My Top Ten Knitting Podcasts

Hi everyone - hope you are all happy and healthy!

So today I thought I would talk to you about Knitting Podcasts.

I discovered knitting podcasts about 4/5 years ago I would say when a friend of mine mentioned that they listened to 'Lime and Violet' (sadly no longer podcasting!).  I have to say that I had never even considered listening to a podcast and sort of assumed that it would be a poorly produced recording from people who were just a bit nerdy (and since I am now a fully paid up member of the 'Nerd Club', I feel I can confess that to you!).  I have a fairly long drive into work each day and since UAE radio is full of truly awful ads and that my musical taste, whilst eclectic, has not really moved on in the last 5 years, to be frank - I was bored!

So I hopped over to iTunes and downloaded Lime and Violet - well I was blown away.  Not only was the quality really good, they were a couple of funny girls and THEY WERE KNITTERS!!!!! I was hooked.  I then went ahead and downloaded quite a few others and really only found a few that I was really drawn podcasts as alternative listening material and it took me a while to work out my favourites.

5 years on and I have a fab list of podcasts which are on automatic download and I listen to religiously during my long and boring treks to work.  I can truly say that I am addicted and have learnt so much from them - or should I say enabled by them - from which yarn to buy, to which KAL to join, right through to soda bread and bullet journalling - I got it all from my podcast friends! (oh and not to mention my new love of Whiskey which is soley down to Caithness Craft Collective!!!).  All of the podcasts below also include some great interviews with the knitting glitterati and its great to get some many different perspectives on the craft and the industry.

Anyway if you don't listen to podcasts you are missing sooooo much!  These are my current favourites and they are in no particular order!!! Most of them also have websites and or Etsy shops so I have linked where I can! The links are in the titles.

Green Triangle Girl hosts this podcast and its just like having a friend in the room with a cup of tea (or gin and tonic, depending on our mood!).  She shares all things knitting and also has some great home making sections.  We get to hear about the playful tot, which is so cute and its really interesting to see how her life has moved since she had her little girl - reminds me a lot of myself when I first had my daughter. A great easy to listen podcast, which also makes me homesick as GTG is in South East London!

I Make is presented by the lovely Martine.  I just have to say that I am so jealous of Martine's energy - I don't know where she finds the time in the day to manage all the crafts she does and also her running (she completed the London Marathon this year!!)  Occasionally we also get to hear from her buddy Charles - and he is hilarious!  Martine lives in Guernsey so we also get to hear about life on the island which is fascinating.  Lots of inspiration from this podcast!

I am a relatively new listener to Louise from the Knit British podcast.  I have listened to them all from the start now and have to say that Louise has moved from being quite reserved to an absolute nutcase!  She has such an engaging style and I always have a smile on my face when I am listening to her.  Louise is based in the Shetland Isles and is keen to promote British Wool - and does a blooming good job of it!  I thought I knew about British Wool (my niece runs a sheep farm!) but I have learned so much (and I really really want to make a Lush cardigan now!)

What can I say about Louise (yes another one!)....... she is an absolute hoot - mad as a box of frogs!  Lots of knitting content but also lots of local content where she shares with us what is going on in Caithness (which is far far away in the wilds of Scotland!).  Of course the 'Dramming' section has encouraged my whiskey drinking and yes I do really blame her for that!  Always makes me smile and has a very practical outlook on life - love her!

Caithness Craft Etsy Shop

Helen Stewart is Curious Handmade and I would say she is currently my heroine!  Helen gave up corporate life to become a full time designer (which is of course my dream!) so its fantastic to be able to hear how she is managing with that (very very well I can tell you!!) and how she is evolving.  We learn all about the designs she is working on and also how she has been able to market them through various different media.  Not only that, she lives in East Dulwich - my UK home!  So yet more homesick moments!

Jo is a great Northern lass who has a very engaging style and fabulous northern accent - so down to earth!  I listened to her first few episodes when she lived in South Africa, but then for some reason stopped listening for a while (sorry Jo, I don't know why!!!).  Now she is back in the UK and she is a great listen.  We get lots of knitting content, but also Jo shares with us some of the traumas of daily life with 2 kids and a husband away in the RAF - but they are always humorous!  She has recently moved to Scotland - so again I am hugely jealous because thats also my long term plan!!

Isabelle is French, but her podcast is in English.  She has a focus on not just knitting, but also sewing and spinning.  Again another lady of whom I don't know how she manages to find the time given she works quite a way from where she lives and has a small daughter!  I really like the sewing content as I love to sew although don't often get the time.  Isabelle makes things for herself and her daughter and they are truly gorgeous.  A podcast to sit down and relax to!

This is from the lovely Hoxton Handmade and one of the very first British podcasts I listened to.  Sadly Hoxton has not put out an episode for a while, but it is really worth catching up on the back catalogue.  The podcast always starts with a very well thought out 'essay' on a current topic, which she does always try and skew towards craft, but sometimes other burning issues take her fancy.  At Christmas there is always a traditional 'panto' where the sheep and his band of miscreants always manage to win out in the end.  I do hope that we see something from Hoxton in the future as she is greatly missed!

NB........Breaking news - hop over to the Hoxton Handmade website and you will see what has kept our lovely Hoxton off of the airways! Many Congratulations to her and Mr Hoxton xxxxxxx

No podcast list would be complete without mentioning the lovely 'Grande Dames' of the knitting podcast world!  This is a US Mother and Daughter production and its one of those shows which you can listen to religiously every week or you can dip in and out as you please.  Lots and lots of knitting content and I especially love 'When Knitting Attacks' - lots of reviews and KAL - the most famous being #operationsockdrawer - which I have also participated in!  I also have these lovely ladies to thank for introducing me to the Outlander series of books - I will always be grateful for that!!!!

Knitting Pipeline

When I heard about this podcast, to be honest I thought it would not be for me, but how wrong I was!  Paula hails from the US and not only is she a fabulous knitter, but she also plays in a Pipe Bank - how cool is that!!!  She has a lovely style and I really like hearing about the nature of her area - she always lets us know about the birds! Another laid back podcast to be taken with a cup of tea (not ideal when driving!


I get all of my podcasts from iTunes but check out their websites for other forms of download.

I do confess there are other subjects I listen to via podcasting from time to time and I also love love love The Archers (Radio4 'soap').  So its fair to say my driving to and from work is pretty much sorted in terms of listening material!

Anyway I hope you enjoyed reading about my faves - would love to hear if there are some more that I should check out?

Happy Listening!

An easy way to add more yarn to the Stash!

Hello everyone - so its been longer than I anticipated in getting this second part, which I am going to call my "Scotland Section" to the blog.

Unfortunately we have had a very tough couple of months where my darling Mum was very ill and sadly passed away on the 17th September.  So as you can imagine, it has been a time where I have been rushing about on planes back and forth the to UK and coming to terms with the loss of the kindest and most open hearted of people - and its not just me who recognises that, many of the people we have spoken to since her death have commented on how much she loved to give, both of her time and her love.  I miss her every day and am so happy that I got to be with her in her last few days and most importantly that she knew I was there.  Its hard and I don't expect it to get easier any time soon - but I know that I was lucky to have THE best Mum in the world - and she passed on her love of craft to me (especially knitting) and for that alone I am so grateful - I don't know where I would have been in my life if I had not had some sort of creative outlet to see me through the hard times (of which there have been more than a few!).

Anyway many thanks to everyone for their kind words and support - we all know that Knitters are the best - right!! Right up there with family members!

So anyway back to my yarn haul from Scotland......

Well you know right away when you go to Scotland you are going to come back with yarn - its an absolute given!

We stayed in the gorgeous village of Kenmore, which is on Loch Tay - and the scenery is of course stunningly beautiful.  Having been to the area before I thought I knew what to expect, but when you see the Loch - whether its sunny or grey and cloudy, its magnificence justs knocks my (handknit) socks off again and again.

We stayed at the Mains of Taymouth estate which is fabulous - the property was lovely and the facilities there - come rain or shine - are such that you could actually never leave - but that would be such a waste - it was fabulous to get out into the countryside.  For those of you who love the Outlander series (as I do!) you will understand why at times it felt like I was actually there ...... the mountains have been the same for many many thousands of years.  We did of course visit Doune Castle which is the TV setting of Castle Leoch and that was fantastic (although Monthy Python and the Holy Grail was also filmed there and my son is still obsessed with galloping around the house on a make-believe horse - reference will only be appreciated by those who have seen the film - and if you are not a Monty Python fan then many apologies because you won't have a clue about what I am talking about!)

Some fantastic shots of beautiful Scotland - note Fred posing by the Kerelia House sign - see below!

Anyway I could wax lyrical about the countryside adnauseum but you want to hear about the yarn!

My first haul was from the lovely Strathearn Fleece & Fibre stall at the Killin Highland Games which we visited. Whilst the others were busy watching the Scottish Dancing and Caber Tossing I snuck off and found the lovely little stall.  Its was difficult to chose from the lovely hand dyed on the stall but I finally went with a Blue Faced Leicester DK weight in two fantastic multicolours.  I just loved the rainbow colours of one of the skeins and the dusky purple and grey of the other - which reminded me so much of a Scottish landscape.  Both these skeins scream "cowl' to me - but lets see how that goes!  See the link below to read more about their fleece to fibre approach!

Gorgeous colour combinations in the BFL DK

My next haul came from a little shop Karelia House which I discovered literally a mile away from where we were staying - well actually its not small at all!  There is a lovely space which houses the most scrumptious cafe (salted caramel biscuits..........need I say more), yarn shop, workshop space, fabric shop and finally a woodburning stove showroom.  From here I purchased some Rowan Kidsilk Haze (for my new shawl project ....... watch this space) and some Ripples Crafts 4ply, again in the lovely Blue Faced Leicester in the Deep Lochs colourway.  I wanted the Ripples Crafts so much since I had heard Louise from Knit British (check out her fabulous blog and even more fabulous podcast at the links below  - I am a big fan) wax lyrical about it - and she's not wrong, its really lovely stuff with little tweedy nupps.  Definitely another shawl I think - might even be the ellusive Tardis Shawl which I cast on once before - but frogged due to lack of brain bandwidth!

Just look at these cute nupps!

Who does not love a bit of sparkly Kidsilk Haze!

I also bought some cute material which will (someday....ahem) become project bags ........... still working on the husband to agree to my 'retirement' from corporate life - as I say to people, I am giving up corporate life 'one stitch at a time' so at this rate it will be a while :)

I think my fave are the Owls - twit twoo.............

Anyway hope you have enjoyed having a peek at my haul - unfortunately I don't get to go to all the fantastic yarn 'festivals' which are happening in the UK at the moment, but this little stash has made me happier!

Don't forget to comment below and share your recent purchases - I would have never gone for Ribbles Craft if I had not read about Louise's obsession with it!

Until the next time.........

Links for your enjoyment:

A Catch Up

Well hello everyone!  Its been a while!

As ever with me, life has got in the way of blogging and actually about almost everything else!

We have had an eventful summer and I am hoping that 2014 hurries up and gets out of my life quite quickly!  Trip home to the UK was good and I will show you just how good over the next couple of posts.  However on the reverse side, work had not been so good, the car is causing me major issues and as ever, living in the UAE means that there are constant issues with the house and repairs etc - housing here is constructed quickly and without much thought to long term details like hot water........

However nothing of the above compares to the fact that last week I lost my Mum...........

She had been ill at various stages throughout her life but was one of the bravest and most stoical people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I hope she gave me those qualities.  Of course she and I shared two of my most passionate loves, Dancing and Knitting!  Naturally it was she who taught me to knit when I was 7 years old and we made clothes for my Sindy Doll.  We then went on to knit copious amounts of baby clothes and could often be seen collaborating on a 'Box of Booties' for whichever expectant mother was around at the time.  She was definitely an 'old school' knitter and liked nothing more than a white matinee jacket in baby quicker knit or some other hideous baby yarn!!  Occasionally she branched out into pale yellow of turquoise!  Another love of hers was Jean Greenhow's knitted toys and in fact she knitted so many of these that she had a whole stall full of them at the Christmas fayre in the village where my sister lives - this was the time of the first rising of Ninja Turtles and of course she made the pattern up herself and they were a huge success - she never wrote anything down which is a shame as I am sure it would have been a massive hit on Ravelry!  I have a fantastic knitted Father Christmas which comes out every year - and will do for the rest of my life!  Its difficult for me to write more at the moment - but as the weeks go on, maybe I will be able to share a few more of her knitting stories.

Anyway I promised a few stories from my trip home.

Firstly we went finally to see the Harry Potter Studio Tour.  I had been itching to get to this and the perfect 'excuse' of taking Fred as a surprise for his 10th Birthday cropped up in my head.  So our first day in the UK was sorted!

I can't begin to tell you how fantastic this Studio Tour is if you are a HP fan!  All the things you know and love are there, plus an absolutely mind-blowing amount of detail and background info.  Plenty of costumes and wigs - but also very happily quite a few items of knitwear!  Sadly we did not see the original of the H jumper I am knitting for Flo (my goodness its a labour of love - stocking stitch hell!!).  I could post lots of photos for you but thought I would just stick to the knitterly ones - If I can remember my password for Flikr I will make a set (when sites get bought up by the 'Giants' everything seems so much more difficult to get into somehow.....)

Jackets for Fred and George and Ginnys Cardigan at The Burrow

Lovely Crochet Cardigan which I think belonged to Mrs Weasley

Knitting 'Spell'  Not too sure what stitch that is??
I also took a video of the Knitting spell in action............ which you can see over on my Louiseluvsyarn Facebook page!  Which if you would like to pop over to and like and share I would be a very happy girl!

There was also some evidence of knitterly loveliness in the the Gryffindor Common Room - maybe the Knitting Spell also worked on Ron's blanket (or maybe it was originally Charlie's!)

Anyway - if you ever get the chance to go - sieze with both hands and a broomstick!

My next post will be all about our trip to Scotland - and the fun and games we had there!


How to Get More Time for Knitting : 5 Top Tips.....

Well of course this post is a little tongue in cheek - but I do get asked a lot how I manage to find time for knitting since I work full time - have a 40 minute commute each way and have two children (or 3 if you count the man of the house!) There is of course no magic answer and ignoring the housework just won't cut it (although I do have to put my hand up and say that I do have a cleaner - well I figure working full time I can afford that little luxury!) - and with washing and cooking to boot - that does not leave a big chunk of time for knitting. I mostly always knit if I am watching TV of course........

So here are my 5 top tips for saving time - thus giving you more time to knit!

Current WIP and I love it and want to finish it before the end of July!

1. Speeding up in the shower!

I am a HUGE fan of Nivea in-shower lotion!  I use it every morning whilst I have conditioner on my hair (prob no more than 30 seconds!) and then shower the whole lot off!  I have very dry skin and living in the middle east does not help that, but I have found this to be a fantastic product, does what it says it does, cheap and most importantly available in the UAE as well as the rest of the world!

I go for the blue one for dry skin

2.  Saving time on my hair!

Ok so my hair is a pain..... its thick and has a mind of its own and guess what.... it hates humidity........ and if its something we have in large amounts in the UAE its darn humidity!  Not only that, the heat makes your head sweat, especially this time of year when all venturing outside means wearing a hat or risking a burnt scalp (yep there is no good way of putting sunscreen in your hair to protect your head, without looking like you have not washed your hair for a month!).  So I have to wash my hair very often.  However recently I discovered Lee Stafford Blow Dry Faster spray (had to get it from the UK), and the Babyliss Big Hair brush.  These two treasures have cut down drying time from 15 mins to 5 and styling is done at the same time.  This not only saves time but also in the summer time, by the time your hair is dry you also risk breaking out in a fresh sweat from the heat of the dryer.......sigh...

Try them - you will see what I mean.......

I promise you won't look like you have 80"s hair!

Have to import from the UK but its worth it!

3.  Saving Tea Time

Now I know that not everyone needs a water cooler - but over here we do.  Water from the taps usually tastes vile and its not generally rain water (we don't get much!).  So everyone drinks mineral water.  Recently we got a new water cooler and its saved me so much time!  For tea or coffee I can just use the hot water button and its absolutely hot enough to save me from having to put the kettle on! (I do admit however that on a number of occasions I have accidentally pressed the cold button for tea and proved myself an utter fool!)

I love the way the bottle is in the bottom!!

4.  The 10 Item Wardrobe

Get yourself over to The Daily Connoisseur and check out Jennifer's blog posts on using a 10 Item Wardrobe. Now don't panic - you don't need to have ONLY 10 items, but 10 main pieces per season which you can mix and match with t-shirts, jackets and of course knitwear.  Jennifer works from home and is a mum with a fabulous figure - so just about the opposite to me! - but I have adapted this method for home and work and reduced my wardrobe to just the items which mix and match and which make me look my best.  I first read about this method in Lessons from Madame Chic which I downloaded on the way back from a business trip to Paris, where I noticed that the older the ladies get the more chic they look!  Jennifer is an American who spent some time in Paris and I loved the book.  Its not for everyone, but suits my control freak nature :)  Now I can go and pick out something from my wardrobe in 20 seconds and know everything will do its job!

5.  Go Pomodoro!

I love this concept, which bases itself on the original little tomato timer we grew up with.....

The idea is that you download an App (plenty of versions available from IOS or Android) for your phone which acts as the timer and you can do your chores in blocks of 25 mins with 5, 10 or 15 mins break.  Now of course I should use the 25 mins for work and the breaks for knitting........but it works perfectly the other way around too of course!

Well I hope you enjoyed that little tongue in cheek guide - I would love to know how you find time for knitting??

Finished Item: Shawshank Socks

Those of you who know me, also know that I am a latecomer to knitting socks - bearing in mind how long I have been knitting!  However I am growing to love them and this love has been re-enforced by my latest finished pair!

These are my Shawshank Socks which I finished a few days ago and which I think may be my favourite pair of socks to date!

The pattern is Rye from the Simple Collection - a FREE - yes I will say it again FREE pattern by the fabulous designers who make up Tincanknits.  I am a huge fan of their work and so amazed that they offer so much for free!  The patterns and simple, yet stylish and written in such a way as to make them suitable for even the most novice knitter.  Rye would be a fabulous pattern for anyone who has never knitted a pair of socks before - there will be no nightmares about turning a heel!

Of course a huge added benefit to knitting any pair of socks is the speed that they knit up!  I have been known to need a large gin and tonic to persuade me onto a second sock when I am knitting 3ply on toothpicks (yes the Earl Grey sock by the fabulous Stephanie Purl McPhee did in fact end up being a lonesome sock because I could not bear the thought of casting on the second - although I was making it for my Dad who has size 11 feet so that did have something to do with it - it ended up frogged nevertheless!).

Anyway the speed of these socks was fan-blooming-tastic as they were knit in The Plucky Knitter Primo Worsted!  This yarn came to me as part of the Plucky club which I joined a while ago. This particular yarn colour was inspired by the Shawshank Redemtion - one of my very favourite films - and the colour is called Hope is a Good Thing - a fabulous bright blue which makes me very happy!  I have quite a bit of The Plucky Knitter yarn due to the club - and I have to say each and every skein has made me happy - the colours are great and the high twist makes for good stitch definition.  You may remember that my Follow Your Arrow shawl in one of my previous posts was Plucky! Do check her shop out here on Etsy but be warned - she sells out fast!  The socks took me just over one skein and they are plenty big enough as I did the medium size (and I do have quite big feet - 40 EUR!) if you wanted your socks a little more snug even at my size I think knitting a small in this yarn would work and then you could probably get away with one skein as there are 200yds in each.  So now I have 75% of a skein left and I will see what I can do with it - probably not a hat, not enough for that, but fingerless gloves or a headband might well work.........

Anyway big thumbs up to the pattern and the yarn from me!

Warm and Cozy

I added re-enforced heel as I will wear them with walking boots

Look how lovely and crisp this yarn is - great stitch definition!

Finished Object: Green Goddess

So my Green Goddess is finally finished (in that its blocked, photographed and updated on Ravelry!) Of course those are the rules (of course fairly flexible) from the lovely Knitmore Girls podcast (which if you don't listen to already then you really really should!)

Anyway this was supposed to be the Hawkmoth Pullover by the very talented Debbie O'Neill from the Nutty Creations blog ...... hmmm!  I loved the pattern so much and really wanted a light pullover in lace weight.  I had the ideal colour in my stash - Posh Yarn Sylvia Lace in the colour way Globetrotter, which I had purchased two or three years ago and had just been calling out to me from the stash.  The colour is to die for - a really bright emerald green and perfect for the oodles of sunshine we get here in AD. (BTW just saying that if you visit the Posh yarn site, I deny any responsibility to your bank manager - its just the most fantastic yarn.........)

So I cast on and was very happy once I had done the body - but then I glanced at the remaining yarn and realised that this was one game of Yarn Chicken that I was just not going to win!  So I decided to make it into a tank/vest (depending on which side of the Atlantic you come from).  Completely and utterly fudged as I went along, but in all honesty I am really pleased with it and as the temperatures soar up in to the mid 40 degrees centigrade then it seems the best decision all round!

You can find details on my Ravelry page here Green Goddess I did over block the armholes a little bit - but you can't notice when its on, and when I wash it next time, I think I will be a little less aggressive!

Who has played Yarn Chicken recently?  Have you won or have you lost? Would love to hear from you!

I love the way this Posh Yarn pooled - so pretty
Good stitch definition
Lovely Drape!

Knitting on the Big Screen: Outlander (naturally!!)

I am always on the look out for fabulous knitwear on the big screen and of course for the first of this little occasional segment I just had to chose Outlander!

As I am a bit of an Outlander stalker on social media I know that Terry Moore (Terry as in female Terry) is the costume designer and from what I have seen in the sneak previews she has done an absolutely fantastic job.  Talk about job envy!  I love everything about historical costume and my family think I am mad when I read a book like 'The History of Underclothes' like a novel!

I am glad to say that my daughter is also following in my footsteps so we can have interesting chats about what sort of mens underpants were fashionable in 1580!!

Anyway back to the knitting - as you can see Claire (played by Catriona Balfe) is wearing a very cute shawlette.  I am sure replicas of this will come storming through Ravelry very shortly.  Looks to me like chunky weight with moss stitch and maybe even shaping cables at the back?  Yarn of course would have been handspun in the 18th Century but it does have something of the Rowan Coocon about it........ I am sure we will find out soon enough - the Outlander fans are nothing if not enterprising!!

Cant wait for August..........still don't know how we will see Outlander in the UAE but I am counting on this being as big as Game of Thrones (and I am late to the party with that one, only up to episode 4 of the first series....... yes thats a lot of knitting time ahead!)

UPDATE: in exciting updated news I found the maker of some of the other knitwear on Outlander - and she even has a shop and lives in Benbecula (for those not familiar with the geography of the UK - thats a place verra verra out of the way in Scotland!!)

Go and take a vista to her shop Inner Wild on Etsy

Finished Item: Follow Your Arrow

It took me a while to get there, but finally I finished the 'Follow Your Arrow' shawl from Ysolda Teague.

I was drawn to this pattern, being a lover of Ysolda's patterns for a long while now, because of the novel approach.  Each section of the shawl was presented as a 'clue' resulting in something like 36 versions of the shawl being completed depending on which clues were chosen.

I am not sure why it took me so long to get there - but I finally finished and I am delighted with the result!  I followed clues BAABA and having seen some of the other finished shawls I am really pleased with my choices.  All the results are lovely, but I especially like the first clue 'B' which gave a lovely semi circular start.  I have worn this quite a bit to work now that the air conditioning is kicking in, but the model in the photos is of course my lovely daughter Flo!

Yarn was Plucky Knitter MCN Fingering from the Plucky club and the colour way was Bleedin' Armadillo - looks almost stained with burgundy wine - gorgeous colour and great yarn to work with.

Queen of the Underestimate!

Hi everyone - hope everyone is happy and healthy!

So a bit of an update from me is probably overdue (as usual!)

Have to say I was completely overwhelmed by the reaction to the Lantern Shawl - my goodness it turned out to be very popular on Ravelry - and I might just have logged on several times to see how it was doing in the charts - top place was number 12 - and I was beside myself with joy!!

Of course it was short lived glory as the 'professionals' soon showed me just how long 15 minutes of fame actually is - but I was happy!  I did then find out that there was an error in the pattern - mainly due to the swap from Pages to Word - and of course confirmed my decision to offer the pattern for free rather than paid for - I am no technical editor!!

In other knitting news, I finished my stripy socks in the Quaere Fibre Slide Show colourway,  I just love this yarn - quite crisp and knits up a treat.  I am now looking for a suitable pattern for the Vincent and the Doctor colourway.

I was very happy to have the project to work on whilst I was in hospital - hmmmm me being me - i.e. the Queen of the Underestimate - had convinced myself that having a breast reconstruction would be a piece of cake, you know I have had 21 operations and bounced back very quickly etc etc etc!  Well this time I was wrong (yes I admit that I WAS WRONG!).  The operation was due to last 5 hours (which by most normal peoples standards is actually quite long.....) but it actually took 11 hours! I was then in intensive care for 3 days and in hospital for 10 days altogether. Nothing went particularly wrong - the surgeon wanted to make sure he made a good job of it - and of course that is what we all want from a surgeon is it not?! I lost quite a bit of blood due to the skin graft and ended up with 4 different scars.  Anyway towards the end I was very bored of being in hospital and could just about manage to knit 1 or 2 rows an hour so I finished one of the socks in hospital and then finished the other when I finally got home.

You can see from the photos just what a fantastic yarn this is!!

In other news...........  I am still just about as obsessed with Outlander as I ever was and can't wait for the series to begin in the summer.  Not sure if we will get it in the UAE, but I have subscribed to our local version of Netflix, which is ICFlix and they have all the Starz programmes to stream.  I have also started to watch Black Sails - which is a Starz original and thats fab - so makes me even more keen to see Outlander.  Have almost finished the first book and hope to have read the second by the time the series starts.  I may just have persuaded the family that we should go and spend a week in Scotland when we go back to the UK in July!  I love Scotland and have been a few times - but of course Outlander has also rekindled the love.  We will stay on the shores of Loch Tay - which is a great place to use as a base for exploring the highlands and the mid lands.  As my daughter is dating a Scotsman he will also be with us for authenticity!!!

I am also now nearly at the end of the "Follow Your Arrow' shawl by Ysolda Teague.  I am not sure why it has taken me so long to get going with this one.  Its turning out a lovely shape (well at least the clues I am using make it so!)  I have tended to go for the 'easier' clues, since coming out of hospital I don't have as much 'bandwidth' as I would like (probably due to the anaemia!) - but in any case I am happy with it.  Not sure what to do next - thinking of an Outlander inspired project......... Celtic Knots are calling to me...........see comment on bandwidth above, not sure if thats a recipe for disaster!!

Anyway I will leave you with two of my favourite images from the upcoming series - just to whet your appetite!!!

Happy Days

Hi All

Not been on the blog for a bit since we have moved house - boy oh boy had I forgotten what a stressful time moving can be!  I don't think its the actual move which is the problem, in our case it was getting rid of all the stuff which could not go to the new place, due to lack of space or lack of 'fit'.  I did sell quite a lot of stuff but that in itself is a time consuming practice, especially when you are working full time - and as those of you who live in the UAE know, a full time working expat mum is something more unusual - everyone 'expects' you to be there during the day (don't even get me started on how I have had 'run ins' with the school over parents 'evenings' which start at 2.30pm!!!!!).

Anyway we are in and mostly settled, a few minor teething problems, but overall we are really happy in the new community and waiting eagerly for the neighbourhood Nandos to open!  A hop skip and a jump to Waitrose - just need a LYS and I will be sorted!!

In other news I have finally finally published my Lantern Shawl pattern!  This is the pattern I designed back in 2012 for the lovely Jocelyn for the Dubai Knits first yarn club - I was in the December shipment (felt a bit like a Pirelli Calendar - err in my dreams!!!).  Anyway the design was going ok until I got diagnosed with Breast Cancer and so it slowed down........and memories of test knitting whilst feeling sick with anxiety about my lymph node results are still very vivid.  Then just before I was due to submit to Jocelyn I dropped my beloved Mac on the marble floor and wrecked the hard drive :(  Suffice to say I had to go back to my scribbled notes and make head and tail of them and re-write and re populate the charts!  Since then I have been promising myself to publish it and finally along comes the 'Big Love Along' on the Playfulday podcast group - so the lovely ladies over there inspired me to finally get the thing done - no more procrastination (hmmmm should I have called it Procrastination Shawl I wonder???)

So last night I finally finished making the pattern look pretty and I published to Ravelry!  I have made it a free pattern since I thought it would be nice to 'give back' to the Ravelry community since when I was ill I got so much support from them - in many ways it was easier to talk to complete strangers rather than my own close friends and family.......

Anyway here it is Lantern Shawl so I hope you enjoy it if you knit it!

Also probably a good idea to give you an idea of the inspiration...... Jocelyn based the colour way (top two photos) on the Lantern Festival in the Philippines - very bright and colourful.  I wanted to use the diamond patten because it reminded me of the 'tiles' on the Yas Hotel here in Abu Dhabi and then when I saw a photo of the Lanterns it just all came together!

If you have ever been to Abu Dhabi or watched the F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on TV you will know that the roof of the hotel lights up and can be programmed in many colours or animations - its pretty spectacular and very very OTT!!

Anyway I will leave you with a photo of the sunset from my new balcony - I am a lucky girl in many many ways!

On Arrowtown and being Gorgeous!

Hi everyone and firstly a Happy New Year!

Hope you all had a good Holiday season - ours was quiet as we stayed here in the UAE - but there was one very good thing about that ......... gave me lots of knitting time!

Therefore I have finally finished my Arrowtown shawl!  I am absolutely delighted with this shawl!  Its really simple, just garter stitch and a ruffled edge but I think the simplicity of the pattern works so well with this yarn.  Not only is it beautifully dyed, but also is as soft as clouds and as warm as toast! If there is enough interest I will write up what I did - it really was childsplay!

So I introduce my first official FO of 2014! Photos courtesy of my lovely model Flo - who has just turned 17 - where oh where did that time go!

In other news I have decided to start a blog for my other obsession in life - beauty products!  Now I know there are literally thousands of blogs out there covering beauty - but not that many for those of us who are over 40 (well quite a bit over 40 in my case!!).  I really don't see why we should not continue to celebrate being a woman and deserve to be as gorgeous as those under 40!  Who does not like to pamper themselves from time to time! Anyway please do pop over there and have a look - I don't take myself too seriously and I will tell it like it is when I review a product!  Expect some tips and some journeys back into the past to reminisce on beauty products of old............

A Pocketful of Gorgeous

Also check out the Facebook page A Pocketful of Gorgeous where I will be posting my current crushes.

Who says you cannot be gorgeous whilst you are knitting :)

Welcome to 2014 and lets have some fun...........