Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Come on - you know you want to make one!

As someone pointed out on our Facebook page - these could actually come in handy when it comes to dressing shepherds in a school nativity play!

So inspired by that, we thought we'd find you a few more beardy ideas.

Need to knit a Santa's beard? - then here's a pattern for you

Fancy just the beard without the beanie - why not try this pattern

Or for a comprehensive choice of knitted beards  there's a whole page of Etsy devoted to beard patterns. Whatever turns you on!

Or for some more mainstream knitting and craft inspiration have a browse on Make it and Mend it. One of our most popular patterns is for knitting a hat like Cheryl Cole's

And, as if you needed any more excuses to get those needles out - read Hilary's piece on how knitting helps people with depression (and she should know - she's a Dr of Psycholoogy!) Knitting as Therapy

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Water, water everywhere....

We might have had an incredibly wet winter, but that doesn't mean that we have water to waste.  At this time of year we still have to think about using water wisely to avoid the dreaded hosepipe ban!

Infographic world of water facts big

Saturday, 21 June 2014

The power of knitting!

I had a lovely encounter on the bus today which got me thinking about the pleasure of knitting and gift giving.  

I got on the bus, found a seat and immediately turned my attention to my phone.  A few minutes into the journey, the woman next to me apologised for elbowing me with her knitting needles, I was shocked to realise that I was so engrossed in answering emails that I hadn’t even noticed her knitting. 

We fell to chatting about knitting and our mutual love of wool.  It turned out that Mary had been knitting for 90 years!  She had started when she was three and was still an avid knitter. She even taught knitting at the local primary school. She told me that she loved seeing the children’s faces when they realised that they could knit, and she told me about the joy on one young girl’s face when she was told she could not only keep her crocheted chain, but was allowed to take the wool and hook home to carry on practising. She said that knitting had kept her young and had allowed her to make friends with children of all ages. 

We chatted for ten minutes, and as she got up to leave, she turned to me and dipped into her voluminous knitting bag, drawing out a small package wrapped in tissue ‘here’ she said ‘I want you to have these.  They’re really easy to make.   I make hundreds of them and I love giving presents to fellow knitting lovers’.  And with that she nipped off the bus and was lost in the crowd before I could thank her properly.  I delicately opened the tissue paper to find a pair of beautifully knitted slipper socks. Each stitch perfect and even, complete with a perfectly crocheted cord to keep them on.

So Mary if you are out there and happen to read this, Thank you.  Your gift made me very happy, but the real gift was your story which lifted my day.    It  made me appreciate how good knitting is for us and how much pleasure we get from sharing our passion....but also how much time we waste on our technology, when we should be lifting our heads and connecting to the people around us.  Just think what I would have missed out on if I had carried on dealing with emails!


Thursday, 1 May 2014

Nature's bounty - wild garlic pesto

MIAMI friend Anne from North Devon posted this picture of her early morning walk with her dogs. Spotting the plentiful wild garlic I suggested she make some pesto. She asked for a recipe and then 40 minutes later, having zipped out again to pick some leaves, she posted a picture on Facebook of the finished result.

If you are lucky enough to have wild garlic growing near you, give it a try - serve with pasta or on boiled potatoes.

Just whizz up a handful of garlic leaves in a blender with some Parmesan, pinenuts, a dash of lemon juice and plenty of olive oil. Absolutely delicious.

Have you seen our Facebook page? Loads of helpful tips and ideas there!