Experimenting With a Handmade Home

Recently I’ve even thinking more and more about reducing the amount of plastic waste in our home and trying to live a little more handmade. This year I signed up for Kat Golding’s Handmade Christmas and I loved it! I was completely unprepared for Christmas and so I’ve not managed to make half the things that I wanted too but I’m experimenting with hand balms at the moment and so I’ve revisited her online course.

Further inspired by the latest issue of PomPom and my incredibly dry hands I currently have a concoction of organic hibiscus flowers, camomile lime flower and lavender teabags marinading in oil on the stove… I mean of all the random concoctions my very patient husband has come home too this is one of the stranger ones.

I’ve also put aside two mason jars on the bathroom windowsill, one with marigold (calendula) flowers in and the other with another collection of hibiscus and camomile… I want to see which infusion method yields the best results.

Everything was very easy to get hold of and I’ve recently discovered that The Body Shop sell shea butter so you can get most things from local high street shops if you’d like too. For ease with a tiny tot I purchased from the Soapery online, they offer organic options and this sat well with me. These are the silicone moulds I used to shape the balm, they’re availible on amazon and you can find so many more options there too (Large Flower & Honeycomb).

Changes & Adaptations

I made one change to the PomPom recipe well two actually. I didn’t have any plain camomile so I used 5 camomile, limeflower and lavender teabags. I also added more oil than recommended to infuse my hibiscus and teabags… because I added more of the hibiscus and teabags… I’m glad I did and I only managed to yield 5g under the requirement even with the extra oil (it might have been my impatience when straining).

I yielded 17 small ones and 2 large from the recipe I used.

Next I’m going to try these recipes and see how they turn out too.

Handbag Salve – Kay Golding (but I need to get better at foraging and learn my plants)

Calendula & Lavender Balm – I’m steeping some calendula at the moment in the bathroom window and I think if I add some local lavender to it it’ll work beautifully.

Rich Honey Hand Balm – I’m going to attempt to make these using manuka honey

Chai Spice Lotion Bar – I’m going to try and infuse chai spices with the recipe I used first and see if I can create something yummy! Might halve the mix for the first attempt to see if it works.

Next time – I really want to make some chai spice as it’s one of my favourite smells at the moment. I also have some favourite smells I like to put in a diffuser at night… think I might try one of those too.


Self Care

Since the launch of my new range of leather and canvas knitting bags things have been pretty crazy here. The new workshop is set up and ready to go, everything is poised and ready, and so am I… Or am I?

Today has been a special breed of crazy and I’ve found myself at 2pm having eaten nothing but a couple of ginger biscuits and a couple of cups of Luke warm tea.

I’m the worse one for ploughing on through and burning myself out but this time I’m determined not to do this… I need to look after myself if I’m going to continue to be okay and get everything out on time. So today I have given myself the space, time and permission for a hot baby free coffee, a burger and an hour to sit and write this post and eat my food. Everything will still get done but it’ll be done better as I won’t be anxious, hangry and frazzled. The world has not come to a halt without me frantically running from place to place and exhausting myself completely.

At the moment I’m working on some very exciting wholesale orders and they need to be completed to the best of my ability so it’s really important that sometimes I look after me first. It’s a new and uncomfortable lesson for me to learn but one that I bloody well will get right!

I hope you’re all enjoying your Friday afternoons and you get a chance to do a little something for yourself this weekend.

Happy Friday Everyone

Nu x

Knitting, WIP Wednesday

Woollen Spun Fun

I posted last week about some dream knitting that I was hoping to embark on in the form of Joji’s ‘The Easy One’ knit from Brooklyn Tweed Loft. I did get round to starting it and today I joined under the arms so I am now part way into the long stockinette body.

Truth be told I’m really enjoying this knit. Joji’s pattern is written beautifully and it is simple enough for even my sleep deprived brain to cope with. The yarn is perfection… lofty and soft it’s just the most amazing experience to knit with but this leads me to an over riding dilemma. I adore this yarn but I recently had my attention drawn to the fact that Brooklyn Tweed were less than ethical in their methods and have in fact copied another small yarn producers work. I found this very sad… That even in the knitting community this is going on. I will profess to not knowing all of the facts as I’ve not phoned them and spoken to them personally about it, I am however resolved to buy from smaller companies on a more personal basis and with that in mind I purchased a jumper quantity of yarn from Garthenor on a recent trip to Yarningham last weekend…. Ops!

Back to the relevant information on this WIP, I’m in stockinette city now. I’m thinking about adding a little texture to the jumper further down but for the moment I’ve got a little while of knit all to do, which I don’t really mind. It’s odd, it doesn’t feel like its growing but I know that it is… I’ve put progress keepers on!

Knitting, WIP Wednesday

Knitting From Stash

So over the last few years that I’ve been back to knitting again (a knitter with a capital K I believe they call it) I have curated a very lovely stash… I’m incredibly proud of my stash especially as I know have a number of jumper quantities in it and up until last year I didn’t consider myself a garment knitter in the slightest. I now however have the slight issue of space so it is time to challenge myself to knit from my stash (Which I don’t think will be too difficult). Its not just space though, all of these beautiful skeins are just wanting to be knit and who can blame them! I want to adorn myself in them all and so unless I want to just wear the skeins and get caught on everything I walk past… I’d best start knitting!

First up – Mon Manet & The Easy One –

The yarn for Mon Manet I purchased from A Yarn Story a couple of months ago with the full intention of casting on that afternoon and of course it’s languished and I haven’t yet started. I have the pattern on the ipad ready to go as are my needles but honestly the thing tht puts me off about jumper knitting is swatching… I know that its a necessary evil but for some reason I can never get them right even when I do do them… I might just wing it but I’m not sure the pattern is fogiving enough for that…

Joji’s ‘The Easy One’ is a relitively new edition to my pattern collection, I’m planning on knitting it out of brooklyn tweed I bought a year or so ago and never got round to knitting the yoga shawl it was intended for (I cast on and everything and then pregnancy took over and I found followign simple charts too much at the time). I have a couple of detail modifiactions that I would like to add to this jumper to make it a slightly different knit.

Can I get these two cast on and make good headway into them by the end of July?


The Very Best of Amature Hour Episode 1

So here you have it folks! My first ever full length podcast… complete with reflections in my glasses, non focusing projects and a dog that really wanted in on the action too! The irony being that as soon as I turn the cameras off and settle down to edit Eve and Hutch are as good as gold little monkeys they couldn’t behave when I was filing.  I’ve included some out takes at the end of the filming too. mind you this has taken me a good two days to write and upload the podcast… everything is a learning curve, Eve’s been fractious this morning and so this podcast is brought to you by a frantic rocking motion whilst singing the baby shark song….! Happy easter folks.

So things that I mention and the places I bought them… found them… general information and rambling.

Riverknits Yarn –  – Bobble Marley hat pattern – Ravelry

Baby Long Legs Yarn & Fibre –

The Little Grey Sheep –

Stranded Dyeworks – Amy Florence –

Rachel Coopey – Birstwith Hat Pattern

Coop knit Sock Yeah yarn & print vesion of Toasty 2 –

I purchased my Fringe Field bag from YAK in Brighton

The Olann sock yarn is from The loveliest Yarn company in Nottingham

My Lykke short 3.5″ needles are from A Yarn Story in Bath

Project page for my short socks including pattern notes and the patterns used in my Ravelry projects page.

Pattern for brioche mini shawls available through Ravelry here as well as some great examples on how people have adapted the patterns to make full size shawls.

Thankyou for watching the podcast… production quality will improve… I promise I will also stop playing with my hair and saying Ummm & ‘Right’ so much in the next one… A definite learning process.

Knitting, Socks

Upside Down Monkeys

I have wanted to knit myself a pair of the Cookie A ‘Monkey Socks’ for quite some time. I think I must be the only sock knitter without a pair and the simple yarn over increases and single stitch decreases create an easy to memorise pattern that is an addicitve knit.

So in true ‘change everything but keep the identity’ style I cast on a pair of toe up monkeys. The pattern on Knitty calls for 2.5mm needles. I thought that was going to be a liitle loose for a 64 stitch pattern as I knit all of my socks on 2.25mm needles at 64 stitches… So I ignored that part of the pattern and used 2.25mm needles it’s worked perfectly, very pleased I went down a size.

For the heel I used Nathan Taylors toe up sock heel with a gusset (my first time knitting one of these in a long time!) a bit of maths and some tounge poking out the side of my mouth concentrating later I bloody well managed it! Pat on the back to me at 3 am in the morning while feeding Eve.

I’ve made the socks cropped with added shortrows at the back to create a lip so they dont roll into my trainiers and bunch up under my feet… In theory and it adds a little attractive extra detail when I’m wearing them that I really like

These are my perfect springtime sport sock… I love wearing Converse trainers and these I’ve designed to fit perfectly about half an inch above ther top line of my shoes.


Yarn – Stranded Dyeworks Plateau sockblank in the Koi Colourway

Needles – Hiya Hiya sharp 2.25mm & 2mm Chiagoo mini interchangables for the top

Stitch Markers – Friperies & Bibelots snag free mini O’rings.

Leather Knitting Bag – Handmade by me


WIP Wednesday – What’s on the needles?

In a bid to kickstart more regular posts I’m going to start a bi-weekly WIP segment… Bit of motivation and I love watching and reading about other peoples WIP’s, yarn choices and modifications. So kicking off with Brioche!!…

Double Denim Marl

So as part of the pattern selection I’m putting together at the moment I’m knitting up some samples and after knitting sooo many Bobble Marley hats my marling mojo is in full swing. I also wanted something a little quicker than just 4ply, so using a 5mm needle and a collection of Coop Knits Sock Yeah that I’d lined up for a broke the that wasn’t working for the project I intended it too.

Using grey, blues and greens I’ve colour graded the shawl with a mixture of one and two colour Brioche. I’ve even made tassels!! Bloody love a tassel… Don’t know why I don’t own anything with tassels on! So far this has been a quick enough knit, I’ve enjoyed watching my progress and getting from one colour change to the next. Still undecided as to whether or not I’m going to add a scalloped edge to the shawl but that might be a little more than my tired brain can handle at the moment. I’m currently working with this incredible teal colour that I use love! Sock Yeah yarn is lightly marled as it is, if you look closely there is such depth to this yarn that makes it a real pleasure to watch run through your fingers… I just love it. I’m hoping to have this one finished in the next week or so, if I can keep the motivation up!

White Horse Jumper

I keep wanting to write sweater… it’s not, its a jumper I’ve taken on the ‘sweater’ Americanism (nothing wrong with that). This project has been on my needles for quite some time and I’m now about 5″ into the body… I desperately want to get this finished to wear before the summer gets too warm.

I’m knitting it from 100% BFL from Riverknits in the Gringer Nut colour way that Becci dyed specifically for me for this project… such a talented woman! I’ve tried it on… It fits so far (always a bonus, especially as I started it whilst pregnant and my decision making processes were slightly impaired by hormones and sleep deprivation)

Thinking that I might make it cropped as I really love the way it looks with cropped sleeves and a slightly shorted body – I’m making a medium size so that it fits and flatters my new postpartum body.

Toe Up Monkeys

I’ve wanted to knit a pair of these for a long time, they’ve been in my queue for quite some time… I’m knitting these using a sock blank purchased from Amy of Stranded Dyeworks. This is her Koi colour way and I think it works perfectly for this pattern.

I’ve not yet knitted a toe up sock with a heel flap and gusset but a friend recommended the sock maticians formula for toe up socks. I’ve got to the point where I need to turn the heel but I haven’t yet had a chance to sit and read through the pattern so I know what I’m doing without distractions (very difficult with a new baby).

Some people like to unravel their sock blanks and block then residing them before knitting with them, I love knitting strait from the blank but it does mean that I need to block anything I knit from them fairly aggressively after finishing, it effects my gauge very slightly but not enough to bother me. I’ve used 2 of Amy’s sock blanks before… They’re somewhat of an addiction! Great dye saturation and the colours she picks I really like. Not my usual colour choice ‘Koi’ is oranges, pinks, whites topped off with black speckles, so much fun to knit with and I’m really looking forward to wearing these.