Knitted tartan sampler

Today we have a combination of two of my favourite things - knitting and tartan! I've often wondered if it's possible to knit a tartan pattern, but as I've yet to conquer fair isle or intarsia type knitting I figured it would be a while before I was able to try it. That was until I saw a fab tutorial for knitted tartan, using a line of crochet to create the vertical lines. Genius.

I had to have a go for myself and without any firm ideas of what I wanted to do with knitted tartan and with a long list of projects that need to come first, I just used a few bits of leftover wool to try a little sampler.

It's a really clever technique - you knit changing colour for your horizontal lines then where you'd like the vertical lines simply work a purl stitch on each row. You'll end up with a gutter running through the knitting, which you then work a row of crochet slip stitches along.

You can see a full tutorial here.

What would you knit with this tartan pattern?


Buying a home | How NOT to move house

AKA how we moved house.

So you've exchanged contracts, congratulations! It's time to start thinking about the practicalities of moving your life from one place to another.

I missed this step. Our house purchase was difficult and teetered on the edge of falling through for a good two months while we tried desperately to sort everything out. Because of this I became very superstitious (not like me at all!) and couldn't even think of the light at the end of the tunnel until we had the keys in our hands. Miraculously this did happen and the keys were ours. But then we suddenly had less than a week to move in and we wanted to spend most of that painting the new place. Oops.

We packed in a rush. Everything in boxes and black sacks, I labelled the first two boxes then gave up and just packed things where they would fit, regardless of what room they came from or whether I'd remember which box they were in (unsurprisingly I didn't). It took much longer than I expected and we had much more stuff than I thought we did. I hadn't prepared enough bubble wrap or protection for fragile things so anything slightly squishy was used to pack up breakable items. And as the boxes weren't labelled we just piled them all into our new living room, with no idea which one went where. It. Was. Stressful. Here's the only photograph I had time to take!

So with my cautionary tale out of the way - I've created a pinterest board with some links to people who clearly have the whole packing thing sorted. Listen to them.

My favourite tips are using a black sack to pack clothes together while keeping them on hangers (massive timesaver) and using coloured tape or washi tape on boxes to signify different rooms at a glance. Find more here.

Happy moving!

Previous buying a home posts - three things I learned when searching for a house and top tips for once your offer is accepted.


Top tips for amigurumi crochet beginners

I've finally started a new crochet project - this cute (and free) giraffe pattern. I've never tired amigurumi crochet before so the first few rounds were a bit of a learning curve and I had to google/ pin a lot of amigurumi tips and tutorials! And start over twice. Ahem.

So seeing as I spent all that time collecting some good resources and that they seemed to have helped me enormously (three giraffe limbs done!) I thought I'd put them together as some top tips for amigurumi crochet beginners.

1. Rather than working in circles as you do for granny squares etc., amigurumi crochet is worked in a spiral so a stitch marker is pretty much essential in order to avoid constantly losing your place. If you're anything like me counting stitches is the least fun part of crochet!

2. Each new stitch, i.e. each dc (UK) in the giraffe pattern is worked through both loops of the stitch underneath it, not just one loop and not into the gap between stitches.

The first few minutes of this video show you how to start off, place your stitch marker and work through both loops. For a step-by-step guide you could even watch the whole thing and make the pig along with her.

3. Decreasing, something I hadn’t come across in my limited granny square experience. It seems there are a couple of ways to decrease in amigurumi, but the invisible way definitely sounds the best so that's the only one I've learned. Here's a brilliant step-by-step tutorial for decreasing.

4. Changing colour, as rounds are worked in a spiral (see tip 1.) changing colour can result in an odd step halfway round, so this tutorial shows how to get a smoother colour change by starting the new stitch in the old colour and completing it in the new colour.

Apologies if any of them seem blindingly obvious but as someone who has only ever crocheted two granny square cushions and a heart, all I can say is that they weren't to me!

I've not tackled increasing stitches or any finishing or sewing together yet, so let me know if you have any great tips for how to do these, or you'd like another post once I've attempted to master them.

Happy crocheting!


Inspired by | the snowdrop

A sure sign that spring is approaching, seeing the first scatters of bright white emerging amongst the winter leaves always fills me with excitement for the months ahead, as the weather gets warmer, the days get longer and nature comes back to life. We came across these beauties lit up in the sunlight on a walk this morning.

Despite their claims as some of the first flowering plants each year, I feel snowdrops are often overlooked when it comes to floral patterns and accessories – luckily a few talented makers and designers are leading the way.

  Snowdrop sleeveless dress | Orla Kiely

Botanical snowdrop print | Vicki's Beach House | Etsy

Gold snowdrop earrings | Martha Jackson | Not on the high street

Snowdrop lace scarf | Free pattern | Classic Elite Yarns


Buying a home | Top tips for once your offer is accepted

There are lots of online guides offering help for what to do when your offer is accepted (nationwide has a good one here), so I won't go into detail on the actual process. Instead here are some top tips learned from experience, a few things that the various people involved might not tell you.

Use a local solicitor
For some reason (alright, there's probably a very good one) solicitors insist on posting a lot of documents, using a local solicitor will mean you can collect and drop things off when necessary and cut out postage times. They also have better local knowledge and often a good relationship with your estate agent which can help. It’s best to try and find someone who has been personally recommended – by a friend or relative, the ones recommended by either your mortgage company or estate agents might not be the best. Get quotes from at least two as well, to check they’re reasonably priced.

Don't start 'moving in' emotionally
Sorry this is a bit of a depressing one, but until you actually exchange contracts there is still a lot that can go wrong. By all means celebrate your accepted offer, but I wouldn't recommend buying your paint. It's hard not to start planning and buying bits, especially when you're a first time buyer, but it makes it much worse if things go wrong (trust me on this!). Take it one step at a time.

Shop around for insurance quotes
Don't just take the home, contents and life insurance offered to you by your mortgage provider. We'd got to the point of being bamboozled by all the little costs associated when buying a house (lots of them, like particular searches and reports you have no choice over) so it's easy to get stuck into saying 'yes' just to keep the process moving. But set one evening and do some comparison quote searches for your insurances. You'll most likely find a better deal by going direct to a company rather than through your mortgage provider.

I'd love to hear any more tips you might have, leave them in the comments. Up next – moving day and what not to do (learn from our mistakes!). Don’t forget you can also look back at three things I learned when searching for a house.


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