Tuesday, 31 December 2013


Been looking at resolutions, never can make my mind up whether to set any or not, I like these, how about you?

To tolerate fools more gladly, provided this does not encourage them to take up more of my time.
James Agate

Enjoy the little things.

If you have the power to make someone happy, do it. The world needs more of that.

Dear God, my prayer for 2014 is a fat bank account and a thin body. Please don't mix these up like you did this year.

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're Doing Something.
So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
Whatever it is you're scared of doing, Do it.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”

Neil Gaiman

“To make 2014 (or any other)your year, keep it simple:
1) Count your blessings first
2) Whatever you did last year, do it better
3) Go step by step, one day at a time.
4) Create/make your own opportunities.
5) Believe in your abilities at all times,
6) Quitting is not an option. Keep Going.
7) Finish what you started”


Saturday, 25 May 2013

Winter Fuel

Hubby has finished cutting our winter 2013/14 fuel today. We have a muli-fuel stove that burns wood and peat which is what he has been working with for the last week. When it has dried a bit, it will be time to raise it into small stacks and let the air get to it to continue drying.

Some pictures:

John's footprints immortalised in peat!


Monday, 13 May 2013

What a weekend!

Hubby and I went south for the weekend to Glenrothes to meet up with other Loving Hands members at a knitting show. We had such good fun, meeting new friends and old - most of whom we only know through the Loving Hands forum.

I didn't buy any yarn at the show - I thought I was doing very well having bought 2 handmade crochet hooks instead, then I won 600g in the raffle! As Linda said, "It was meant to be!" The photos are here: Photo Album - knitting show Below is a photo of myself wearing Jean's topical Loving Hands titfer:

A further twist in the Magnus hat pattern was developed while travelling to Glenrothes. I made a hat for Arla who was born last Sunday - a girly version with a brim and a flower.


 Kirsty, my daughter, has also been busting my stash - or her free yarn store! - with making hats and tortoises. These are the latest 2 which I am including in my stashbusting - as it is my stash being used!


Stash Busting Progress:
Yarn at start of year: 31,034g
Yarn gained: 2150g
Yarn busted: Jan: 1049g, Feb: 1157g, March:  454g, April: 319g, May: 216g     Total: 3195g
Yarn given away: 400g
Yarn in stash: 29,589g

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Bubble Blanket

My daughter was asked to make a baby blanket, hat and toy for a friend's sister. So ... here is the blanket I have made. A great stashbuster as it is done with 2 strands of DK and an 8mm hook. The pattern is from Ravelry: bubbles-baby-blanket. This has been made to be the right size for using with a car seat. It is thick and warm and I love the pattern, a one row repeat that gives texture to any yarn.


Stash Busting Progress:
Yarn at start of year: 31,034g
Yarn gained: 1550g
Yarn busted: Jan: 1049g, Feb: 1157g, March:  454g, April: 319g, May: 376g     
Total: 3355g
Yarn given away: 400g
Yarn in stash: 28,829g

Monday, 6 May 2013

Magnus' Hat

What do you do when you're fed up trying to follow other people's patterns to get the right size hat? Make up your own!

This is Magnus' hat, made for a new baby born yesterday. I hope someone will try the pattern and let me know if it makes sense. The stitches are UK terms.

25g of DK

Magnus’ Hat 

Made in DK with 4.5mm hook. Finished size 14" around the bottom. bigger sizes can easily be made by adding more stitches to round 1 and extra rows as required.

3ch make ring
Round 1: 2ch, 14tr, join with sl st (15st)
Round 2: 2ch, tr in same space, 2 tr in each st, join with sl st (30st)
Round 3: 2ch,( fptr around next st, tr in next) around, join with sl st (30st)
Round 4: 2ch, tr in same space, ( fptr around next st, 2tr in next) to last st fptr around next st, join with sl st (45st)
Round 5 -16 : 2ch, tr in next st ( fptr around next st, tr in next 2), join with sl st around (45st)

Sew in ends and add pom pom.

Edited 8/5/13 to correct end of Round 4.

Green/ yellow/ white hat made with 4mm hook and one less stitch in first round to make hat smaller for a tiny baby. Stopped at 15th row.
 Lilac hat with white pom pom made to pattern except last tr row replaced with 2 rows of dc.

Stash Busting Progress:
Yarn at start of year: 31,034g
Yarn gained: 1550g
Yarn busted: Jan: 1049g, Feb: 1157g, March:  454g, April: 319g, May: 60g     Total: 3039g
Yarn given away: 400g
Yarn in stash: 29,145g

Friday, 3 May 2013

Catching up!

How on earth did I manage a month with no posting? Well, 2 weeks were on a fab holiday in Majorca, just what we needed - sunshine, relaxation and a chance to unwind. This is our fab hotel in Puerto Pollensa, the Hotel Miramar:

Loving Hands Shetland has moved on, we now have a Facebook page: LovingHandsShetland. We also have an offer to deliver blanket squares and hats to Turkey for the Syrian refugee children on our behalf by a driver in the Mongol Rally - which will save postage and should actually get delivered! (long story!) Dianne still needs people to knit or crochet blanket squares, she and her group are doing such a great job supplying some handmade love to the kids in the refugee camps, her blog and the details are here: love-in-the-language-of-yarn Next weekend in the Scotland Knitting Show and I am going to be taking charity items with me for distribution to Greenfields Africa and Operation Orphan. Folk all over Shetland are contributing to the pile of hats and squares in the corner of my bedroom, one lady alone donated over 80 hats!

On my own stashbusting progress, I have been playing with the yarn I bought before I went on holiday. I am making a sampler granny square blanket so it's still a wip and can't be counted as stash busted yet. What do you think of this possible layout? - a lot more to make yet!

I have made a hat for a friend's niece (first time auntie!) which weighed a mighty 35g. The white yarn has a bit of sparkle in it which I like.

I have also been adding borders to previously crocheted granny squares to make them 8", a total of 319g so far.

It's not yarn stashbusting, but I've also made 4 patchwork cushions from my fabric stash!

Stash Busting Progress:
Yarn at start of year: 31,034g
Yarn gained: 1550g
Yarn busted: Jan: 1049g, Feb: 1157g, March:  454g, April: 319g, May: 35g     Total: 3014g
Yarn given away: 400g
Yarn in stash: 29,170g

Sunday, 31 March 2013

I confess!

I have succumbed to temptation and bought yarn! (For the first time this year!) I have the book 200 crochet blocks  by Jan Eaton and have bought 4 plain colours and one self patterning yarn to make a sampler blanket. I intended it to be my holiday project (off to Majorca on Tuesday) but have started already and made my first 3 blocks.


All is not lost though as I joined a new craft group and gave 100g of yarn to someone I taught to crochet granny squares!

I have made another heart square, this time for one of our Loving Hands members who is ill  in hospital. We are contributing a square or 2 each towards a blanket to brighten up her days.


This week Loving Hands (Shetland) has posted 2 boxes of hats and blanket squares to Turkey for the Syrian Refugees - a full 27kg of knitting and crochet, a box of mixed items to Lou and a box to Operation Orphan full of scarves and blankets. We also have a brand new page on Facebook so folks can keep up with what is going on. http://www.facebook.com/LovingHandsShetland

 This wee bunny blankie is destined for the Western Isles for a special bump due soon.

Well, I'm off to Majorca -see you on the other side and Happy Crafting!

Stash Busting Progress:
Yarn at start of year: 31,034g
Yarn gained: 1550g
Yarn busted: Jan: 1049g, Feb: 1157g, March:  454g     Total: 2660g
Yarn given away: 300g
Yarn in stash: 29,624g

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Many a mickle ....

... maks a muckle. Or so they say! (Lots of small things make a big thing) Having a slow month stashbusting wise with small amounts of yarn being used here and there. I've sewn together the school blanket for Syria and edged it tonight thinking that would use up some yarn - it did, but only 41g!

All the squares have been knitted by pupils (age 5-12), former pupils, staff or former staff (with one by my mum!). Some are a bit misshapen but all made with a purpose - to keep a refugee child warm by our efforts.

I have also made a blanket square for Niaomh, 7 year old sister of Aoife who I mentioned in my last post. We at Loving Hands are making a comfort blanket for Niaomh who will also have her life disrupted while Aoife is in hospital and deserves some TLC too.
This is the same pattern I used for Aoife's square which was done in purple and lilac, this one is pink and sparkly white. The pattern is here. Well, that took care of another 20g! Many a mickle ...

Stash Busting Progress:
Yarn at start of year: 31,034g
Yarn gained: 450g
Yarn busted: Jan: 1049g, Feb: 1157g, March:  333g     Total: 2539g
Yarn given away: 200g
Yarn in stash: 28,745g

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Hexagons - and squares!

This is a hexagon jacket made with two Granny hexagons joined to make the back seam and then the sleeve seams (think a 6-sided granny square), The pattern is here: hexagon jacket  - be aware this is an American pattern so the stitches are named differently.

US                                                       UK
sc                                                         dc
hdc                                                       htr
dc                                                         tr

It weighs 122g and I have also made 47g of Easter chicks and a blanket square for Aoife which weighed 26g.

Aoife is the grand-daughter of one of our Loving Hands members and is going to be spending some time in hospital this summer as she has her first operation to help the symptoms of her condition - Morquio. Loving Hands members decided to make her a blanket to wrap herself in while in hospital and one member is going to sew the squares together. Another member has knitted her Peppa Pig, her favourite character and you can see the photo and read about Aoife on the Facebook page: Aoife's Smile Fund . Her family are trying to raise enough money to take Aoifa to Peppa Pig land before her surgery.

In other news, squares and hats are still coming in for the Syrian Refugees and we have done some serious fundraising to raise postage funds. My mum is the champion chick maker closely followed by Janette. The head teacher at the school I work in has kindly allowed chick selling to happen at school - everyone is 'encouraged' to buy one - or more - when they visit. We had a cupcake cafe for Comic Relief in the school canteen on Friday and we had the chicks and some other items for sale in the foyer, making nearly £90! Pupils, staff and parents have also been busy making squares  and you can see some of the efforts here: knitting for others .

Stash Busting Progress:
Yarn at start of year: 31,034g
Yarn gained: 450g
Yarn busted: Jan: 1049g, Feb: 1157g, March:  272g     Total: 2478g
Yarn given away: 200g
Yarn in stash: 28,806g

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Not to be left out!

These are some quick photos I took this morning of the real chickens in my life! We have a mix of breeds and they lay a range of colours from white through blue to green then brown! (I made the basket from willow grown in Shetland)

Moonlight, one of our original hens (nearly 11 years old), a Shetland hen who used to lay green eggs.

Free range mixed flock with a Crested Cream Legbar in the foreground

Our Exchequor Leghorn who lays white eggs

'Who turned on the light?' Two Auracana hens sharing the nestbox. - green egg layers.

Our cockeral, a bearded and tufted Auracana.

A Shetland hen - green egg layer. The brown hens are Rhode Island Reds and lay brown eggs.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

It started with a chick ...

This month's stashbusting has started with Easter chicks of the type that you can put a small chocolate egg inside. Mum and I have made them as fundraisers for various causes for the last few years and this year the money raised is going into our postage fund which we use to send knitted, crocheted and sewn items to the places they are needed, starting with sending the squares and hats to Turkey for the Syrian refugees.

I have various yarns in my stash that I either thought were a good idea at the time or I have been given and I have used up one such ball in this task. The fun fur yarn was won by me in a Loving Hands raffle - it makes for cute chicks but I wouldn't like to make anything bigger in it and it is not forgiving if you make a mistake and try to take it back!

So the first hatch:
77g of chicken!

Stash Busting Progress:
Yarn at start of year: 31,034g
Yarn gained: 450g
Yarn busted: Jan: 1049g, Feb: 1157g, March:  77g     Total: 2283g
Yarn given away: 100g
Yarn in stash: 29,101g

Thursday, 28 February 2013

End of February's Stashbusting

Time for something a bit different. I have built up an overflowing jar of ends of yarn cut off knitting and crochet projects. Someone on Loving Hands had said that she kept a knitted boob handy and stuffed it with yarn ends - so I decided to knit one and fill mine the same way. I didn't have quite enough to stuff it completely and had to use a little conventional stuffing, but it did most of the job!

The knitted boobs are used by midwives and breastfeeding counsellors to teach breastfeeding - apparently brightly coloured ones are great ice breakers!


Stash Busting Progress:
Yarn at start of year: 31,034g
Yarn gained: 450g
Yarn busted: Jan: 1049g, Feb: 1157g  Total: 2206g
Yarn given away: 100g
Yarn in stash: 29,178g

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Give me sunshine!

What a glorious day today has been in Shetland. After Zumba (at which someone volunteered to start sewing up the knitted squares I was given yesterday! ) Kirsty came with me to walk the dogs at Muckle Roe and check on my geocache Muckle Ayre Mill which had been reported missing (it was too!). Geocache replacement and a picnic at the old water mill were the order of the day before heading home to clean the floors!

The old water mill, and the site of my geocache, you can see the millstone lying on the floor. (Flat and round with a hole in it!)

Muckle Ayre beach 

Kirsty and Jake

No stashbusting of any kind today - yet! I have a bus trip to town to come tonight though so will take my crochet with me!

Friday, 22 February 2013

Stashbusting - a different stash this time!

I have a shed with a stash of willow in it. I have done several basketry courses over the years and love making them, with willow and recycled/ found materials. Today I have been making cribs from my willow stash for the charity Cuddles who provide them to maternity hospitals for parents to say their goodbyes to the wee angels who don't make it into this world, along with blankets and clothes. Loving Hands members make cribs in a variety of ways, most do knitted, sewn or crocheted ones, sadly they are needed from 6 inches in length to ones that will fit a full term baby.

Crib 1, 28.5cm x 13.5cm:

Crib 2, 39.5cm x 19cm:

Today one of my neighbours dropped off some squares for our appeal - she had been given them by a lady whose step mum made them but towards the end couldn't sew them up but she wanted them to go to a good home, now they are at my house and another black bag full still to come! Someone will be warmer because of this lady, I've started sewing them up tonight. There are 346 of them so far!

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Squares and Hats for Refugees

The staff and pupils at the tiny school I work in (13 pupils) have been busy knitting and crocheting tonight at After School Club. The children are very keen to monitor the progress of the collection for the Syrian refugees so I have taken all that I have so far there for them to see. They have organised it into hats and squares and are keeping count. I have had several phone calls in the past couple of days from people wanting to help, which is fantastic.

A couple of links for you:
The LILY blog, including the latest news of items that have been sent to the refugees and a couple of the latest photos from the LILY facebook page:

These are the organised donations at school:

Including the latest batch of squares and hats made by me (stash busting away!)



Stash Busting Progress:
Yarn at start of year: 31,034g
Yarn gained: 450g
Yarn busted: Jan: 1049g, Feb: 1075g, Total: 2124g
Yarn given away: 100g
Yarn in stash: 29,260g

Monday, 11 February 2013

Catch them young!

This is Aimee, daughter of a friend and a pupil at the school I work in. Her mum took this photo tonight, she is knitting a square for our blanket square collection for Syrian refugees, she started straight after her homework!  Pupils at school, after being told about the project, have agreed to help knit squares - and some want me to teach them to crochet! (YIKES!)

Three local businesses - Tagon Stores, Voe; Central Garage, Brae and Shetland Fudge, Lerwick as well as Ollaberry School are acting as collection points. I have put posters around the area and the local care centre is going to ask their day care clients to help too. Hopefully there will be a piece in the Shetland Times on Friday too.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Squares for Syrian refugees

I've started making 8" blanket squares to be made up into blankets for Syrian refugees in Turkey. These people have very little and are living in tents - if they are lucky. Dianne Jones lives in Turkey and is co-coordinating the making of blankets from the squares and also collecting hats, gloves, socks and scarves. Here are a couple of photos taken from her Facebook page  , her blog is here: LILY

No shoes for one boy, just plastic bags!

Imagine giving birth to triplets as a refugee in these conditions!

Love In the Language of Yarn indeed!

My first squares for LILY (205g):

A drop in the ocean of what is needed, but I am encouraging friends and family to join me and the school I work in is going to get involved too.

The address to send squares to is:
LILY C/O Dianne Jones
Turkmen Mahlesi
Ünlü Sokak No 10 D 4

Yarn at start of year: 31,034g
Yarn gained: 450g
Yarn busted: 1769g
Yarn given away: 100g
Yarn in stash: 29,615g