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With only five weeks until my favourite yarn festival starts, I am getting rather excited. Unravel means a lot to me, for various different reasons - as well as being my most 'local' show (an hour's drive), and the one that was the subject of my first EVER published blog post, it's also the place I get to meet up with (and remember) various friends I've made over the last six years of knitting and blogging. It's part yarny-extravaganza, part 'blogiversary' and part 'weekend away with the girls'. In other words, it's really very special.

I'd love for you to share it - at the bottom of this post, you'll find booking information plus a giveaway for a pair of day tickets, kindly supplied by the festival organisers.

Unravel 2017 artwork, by Stephanie Cole

Regular readers will probably know all about Unravel, but if you're new to the blog, or the festival, you might like to read 10 Tips for Unravel Festival (2015) and Evolution (2013, when I realised that my experience had gone through the stages of overwhelm, shopping-mania and friendship). There are lots of other posts here if you'd like to see previous photos (and stash enhancement) from Unravel!

So what's new for 2017?

Inspired by the glass entrance to the Maltings building, this year Unravel organisers are asking for donations of hand-made birds. Despite the name, they can be knit, crochet or felted and will be used to create a special 'Knit Aviary' exhibition. After the festival, the birds will be sold to raise funds for the charity Step by Step who work to empower local young homeless and vulnerable people - you can read more about the charity here and find full details of the Knit Aviary here


If you'd like to donate to the aviary, please feel free to send any birds to Unravel, Farnham Maltings, Bridge Square, Farnham, GU9 7QR. Include your name if you'd like it to appear on a tag with the bird. Don't have a go-to bird pattern? No problem - you'll find two free patterns on the Unravel website to get you started - a cute little blackbird by Sue Stratford and Beatrice, the Lesser Spotted Malting (above) designed by Belinda Harris-Reid. 

This year sees the return of many Unravel favourites such as Textile Garden, Coop Knits, Easy Knits, Tilly Flop and Debonnaire as well as some vendors you may not have seen unless you've been to other events. (A Yarn Story had an AMAZING selection of yarns at the Yarnporium, so I can't wait to see what is being planned!) See the full exhibitor list here

Find tickets to the Yarntelier Rosette workshop with Louisa Harding here

The teaching lineup at Unravel is always great and this year is no exception - there are various workshops running throughout the weekend with well-known designers such as Nancy Marchant, Rachel Coopey, Juju Vail, Louisa Harding and Renée Callaghan covering everything from Brioche knitting to crochet baskets. Find the details here.

Renee Callaghan aka East London Knit will be running a chunky lace shawl workshop - details here

I'll be there all day Saturday, and will be accompanied by various designer and blogger friends, maybe even a podcaster or two. As people who mainly communicate with our audiences 'virtually', it's lovely to get to have a two-way chat with followers/readers - to hear about you. That is always a major highlight so please please don't be shy - come and say hello if you see us!

The festival runs from Friday 17th February to Sunday 19th February 2017. Until February 12th you can get 'early bird' tickets (limited availability) for £7, after that the price will be £9. Workshop bookings include the entrance fee for the same day as the class. Find further details and book tickets here. The visitor information page should cover anything else you want to know.

One lucky reader can win a pair of tickets (for the day of your choice) simply by leaving a comment on this post letting me know which day you'd prefer. You MUST leave a Ravelry name, Instagram name or another way of contacting you if you win (I had to redraw other giveaways a few times for this reason). The winner will be randomly selected on Friday 27th January and you will be contacted using the method indicated. Good luck!

PS There will be more information about the festival in the coming weeks - if you're going, be sure to subscribe to the blog (in the sidebar) so you don't miss a thing! 

Unravel 2017 preview (& ticket giveaway!!!)

With only five weeks until my favourite yarn festival starts, I am getting rather excited. Unravel means a lot to me, for various different reasons - as well as being my most 'local' show (an hour's drive), and the one that was the subject of my first EVER published blog post, it's also the place I get to meet up with (and remember) various friends I've made over the last six years of knitting and blogging. It's part yarny-extravaganza, part 'blogiversary' and part 'weekend away with the girls'. In other words, it's really very special.

I'd love for you to share it - at the bottom of this post, you'll find booking information plus a giveaway for a pair of day tickets, kindly supplied by the festival organisers.

Unravel 2017 artwork, by Stephanie Cole

Regular readers will probably know all about Unravel, but if you're new to the blog, or the festival, you might like to read 10 Tips for Unravel Festival (2015) and Evolution (2013, when I realised that my experience had gone through the stages of overwhelm, shopping-mania and friendship). There are lots of other posts here if you'd like to see previous photos (and stash enhancement) from Unravel!

So what's new for 2017?

Inspired by the glass entrance to the Maltings building, this year Unravel organisers are asking for donations of hand-made birds. Despite the name, they can be knit, crochet or felted and will be used to create a special 'Knit Aviary' exhibition. After the festival, the birds will be sold to raise funds for the charity Step by Step who work to empower local young homeless and vulnerable people - you can read more about the charity here and find full details of the Knit Aviary here


If you'd like to donate to the aviary, please feel free to send any birds to Unravel, Farnham Maltings, Bridge Square, Farnham, GU9 7QR. Include your name if you'd like it to appear on a tag with the bird. Don't have a go-to bird pattern? No problem - you'll find two free patterns on the Unravel website to get you started - a cute little blackbird by Sue Stratford and Beatrice, the Lesser Spotted Malting (above) designed by Belinda Harris-Reid. 

This year sees the return of many Unravel favourites such as Textile Garden, Coop Knits, Easy Knits, Tilly Flop and Debonnaire as well as some vendors you may not have seen unless you've been to other events. (A Yarn Story had an AMAZING selection of yarns at the Yarnporium, so I can't wait to see what is being planned!) See the full exhibitor list here

Find tickets to the Yarntelier Rosette workshop with Louisa Harding here

The teaching lineup at Unravel is always great and this year is no exception - there are various workshops running throughout the weekend with well-known designers such as Nancy Marchant, Rachel Coopey, Juju Vail, Louisa Harding and Renée Callaghan covering everything from Brioche knitting to crochet baskets. Find the details here.

Renee Callaghan aka East London Knit will be running a chunky lace shawl workshop - details here

I'll be there all day Saturday, and will be accompanied by various designer and blogger friends, maybe even a podcaster or two. As people who mainly communicate with our audiences 'virtually', it's lovely to get to have a two-way chat with followers/readers - to hear about you. That is always a major highlight so please please don't be shy - come and say hello if you see us!

The festival runs from Friday 17th February to Sunday 19th February 2017. Until February 12th you can get 'early bird' tickets (limited availability) for £7, after that the price will be £9. Workshop bookings include the entrance fee for the same day as the class. Find further details and book tickets here. The visitor information page should cover anything else you want to know.

One lucky reader can win a pair of tickets (for the day of your choice) simply by leaving a comment on this post letting me know which day you'd prefer. You MUST leave a Ravelry name, Instagram name or another way of contacting you if you win (I had to redraw other giveaways a few times for this reason). The winner will be randomly selected on Friday 27th January and you will be contacted using the method indicated. Good luck!

PS There will be more information about the festival in the coming weeks - if you're going, be sure to subscribe to the blog (in the sidebar) so you don't miss a thing! 
There was no post planned for today but I couldn't wait to share this news with you because I am SO excited for my dear friend Dedri Uys. I've mentioned her here many times since we first met a couple of years ago, she is a constant source of inspiration to me - and many others - and gives so much back to her (real-life and virtual) community. Since our recent trip together, I've been waiting to tell you about her new book (find her others here*) and the story behind it. 

Let me tell you up front that this post is a great big HOORAH for Dedri who stood by her principles to achieve her dream of getting this book published while staying true to herself and her followers.


The Sophie's Universe pattern was originally published in parts, as a Crochet-along, on Dedri's website in 2015. Despite repeated requests for a printed version of the pattern from many followers who have made, or are making, the stunning heirloom blanket (there are the FOUR AND A HALF THOUSAND PROJECTS on Ravelry alone!), she had trouble getting it published because she wanted to keep the pattern available for free on her blog too. That was very important to her. 

Sign of a good friend - they will pose for you to take a photo of a picture in your
favourite colours on a restaurant wall ... while holding a matching ball of yarn! 

Publishers wouldn't entertain the idea. They wanted her to remove the free instalments so people could only make Sophie's Universe by buying the book. But that wasn't what Dedri wanted - publishing a book was about giving people an additional option, not taking away something she had already given freely, and that she'd put her heart and soul into. People asked for a physical pattern which they could carry around with their project, or as a keepsake accompaniment to finished blankets, and she wanted to make it available.

Luckily Scheepjes stepped in just over a year ago. They understood that she was committed to keeping the free version online too, and agreed to publish the book on these terms. They have been working on it ever since. With such a long and detailed pattern - including extensive supporting photos and tips - the result is a beautiful book with over 200 pages. It guides you through every single step of this advanced crochet pattern so that pretty much anyone can do it. 

The book is a paperback and stitch-bound so it lays flat when you're working, and it's printed on really nice paper (Dedri is a stationery addict, so she's happy!) and the layout and styling have all been handled by a great team including Jane Toft, former Editor-in-chief of Mollie Makes and Simple Things magazines, which might give you an idea of the production standards.

When I first 'met' Sophie, it was love! Look at those details!!! (This is the Stone Washed XL version)

I couldn't be more delighted for Dedri and for Scheepjes, especially when I heard that the initial stock of books listed on her Wool Warehouse shopfront sold out within a couple of hours. She trusted her instinct and it was right - people want to buy the book, even though the pattern is available for free. I suspect many crocheters who have enjoyed her design and finished the blanket will want to buy it to show their gratitude and respect for the huge amount of work that went into the pattern and original CAL. Plus lots of other people who like a printed pattern and haven't made it yet will want it too. Of course, I have placed my order already and have a copy on the way - not that I have time to even think about making 'Sophie' myself! 

If you want to get your hands on a copy, you can order the Sophie's Universe book from Wool Warehouse (for £16.95), where you will also find kits to complete the project in various different Scheepjes yarns. Instructions for Cotton 8, Softfun and Stone Washed XL are included in the book, and there is now also a Colour Crafter version of the kit which includes information on which colours to use/substitute. (Select from the 'Main Pack' options listed here.) It will be available from other stockists soon. 

NOTE: If the book is showing as sold out when you read this, you can sign up to be notified by email when they are re-listed - from what I understand, that won't be long! 

*Affiliate links are included throughout this post. Thank you for using them and supporting Crafts from the Cwtch. 

NEWSFLASH:: Sophie's Universe *BOOK* is now available!

There was no post planned for today but I couldn't wait to share this news with you because I am SO excited for my dear friend Dedri Uys. I've mentioned her here many times since we first met a couple of years ago, she is a constant source of inspiration to me - and many others - and gives so much back to her (real-life and virtual) community. Since our recent trip together, I've been waiting to tell you about her new book (find her others here*) and the story behind it. 

Let me tell you up front that this post is a great big HOORAH for Dedri who stood by her principles to achieve her dream of getting this book published while staying true to herself and her followers.


The Sophie's Universe pattern was originally published in parts, as a Crochet-along, on Dedri's website in 2015. Despite repeated requests for a printed version of the pattern from many followers who have made, or are making, the stunning heirloom blanket (there are the FOUR AND A HALF THOUSAND PROJECTS on Ravelry alone!), she had trouble getting it published because she wanted to keep the pattern available for free on her blog too. That was very important to her. 

Sign of a good friend - they will pose for you to take a photo of a picture in your
favourite colours on a restaurant wall ... while holding a matching ball of yarn! 

Publishers wouldn't entertain the idea. They wanted her to remove the free instalments so people could only make Sophie's Universe by buying the book. But that wasn't what Dedri wanted - publishing a book was about giving people an additional option, not taking away something she had already given freely, and that she'd put her heart and soul into. People asked for a physical pattern which they could carry around with their project, or as a keepsake accompaniment to finished blankets, and she wanted to make it available.

Luckily Scheepjes stepped in just over a year ago. They understood that she was committed to keeping the free version online too, and agreed to publish the book on these terms. They have been working on it ever since. With such a long and detailed pattern - including extensive supporting photos and tips - the result is a beautiful book with over 200 pages. It guides you through every single step of this advanced crochet pattern so that pretty much anyone can do it. 

The book is a paperback and stitch-bound so it lays flat when you're working, and it's printed on really nice paper (Dedri is a stationery addict, so she's happy!) and the layout and styling have all been handled by a great team including Jane Toft, former Editor-in-chief of Mollie Makes and Simple Things magazines, which might give you an idea of the production standards.

When I first 'met' Sophie, it was love! Look at those details!!! (This is the Stone Washed XL version)

I couldn't be more delighted for Dedri and for Scheepjes, especially when I heard that the initial stock of books listed on her Wool Warehouse shopfront sold out within a couple of hours. She trusted her instinct and it was right - people want to buy the book, even though the pattern is available for free. I suspect many crocheters who have enjoyed her design and finished the blanket will want to buy it to show their gratitude and respect for the huge amount of work that went into the pattern and original CAL. Plus lots of other people who like a printed pattern and haven't made it yet will want it too. Of course, I have placed my order already and have a copy on the way - not that I have time to even think about making 'Sophie' myself! 

If you want to get your hands on a copy, you can order the Sophie's Universe book from Wool Warehouse (for £16.95), where you will also find kits to complete the project in various different Scheepjes yarns. Instructions for Cotton 8, Softfun and Stone Washed XL are included in the book, and there is now also a Colour Crafter version of the kit which includes information on which colours to use/substitute. (Select from the 'Main Pack' options listed here.) It will be available from other stockists soon. 

NOTE: If the book is showing as sold out when you read this, you can sign up to be notified by email when they are re-listed - from what I understand, that won't be long! 

*Affiliate links are included throughout this post. Thank you for using them and supporting Crafts from the Cwtch. 
Making time for daily artistic practice is high on my list of priorities this year, for no other reason than it lights me up. On busy days, it might be something as simple as a doodle while I'm on the phone, just for the enjoyment of the doing. When there is more time, I'm following prompts from a few different online classes/groups which are encouraging me to try different things.
Don't do it for a reason or an end goal, do it because you love doing it. Follow it without knowing where it will lead. ~ Rebecca Campbell, Light is the New Black
With a creative following, I'm sure that many of you also get a joyful feeling from artistic practice, and I also know there are lots of reasons not to make time for it - let's be honest, it feels a bit indulgent in our busy lives. I'm sending this post out as a nudge to anyone who is holding back - I suspect the most common reasons are not having the skills, supplies or time, or being too busy raising a family. Those were my own excuses, but this is what I've discovered:

1. It's incredibly good fun to try new things (& get messy)

You really don't have to be 'good' at art to have fun. In fact, the less attached to the outcome you are, the more fun it is. Unlike knitting and crochet (or other crafts), if you consider the end product to be incidental to the fun of 'making', you can let rip, make a mess, and enjoy it even more. 


Working on the 'warm up' session from Life Book 2017
Historically I've enjoyed drawing people, and always wanted them to look like people, but I recently discovered the joy of mixed media art and love it. It needn't look like anything - it's just fun! With mixed media, it doesn't even matter if you don't think you can draw - you can find images and text that you like elsewhere, and turn them into something new. There's something very liberating about slapping some gel medium on the page, ripping things up and sticking them on, and then decorating over the top of it. Going back to making basic shapes with a pen is also great fun! 

2. You don't need many supplies (unless you want them)

You can enjoy making art with minimal supplies - just a pen or pencil and some paper - and it's likely that you will also have some other supplies around the house, especially if you have children. (Of course, it's also possible to go crazy with supplies, but I'm not there yet!) Little Miss has been ripping up paper bags and drawing on those, then experimenting with different pens we have around the house - including adding water to the lines to make the ink run - she got some really cool effects from this and it was good practice for not being attached to the outcome, which was unknown.

3.  It needn't take long

Even if you only have a little bit of time, you can do something fun and creative. If you'd like to be painting masterpieces, but only have time for a sketchpad doodle, the doodle is better than nothing and will probably help to scratch the itch.

These days, I always have an art journal on the go, and even when there isn't time to 'sit and create', I might put a watercolour wash or splatter a bit of paint over a blank page as a starting point for later. (If you're intimidated by a blank sheet of paper this is also a great way to get started!)

Detail from my art journal - a 5 minute session from the  Lisa Congdon Bootcamp on Creativebug*

4. It's fun to do together 

Little Miss is seven and still wants to do things with me, but she gets frustrated when I'm knitting - her knitting is much slower than mine and her concentration span isn't great when she can't see quick results. However, she is an enthusiastic artist and just loves drawing or painting side-by-side. On Sunday mornings we can often be found with the kitchen table covered in glue and paint, music playing in the background. It's a lovely way to spend an hour or two, is more productive than being sat in front of a screen, and I hope it might be a way to stay connected with her as she grows up.

First part of the Lisa Congdon Bootcamp on Creativebug* by Little Miss - follow her progress at @artbybubsy

5. It's relaxing and meditative

If you choose to let go and enjoy the process, making art - whether drawn, painted, or glued on - is very relaxing. I frequently loose all track of time and find it to be very meditative. I also find a lot of insight waiting for me in those moments, if I take a moment to listen. In these times of rushing around and constant noise, that can only be a good thing.


THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: What is it that lights you up? Are you making the time for it in your daily life? What could you do to fit it in? 

*Affiliate. Click here to get a free month's Creativebug trial including access to ALL content (plus 30% discount at Jo-Ann in the US)! 

Five great things about making art

Making time for daily artistic practice is high on my list of priorities this year, for no other reason than it lights me up. On busy days, it might be something as simple as a doodle while I'm on the phone, just for the enjoyment of the doing. When there is more time, I'm following prompts from a few different online classes/groups which are encouraging me to try different things.
Don't do it for a reason or an end goal, do it because you love doing it. Follow it without knowing where it will lead. ~ Rebecca Campbell, Light is the New Black
With a creative following, I'm sure that many of you also get a joyful feeling from artistic practice, and I also know there are lots of reasons not to make time for it - let's be honest, it feels a bit indulgent in our busy lives. I'm sending this post out as a nudge to anyone who is holding back - I suspect the most common reasons are not having the skills, supplies or time, or being too busy raising a family. Those were my own excuses, but this is what I've discovered:

1. It's incredibly good fun to try new things (& get messy)

You really don't have to be 'good' at art to have fun. In fact, the less attached to the outcome you are, the more fun it is. Unlike knitting and crochet (or other crafts), if you consider the end product to be incidental to the fun of 'making', you can let rip, make a mess, and enjoy it even more. 


Working on the 'warm up' session from Life Book 2017
Historically I've enjoyed drawing people, and always wanted them to look like people, but I recently discovered the joy of mixed media art and love it. It needn't look like anything - it's just fun! With mixed media, it doesn't even matter if you don't think you can draw - you can find images and text that you like elsewhere, and turn them into something new. There's something very liberating about slapping some gel medium on the page, ripping things up and sticking them on, and then decorating over the top of it. Going back to making basic shapes with a pen is also great fun! 

2. You don't need many supplies (unless you want them)

You can enjoy making art with minimal supplies - just a pen or pencil and some paper - and it's likely that you will also have some other supplies around the house, especially if you have children. (Of course, it's also possible to go crazy with supplies, but I'm not there yet!) Little Miss has been ripping up paper bags and drawing on those, then experimenting with different pens we have around the house - including adding water to the lines to make the ink run - she got some really cool effects from this and it was good practice for not being attached to the outcome, which was unknown.

3.  It needn't take long

Even if you only have a little bit of time, you can do something fun and creative. If you'd like to be painting masterpieces, but only have time for a sketchpad doodle, the doodle is better than nothing and will probably help to scratch the itch.

These days, I always have an art journal on the go, and even when there isn't time to 'sit and create', I might put a watercolour wash or splatter a bit of paint over a blank page as a starting point for later. (If you're intimidated by a blank sheet of paper this is also a great way to get started!)

Detail from my art journal - a 5 minute session from the  Lisa Congdon Bootcamp on Creativebug*

4. It's fun to do together 

Little Miss is seven and still wants to do things with me, but she gets frustrated when I'm knitting - her knitting is much slower than mine and her concentration span isn't great when she can't see quick results. However, she is an enthusiastic artist and just loves drawing or painting side-by-side. On Sunday mornings we can often be found with the kitchen table covered in glue and paint, music playing in the background. It's a lovely way to spend an hour or two, is more productive than being sat in front of a screen, and I hope it might be a way to stay connected with her as she grows up.

First part of the Lisa Congdon Bootcamp on Creativebug* by Little Miss - follow her progress at @artbybubsy

5. It's relaxing and meditative

If you choose to let go and enjoy the process, making art - whether drawn, painted, or glued on - is very relaxing. I frequently loose all track of time and find it to be very meditative. I also find a lot of insight waiting for me in those moments, if I take a moment to listen. In these times of rushing around and constant noise, that can only be a good thing.


THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: What is it that lights you up? Are you making the time for it in your daily life? What could you do to fit it in? 

*Affiliate. Click here to get a free month's Creativebug trial including access to ALL content (plus 30% discount at Jo-Ann in the US)! 
It's been said before (a few times) but needs repeating - the hardest thing about being a commissioned designer is not being able to share the excitement over new projects. Oh, how I longed to show you this design as I was working on it last summer - I loved knitting it SO much. At that point, it wasn't just the project that was a 'secret' but also the yarn, which hadn't been released. So it's very apt that the pattern, available today as part of YARN The After Party series,  is called the Shawl of Secrets


As you can see, this is a stocking- and garter-stitch triangle shawl made from Scheepjes Secret Garden* (which I adore - read more about the yarn here). As you might expect, using basic stitches, this is a pattern that's suitable for all levels - if you can knit, purl and yarn over, you can make it - there's nothing terribly complicated here. So why might you need a pattern in order to make it? 

Firstly the shawl showcases six different colourways, put together in a way that flows effortlessly. They are as follows:

  • 1 x Rambling Blooms (705)
  • 1 x Summer House (707)
  • 1 x Hidden Pathway (701)
  • 1 x Secluded Lake (703)
  • 2 x Lavender Beds (704)
  • 1 x Herb Garden (702)

You will also need 4.5mm circular needles at least 100cm long  (to knit flat) and a couple of stitch markers. I also used a larger needle tip (6mm) for the bind off, but that's optional.

Of course, each shawl will be unique, depending on the individual yarn balls used for each colourway, but the order that I've put them in will ensure they work well together, whichever section of the colourway is at the start of the ball (they are easy-start centre-pull balls, by the way).


If you've ever made a triangle shawl with a self-striping yarn, you'll know the second challenge with this design. A triangle shawl grows steadily so that self-striping yarn looks very different at the top of the shawl, to the bottom. Rather than fight this I used it as part of the design. In other words, I did the maths to give the colour changes and alternating stitches intentional placement so that the colour changes don't look odd or jarring.

It turned out exactly as I had hoped and was one of the most satisfying things I'd knit for a long time. The yarn is gorgeous to work with (find some tips here) and the shawl drapes beautifully. I hope it will be just as loved by anyone who makes it. 

Of course, the second most difficult thing about being a commissioned designer is waiting to wear something you fell in love with - I finished it just in time for the courier to take it away. I only got to swish it around for a few minutes after it was ready, so I really can't wait for the sample to arrive back from the Netherlands. I might never take it off (and it's not even black or grey)!


The 'Shawl of Secrets' pattern is available in three languages - English, Dutch and Swedish as a PDF Download from Ravelry or as a printed pattern booklet in English and Dutch from Scheepjes stockists. What's more, you can get it for the bargain price of  £1 or €1. Download or add it to your favourites / queue here. You can see my own photos of the sample here, and remember to PIN some of the images above to your Pinterest boards if you'd like to share the love. Thanks so much x

*Affiliates: Scheepjes yarns and the printed pattern are available at Wool WarehouseDeramores and other Scheepjes stockists. Thank you for using my affiliate links, which cost you nothing extra and help to support the blog. I really appreciate it. 

Design Notebook: Shawl of Secrets

It's been said before (a few times) but needs repeating - the hardest thing about being a commissioned designer is not being able to share the excitement over new projects. Oh, how I longed to show you this design as I was working on it last summer - I loved knitting it SO much. At that point, it wasn't just the project that was a 'secret' but also the yarn, which hadn't been released. So it's very apt that the pattern, available today as part of YARN The After Party series,  is called the Shawl of Secrets


As you can see, this is a stocking- and garter-stitch triangle shawl made from Scheepjes Secret Garden* (which I adore - read more about the yarn here). As you might expect, using basic stitches, this is a pattern that's suitable for all levels - if you can knit, purl and yarn over, you can make it - there's nothing terribly complicated here. So why might you need a pattern in order to make it? 

Firstly the shawl showcases six different colourways, put together in a way that flows effortlessly. They are as follows:

  • 1 x Rambling Blooms (705)
  • 1 x Summer House (707)
  • 1 x Hidden Pathway (701)
  • 1 x Secluded Lake (703)
  • 2 x Lavender Beds (704)
  • 1 x Herb Garden (702)

You will also need 4.5mm circular needles at least 100cm long  (to knit flat) and a couple of stitch markers. I also used a larger needle tip (6mm) for the bind off, but that's optional.

Of course, each shawl will be unique, depending on the individual yarn balls used for each colourway, but the order that I've put them in will ensure they work well together, whichever section of the colourway is at the start of the ball (they are easy-start centre-pull balls, by the way).


If you've ever made a triangle shawl with a self-striping yarn, you'll know the second challenge with this design. A triangle shawl grows steadily so that self-striping yarn looks very different at the top of the shawl, to the bottom. Rather than fight this I used it as part of the design. In other words, I did the maths to give the colour changes and alternating stitches intentional placement so that the colour changes don't look odd or jarring.

It turned out exactly as I had hoped and was one of the most satisfying things I'd knit for a long time. The yarn is gorgeous to work with (find some tips here) and the shawl drapes beautifully. I hope it will be just as loved by anyone who makes it. 

Of course, the second most difficult thing about being a commissioned designer is waiting to wear something you fell in love with - I finished it just in time for the courier to take it away. I only got to swish it around for a few minutes after it was ready, so I really can't wait for the sample to arrive back from the Netherlands. I might never take it off (and it's not even black or grey)!


The 'Shawl of Secrets' pattern is available in three languages - English, Dutch and Swedish as a PDF Download from Ravelry or as a printed pattern booklet in English and Dutch from Scheepjes stockists. What's more, you can get it for the bargain price of  £1 or €1. Download or add it to your favourites / queue here. You can see my own photos of the sample here, and remember to PIN some of the images above to your Pinterest boards if you'd like to share the love. Thanks so much x

*Affiliates: Scheepjes yarns and the printed pattern are available at Wool WarehouseDeramores and other Scheepjes stockists. Thank you for using my affiliate links, which cost you nothing extra and help to support the blog. I really appreciate it. 
Detail from my journal. Dreamboard class taught by Tamara Laporte as part of an online retreat.

*I've been taking time out to listen to the 'whispers' - the things I need to take notice of for the sake of my wellbeing. Since December 20th I've been dabbling in some (online) art sessions and got a lot more from them than just colourful pages in my journal read more here. A big thing is that I need to lighten up - I've been too serious lately and need to have more fun in my daily life, not just when I'm on holiday or seeing my friends! Another key thing is that, in the language of the late Jim Rohn (who I was fortunate to meet in my early 20s), I really haven't 'set my sails' since becoming a mother. 
Learning to reset the sail with the changing winds rather than permitting ourselves to be blown in a direction we did not purposely choose requires the development of a whole new discipline. It involves going to work on establishing a powerful, personal philosophy that will help to influence in a positive way all that we do and that we think and decide. If we can succeed in this worthy endeavor, the result will be a change in the course of our income, lifestyle and relationships, and in how we feel about the things of value as well as the times of challenge. If we can alter the way we perceive, judge and decide upon the main issues of life, then we can dramatically change our lives. Jim Rohn
In 2006 I went from being an organised person with 'a plan' to being a stay-at-home mother, just getting through the day. And the bad habit stuck.... for a decade!
[M]y goal has been to keep the kids/husband/dog alive and well, take each day as it comes, and get as much sleep as possible. - Sarah Knight
Not much of the last 10.5 years has been intentional and I now find myself with a family, a blog, designing things every now and again, and without any sort of plan or focus for my life, never mind the new year! For the last decade, my goal has been to keep the kids/husband/dog alive and well, take each day as it comes, and get as much sleep as possible. Luckily it's worked out, but it's not exactly inspiring. 

As 2017 begins, I've never been in a better position to have fun and create my life how I'd like it to be. We have a beautiful family, we are doing ok financially, our health is good. With the kids growing up and becoming less dependent on me, I have more freedom to pursue the things that make me happy. Yet in the absence of things to be excited about, I have been far too serious and grumpy! I spoke to my friend Nerissa just before Christmas and with a little encouragement from her I've been working my way through a Life workbook by Leonie Dawson - it's proving to be fun and a bit challenging.

My WorkbookDigital versions are also available to print at home or complete online.

Fun because I got to look back on the great things about 2016 (and there were more than I realised) and also because it's really good to think about all the possibilities. Challenging, because the workbook is split into key areas that require thought and intention:
  • creativity, 
  • soul, 
  • mind, 
  • relationships, 
  • family, 
  • body, 
  • house, 
  • travel/adventures,
  • finances, 
  • community, 
  • self-care, and 
  • support
If you're anything like me, some of those topics might give you goosebumps while others make you groan aloud. For example, I don't want to deal with the clutter in my house, even though I know that it would be a positive thing for all of us who live in it. However, I'd love to think about how to bring more intention to my community and creativity - those are the things that make me feel excited. Needless to say, I haven't finished all of the sections yet.

I must confess that I've considered getting one of these workbooks for a few years - ever since I first discovered Leonie Dawson's website - and I thought it might be a bit too 'woo woo' and bright and colourful for me so I didn't bother buying it. The fact is that I also didn't bother setting any intentions in those years, I just bobbed about with no direction, and went where the wind blew me. I was lucky that the wind was mostly favourable - there have been many highlights over the last few years - but it's time to have some sort of plan.

Filling out the workbook was a little bit overwhelming to start with, and it sat on the shelf for a week, but now I'm on a roll. I'll let you know how I get on. In the meantime, if any of this speaks to you, you might like to take a look at Leonie Dawson's website and her free goodies page or Ezine. The workbooks can be found here and she also runs a 'Shining Biz & Life Academy' - although I don't know much about that. 


If you're already using the Workbooks, leave a comment and let me know what you think - which are the bits that inspire you? What do you find more challenging? 

*NOTE: affiliate links are included throughout this post, thank you for using them and supporting future reviews and blog content, at no additional cost to you. 

Creating a Shining Year

Detail from my journal. Dreamboard class taught by Tamara Laporte as part of an online retreat.

*I've been taking time out to listen to the 'whispers' - the things I need to take notice of for the sake of my wellbeing. Since December 20th I've been dabbling in some (online) art sessions and got a lot more from them than just colourful pages in my journal read more here. A big thing is that I need to lighten up - I've been too serious lately and need to have more fun in my daily life, not just when I'm on holiday or seeing my friends! Another key thing is that, in the language of the late Jim Rohn (who I was fortunate to meet in my early 20s), I really haven't 'set my sails' since becoming a mother. 
Learning to reset the sail with the changing winds rather than permitting ourselves to be blown in a direction we did not purposely choose requires the development of a whole new discipline. It involves going to work on establishing a powerful, personal philosophy that will help to influence in a positive way all that we do and that we think and decide. If we can succeed in this worthy endeavor, the result will be a change in the course of our income, lifestyle and relationships, and in how we feel about the things of value as well as the times of challenge. If we can alter the way we perceive, judge and decide upon the main issues of life, then we can dramatically change our lives. Jim Rohn
In 2006 I went from being an organised person with 'a plan' to being a stay-at-home mother, just getting through the day. And the bad habit stuck.... for a decade!
[M]y goal has been to keep the kids/husband/dog alive and well, take each day as it comes, and get as much sleep as possible. - Sarah Knight
Not much of the last 10.5 years has been intentional and I now find myself with a family, a blog, designing things every now and again, and without any sort of plan or focus for my life, never mind the new year! For the last decade, my goal has been to keep the kids/husband/dog alive and well, take each day as it comes, and get as much sleep as possible. Luckily it's worked out, but it's not exactly inspiring. 

As 2017 begins, I've never been in a better position to have fun and create my life how I'd like it to be. We have a beautiful family, we are doing ok financially, our health is good. With the kids growing up and becoming less dependent on me, I have more freedom to pursue the things that make me happy. Yet in the absence of things to be excited about, I have been far too serious and grumpy! I spoke to my friend Nerissa just before Christmas and with a little encouragement from her I've been working my way through a Life workbook by Leonie Dawson - it's proving to be fun and a bit challenging.

My WorkbookDigital versions are also available to print at home or complete online.

Fun because I got to look back on the great things about 2016 (and there were more than I realised) and also because it's really good to think about all the possibilities. Challenging, because the workbook is split into key areas that require thought and intention:
  • creativity, 
  • soul, 
  • mind, 
  • relationships, 
  • family, 
  • body, 
  • house, 
  • travel/adventures,
  • finances, 
  • community, 
  • self-care, and 
  • support
If you're anything like me, some of those topics might give you goosebumps while others make you groan aloud. For example, I don't want to deal with the clutter in my house, even though I know that it would be a positive thing for all of us who live in it. However, I'd love to think about how to bring more intention to my community and creativity - those are the things that make me feel excited. Needless to say, I haven't finished all of the sections yet.

I must confess that I've considered getting one of these workbooks for a few years - ever since I first discovered Leonie Dawson's website - and I thought it might be a bit too 'woo woo' and bright and colourful for me so I didn't bother buying it. The fact is that I also didn't bother setting any intentions in those years, I just bobbed about with no direction, and went where the wind blew me. I was lucky that the wind was mostly favourable - there have been many highlights over the last few years - but it's time to have some sort of plan.

Filling out the workbook was a little bit overwhelming to start with, and it sat on the shelf for a week, but now I'm on a roll. I'll let you know how I get on. In the meantime, if any of this speaks to you, you might like to take a look at Leonie Dawson's website and her free goodies page or Ezine. The workbooks can be found here and she also runs a 'Shining Biz & Life Academy' - although I don't know much about that. 


If you're already using the Workbooks, leave a comment and let me know what you think - which are the bits that inspire you? What do you find more challenging? 

*NOTE: affiliate links are included throughout this post, thank you for using them and supporting future reviews and blog content, at no additional cost to you. 

The last few months felt like a bit of a slog. I haven't been listening to my body, and since October have been fluctuating between being generally run down to being downright ill (a sickness bug, followed by various "viral" things, sciatic pain and a very sore swollen throat all over Christmas). Like most mothers, with so much going on at home, I carried on regardless - looking after everyone else, festive preparations etc - there just hasn't been much time to be ill... or to slow down and think about what I might need.

Detail from a mixed media 'mash-up', that had an interesting message...

About a week ago, I was looking for some journal(l)ing resources and purely by chance found an online class from artist Jenafer Joy called 'Oxygen Mask'. If you've ever flown, you'll know that in the pre-flight safety demonstration, you're always told to put on your own oxygen mask before you attempt to help others, and that's what these sessions are named after. Oxygen Mask comes in the form of 13 daily prompts, and is free when you sign up to Jenafer's mailing list. Little Miss also did some of the exercises in her journal, just for fun.

Mixed media self-portrait at the end of Oxygen Mask
What came through in the pages of my own art has been quite surprising. There are whispers. Whispers of change - things that need to be taken on and things to let go of. I've realised how serious and burdened I've felt lately and I really do need to lighten up.
When you have a dream, it often doesn’t come at you screaming in your face, “This is who you are, this is who you must be for the rest of your life.”Sometimes a dream almost whispers. And I’ve always said to my kids: the hardest thing to listen to — your instincts, your human personal intuition — always whispers; it never shouts. Very hard to hear.So you have to, every day of your lives, be ready to hear what whispers in your ear. It very rarely shouts. And if you can listen to the whisper, and if it tickles your heart, and it’s something you think you want to do for the rest of your life, then that is going to be what you do for the rest of your life, and we will benefit from everything you do. – Steven Spielberg.
Armed with a few tools (listed*), I'm taking some time (off) to listen to the whispers - I'll be back soon. Please leave a comment with the things that you like to do to recharge, it would be lovely to know. 

*The Shining Year Workbook from Leonie Dawson, Liz Gilbert's Big Magic and my art journal plus a few books from Louise L Hay and others, for reference. 

Listening to the whispers

The last few months felt like a bit of a slog. I haven't been listening to my body, and since October have been fluctuating between being generally run down to being downright ill (a sickness bug, followed by various "viral" things, sciatic pain and a very sore swollen throat all over Christmas). Like most mothers, with so much going on at home, I carried on regardless - looking after everyone else, festive preparations etc - there just hasn't been much time to be ill... or to slow down and think about what I might need.

Detail from a mixed media 'mash-up', that had an interesting message...

About a week ago, I was looking for some journal(l)ing resources and purely by chance found an online class from artist Jenafer Joy called 'Oxygen Mask'. If you've ever flown, you'll know that in the pre-flight safety demonstration, you're always told to put on your own oxygen mask before you attempt to help others, and that's what these sessions are named after. Oxygen Mask comes in the form of 13 daily prompts, and is free when you sign up to Jenafer's mailing list. Little Miss also did some of the exercises in her journal, just for fun.

Mixed media self-portrait at the end of Oxygen Mask
What came through in the pages of my own art has been quite surprising. There are whispers. Whispers of change - things that need to be taken on and things to let go of. I've realised how serious and burdened I've felt lately and I really do need to lighten up.
When you have a dream, it often doesn’t come at you screaming in your face, “This is who you are, this is who you must be for the rest of your life.”Sometimes a dream almost whispers. And I’ve always said to my kids: the hardest thing to listen to — your instincts, your human personal intuition — always whispers; it never shouts. Very hard to hear.So you have to, every day of your lives, be ready to hear what whispers in your ear. It very rarely shouts. And if you can listen to the whisper, and if it tickles your heart, and it’s something you think you want to do for the rest of your life, then that is going to be what you do for the rest of your life, and we will benefit from everything you do. – Steven Spielberg.
Armed with a few tools (listed*), I'm taking some time (off) to listen to the whispers - I'll be back soon. Please leave a comment with the things that you like to do to recharge, it would be lovely to know. 

*The Shining Year Workbook from Leonie Dawson, Liz Gilbert's Big Magic and my art journal plus a few books from Louise L Hay and others, for reference. 

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