Thursday, 24 December 2009

Look what I found on the Christmas Tree!

My efforts at stash reduction have not gone well this year. Not only have I not used up that much yarn over the past twelve months, but I've been seduced by new stuff on visits to Wibbling Wools in Bury St Edmunds. However, that involves a bit of travelling for me which means I'm not tempted that often. Even so, the stash has increased ever so slightly.
The first photo here is of Cleckheaton 8ply that I bought home from a craft shop in Cowes on Phillip Island, Australia. Recommended needle size is 4mm so I guess it's equivalent to UK double knit. Well, I had to bring home at least one souvenir, didn't I?

The two skeins of Artesano Hummingbird were bought at the recently opened Ely Wool Shop. This is what happens when a lovely new LYS opens barely 3 miles from home! I could be mistaken but this doesn't bode well for stash reduction. Even worse when you learn that another LYS is due to open in Ely in the new year! That's seriously good news, though. Ely looks set to be the yarn capital of Cambridgeshire and I can't wait to have these little oases on my doorstep, especially after Bobb-ins closed this autumn. I don't know yet what I'll make with any of these new aquisitions; I'm content for them to sit and look pretty for the time being.

And this is the progress made so far on Sissinghurst, from the current Rowan book. The colours are lovely, the yarn (pure wool 4ply) knits up a treat and is beautifully soft, and the pattern is easy. The slip stitch pattern means that only one colour is used at a time but the effect is of stranded colour work. If I have a minor bugbear it's the hundreds of ends that have to be sewn in, but as long as I do them as I go along, it's not too tedious.

So all that remains is to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a happy knitterly New Year.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Monkey Mia

Our first stop on the coach tour was at an amazing place called Monky Mia. If you look at a map of Western Australia, follow the coast north of Perth and you'll come to a double peninsula; Monkey Mia is on the inner peninsula. The first photo was taken at sunrise.
It's a very special place where, during the 1960's a lady started feeding bottlenosed dolphins. A wildlife spectacular was born and now the dolphins come into the beach several times a day .

From the several hundred animals that inhabit the Indian ocean in this area, Monkey Mia has 30 or so regular beach visitors, only females and sometimes their young (males are too aggressive so are actively discouraged) with up to a dozen arriving for each feeding session.

You can see how close in they come. The sea is about knee depth and they'll come right up to you looking for food. The whole affair is closely regulated by rangers as dozens of people line the beach to catch a glimpse.

If you're lucky enough - and this was my lucky day - you get picked from the crowd to feed a dolphin a fish! Words cannot describe the experience but I would've come home a happy woman if I didn't see another thing in the whole of the holiday.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

From Perth to Ningaloo - stage 1

The photos from our holiday in Australia will keep me in blog material for quite a while, so I'll just do a bit at a time and try not to bore you. We started off in Perth and this is a veiw of the city from Kings Park. A nice city and fairly laid back, easy to stroll
round; Kings Park is home to the botanical gardens - just look at those huge palm trees!

This is a red wattle bird. They seemed to be as common as our blackbirds but a whole lot cheekier. There were also yellow wattle birds which had (yes, you guessed it) yellow wattles! Many things out there are given names that exactly describe their appearance, and these were no exception!

After a couple of days in Perth recovering from the journey,
we went on a 5 day coach tour which took us some 600 miles north on one of the main highways. Roadhouses provide comfort breaks every so often and this beautiful parrot was spotted at the Cataby roadhouse. The further north you travel the emptier the road gets - you see another car or a road train every 5 minutes or so, a refreshing change from being stuck in traffic on the A10 into Cambridge every day! It also gets hotter, and this photo was taken at the Billabong roadhouse. Stepping out from the air-conditioned coach was like stepping into an oven. That red earth is so typical of how I'd imagined it, and it was so darned hot! Just 3 or 4 hours drive north of Perth and it was 40°C, and not even summer yet. That ice lolly that I'm holding was melting before I could eat it.
This is Port Denison, where we stopped for a picnic lunch. A quiet little seaside town but absolutely idyllic. It was the first of many beaches we saw where the sand was white and the ocean was crystal clear and turquoise blue. It reminded us of picture postcards you see and you think the colours have been enhanced in photoshop. Let me tell you, they haven't; it really does look that way.
This was the first day of an absolutely fabulous 5 days; we really were looking forward to this tour but it exceeded our expectations. We saw so many amazing things that I'll tell you about soon - Monkey Mia next time (where I fulfilled a life's ambition!).

Thursday, 10 December 2009

It's been a while!

In fact, it's been a very long time, hasn't it? I hope now that I can get back into some serious blogging without the long absences. Knitting's been a little slow this year - I joined a stash knit-down group on Ravelry, thinking it might give me some incentive to make in-roads into the yarn mountain. I've managed to use up a whopping 17 balls of yarn this year - not good, eh? When you take into account the 35 balls that have found their way into the stash during the past 12 months, it hasn't been much of a stash down either! I will be trying again in 2010, mainly because I think the idea is fundamentally a good one. There have been extenuating circumstances this year that have prevented me from doing too much with the sticks and string, so maybe the new year will give me a fresh knitting start.
However, I do have many photos to share, just not today. Mr Diviknitty and I haven't long returned from a fabulous three and a half weeks in Australia and Fiji. As soon as the photos have been sorted out I promise to pick out some choice moments to share with you .
Current project otn is Sissinghurst from the latest Rowan book. I haven't made anything Rowan for a while, but several garments in their winter offering caught my eye. It's a vest knit in pure wool 4ply in four shades; the slip stitch pattern is one of those wonderful ones that looks like fair isle but in fact you only knit one colour at a time. So far I'm very happy with it and I'll knit a bit more so that I've got something more worthwhile to show than a few rows of ribbing.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Phew! Has it really been 3 months since I posted - doesn't time fly?
To be perfectly honest, I haven't felt that motivated after a fairly dismal first half of 2009. Work has been - well - c**p after a massive restructure in April which left moral at an all time low
but I'm trying to be positive. I refuse to let the gremlins take control!
After the flood we suffered in February, the house is now repaired and redecorated, new carpets, new walls and new ceilings - yes, it really was that bad!
And although I haven't blogged, there has been knitting. These are 2 recently finished items - the green eyelet dress is from summer 08 Vogue. I wasn't sure how this would turn out as I used Araucania Ranco Mutly which I think is more of a sock yarn, but the weight and gauge were right so I plunged in. It's turned out ok, and only took a little over 2 skeins, so there's plenty left for a couple of smaller projects - perhaps some socks!!
The blue medallion sweater is also from summer 08 Vogue, and this is lovely. Great for a cover up on a chilly summer's evening but also looks good layered too, so it'll be wearable in the winter too.
I've also got some new things otn, a couple of new magazines to drool over (new Rowan and Knitscene) but to prevent a photo overload, I'll save those for another day.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Things are looking up!

All the dirty work has been done and our house is gradually being put back together. We had builders in all last week - I've never got through so many packets of biscuits and teabags - and all the flood repair work has been done. Next week, it's the turn of the decorators. Everything is covered in a layer of concrete and plaster dust which reappears as fast as I try to get rid of it, all cupboards have had to be emptied and cleaned, and I'm desperate to get some carpet back on the floor!
Knitting has been slow I'm afraid. I haven't really felt like doing much but I've taken a photo of my 2 wips - the completed back of the Medallion sweater and the beginnings of the Eyelet dress, both from Vogue spring/summer 2008.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

A big step forward

Eight weeks ago this coming weekend, we went to visit my mum and dad for an overnight stay, and when we got home, the ballcock in the bathroom toilet had broken and the house had flooded. A whole months worth of water had poured through the house in a little over 24 hours! Some had gone through the overflow pipe, but this had also broken due to the force of the water!A couple of you out there in blogland knew about this domestic disaster, but rather than bore you all with it in an everlasting saga I decided not to go on about it, but it's the reason why I didn't post for several weeks. We lost almost every carpet in the house, but were lucky in that very few personal possessions were damaged; just a few books and magazines that were left on the floor, food in the freezer that had turned off when the electricity supply tripped, dining chairs. In fact, the most annoying thing was I'd just bought the new Rowan magazine and that was ruined! It took over 6 weeks for the place to dry out properly, with industrial de-humidifiers running 24/7. And tomorrow we're taking a big step forward to having our home back - the first lot of builders are arriving to put us back together. The ceilings need replacing in both the living room and kitchen/diner, all the skirting boards have to come off, and the bathroom floor has to be taken up and replaced - we hope this is what will be started in the morning. After that, another 2-3 weeks work before we're redecorated, then recarpeted. Wish me luck, I think I might need it!

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

It's been a while since my last venture into blog world. I really do apologise to those of you who read my ramblings, but I've had a particularly stressful time over the past month. I think things should now be getting back onto an even keel so I intend to pick up where I left off.
I've still found a little time for knitting; I think it's kept me sane actually! Strange how the rhythmic working of the stitches can ease a troubled mind! This is my only recent FO and very proud of it I am too. I sourced the stitch pattern from one of my dictionaries and converted it for working in the round, then after swatching I used my Sole Solution software to create the instructions. I've had this program for a while now but hadn't used it in over a year so I was really pleased with the result. The yarn is Brooklyn Handspun which I bought at Ally Pally last autumn and it's so soft; the socks are really comfy and warm. The colours are subtle without any pooling or striping and it was a joy to knit with. Worked top down, I cast on with 3mm dpns because I like a slightly longer sock, so needed it to fit about halfway up my calf instead of round my ankle then changed to 2.5mm after just a few rounds. The heel stitch is partridge eye, handkerchief heel style, with my favourite Elizabeth Zimmerman shaped sole (you can't see it in this photo but there are more on my Ravelry page). Toe style is star - regular decreases around the work which gives a more pointed finish.
I've got a couple of new things started, which I'll post another day, hopefully sooner rather than later!

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Textiles in Focus

Last weekend was Textiles in Focus weekend, a fabulous little trade show that takes place at Cottenham Village College during half term week in February. I usually go on the Friday afternoon, on my way home from work, so I get there about lunch time, and this year things got off to a great start with lunch with some of the lovely ladies from Ely and Cambridge ktogs - Tigerchilli and her mum, Picperfic and Caughtknitting, and Deborah (sorry, I don't know if you have a blog to link to Deborah!). Then a pleasant hour or so browsing the varied stalls on show. There's always so much to see - embroidery, beads, art supplies, patchwork, sewing machines, and exhibitions of really exquisite work.
This is a photo of the stuff that somehow found it's way into my bag! Rather than do a photo overload, I've just dumped it altogether in a heap. If I try to place things artistically it always ends up looking contrived, hence the "just tipped out of the bag" approach. So, from the top clockwise some laceweight from Wibbo's Works in a wonderfully cheery colourway called "Happy", then Unwind Yarns sock yarn, Manos del Uruguay silk and 2 skeins of Fiddlesticks laceweight all from Woolly Workshop. Oh, and a small bag of multicoloured roving - I want to ttry some thrummed mittens.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Although I started off the year with good intentions, I've been a bad blogger of late, but the last couple of weeks have been hectic, this week has been particularly bad for a reason I can't go into in the public domain, but I have managed a little knitting.

I started these socks using some Brooklyn handspun that I bought at Ally Pally. The stitch pattern is adapted for working in the round from a stitch library and is working quite well, I think.
It's called Tiles, so that's what I've called the socks too (I'm nothing if not original!) and this is the reverse side according to the book, but I prefer it to the "right" side, which isn't as defined as this.

And Catriona is finished at last. In fact, I completed it a couple of weeks ago but only got round to taking photos today. I loved the cables the first time I saw it and they really stand out even in this acrylic brushed yarn. Again, I adapted the pattern to work it in the round up to the start of that very deep v-neck, then back and forth in rows to the armholes. No armhole shaping required, so I split it into back and front to work them seperately and did short row shaping at the shoulders so that I could work a 3-needle bind off. Are you getting that I didn't want to do any sewing ?! I even did the armhole and neck ribbings on circulars. I'm pleased with the result, I love the colour, and it's a useful little vest for all year round - unless we get a really hot summer this year - haha!

Friday, 6 February 2009


I took this photo of the veiw from our office window on the Cambridge science park just before I left work at lunch time. Look at all that lovely snow! It'd been coming down hard all morning and was still snowing at noon. A winter wonderland.

Not 30 minutes later and 12 miles down the road this second photo was taken of my garden - where's all the snow?! You can see grass! Ely has been curiously devoid of the white stuff for most of the week whilst everyone else in the entire country (or so the press would have you believe) has been labouring under several inches of it! What you see in the photo are the mere remnants of the couple of inches we woke up to yesterday morning. The road outside is a slushy mess.
I love the snow. I wanted to build a snowman and make snow angels! I don't doubt that there are plenty of folk out there who've had a really bad time this week and can't wait for the thaw; perhaps they could send some of their snow to Ely?

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Monkey socks finished

My Monkey socks are finished. These were the first pair of socks I've made in a year and they were a good re-introduction to this gentle art! The patterns fairly easy and works well, even with this variegated yarn.

They're shamelessly unblocked - I'm afraid I don't see the point; they're going on my feet - who'll know? Well, apart from anyone reading this, of course. The eagle eyed amongst you will notice a marked difference in the toe shaping. Sock #1 on the left was knit to the pattern instructions and there's nothing wrong with it, except I forgot I have ridiculously pointy feet and a very stubby little toe, so normal socks with this squared off toe shaping leave me with a baggy side bit where anyone elses pinky would fit, but not mine. So I modified sock #2 and knit more decreases to create this pointier, better fitting (for me and the elves) shape.
So the knitty gritty:
Yarn: Sockotta Italian collection, 414yds/100g
Content: 45% cotton, 40% superwash wool, 15% nylon
Needles: I like my socks longer than most patterns are written for, so I started on 3mm for the rib and knit an extra pattern repeat; the larger needles made the cuff that little bit bigger to fit higher up the calf; then on 2.5mm for the remainder of the sock.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

So here we are on the first day of February and to my shame I have failed to knit up a complete ball of yarn! January would appear to have been a knitting free month, although I do seem to remember picking up the needles on more than one occassion! In my defence, I'm working on 3 projects which aren't very good stash busters - monkey socks (1 ball), laceweight stole (1 ball) and the yarn I'm using for the Catriona cabled vest comes in 100g balls of brushed dk that seem to go on forever. I'm hoping to finish the socks today, if not then tomorrow for sure, so I can at least start a tally of balls/skeins knit throughout the 2009 stashdown challenge. The stole could take a while, but that's the nature of laceweight shawls; I expect that to rumble along in the background for quite some time. I'm doing the fronts of the vest now, so I could finish it quite quickly if I put my mind to it. But what I really need to do is sit down with a couple of good stahbusting projects, then I might start to see some impact on the yarn mountain! So, no photos today because there's really not much progress to show. I must go - there's knitting to be done.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009


Sadly, two days ago, we lost our beautiful dog, Amber, after a brief (thankfully) illness. She started to go downhill about 3 weeks ago and by Sunday we had to face the inevitable and call the vet to her. We were priveledged to be in her pack for over 13 years and we've had so much fun with her. If you could make a dog to order, we'd have made Amber! I'd like to thank the staff here who cared for her during the last week of her life. Hers was the gentlest soul I have ever encountered and her passing has left a huge gap in our lives. Sleep peacefully Amber - we'll always remember you.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Losing it

This morning, Mr.Diviknitty couldn't decide what he wanted for breakfast. He originally thought boiled egg and toast would be nice, but there wasn't enough bread for both of us, and toast being my breakfast of choice and he being forever the gentleman left the bread for me. He eventually decided on bran with a chopped banana, and got as far as pouring on the milk before noticing he was making his breakfast in the dog's bowl. I shall say no more....... my case rests......... he's lost it!

Monday, 12 January 2009

Recently Stashed

I know this looks bad but I haven't broken my yarn diet, honestly! I bought these from the wonderful Wibbling Wools in Bury St Edmunds just before Christmas; I've only now got around to stashing them officially. I felt a bit guilty buying them, it certainly hadn't been my intention to leave with yarn, but you know how it is! You walk into a yarn shop vowing to be virtuous and determined not to be seduced, then this happens! Money that was intended for presents somehow gets spent on two skeins of Natural Dye Studio lovelies. The top skein is merino/bamboo sock yarn, the bottom skein baby alpaca, cashmere & silk laceweight. It's probably good for my bank balance that I don't live too close to Bury, especially with stuff like this to tempt me!

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Catching up

During the few weeks in December when I didn't blog, I was knitting - perhaps not as much as would have liked, but at least a little. I've shown you the completed possum sweater so here's something else that I did a bit of work on. I started it a couple of months ago; it's a Debbie Bliss pattern which I downloaded from Prima magazine, but now I can't find the link - apologies - but I believe it's called Catriona and it's been Ravelry'd a few times, so there may be details somewhere. I much prefer working in the round these days - fewer seams to sew! - so I've had to modify the instructions somewhat but it's working, and I just love those cables! It's a v-neck sleeveless vest, the neck shaping starts before the armhole shaping, so it's worked in the round to that point then the stitches adjusted to enable changing to rows without disrupting the pattern. I'm up to the armholes now and have divided for back and front, which'll now be finished back and forth in rows.
I have to confess that the yarn is, well, slightly less than wonderful. I rescued it from my mum's stash a while ago (it was about to be made homeless so I took pity on it) and I think it must be many years old. It's called "Abigail" and it's a Woolworth's special buy according to the ball band, 75p for 100g - when did that last happen? And the biggest confession - it's 100% acrylic. But what the heck?! It doesn't look too bad and they tell me that cables are BIG this winter, so I shall continue and show it again when it's an FO.

Friday, 9 January 2009

First FO of 2009

And it is.......the possum sweater, draped casually over the sunlounger in the conservatory. I'm pretty pleased with how this had turned out. It's a loose fitting design with very little shaping in the body; I picked the smallest size with finished measurement of 42.5" and it fits well. Modified drop shoulders, and I knit the sleeves about an inch longer than normal and they just cover my wrists, so success there too. Its very light weight, but extremely warm - you know those moments when you've just completed something and you just have to try it on and parade in front of the mirror and unsuspecting family members? Well, those 5 minutes wearing this sweater had me gently perspiring. So it was perfect to wear out last night to the Ely ktog, where it was passed around and cooed over! Perhaps I should say at this point that I was wearing it over a polo neck underneath, so there was no baring of flesh in the bar of The Lamb! I'm not 100% happy with the shawl collar - it's turned out a bit floppier than the leaflet photo appears, but I think I may have over blocked it and ended up a bit too wide. Also, even though I undid and resewed the crossover at the front neck, I just couldn't get a neat seam. But the good ladies of the Ely ktog made approving noises - thank you all!- so maybe I'm being a bit too self critical. So, yes, I like it. It's a fairly neutral colour so it'll go with lots, good to wear alone or layered, and the yarn has a beautiful halo which doesn't shed too much - and it's very soft too.
So, the knitty gritty:
Touch yarns Possum, wool 40% possum fur 60%, 100g skein approx 420m, knit on 3.75mm needles so I guess it's around a 4ply weight. Cost around £11 per skein, bought at Ally Pally last October and worth every penny!

Monday, 5 January 2009

In a dark, dark corner....

....of a dark, dark cupboard I found three folders full of patterns I'd collected, mostly fron the 1980's. They weren't lost or forgotten, just languishing, because I hadn't given them any thought for so many years. Over Christmas I decided to dig them out and look them over. What a treasure trove! It was great looking at the fashions of 20+ years ago, remembering the things I'd made, or hoped to make.
Many of them were so dated - huge baggy sweaters, completely shapeless, and the shoulder pads!! Those patterns have no place in the 21st century! It did make me realise though how things have changed and how lucky we are now to have so much choice and so many beautiful fibres to choose from. These photos show some of my favourite designs from my trip down memory lane. The first is a design from a Patons leaflet that I fell in love with al over again. All the designs were quite innovative for the time - highly textured and assymetrical. I made a close fitting DK cardi in 2 stitch patterns with a front closure from the left shoulder acoss to the bottom right side of the welt - very trendy! The sweater in the photo is dk, the jacket chunky, and I think they both still look great.
The crew necked cable sweater in the 2nd photo is another of my favourite knits - I made it in peach brushed dk and I loved the deep ribbed welt which buttoned at both sides.

The last 2 photos were made in Hayfield Lugano, which was a beautiful mohair yarn. I never got to make these because then as now, I really cannot wear pure mohair. It drives me crazy! Fortunately, 25 years on, we have mohair blends that knit to the same tension on the same size needles.
I want to make all of these sweaters as part of my 2009 knit from stash challenge. I've got yarn for all of these - plenty of smooth dks for the highnecked textured design, some Rowanspun chunky for the jacket, which has been waiting for just the right project to come along; some brushed dk in pale blue for the side buttoning cabled favourite; and many balls of Sirdar blur for the 2 mohairs.
So, no skeletons in my cupboard. Just several hundred semi-vintage knitting patterns, which will now take pride of place on the bookshelf!

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Possum blocking!

At the risk of sounding a bit Dame Edna, my possum sweater is blocking. All the main pieces are finished - the sleeves are all pinned out too but the photos I took of them were worse than this one, but you get the idea. I'm about halfway through knitting the shawl collar, which is a band of 5x5 rib some 70cms long, good to work on whilst watching tv. I want to finish this project before starting on the Ravelry stash knitdown; it wouldn't be fair to count it as part of the challenge as most of it was knit in 2008. I'm sure a couple of days won't make much difference over the course of a year long count!

Friday, 2 January 2009


This morning we had a ride over to Huntingdon garden and leisure centre; Mr.Diviknitty had birthday money burning a hole in his pocket so he had to go out and find something to spend it on. "Haven't you bought a coat?" he enquired. "Why would I need one?" I replied; as we were going from door to door, it seemed a bit pointless. About a mile from our destination, a red warning light appeared on the dash accompanied by a worrying engine noise. "That doesn't sound good" I commented. "What does it sound like?" asks Mr.Diviknitty. I should point out here that he's deaf in one ear and currently has man flu so what little hearing he does have is more impaired than usual. Have you ever tried to imitate engine noises? This one sounded like a bucket of bolts was rattling around inside it. I paused, then attempted to impersonate said noise, whilst beginning to regret not having bought a coat - I had a feeling things were going to get cold!
Fortunately we weren't too far from a petrol station, and this one had a nice machine that dispensed a reasonable cup of hot chocolate, which only just made up for my lack of outdoor wear. Mr.Diviknitty, ever the gentleman, did give up his jacket, despite the man flu. We read the Hunts post (the only newspaper on sale) and did a couple of crosswords from the latest edition of Puzzler; then a lovely man from the RAC turned up within the hour, diagnosed the problem and towed us home again. Nice morning out!!
Mr.Diviknitty still has birthday money to spend, I must remember always to take a coat even on the shortest of winter excursions, and if you ever need anyone who can make the sound of a broken oil pump, well - you know where to come!

Thursday, 1 January 2009


Happy New Year! Wherever did 2008 go?!

We went for a walk around an old orchard that we're lucky to have right on our doorstep and here's a photo of the birthday boy! Yes Mr.Diviknitty has his birthday on New Years Day. Not a great day to have a birthday on because nobody wants to celebrate and everywhere's closed so we always try to do a little something, even if it's just a walk in the Cambridgeshire countryside. It's looking a little bleak today, but we'll blame it on the mist that hasn't lifted properly since last weekend.

Amber enjoyed the walk too; it's her favourite route - lots of rabbits and muntjack deer to smell, I think. Not to mention the opportunity to add another stick to the ever growing collection outside our kitchen door!

I don't make too many resolutions but I have made a couple this year. Firstly, I resolve to knit from stash! I joined a new group on Ravelry - Stash knitdown 2009 - which I think will give me continual inspiration to complete this task! The nice thing is you don't have to go on a yarn diet, even though I need to and have resolved not to buy yarn in the foreseeable future, but at least I don't have to feel guilty if I do succumb to any yarny delights. There are a couple of challenges within this group which appeal; first, to knit 100 balls/skeins during 2009. This might be more difficult than it at first appears; it works out to 8-9 balls every month, and I don't think I come even close to that. Looking back at my 2008 output, I need to increase my knitting 3-fold! The realist in me tells me it can't be done, but at least I have a goal. Also running is the personal sweater club; I like making sweaters and they take up many balls of yarn, so this might help in the knitting of 100 skeins.
My second new years resolution is to do more dressmaking. Now, I made this one last year too, and only made a pair of trousers in the whole of 2008, so we'll see. I really want to draft my own patterns and I got a book for Christmas totally dedicated to showing you (simply) how to go about it. I've got a few tools to buy, which will have to be done online as nowhere in Cambridge sells French curves and pattern notchers. Looks like 2009 is going to be busy!