Monday, 4 December 2017

Tiny Dutch Christmas Elf Clogs

I decided to make some new Christmas decorations for my tree. What could be more cute than some tiny pairs of elf shoes? 

In The Netherlands at Christmas, children leave a shoe out by the fireplace or sometimes a windowsill. They also believe that if they leave some hay and carrots in their shoes for Sinterklass's horse, they will be left some sweets or small presents. I am not Dutch, but this seems like such a lovely tradition that I thought I would make  some very tiny elf clogs, to contain sweets or nuts on the tree. My daughter tells me that her German friend leaves a boot on the front doorstep for Saint Nicholas to fill, even though she lives in England.

I am posting about this today because we are very close to the days, 5th/6thDecember when St. Nicholas's Day is celebrated. (Although in some countries it is celebrated on 19th December.)

The pattern is available on ravelry, Etsy, Craftsy, and will be on LoveKnitting. They are an easy knit, all in garter stitch, and with one small seam to sew.

I apologise for the huge number of photos. I have rather got a bit carried away with making these little shoes. I also wanted to show them before and after they have been decorated. They are such a quick make, but also great fun to decorate. I have embroidered with wool, and added some beads. I am sure they could be zhuzhed up in other ways. I would love to see what other people do with them.

I've taken most of these photographs at the front of my house, where I have a fir tree. Lots of curious looks from passers-by. So my only problem now is when I do put them on the Christmas tree (we don't have it yet as my husband like to leave it closer to the day), how to I stop one very greedy labrador getting to them. 

In fact the whole dog/Christmas thing is a bit of a worry. We don't go to town with decorations, but do always have a tree in the living room, with gifts around it. I would love any tips on how to do Christmas with a dog who will eat anything and everything. I suspect the answer is, "carefully".


Monday, 20 November 2017

Vintage Caravan

This week I made one of my vintage caravans for an Etsy customer. It is always a bit odd for me when I return to one of patterns that I wrote a while ago. Did I really do that? But it turned out the same as my original caravan, which is always reassuring.

You can find the Vintage Caravan Pattern here, which also explains how you can make a caravan keyring. I still have a few of these and other transport keyrings in my Etsy Shop.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Weather Watchers

I have not being doing as much photography as I used to. So I have been trying recently to take a few more shots, and send some photographs to the BBC Weather Watchers. You can submit your photographs online, and if you are very lucky your photo might be featured behind the weather forecaster on one of the BBC News programmes.

I had been trying occasionally for a while, with no luck. My new decision was that every day when I walk the dog, I take my camera, and submit the best photograph. I think there is a bit of an art to it. Your photo has to be taken on that day, be landscape in orientation, not feature people, and reflect something about the weather that the presenter wants to talk about. Occasionally there will be an arty close up, but I tend to think that you need at least half of the photo to be of the sky.

I was delighted last week that finally one of my photos was featured on the BBC News Channel. You get a message telling you that you are Editor's Pick, but not the time or channel where your photo will appear. It took a bit of a search to find my picture.

For a laugh, a few days later, I took another picture of almost the same view. It was rather dull weather that day, but I was amazed that it was featured on the BBC London News. I wonder if once you have been featured once, you are put on a short-list, or maybe it was just chance. 

Although I live on the edge of London, we are so lucky to have the beautiful stretch of the River Thames only a short walk from my house. We are also close to some other lovely park areas: Richmond Park and Wimbledon Common. There is plenty of scope for enjoyable walks with the dog and my camera.

What I like about the Weather Watchers is that it really is open to everyone. We all have weather, and the photos just have to capture it, not necessarily the most beautiful view, or taken with the best camera. The BBC also get a daily record of the weather over the whole country.

Clicking around a bit more I have found another of my photos from earlier in the month on a page about frost, and the photo below on their bulletin board. They must have forgotten to tell me they were using it. So arty shots do stand a chance. The fern photo was taken on a frosty morning in Richmond Park. You can see the whole piece at


Sunday, 12 November 2017

Red-Eyed Tree Frog

I thought you might like to see this cute and really realistic tree frog, made by jenniferb3 on ravelry from my Frog pattern. She had used the perfect eyes and colours, and added some embroidery, to make a brilliantly realistic red-eyed tree frog.

Here is a photograph of a real red-eyed tree frog, just so you can see how realistic he is. I love to see what folk have made from my patterns, especially when they are as clever as this.

Sunday, 5 November 2017


Ta dah! At long last I have finished my latest pattern. No one guessed that what I have been making is a Vespa scooter. Iconic, and I think those who are into them really, really love them. 

It was also one of my patterns where I was spurred on by being told I could not possibly knit one. You might say pig-headed, I would say determined.

So for Vespa-lovers, I would call this knit an ornament, and definitely not a toy. (I would quite like to display my knitted scooters under glass domes.) There are a huge number of different models of Vespa, and I have spent a long time looking at them. They have slight variations, but I would call this classic Vespa. I have a Pinterest board where I have saved loads of pictures of Vespas old and new, and also started saving celebrities on their Vespas, (also old and new). 

What I love is all the colours that Vespa scooters come in. You really could knit this in any colour and not be wrong. I thought I would need to insert wire in the handlebars, but by using thickish wool and small needles, the icord is rigid enough without.

The structure of the body is made by using a bit of card in the the front panel and base. There is a template for this in the pattern. The pattern is 14 pages long, and jam packed with photos to help with the construction.

One of the main problems I had writing up the pattern is that I don't really know the correct names for parts of the scooter. (After all, I am a knitter, not a mechanic.)  The knitting of the parts is not hard, but the sewing together is quite fiddly.

The pattern is available on ravelry, Etsy, Craftsy, and LoveKnitting.

And here is a photo of my daughter, sitting on someone else's Vespa at Goodwood this year.  I would love to be able to nip around on a Vespa.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Licence to Knit

I've been knitting one of my mini cooper cars for someone in the States this week. Often I embroider a name or real number on the plate, but this time the customer asked for 007. Great idea, for James Bond and Mini Coopers are both British icons, and this also the version with a union jack on the roof.

Then I thought I would see if I could find a link between James Bond and the mini. A mini moke does appear in some films, and I found this picture of Daniel Craig and a mini, but I think it has been photoshopped from the original poster.

But there is a link between James Bond and knitting. Here is a picture of a very young Roger Moore in the days when he was a knitting pattern model.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

That Time of Year

That time of year is approaching, and as I still having nothing new to show you (working on the mystery pattern), I just thought I would remind you of some of my Christmas patterns. Here are photgraphs of some of the patterns that I label as Christmassy.

 Although my own tree is usually covered with some of my seaside creatures.
Just click on the photo to link to any of these patterns on Craftsy. (Feeling rather proud of myself for having worked out how to make a photo into a link!)

Thursday, 28 September 2017

"Traditional Christmas Elephants" ... Again

I try not to repeat things too much, but it seems the right time of year to remind you about  "The Traditional Christmas Elephant". I published this pattern in the Spring, as I just couldn't wait, but I think now is the time of year people start thinking about making Christmas decorations. (You can read more about my ideas then here.)

For my new decoration I wanted to make something that had not been done before. You can find the pattern on Etsy, LoveKnitting, Ravelry or Craftsy.
The pattern contains instructions for both large and small elephants. They have a felt backing, and my pattern contains photos and instructions on how to put the elephant together. You can also make it with or without the coloured seat section.  These elephants are a fairly quick make, so if you were looking to give the decorations as gifts it is ideal, as they are handmade and personal but not too time-consuming. You can use up oddments of wool that you have left over from other projects.

My other reason for repeating the pictures is that I have put the actual elephants in my Etsy shop. I have taken the opportunity to add a few other knitted items and relist some patterns that I had let drop out of the shop.

I am busy working on a new pattern. I am very excited about it, but this doesn't seem to have translated into getting on with it. It is one of those patterns that the family have scoffed at - "you just can't make one of those out of wool". Ha, they will see. I have the whole thing worked out in my head, but I need to get on and knit it and write the pattern. I would also say it is something that is iconic, and I think people who like them, really like them. If you want to have a guess in the comments please do ... but you will never, never, never get it.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

New and Old

I spent a few hours this morning wandering around the V&A in Kensingston, while my daughter was doing maths. I stumbled across the Woman's Hour Craft Prize Exhibition. (Click here if you would like to see the other finalists.) In case you don't know, Woman's Hour is a radio programme on Radio 4, and to celebrate its 70 year anniversary it has run a competition to celebrate the most innovative and exciting craft. 

I was of course drawn towards the textile designer, who uses darning, knitting and embroidery. I think here the important thing is the story behind the garment. Clothes are such a personal thing. What I liked best about this entry to the competition was the photgraphy of Bill wearing the pullover. I wandered off to walk around Hyde Park, thinking about how we have very much become a throw-away society.

So with this in my head I also thought you might like to see another entry, the work of Phoebe Cummings, who creates temporary sculptures. The clay is not fired, so this beautiful sculpture will just last for the time of the exhibition, and will be then squashed down to clay - that can be reused.

I enjoyed looking at all the exhibits - furniture makers, potters, bicycle, jewellery, glass. A little voice in my head kept saying that perhaps we should stop making everything into a competition. Am I being a big old grinch? - I just don't know how anyone could compare and judge such a variety of crafts. Just glad it is not my job.

New entrance to the V&A, blends with the older parts of the building