A panoply of (sometimes) lovingly handmade crud.

Tag Archives: cute

I feel like a broken record, but it’s been another busy week at work. Aside from that, I was mainly working on my Sinister Catdigan again. I forgot to take a photo of the wrong side last week. So pleased with those floats! I don’t trap them because it ruins the look of the design when you’re using high contrast colours.

I finished the yoke and grafted it to the body and sleeves. The grafting took 3-4 hours and used a lot of yarn. I thought I’d left a long enough section of wool (about three armspans) but I had to splice on some more.

I couldn’t wait to try it on. I’m pretty happy with the fit. I never button my cardigans so the width is fine. I’m a little surprised at how long it’s looking, but the neckline may bring it up a bit.

I spent over an hour picking up the stitches from the provisional cast on, and an evening researching knitting patterns for my neck decreases. I really can’t be bothered to try and calculate the decreases myself. I’m happy to pay someone who has already done it!

On Tuesday I made vegan cannelloni. It didn’t look that stunning but it tasted amazing- even if it took well over an hour longer than suggested in the recipe.

I also made a cake using some cheap rhubarb I got in Waitrose. It was delicious!

And I made french toast using my sourdough bread from last week. The bread was actually very tasty even if it looked a bit flat and the french toast livened it up perfectly.

Finally, I made some vegan mozzarella using School Night Vegan’s recipe. Yes I am obsessed with him. At first I was put off by all the speciality ingredients required for a lot of his recipes, but they really do make a difference to the texture. I now own psyllium husks, agar powder, potato and tapioca starch. Just as well I am not spending any money eating out at the moment!


If the sense of relief I felt on Monday was anything to go by, I made the correct decision in moving out of my place in London. I had two busy weekends of sorting and packing things, but all that work should make it fairly straightforward for me to move in once I find my next place, which I’m hoping to buy rather than rent.

I did have a little break from packing to darn one of my dishcloths before putting it into storage.

I also marked my compost bin in the hope that a new tenant will keep using it.

A lot of craft time has been dedicated to my Oran do Chaora/Sinister Catdigan again this week. I’ve finished both sleeves and joined them into the body, which has now been set aside.

I mentioned last week that I’d started doing the maths for the colourwork yoke. Well, unfortunately I made a really stupid error with that calculation that resulted in me spending about four hours reducing the body section by one stitch.

Slightly uneven blue stocking stitch

Slightly uneven knitting where I tried to fix the tension problem caused by removing a stitch

Fortunately I re-checked my sums before I did anything too major and realised my mistake. I’ve now picked that stitch back up and the numbers on my Oran do Chaora body and sleeves should match the numbers on the finished Sinister Catdigan yoke.

I’ve done the crochet provisional cast on for the yoke and the first row of cats has emerged! It’s quite hard work managing the tension with long floats and a slippery yarn but I think it’s going okay so far.

It’s funny that I was looking forward to knitting the cats and it’s only now that I’m recalling how laborious this kind of knitting can be. Working the fair isle requires quite a lot of attention. It’s very easy to make errors and I’ve had to do more than my share of undoing. But it is fun to see the cats emerge row by row- in fact it’s pretty addictive.

I’m already starting to think about how I will do the decreases for the shoulder section. I’m not that fond of the neckline of SC and I think it will look odd to do a saddle shoulder above the fair isle section. Some more planning and maths is in order next week I think.

I fed my sourdough starter again in preparation for making my first loaf. I looked at some recipes and started to get a bit stressed because of all the equipment needed. I don’t have a banneton, baking stone or a dutch oven.

The loaf is a little disappointing. I used a pan as a lid following some advice online and I think it actually restricted her growth. Now I’m contemplating investing in a Dutch oven.


My mind is blown that this has been going on for twelve weeks now. This week I finally cast on the second sleeve for my Sinister Catdigan, I’ve been reminded that I need to take much better notes. I always assume that I will remember everything and that is simply not the way my brain works. I can’t remember whether I knit the ribbing on a smaller needle to the stocking portions of the other sleeve and body. Not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things but I’d rather the two sleeves be identical if possible. This will be the project I work on during calls.

Inspired by last week’s crafternoon rainbows, I made a birthday card for one of the girls.

I sent it with Joy mitts I’d made for her. Double rainbow FTW. I blocked them using my sock blockers since I don’t have my matts here. I tried to shrink the larger glove using some boiling water but that didn’t seem to have any impact. It was easier to block the smaller glove fairly aggressively. They’re still not exactly the same size but hey ho. Predictably I failed to take a photo before wrapping them up (in reused paper of course!) and sending them off.

I’ve sewn in all the ends on one of my Somewhere socks and a few on the second. This is a task I’m trying to do while listening to an audiobook (currently The Hate U Give, which is incredibly emotional to listen to at the moment).

Work was bananas this week so I’m relieved that I was able to have a quieter day on Friday. I bought everything to have a go at School Night Vegan’s sausage rolls but didn’t have a chance to make them until Friday. They were so good! And didn’t contain too many obscure ingredients. I’ll definitely make these again.

My sourdough starter has stalled big time. Apparently this is not uncommon if the comments on a post about troubleshooting are anything to go by.

I think I may have accidentally over-fed the starter at times (feeding 100g+100g rather than 50g+50g) because the weight was way off. This may have been part of the problem since I wasn’t feeding it enough- and indeed it started smelling of acetone, which is apparently a sign that it’s hungry. I felt weird discarding so much of it so I compromised and now discard and feed 150g total. I’ve been eating some of the discard in the mornings because I hate throwing away all that flour. I make a kind of freeform pikelet, which is ok if a little gummy, like the crumpets I attempted last week.

I need to call it something other than ‘discard’ because that makes it sound gross. I just read someone calling it excess unfed starter so I’m going to try that.

I’m also keeping the jar in a different room because the kitchen is quite cold. I actually put it in my bed during the day. All in all I’m frustrated with the starter. I was led to believe that it was pretty foolproof so I feel like an idiot not being able to mix flour and water properly. I’d actually planned a whole meal around a sourdough focaccia which is far from possible at this point. Oh, the hubris.


I didn’t write a post last week because I wasn’t able to stay inside. I had to travel back to London for a couple of essential work and health appointments. I did collect some more craft materials to bring back down with me. I also knitted a swatch to test out some techniques for my sinister catdigan.

This week has felt extremely exhausting. I think a lot of that is due to the global black lives matter protests and uprising. While in some ways it’s been positive to see a lot of support and allyship, it’s also traumatic to be bombarded with posts on social media. It’s a constant reminder of the existence and experience of racism that I face every day.

I have still been knitting. I’ve now finished my Somewhere socks. I still have a lot of ends left to weave in.

I also hosted a crafternoon for some friends. I wanted to choose an activity that wouldn’t require anyone to buy anything (especially from Amazon). So I asked them to collect paper from their recycling bins and we each made a rainbow collage.

This week I also put together a sourdough starter. I used this post for guidance. It began really well but it hasn’t seemed that active for the past day or two. I’m hoping it’ll perk up soon because I’m keen to try baking with it.

I already had a go at making some crumpets with the discard. They were a bit doughy- presumably because the starter is immature- so I’ll try again in a couple of days.


Since I’ve nearly finished the body and first sleeve of my blue cardigan, I decided to buy the Sinister Catdigan pattern so I could start thinking about the yoke. And I discovered that SC is knit from the top down. I don’t quite know how I managed to overlook this when I was researching the pattern but hey ho.

Just as a warning, this is going to be a pretty technical knitting post.

I’m certainly not going to undo all the work I’ve done making the body and sleeve, which I did from the bottom up. I started to think about whether I would be able to graft the top-down and bottom-up sections together.

I did a bit of research online and couldn’t find that much information- possibly my fault for using the wrong search terms. But from what little I could find, I felt hopeful that I would be able to graft together two stocking stitch sections. From what I read, it might cause a half-stitch jog that should only be visible at the edge of the piece. Since the Oran do Chaora pattern has a single stitch selvedge and picked up button bands anyway, a slightly messy edge shouldn’t matter.

Now, you may be wondering why I didn’t simply convert the fair isle chart to be worked from the bottom up. That would be much easier than knitting it in the opposite direction to the rest of the garment right? Right. BUT the genius of the cats chart is that it uses the properties of the stocking fabric to give the sharp points on the ears. I didn’t want to sacrifice the cuteness of the design.

I’m so pleased with my decision to buy the pattern rather than trying to reverse engineer the fair isle pattern from pictures. I would never have noticed that the chart is designed to be worked from the top down and would likely have run into problems as a result. Just the reminder I needed of why we pay designers to do some of the thinking for us.

I decided to knit a swatch to test out the method I had in mind. That plan had the added benefit of enabling me to check the exact gauge I would get in the fair isle section. I used a provisional cast-on because I intend to knit the remainder of the yoke from the bottom up. I think this will give me more control over the shape of the neckline and a better finish overall.

I’m looking forward to knitting the yoke even more now, even if I’m a bit concerned about the lengths of those floats in such a slippery yarn. I was worried that my gauge in the two yarns were quite different but actually the cat section was just curled due to pulling the floats too tight.

Once I’d finished the fair isle chart, I cast on the same number of stitches in the body yarn and worked in stocking stitch for a few rows. I joined the two sections using standard Kitchener stitch and it worked perfectly!

I picked up a button band at one side to test the impact of the jog. I’d considered adding an extra stitch to the selvedge but I don’t need to bother. I just need to be mindful of where I pick up the bands.

While I was at it, I also tested undoing the provisional CO and knitting up. I’m thrilled to say that that worked perfectly as well. Incidentally I’m in love with the way the two shades of turquoise look next to each other and I may need to incorporate that into my design.

Overall my swatch was an unremitting success. I can start the much more unwieldy task of the full cardigan safe in the knowledge that these techniques should work. It’s been fun to try out some new-to-me applications of technique too. Sometimes I feel like my knitting skill has plateaued because I believe that I could hand knit any pattern. Doing things like this is a reminder of the knowledge and expertise I’ve developed in my decade plus of stitching. I also enjoy the mental exercise of solving these engineering problems.


The other project I took to southern Africa with me was the cardigan I am making for a friend who is expecting. I decided to use Kate Davies’ Wowligan pattern, since I was pretty happy with the first one I made.

My finger was still pretty bad on this trip, so I tried to practice my continental knitting. I taught myself continental style a few years ago because I wanted to be able to knit fair isle without having to drop the yarn every few stitches. I first used two-fisted fair isle (as it’s called in Stitch’n’Bitch, the book that saw my through my early years as a knitter) on my Peerie Flooers hat, and then my beloved Paper Totoros sweater. When I normally knit (English style/throwing), I tension the yarn on my small finger. The sensation of the yarn rubbing on my scar was horrible. With continental style, I was able to wear my splint, which helped to keep the finger straight. I know that some people switch to continental since it is faster, but for me I don’t find it intuitive and purling is a nightmare. I know that I have thousands of hours of practice knitting English-style, but still. I don’t see myself making the switch any time soon.

I managed to get most of the boring stocking section finished while I was away. I love how quickly tiny sleeves go by, and then I have the cable section to look forward to. Yes, I am a nerd.

Since I knew that I would be using some fancy buttons that I picked up in Vilnius, I decided to try and modify the cable pattern to match the space theme.

I was a little surprised that no one else who has made a Wowligan has altered the cables, or at least no one who has recorded what they did on Ravelry. I also couldn’t find a pattern with cables designed to look like rockets. In the end, I looked through search engine image results for fancy cables, picked a design that looked kind of like a rocketship and then modified it as I went.  It’s funny how I think of baby knits as speedy. Knitting the cabled yoke section took me around 12 solid hours. I was resting after a super busy couple of weeks and just got in the groove. However, I was still shocked at how long it took. Since I normally knit in dribs and drabs, it’s harder to track the total time things take.

I think they look a bit more like fish than rockets, but I don’t mind that too much. I took some basic notes outlining what I did. Maybe one day I will convert this into chart form, since that might help consolidate my understanding of how charts relate to written instructions. As I said, I am a huge nerd.

While searching for cable patterns, I found that it’s pretty easy to make a really cute bunny rabbit design, so that will probably be what I make for my next baby knit.

Pattern: Wowligan by Kate Davies

Ravelry project page


The international feminist craft swap is done and dusted! I have to say it was such a lovely experience for my first ‘proper’ craft swap.

I knitted my second Funkopop pussy hat. As I mentioned in my last post, the colourway is also called pussy hat. Here it is being modelled. I believe that Deidre is planning to customise this pop, so I’m really looking forward to seeing how she turns out. I didn’t even know that people customised pops because I am super behind the times as always.

Now we come to the really exciting part- my fabulous quilted items.

I think the Serena-inspired pillowcase came out beautifully. I haven’t purchased a pad for it yet- partly because I feel it’s too lovely to use. I really can’t wait until the day I have my own house so that it can take pride of place in my favourite crafting swap.

Deidre also surprised me with a bonus gift- the cute mug rugs emblazoned with the sentiment create the things you wish existed; create the world you wish existed. I will certainly try my best to do my small part in fulfilling that mantra.

You can check out more of Deidre’s amazing quilting over on her blog. I look forward to continuing our relationship through our blogs. This swap has reminded me of the amazing side of the internet, in opposition to the more scary and disturbing side.


Tatty Devine are having a retrospective of the 20 years they have been in business at the Lethaby Gallery in London. I entered a competition on Twitter, where they asked fans to share their favourite piece. I chose the rainbow necklace I made at another workshop I attended.

I was a little disappointed not to win, especially because I felt faked out when the gallery tagged me as the runner-up. Then there was a plot twist. The winner kindly offered me her +1 and before I knew it I was reorganising my Saturday plans so that I could go. Yeah, I guess I hadn’t checked my diary when I entered the competition.

I’ve actually been to a free bunting workshop at TD before. I just scrolled back through my Instagram feed to look for a picture and it was nearly four years ago!

I’d slightly hoped they might have some offcuts from the amazing acrylic they were using for another workshop available, but they didn’t.

I initially went for my default option of rainbow. However, since I know I’m pretty fast at making up the jewellery (I must have been to at least five workshops even though I haven’t blogged them all) I decided to spend a little longer at the design stage.

I laid out every colour of acrylic available, grouping them by the colours I felt went together. And this more pastelly option presented itself.

I also had a look around the exhibition- which I recommend if you are in the King’s Cross area for an hour or so. I first became aware of Tatty Devine when I was at university, so I’ve been well over ten years (god that makes me feel old). I remembered a lot of the collections. It’s interesting to notice how my tastes and personal style have evolved, and how that is reflected in the Tatty pieces I have been drawn to.

The founders of TD met at art school and I found myself, not for the first time, regretful about the way my life has turned out.

I don’t think the idea of studying art even crossed my mind when I was 17 and choosing universities, or even when I was 15 and choosing A’level subjects. I did art and graphics when I was at school. Back in those days, I think you had to choose a creative subject (art, music or drama) and a technology (my school was a ‘technology college’ and I think the choices were food tech, graphics or resistant materials (which once would have been woodwork and metalwork)) for GCSE.

Even though I spent more time on my creative subjects than all the others put together, I was raised with the idea that a woman has to earn her own money. Following my creative streak simply didn’t seem compatible with gainful employment. I ended up spending three wilderness years studying psychology at Oxford, then (after a couple of years of low-paid employment) a further three getting my professional doctorate to get the job I have now. While I don’t hate my day job, it’s also not a passion for me.

I tend to see some kind of second career in my future. I can’t imagine doing the same job for the next several decades. But at the same time, setting up a small business seems like an awful lot of work compared to the relative safety of my life now.


Last week I received a really exciting comment on the post I wrote about making a pussy hat for a Funko pop. I was inspired to write up a quick pattern when someone on Instagram told me that they made a hat for one of her own Funkos after seeing mine. Deidre, the commenter, didn’t feel her skills were up to making the hat herself, so she reached out to see if I would be willing to make one for her. Once I saw her amazing quilts, I was completely sold on the idea of a craft swap.

Arya Stark funko pussy hat

My half of the swap was knitting up a hat. I used this yarn I purchased from Ysolda a few years ago. I just noticed the label says Belyse kit, which is a pattern for some fair isle fingerless mitts. I have a feeling that the kit didn’t come with the pattern and I didn’t fancy paying for it separately, so the kit has been in my stash for a while. Since I bought the kit purely because Ysolda named the colourway pussy hat, this project feels as if it was meant to be.

I wound the yarn and cast on.

I quickly realised that this hat seemed smaller than my original. I used the same needles, so I wondered if I’d become a tighter knitter, or if the original hat had stretched after years of being on Arya Stark’s large bonce. I counted the stitches on my original hat and realised that I made a mistake in the cast-on numbers in my pattern.

My second version of the hat seems a better size.

Although the pussy hat moment feels like it has passed**, I’m considering trying to write this pattern up properly. Although I have technically published a couple of patterns on Ravelry, I don’t consider them ‘real’ patterns as opposed to glorified blog posts. Maybe I could test the water by writing up an easy pattern in a more formal way.

Deidre offered to make me a small quilted item in exchange for the hat. I love quilting and it’s something I’d like to get into one day. To keep with the feminist theme, I asked for a cushion cover inspired by my female icon, Serena Williams. She came up with these three lovely designs for me.

I went with design three. I’m so excited to see what the finished

Pattern: Funko pop pussy hat

Yarn: Ysolda Blend no. 1

Ravelry project page

**Update: I wrote that last sentence last week, without really thinking. Today it occurred to me how topical it feels to have scheduled this post on the day that Boris Johnson takes office as prime minister. This is a huge blow for people who want to remain in Europe and for the left-wing in the UK in general.

I work for local government and I’m scared that another five years of conservative leadership will have irreversible negative effects on our society. It feels really important to be clear about my feminist and anti-racist views at a time when it feels like some of the freedoms we have come to enjoy are at risk.


After a very challenging summer term, which included changing jobs (which has gone horribly) and moving house (which has gone well) I decided to treat myself. I’ve had my eye on a Tatty Devine rainbow necklace for an age. I’ve always loved rainbows and I feel that this necklace really captures how beautiful and fun they are. I tried the sample on at my last workshop  and knew the necklace had to be mine.

And now she is!

I really enjoyed this workshop. Since I’ve done so many, I whizzed through the construction.

I was a little more apprehensive about adding the crystals- this element is what makes the workshop necklace unique and I can never resist a bit of sparkle. Putting them on took some serious glue.

I kept my crystal placement quite close to the sample and I’m happy with that decision.

And here is the finished item

We had a bit of a debate at the workshop about whether these necklaces are really ‘handmade’ or simply assembled (my view).

The fact that the workshop took place on pride weekend got me thinking. First, I thought that I am a sucker because I bought both rainbow doughnuts and a rainbow bagel as I walked down Brick Lane.

Secondly I started thinking about taking pride in a range of identities. As a mixed race woman, it has taken me many years to take pride in both sides of my heritage, especially spending my time predominantly in the company of white people. People tend to be black-or-white thinkers, struggling to hold on to complexity when the pull of easy stereotypes can be so irresistible. It felt pertinent to see this quotation from Harriet Tubman for the first time.