Wee Blaíthín

By the banks of the Bann

I find I don’t have quite as much time to knit these days, but I usually have something on the go. I finished this Blaíthín cardigan for Martha in February and she has got good wear out of it. Sadly, the ceramic buttons that I used were not up to the job, several of them broke and have been replaced with plastic buttons.


At the start of the year a had a bit of a sewing frenzy. I hope to share some of the items I made soon, but until then I leave you with this picture.


Quick Change Trousers

Quick Change Trousers, originally uploaded by ZMB.

In between looking after Martha and spending hours on end in bed, I have managed to make some items for the new baby.

I had intended to sew some items for Martha before she was born, but she was in a rush and I wasn’t at all organised. This time I have managed to complete a garment (and also hope to make Martha a top).

Other items completed for the new baby have been baby socks, a February Baby Sweater, a Little Baby Sweater and a Bonnet.

And Martha got a new hat.


I think it would be fair to say that that past couple of months have been quite tough. It has been a combination of 1st trimester of pregnancy ickyness and my Granny passing away. I didn’t realise I would miss her so much.

She was a proper Granny, one that knitted, sewed, baked wee buns and put up with her Granddaughter using up all her good yarn to make pom-poms. So, part of my getting over her passing has been to throw myself into being creative. I have finished knitting a sweater that had been far too long on the needles, started knitting a cardigan for my next baby and I am sewing the blouse version of the Oliver + S Ice cream dress for little Miss Martha in this fabric.


Sometimes it’s just too warm to think… or to wear clothes

I read in the paper this week about pregnancy causing absent-mindedness. There were many theories as to why, such as the brain shrinking, hormones and tiredness. Of course, I thought, none of this will happen to me – I will remain on the ball and alert. So why then did I pour milk over my muesli and then proceed to pour milk over Maya’s dog nuts? It wasn’t a disaster, Maya was very grateful for the tasty addition to her normally dry breakfast. In my defense I would say that her nuts could easily be mistaken for some kind of chocolate puff cereal.

I managed to complete two knitted garments last week. One was a little cardigan for the baby and the other was a bolero for me. I am very happy with the bolero, although it is far too warm for the weather we are having. Really this is bra and panties weather – or is it just me that feels so, so warm?

On Saturday Dave and I went to a basket weaving class near Portaferry. I made this and I am very proud of it!

I made a basket

May Days

Gracie in the Bluebells

I started the bank holiday weekend a little early by taking the afternoon off work on Friday. I used the time to cook the ‘no knead bread’ I had started the night before and to go for a photowalk in Top Wood with Dave and the dogs. Gracie was in fine posing form and Maya was just having a brilliant time.

Later, for dinner, I made omelette with a goose egg and hen eggs I had got from my Mum. I added chard and thyme from the garden and we ate it with the bread I had just cooked. For pudding we had vanilla ice cream with stewed rhubarb that our neighbour gave us.

Saturday was spent knitting, walking the dogs, playing Frisbee with Dave and Gracie, tidying the house and eating tasty food. We had scrambled eggs (from Mum) and bacon (from Hillstown Farm Shop) for lunch. For dinner we had sausage and bean bake with a pile of buttered ‘no knead bread’.

On Sunday we went walking – a fine stroll, into the wind, along Portstewart Strand. Back at home we dozed, then we ate pasta with aubergine (cooked by Dave), then back to sleep.


Monday we took easy – I made oatcakes for lunch, which we ate with melted cheese and more of our bacon. It was a rainy day so we just went walking to Waterfoot Beach – nothing too strenuous. Then I visited my Granny. Later we had lightly smoked salmon, béarnaise sauce, mashed potatoes and puy lentils for dinner. All cooked by Dave and a marvellous job it was! I ate until I thought I would burst.

Last night I dreamt that there was something wrong with daylight – it was broken – and everything was the colour of a film negative but 3-dimensional.

So, that is what I have been up to. What is coming up is a week away in France, happy me! We leave on Saturday for a week in a wooden cabin in the Dordogne. Sadly, the dogs aren’t able to join us on this trip and will have to spend a week in the Leighinmohr Dog Hotel. On our return we will stop over in London for a night and maybe take in a few sights. I can’t wait!

On the lapse of time

On Friday I spent 20 minutes doing the following –

· Examining my face up close
· Checking my diary for possible medical appointment dates
· Making an appointment to go see my dentist
· Looking at a world standard times map
· Staring into space – deep in thought

I’m sure there are better things I could have been doing – like working. I often complain that I do not have enough time to do all the things I want to do, but surely if I spent less time arsing around I would have all the time I need.

I decided that over the weekend I would make up for my time wasting by doing some stuff that I had been putting off for ages. I did the following –

· Repaired the worn out denim in one of my favourite denim jackets. I wouldn’t say that the result is in any way subtle, but I am happy.
Make do and mend

· Finished a pair of Jaywalker socks that according to my Ravelry project stats were started in July 2007!!!
Kool-aid Dyed Jaywalkers

· Photographed various knitted items to update my Ravelry project details.
Zebra Mitts

· Took photos of Dave for possible use on his new website.
· Made roast chicken with all the trimmings.

I am happy that I made good use of my time.

My Own Personal Hell

New Hat

Work has been stressing me out recently – today I felt physically ill and like my desk was my own personal Hell to which I was tethered for all of eternity. I know, this is not good!

Too much is being asked and people, including me, are getting a bit huffy. So, now I have to detach myself from it all, not get so annoyed by silly things and rise above the petty behaviour displayed by others. I am going to be as nice as pie.

I keep threatening to bring Gracie into work and stash her in my desk drawer for moments when it all gets too much for me. Petting Gracie makes me feel good. Knitting is a great stress-buster too and I have been knitting like crazy for the past few days. The hat above is a result of my stress-busting attempts. Apparently a council in Derbyshire are introducing Knitting classes to keep their employees cool.

Making Time To Do the Things You Need To Do

Over Looking

Originally uploaded by ZMB.

…Like taking Granny out for a spin to the new museum in Ballymena.

I started off this bank holiday weekend with a huge list of things I wanted to do. Now it’s Monday and I feel that I haven’t done all that much. But the things I have done have been very positive, like seeing my granny, sowing seeds for the cold-frame and knitting. Knitting keeps me calm and not so bothered about the stuff I haven’t done.

I had seen Heike’s site before but not all the pictures of Ireland loaded properly for me, now it is working – photographs of Ireland.

Decision Made

I have spent the past couple of weeks mulling over the decision I needed to make. Both options have their good points and bad points but in the end it came down to not wanting to wait any longer. The person I had spoken to regarding the traditional crafts scheme has left her job and the scheme is in limbo at the moment. A mentor had wanted to come see me, on the phone he seemed very excited by my work and mentioned things like me having a shop in Bushmills and dropped phrases like ‘mainstream fashion industry’ while I silently vomited, for I could think of nothing worse! I know he was only trying to encourage me. Now with no one running the scheme the mentor had to cancel our appointment. Who knows, maybe they will get it up and running eventually.

In the meantime, I thought I may as well do myself a wee photography course. Just a 10 week thing, probably a load of stuff I know already, but a good way to see if I can hack the routine of doing projects and learning.

I will, of course, knit as well. I still need to work on a few easy-peasy designs and then try selling them by myself. It will be relaxed and I will enjoy it.

Oh – and the worms? They are doing okay and have settled back into their home. Turning the contents of the wormery over seemed to do the job.


I hate making decisions. It took D and I 1½ hours to decide what we would do yesterday after our original plan fell through. We went to the Asia Supermarket in Belfast and then went for a walk along Groomsport beach.

So, decisions?

The options are –

1. Take part in a North Antrim/Donegal scheme promoting rural crafts (in my case knitting).

2. Do a distance learning course in Photography.

The first option scares the pants off me, as it requires hard work and group activities. The second option is something that I have been thinking about for years, but that I now feel I would have the money and time to complete.

I could combine both if I just did the knitting thing on a small scale, perhaps that would suit me better. Knitting is something that I do to relax and option 1 wouldn’t be at all relaxing! Though there would be opportunities to meet other local crafters and to take part in events that would be unobtainable by myself. There would be the possibility of earning money from it. Option 2 is all spend and no income.


The Information

The Norfolk pictures have now been uploaded to flickr.

In reply to a few questions that Katy asked me while I was visiting her –

I got my t-shirt here.

Recipes for homemade home cleaners can be found here. I got my recipes from a book called Clean House, Clean Planet but the recipes are much the same as those at MakeYourCosmetics. I have made a multi-surface cleaner and antibacterial bathroom scrub. They smell delicious and work well, though they don’t really remove staining and they require a little extra rinsing. I have also made a vinegar floor cleaner which, providing you don’t mind the place smelling of vinegar, works wonderfully as a quick clean between proper mops.

I haven’t done any knitting for a few days but I have mended an old dress and glued the butterfly back onto my shoe. The dress had been needing mended for a couple of years so I am very pleased that I fixed it! One less job on the list of tasks that never get completed! All this sewing has me in the mood to sew and I was delighted to find Burda Style which has wonderful open source sewing patterns. I think I would like to make myself a shirt.

Back to knitting – the new summer Knitty is up. Something like Wisp could take care of the two balls of Kid Silk Haze that I have lying around.

We like information sharing, so hopefully someone can help me and tell me where I could get a magnetic notice board. I have a magnet board that I fashioned out of a few bits of wood, a coffee can and a piece of fabric but stuff keeps falling off it and I have decided that I need a new board. Can you help?

Zoe’s Day Off

Bliss is being able to spend the morning rummaging in boxes in charity shops, spending time knitting (this in case you are interested), eating peanut butter on toast, eating a juicy pear and drinking a nice cup of tea.

Not so blissful is the fact that I have spots and cold sores; one scabbing, the other tingling. Boo hiss!

Anyhow, despite the hideous face, I will be spending the afternoon walking Gracie in Glenariff Forest Park. It is far too nice a day to wear a paper bag.

Yarn Ball Factory

Yarn Ball Factory, originally uploaded by ZMB.

This is how I fill my time these days. Making balls of yarn.

This time next week I will be getting set for Mexico. Our first week will be spent in and around the city of Oaxaca. Our second week will be by the Oaxacan coast. I am really looking forward to it but I will miss Gracie lots.