Bigger on The Inside!

Last week I finally finished my 'Bigger on the Inside' shawl.

As you might know from previous posts - we are huge Dr Who fans in this household and since the 'new' series began back with the 9th Doctor - the lovely Christopher Ecclestone - we have not missed an episode!

Fred and I have been along to the Dr Who exhibition when it was in London, we have also made the Tardis for a school project on 'Time Machines' and Fred went to school dressed at the 11th Doctor - Matt Smith - for his 'film and TV star day'!!

We even own an inflatable Dalek!!

Fred as Matt Smith, various Dr Who themed Birthday gifts, Inflatable Dalek and home made Tardis for a school project!!

So was it any surprise at all that I wanted to knit the 'Bigger on the Inside Shawl' by Kate Atherley??

The pattern is available on and after looking through the projects on Ravelry I decided to work with the Knit Picks Gloss Fingering in the Winter Night colourway.

I have to admit I had started the shawl once before in lace weight and it was a disaster!  The lace section had completed confounded me and I frogged it!  However this time it was a lot easier in fingering weight yarn and whilst you still needs to have your wits about you whilst doing the lace section, it did make for much easier knitting.

I took it with me on our first trip to the UK this year and spend a lovely few days on the Kent coast in quirky Dungeness and made some good progress!

A gorgeous spot for knitting!

After the lace section however I got hooked up with other projects and finally I picked up the project in September, wanting to finish it for the new series!  However that was not to be!

I finally got it finished last week.  Its a lot of knitting but the little Tardis' (Tardii??) were interesting to knit and the yarn was very easy to knit with so the last part flew along!

Lace section

The shawl is subtle enough to wear without anyone screaming 'Dr Who Weirdo!' at me! I did wear it to the Abu Dhabi Gaming Convention on Friday last week - just before our drama which resulted in Fred having to have his appendix out!! Because of that we did not get any photos sadly - but will try again as soon as Fred is better and can hold the camera up!!

So if you are a Dr Who Nerd like me - give it a go - its very cute!

Read more detail on my Ravelry Project page Geronimo!

What is Lupus? Lupus Awareness Month

This week I am going to take a slight diversion from my normal knitting talk, and share a bit about my experience of Lupus.  October is Lupus Awareness Month and there have been a few articles floating around on the net – especially since Selina Gomez has been diagnosed with the disease.

So what is Lupus?  Lupus is an auto immune disease – basically it’s your own immune system turning on itself and attacking like it’s a storm of Orcs in the Lord of the Rings!  Mind you the most distressing thing about the disease is that you never know where it’s going to turn up – some people have rheumatoid arthritis, some have chronic skin rashes and some, like me are unfortunate enough to sustain organ damage.  It’s a nasty disease, which is only really just being 

Each Lupus sufferer has a different story to tell – and yes they can be so different that you may think they are suffering from a totally different disease – but each one of us can tell you how much it affects every aspect of your life.

I was diagnosed finally at the age of 24, after having 2 years of seemingly constant illness.  Every six weeks or so I would get a ‘stomach bug’ which would put me to bed for 2 or 3 days and take a further 2 or 3 days to get over, with terrible headaches, vomiting and urine which looked the same colour as a class of Coke.  Each time would be worse than the last, but although I was ill I still looked really fine – no particular weight loss (I was slim at the time already) and because I was fairly fit at the time too, I bounced back quite quickly.

So I kept on working and struggling to maintain some semblance of normal in my life.  I had just got a really good job where I was travelling around the UK and I put on a brave face.  But it was terrible – I would be throwing up at work and back at the hotel at night.  I remember one particular time being so ill that I actually threw up in the reception of a hotel (The Cumberland in Oxford Street) whilst trying to check out – to the chorus of disapproving “Should not have drunk so much last night”…………… why, when seeing a young woman clearly sick, do people think you have been drinking or are pregnant!  Work was no better – they accused me of taking too much sick time and because of that they were going to give me a poor performance review – clearly they thought I was making it all up because I ‘you look well – you don’t look ill’ – but the reality was that each day was a monumental struggle to get through and I did not know what the heck was wrong with me.  Doctors made some wild assumptions including Porphyria – the same disease that ‘Mad’ King George had in the 18th Century!  I was put onto antibiotics and went for many blood tests but to no avail.

Eventually one foresighted doctor referred me to the Royal Airforce Hospital, Halton, Renal Unit.  There I had 3 kidney biopsies and eventually they came to the diagnosis of Lupus!  I of course had never heard of it!  My consultant, Wing Commander Rainford, specifically told me NOT to go off to the library to look up Lupus!  So what did I do…………yes you have guessed it – I went off straight there and saw in an old book that Lupus was uncurable (yes that’s still the case) and that most people died within 2-3 years of diagnosis (wrong wrong wrong!) – well, as you can imagine at 24 this was pretty devastating!!   Of course then, as now, progress was being made all the time and now 25 years plus later – I am still around (well not without some other major health issues – but I am still here!!).

So the great thing was that I was no longer going to being sick every 6 weeks – this was going to make my life so much better – yes! …………………NO!  Instead I had to take a cocktail of drugs to keep my immune system in check – including the heinous Prednisolone!!

Prednisolone made me fat, made my face swell, made me even more tired, made my hair brittle and made me super sensitive to the sun (added to the fact that Lupus makes you sensitive to the sun anyway!).  Vitamin D made me itch – itch like there was no way of ever escaping (in the end I refused to take it!!) and other immunosuppressants made me break out in warts!

Coupled with regular trips to the hospital (which was over 80 miles from my house), sometimes as an inpatient and sometimes just for a check up, I found out what it was like to have a Chronic disease.
I was 24 – my life was ahead of me – a life which was now going to be dominated by illness (and still is to some extent, although I have had to learn to live with it!)  I had a disease which no one understood which made me look well (note ‘wow you have put on some weight in your face – you ARE looking well’!!) – with no idea where it was going to lead me.  I wanted children – that was going to be pretty much out of the question now. It was all pretty gloomy.

I’d like to tell you it all ended with a happy ending – it didn’t, it doesn’t…………..

My symptoms came and went  over the next 5 years– sometimes my Lupus was really raging and I would be ill again, and sometimes it would be in respite for a couple of months.  I never knew what it was going to do next.  My periods were heavy,  I had a rash on my face,  I was tired, I got migraines – we never knew if it was Lupus or something ‘normal’.

And then when I was 29 I got pregnant!  Lupus was pretty quiet at the time, I was ‘just’ tired and picking up every cold going – but aside from that the Doctors agreed that with care we could proceed with the pregnancy.

I am not going into the details too much but Lupus was sited as the reason I got pre-ecplampsia, delivered a month early and why I was carrying the Streptococcus virus which passed to my unborn daughter in the birth canal, and why she died 12 hours later………………  Her death certificate sited cause of death as ‘Lupus’.  Whilst she may not have had the disease herself – it caused her death.

I was of course devastated, I felt like I had let my partner down – of all the people he could have chosen I was the one who was sick, who had caused the death of his daughter – I was not in a good place.

Lupus is an evil disease and preys upon you when you are at your lowest!  It flared up (Lupus ‘flares’ are those times when the disease is active) and I was very ill – mentally and physically.  Wing Commander Rainford told me that the only thing to do before too much more damage was done, was to put me onto Chemotherapy (Cyclophosphamide, same drug as is reported Selina Gomez been given).  Now this was not the intensive chemo that cancer patients have to bear, but was a once a month trip to the hospital for over a year to have a cocktail of lethal drugs which made me feel absolutely vile for 2 or 3 days (and although I can hardly believe it now, I drove the 80 miles there and back each time!!!).  Thankfully I have a mad mop of hair and I did not lose too much,  but I went back onto steroids as well – a low time.

It was then that we decided to get married and right up until 1 week before the wedding, we did not have a photographer – I did not want photos of me on my happy day, looking so awful.  We did go ahead and get a photographer and even now when I see my wedding photos I feel a flutter in my stomach – this was not how it was supposed to be – I was supposed to look like my friends did on their wedding days– the gorgeous bride………….I wore a big hat to try and hide my huge moon face.  Yes you might say that that’s very vain of me – but this disease had chosen me – it wasn’t fair, why had it not chosen anyone else – pointless thoughts of course.

Fast forward four years and Lupus had finally gone into remission.  The disease had only affected my kidneys (not sure if I should be thankful for that or not) and RAF Halton had closed down so I was referred to the only Lupus unit in the country at the time at St Thomas’ Hospital under the care of Professor Hughes – the UK pioneer of Lupus research.  Professor Hughes agreed that we could try for another baby so we did just that and fell pregnant very quickly. There were lots of complications in the pregnancy, but our daughter Florence was born 8 week premature at St Thomas’s hospital on 27th December 1996.

And then my kidneys completely failed………………………………………and my Lupus completely disappeared from my system – like the Orcs, it fled leaving devastation behind!

I have had many more problems since then (Dialysis, Transplant, Cancer – I can save those for another day!) Lupus is a devastating disease and its twists and turns can be cruel and unpredictable. I am the lucky one, I got my transplant, I have a beautiful daughter and son (born after my kidney transplant) - I consider myself lucky - others are not so lucky.

 I wish Selina Gomez the very best, my hope is that she can do more to promote understanding and research into Lupus – but give her space, somedays she will be looking her usual glamourous self, but underneath she will be a vulnerable 23 year old, who is tired beyond anything she has ever felt before and getting to grips with the fact that her life will never be the same again. 

My heart goes out to her and all my fellow sufferers throughout the world in this awareness month.

More information on Lupus can be found at:

Images above are from the Lupus UK website and more facts can be found there and on their Facebook page.

Woolly Hat Day 2015

Happy Woolly Hat Day Everyone!!

Wooly Hat Day is part of Wool Week and is supported by the Campaign for Wool.

Its also a time to raise money for charity and the Mission for Seafarers is looking for donations.  Its easy to do in the UK as per the below banner!!

In celebration of the day I have put together a collage of my own woolly hat collection!!

In the centre middle is my own Lordship Lane Hat which can be found here on Ravelry - Lordship Lane Hat and Scarf - its a free pattern but if you would like to donate to the Wooly Hat charities perhaps you could text to Wool 11 as the note above!

Anyway its as usual too hot here in Abu Dhabi to wear a woolly hat so I will be donating without wearing!!

Enjoy your weekend!!

From top left:

Lordship Lane Hat and Scarf

Top Ten Sock Knitting Patterns for Socktober

If you are a knitter and not been abducted by Aliens then I am sure you will have heard of Socktober!! I am knitting some gorgeous new socks for me as part of the celebrations, but I thought I would give you my top ten picks of patterns available on Ravelry which might tempt you to start a pair of socks or even given we are already a few days into the month - you might want inspiration for a second pair??? (Ever the optimist I know!)

Top Ten Knitting Patterns for Socks

1.  Seed Pods by Louise Tilbrook:

Well of course these are number one!  This is my pattern of choice for my Socktober efforts!  I am finally using my treasured Skein of Buffy Toughie by the sadly lamented and missed Juno Fibre Arts. Loving the pattern so far and very well written - well done Louise!! Available for £2.50 on Ravelry.

Find Seed Pods here on Ravelry

WIP on my Seed Pods in Juno Fibre Arts Buffy Toughie

2.  Rye by Tincanknits

If you are a newbie to socks this HAS to be the pattern to start you.  Its fabulously written - there is no way you can go wrong and its FREE - what's not to like!  I love them, they are quick, simple and there are instructions for all sorts of sizes!  Do a pair for each member of the family!

Find Rye Socks here on Ravelry

My Rye Socks in Plucky Knitter Yarn

Such a lovely easy pattern

3.  Elgin by Clare Devine

In my queue - these just look the most comfy socks that ever lived!!!  AND they look a quick knit too!! A paid for pattern £3.50 on Ravelry.

Find Elgin Socks  here on Ravelry

4.  Monkey by Cookie A

Where would a top 10 list of socks be without Monkeys - again these are on my queue and saved for when I have given up work and have more time to concentrate!!! This pattern is still available for free via but if you want a bigger range of sizes there is a $6.00 version on Ravelry.

Find Monkey socks here on Ravelry

5.  Muddy Daffodils by Clare Devine

Clare makes it into the list again at number 5 - the best pair of yellow socks I have ever seen! The pattern for these yellow beauties is £3.50 on Ravelry.

Find Muddy Daffodils here on Ravelry

6.  Fish Lips Kiss Heel Socks by Sox Therapist

There are many different types of heel around - and I definitely want to try the Fish Lips Kiss Heel - if only for the name!!  The pattern is a steal at $1.00 on Ravelry!

Find Fish Lips Kiss Heel socks here on Ravelry

7.  Afterthought Heel Socks by Laura Linneman

Again another different type of heel I want to try - its pretty popular and similar to the Fish Lips Kiss, perhaps a little more sturdy.  And the great news is that this is a FREE pattern on Ravelry.

Find Afterthought Heel socks here on Ravelry

And then try these at your peril...... well it IS nearly Halloween after all..........

8. Pair-A-Normal Socks by Barry Scates

I'm not too good a colour work and whilst these are only black and white - they look way to complicated to me!!! These are another fabulous free pattern on!

Find Pair A Normal sock on Ravelry here

9.  Elf Shoes by Pamela Wynne

I admit it, I secretly really really want to knit these - and yes they are probably classed as shoes or slippers but they could also be classed as socks..yes??  Even better news is that this is also a FREE pattern on Ravelry.

Find Elf Shoes here on Ravelry

10.  Cowasocky by Leslie Comstock

These somehow just seem so wrong.......but so right......  FREEEEEZIAN (get it??) pattern again on Ravelry!

Find Cowasocky here on Ravelry

Hope you enjoyed that quick romp around my current faves - would love to hear what your favourite Socktober patterns are??

Leaving the Nest to Feather the new one!!

There have been a few articles in the press in the last few weeks about kids leaving home and going off to University both from the 'Freshers Flu' point of view and the 'What are we going to do without the Kids' angle! Of course I still have a relatively small person (aged 11 if that counts as small!) but my eldest has now officially left home for the big wide world! But yes I can relate to the feelings of emptiness and the inevitable change that a child moving away means, and in my case she's thousands of miles away - I'm not sure if that makes it harder or not..................I'm still getting my head around that one!

The first wrench was 3 weeks ago when she left Abu Dhabi for the last time (well the last time as a resident anyway!) and I was surprised at how emotional I felt about that, seeing her off at the airport at 5.30am on another hot and sultry morning in the desert. She could not understand it - 'Mum, you will see me in 2 weeks, what's the fuss?' - well the fuss is that everytime I closed my eyes I saw a toddler with swathes of long dark hair with huge brown eyes, with unbelieveably long lashes, saying 'Can I have a hug Mummy before we watch Teletubbies?' and that was the tough part - my little girl has officially Grown Up!

So the intervening 2 weeks went pretty slowly for me until I sat down on the British Airways 1.45am red eye flight back to Heathrow to move her into Uni! 7 Hours later I picked up the hire car (little white manual VW Polo - which I kept stalling because I am so used to driving an automatic  (yep I am an Expat Brat!) drove to Sevenoaks to pick her up from my sister-in-laws house and we set off for Bath!

I absolutely adore Bath - as you may know from previous posts, I am a History Nerd and therefore the city ticks all the boxes there could possibly be for me - I'll be honest I could camp out indefinitely in the The Fashion Museum with a copy of Northanger Abbey to read over and over again - picking out those 'ironic' bits that my English Literature teacher at school was obsessed with! We spent the first couple of days at Ikea and Primark (hate them both because they are 'fast' - but budget requirements meant they were the only option) and we managed to get everything we needed for her (well at least we thought we had everything until our Skype call yesterday.......Toilet Brush!!!!!!!!)

Naturally I had to pack all the hand knits - and yes I wore them all!!!

How could anyone not love this architecture!

Flo had never actually been to the University Campus, having had her interview over Skype so we both had a great shock when we arrived on Saturday to do the final registrations - such a stunning location, helped by gorgeous weather - which I am reliably informed is not always so lovely, I had obviously packed some sun to share. Her Halls are in another part of Bath, a short bus ride away and Sunday was spent moving her in. Bath Spa University - details here.

As you would expect - more gorgeous architecture at Bath Spa University

Traditional parkland planting - probably by one of the Georgian Landscape Designers - definitely need to research!

I love the mix of traditional and modern

I was shocked at the amount of 'Stuff' being packed into quite small rooms by some of the students! Flo and I are both advocates of the 'less is more' school of thought and I introduced her to the Konmarie form of folding t shirts to fit neatly into drawers. Took us a couple of hours and we were pleased with our work and I even managed to put fairy lights up for her whilst the rest of her flatmates were still wading through their cardboard boxes! Then it was time to go - time to leave her with her new friends - time to let go!

BUT........ there is always a silver lining to every cloud and even though the sound of the BA theme as we landed in Abu Dhabi the next day sent me into tears............... I did have a fab time in the UK and there was always the yarn................there IS always the yarn................ 

So, where to start..... I had made an online order at Tangled Yarn because I completely fell for the Wingu Shawl by Claire Devine. This was a very serendipitous moment because I had just posted an old photo of Sperm Whale watching in New Zealand (still one of the greatest moments of my life) and can you believe the colours Claire used for the shawl were an almost exact match to the colours of the photo! So I was straight onto the Tangled Yarns site to order! Well as these things happen (well they happen to me anyway) I then saw the packs for the Pwani Shawl by Claire and I fell for the 'On the Shore' colourway which are browns and creams - so into the basket they went! I hastily called Flo and told her to expect them in the UK and to pack them carefully when they arrived! On our first night in Bath she casually threw the parcel at me, which was a lot lighter than I expected! However I was delighted when I saw the yarn - Light Fingering - a very apt name and with the light and open patterns Claire has created these are going to be ideal for desert wear!

Able and Ivy Kit in the 'On the Shore' Colourway

Coast Colourway for the Wingu shawl

 I have not been into a yarn store since January when I had made a rushed purchase of some Debbie Bliss cotton in Tunbridge Wells so I was really looking forward to going to a 'proper' indie shop! A Yarn Story in Bath was my LYS of choice so we headed up there on Saturday afternoon! The shop was full of lovely ladies learning to drop spin and I happily squished and stroked and 4 skeins of beautiful yarn became mine!!

How beautiful are these!!!

Firstly were these beauties from Townhouse Yarns in Ireland.

This skein is the Grafton 4 ply which is 80% Superwash Merino, 10% Cashmere and 10% Nylon.  It feels like clouds of marshmallow due to the Cashmere!  There are 400m in this 100g skein called Cherry Cola!!

The next skein is Camden Tweed which is 85% Superwash Merino and 15% Donegal Nep.  Again 400m in a 100g Skein.  Colourway is Troi and its a real 'Duck Egg' Blue!

I was super excited to finally purchase some The Uncommon Threadyarn.  So many podcasters (ear burning you A Playful Day!!) have raved about this yarn but I have never seen, let alone bought a skein, so I am super happy with this! Its a Singleton which is 100% Superwash Merino with a whopping 415m!  This may become a shawl because I need more grey shawls in my life!
Last but by no means least is this 'Skein of Awesome'!!!!

Just look at this beauty!!  This is from Life in the Long Grass  another Irish supplier and its 75% Superwash Merino and 25% Nylon and if the Uncommon Thread skein was long - how about 425m!!

The custom colourway is simply stunning with pinks and creams, lilacs and purples!

And the name ...... Confused Hydrangea ... genius!!!

So now if I am able to claim via third party (i.e. Flo), my new LYS is A Yarn Story, 128 Walcot Street , Bath - go get yourself some Confused Hydrangea - you won't be sorry!!!

Handmade Wardrobe Challenge

I do ask myself sometimes if I over commit!! I am a full time working Mum and am out of the house for 11 hours a day! So why do I so want to keep on challenging myself....... I guess it comes from growing up in a house where my Mum, even though she only worked on and off during my childhood - was never still, there was always a sewing project or knitting project on the go and very often both at once.

I'm not the sort of person who can sit still on the sofa, my hands start to twitch and I have to be doing something.  When those hands stray to the phone to launch Candy Crush then I have to give myself a good talking to and pick up something more worthy to do - thats just how I am!

So when Helen of the Curious Handmade podcast set up the Handmade Wardrobe Challenge I was totally ready for it, even if my inner self thinks I am completely mad.  There was also a podcast episode recently from A Playful Day where Kate interviewed Jen from Makedo and Mendable and I was inspired by what she said - resonated so much with me.

Of course I am now 'of a certain age' and shopping on the high street (or in my case the highly air conditioned shopping malls) fills me with dread.  I am a number of different sizes and since my mastectomy and re-construction I am not really symmetrical any more.  Plus the fact that the materials are nasty unless you pay a fortune for designer wear.

Back in the late 80's when I was a tall slim size 10 (those were the days!!) you'd have thought I could have gone and bought anything I liked in the shops!  Well I have always been one who does not like to conform and the thought of wearing the same 'uniform' as everyone filled me with dread!  So I made dresses, tops, trousers, shorts and even my pride and joy, a short coat with a gorgeous silk lining and a huge round collar in a deep chocolate brown wool! (the collar was so wide that the whole thing would not even fit in my wardrobe - but it was the height of fashion at the time!)

So back to today - I live in a very hot place and one minute I am in the intense heat and the next in the freezing air conditioning so my wardrobe needs to adapt!  The Handmade Wardrobe challenge is giving me the inspiration to start thinking of what it REALLY is that I need to wear.

Therefore my first project is going to be the Sorbet Top by Collette Patterns.  This is a free pattern and I am going to make it in a soft blue linen, but with a gather at the front rather than a pleat.

Detail from the pattern!

Of course living in Abu Dhabi means that sourcing suitable material was not straightforward.  There are lots of fabric shops, as there are many many tailors in the city.  However..... some of the materials are not really what I would call subtle!  They are used for the gorgeous bright dresses the ladies wear under their Abayas traditionally and also for dresses for weddings and feasts which are the most outrageous and gorgeously over the top things you can imagine - I was so surprised when attending an Arab wedding - the ladies side was the most glamorous place I have ever seen!  Anyway I set off into the downtown area of Abu Dhabi to Cairo Fabrics which has a massive selection of very reasonably priced fabric and so I managed to get enough for 3 tops and also some gorgeous teal coloured jersey which will become something fabulous - although I am not sure what yet!

A trip to Downtown Abu Dhabi in 45 degree heat brought me to Cairo Fabrics and my haul!

So watch this blog - I may have to rename myself Louiseluvsfabric!!!

Oh and PS my Sewing Machine is very very old!!! I think its about time I treated myself to a new one!  Mine was bought with my very first Bonus from work when I was about 24 (previous had used my Mum's pass me down Jones) it cost £125 which was a fortune then!  My sister just bought a new Berlina and I am hugely jealous - any suggestions would be gratefully received!!!

Finishing leads the way to Starting

I wonder sometimes whether all types of artists and creative people are the same..... we love the process of making, but towards the end the desire to finish a project goes along with the huge desire to start the next one!  I am sure that all the Knitters I know feel like that and for me those last few rows are yes for sure a huge sense of satisfaction, but also have the added excitement of giving you the chance to start planning and plotting for the next cast on! (well lets be honest sometimes thats the next cast ons - plural!!)

I have recently finished quite a number of things and I shared with you the completion of my Gemini sweater last time (and I still love it!!) - and its time for the other FO's to take centre stage!

So in no particular order here is what I have finished.......... I'll save the cast ons for later!


I actually finished this cardigan way back in June!  I took it back to the UK with me on our trip there for the wedding and was happy to wear it a few times as it was chilly!  This was a really interesting knit and the pattern was easy to memorise after a while. The pattern is well written and I used Posh Yarn 4 ply Sylvia in the Astonish colour way which was from stash and err about 5 years old!!

The finished cardigan did look a bit small and grew quite a lot when I blocked it.  It fits fine but I think I would like to do a sport weight version because I think it would look nice as a looser fit as well!  I know its a very popular pattern on Ravelry and I can see why - although I think its not really a beginner knit - you would probably need to be reasonably confident before attempting it!


Casting on way back in January!
Very happy with the finished article!

I can't tell you how long I have been wanting to knit this!!  I used to subscribe to the Rowan Magazine when I was living in London and I remember seeing it for the first time when it arrived in the post in issue 46 back in 2009!  However since I then almost immediately re-located to Abu Dhabi, it seemed not something appropriate to knit or wear in the short term!  Fast forward 6 years and I decided I really must knit it and have it ready for trips home!  So I ordered the Rowan Yarn from Yarn Warehouse (really good service from them!) and started it in January 2015.  However as the weather got warmer in AD, my mind strayed to other projects and it took me until September to finish!!  My trip to Bath to settle Flo into Uni was the catalyst and I am so glad I finished it.  In truth its quite a quick knit and looks way more complicated than it actually is!  Size 6mm needles and the Rowan Cocoon makes for quite a quick knit (ignoring my months of not touching it!!) although on a note to myself I should never knit with Cocoon on my black sofa - the combination led to a lot of hoovering!!  It had been a long time since I had knit a garment which needed seaming so that was something I had to get my head around and I strained my wrist a bit because I was trying to seam too fast ha ha!  I wore this on my trip home and loved it worn with a long sleeved t-shirt underneath and one of my light Muji scarves which Keith gave me for Christmas! And yes I forgot to take a photo!! Duh!!

I posted a photo of this on the Rowan Facebook page and was delighted that they shared it!!

Liquorice Hat

Lovely neat ribbing with the Preciosa!

Pom Pom definitely needed!

Pom Pom attached!

I knit this hat as part of the #knitsharelove knit along hosted by Claire Devine.  I have loved Claire's designs for a while from afar and this was the first one I have actually knitted!  I was a bit late to actually join in the part where I shared a pattern with a friend - but decided that I wanted to knit along anyway!  Well what can I say about this!  Super fast knit and the pattern is really well written.  I used the Knit Picks Preciosa Tonal in the Duchess colourway - which is a super rich purple!  I love the pattern but I think the yarn probably does not have enough structure for a hat!  Its very light and I will probably make a cowl to go with the hat,  but once I had put on my giant pom pom it became a bit more floppy than I would have liked!  Mind you, looking on the bright side, it weighs practically nothing so won't affect any baggage allowances!!

Baby Shower Presents

Such a cute little Romper

Knitted with All My Love

In progress

All blocked and ready to go!

So a lovely friend is having her baby shower this week - so I think I can finally post some pictures of what I have made for her without giving the surprise away!

Firstly I designed a baby blanket for her.  You might remember my Lantern Shawl which I designed for the Dubai Knits yarn club - well I based the blanket roughly on that although I changed the lace pattern slightly to give it a bit more of a 3D look.  I have not written the pattern up yet and I hope to do that over the weekend before I give it away!  For this I used more of my Plucky Knitter Primo Worsted yarn which I got from the Plucky Club in the colourway 'Shades of Pemberley'.  The blanket is designed to be used as an occasional little blanket for the car seat or pushchair so its not too big - just the sort of thing to throw on a little one when getting out of the car and going into the cold air con of the shopping mall!!

The second present was inspired by the gorgeous little cotton romper suit I picked up in Bali.  Here in the UAE its hard to know whats best for the little ones!  Staying inside in the air con is obviously not great but going outside can be too hot so little ones are often seen in just a nappy and vest to keep them cool!  Hopefully this little romper is a prettier alternative.  But what to wear with it?  I knew I wanted something in cotton and I had already got some Aslan Trends Glaciar Del Cielo from IKnit in London in the stash (hope you are noting how much stash I have been getting through!!!) and the colour matched perfectly!  The problem was to find the pattern - I knew in my head what I wanted but I could not find anything on Ravelry which matched up with that!  So I had a look in my mums old patterns from the 50's and 60's and took some inspirations but of course wanted to make sure it was a top down, no seam affair.......  I decided to make the fastening fuss free and put a large popper for closing rather than a button or a tie.  overall I am pleased with it - although if I have one tiny criticism of myself I think the increases in the yoke look a bit obvious - but thats also probably the nature of the cotton - even with blocking, cotton does not 'bloom'.  Anyway lets hope the babe likes it!

So thats all for this post - I will share next time some news from my trip to Bath to settle Flo into University!