Wednesday, 5 June 2013

A knitter's life

I knit, I always have, since from before I can remember. It's the way I relax and the way I earn my living, I do test knitting, sample knitting, tech editing and designing. I did try holding workshops but I got so nervous if someone asked even the simplest question I just went blank ( on a bad day I couldn't even come up with my own name! ).

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

seagulls and banana cake

I had a close encounter with a seagull in the supermarket car park this morning. I was standing by my trolley of shopping when a gull landed on the railings next to me, and for some reason I shall never understand I said " hello".
It looked at me, hopped onto my trolley and put it's head into one of my bags looking for something to eat. It took a few minutes of me jumping up and down, clapping my hands to make it fly away.
Then this man came over and said- " brave bird, going up against a redhead like that".  He will never know how close he came to wearing my shopping! ( unless of course he reads this ).
The reason for the shopping trip was this
Sticky banana cake ( I really need to learn how to take photos )
My sons and their friends love it.
If you want to try :-
125gm self raising flour
50gm ground almonds
100gm light musovado sugar
150gm honey
1 mashed, ripe banana
2 medium eggs, beaten
25gm flaked almonds

Preheat oven to 180 C, and line the base of a 28cm x 17cm tin.
Sift flour into a bowl, add ground almonds. Melt butter with the sugar and honey in a pan over a gentle heat, cool slightly and stir into the flour and almond mix,add the mashed banana.
Beat all together, pour into the tin and scatter flaked almonds on top. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes, cool on a wire rack and slice into squares. Easy.It doesn't usually have a chance to cool properly in our house, it gets eaten too quickly.

Monday, 3 June 2013


It has been a bookish day today. First I discovered that one of the bloggers I follow also has a book and reading blog in addition to her craft blog, so I spent a few minutes enjoying that.
Then I discovered a group on ravelry for people on Library Thing, which in my ignorance I had never heard of, so I went off and investigated and joined up.
I now have somewhere to catalogue all my books, read and write reviews, and just generally catch up with all things booky.
I thought the best way to list my books would be shelf

by shelf ,by my calculations it will take me two months, one shelf a day.

Saturday, 1 June 2013


I have been in knitter paradise, choosing yarns for my first Etsy projects. There is a lovely cashmere/silk/merino blend for a striped hoodie I thought of walking past beach huts. I also found some of my favourite fair-trade organic cotton on sale so that is going to become a little dress, a sweater, bolero to go with the dress and anything else I can think of, possibly a 1950s style coat/cardi.
After being up to my eyes in yarn I took the dogs for a walk on the downs to get away from it all, but it didn't quite work as you can see from my photo, I still found some wool,even if it was in it's natural state.

The experiment with my sons is progressing. My middle son was bemused and confused when his keys weren't in the key bowl - after a moment's thought he just took the spare set from the hook by the back door. He discovered his set when he went to the fridge later looking for food!
Something I wasn't expecting is their co-operation, they have realized they can find each others' things more easily than their own - I'm not sure what to make of that.
I really am going to have to buy a proper camera instead of using my i-phone, looking at my photo of the downs I can see I haven't done the view justice, it was actually much greener and much more beautiful.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Some progress

There was a bunch of keys in the fridge this morning, not unusual as it's the first place my sons go when they
come in, and if they have their keys in their hand - well you can guess the rest.
Normally I put them in the wooden bowl by the front door, but because of my experiment, I haven't done that, I've left them in the fridge. I shall be watching, trying not to giggle, whilst my middle son tries to work that one out tomorrow!
I have finished the little banded beanie and started another in soft blue, and have just bought the yarn for a
jacket based on an old photo from the family album of a great uncle in a sailor suit. The album is a great source of ideas - there are children and adults from the late 19th century onwards - wearing some fantastic things.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

the start of an experiment

I cannot believe how much work I was able to get done yesterday, and I know why, I didn't have to keep stopping to find things - a wallet, clean t-shirt, right trainer, jacket etc.
I don't know if it's something to do with the male chromosome but my sons can't see for looking, the "lost"
article is often right next to them - as my grandmother used to say " if it had a mouth it would bite you ".
One of my sons has a friend with a six year-old sister and she is more aware of where his things are than he ever is!
So as I sat and knitted and sewed yesterday I came to a decision - I would try a little experiment - and stop finding their things.
It will be interesting to see if they adapt and improve their finding abilities. I doubt it very much and the house will probably be even more chaotic than usual, but you never know, miracles do happen!
On the knitting front, I have finished my day job knitting and have just started a little beanie to use up some oddments of yarn left over from a larger project,it's a lovely,soft cotton and cashmere mix, beautifully gentle
for delicate skin.I hope to finish it today, so might have a photo tomorrow.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Peace and quiet

Today is a bank holiday Monday and I have the house to myself. I am completely alone - no teenage sons, no sons' friends, no friends dropping in, no relatives. I can't remember when I had so much peace and solitude, and what am I going to do with it? Knit of course!
Calm, quiet and peaceful.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Making progress - slowly

I have nearly finished my day job knitting, it is blocking and  has to be made up ( my least favourite part ).
Normally I would be photographing the work and discussing the yarn etc. but as it's someone else's work
I don't feel I can do that, it would be a breach of confidence.
On the plus side I have a pile of the softest organic, fairtrade,Egyptian cotton waiting for me to start on my Etsy things. I'm starting with 0-3months as it will take less time and yarn ( tight budget ). My head is full of ideas for more little garments, and that is probably where they will stay - I never write things down!
I think I get that from my Scottish grandmother, I remember sitting watching her knit fairisle, faster than most people knit plain knitting,and she never used a chart, it was all in her head.
She was still knitting for her great,great grandchildren when she died at the grand age of 105, I can't begin to
calculate the miles and miles of knitting she must have produced in all that time, it's mindboggling.
I discovered this in a group I belong to on Ravelry it might make you smile.
I saw these tulips in my local park and couldn't resist, they lifted my spirit, and shouted winter is over!

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Hue and Ply

It's Thursday already, I don't know what happened to Wednesday!
I am still beavering away at my day job knitting as well as trying to do more on my Etsy projects. I still have to write my shop policies so that could be the next thing to tick off the list. Perhaps I should regard it as a piece of knitting - one stitch at a time - one step at a time.

I am lucky enough to live within walking distance of two yarn shops ( bliss! ) and visit regularly. One of the aspects of designing I love is colour, choosing and using it, and I can indulge this in these shops. The way the zingy colours jump off the shelf to greet me , and the muted shades relax, whilst the juicy berry hues tempt me, makes a trip to the shops a delight.

Do you have a favourite colour? Why is it a favourite, how does it make you feel, does it evoke memories?

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Happy 100th

The annual RHS Chelsea flower show in London is celebrating it's 100th anniversary, and as usual I am glued to the TV watching as much as possible. I love the innovative gardens from designers from all over the world, and the beautiful new flowers, especially now we have an HD TV.
The lunchtime coverage includes a few minutes about flower arranging, the expert takes you through step by step to create a little floral masterpiece, a couple of flowers and a handful of green bits and it's done.  I fall for it every time, they make it look so easy. Why then does my effort look at best like a limp lettuce with a droopy flower in the centre, at worst like something the cat has slept in?
One of life's mysteries!

Monday, 20 May 2013

back to the day job

I have been called back to my main work - test knitter and tech editor for a handful of designers.
This means I have to suspend working on my Etsy things for a few days so I can reach my deadline. It's great to have work, it would be even better if I could grow a second pair of arms and do both at once.

I have been gathering more ideas.  Yesterday I went for a walk along the beach and noticed a short row of faded beach huts, waiting for their summer spruce up. I thought of a soft, cosy little hoodie in muted stripes, perhaps with a pouch pocket to keep hands warm or to hold treasures ( my sons always had dinosaurs or cars in their pockets ).

Well, back to the knitting. It's at times like this that I am grateful to my grandmothers, one Irish, the other Scottish who taught me to knit. They were professional knitters all their lives and taught me to knit with the right hand needle under my arm, apparently this is one of the fastest methods , I am certainly going to need speed now.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

the needles are clicking

I have been looking through some old family photo albums and have found some inspiration for my first little designs. I loved the children in sailor suits so have come up with a red sailor jacket with white trim. The men, probably my great uncles, in cricket sweaters gave me the idea for this , a cricket style v-neck in a dusty rose and cream. Another thing that caught my attention was a 1950s coat, I am thinking a flared cardi jacket in white with soft grey edging. And that's just the first few pages, lots more photos to go, and I hope , lots more ideas.

WIP blocking

Friday, 17 May 2013

After a steep learning curve, with a couple of blips, I have created my etsy shop banner and avatar.  As I'm on a very tight budget I decided to do it myself. I wanted something positive and uplifting so ended up with orange flowers which I thought at first were marigolds but now think they might be zinnias, I' not good with plants.

Monday, 13 May 2013


Well I've taken the plunge and started my journey with Etsy, I have chosen the name of my shop- Purliewhiteknits.  I am now thinking about the next step and frantically knitting a few little garments to list, I thought starting the Etsy process would help me focus and get my knitting done.
I am looking forward to the next steps on the way to becoming a fully active seller.