Monday 29 January 2018

Crocus love ...

On Sunday morning the weather was mild and grey. Not a totally inspiring combo I admit, but we felt a collective urge to get outside and enjoy some fresh air, so we headed over to Ham House in Richmond. And there, in the gardens, I came upon a lovely chorus of crocus (if that's not the proper collective noun, it really ought to be). They stood cheerfully beneath the bare limbs of the trees spreading colour and the promise of spring through the flower beds.

Saturday 27 January 2018

Comfy Cardie ... circa 1600

When I'm feeling a bit shivery and off-colour I like to climb into a certain cosy grey cardigan with huge pockets and a roomy bagginess that perfectly hides the contours of my body. It's not going to win me any points for elegance, but it's so comfortable that it feels like I'm wearing a hug. And the other day I discovered that comfy cardigans have been a thing for several centuries.

I was invited to a really interesting talk at the V&A. It ended in the Stuart section of the British Gallery, where I spotted this amazing knitted cardigan. It wasn't featured on the talk, but, being a knitter, I had to stop and admire it.

The museum sign said that it dated from approximately 1600, and certainly no later than 1620 - so, quite possibly, someone was pottering around in this very cardigan, feeling cosy and snug whilst they chewed the fat with Guy Fawkes and dreamt up the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 ... .

Knitted jacket 1600 - 1620 (back view)

Friday 26 January 2018

Good-bye January blues ...

I'm cruising. All that angst and the January blues are fast receding in my rear view mirror. My tax return is out of the way, paid and filed for another year, and today I'm set for a nice day out with my bestie, P, and we're looking forward to helping her celebrate a BIG birthday this weekend. I won't say how BIG it is, but it's going to be epic.

Out in the garden I can see little pools of white snowdrops emerging from the muddy brown earth, and the hellebores are starting to do their thing. Thank heavens for the hellebores. They really are the stars of the January garden.

Tuesday 23 January 2018

A Very Big Thank You ...

... to all my wonderful customers at the Waltham Abbey Wool Show last Sunday. A big thank you to Kate and Diana, the totally brilliant organisers. You girls rock! It was great! I had a super day meeting lots of charming yarnie folk. I had a ball chatting and joking with Marcia from Yarnsulike, my lovely neighbour, on the next-door stand. We had fun, we had snow and we had the Sockmatician. What more could a yarnaholic want on a cold, dark Sunday in the middle of January?

All the best for now my lovelies,

Bonny x

Friday 19 January 2018

A knitted auricula ... a platypus-billed duck ... and WAWS!

Gosh it's cold up here in the Big Smoke. This morning was another window-scraper start before we could fire up the engine for the school run. And pity a thought for the WonderDog, who's had a badly-timed hair cut and gone from curly and cosy to svelte and freezing in the course of a single afternoon.

And, best of all, we're looking forward to the very wonderful Waltham Abbey Wool Show (WAWS to the initiated) on Sunday - only 2 more sleeps to go!

Tuesday 16 January 2018

First proper make of 2018

Well to be fair I did most of the work on it over the Christmas holidays. I wanted something that I could work on whilst watching the usual marathon of festive television. It had to be a pattern that didn't require too much stitch counting or demand a huge amount of attention. What I was after was something dead easy that I could do after a few glasses of wine with half my brain following a box set.

And this is what I came up with:


Friday 12 January 2018


There's a word that I'm sure my Scottish ancestors used a lot at this time of the year: dreich, meaning grey and gloomy and dreary and bleurgh! Note: for proper effect it should always be pronounced with a strong, back-of-the-throat guttural that sounds as though you're clearing phlegm!

Dreich! Dreich! Dreich!

They said it. A lot. In January.

Fast forward to the present time, and every January, carrying on an old tradition, I have a serious moan about how much I hate January. And, at the risk of being repetitive, I'm at it again! Can I just get this off my chest? I HATE January. It's such a dreich month: cold and grey and dreary, with nothing to look forward to for ages.

The other morning the WonderDog and I went for a walk around the Common. All over the Christmas holidays we've had the Moscow State Circus camped out there. It was really exciting when they came back in the heady days of early December. Have I mentioned that I love the Circus? I never actually go, but I love the (here today, and gone tomorrow) idea of the Circus.

But now, even the Moscow State Circus is packing up and moving on. And you should see the mess they're leaving behind: dead grass and mud all over the shop. It's just the sort of thing you'd expect jaded January to serve up! Let's hope the Council can get it sorted out in time for the daffodils.

And then on the other side of the Common we came upon a mountain of discarded Christmas trees. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: there's nothing like a mountain of discarded Christmas trees to let you know the party's over.

But it's not all bad: we've got the totally marvellous Waltham Abbey Wool Show to look forward to on Sunday 21st January. How inspired of the clever organisers to hold such a happy event in the dreich depths of January! Hooray!

In anticipation I've been busy with my needles doing bright, cheerful knits to lighten my seasonal blues ...

... and boiling up my dye pot to bring a host of colours to life.

During the last days of the holidays Emi helped me with some cochineal. He especially enjoyed grinding up the ladybugs in a pestle and mortar, testing the ph of the brew and adding acetic acid to bring it down to where it needed to be.

And then we had a go at over-dyeing some of the yellow from last week with a little indigo to make green - just like in Emi's art classes when he gets to muck around with big tubes of paint. 

And, as always, I've got a good book on the go. I'm reading my first Celeste Ng novel: Tiny Fires Everywhere, which, so far, has proved to be a ripping good read. At the heart of the book is a custody fight over an abandoned baby, and I'm amazed by how sympathetically the author has drawn all the protagonists. She never lets you forget that everyone has their backstory and their reasons for doing what they do. Let me just say that it's one of those unputdownable books that will keep you up all night ...

Happy Friday, and all the best for the weekend,

Bonny x

Wednesday 10 January 2018

🍒 Cherries ...

It's becoming a bit of a habit: first carrots, now cherries! I'm (health) food obsessed at the moment. With cold, grey weather outside it's a relief to have something colourful to play with inside.

As with the carrots I'm using our own label Costa Brava Organic Cotton in 4 ply. My colour-ways are Pillarbox (red) for the cherries, and Green Bean for the stems.

If you'd like to get started on a fruit bowl of your own, just carry on for the pattern.

Monday 8 January 2018

🥕 A perfect orange carrot: one of your 5-a-day 🥕

Long story short: I was staring idly at my stock of 4 ply wool thinking that I should make up a few unusual pieces to bring along to the wonderful WAWS Wool Show. The Tangerine Orange colour-way whispered carrot to me rather than tangerine. And a fun 40 minutes later a funky carrot was born.

Mr B,  who is at heart a very practical sort, wondered vaguely what anyone would do with a knitted carrot; he didn't reckon it would work in a casserole. Emi thought it looked prettier than a flower, which was nice, but still didn't quite answer the question.

I made another carrot, and thought about why anyone would need a knitted carrot ...

I'm using these ones to embellish some wire baskets that will hold balls of wool at the fair. So continuing with that decorative theme, I reckon that, if you slipped a tiny fridge magnet inside the back seam as you sew it up, the force of the magnet would work through the 4 ply fabric and you'd have a pretty nifty fridge magnet. I'm not an Amazon seller, but if you log on you can buy packs of 25 mini-magnets for about a fiver. Or, if you've got a plain tote bag for going to the market, a bunch of carrots would make a lovely embellishment. Heck, you could fix it with a safety pin to your lapel and call it jewellery! Mr B especially liked that explanation as it would cost a great deal less than what I normally call jewellery ...

So now that we've got that all cleared up, just read on for the pattern ...

Friday 5 January 2018

Golden yellow and honey saffron to dispel January grey

I've just boiled up my first dye pot of 2018. In the cold grey of January I find myself craving fire colours: warm reds, golden yellows and glowing oranges. You can keep all those cold blues for a warmer season. Maybe I'll be in the mood for them come the mellow days May.

To satisfy my immediate craving, I've just cooked up a spectrum of golden saffrons that's making me feel sunnier already.

I started off with an unpromising collection of dried avocado skins and stones, the outer leaves of a whole pile of brown onions that I'd been hoarding and some turmeric for good measure.

I boiled up the ingredients and then strained them through a sieve and some muslin to get a clear dye solution in which I treated my wool. Given that I'd got loads of avocado pits in the recipe I relied upon the tannin in the avocado to mordant the wool, and make the dye adhere.

My favourite part of the dyeing process comes at the very end when I soak the fibres in fresh water to rinse away any surplus dye that hasn't adhered to the wool. Watching your colours emerge as the wool unfurls like some exotic seaweed in a coral sea is a very sweet moment.

That's not a bad spectrum of sunshine colours on a cold, grey morning!

All the best for the weekend,

Bonny x

Wednesday 3 January 2018

Waltham Abbey Wool Show

I'm really excited to have been accepted as an exhibitor at the fabulous Waltham Abbey Wool Show. It's a show that I've wanted to do for ages. Happily we're on board for this year's Waltham Abbey Wool Show, which will take place at the Marriott Hotel, Waltham Abbey, EN9 3LX (junction 26 of the M25) on Sunday 21st January from 10:00 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Look forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday 2 January 2018

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Gosh it's hard to believe that Christmas and New Year's Eve have been and gone. It all sped by so quickly.

We're just back from a lovely New Year's Eve celebration with our dear friends P & A down in Poole. We had a really chilled time with good food and best friends. I can think of no better way to welcome in a new year.