Work in Progress

Sometime last summer my ‘husband and I’ hatched a cunning plan. With the household rapidly refilling after several years when it was largely occupied by, well, just me, it had become clear that we needed more bathroom capacity and a bit more workspace.

Months elapsed while we attempted to work out a plan of sorts and engage builders, and in the meantime we bought a shop, Christmas happened and months rolled by. It seemed like the cunning plan was firmly kicked into the long grass.

However a few weeks ago we managed to get the show on the road, and now we have something that is beginning to look a little bit like a bathroom and an office where our garage used to be. See the pictures below (and use a lot of imagination!).

When I was daydreaming back in summer about how this conversion might look, I kind of assumed that this project would finally give me the ‘studio’ I had always dreamt of. Of course, hubby would be allowed to use it (occasionally) for work and what not, but essentially it would be mine, all mine. A little nest to paint, print, knit and sew, overlooking our sweetly scented summer garden and draped deliciously in lots of squishy woollen things, laden with plump cushions and liberal quantities of baskets.

And then, as mentioned, we bought the shop.

So I suspect that, for the next few years at least, the studio of my dreams will have to wait: in the meantime our big ‘Work in Progress’ will give all the family a wee bit more space to breathe, an extra bathroom, office space and a garden view. Which is great, of course, but I can’t help dreaming of my lost studio….

…Butter coloured walls, wooden floor bathed in sunlight, a beautiful rug, vases of flowers, crochet blankets (like this? or possibly this), cushions galore, a wood burning stove, a beach nearby… well, a girl can dream.

What would your ‘room’ look like?

Knitting and crochet lessons


cardholderWe are offering two introductory courses – each consists of two 90 minutes sessions as follows:

Saturday 27th Feb 3 to 4.30pm
Get Started – Knitting — takes you through casting on, knitting simple garter stitch and casting off. The aim is that you are able to make a square by the end of the session.
Saturday 5th March 3 to 4.30pm
Moving on – Knitting – introduces the knitter to purling, ribbing, increases/decreases, as well as following a simple pattern.

Saturday 12th March 3 to 4.30pm
Get started – Crochet – takes you through the first few steps and basic stitches. You should be able to make a simple granny square by the end of the session.
Saturday 19th March 3 to 4.30pm
Moving on – Crochet – introduces more stitches, reading a pattern, increasing and decreasing. We will aim to make a flower square or small crocheted bowl by the end of the session.

Each course costs 30 pounds per person for the 2 ninety minute sessions, and includes yarn, needles/hooks, a simple project bag, tea/coffee and biscuits. We will need 6 people per course to run. If you pay in advance the cost is £28.
Phone 01706 222116 or email for more details.

If the classes are popular, I’d plan to run them throughout the year with additional shorter classes for sock knitting, finishing your project, Tunisian crochet, and more.


I’ve been trying to whittle down the works in progress (WIP) – at one point recently the WIP tally stood at nearly double figures and I was still looking through patterns and furtively fondling yarn… but I’ve made a bit of progress

The eagle eyed amongst you, will have spotted a certain, um, ‘heart-y’ theme to a couple of the projects and indeed I have been putting together a valentine-themed window with a ton of knitted hearts (using this pattern – warning, once you’ve made one, you may feel the urge to make a lot more). And there is, inevitably, more socks.

I’ve also continued to dabble in a little crochet…

So I’ve got a few second socks to finish (ok, four.… who’s counting), a crochet blanket and one or two things that are more or less permanently kicked into the long grass, but really I’ve pretty much finished…

So to treat myself for being so good, I’ve got myself a bag of West Yorkshire Spinners BFL DK and a pattern I’ve been considering since it came out.

I am Joanne and I think I have a yarn problem.

It’s all about socks, baby

I started knitting socks when I was sofa-bound following a knee replacement back in 2008*: I think they offered a project that was tricky enough to retain my interest (despite a brain fogged by strong pain-killers) but not impossibly difficult to follow pattern-wise. And then I discovered the wonder that is self-striping socks yarns. I made a pair for everyone in my family that following Christmas.

I have made more than a hundred pair of socks since then – I give virtually all of them away to friends and family, usually only keeping any pairs that I’m not totally happy with. The inevitable left-overs have been memorialised in a sock yarn blanket that keeps my toes warm even if the original socks are long gone.

sock yarn blankie
The first sock yarn blanket. The second version is in progress

Why socks? Lots of reasons really, but the main ones are that it’s a great portable project and that they are quick and (after a lot of practice) easy, ideal for TV knitting.

But the yarns are lovely too: for someone like myself with a wardrobe full of navy and black, the pretty stripes and the gorgeous colour varieties are a painless way of smuggling colour into my life.

And no matter how many Christmas chocolates you ate (or pies, or chips or well, let’s not get into my dietary guilt) socks will fit. Well, once you’ve got your pattern nailed anyway.

Christmas in a sock..
Feather and Fan socks – one of my earlier projects and a lesson learnt – never tumble dry socks!

I recently joined Winwick Mum’s sock-a-long Facebook page: largely out of curiosity because I’m obviously I’m a long way from my first pair of socks. She has 3,500 knitters following that page! Which, my friends, is a lot of sock knitting! I think her tutorial is great: I would part company with her regarding the tiny circular needle that she favours, but that’s largely because my cranky old hands don’t like anything too fiddlesome these days. If you fancy giving socks a go, her website is really good place to start.

I’ve got some lovely sock yarns in the shops and all the needle variants you need, and if you hit a spot of bother with them, I’m always here to help. Cold toes? Nah, not on my watch.

*In the interests of full disclosure – I had bought a couple of balls of Regia a year or two earlier, together with some sock needles. I didn’t get further than several ragged cast-on’s and, if I remember rightly, ended up throwing the bloody things into my knitting basket with slightly more force than was required. I didn’t get them out again for a long time.