St Fagans Stencil

I squeezed a lot into a recent short trip to Cardiff, including a few hours at St Fagans, a living history museum of Welsh life.

The museum is set in extensive grounds, taking visitors on a journey from Celtic times to the present day, and offering an insight into social history across the ages.

True to form, I found lots of crafting inspiration, not only in the woollen mill and tailor’s shop, but also in the structures and decoration in the buildings and gardens.

Here is a selection to whet your appetite!


St Fagans Stencil


See the small window in the red wall? That’s where the stencil is!


The church surrounded by a fabulous wall


Colourful window in the Workers’ Institute


Yarn preparation in the Woollen Mill

With free entry (see the museum website for car parking charges), if you’re in the area, it’s definitely worth a visit!

Have you been inspired on your travels lately? I’d love to hear about it!


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Pick of the bunch

Inspired by the early spring sunshine, and the bright oddments in my stash bag, I couldn’t resist having a go at this sweet, rustic flower pattern from Val Pierce’s Love Knitting book.


In the book, the original flowers were sewn onto a peg bag, but I attached a brooch pin to make the little posy more versatile. I think it would look cheerful on a lapel, on a bag, on a hat …


So many possible colour combinations – so I made a few more!


Have you made any flowers or brooches recently? I’d love to hear about them!


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WIPs and UFOs

When does a WIP (work in progress) become a UFO (unfinished object)? Is there a certain length of time that has to elapse without any knitting activity? Or is there a special corner or cupboard that WIPs go to, to become UFOs?

Gradually, over a few months, I’ve been reviewing my WIPs and UFOs and working out what to do with them. Rip, hibernate, or carry on.

Some decisions are harder than others.

Somewhat surprisingly, only one has gone into temporary hibernation. It’s a small zigzag scarf-cum-cowl made with 2 strands of Lang, bought at last year’s Wonderwool Wales.


The early days of the scarf-cum-cowl

It gets picked up every now and then, and still holds some promise, although I’m not really enjoying the process. It’s about 45 cm long now, so I’ve definitely passed halfway. Maybe it’s timing, so I’ll give it another chance.

This week’s WIP decision involved a raspberry red Wensleydale Longwool 4-ply which is already in its third incarnation. Two fronts, the back and a sleeve … almost finished … so why was it still a WIP? I had invested so much time, but knew I wasn’t happy with it and what use was the yarn if it was stuck in a project bag for months, not seeing the light of day? If I loved it, I would have finished it by now, wouldn’t I?


So near, so far …

Deep breath. Pull that thread and … yes, it’s definitely quicker to unravel than to knit!


Another one bites the dust!

There aren’t many WIPs left now, and it feels good! One more tough decision to face – my two-tone mosaic shawl which seems to be using more wool than anticipated, leaving me concerned that I won’t have enough to finish it.


An early shot of the mosaic progress

I’ll leave that decision to another day – one UFO at a time. And then I’ll have space and a clear conscience to cast on something new! Yay!

Have you ripped out any unloved WIPs or UFOs recently? What made you decide to bite the bullet and rip? I’d love to hear about it!


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Do you want to see what I made from my inadvertently felted cardigan a couple of weeks ago?

A few hours with scissors and sewing machine produced this little shoulder bag, lined with floral poly cotton fabric to lift the colour and help the bag to keep its shape.


The finished bag

I decided to top stitch the main seams, as the fabric was dense and traditional seams may have been too bulky. I hand-stitched the contrast fabric into place, and added an iron-on interface to the lining to make it strong enough to take a magnetic clasp.


A magnetic clasp

The handles are plaited using one strip of fabric and 2 strips of corded wool, left over from the original cardigan project (it pays to keep oddments in your stash!).


Hand-stitched contrast fabric and plaited straps

There’s a pocket on one side, while the other side takes advantage of the original cable pattern.


Cables on one side

For extra decoration, I added a crocheted brooch which I had made a couple of years ago, and which seemed to pick up the colour of the lining fabric perfectly.


A crocheted brooch adds extra colour

So, my felted cardigan lives on!

Have you upcycled anything recently? How did it go? I’d love to hear about it!




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And the winner is …


Drum roll please …

Thank you to everyone who entered my 100th blogpost competition – it was lovely to hear from you all – I’m sorry there could only be one winner.

And the winner is …

Fiona J 😀

Congratulations Fiona! Thank you for entering and sharing the Yarnsmithery page. Your prize will be on its way to you very soon!


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Rays of light

These lovely rays of light lifted my spirits this week …


Sunshine shapes

I love the shapes, the textures, the optimism and the defiant contrast with the shadow.

When the world is full of challenges, it’s important to notice the small moments of brightness, isn’t it?

It also made the washing up easier and gave me some knitting inspiration at the same time!

What has lifted your spirits this week? I’d love to hear all about it!





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To the Power of 3


The Power of 3

On the look-out for a new hat pattern? Look no further!

Based on my latest finished objects – 3 in a row – I can thoroughly recommend Woolly Wormhead’s appropriately-named Skelter, which includes instructions for a range of sizes. The design includes a slit in the brim, but this is easily omitted if preferred.

With 35% alpaca and 65% wool, Drops Lima was an obvious choice and a perfect tension using 4 mm needles.

Don’t you just love a pom-pom?


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Cowbridge – an unexpected knitting haven


Omnia “In all things of nature there is something marvellous” Aristotle

This inspirational quote was on the bench where I enjoyed a peaceful hour’s knitting a few weeks ago, surrounded by the colours and scents of a well-tended garden, just a stone’s throw from the main road running through Cowbridge, near Cardiff.


Perfect knitting bench

The Cowbridge Physic Garden is run by volunteers, and is open to the public, free of charge. (If you are able to visit, please check in advance for opening times, as the gates are closed at set times for security.)


The Cowbridge Physic Garden

What could be nicer?

Well, as a dedicated yarnista, just one thing could make my trip to Cowbridge even better … A short walk along the road, tucked away in a small arcade, is a welcoming yarn shop called La Mercerie, where I met owner Jean and enjoyed a lovely chat about wool, notions and knitting!


La Mercerie, Cowbridge

Inspired by the greenery of the garden, I opted for a skein of 4 ply silk and super-merino, in the colourway “Undergrowth”, hand-dyed by local supplier The Old Piggery. It matched the soothing colours of the garden’s foliage so well, I thought it an excellent souvenir!

Matchy matchy!

Matchy matchy!

Have you found a knitting haven on your travels? I’d love to hear about it so please do share your tips!



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Baby it’s cold outside

Yes, it may be cold outside, but it’s a great excuse to wear lots of knitted layers!

Hats are a great way to add colour to an outfit and bring cheer to a dull day. They are suitable for all ages and they can make a perfect knitted gift.

My latest hat project was this baby hat, made in Katia Merino Baby, which is 100% merino 4 ply.


Garter Earflap Hat

The pattern is Garter Earflap by Purl Bee, and is a free pattern on their website, in a variety of sizes from baby to adult. I used 2 strands of the 4 ply, and it worked well, creating a soft and squashy fabric.

Although garter stitch is usually “knit every row”, this little hat is knitted “in the round”, which means that alternate rounds have to be purled to create the garter ridge.


Garter stitch ridges

The pattern includes a link to the instructions for the cute little tassel too!


Cute little tassel

Have you knitted a hat recently? What did you make? I’d love to hear all about it!


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Cold Feet?

What do you think of these knitted slippers? 3 super-soft pairs for 3 super-special people!


Knitted in Drops Nepal (65% wool, 35% alpaca) following the Drops Chilli pattern (free download), I added hearts in Rico Sock Stop to create a non-slip base.

I think I need to knit a pair for myself!

Have you ever knitted slippers? Do you have a favourite pattern you can share? I’d love to hear about it!



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