Thursday, 29 November 2012

A Cottage Industry

One of the lovely things about having a baby is the exciting mail you receive. We've had flowers, packages, cards and.... brownies. 

Yes you read that right, Brownies by MAIL. Also, Brownies deserves capitalisation in my humble opinion. 

I received a beautifully wrapped box of chocolate Brownies from the giant's mum who not only knows and encourages my love of baked goods but also independent producers. I have to admit I paid little attention at first to where these divine goodies came from as I devoured 3 in one hit but once the sugar buzz wore off I found the card and looked them up online. Wow. Just my thing. 

Gower Cottage Brownies takes the idea of a cottage industry (A business or manufacturing activity carried on in a person's home) quite literally. Kate, the owner and baker behind the enterprise, produces these wonderful treats in her family home. In a beautiful cottage located in Wales, Kate has created a business that is not only deliciously indulgent but award winning too. Her baking and customer service have all been recognised for their excellence and I can see why. 

As much as I wanted to keep this news to myself so I could eat ALL the brownies, I just had to share. Brownies make the world a better place after all. 

Monday, 26 November 2012

Just Saying Hi

Just popping in to report a few important facts that I feel I should share with you, the readers:

1. I've figured out where I am on that pesky sock 

2. I've figured how to knit and nurse 

3. Knit progress is slow but has restarted

(big beaming smile)

That is all....

Friday, 23 November 2012

Episode 39: Here at Last

A Playful Day is kindly sponsored by Superknits. Please show your support for our playful friend by clicking on the link above- go on, spoil yourself!!!.

A Playful Day is also kindly sponsored by NorthboundKnitting, uniquely hand dyed yarn, spinning fibre and modern knitting designs. Please show your support for our playful friend by clicking on the link above.

A Playful Day is proudly sponsored by Candy Skein, hand dyed yarns sweet enough to eat! Please support our playful friend by supporting the banner above.

Show notes:

Thank you to the many well wishes and plenty of chatter that kept me sane whenever I could log in.

Come join 'The Night Circus Along', entirely hosted by lovely group members and making me smile everytime I swing by.

There's a bit of a push to get all our holiday knits finished thanks to Smoon. Also, here's the link to the Hats for the Homeless thread started by ClareMarie that I stupidly forgot in the podcast.

Heather Ordover gives us her delightfully peaceful take on Thanksgiving for the holiday season and I am thankful to her for it. For those of you who wanted to listen to Franklin again, here's the link to the podcast shownotes.

Off the Needles 

Magic Coffee Baby Hat by Tracey Kay in leftovers of the Artist Palette and BC Yarnings DK.
On the Needles

Scylla by Fiona Lucas in a mystery sock yarn. 
Plume by Lisa Mutch in The Uncommon Thread in The Uncommon Thread Posh Fingering in the 'Nimbostratus' Colourway and Silky Merino Fingering in 'Cerulean' Colourway.
Dryad by Jared Flood using The Uncommon Thread Lush Worsted in 'Bois' Colourway. 

Fly, Fly, Fly by Adrina Thorpe, available on Music Alley
Grateful by James Casto, available on Music Alley .
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Saturday, 17 November 2012

These Are The Days

Life is falling into some kind of hazy lull here in the playful house. The giant is on paternity leave and we're learning our little girl's habits and just how much sleep we can cope without. Friends and family arrive with food and respite and we introduce them proudly to the playful babe. It's all rather nice. 

I've managed to knit the grand total of a row and a half which believe me, felt amazing. I've looked at magazines and have now got a bit better about actually opening them and diving in. First up was Mollie Makes, a little saccharine for my tastes but full of thoughts of learning to sew (one day) and projects I will accomplish for gifts..... NEXT year. 

It's the knitting magazines (naturally) that I've really indulged in. I rarely read magazines from cover to cover, preferring to pour over certain articles or patterns and returning to reread them again in the months to come. What I've discovered I have a talent for is reading cover to cover (including adverts!) and returning to pour over pattern details later. This, therefore, prolongs the life of the magazine which is considerably easier to hold with and nurse than a paperback book. Thank God for the Kindle!

Knitscene Winter 2012 excelled itself and my highlights were the short row shaped shawls in triumphant colours from the very talented Kyoko Nakayoshi. Isn't it stunning? I can't wait to think up my own colour combinations and laze my way through comfort knitting and wraps and turns. I love a wrap and turn. 

(c) Interweave Press

I also really appreciated the Farmstead Cardigan by Amy Gunderson as I realise I am woefully lacking on the warm winter cardigan front. I adore the panels on this and it's simple but stylish shape. As always, the simple pullover with lace detail stole my heart and this issues Gate Pullover delivered just the kind of pullover I want to fill my wardrobe with. There's an interesting construction to this too which has me intrigued: it's worked side to side. 

(c) Knitscene
Then I noticed the new Twist Collective has gone live and need to find time to drool further on a bigger screen than my iphone. In the meantime though, my dreams are haunted by the decadence of Rachel Coopey's 'Chamomile'. 

(c) Jane Heller
What have you been fantasy knitting?

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Stormout and All Things Snuggly.

Well I find myself in front of a laptop and I won't beat around the bush, I'm pretty chuffed at myself. I'm writing SHOWNOTES and a blog post. Yes, I know, wait for the sound of spinning plates crashing... 

We're enjoying cuddling and being together and all things fun in the playful house and I'm thinking about when I get to knit again. Thus far I've looked at the cover of two knit magazines (Pom Pom and Knitscene FYI) and Mollie Makes and I've read through Stormount pattern that I promised I'd blog about before the arrival of my Playful Babe. While I'm yearning to knit, this is keeping me satisfied for now and I have to say, I'm impressed with this first published pattern. 

(c) CelticCastOn
 Stormont is a unisex cabled toque featuring a celtic cable design on the front and back.
With sizes ranging from 6mths to large adult it’s a hat with the whole family in mind. The designer is Kelly Ashfield who writes over at CelticCastOn, a blog I thoroughly enjoy- the woman knits like a machine!

(c) Copyright CelticCastOn
 Patterns are written and charted using conventional abbreviations and has been laid out in a logical way that keeps things clear despite the multiple sizing. I love the addition of the pompom for the little version too- adorable! I also hear there's plans for a slouchy and beanie version which excites me greatly.  

(c) Copyright CelticCastOn
You can purchase your pattern here via Ravelry and check out Kelly's amazing blog here. Thanks for the copy of this pattern Kelly, when I get those needles going, there's going to one for all the playful family members. We'll debate how many pompoms that will be nearer the time....

Sunday, 11 November 2012


Well I had to giggle looking at the last post: anticipation? Wow. Yes. A very eagerly anticipated arrival finally made her way into the world last week and I've tried several times since to gather my thoughts enough to sharing some news and musings on life with a playful bundle. 

I can't. 

There's too much joy. Too many high emotions. Too many life lessons and things I realise slowly like a light gradually climbing in through a crack..... 'oh.... that's what matters? Huh....'

Our playful babe was born Sunday, 4th 2012 at 11:42 and is one week old today. I'm already wondering where does time go? It just goes with a new born and you savour every moment. Yes, even the 3am wake up party because she's here. 

She's finally here. 

Thanks to all the well wishes, kind messages, gifts and general buzz. We felt like the world was as excited as we were. Which is, of course, impossible. No one would ever get anything done!

More soon. 

Thursday, 1 November 2012


I can't use the word anticipation without hearing it exaggerated by a rather gorgeous Tim Curry in drag. I tried to type it in the header normally but somehow just couldn't so I felt a nod to a great dress up/ Halloween favourite of mine was probably quite festive anyway. For the record, I'm always Magenta because after the drag queens, she got the best makeup. For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, go get a copy of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, a friend who knows the parts to shout at and a vat of gin then come back. 


Anticipation is becoming a major theme around here and there's more than one thing I'm excited about. I thought I'd share a few. 

Stormount (c) CelticCastOn
Firstly, I'm going to be writing a blog post about this rather magic pattern soon that's just been released by one of my favourite bloggers. Isn't it gorgeous? I love cables and need more in my life and this clearly needs to happen. 

Then there's a flurry of books that are being blogged about in anticipation of their arrival. The first that left me all a twitter was Jane Richmond's Island, now available for pre-order. It looks absolutely stellar and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy. 

No less exciting is the anticipation of the Smitten Kitchen cookbook. I am always banging on about the genius that is this blog but really, I don't think I can stress this enough: the woman is a genius

I also got very excited when I realised how close election day is for the US: 6th November 2012! Watching this video about the power of the female vote to say 'no' to a regime that will attempt to reclaim them as property made me want to stand up and cheer. 60% of the voters last time were women and that means you can literally say 'my body, my decision'. How exciting! Here in the UK I'm hoping we realise the same next election as the abortion and welfare debates roll on with little female voice, research or forward thinking in any shape or form so I'm waiting the outcome of the US election with baited breath and hoping it signals a change for us here too.

So whether it's knitted bliss, food or just being so damn powerful, I hope you're anticipating something special over this coming week too!