Sock Knitting

I’m not sure where I heard the idea that real knitters knit socks, but I’d been knitting for probably over a decade and had never tried to make a pair of socks before. I was curious, were they really so difficult? It was time to find out.

My friend bought me some lovely alpaca sock yarn for my birthday back in 2012 and I started knitting. I chose a toe up pattern as that meant no seaming on the toes, and a short row heel as I thought they looked the nicest. I went with Elfine’s Socks, a free pattern with a pretty lace design, with both a chart and written pattern. I prefer to knit from a written pattern, but many lace patterns only provide charts which I find frustrating.

Read more

Moving House

We’ve lived in our current house for over three years, and it’s really too small for our family. The girls are growing up fast and it’s past time they had more space. Until recently, our budget just wouldn’t stretch to a bigger house, especially while we got our company off the ground. Things have improved a lot lately and we’re ready to make the leap.

I’ve been looking at houses online for a few months while we made sure our finances were in shape and thought about what we wanted from our new home, so I could get an idea of what was available at what price. I saw a couple houses that would have been great for us, but there weren’t many. I decided we were ready to stop browsing and start seriously considering houses around the middle of January.

Read more

Stone Circles

Over the last few months I have developed an obsession with stone circles. I have visited fifteen, if you include Stonehenge, which I saw as a child. We’ve made several trips to remote moors, hills and fields across the north of England to visit these megalithic monuments.

Most of the circles we’ve visited have been in Cumbria. This is because there is a greater concentration of stone circles there than in Yorkshire, where we live, although we have seen a few closer to home. We’ve also visited henges and standing stones, which are from around the same period in history as the stone circles.

Read more

Making Runes

My interest in runes began when my sister lent me The Book of English Magic. One of the topics it covers is the runes. It briefly describes their history, meanings, how to use them and how to make a set. My sister had access to wood and tools through her work, so she made me a set.

I was interested in learning more about runes and how to use them, so I installed an app on my phone that popped up a notification each day describing the meaning and associations of a random rune. After a few weeks I had learnt the names, symbols and meanings of most of the runes, and I was ready to start using them.

Read more

Harris Tweed Handbag

My handbag finally gave up on me after three years of daily use. The handles had been fraying for months, the lining had torn, the out fabric was wearing thin, but I still carried it with me every day. When the handle broke away from the bag, there was no way I could keep using it. I had to accept that it had come to the end of its life.

The good thing about losing a handbag is getting a new one, and I had been looking forward to owning a handbag that wasn’t falling to pieces. As my old bag died at the end of January, there were still sales in the stores, so we went to have a look. I didn’t like any of the bags I saw at the shopping centre, they were mostly made from plastic and covered in gold fixings, not to my taste at all. I knew I could make something for myself that I would like a lot better, and it would also be much cheaper.

Read more

Moroccan Chickpea Stew

We were a bit short on cash this weekend, but our cupboards were well stocked with essentials, ridiculous amounts of flour and an immense amount of spices, I took the opportunity to challenge myself to feed the family for the weekend using mostly what we already had at home.

I usually plan recipes and shop for them, leaving the kitchen full of left over bits and pieces of store cupboard stuff, oddments of vegetables and a small collection of living herbs on the windowsill, but we never keep things that are used once in their entirity such as jars of sauce, cans of beans or most vegetables that are usually purchased in the amount required for a dish.

Read more

Defining Magic

Recently, I attended a fascinating discussion about the definition of magic and how it fits in with scientific investigation. I found it really interesting and I’d like to share some of the points here.

When we talk about magic, most people have some idea what we mean by this word. Images of wizards, witches or stage magicians come to mind, and we understand magic to be some form of manipulation of the physical world by means that cannot be explained by the usual laws of physics. Whether we’re talking about magic tricks or magic spells, we’re generally looking causing some effect that seems to be physically impossible. We also tend to expect that if we perform the same trick or spell, we’ll see the same physical result.

Read more

Observations and New Perspectives

Since my life has been turned upside down I’ve started to look at a lot of things in a different light. It’s been enlightening, unsettling and really quite great.

I’ve spent most of my life thinking that good things happen to other people, and that I’ll always be stuck or trapped or held back in some way. I’m not sure why I felt this way, sometimes it seemed like I didn’t deserve any better, other times it seemed like I just didn’t have the resources to get any further. Either way, it wasn’t a very useful or fulfilling mindset to live with.

Read more

A New Direction

Until recently, I was a stay at home mum. I spent most of my time taking care of the house, picking the kids up from school, cooking, and doing the odd bits of knitting and sewing. I was getting a bit restless and was bored with being in the house all day. I don’t drive, and there’s nowhere very exciting to go near to my house by yourself, so I felt a bit stuck in the same old pattern. This year, that all changed.

My other half, also known as his lordship, decided to leave his job and become self employed. He is a talented web developer and has always wanted to work for himself. He was also feeling stuck in a pattern in his job. A window of opportunity opened to him and we thought it was worth taking.

Read more