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updated exhibit poster

(I really liked it.)


updated exhibit poster

Rachel setting up at Oxford Cathedral

Rachel setting up at Oxford Cathedral

I don’t do many commissioned dye lots right now, as a general. It’s something I stopped advertising through the shop* once life here started getting filled with small children.

But every so often a request comes through that is too interesting to turn down.

Would I like to dye nearly 11,000m of yarn for an artist who is exhibiting at the Cathedral? YES!

So off to the woad pots I went on a wet sunday afternoon, and tonight I get to see what has become of the yarn. It’s very exciting, especially having seen the test pieces, and wallowed in the colours (oh woad, I do love your magical soul!)



*Shop update: having currently neither the time nor the patience for zencart I have moved OxfordKitchenYarns to etsy. I’m planning to open the shop in the next month. More news to follow.


It is what it is.


2014-06-28 16.10.02

Poor OxfordKitchenYarns. With small children to look after, family has had to come first this year. The last few years have been a cycle of dyeing while pregnant, going on maternity leave and then coming back to restart things (yet again) but with the added excitement of another baby to add into the mix.

This is not a precursor to announcing I’m pregnant by the way, it’s a just a reflection on the fact that in November OKY will be seven years old (!) and, here I am, feeling like I’m (re)starting up again.

Regardless of all the starting and stopping, and the wonderful and exhausting chaos of family life with three children under six, I’ve never thought of giving up. The idea of not dyeing, not exploring all the amazing and surprising things that come out of my dye pots, has never struck me as an option. I love dyeing yarn. I love making things from my yarn and selling my yarn, and seeing all the things that other people make from it.

So yes, it’s been a hard winter, a wet winter full of many niggly small child illnesses, back to back grown-up colds and not enough time at the dye pots. It’s been a spring that’s flown by in a blur. But now it is summer, and my baby is now a small person in her own right. The sky is mostly blue, and there are designs on the needles, and yarn in the dye.

I’m starting over yet again, a little older, and little wiser and still in love with my tiny yarn business.

Thanks for sticking by me. I’ve lots of fun things to show you.


Merry Christmas!

Wow December has been a battle of lurgy verses Christmas preparations. Ultimately lurgy pretty much won, throwing down a vomiting bug that took out 4 out of the 5 of us last week and meant that most of our cards have not gone out, including all the local ones.

Plus the only parcel that needs to go out hasn’t even really been started.- The cake that’s supposed to go in it isn’t even baked, so that’s something that will happen next week and get to my great aunt between Christmas and New Year.

But there are presents and food in the house, we don’t have to travel anywhere, and hopefully we’ll all be back to 100% by wednesday, so maybe, in the end Christmas has won after all!

Two bits of Oxford Kitchen Yarns newsDarn it and Stitch are getting a regular and stable supply of Oxford Kitchen Yarn into their shop, so right now, if you want some OKY yarn then they are your best bet.

(There isn’t much of the Chunky left for this year, so if you want some of that, better get their sooner rather than later, because I think I have about 5 skeins left to give them till next winter.)

And, in the new year, I’ll work on getting a new and improved online shop open, and regularly stocked. Finally! (again.)

Many thanks to all my customers, both old and new! I really appreciate you supporting my business, especially through another funny year of having a baby. I’m excited about all the new dyes (and YARNS!) I’ve got in the pipelines for next year.



Yarn Preview!


More soon!


As Promised – First Knitting in Months!

alpaca and merino hat for Aichbee

It was too hot, and Aichbee was too small, for me to be knitting very much this summer.

I did knit her a cardigan, which I finished while we were in Lyme Regis. However it somehow got mixed up in the giant pile of washing that came home with us and was shrunk in the wash. So sad. So I went back and bought the exact same yarn with the intention of knitting it again. I should start that soon to be honest.

However this is the hat that has just come off my needles. It’s a mixture of DK Toft Alpaca and some old Rowan merino which I once knit a jumper from. It was a mindless knit, small enough to get on and off the needles quickly despite the busy-ness of everyday life. And it looks wonderful with her new winter coat.

There is enough of both yarns for me to knit her some mittens to match, which are currently on my needles.

Next up – according to Ellarr – is a hat for her. In blue.  (Hopefully I’m getting to the point when I can start shopping from myself again and knit it in Oxford Kitchen Yarn.)

Talking of which, here is a sneak preview of this autumn’s dyeing…

sneakpeek for autumn



Monday: A List of Things

homemade kite(The amazing kite Efbee made.)

A short list of things:

  • Autumn is my favourite time of year
  • But I’m not ready for it to be Autumn this year (probably because…)
  • We had a lovely Summer (even though…)
  • We didn’t do very much
  • We played at the park a lot and saw our friends
  • We set up a friday afternoon children’s craft meet up with a handful of other families
  • It was great
  • Now it is September we are officially a home educating family
  • And Ellarr has started at the same nursery that Efbee went to (and loved)
  • Aichbee is sitting up, eating with us at the table, cutting teeth, charming EVERYONE
  • There will be yarn in stock at Darn it and Stitch by the end of the month (stay tuned!)
  • There will be Sock, DK, Aran and Chunky
  • I am planning to open my online shop again soon.
  • But it needs lots of work doing to it before that can happen
  • I am knitting (a hat for Aichbee that I will photograph and post about later this week)
  • sewing (fleece trousers for the winter for Efbee)
  • and gearing up to spin an important project (with a Christmas deadline)
  • we are also baking along with the Great British Bake Off
  • I left a bit of my heart it Lyme Regis this summer
  • We’re hoping to go back to check on it again in the spring
  • the image below amuses me a great deal
  • because – really – I’m still a bit of a child ;)

a left a bit of my heart in lyme regis(Dorset Knob Biscuits *snirk*)


the pretty found lilacs on display

This morning, on my way back from my morning walk with Aichbee, I found a huge lilac branch that has snapped off a tree at the top of our road during the winds and rain we’ve had over that last few days. I probably looked really silly struggling home with it on my shoulder, but it was blocking the path and the blossoms were plentiful and in great condition. Plus what was the original owner going to do apart from have to tidy it away so that it was no longer an obstruction?

After taking my share of the blossom for our sideboard I let the children loose on the rest, and they have spent a fair chunk of the day in the garden, covered in mud.

the half a lilac tree i found

Btw, in the interest of honesty – here is what the other half of the side board looks like:

the pile of stuff next to the nice display

In other plant related news we have been watching The Edible Garden on youtube, having followed a link from Duofiberworks. Efbee has his own little vegetable patch this year so he finds the episodes fascinating as well as completely accessible. As a re-watch for me, they are even better than I remember. Well worth checking out, imho.


Remembering Kathreen Ricketson

I started reading Kathreen’s blog – Redcurrent – back in 2005 when I was still in the games industry, still doing stupidly long commutes and W and I were planning our wedding. I didn’t know her personally but I followed her blogging to Whipup and so have been reading what she had to say about life and craft and family for 8 years.

I was shocked and saddened to hear about her sudden death, and the death of her husband Robert Shugg nearly two weeks ago. They leave behind two young children and an education fund has been set up in their name. You can follow handy links to donate here at Mason Dixon Knitting or here at Whipup.

Kay and Ann of Mason Dixon Knitting ran a memorial weekend for Kathreen, where people posted their favourite Whipup posts.

This is mine: Creativity is the Soul of Motherhood:

Creativity is the soul of motherhood. And motherhood is the messiest, best, hardest, most-frustrating, rewarding, most heart-stopping creative project I have ever pursued.




This weekend was the late spring bank holiday and weather was beautiful! We didn’t spend very much time at the allotment to be honest, just wandered through to check on things a couple of times. Luckily my father in Law is back in the country and is planning to come do some weeding later in the week once the weather improves again (today it has done nothing but rain…)

Anyway what we did do was to go for a daily family walk and I have photos from that…

Allotment Monday - a family walk

This is a tiny bit of woodland that used to be part of the early morning walks W and I took before we had children. There is now a proper clearing there now, with logs to sit on and lots of sticks to make shelters. Efbee and Ellarr had a ton of fun adding to the shelter that was already there.

Allotment Monday - a family walk

Allotment Monday - a family walk

Allotment Monday - a family walk

Allotment Monday - a family walk

Further on our walk the wellies were deployed and they went paddling down a stream.

Allotment Monday - a family walk

Allotment Monday - climbing in a copper beech

On the way home they found a beautiful copper beech tree that was perfect for climbing. (I didn’t have much opportunity to be a tree climber when I was little so I’m amazed at my children’s climbing abilities – as well as their knack for finding good climbing trees. Luckily they have a daddy who is equally able to shin up a tree to rescue them if they get stuck.)

Allotment Monday - Picnic

On Sunday evening W’s bee buddy J came over to help with a bee inspection. Unfortunately W got stung on the nose, which sounded really painful. He was a trooper though, and put the hive back together before escaping to the house to apply a bag of ice to his nose.  Double unfortunately a couple of times W has had a bad reaction to a sting and this was one of those times – by the morning his face was incredibly swollen and he didn’t look like himself at all! (Weirdly he also got stung on the hand and that was completely fine. Last time it was his arm and it swelled up like a sausage.)

Studying the aftermath of a bee inspection

The children are always interested to see what comes out of the hives during a bee inspection. This time there was a number of queen cells that needed to be pinched out (though now W is wondering why a colony that has a lot of room still available needed to make a number of extra queens – only time will tell I guess.) I hate to admit it, but I find bee keeping too gooey for me.  All the grubs and things make my skin crawl, which is a bit disappointing and not very ‘urban homesteader’ of me!

Hopefully W’s face will be back to normal by the end of the week.

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