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Date & Gingerbread Biscuits

Date & Gingerbread Biscuits

Print Date & Gingerbread Biscuits These traditional gingerbread biscuits are for celebrations and the occasional treat. They contain both sugar and syrup in small quantities, but the sweetness and toffee-like flavour is also helped along by the addition of finely chopped dates. These biscuits were […]

Knitting Talmadge: Does My Head Look Big In This?

Knitting Talmadge: Does My Head Look Big In This?

June’s pattern knitalong for A Year Of Techniques is Romi Hill’s Talmadge Cloche, which introduces the element of knitted on edgings as this month’s technique. A knitted on edging is a fantastic way of providing a decorative and/or functional edging to a piece of knitting […]

Hyacinthus Arm Warmers

Hyacinthus Arm Warmers

Finished in early March, the first project from A Year Of Techniques was a pair of Hyacinthus Armwarmers knit in my favourite yarn, Zauberball.

Knit over the course of a week, this simple little project pretty much flew off the needles. With minimal shaping and simple instructions, the technique (single row helical stripes) is really allowed to shine through perfect pairing of yarn and project.

I wound the ball into two smaller skeins using a ball winder and a large pyrex bowl. I have found that as long as the bowl containing the zauberball is smooth enough to allow the ball to bounce freely around whilst being wound, the re-winding is very simple. A spare hand used to guide (rather than tension) the yarn helps avoid any knots or tangles forming as the yarn is wound.

For the first time in all my Zauberball knitting projects, my yarn had a knot with a large colour jump, requiring a bit of yarn surgery. If it hadn’t been for the leap in colours, there would have been enough yarn for two pairs of armwarmers, even at the extended length to which I knit mine (6.25″ before thumb gusset increases).

Sometimes a simple design is the most effective, and this technique and pattern both offer a fantastic way to make the most of a beautiful yarn with long colour transitions, such as my most darling Zauberball. I’m not going to wish away my summer, but I know at least that when the colder weather does arrive that I’ll be meeting it with a burst of colour.

Toddler-Friendly Oaty Bars

Toddler-Friendly Oaty Bars

No matter where I travel, I always have a couple of oaty bars with me. You can buy them ready-made in shops, but they are an extortionate price for five small finger snacks, and making them yourself costs next to nothing, is amazingly quick and […]

A Knitted Mouse And A ‘Something Else’

A Knitted Mouse And A ‘Something Else’

The knitting and stuffing of Alex The Mouse has taken this sweet new little companion to a state of cuddly completion. Though a simple little knit, there were plenty of little skill elements such as stranded colourwork and attached iCord to keep the project entertaining until […]


My Open Window

Baby Awesome reading a book

How To Be Brave

‘He is very thoughtful’. He is. My son is very thoughtful, and he likes to figure things out. He excels at puzzles and learns things very quickly. ‘He is very quiet’. Yes, he is that, too, at times (though, at other times he is tearing around the house at a hundred miles an hour, testing out the new sound that he has managed to form from his mouth, or sometimes nose. Or sometimes bottom. ‘He is very shy… he is very sensitive’. Gosh, yes he is. That’s ok, right? Because I’m all of those things. He probably gets that from me, and, frankly, I’ve been told that these parts of my character are weaknesses many, many times. Mostly by loud, unthoughtful and insensitive people.

I never used to think of these parts of my son’s character as potential ‘flaws’ or anything to worry about, until one day I was reflecting on how people had so labelled me, both growing up and as an adult, and then I started to worry, and I took him to playgroups and did a happy little dance inside every time he didn’t cry when another kid came near him, because hopefully he wouldn’t be too much like me.

Children surprise you. I feel like I must know this little guy as much as it is possible to understand a one year old, and yet he still surprises and delights me every day. When visiting my mother last week, she suggested that we go to a petting zoo. Not wanting to disappoint her I didn’t know how to say (because I can be a bit quiet) that Darwin might be afraid of the animals, as last time we took him to a petting zoo he didn’t seem to like the animals very much.

I did not know that my little guy would stare down this ram with an engaging wonder at the huge animal in front of him. Chin up, unafraid of the new experience.

Sheep after sheep we nuzzled and fed. Tiny little pudgy fingers explored fuzzy face and woolly curls and it was amazing. He was so, so brave. But he’s still sensitive, and quiet, and thoughtful, and I love those things about him.

I don’t know how his personality will develop when he is older. I only know that I hope that he does not become insensitive, and unthoughtful. Sometimes it feels like these are the qualities that people value to ‘get ahead’, and maybe those same people see people like me as having fallen behind, but I think that my nature has allowed me to find a path to happiness in my family and the true, kind friends that I have.

Whatever acts of bravery my little boy performs when he is older, whether sailing a wooden playground ship with no fear of falling as mum and dad look nervously on, or standing up to bullies and those that would treat him unkindly, I hope that he will always be brave enough to be thoughtful in his behaviour. I hope that he will always be bold enough to be quiet when he wants to be. I hope that he will always have the courage to show his sensitivity.

For now, I hope that he knows that he can always rest his weary head on me and I will hold him safely in my arms when he wants me to. I will cuddle him through his tears, because it is ok to cry.