishing touches on this flat and, more importantly, after nearly 7 years, we’re putting the final touches on our time in London; come September, we’ll be back in Scotland. This makes me very happy and a bit sad at the same time and also somewhat terrified since there’s lots to do before we can move!

The calm before the storm

I’m currently waiting for a horde of tradesmen (two) to descend and wreak havoc on the house (measure some windows and prepare some walls to be painted). In the meantime, I’m taking advantage of having the house to myself to try and get some designs that are nearly ready to be published actually ready to be published (or at least sent to the tech editor).

My desk

I had hoped that I might even be able to get some decent photographs of the designs today but it’s been pouring with rain since about 10 o’clock and shows no signs of brightening up enough even for indoor photographs so those will have to wait for another day.

The first design (that should be ready to be edited by the end of today) is the cuff-down version of my Irish Stout socks. You would think that writing up a pattern for knitting the same socks in a different direction would be easy (or at least I did) but it turns out that’s not the case, even though knitting them was a doddle.

Real ale socks

The other design is another pair of socks, this time inspired by a London landmark. I’m ridiculously proud of this design (which is the knitting that you can just see in the corner of the first photo above). It’s one of those designs where the yarn and stitch pattern have come together beautifully and exactly match the vision that I had in my head when I started. Of course, that just made it all the more upsetting when I lost the first sample that I knitted, probably somewhere on a train between Glasgow and London. Anyway, my period of mourning is now over and the second sample is well underway so these should be available soon too assuming I don’t lose it as well!

Interesting times

Things have been interesting around here for the past couple of months. Not in a “would make a good blog post” way, more in a “may you live in interesting times” way. There’s been exam stress, job stress, house stress and very little knitting or crafting; all of which adds up to a very quiet blog.

Juno Buffy yarn

Things are starting to get back to normal though, including the knitting. There’s a new sock design in progress on my needles using the wonderful Juno Buffy sock yarn in the picture above (which is actually a much lighter blue than it appears). I bought this at Knit Nation last July so it’s about time that it got used for something and, so far, it seems to be a perfect match for the design!

I wouldn’t normally do this kind of thing

Early autumn was glorious here in London and, one weekend, Steven and I took advantage with a walk in Greenwich Park. As we walked we collected chestnuts and acorns and leaves.

Chestnuts and acorns Chestnuts and acorn

From left to right: horse chestnut, sweet chestnut, acorn.

Autumn leaves

The chestnuts and acorns just because they were there and the leaves to try making this autumn leaf bouquet.

I wasn’t really sure what to do with all the chestnuts so I stuck them in a vase for the time being.

Autumn vase

Then the leaves dried out before we got around to the bouquet but we decided that they looked pretty just as they had dried.

Autumn leaves

For want of anything better to do with them, I stuck both the vase and the leaves on top of the shoe cabinet in our hall, which seemed appropriate since we already had a dish with a couple of pine cones in it sitting there.


Suddenly, it struck me: I had accidentally succumbed to seasonal decorating! I’m not really a seasonal decor person (other than at Christmas). I barely manage to arrange and display the various ornaments, prints, pictures, etc. that I have without trying to rotate through seasonally appropriate ones and yet, somehow, I’ve ended up with seasonally appropriate decor. I’m sure I don’t need to worry though, I’m pretty sure they will be sitting there long after autumn has passed!

Normal service will resume in 3 .. 2 .. 1

The exams are over. My desk has been turned from this:

My desk

into this:

My desk

(I haven’t started sewing anything yet, which is why it’s still reasonably tidy!)

I have crafting and blogging plans aplenty. Expect to see posts with finished projects (which have been accumulating at an alarming rate), book reviews (buying craft books seems to be one of my main methods of dealing with stress) and even (maybe) a new design or two!