Moving Home

I’ve decided to stop blogging with WordPress and start using the blog feature that comes along with my website provider. I’ve moved all the archived posts across which I enjoyed re-reading today. If you are still interested in following my blog (thank you if you are!) you can find me at: www.kelly-macleod.com/blog/.
Thanks for reading, commenting and ‘liking’ posts on this one! I love getting them.

Happy Knitting!

Kelly. X

 

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Finished aran jumper (and another lovely gift)!

Finally, I got the little Aran jumper finished. Here’s a picture of it blocking, a close up of the pattern and the finished jumper sewn up and ready to be given away. I followed the pattern exactly as written except for the neck. I knitted that double the length and folded it back on itself, sewing the live stitches in.  The first picture is the truest representation of the actual yarn colour.

 

 

 

The pattern is from, “the big book of kids’ knits” by Zoe Mellor.



I got another gift from my lovely friend
Jen in California.  I’m a huge fan of Alice Starmore / Virtual Yarns and Jen very kindly made me my own shade card of Virtual Yarns from her own stash.  It’s great actually seeing the colours in front of you rather than trying to gauge online how accurate the colours really are.  The colours are beautiful and vibrant.  Thank you also for the chocolate and postcards Jen.  It’s lovely to see the area where you live – thanks again chookie!  X

I was looking through old photos recently and came across one of the house that my Granny and Grandpa used to live in.  My Granny taught me to knit here in front of a roaring fire.  I loved that house, it holds so many fond memories.  The garden in front was my Grandpas vegetable garden and it was magic wandering down and eating the peas straight from the pod.  My Gran would walk down and pick whatever vegetables she needed to make soup.  You don’t get much fresher than that!

I can’t believe it’s July already – this year is fairly flying by.  I’ve started stocking up on logs for when the weather turns colder although the fire has been on as it’s been cold and wet.  Having said that, the longest day has passed now so the nights will soon start to draw in.  

Cuilean and I went for a walk and we both got soaked to the skin.  He ended up filthy so it was straight into the shower for him much to his disgust.

I love vegan cakes.  I bought Ms. Cupcake’s new book which came out in May.  The recipes are so tasty.  Naturally, I could only read her book wearing my cupcake pyjamas!

 

Here is a picture of the fabulous Ms. Cupcake herself.

I made vanilla cupcakes with custard frosting from the book.  I still haven’t got the hang of the piping bag yet!  The cupcakes were delicious albeit very sweet.  😍

 

 

 

 

 

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Relaxing Sunday…..

Yesterday was a nice relaxing day spent sketching, baking, pottering about in the garden and walking Cuilean.  I took measurements and drew a rough sketch of my hot water bottle.  Just need to work out my gauge and I’m ready to go.

My Sister bought me a book about baking bread which is something I’ve taken an interest in recently.  I made my first bloomer loaf from scratch.  It was time consuming but so worth it.  It was deliciously crispy on the outside and light and airy on the inside.

bread

bread dough

bread cooked

My back garden is starting to take shape too.  My Mum and Dad bought me a plum tree a few weeks ago and today I noticed a tiny little flower on it.

This little purple primrose is the hardiest little plant I have in my garden.  It has survived scorching summers, pouring rain, frost, snow and being piddled on by the dogs and it is still thriving!

I can’t believe I’m going to show you this picture because it’s such a mess but I’m so excited by what it is going to become (after a lot of hard work).  This is outside my bedroom window at the back of the house and it’s going to become my vegetable garden.  I can’t wait to get started!

My Dad built me a shed to store all my gardening bits and pieces and he hung up my little bird houses.  I really hope they get used.

Cuilean and I went for a walk up to the Caledonian canal which is a short distance from the house.  It was a lovely albeit windy day as Cuilean can attest too.

Isn’t this the cutest little map?  It’s on a large standing stone which leads you down to a nature reserve along the road from my house.

Can you read what has been engraved onto the stone underneath the map?  It says:

“When the tide goes out you can see the witches coffin”.

Can you see the witches coffin?

I’ve circled where it is on the picture below.  I’ve no idea what it actually is or where the story came from, or whether there is any truth to it or not.

Cuilean was fascinated by these swans that were swimming about the canal.  They are beautiful birds – so graceful.

Tourist season is well underway in Inverness and the tourist shop windows are full of tartan, tweed, whisky, knitwear, highland cows and the lovable Nessie.

It’s been a long day so I’m going to relax for a little while.  Dishes are done so it’s time to put my feet up and snuggle with my best buddy.

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Swatching & Photographing…..

I’ve been busy over the last few days working on swatches for my C & G design – a hot water bottle cover.

From top to bottom:  Ridge Stitch, Trellis Stitch & Woven Stitch.  I was going to do a cable swatch but my existing hot water bottle cover has a cable on it and I quite fancy a change.  The stitch patterns came from:  400 Knitting Stitches.  I think I’ve decided to do the cover in the ridge stitch.  It’s simple and I quite like the look of it.

I chose to make the cover with an Aran yarn (with a bit of help from Cuilean).

On Saturday, it was an absolutely beautiful day here in Inverness so Cuilean and I, armed with the camera went for a long walk.  We walked down to Carnac Point which is a 10 minute walk from the house and took this picture of North Kessock / The Black Isle which is a beautiful area.

There’s a good view of the Kessock bridge.  Occassionally, if you’re lucky you sometimes see dolphins swimming about quite near the shore.  On the left hand side of the photo underneath one of the pillars there’s a small white building – that’s our local RNLI.  They are mostly volunteers and are so busy all the year round.  Thank God for them!

Before the bridge got built, there used to be a ferry taking people between north and south Kessock.  The little white jetty is still there.  You can just see it on the left hand side of the photo below.

Inverness from the air.

Inverness from the air

On Sunday, the weather was a total contrast and was wet, windy and miserable.  Still, come rain, hail or shine Cuilean still needs his walk so off we went, again with camera in hand to see what we could find.  There’s an industrial estate a 10 minute walk in another direction from my house and right in the middle of it is this clock – Cromwells Clock.

It’s such a shame it is where it is.  I always think it should be in the city centre somewhere.  There’s a couple of plaques on one of the walls which read:

From top to bottom:

“To the East of this clock tower lie the ramparts of Cromwells citadel founded in 1652 and demolished in 1661 after the restoration of the Monarchy.  This clock tower was partially demolished and later re-roofed”.

“Inverness common good fund – This historic clock and tower was restored in 2010 with a grant from the Inverness common good fund”.

I must admit, I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve no idea who Cromwell was.  It’s something I must look into…..

I love buttons and have an abundance of them…..

…..so I decided to brighten up my white board and attach some magnets to the back of some of the buttons to use as markers instead of the boring ones I had.

I enjoy growing seeds from scratch.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.  I thought I’d try to see if I could get some apple pips to sprout.  Imagine my surprise (and delight!) when I seen these little green shoots from my green apple…..

…..and the one seed I got from my red apple.

I read on Google that they have to be kept in damp kitchen roll in the fridge for 6 weeks before planting so all being well they should be ready for planting around the 10th of May.  Watch this space!

My sunflowers seeds have shot up too at an alarming speed.  I’ll be separating them shortly into their own pots.  I’m looking forward to planting them along the back wall in my garden.

Not so long ago, I wrote on my blog that I enjoy making my own cleaning products.  I got told of a recipe for a carpet deodoriser using bicarbonate of soda and aromatherapy oils.  I also use it as a mild abrasive on my cooker top, kitchen counters etc.  It smells lovely.

It consists of:

1 x 200g tub of Bicarbonate of Soda.

20 drops of Lavender.

10 drops of Lemon.

10 drops of Tea Tree.

Mix all ingredients together and store in a jar.

*Disclaimer:  Please always do a patch test if using aromatherapy oils or bicarbonate of soda on any carpeted areas, worktops / counters or any appliances!*

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Spring has sprung (and a lovely gift)!

Firstly, I would like to say a huge thank you to my Californian friend Jen who sent me a beautifully soft pair of hand-knitted fingerless gloves.  I can’t tell you how much I’ve worn them since I received them.  It’s been so cold here so they were very much appreciated.  There was a lovely pack of home-made shortbread too which was delicious.  That never lasted a day!  Thanks again Jen! X

fingerless gloves

Finally after what seems to have been a never ending winter, Spring seems to be finally here.  Inverness was lovely today and it was nice walking along the River Ness with Cuilean seeing the new green shoots appearing.

I love the yellow of the gorse bush which is starting to flower – a real sunshine yellow.

I never tire of looking at that little smiley face.

I’ve started back growing my herbs and a couple of other things in the garden, rhubarb being one of them.  All my herb seeds were planted at the same time – some have shot up and some haven’t even sprouted yet.

In those little pots is pumpkin seeds.  I planted seven of them and so far three have sprouted.  I’ve no idea what I’ll do with seven pumpkins if they all take!

The photo above is a chinese lantern flower.  I’ve never had any success up until now growing them.

I’ve taken an interest in baking bread recently from scratch and so far it’s turned out lovely.

I’ve been making a load of vegan cupcakes too which also are really tasty.  I have a very sweet tooth but that’s ok because vegan is healthy!   ;-)

cupcakes

The cupcakes above were for my sisters birthday.

chocolate cupcakes

Excuse the state of the frosting – that was my first attempt with the piping bag!

chocolate cake

I’m still plodding along with module 4 of my City and Guilds course.  I just have a household item left to design so I decided to do a hot water bottle cover as mine has been getting a lot of use lately and can do with getting replaced.  I’m busy poring through knitting stitch books just now.

I just can’t resist this cheeky face!

my boy

Have a great weekend! x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Books, Books, Books!

I love books, particularly knitting ones. I was looking through my bookcase today, contemplating having a bit of an early spring clean but I just can’t bear to part with any of them – so there they stay!

A couple of the books are copies of books that I originally got when I learned to knit when I was 9 years old (and that wasn’t yesterday!).  I love flicking through the pictures – makes me feel quite nostalgic!

I remember thinking that ball was amazing.  Imagine being able to knit a BALL!

I got this book when I was in primary 5 at school.  I remember how excited I was to get it.  I knitted the yellow scarf that is on the front cover and was so pleased with myself at the accomplishment.  That was the start of my love affair with knitting.  I’m so grateful to my Gran for taking the time to teach me to knit in the first place.

I have a couple of vintage knitting books and I just adore them.  I love the fashion from that time – so elegant.

Look – the model is smoking – you wouldn’t see that nowadays! There’s another picture a little bit further down and the model is holding a cigarette.  How times have changed!

I don’t think I’d be able to wear knitted vests, underwear or swimwear.  I imagine it would be so itchy.  I do love the style of clothes though.  How long would those knitted dresses take to complete?  I can’t imagine.  My favourite is the close fitting hat in the last picture.  I don’t know what the attraction is with it but I think it’s my favourite pattern in the book.

I’m a huge fan of Alice Starmore and am lucky enough to have some of her books.  That’s another set of books I enjoy flicking through.  She’s a genius.

I like to get the latest ‘how to’ manuals when a new one comes out.  There’s usually a technique or something new I’ve never seen before.

I received the latest issue of ‘cast on’ magazine.  I quite like a few of the patterns in it.

I think that jumper above is beautiful – everything about it is lovely.

I have been learning how to crochet a granny square for my ‘learn 12 crafts in 12 months’ challenge and will post a picture when I’ve managed to make it look more presentable. I’d be too embarrassed to show it in its current state!

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Happy New Year!

happy new year

I want to learn 12 new crafts over the next 12 months that I’ve never tried before using online tutorials and this ‘Needlecraft Encyclopedia’ that I’ve had for years.

book1

These are the crafts I’ve decided on:

January: Crocheting
February: Tatting
March: Calligraphy
April: Hand Quilting
May: Mosaics
June: Handmade Buttons
July: Book Binding
August: Jewellery Making
September: Embroidery
October: Card Making
November: Soap Making
December: Candle Making

Happy New Year!

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A Knitter’s Christmas Eve by Nancy Massaroni

’Twas the night before Christmas and all around me
There was unfinished knitting not under the tree.
The stockings weren’t hung by the chimney with care
’Cause the heels and the toes had not a stitch there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
But I had not finished the caps for their heads.
Dad was asleep—he was no help at all.
And the sweater for him was six sizes too small.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I put down my needles to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash.
Tripped over my yarn and fell down in my stash.
The tangle of yarn that lay deep as the snow
Reminded me how far I still had to go.
When out on the lawn I heard such a noise,
I was sure it would wake up both Dad and the boys.
And although I was tired and my brain a bit thick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
Yet what I heard left me very perplex-ed
For nothing I heard was what I expect-ed.
“Move Rowan! Move Patons! Move Koigu and Clover!
Move Shelridge! Move Starmore! Move Spinrite! Move over!
Lopi, don’t circle around, just stand there in line.
Pay attention you sheep and you’ll work out just fine!
I know this is hard, as it’s just your first year,
But I’d hate to go back to 8 tiny reindeer.”
I peered over the sill.What I saw was amazing!
Eight wooly sheep on my lawn all a-grazing!
And then in a twinkle, I heard at the door
Santa’s big boots stomping on the porch floor.
I rose from my knees and got back on my feet.
As I turned around, St Nick I did meet.
He was dressed all in wool from his head to his toe
And his clothes were hand knit from above to below.
A bright Fair Isle sweater he wore on his back,
And his toys were all stuffed in an Aran sack.
His hat was a wonder of bobbles and lace,
A beautiful frame for his rosy red face.
The scarf on his neck could have stretched for a mile,
And the socks peeking over his boots were Argyle.
On the back of his mitts was an intricate cable.
And suddenly on one I spotted a small label:
“S.C.” in duplicate on the cuff.
So I asked, “Hey, Nick, did YOU knit all this stuff?”
He proudly replied, “Ho, ho, ho, yes I did.
I learned how to knit when I was a kid.”
He was chubby and plump, a well-dressed old man,
And I laughed to myself, for I’d thought up a plan.
I flashed him a grin and jumped up in the air,
And the next thing he knew, he was tied to a chair.
He spoke not a word, but looked down in his lap
Where I had laid my needles and yarn for a cap.
He began then to knit, first one cap then two.
For the first time I thought I might really get through.
He put heels in the stockings and toes in some socks,
While I sat back drinking a scotch on the rocks.
Quickly like magic his needles they flew,
Good Grief! He was finished by two!
He sprang for his sleigh when I let him go free,
And over his shoulder he looked back at me.
I heard him explain as he sailed past the moon,
“Next year, start your knitting sometime around JUNE!”

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Santa’s Little Helper!

Happy Christmas and all the very best for 2013!

 

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Time Flies!….

I can’t believe it’s December!  Where has this year gone?  My Christmas tree is back up – it doesn’t seem like long ago I was moaning about taking it down.

I received my latest copy of ‘Cast On’ magazine and a couple of designs caught my eye.  First one being the little baby cardigan and bonnet – it’s so cute.  Pity I don’t know any babies to knit for.

The second design I thought was lovely was this Aran jumper.

I have been collecting the swatches that I’ve been working on for my course and don’t know what to do with them.  I can’t make up my mind whether to throw them out or keep a hold of them in case I want them in the future.

Here’s some pictures of my Christmas tree.  I finished putting it up this morning while drinking half a bottle of non-alcoholic mulled wine to get me in the festive spirit.  (Not that I needed much help!)

I got given this cute little nativity set a few years ago as a gift when I moved in to my house and I just love it.

I’d better not forget to hang up Cuilean’s stocking either!

It’s supposed to snow tonight with the temperature’s dropping to -7.  I found pictures of Cuilean from last year running about in the snow.  He had a great time.

I was having a bit of a tidy up of the laptop and found a photo of Cuilean when he was 8 weeks old.  Isn’t he so adorable?!

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I was out and about the other day with my camera and took a couple of pictures from Inverness Castle looking up and down the river Ness.

I went out to Dores (near Inverness) a few years ago on a beautiful freezing cold morning like today and took these photo’s.

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I was in Helsinki this time in 2005 and loved the place.  Here’s a couple of pictures of two of the church’s I walked past every day and never tired of looking at them.

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When I was there I bought this postcard as I loved the knitted hats the little characters wore.

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Especially this one…..

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I’m wondering how easy it would be to replicate it…..

I’m thinking for next year of learning 12 new crafts in 12 months.  The very first craft I would like love to learn is crochet, followed by tatting and calligraphy.  As for the rest I’ll need to sit and have a little think about it.

If I don’t post again before Christmas, have a lovely time! x

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