Saturday, 30 October 2010

What a Difference

My mum and dad have been staying this week (half term) and have seen The Knit Studio for the very first time. Over the past months they have seen various photos, heard my long lists of things to do and finally....last Monday actually got to see the place! And they love it - as I hoped they would. Over the last few days they have met and chatted to my knitting friends, drank cups of tea, glasses of wine, ate cake and biscuits, compared yarns, patterns and garments. I have really enjoyed having them stay and sharing my place with them.
On the home front, Euan and Sarah have enjoyed seeing their Grandparents and spending some time with them. We even had a family trip to Morpeth on Wednesday. The cats too, have enjoyed their company. Mittens loves my mum and plonks himself on her knee at every opportunity - the only problem with this is : he is 7 and half kilos and a BIG cat and my mum is quite small and cannot move when he is sitting there.
I travel back to Sussex with them on Tuesday to return to Newcastle on Wednesday and you know something? The journey home, alone, will feel twice as long!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010


Spotted this little cutie outside the bank - well wrapped up for the Newcastle weather!

The coat did remind me that when I first started to knit, cables and bobbles were my 'thing'! I have finally finished sewing this fabulous coat together - all it needs now are buttons. Isabella is wearing my coat (for now) in The Knit Studio but I think I may be borrowing it back pretty soon!

Thursday, 21 October 2010


Okay, I don't have much time for housework at the moment, but on Sunday I realised that the cats had started to regard the sofa as their bed. Springing into action I hoovered all the cat hair away, plumped the cushions and then admired my work (as you do).
Realising that this would not stop the cats sleeping on there, I then piled lots of things onto it, not a bit of space to spare - or so I thought.......
Here is a perfect example of how clever cats really are, and how they can squish a cushion down and get really, really comfortable in the smallest of places!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

A Poem

Have you ever noticed that, when searching for one thing you almost always find another, forgotten or 'lost' thing? Today I found this - a poem written by Sarah over two years ago to help while away the 360 mile journey South to see her Grandparents. It made me smile and I hope it makes you smile too!


She's as mad as a hatter
She knits and she natters -
It's hard to believe her brain is made of Wool!
She travels to towns
To relieve peoples frowns -
She is THE knitting guru!
She untangles their knitting instead
Of them sittitting
Reading their patterns again and again.
No tantrums or knitting thrown on the ground
Anything is possible while she is around.
From jumpers and socks
And shawls and tops,
Blankets and cushions are my favourite things.
She is incredibly bright and very polite
And works on her notes very late in the night
To get them 'just right'!

I wonder, I wonder when I'll ever get my jumper?

Sarah M

PS Readers, did you notice the hint?

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

The Jasmine Tea Fairy

I have always had a bit of a thing for tea and coffee. My dad, a great tea and coffee lover, is obviously the one who has influenced me. From a young age, I knew it was better to warm the pot first, to use fresh tea leaves, to pour the tea first, always drink from a china cup etc etc. I only really started to drink coffee in my twenties and always preferred filter or percolated to instant. Fast forward a few years and I entered the world of flavoured teas and real chinese tea. My kitchen cupboard, as you can imagine, is full of packets of teas, coffee, coffee beans, tea pots, coffee pots, cafetieres, percolators and a fab coffee grinder.
I always prefer any hot drink in a china cup or mug, and again, have a collection of these (some of which have moved to The Knit Studio). I have a friend in Edinburgh, who brews the most fantastic strong black coffee in a stainless steel pot on the cooker. A most welcome drink after a long journey, I can almost hear it percolating as I type!
It's interesting that the smell of various teas and coffees can take me back in time to many places and events in my past.   
Recently, one of my favourite teas has been Jasmine Flower Tea, normally only taken when dining at Nudo in Newcastle. This lovely restaurant just happens to be next door to Andy's business and just around the corner from mine! Very handy, indeed.
I shall try to describe Jasmine Tea Fairy - I think it starts life as a flower head, which is packed with tea leaves, dried, tied and then flowers are threaded onto the tie. It looks like a dried seed pod, but when you drop it into a glass of hot water, it sinks and the magically opens up and the flowers float up towards the surface. Quite beautiful, and very tasty. You can also refill the glass at twice - so good value for money too!
As you know it was birthday last weekend and I was surprised and delighted to receive a whole box of Jasmine Fairies!!! Bliss! Here's a photograph to help all the previous waffle make sense.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Choirs,Birthdays & Cake

I have just celebrated another birthday - yes, I am 21 again!!! It was a weekend of contrasts and I have had a brilliant time.
On Friday I attended my monthly Arthritis Care Social Evening (I am Treasurer for the Newcastle branch). We had arranged for The Tyneside Ladies Barbershop Harmony Chorus to entertain our members and they were brilliant.

and then.... I headed off to the Night Life of Newcastle Quayside to meet up with some girlfriends for a drink or two! They had been out since 7.30 so by the time I arrived were well ahead of me in terms of alcohol consumption! I had driven down so just enjoyed one small glass of wine before waving them off to the next pub! It was great to see them all again and catch up with the gossip!

La Tasca, Newcastle Quayside

On Saturday I enjoyed the company of over 20 members of the Knitting Group that now meet at The Knit Studio - some of whom, left, shopped, had their hair done and then returned for more tea and biscuits.

When I got home this enormous cake was waiting for me, along with presents and cards.

Anyone like a piece??

Anyway.... I have had a loverly, birthday weekend - thank you!

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Has Anyone Seen My Elephant?

Yes, indeed. You read the title correctly - one of my elephants is missing! and she is the smallest of the herd and quite easy to miss (apart from being pink, that is).  
Ellie is one of my own patterns and can be found Here on Ravelry.
Originally designed for a Parent and Child Workshop I tutored at The Rowan Mill in Holmfirth - this particular pink Ellie was knitted in Anchor Mercer Crochet yarn on teeny tiny needles. She has travelled the UK and kept me company at my many workshops. Ellie has been missing now for about 3 months - I kept hoping she might turn up - in the house, amongst the stash, in the car, at my mum and dads, at one of the woolshops I visit. But alas, there is no sign ......I may have to knit another. I am sure whoever found her will look after her with care....

Monday, 4 October 2010

Leaves and Buttons

Over the past few days it has been impossible to notice the change in colour of the leaves on the trees in our garden, and also the number of fallen leaves. I was sad to discover this today, though. Years ago, when Euan was about 10, he would enthusiastically collect literally hundreds of conkers at this time of year. For school playground games, for playing with at home, for baking in the bottom of the Rayburn or simply just because he could! Sarah was just 2, and wanted to copy whatever her big brother did. I decided, in a moment of madness, to get them to plant up a couple of containers with some of the spoils - one container each.
No-one was more surprised than me, when both containers started to display signs of growth! The result, our very own potted conker trees! Obviously, when we moved house they came with us and they are as much a part of our family as the cats. The ownership of the containers has blurred over the years and there is an unspoken competition over which will grow the tallest, have the most leaves etc each year.
What amuses me, is that no matter how small the tree, the leaves are a standard full grown tree size! Amazing. (and a bit odd).
I, personally, use them to let me know when Spring has arrived = new buds, or Autumn has really begun = orange leaves, then no leaves! This year, one of them has skipped a stage - and has jumped straight into the bare and interesting look. I have to admit, I feel a little sad.....

Moving onto buttons.... my last post about Button Tins has sparked a number of memories amongst my friends and readers. Today I have heard about people colour sorting Grandma's buttons, following patterns in the carpets, threading them all together with a bodkin and thread, to name but a few. What is interesting is that for everyone, the thought of a button tin brings back happy memories of childhood and relations who are perhaps no longer with us. Maybe I should start a National Button Tin Celebration Day? The whole day could be devoted to sorting, sifting, rattling, threading and just stepping back in time. Meanwhile, here is a photograph of one of my many button tins. Enjoy!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Finished Objects

I have been knitting up a storm this last week, well only a small storm, but starting and finishing a project (albeit small) does make me feel a whole lot better!
Having seen the Tea Cosy that Alix, from the Knitting Group, brought in I knew that I, too, had to knit one! To add the perfect finishing touch, Alix bought some fantastic, bright coloured buttons for her creation and it was much admired (and photographed).

I present Le Tea Cosy in Autumn Colours - perfect for our grizzly Newcastle days. I had great fun raiding my button boxes.

Knitted in Lang yarn's Mille Fiamme

Talking of button tins - see above - does the noise of buttons in a tin bring back memories for anyone?
As soon as I open a tin of buttons, and we have a few, and give it a little shake, just in case any treasures come up to the surface! I am transported back to childhood! That satisfying noise when you tip them all out and stir them around with your hands - the feel of them as they slip through your fingers. I am whisked back to when I used to play at home, and at my Nain's, and my auntie's houses on the floor with the button tins and......better still.....a tin tray! Can you hear the noise, can you remember it??? Perfect..maybe I need to source a tin tray??