Little Things

Hello All

No 1 Daughter is home for a fews days and we are all excited. My girl is expecting …. her own girl! I have kept this under wraps for some time because it is up to mum-to-be how and when she wants the news shared but she has now said I can tell my lovely blog readers that I am going to be a grandma (or Omi in my case).

This has been a hard secret to keep. Especially as I wanted to share with you some of the things I have been making.

As soon as I heard I searched my woolly stash and found two balls of Rowan felted tweed,


perfect for the project I had in mind,


a striped boatneck sweater (jumper!) from the easy to follow “What to Knit When You’re Expecting” by Nikki Van De Car:


I love this book and it was one of the first I bought when I learned baby was on the way. The patterns are stylish and use beautiful soft yarns. I was really pleased with the results and now we know the baby is a little girl I’ll be adding a tiny blue skirt-dress to go underneath baby’s first Omi-made jumper:

I have friends that have been knitting baby ware for years. No babies on the horizon but just because they like knitting baby clothes. Strange folk I thought. Sure they always have something beautiful and handmade (only slight envy in tone here) to give new mums and dads but otherwise why?! Now I know!!! How wonderful to quickly knit up a whole wearable garment from fantastic yarns for a fraction of the price. Why did I not come to this sooner?

Scared of investing a huge amount of time (I am easily bored) and money into large projects for myself (and I mean large if its for me…) I rarely knit anything other than socks and mittens. But now that I have discovered the delights of knitting for little people there will be no stopping me. This baby and maybe her siblings and cousins (no pressure No 1 Son) will be swathed in woolly wearables.

Anyhoo I must get back to my 3.25s ….

Until next we meet, Moke x

PS Baby is due 13 December. Mx

PPS I get nothing for telling you about yarns and books I love. Mx

Seagulls and Sewing

Hello All

Does anyone else have a problem with seagulls? Not in the sense that they sky dive to eat your cornet of melty ice cream or worse bomb you with an unhealthy dollop of  guano (if you don’t know don’t ask … spare yourself) but in the fact that they are dastardly difficult to draw. For reasons unbeknownst even to me I have taken it into my head that our work space needs to have its own seagull.

Before needle felting I like to do a little drawing. Things did not start well.


Think my pencilled comments speak for themselves.

Time to take another tack. I felt like I needed to dissect a gull. Not literally of course but photographically. Nothing for it but to take my camera off to Barrow the home to many a European Herring Gull.

As I sat at the bus stop


I geared myself up to tackle these monstrous birds. No joking they are HUGE. They make the pavement shudder when they come in to land. Boom. But Hitchcock would not be impressed. They turned camera shy.

They either came over all coy


and turned their backs leaving me with a rather fuzzy picture of a bundle of feathers or


they sat down on the job! Obviously they are after Equity rates darlings.

Anyhoo as sitting was the best I was going to get time to move on with the lying down gull drawing prep.

DSCI0011At least I won’t have to worry about those pesky fronty-backy knees … watch this space.

The other small fascination for the week has been brought about by a new book purchase.


I y-e-a-r-n for some new clothes but find it hard to buy the right shape and style for me. Time to revisit my teenage years and make clothes for myself. Luckily I have no photo evidence of any of those wonderful (!) teen creations – if I did would I show them?! Habibe Acikgoz’ book ‘Bold and Beautiful Easy-Sew Clothes’ is filled with stylish asymmetrical patterns and clear instructions and advice.  Appetite suitably whetted let’s have a go.

First job will be scaling up the pattern (gulp) so I needed dot and cross paper (or a lot of sellotape to join together A4 sheets of graph paper). I had been told that there is a very good dress-making fabric shop in Ulverston so off I set.

What a lovely find. Unique Image in Market Street, Ulverston is a proper dress-making shop and yay! it sells dot and cross paper by the metre.


This is dot and cross paper in case you didn’t know and let’s face it I didn’t until about two days ago. Now its time for a little maths (eeek) and let scaling commence.

If all else fails Unique Image also run project led courses so I may be investing in a full day workshop in their lovely airy sewing room learning how to dress-make from a professional …. I’ll keep you posted.

Until next we meet, Moke x

Tales from the Bus – Yew Tree Barn and the Newtons, Cumbria

Hi All

Since last we met back in January I have stopped being a train commuter and have adopted the bus as my get-me-to-work mode of transport.

I live in an area blessed with fantabulous bus routes and my current commute travels along one such: the X6 from Kendal to Barrow. Trouble is when I am on my way to work I am unable to disembark and explore. Time for a change. This afternoon I rode the bus for fun leaving it at one of those stops that look so inviting when I pass through in the early hours. Today it was time to visit Low and High Newton.

What a great start. Despite there being no discernible bus stop I was dropped right at the door of Yew Tree Barn, Low Newton. DSCI0532 I have always been curious as to the contents of this reclamation emporium and once I knew it had a cafe there was (of course) no stopping me.

From the outset I was blown away. But before I could explore the hoards of goodies held within and without I had to stoke up my calories. I could see I would need a lot of energy to cover this Tardis of reclaimed wonderfulness. And when I say calories I mean calories ….. (at the risk of being one of those people that show you what I am having for lunch …. erm …. here is my lunch)

An all day veggie breakfast cannot be ignored! and yes that is a certain well-known brand of brown sauce poking its head into my otherwise tasteful photo ensemble. My Northern roots are showing again. Bless ’em.

Harry’s Cafe – sited at the heart of Yew Tree Barn – is well worth a visit. Not only is the food homemade, delicious and locally sourced but I knew I was onto a winner when I got my pot of tea and was asked to let them know if I needed more hot water. Music to the ears of any ardent tea drinker. Now into the Barn.

This place is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Every nook and cranny (and there are many of these) is packed with … with …. just about everything! Here is a mere snippet of what I found inside

and out

The sometimes strange juxtaposition of antiques DSCI0570 added to the wonder of the place. You just don’t know what you’ll find next. DSCI0545 In addition to the old there is also the new. Yew Tree Barn boasts several artisans: a blacksmith,

a wool crafter, a book binder and conservator and a furniture maker. The Barn also sells a large selection of crafts and goods many of which have been produced in Cumbria. Needless to say I am going to keep my eyes open for exhibitions and workshops that Yew Tree Barn run too!

This place is such good fun, a local shop with knobs on. DSCI0579 (I had to get that gag in somewhere).

Time (nor the X6) waits for no one. So off I tottered – that was SOME breakfast/lunch – to cover the miles (yards) between Low Newton and High Newton. By the by it seemed to me that High Newton is lower than Low Newton…. DSCI0581 Passing the goats and sheep I see every weekday I couldn’t resist a (rather wobbly) snap or three,

Dear reader I’ll have you know that I did this at some personal risk. Being very careful to always ask before taking pictures of people’s property I forgot to extend the same courtesy to the rather beautiful doberman who was determined to protect her goats from any passing paparazzi. She was not pleased and I was glad of the gate separating us. I would have taken her picture too however she was doing her job so splendidly I thought it expedient to leave before she figured out how to get over the fence.

I strode on valiantly – trying not to think of the damage a gleaming set of canine gnashers could do to my more than ample posterior – and was rewarded by being able to amble around the little village of High Newton. With its peaceful streets lined with an historical mish mash of quaint housing

and best of all The Crown a traditional seventeenth century coaching inn which tantalizingly peeks out from a little way off the main street. At last I could walk right up to this pretty pub DSCI0592 and carry on inside DSCI0594I was greeted by the friendliest young man who was obviously as proud as punch of the pub and enthused about the beer garden where he could pick freshly grown mint to dress the cocktails. DSCI0596A super welcome. Shame I didn’t have long to rest and sample the menu. The buses here abouts run like clockwork and I had to tear myself away from the lovely Crown and rejoin the X6 for the short journey home.


Until next we meet, Moke x

Book not on a train – ‘Lamentation’ by C J Sansom

Hi All Gosh how I have missed you. But in case you have not missed me I am starting small … a book review. No more train journeys now but buses instead and I am sorry but the bumps and corners mean there is no chance of any “Book on the Bus”…. baarf alert. Anyhoo in case you are eating back to the book. I have been a fan of C.J. Sansom’s Tudor lawyer Shardlake since … well since ‘Dissolution’ the first novel in the series (there are now 6). So no way would I be skipping the latest Shardlake offering from this accomplished writer. Set in the Summer of 1546 and the last months of Henry VIII’s life “Lamentation” re-unites the reader with Lincoln’s Inn lawyer Matthew Shardlake.


Drawn into the deadly intrigues of the Court in order to protect Queen Katherine Parr Shardlake soon puts his life and those of his friends and household in peril. Matthew seeks the stolen ‘Lamentations of a Sinner’ a confessional tract written by the Queen. Shardlake knows he must find ‘Lamentations’ before it is revealed to the King and the Queen is arrested for treason or even heresy. The gruesome punishment for heresy opens the book when the tortured ‘heretic’ Anne Askew suffers a grisly death by burning. Sansom leaves us in no doubt about the dangers facing our reluctant hero. A tale of religious extremism and intolerance – sadly some things never change – in which the author brings to life terrifying times of intrigue and betrayal. However … I confess there was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing as Matthew relays information to the Parrs. A bit of judicious editing would have helped the flow of the narrative I feel. Nonetheless a good read that leaves me awaiting the next in the series. Until next we meet, Moke.