Winter Rose cowl – alternatives

Although I initially designed this cowl to be down in wedding white and to be a striking piece against black or dark grey coats, I had some very bright mohair lying around and decided to give it go. Well…..

It’s going great! So if you’re interested in doing the winter rose cowl – purchase here – there are some options for you. I am using Aloft Mohair in Mirth from KnitPicks and it is held double. Otherwise the pattern is the same. It would also work beautifully with Debbie Bliss Angel or for something really expensive but amazing Shibui Knits Silk Cloud. All would need to be held double or could be single stranded if matched with a fingering yarn.

Fibre, Fiber or Fibre?

I Just read an email quite excitedly about better fibre offers. Took me to second paragraph to discover they meant internet solutions not yarn. I was genuinely disappointed. I may be a wee bit yarn crazy.

On a slightly different note, what do people use? I have English as my first language. But I have NZ English, British English and Canadian English all swirling about in my brain and combining in funny ways. So I prefer fibre for yarn but will use fiber or fibre interchangeably, same with meter/metre. I no longer know whether the British or Canadians use backsplash or splashback in kitchens, again I’m amendable to both. I say tom-ah-to, but will acquiesce to tom-eh-to under duress from Nutmeg. I have moved to Cilantro over Coriander for leafy herb (where the h is pronounced). I spell aluminium with the ‘i’ and pronounce it that way and am was outraged that North Americans pronounced it ‘wrong’ until discovering that they had dumped an important ‘i’ from the word. They are still wrong to me, but I now understand why!

Bread and Roses Shawl

In ivory, this beaded shawl is inspired by, and pays homage to the worldwide call for suffrage and equality.  You can find more out here: Bread and Roses Shawl inspiration

This shawl is stunningly elegant and incredibly light while still providing warmth.  It will work in a variety of settings, from an evening out, to cuddling up in a lakeside cabin watching storms roll over.  It would also work beautifully as a shawl for a winter or fall wedding.

Pattern has been sample knitted and tech edited.  Both written and charted instructions are provided.

This is an excellent project for both a confident knitter and someone who wants to expand their repertoire. The shawl builds to a beautiful complex piece of work but each step is carefully laid out and the individual lace patterns are relatively simple.

This shawl is also available as a commissioned work. Please contact me directly – to discuss further.

Techniques used:  Lace work, crochet hook beading.

Materials required:  800 – 850 yds (730-750m) fingering weight yarn, stitch markers, tapestry needle, 1.00mm crochet hook, approximately 1300 size 6/0 seed beads, US size 6 (4mm) knitting needles (straight or circular)

Afghans and knitting

No – I’m not talking about lap blankets. I’m talking about delicious kiwi biscuits (cookies). I made a huge batch on Sunday and we are eating our way through them as the weather closes in. My big Canadian twist? Pecans. In NZ they are normally made with walnuts on the top, but since moving here I have switched to putting pecans on top and honestly it really makes them even better – and they were my favourite cookie before then.

My biggest beef is with the classic NZ Edmond’s cookbook where I get the recipe from. They lie. The recipe says you can get 30 afghans out of a single batch. This is not possible. I have never achieved it. I can get a max of 22 and they are teeny tiny. 18 is the correct number. I am prepared to give someone a free shawl pattern if they can explain to me how they got 30 afghans from the Edmonds cookbook!

Anyway as the world watches the US election I am ensconced on the sofa with sock heels to knit, coffee to drink and delicious afghans to deliver a sugary high as necessary. The recipe reads wrong compared to other cookies, but I promise you, this will make delicious cookies!

Recipe for making lots more than 18 below:

600g butter (21 oz) softened – yes it is alot of butter, yes you will need all of it.

1 and a half cups of sugar – most of the sugar for this cookie is in the icing

3 and 3 quarter cups of plain flour – butter is the main ingredient. There’s just enough flour to bring it together. Trust the butter!

3 quarters of a cup of Dutch press cocoa powder

6 cups of cornflakes (not frosted!) – yes you need lots of cornflakes, no they aren’t going to ruin your cookie. Don’t skimp on the cornflakes!

Chocolate Icing


Preheat oven to 180C (350F) and line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Sift together the flour and cocoa powder and fold into mixture, continuing to process until the creamed butter mixture is completely merged.

Remove mixture from the kitchen aid or food processor if using and stir the cornflakes in by hand or stirring spoon until they are thoroughly mixed in. Cornflakes are going to break up and that’s fine!

Take 1-2 teaspoons of mixture and roll into a slightly flattened ball. Put each cookie on the tray about 2cm (3/4″) apart. They aren’t going to spread much so you don’t have to worry about them joining up on the tray.

put into oven and bake for 13 – 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool on tray for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. They harden as they cool. If you move them too quickly your afghans will fall apart.

Ice with chocolate icing

3 cups of icing sugar

2 tablespoons of Dutch pressed cocoa powder

2 tablespoons softened butter

1/4 teaspoon of vanilla or rum

Hot water

Sift Icing sugar and cocoa together and add butter, vanilla or rum. Add hot water as required to achieve a spreadable icing.

Ice cooled afghans and press a pecan nut into the top of each.

Afghan dough can be prepared, rolled in plastic wrap and frozen for later use. Afghans will last in an airtight container for about 1 week.

My family has never achieved the feat of having afghans last this long though. Be warned, they are addictive.

Yai’s Tea towels

plate of biscuits with two teatowels

Finally finished the first pass at this tea towel pattern. There’s a few adjustments to make but I’m pretty happy with the striping location and the stich. It’s all in double moss stitch which is great when finished but like many people I get tired doing moss stitch over and over and over. So some noodling. Modelling here with a delicious batch of Anzac biscuits (cookies for the North Americans among us).

What’s on my needles?

Having gotten all my shawls off needles and blocked I wanted some smaller easier to knock out projects. So I’m finishing my Bad Hair Day Hat. The final wool that was destined for this project has been lost somewhere in a warehouse in Montreal. I am now using some lovely Knit Picks upcycled wool for the final hat(s) that will be photographed. Darn you yarn that got away!

In better news I am using Knit Picks Capretta Superwash which is 80% Merino, 10% Cashmere and 10% nylon for a new sock and fingerless mitten project called Fireweed. I haven’t used this yarn before and it is lovely in the hand while I am knitting.


beaded lace shawl on mannequin

I just did the math on the bread and roses shawl. So by the numbers:

  • 815 yards or 750 metres of fingering weight yarn
  • 55grams or approximately 1300 size 6/0 Czech seed beads
  • 20 hours development time
  • 30 hours knit time
  • 1.5 hours blocking out time
  • 12 hours drying time

Thoroughly worth it!

Sweetheart Socks

A simple vanilla sock with a little texture to make it interesting.  When you put your feet together you will have a heart shape looking back at you.  This sock is designed for Knit Picks Felici yarn to take advantage of the wonderful self-striping colourways, but an be made with any self-striping or single yarn.

There are 3 size options given and you can adjust the leg height and shock length to individual requirements. 


  • Written pattern
  • top down
  • double pointed needles
  • kitchener stitch


  • 2 skeins of Knit Picks Felici yarn or 300 – 436 yards of other sock yarn to make these lovely and loving socks
  • Tapestry needle
  • stitch markers


They are a great idea for a present any time of year, but would make an unusual and delightful Valentine’s Day present.

Winter Rose Cowl

This pattern uses a simple repeating lacework technique and beading. It is great for someone wanting to dip their toe into either lacework and/or beading. This pattern has both written and charted instructions.

Techniques used:

  • Lacework
  • Beading using a crochet hook
  • Working in the round

Tools and non yarn materials required:

  • Circular needles
  • 1.00mm crochet hook and 280 6/0 beads for beading
  • tapestry needle for sewing in ends

Changing seasons

It’s definitely fall now in Vancouver. When I was out for a walk yesterday afternoon I got a lovely photo of this plant as it changes with the season. The colour of the berries and leaf shape were the inspiration for my flowering Victorian lace wrap or rectangular shawl.