crafts & knitting · general stuff

Horsing around







Hello Hello, hope you are well. I didn’t mean to be away for so long, but as you can see I have been keeping busy! I have wanted to do a horse pattern for such a long time, but every time that I have made a prototype there was something that I felt didn’t work, and so back to the drawing board I went. Then at the end of last year I had an equine epiphany and things clicked into place for me, resulting in a flurry of knitting activity and the beginnings of a new pattern. I have been working on it solidly now for 5 months and at last I’m almost finished with the final pattern.

So far I’ve knitted 33 different heads, including different facial markings for the horses, along with unicorns and donkeys too. I have to tell you that those manes do take a bit of patience, adding a strand at a time, but overall I’ve had a lot of fun putting this pattern together and am pleased with how it’s all looking in the layout. Just a few final pictures to take for the front covers and then I’ll be ready to share it.

It’s so exciting to almost have it ready. I have adored horses since I was quite little, always clamouring to stop and stroke their velvety noses when out on walks and delighting in donkey rides on beaches and at farms. From about the age of 8 until my mid teens I read about horses, drew horses and dreamt about horses almost constantly. I even tried to convince mum and dad that our very small suburban back garden would be perfectly fine for keeping a horse in, with pledges that I would ride it every day and tidy up after it. Needless to say my pleas did not result in a pet horse at home but they did get me riding lessons. I then started ‘working’ at the stable, I say ‘working’ because none of us were actually paid but we turned up on Saturdays or Sundays at 8.30 am ready for a day of mucking out, cleaning tack, lead-reining small children learning to ride and grooming our adored charges. My appointed horse was Sweep, a big gentle grey who was a little bit dim and kept my toenails constantly bruised by frequently standing on my feet when I was grooming him. I was also so lucky to have two week long pony trekking trips away in Wales, we rode every day in amazing countryside and I loved every minute, even the day three saddle sores!

It’s been fun looking out my old books, though I’m missing a few – the silver brumby series, by Elyne Mitchell – those were my absolute favourites. And digging out these photos has made me all nostalgic, though I don’t think I’m ready to dust off my jodhpurs any time soon!

Anyway, I’ll be back with news as soon as the patterns are in finished form, though next time I’m here will be all about the bluebells which are glorifying the woods right now, see you soon, J x


crafts & knitting

Happy Easter, Pesach, Spring :)



Thank you so much for all of the kind comments and messages from the previous post. As a couple of you rightly said, the rough patch will pass and Toby will be a little more calm and settled once again – hopefully soon. Anyway, I do really appreciate all of the kindness that you sent my way, thank you again for that.

This little bunny was made as a thank you gift for someone who has been very kind and helpful to me, but she has had quite a long and drawn-out journey from the northern hemisphere to the southern (what on earth is going on with the postal services at the moment?). At last however she has arrived safely and happily just in time for this special time of year.

Whatever your plans, whether you’re celebrating a festival as part of your faith, delighting in the beauties of nature as the seasons change or simply enjoying a few extra days of free time to call your own, I hope you have a lovely weekend with plenty of peace and small pleasures. My plans include setting my alarm for 6am tomorrow and heading out with my breakfast in my rucksack for a quiet dawn walk on my own with my camera, hopefully to get some pictures of the blackthorn blossom which is decorating the hedgerows so beautifully at the moment, J x


Just in case anyone wants to know:

The bunny is knitted in Camarose Snefnug yarn (one of my current fluffy favourites) with clothes in Krea Deluxe organic cotton. The lace dress is from my ‘textured dresses pattern‘, the colour-work dress is the one that comes with the lamb pattern, and the basket is from my toy bags pattern.


crafts & knitting · knitting tips

Winter mice and a free scarf tutorial


I had fun making the scarf for the mouse in a sweater and thought I’d share how I did so in case you’d like to make one too:

I used two 4mm DPNs (double pointed needles) and bulky yarn to knit a 4 stitch i-cord (i-cord tutorials are easily found on your tube) to a length of around 35cms / 14 inches (enough to fit around the neck of your animal with sufficient dangle left over). Then I made 2 small pom-poms using a fork – it’s handy as you can thread a strong cord through the tines to tightly tie the middle of the pom-pom before cutting the edges and freeing it from the fork. After cutting I trimmed them to make neat balls, then lightly steamed them over a pan of water to encourage them to full poufiness.


countryside · crafts & knitting · garden stuff · in the woods

More spring signals




Bare branches overhead


Silhouetted trees




Old oak


Plum tree








Plum blossom




Packing up


Although the trees are currently still skeletal and bare-branched, there are a few more signs that spring is just around the corner. Last summer the old plum tree in our garden had to have a heavy pruning because some of the branches were creaking badly and cracking under the weight of the plum harvest, but even so it is currently delighting both me and the bumble bees that are emerging from hibernation with it's blossom. It is such a beautiful herald of the change in seasons. There are catkins everywhere and daffodils too and I'm looking forward to going out with my camera next week in search of those, and hopefully the first of the blackthorn blossom.

Thanks for all of the comments on my winter mice giveaway post. I've notified the winners and the mice are both packaged up and currently travelling to their new homes, one in the North of England and the other a little further away in Tasmania! I will be having more giveaways later in the year so I better get on with making some more animals and also finishing off my horse pattern, can't wait to share that with you in the spring 🙂

Hope you have a good weekend coming up. See you soon, J x


countryside · crafts & knitting · in the woods

The first signs of spring












Carpet snowdrops






Snowdrop carpet




Icy branch




Jupiter and venus


Mice pair


Firstly, thank you so much for all the kindness in your messages from my previous post, the words you have gifted to me have been like a big warm hug.

In my journal of happy things Kit is still featuring, not daily, but every 2 or 3 days she's arrived for snacks and without a doubt she is pregnant. Twice her mate has accompanied her but he's very shy and has bolted for the bushes as soon as he's seen us. I've also jotted about the early evening sky, made beautiful by the planets Venus and Jupiter being so very bright and visible low in the sky to the west just after sunset.  I am hoping that we get clear skies on March 1st when they come close together, I love a bit of star and planet gazing – search 'Venus Jupiter conjunction' if you're interested in seeing the spectacle in your part of the world.

Out on my own in the woods I've been paying attention and noticing the tiniest details that show the shift in the seasons from winter to spring. Despite the recent sharp frosts there are tree buds swelling on the branches and the first emergence of catkins, but a carpet of snowdrops in a local wood is the most emphatic sign of change. These hardy little plants are such a hopeful sight, pushing their blunt tipped leaves through frosted soil throughout January to produce such delicate bell-like flowers each February. They're beautiful en masse and when they tremble in the cold wind on a breezy day it looks like the whole woodland floor is shimmering. And drifting down from the bare branches overhead come symphonies sung by small birds – being in a snowdrop carpeted wood is one of my favourite natural pleasures.

It's been a cold winter this year, so spring will be a while yet but it's been nice to embrace the last weeks of winter by curling up in the warm to work on new patterns. The horse pattern is coming along nicely and I'm now working on a cow pattern too. I will show you some pictures when I've ironed out some of the wrinkles. I'm also putting the finishing touches to a couple of mice that I'll be giving away. I've been holding off on this because of the disarray of the international post (Royal mail has suspended international deliveries throughout January) but now it looks like the situation is resolved I'll post about the giveaway soon. See you again when they're ready.



crafts & knitting · foxes in my garden · general stuff

All is quiet


Peaceful afternoon












Frozen web


January is often a quiet month for me and I'm grateful to be able to be able to slow right down and take everything as calmly as possible as I make my plans for the year. Especially so this year, because for a little while now I have been been feeling rather down and becoming at times overwhelmed with anxiety, so as a way of trying to cope with that I've decided to start a 5 year journal and record all of the positive and beautiful things to remember from each passing day. I think that I am very lucky because it is so often the smallest of things that do lift my mood and bring me joy, and once you start to actively look for these moments you find there are actually quite a few in every day. But such moments can often get forgotten and overshadowed by everyday life, so recording them is a good way to bring them to mind when I need to feel brighter.

So far I've jotted about red kites soaring over the house, goldfinches and robins in the garden, Toby's laughter, Amy's smile, H's hugs, the taste of a good cake, the delicious feeling of sitting in bed and knitting away a weekend morning, the quiet calm of a gently flickering candle, the glory of sunrises, the delicacy of frost, the gentle balm of music *, and the delight in deciding to finally use a much loved skein of yarn from my stash – this one has been treasured for almost 10 years and is irreplaceable as Asti of Juno fibre arts is no longer creating her beautiful yarns, so I'm enjoying some very careful pondering of what project to cast on.

But above all else there is has been one totally unexpected, unbelievable and utterly delightful moment – the return of Kit the fox!!

It has been over a year since she was last here and I had written here on the blog that she might have died – I secretly feared she had been run over on the main road as there have been a few fox corpses at the roadside in the intervening months. But no, we were joyfully so very wrong because on Jan 13th she sauntered nonchalantly into the garden, as though she had just been here a day ago, sat down by the garden table and looked expectantly at me through the kitchen door. I have never had a jaw-dropping moment before, but I did then. A snack of Toby's cocktail sausages was swiftly found and as I approached her to put them down, still slightly disbelieving that it really was her, she stood up and approached me, confirming without any doubt that it was. You can see from the pictures below that she's a little more scarred about the muzzle than when she was last here but otherwise is looking well nourished and cosy in her thick growth winter coat. I suspect that she is pregnant and has come back because it's been especially cold recently and she's has difficulty finding enough food. She's arrived every evening since, just after darkness has fallen and I am so utterly overjoyed to see her again, and she's featuring heavily in my new journal of happy things 🙂

I hope she sticks around for a while longer and I'll be sure to bring you further news of her if she does stay around. If you are interested you can see the story of how we became friends and see my previous blog posts of her visits over the last four years here.


Kit returns

Kit returns2



The 5 year journal was purchased from Mål Paper with some of my Christmas money, (thanks M & D xxx)

* my music of choice at the moment is  'Found' by Martin Gauffin which is playing in the background at the moment and I find especially uplifting