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 · 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


countryside · general stuff · in the woods

And Winter has arrived




Frosty seedheads


Frosty fields2


Path frosty




Frosty oak3


Toby winterwalk2




Frosty fields


Barbed wire2


Frosted lake




Frosted lake2


Frosty stems


Frosty seedheads2


Toby wwalk


Frosty leaves


Frosty view


Spiky seedheads


Spindle berries




Snow day


Snow day2








Winter is decidedly here. We've had a few days of sub-zero temperatures and the early morning frosts have been beautifully sharp and sparkly. Yesterday Toby and I bundled up and went for a long walk at Panshanger. The ice crystals adorning every blade of grass, twig and seedhead made for a very beautiful landscape and even the barbed wire fences were prettified by the decoration of frost.

And then this morning we've woken to around 15cms of snow!

I'm glad to have lots of cosy woolly jumpers, scarves and mittens and will be wearing my wrist-warmers constantly now until the weather warms. It looks like the rest of this week is continuing to be freezing, so there will be a little more knitting by the fire going on here. I'm now in the final stages of laying out the three new patterns and am lucky to have some lovely people helping me to error check them. Though it will still be a few weeks before they've been thoroughly checked, so I'm aiming to be able to share them in the new year.

Hope you have a good week doing a little of what you love, J x

countryside · crafts & knitting · general stuff

snippets of summer



river beane4



hollows shawl








The much longed for rain has at last come, and it’s come, and come. It’s been wonderful to feel it on my skin and to smell that unique scent that the arid land gives up after rain – isn’t it brilliant that there’s even a special word for it – petrichor.  The land has soaked it up and quenched the parched plants and trees, and green has returned to the countryside all around us here, it is beautiful.

I ran out of steam a little in August, hence the lack of posts here. Caring for Toby 24/7 is intensive and full on and therefore not much else gets done. He returned to college last monday and so I spent last week tidying the house, sorting laundry, and tackling all of the householdy things that were neglected during August. I’m now ‘back at work’ and have a large email backlog to work through – I’m so sorry if you’re waiting on a reply from me, hopefully you’ll receive one this week. Once I’ve tidied my inbox I’ll be starting pattern writing again. Lots of knitting was done on the cooler summer days but it was haphazard, and I have little knitted body parts and scribbled notes scattered throughout the house. I finished a shawl and was also seized by the desire to start knitting mittens. This always seems to happen to me during the hottest months of the year, I suppose it’s a form of planning for cooler times. However, I seem to have started 4 pairs! It seems that in all aspects of life I’m in great need of some serious organising.

Anyway, here are some snippets from my summer…

  • Hulling and chopping strawberries and discovering perfect little hearts inside,
  • The pictures along the river Beane are where I ate my birthday breakfast croissant and coffee, having taken myself off for a peaceful, reflective walk at 7am and where I saw dragonflies, a flock of geese and the colourful darting of a kingfisher – a real birthday treat before the hustle and bustle of the day.
  • Finishing a shawl, knitted from the ‘Hollows‘ pattern by Melody Hoffman
  • The mittens I’m working on are mostly from the ‘Antiquity‘ pattern by Alicia Plummer and the mustardy coloured pair are knitted in ‘dyeing light’  RamJam from Daughter of a Shepherd beautifully hand-dyed by Woollenflower. The yarn is rustic and on the outside edge of what I’m able to tolerate next to my skin but the colours are so very lovely that I just don’t care. I admit to being just a little obsessed with this yarn at the moment 🙂

I’m so looking forward to Autumn this year, and to all of its delights: cooler temperatures; damp woodlands; fungi forays; cosy clothes; blankets on the bed;  lighting the fire; casseroles and hot puddings and lots of knitting. And I am definitely looking forward to getting organised, hope to see you again soon, J x