Saturday, June 14


I started the Goddessknits Anniversary KAL today and after puzzling about how to cast on decided to try the Belly Button Cast On, as found here. The theory is that the solidity of the heavier yarn supports the first bit of the round where there are just nine stitches and too many needles. It seems to work - I'll let you know!

Tuesday, June 10



calm and controlled. Also very sweet and get along with others well. Sometimes others do not understand why you are so nice and think you have a hidden agenda. If you do...thats to bad, but if you don't you have nothing to worry about!

Well, the calm and controlled would be nice!

Friday, June 6


I am totally out of control! This happens to me occasionally but I can never see rhyme nor reason why. Today I have eaten at least 5 packets of crisps - I don't like crisps, I'm not hungry. I have also eaten the remains of a jar of drinking chocolate. Why? Who the hell knows. It's like I go on self destruct and, even though as I'm shovelling stuff down my throat I'm disgusted with myself, I seem powerless to stop it. At least when I had bulimia I threw it all up again - now it just sits inside and festers.

I've been thinking about writing (as opposed to doing it, which means that we'll be short of cash again this month!). I have the witches book all researched and ready to go, and the memoir, and thoughts about something else.

The memoir will have to be shelved, given the re-estrangement from my daughter. Not the happy ending I had hoped for. The witches don't do it for me at the moment. The other idea - ach, can't be bothered.

Life is shit sometimes.

Thursday, June 5


As you can see, I've had a little tidy up around here. I spend my working life blogging for others and decided I really should dedicate some time to my own small territory on the world wide web. It's like real estate really, isn't it, and currently the front of my house doesn't say very much about me. You'd think that all I do is knit!

I knit a lot, but not to the exclusion of all else. I have three children - of which more to come - none of whom have been easy for various reasons, although all are much loved. I have a good old man, although he pees me off mightily from time to time, and I have my much loved Floozie - who you will be glad to hear is not a woman of the night (I am not that way inclined) but a cat. A tom cat at that - only I didn't know he was a tom when he rolled on his back for me - hence the name!

Oh, and I suffer from a rather rare condition known as Behcet's Syndrome (I wouldn't have anything common - I have style!).

If you want to find out more about the Behcet's, just click. It's a rather interesting condition that I'm sure is probably underdiagnosed - so if you suffer from joint pain, ulcers and all manner of nasty symptoms, you might like to check it out.

Wednesday, June 4


Kimono from Folk Shawls
Originally uploaded by yarnzie
This is Ali's birthday present, just gone on the needles. Well, when I started I was thinking of her Christmas present but then I remembered, her birthday comes first!

It's the Kimono Wrap from the Folk Shawls book. It doesn't look so promising in the book but a quick look at some of the finished wraps on Ravelry convinced me that its absolutely beautiful. Well, their's are, anyways.

Life is the pits at the moment - youngest son tagged and on curfew, eldest son forgotten his mum exists. Behcet's awful, despite the steroids - actually its probably because of the steroids. On a reducing dose and this week all the old pains have come back with a vengeance. Ah well, just have to knit harder!

Saturday, May 24


Blocked Swatch
Originally uploaded by yarnzie
Blocked swatch of Large Rectangle with Diamond Patterned Centre from Victorian Lace Today.

Monday, May 19


before the frog got to it
Originally uploaded by yarnzie
It will live to see another day though. This is my shawl for Joy, just hours before I tripped over the trailing yarn as I went to make a cuppa. It pulled the whole bloody thing out and I'm not ashamed to say that not only did I turn the air blue, I also cried.

Never mind, the next try will be even better!

Thursday, May 15


Shawl for Joy 1
Originally uploaded by yarnzie
The first two pattern repeats of a shawl I'm knitting for my friend Joy. I think I might be in love - with the pattern and with the yarn.

The yarn came from Gill at the Woolly Workshop

It's Schaeffer Yarn Andrea in the Frida Kahlo colourway. It is 100% silk and was hideously expensive, but it was worth every penny - its just beautiful. I chose the colourway because I love the work of Kahlo. It was a good choice.

Tuesday, May 13


Pagan Spring
Originally uploaded by yarnzie
I am overwhelmed by this yarn. It was dyed for my by Joy of The Knitting Goddess from my description of an English early spring morning.

I asked for something that would represent one of those mornings when the hollows are filled with mist and frost and the sun is so bright and low in the sky that you can't see to drive.

She has captured my vision perfectly; so perfectly, in fact, that it brought tears to my eyes.

It will be used for the mandala shawl that is celebrating Goddessknits 3rd anniversary.

Sunday, May 4


tigers eye stole first repeat
Originally uploaded by yarnzie
Well, after lots of false starts, I have finally begun a 'proper' lace project! The pattern is for a scarf, but I'm doing 5 repeats to make it wide enough for a stole.

The yarn was bought from another Raveler and I haven't a clue what make it is. It's a Shetland lace-weight and, after all the really soft yarns I've been using recently, at first it felt rough on my hands but I've got used to it now and its brilliant.

I bought it for the GoddessKnits Lace Shawl Mystery KAL, which starts in June but, as I've got 300gms of it, I think I have more than enough!

Tuesday, April 29


cathy's sock
Originally uploaded by yarnzie
Remember that Tiny Wee Sock swap from a couple of months back? Well, I never did get my sock from my lovely swap pal! I did get an 'unofficial' sock from somebody I met along the way but I was waiting for Kathy's sock to arrive so that I could put them both on the blog together.

Well, Kathy has sent me a second sock, this one knitted by her daughter, who is a very talented knitter! There were extras in the package too - a lovely surprise on a day when my Behcet's Syndrome is playing up.

Of course, in the wait for Tiny Wee Sock Part 2, the 'unofficial sock' has been nabbed by the small girl who lives across the road from me. She was quite taken with it! (Or she quietly took it!!). So I can't put its picture on the blog. It was, however, a beautiful sock and I thank Barbara Solbrig of Rochester, Minnesota for sending it to me. To visit Barbara's Coffee Yarn blog, just click.

And finally, after all these weeks - here is Kathy's Tiny Wee Sock! Why not visit her blog too?

Monday, April 28


Well, I've just uploaded my first item on Etsy. Lots more to go but taking all those pix takes time!

The Stitch Marker Gift Tags are brilliant for popping into swap packages and the like. Good value, very attractive, and useful!

Sunday, April 27


I've decided to make the tutorial a pdf file - when I've worked out how to upload it here, it will be freely available.

Saturday, April 26

SOCK KNITTING 1: Those Pesky Needles

sock knitting 1
Originally uploaded by yarnzie
Okay, so those cocktail sticks look a little scary at first, I mean, how on earth can anybody knit with those!

The first thing to remember is that, just like with normal knitting, you are only ever knitting with two needles.

I've cast on these sample stitches on big needles to make them as clear as possible. I want you to look at the orientation of the needles, rather than the ugly cup ring on my old school bible (which was the first thing that came to hand when I was doing this!)

To start, we'll just use my good old standby sock pattern. It fits a standard woman's foot, and you can always add length if you need. I'll tell you how. A 2.5mm set of dpns should see you right.


1. Cast on 60 stitches. If it helps, cast them on using normal needles.

2. When you have your 60 stitches, cast on one more (all will become clear) and then divide the stitches between three of your dpns. The extra stitch should be left on the last needle (the right vertical needle in the picture).

3. Lay the three needles on the table, just like in the photograph and make sure that the cast on edge is towards the inside of the needles, like in the picture.

Important things to note:

* The short end (tail end) of yarn is Needle One
* Which means that the needle with the working yarn is Needle 3
* The horizontal is needle is Needle 2
* The cast on edge should be laying inside the three-sided box made by the needles.


Well, yesterday evening I started a sock, taking pictures along the way - good pics they were too - only to find that I had forgotten to put the card in the camera. I could cry, but I'm a big girl (in more ways than one LOL) so I won't. You might just have to wait an extra day before we start though. Deep sigh...

Thursday, April 24


Watch this space because, coming very soon, will be Nanny Marigold's Emporium of Usefulness, a handcrafted selection of those tiny bits and pieces that make crafting pleasurable.


Okay, Kristina, this is where your lessons will appear - all in bite sized pieces. We'll have you knitting socks for England before you know it!! We'll start on Saturday...


I've had quite a few requests for updates about how my errant son is getting along (see my English Mistress blog). To be honest, I haven't been updating it because I felt a bit like I was being emotionally incontinent in public. However, a few folk have said that it helped them to know they were not alone in this choppy pool of parenting, so I will be updating that blog later on today. It's not the sort of blog where you can just quickly type a few words, so I'll need to think and write carefully. Nevertheless, write I will. But, while you're waiting, here's an image of the boy when he was small - what an angelically beautiful face he had, and who would have guessed the heartache he would put me and his dad through!

Sunday, April 20


My Grandson's First Bath
Originally uploaded by yarnzie
How could I have been so worried about loving him? Really, I was so worried, you see I love my own children so much it hurts and I honestly couldn't imagine loving anybody else with that passion.

Alfie brought his love along with him - he's a real dear!


yarn end socks
Originally uploaded by yarnzie
Remember those yarn-end socks I was going to make? Well, here's the first one, made with an assortment of skein ends. I have saved enough so that I can make its pair.

I really do think it's very attractive (and it will be even more attractive once it's been blocked!).

Wednesday, April 16


Plus there are so many ideas buzzing around in my head. I plan to:

  • Try and get back to my knitting
  • Make stitch markers, row counters, and dinky little dpn bags to sell on Etsy
  • Complete a long ago promised pair of socks for a friend
  • Send a long ago promised selection of books to another friend
  • Update my blog more frequently
Phew, makes me breathless just thinking about it all!

Oh - and my latest wheeze? Using all my ends of sock yarn to make a pair of socks so hideous that they are gorgeous. Watch this space!

Saturday, April 12


On Thursday night, April 10th, at four minutes past eleven, I helped in the delivery of my first grandchild - Alfie. Alfie weighed 7lbs 8oz and was born after a very difficult and very long labour, which I attended both as a mother and a midwife. It was the most emotionally exhausting 48 hours of my life but, like childbirth itself, was worth every minute.

My rough, tough son-in-law cried like the softie he really is and my daughter worked like a trojan to push the baby into the world with the help of a ventouse. Without her strength, stamina, and perseverance it is highly likely that we would be in far from celebratory mood right now - it was touch and go.

I am proud to call Jo Tait my daughter - and boy, do we have some stories to tell Alfie when he's grown.

Pictures to follow - nice pix, not gory ones!

Sunday, April 6

Socks for my FCS3 Swap Pal

Originally uploaded by yarnzie
I wasn't too impressed with the colours my swap pal gave me to choose from - blue, brown, and burgundy. Then I noticed that this yarn from Violet Green that has been in my stash for ages contains all of those shades!

Just knitted a simple pair of stocking stitch socks - my much modified generic pattern that never fails - and I'm quite pleased with how they've turned out.

Let's hope that my swap pal is too!

Thursday, April 3


As with any other field, there are good and bad internet yarn suppliers out there. I'm not going to name and shame the bad ones - I just won't use them again. This is not cowardice on my part but, just because I've had a bad experience, doesn't mean to say that you will.

Nevertheless, I've found some suppliers who go beyond the call of duty in their customer service - so (fanfare) here they are:

Socktopus: Alice at Socktopus is a real sweetie, as are her staff. Nothing is too much trouble and deliveries are speedy and beautifully packaged (usually with a sweetie!). The range of sock yarns available from Socktopus is large and luxurious - simply the best when it comes to socks, that's Alice.

The Woolly Workshop: Another wonderful yarn and knitting accessories supplier. I purchased some lovely Jaggerspun Zephyr here and it was with me within 18 hours! Even better, Gill who runs The Woolly Workshop is an ex midwife like me. Midwives are all wonderful!

Janette's Rare Yarns: This is an Ebay store, par excellence. Wonderful service, stupendous yarns - what more could a knitter ask?


Originally uploaded by yarnzie
Well, I finally decided on the yarn for my Lace KAL (the Juno Vagina wrap). This is Malabrigo Lace that I got from Janette's Rare Yarns on Ebay. It was well priced and delivered within 24 hours! I intend to cast on tonight - Jo's labour socks are almost finished, but not quite. This yarn though is screaming out to be used!

Sunday, March 30


Well, I've joined my first lace KAL and we're doing the Knitty pattern Juno Regina (designed by Miriam Felton for Knitty, Fall 2007) (my midwifery background wants me to call it Juno Vagina!). I keep humming and hawing about which of my yarns I should use - it calls for 950 yards and I think my Knitting Goddess cashmere has only 612 yards. I really must get in touch with Joy - she's so helpful.

I do have three skeins of HipKnits cobweb, but I think that might be a bit too adventurous - eek time.

Decisions, decisions!


bubble wrap sock 1
Originally uploaded by yarnzie
Obviously as yet unblocked (and very likely to remain so - once you put a sock on it blocks itself doesn't it!) this is the first sock of the pair that I am knitting for my daughter.

She wanted a specific pair of socks for her labour - her first child is due on Thursday!

Saturday, March 29


tiny wee sock
Originally uploaded by yarnzie
Here it is! Took me two hours because I dropped the final stitches and because I was working in dim light I couldn't see to pick them up. Still, it's rather cute eh?


This has to be the best swap ever! Well, one of them anyway, I just love all swaps cos it's pretty much like Christmas.

The Wee Tiny Sock Swap just entails knitting, you guessed it, a wee tiny sock. The sock itself only takes a couple of hours to knit and in return you get another one. I already have two wee tiny socks attached to my pc screen, one of them is shown above, so now I need to make way for sock number three.

Thursday, March 20

The Knitting Goddess

The Knitting Goddess
Originally uploaded by yarnzie
This stunning cashmere 4ply is from The Knitting Goddess, who is another wonderwoman. She hand dyes yarn on the Isle of Man and up until now anyway, sells it here

This lovely lady is in the process of setting up her own website, so I'm busily saving my pennies.

Anyway, I digress, I just put this up because its the yarn I'm thinking of using for my first lace project.

Heere Be Dragone Shawl Complete on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Heere Be Dragone Shawl Complete on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

I have gone stark staring, totally mad - what other explanation could there be for my burning desire, my yearning need to make a lace stole? I don't wear stoles or shrugs and I am not a lace knitter. But, ever since seeing the Heere Be Dragone Shawl on Ravelry, I am smitten. I might start with something a tad easier first but then again, maybe I won't!

This wonderful shawl was designed by Sharon Winsauer who, although I don't know her, must be a wonder woman!

Sunday, March 16

Favorite Color Swap Questionnaire

Favorite Color Swap Questionnaire

1. What are your top three favorite colors?

err... rusty red, terracotta, burnt orange

2. What crafts do you really enjoy?

knitting, beading - anything to do with textiles

3. What products do you really covet?

none, really. I'm impulsive - see something and have to have it, like, now!

4. What other activities do you enjoy besides your favorite crafty things?

Always got my head in a book

5. Is there anything you collect?


6. What is your zodiac sign and/or Chinese zodiac symbol?

Leo - can't you tell! and Horse (I don't like horses - they scare the shit out of me, even though I live in the countryside)

7.What are your favorite…


oooh! spices, roses (yeah, I have a romantic side to me)

…types of music and/or bands?

depends on my mood - cock rock (y'know Led Zep and stuff) and anything with clever/funny/whimsical words. I just love words.


Anne Tyler and whoever I am obsessed with at the moment - I tend to read non-fiction mostly (okay - knitting books!)


cats and dogs - anything that's furry but that doesn't have its balls on show like some short haired dogs do

…places to shop?

little craft shops


late summer, early autumn - no contest!

…yarn/fabric/paper/other craft supplies?

all of it, every single piece!

…candies or goodies?


8. Do you have any wish lists?

No, I just want everything!

9. Are you allergic to anything?

Nope! Well, actually some stuff gives me migraine but I just take a migraine tablet. I like to grab life by the balls, which doesn't leave me time for allergies. My husband gets totally pissed off with me.

10. Do you have any pets? What are they?

A cat - ginger and looks like a tiger stalking his prey (and he's a bloody killing machined - called Floozie cos I thought he was a girl and he rolled on his back for anybody. He is now permanently damaged from having such a girlie name and I think he needs a spiky collar to make up for it. Unfortunately, they don't make such things for cats!

11. Please include anything else you would like your secret pal to know about you- anything that would be helpful in finding you little gifts that you will really enjoy. Also, if you have a Ravelry ID, please include it here.

I'm yarnzie on ravelry because somebody already had yarn floozie - I just joined the words together to get yarnzie. I am a freelance writer and retired midwife and I do things on a grand scale. I never plan, always cross my bridges when I come to them - sometimes that is very good; sometimes it is disastrous. As I've grown older, I've learned the wonder of women - I just love us all because we are all so strong, even though we don't always realise it. I have three grown up children - boys 18 and 21 and a daughter who is 33 and about to make me a grandma for the first time. I have issued an edict that I will be Nanny Marigold - (my mum used to call me her Marigold).

Friday, March 14


Well, okay, so everybody can read it - who cares (nobody visiting yet anyways!!). Got your message, bloody hell, I'm excited - us knitters are so simple to please eh?

Wednesday, March 12


There's been a lot of talk on Ravelry over the last couple of days about the problem of too tight sock tops when toe-up socks are finished with picot edges. One Raveler, Jeanie, has a wonderful tutorial on her blog Sewing, knitting, and beyond that really helps to avoid this problem. Why not go take a look.

In fact, why not become a Raveler yourself - the only thing to lose is your money as you become even more addicted to yarn!

Sunday, March 9


Originally uploaded by yarnzie
The colors in this skein of yarn from Koigu make my toes go all tingly!!


Ravelry again - this time Favorite Color Swap 3; a marvelous idea based on the premise that
participants will get a package of goodies, all in one of their favorite colors! They will also be secretly putting together and sending a package to a swap-pal in their favorite colors.

For my swap-pal: I love the colors of autumn, so russets, golds, burnt orange. Think of fire and crisp autumn leaves and you won't go far wrong!


I have been trying to knit entrelac socks as part of Ravelry's Sock Knitters Anonymous group March Mystery Sock.

Bloody hell, it's difficult! Perhaps I should have tried to do it with big wool on straight needles first, but I thought that doing it as part of a Knitalong with others would help.

Instead, I look at everybody else's attempts and just feel pathetic! I will not fail, oh no, failure is definitely not an option. As soon as I've succeeded I will post the evidence here for all to see - you might have to wait some time!

Saturday, March 8

Beaded socks

Beaded socks
Originally uploaded by yarnzie
I knitted these little beauties from yarn that I dyed myself. The dye was made from the dead heads from October's garden, plus some blackberries. Shame of it is, its completely unrepeatable.

Scrummy eh?


I am so obsessed with knitting and yarn that I decided it was time to give this obsession its very own blog.

If you had told me a few years ago that I would spend my free time tangled up in yarn and needles I would have responded with a very rude word. However, I've found that knitting is good for the soul; in times of stress, the repetition of knitting and purling is almost hypnotic. No thought is needed and, as each tiny knot is made using the needles, a little of the angst disappears.

My mum was an inveterate knitter, but she never finished anything properly. I never saw her block and press, that's for sure! She was quick though. I now realise that this was because she knitted 'continental' style - never lifting her hand from her needles because she had this nifty way of throwing the yarn over the needle point. I can't to it and for many years I was embarrassed to knit in public because I thought I was doing it wrong. I now find that I'm doing it the way loads of people do and she was in the minority. I wish she was alive so that I could gloat!

Anyway, I shall attempt to keep this stream of consciousness going - if I can tear myself away from my yarn for long enough.