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Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook
It’s worth pointing out that I’m pretty biased about the author of this book. Felicity Ford and I were both part of the Oxford Bluestockings stitch n bitch (up until I had FB back in 2008), she was the first person to buy any OxfordKitchenYarns, and when I told her my plan to start my naturally dyeing business she replied “fantastic!”

She even drove my stock and me to my first show in 2007.

And now she has created a book and put it out into the world. If it wasn’t very good I probably would have bought it anyway, but not talked about it on the blog.

But the reality is that it’s clever, and thorough and heartfelt and really creative and while I’m writing this I have no idea what images I’m going to post from it, because I want to choose all of them.

 Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook

And she did it from start to finish in a year!
I think colour work is both fascinating and daunting. It feels like there is a lot of work between having your idea, and actually picling up your needles. But Felix grabs your hand and enthusiastically leads you through finding inspiration, creating colour work patterns, creating a pallet that will work, playing with colour in swatches, and after all that gives you great pre-designed colour-work and accessory patterns in case you want to jump right in.

It’s all clear, and friendly. And you’ll come out a better knitter. Or at least I know I will.

So there you have it. I backed her on Kickstarter and it was so very worth it.

And if you want to see it for yourself, you can find out more here..

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Circle Time Basket – Autumn 2014



(Precursor – We are currently a home educating family, mostly because we can be. This is the start of our second year, and we are really enjoying it. And while this isn’t strictly a home ed/homeschool blog, I will probably share things about this part of our lives here from time to time. Particularly when it comes to books. But you already knew I was crazy about books. ;)

After a break of all of the summer I’ve restarted circle time/morning meetings and I finally gathered everything together into the basket I used last year.

Here’s what’s in my basket at the moment:

  •  October song (find link from pinterest)  This is slightly pre-emptive since FB has only just started reading, but he is interested in how words are spelt and LR loves songs and months are something that hasn’t totally clicked. So I’m giving these songs a go.
  • What to look for in Autumn by E. L. Grant Watson (ladybird 072140099X)  We read this last year and it really informed our family walks. It’s dated but given my children’s love of historical farming, that doesn’t much matter.
  • Year Round things to do (aka something to do – puffin 978-0140302370 ) (folio society – doesn’t have an ISBN weird.) This is a great book full of Shirley Hughes illustrations. Each month has sections on key (christian centric) festivals, british historical dates, a bird, flower, and pet of fhe month. There are seasonal outdoor and indoor activities, recipes, gardening information, games, songs and poems. Again, old fashioned (first published in 1966) but full of good stuff.
  • The singing year by candy verney (hawthorn press 1903458390) I love this book. I have the companion book ‘the singing day’ too and they are both great. They are full of seasonal poems as well as songs so we do a bit of both.
  • Autumn (wynstones press 0946206481) I find the songs from these books tricky because i don’t sight read music cold. (i wish someone would record the songs – maybe they already have? I should check.) but the poems are great. I tend to crack it open at random and read whatever I come across.
  • Usbourne Internet Linked First Atlas (usbourne 9680746053454) my mil gave us this book and I’m letting the children pick a double page spread they want me to read. We already have a wall map so they have a basic understanding of the world.
  • Usbourne travel activity pad (usbourne 9781409561910) My god mother brought this for FB when she visited in the summer. I am planning to do a page or two from it at a time. It’s got a nice mixture of activities and is encouraging FB to do some letter and number writing practice, without feeling too worksheety.
  • The Squirrel Book by phyllis kelway (collins) Another vintage book I picked up at Oxfam. (This time from 1944). I haven’t read any of it yet, but the park opposite us is full of squirrels so it’s at least relevant. I’ll let you know how we get on.
  • Bunchy by Joyce Lankester Brisley (jane nissen books 1903252229)
    We are in the middle of a Milly Molly Mandy kick at the moment, which everyone is thoroughly enjoying (except daddy who things they are too repetitive.) I never read them when I was a child and so I’m enjoying them for the first time right along with the children. This is written by the same author, about a girl who lives in the countryside with her grandmother and who has to literally make herself some friends. We read the first chapter this afternoon, it was lovely and the children have been asking for more ever since. I’m guessing this is about the move into a bedtime book and I’ll have to find something else. Always a good sign. :) (Expect a post about Joyce Lankester Brisley – there is one in the pipelines!)
  • Autumn by Gerda Muller (floris 9780863151910) and Jamberry by Bruce Degen (harper 0694006513) are there for HB (who is now 19 months) either to look at or read as something her-centric to mix things up a bit.
  • Taking Turns (cherrytree 9781842344989) and Owning Up (cherrytree 9781842344965) are part of a series of books W’s aunt bought FB when she heard we were home edding. They are what used to be called PSE (personal and sociel education) when i was at school).
  • (not photographed because it was a late addition to the basket) Wildlife Watch from the wildlife trust (which my mum sends the childen). These magazines get looked at a lot but not really read so I realised we could read a bit at circle time and get more out of them.
Important! We don’t do everything every circle time! We just do a bit. As an illustration, this what we did today:

– 2 songs from The Singing Year
– 2 small mazes and a number problem from the Travel Activity Pad
– 3 pages from the September chapter of Year Round Things to Do
– 2 pages from First Atlas about how maps work
– October Song
– 1 chapter from Bunchy
– 3 short poems from Autumn

That still sounds like a lot doesn’t it? We were probably there for half an hour, but since we were hanging out on the double bed, we were comfy. And if they were getting wiggly I would have stopped sooner.

I really like circle time because it ticks a ton of boxes for me as the (home ed) parent. I know I have read to them, and touched on a number of interesting, seasonal things that might then turn up in our day to day lives. (For example LR pointed out rose hips in a front garden we passed, on our way to our friend’s house, and told me we had learnt about them in a book. Which we had. At circle time.) We have done a bit of maths and literacy so I can basically consider the ‘schoolly’ bit of the day done, leaving plenty of room for interest led things and play. Plus curling up with my children and reading stuff is just fun.

And when the ‘omg am I doing enough?’ panic sets in (which obviously it does for me, just as much as with anyone else), this and my home ed journal are my life raft.


New in the Shop (and at Darn it and Stitch)

in the shop - 5th Oct 2014

OxfordKitchenYarns September 2014 whole order to Darn it and StitchSo after a short, unscheduled breaks, when my computer finally died and had to be replaced, there is great new yarn in the shop, and at Darn it and Stitch.

Also, if you want to be updated with OxfordKitchenYarns as they come into the shop, on your Pinterest dashboard you can join the OxfordKitchenYarns board.

Now the weather is getting cooler (a bit cooler, anyway) I’ve been knitting up some small projects in OxfordKitchenYarns which I’ll start posting next week.

Happy October everyone!


New in the shop!

shop update 17th Sept 2014

shop update 17th Sept 2014

shop update 17th Sept 2014

There is new yarn in the shop!

More sock yarns, plus the start of the DK, Aran and Chunky yarns.

A very pleasing early Autumn spread of yellows and greens. :)

More very soon… (as well as the using crafting, and book posts.)




The new shop is open! OMG. The new shop it open!

Can you tell I’m excited? Can you tell I threw in the towel with my previous shop platform because I literally don’t have the time to make it do what I need it to do? So I’m on Etsy.

There you go.

Currently there are only the sock yarns up. There is DK and Aran to come. And patterns. And… kits! Which I am building and finalising as we speak and should be ready to go in about a month. Fingers crossed.

But yes, the shop is open.


I’m so pleased.


honey harvest 2014



Honey Harvest 2014

Honey Harvest 2014

Honey Harvest 2014

Honey Harvest 2014

Honey Harvest 2014

Honey Harvest 2014


On a very wet Bank Holiday Monday we did our honey harvest for the year (with help from our friends). Unfortunately we lost the weaker of the two hives last winter, and while we hoped the other hive would swarm so that we could repopulate the second hive, it didn’t happen. Maybe next year.

We had a good harvest regardless, while leaving enough to keep the bees fed all winter. Everyone pitches in, and while we all end up pretty sticky by the end of it, it’s very satisfying filling up the pots and jars, ready to eat and give away over the next year.

Watching the bees clean out the drum, once we’re finished with it, is possible my favourite part of the whole thing. (Not counting honey on toast!)


What I’m knitting right now.

secret project for my sister

I currently have two many projects on the go. And certainly too many projects not knit in OxfordKitchenYarn to be able to call knitting on them ‘work’. ;) But I thought I would show you the ones I have actually been working on this week.

Firstly the photo above is a sneak preview of the baby blanket that will be heading off to my sister in Ireland in the next couple of months.  I’m really enjoying it (especially once I put it on a better needle), and it’s knit in OxfordKitchenYarns Aran (milk, lemon curd, and pansy).  I’ll show you the finished thing, once my sister has it safe at her house.

more Sand Dollar Dish Cloths

more Sand Dollar Dish Cloths

more Sand Dollar Dish Cloths

Next up are MORE dish cloths.

These are knit in Louisa Harding Yarns ‘Noema’, which is a cotton, acrylic, polyamide blend (heavy on the cotton at 75%), with great variegated colour and a hint of shimmer to it. I’m getting two dish cloths to a ball, easily, and I’m really pleased with the finished cloths. (I might have to look more closely at what other colours there are in the range.

Remixed Country Kiddie

Remixed Country Kiddie

The final thing I’m showing you this week, is another Country Kiddie (I think I’ve knit about 8 now!), though this one is heavily remixed, and made bigger than the pattern goes to. It’s for FB, and it’s probably about 2″ from being finished. Poor FB, I keeping picking it up and telling her it’s nearly done!, and then getting distracted by something else that needs finishing first. Luckily I’m the driving force behind the project, rather than her, so she doesn’t mind really. She just likes that mummy is knitting her something.

Fingers crossed that she wears it.

(I can’t remember what the yarn is. Sorry.)


And just to bring a bit more reality to this post – this is what the rest of the table looked like. :)


I really love books.

No really.

I probably buy a handful of books a week (including ebooks.)

My happy place is a bookshop, which makes Oxford an ideal place to live since we have the sprawling, multi venue Blackwells, with it’s Bond villain lair ‘The Norrington Room‘. Plus a live in a bit of the city that is full of charity shops and people who read a lot, which means that a lot of our children’s book are second hand and we have stumbled across some great books that way.

Anyway… I’ve been wanting to add a bigger book element to the blog, and so I thought I’d show you some of the books that pass through our front door each month. They won’t be ‘finger on the pulse’ brand new stories, but they will all be books that we love and which I would happily buy for someone else.

I’m still trying to work out how I want to link to the books. I’m reticent to just link to Amazon (even though that seems to be the blogger standard), mostly because I have stopped using their main site, and have just stuck to using the smaller sellers in the Amazon market place, as well as supporting local bookshops.  After reading various reports about how they treat their warehouse employees I decided that I couldn’t buy things that went through their warehouses any more. However I’m not sure that just posting the title, author and ISBN is enough?

Readers – what would you prefer?

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Off to Market by Elizabeth Dale (ISBN 978-1847804389) about a community of people who go off to market on the local bus, and a small boy’s compassion and cheerful spirit. This book made me smile and the illustrations bustle with life.


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A Street Through Time by Steve Noon (ISBN – 978-1409376446) My friend N recced this to me for my eldest, since her eldest was enjoying it and I agree that it’s a great over view book. Again, the illustrations are packed with drama and detail, and it’s a good over view of life in different time periods. After studying Vikings for much of this last year with FB and LR, it’s been useful for showing them what came before, and what came directly after. I can see us getting our own copy once this goes back to the library.

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Actual Size by Steve Jenkins (ISBN – 978-0547512914) i really like Steve Jenkins’ work (we also have bones and there is a Prehistoric version of Actual Size that I know will be a hit in our house.) This book show things the actual size that they are, which is great for allowing children to compare their physical selves with other animals. We spent a lot of time a gape while going through this book. :)

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I am blessed to have a BFF who is an educational librarian, (actually I’m very lucky she is my BFF for countless reasons. The librarian bit is only one small one. ) This means that visits sometimes include books she has picked up for us, all of which (seriously) have been excellent.

She brought Shaker Lane by Alice and Martin Provensen (ISBN – 074452234X) the last time she visited,  and it turned out to be a wonderfully simple but nuanced book about class and community.

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I want my hat back by Jon Klassen (ISBN – 978-1406338539) is another of her presents, and her first reading of the book to the children sticks in my mind, and is the basis of my readings of it now. :) I love picture books that tell you the story without actually telling you a story.


So there you go. :) Do you have any children’s book recs?




New Pattern: Sand Dollar Dish Cloth

Sand Dollar Dish cloth


Sand Dollar Dish cloth


Sand Dollar Dish cloth

Sand Dollar Dish cloth
Sand Dollar Dish Cloth Pattern £1.50


This is the Sand Dollar Dish Cloth. I’ve been knitting and using these cloth for about a year and I’m still completely addicted to them. They use about half a 50g ball of DK cotton* so you can get a nicely matching pair from one ball, or just use up those bits and pieces of DK cotton that seem to collect in everyone’s stash.

There are knit from the outside in, which means that seem to speed up the more you knit them! No. More. Boring. Dishcloth. Knitting!

The trickiest bit is the cast on, and making sure the first row isn’t twisted. After that it’s a race to the end. :) They’re perfect for carrying around in your bag, or car knitting, since the pattern is easy to read once you’ve established it. And the finished cloth is the ideal dish cloth or wash cloth size.

They have become my default dish cloth, as they are the perfect size for getting the washing up done, and when they need a thorough cleaning they machine wash and wear really well.

I hope you enjoy knitting them. I can’t wait to see what they look like!





*(I know! My first pattern that’s not free and it’s not even in OxfordKitchenYarns yarn!)


Oliver and S Rollerskate Tunic


Oliver and S Rollerskate Tunic

After the Festival of Quilts last Saturday, I was itching to try out the Oliver and S Roller skate dress pattern I picked up. I couldn’t use any of the new fabric I bought because it was all drying on the line, and I wanted to check the size and fit before committing new shiny fabric to the pattern so I looked through the stash and found these two fabrics, plus an old shirt of W’s for the lining. The pattern came together really well, and it was the first time I’d done a notched neckline.

I’m really pleased with the final top, and LR has worn it twice an really likes it, even though it’s not a colour she would usually pick. So I’m calling it a success!

There are more of these in my future, I can see, and I’ll be picking up the bigger sized pattern too, since LR is going to size out in the next year or so.

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