knitting in the Fareo Islands


Last summer I visited the Fareo Islands, a retreat from the intense heat of our British summer and also to learn more about knitting.  It was also a leap into the unknown as I have never been on holiday on my own or a tour.

We spent 7 days in the old town of Torshavn, the capital of the Faroe Islands.  Large natural harbour and beautiful old houses with their turf rooves.  The knitting classes were tutored by the brilliant and very lovely Katrina i Geil, a Faroese knitwear designer who is collecting the traditional Faroese patterns before they disappear.

Knitting was a huge part of the islands income and a way of keeping warm in such an extreme climate.  Knitting in the round with several yarns building up the pattern gave the knits warmth – as the yarn is 2 ply.  I have been discovering how slow 2 ply can be!  The way sheep and farming works on the islands is so different from here at home, there many family’s have sheep and its mostly very small family holdings that keep going and the yarn is also spun and sorted off the islands.

Food on the islands is expensive and we never got to try the dried fish delicacy although we did eat some amazing seafood.  If you are going to Torhaven book a table at Barbara’s ahead of time – we had to wait a week for a table and it was the best!  Never eaten such delicious fresh seafood, 5 of us ordered 3 starters each and got to try a little of everything. Rhubarb is also grown on the island and we had delicious rhubarb jam for breakfast – did want to bring some home but with only hand luggage was concerned it may come under liquids.  So if you know of anywhere I can source it do say!


Even if you think you don’t know anything about the Faroe Islands you’ll probably know the jumper above, knitted on the islands by Gudren & Gudren.  The knits are super warm and I did buy mittens as my hands got so cold on some of our excursions.  Ravelry has some wondeful Fareose patterns and once I am finished knitting my second Fareose fisherman’s hats will start a jumper for winter.  I’m a slow knitter – not as in slow fashion just ………..slow.  There were 2 book I bought on the islands and only 1 is translated into English, Faroe Island Knits by Svanhild Strom & Marjun Biskopsto.  The other is a chart of traditional Faroese patterns and I thought would also translate into amazing quilt designs.


We pestered our bus driver to take us to see the Mulafossur Waterfall on the island of Vagar, so on our last day on route to the airport in extreme cold and fog we visited and wow it did not disappoint!  If you’re looking for a holiday with a difference, love walking, knitting and exploring – the Faroe Islands will not disapoint!

Christmas Gifts, sewing, Uncategorized

sewing updates

A little late into the new year, but here a few Christmas gifts I made – some I didn’t get to photograph as they were sewn and then flew though the post.  The pj’s above do have matching bottoms, a fab pattern Butterick 5537 – the same as my previous dressing gown.  My brother love the dressing gown and even my eldest nephew asked me to make a pair of PJ’s!  The top of the PJ’s is long and perfect of your wanting to make a short night-shirt.  For the next pair I’m going to cut the facing so I can carry the piping detail down the front of the top to the hem and also pipe the pj’s hem turn up.

I also made 3 dog coats, the blue is a cotton lining and has a beautiful waxed linen for wet days.  Top right is a waterproof cotton and lined in Liberty tana lawn, both of these have a layer of cotton quilt batting for warmth.  Bottom right is Pop’s with her waterproof and padded lining, made from off cuts of my padded rain coat made late last summer.  I loved the photo of Tess the Springer in her coat on Christmas morning!

Happy New Year!


plastic detox, zero waste

12 months of reducing plastic

This year I have spent trying to reduce our plastic consumption and living a more plastic free life.  It’s not easy and lots of fails – although learning more every week.  I am super fortunate to live in a city where there are more zero waste shops opening.  Local to me is Fareshares, they are a small food co-op, Hetu, on St John’s Hill, Battersea and The Source Bulk Foods in Battersea and Chiswick to name a few.  I was delighted to read that Cook Food have started to switch their ready meals from black plastic trays to cardboard.

The easiest changes were milk, soap & loo roll, I use Milk & More for glass bottles of milk, fruit juice and occasionally yoghurt in glass jars [river cottage].  Loo roll I buy from Who Gives a Crap and soap I buy from Baileys Home as its fab soap and unpackaged.  In the bathroom I switch to glass bottles when I finished products and can find an alternative.  I’ve tried quite a few different types this year and Aesop are best for my skin so far.  Georganics are a good range of dental care products, although I have given up with the toothpaste – it is ok but just not as good as pearl drops, the mouthwash tabs I’m still using and bamboo toothbrush. I have found 100% recyclable toothbrush heads for my daughter’s Oral B electric toothbrush. The Earth conscious deodorant is good and I’ll keep using that, cardboard push up tube and available from Baldwins.  Shampoo & conditioner I refill at Battersea Source bulk foods.  We swaped from plastic razors to Edwin Jagger – British made razors and replaceable metal blades.  We also switched from paper tissues to cotton handkerchiefs, we prefer the mens plainer versions.

I’ve stopped using teabags and only buy loose plastic free tea, so mostly we drink PG Tipps, coffee I drink less often and when I do its Lavazza as its plastic free in ground  & beans.  Baldwins also supply larger bags of herbs including loose camomile flowers, perfect for a non caffeine drink. My laundry is now done with refills of Bio D – as is the washing up liquid, their laundry bleach is not plastic free; for this I use Mangle & Wringer and it comes in a paper bag.  General everyday multipurpose cleaning I use an old spray bottle 50% white vinegar & water.  It does have a scent of vinegar, but this goes and it cleans really well.  I also use white vinigar as rinse aid in the dishwasher and as a fabric conditioner [1/4 cup per load in the washing machine].  In the dishwasher I use Sainsbury’s dishwasher powder as it comes in a 1kg cardboard box.  For bin bags I use biodegradable bags and instead of cling film I use wax wraps, they work brilliantly, covering bowls, wrapping food and in the freezer.  For lunches we use Mintie stainless steel lunch box and snack pot [no spills so far] and also a food flask from Bulk Foods Battersea.

If I have time I’ll walk to a greengrocer, but that is only if I have a free morning.  I’ve a basket and bags – love our string bags as they are so light and carry loads.  My water bottle travels everywhere with me and so does my fountain pen – now I’m used to ink again I love it.  Another great stationary product I’ve wrapped to is brown paper sticky tape that is biodegradable & packaging free, found at Choosing Keeping.

plastic detox letter

I’ve written countless letters to companies asking them about their plans to reduce plastics and found this much better way to contact them, [my printer & inks are HP, they have a free recycling service for cartridges] emails have a way of being ignored.  If you’re trying or planning to reduce, best tip is to start small and with items you can change easily – that way you’ll stick to them.  It’s almost impossible to shop in our supermarkets without buying unnecessary plastics and I do hope with time and pressure from us customers we can change that – although I am getting rather fed up with the super wooly answers from the likes of Waitrose and all the other major stores.  Some brands like Jakemans, have implement changes and that is brilliant.

If you have any tips on plastic free living do get in touch!  I have compiled a map of South London with stores where its possible to find plastic free items – click here for the PDF: plastic free map. And I also have a plastic free pinterest board.


This is not a sponsored post and I have not been gifted any items to mention the companies.


Plastic free gifts | 2018

I have tried very hard this year to buy from smaller companies and from Etsy, asking at the point of order that I am happy to have them delivered plastic free and that I am trying to reduce my plastic consumption.  So far every lovely supplier has been amazing.  So I thought I’d post some fun plastic free gift ideas.


Alpaca socks

plastic detox a

How to give up plastic

linda bloomfield teapot.jpg

beautiful organic teapot

gingerbread recipe in a jar.jpg

gingerbread recipe in a jar – to make at home

mobile phone pocket.jpg

mobile phone pocket

cross over apron

cross over apron for men and women


Mintie lunch box bundle and the calico bag can be personalised.  We use ours nearly everyday and its brilliant.


delicious foods

plants & flowers are always a delight to be given.  Patch – bostern fern, Bloom & Wild – liberty flowers or plant up some bulbs in a lovely container or these ready planted.

Bee hotel and flower press [totally inspired by Angel after watching Escape to Chateau]

the goodlife centre

the Goodlife Centre

and finally how about an experience, be that a class at Bread Ahead, learning simple electrics, simple plumbing to lampshade making at the wonderful Goodlife Centreurban bee keeping or maybe pasta making.

Hope this list can spark some ideas and when gift wrapping maybe consider using recycled brown paper, or even Furoshiki.

This is not a sponsored post and I have not recieved any gifts – just loved the items.


Christmas Gifts to make for children

Trying to reduce plastic waste with children’s gifts is so very difficult and depending on the child’s age it can be difficult to make what they most want.  My daughter and nephews all love dressing up clothes and I love making them.  So below are just a few fun makes.

mary poppins

Mary Poppins doll & clothes

With the new Mary Poppins film due out next year this adorable PDF pattern would be a fu make.

t bear

Teddy bear

This super smart bear pattern comes with the clothes patterns.  Would be great fun to make the clothes to match its new owner as well.

Rag dolls for every occasion.  Top left is a lovely Alice doll & clothes.  Top right is a superhero boy & girl.  Bottom is Scout and her sausage dog.

Super softies.  The mouse is adorable, complete with the papier mache boat.   Velvet Elephant, and sweet bear.

Fancy dress clothes are always a winner!  Top left wings, girls cloakJedi, Knight, Sir Gawain and unicorn mask.

And finally some super hot water bottle cosies and Playhouse tent.  The kitbag bag is from Dandy star, but one could make the bag or buy a plain kitbag and add on some fabulous patches and pins.  That would make a great bag for girls or boys and also appeal to Tweens and Teens.

Christmas Gifts, sewing

Crafty Christmas gifts – kits

Some friends and family love making things when they have time, although don’t have a particular favorite craft.  And over Christmas so many have 2 weeks to wind down and recharge and its great to be able to switch off and make something.  I’ve collected a few ideas for my family and friends and thought I’d share.

Having a ready-made it to embroider is fun the Constellation embroidery kit by Jenny Blair Kits is lovely.  Puffin by Hawthorn Handmade, sparked by my trip to the Faroe Islands this year and so much fun for a friend I made there.  Revolution by Hannah Bass Needlepoint would be a fabulous year long make in our home and one I have on my wish list!

Yarn crafts, weaving is super popular and this small loom is a great starter kit, by Wool Couture Company.  Macrame is fun, my daughter learnt how to make a hanging plant holder by at The Goodlife Experience and so loved it and has asked for more! This wallhanging by The Wool Couture Company is great.  And if you know someone who would like to knit, this shawl is brilliant as its made from chunky yarn and would knit up quite quickly and be super to wear, again by the Wool Couture Company.

The ring kit really appealed to me, makes a sterling silver ring.  Quite a few friends enjoy calligraphy or want to learn and I met one of the lovely girls from Kirsten Burke when Etsy had a pop-up shop last month.  Making a leather bag could seem daunting, but with a kit – would make a great gift.

bath bomb kit

Finally, making bath bombs is fun and great to be able to use!  These egg bombs look so lovely and  perfect for all ages.  And if you know someone who would like to learn a craft you could always put together a little kit just for them.


This is not a sponsored post and I have not recieved any gifts – just loved the items.

sewing, slow fashion

Dutch wax fabric dressing gown


I’ve been working on another shawl collar dressing gown as a Christmas gift.  The fabric is a great Dutch wax pattern I found when I went to Middlesex Street, a treasure trove of fabric shops! The fabric, I thought called out for a little lift and I ordered 3 super bright neonish Kona solid.  The yellow worked brilliantly, wish I had recut the cuffs and will do that next time, possibly adding to the pockets as well.

The fabric has to be pre washed, because of the treatment it has and washed brilliantly.  Not had any shrinkage problems so far and it comes in 5.5m [6 yard] lengths, this dressing gown takes 5 metres.  I’m a huge fan of this type of cloth, great quality and in an abundant array of patterns. The pattern is based on a previous dressing gown I made earlier this year and blogged about here.  That was also made in a Dutch wax print and I use it everyday.

Now to get back to work as I’m busy with commissions that need to be finished before Christmas!

sewing, slow fashion

sewing gifts for men

I wanted to share a few DIY gift ideas for men, I have made a dressing gown for my brother this year [more of than in my next post].  But with @my_plastic_free_journey_uk have tried to come up with some good gifts that don’t require much or any plastic.  First up:
purl soho tie.jpgPurl Soho tie

A fun gift for a tie wearer and can be made out of any fabric, be that comic book, silk or Liberty Print.  Or you could knit a version – there are lots of patterns and the Wool Warehouse has a free pattern.

Shaving items can be very synthetic and bad for the skin or packaged in lots of plastic, so here are a few ideas:

For a pre shave oil:  Pour 100mls olive oil and 100mls jojoba oil into 200ml bottle.  Add 4–5 drops of essential oil to the oil mixture – lavender, rosewood, vanilla and frankincense are great.  Seal and shake bottle to mix ingredients.  Don’t forget to add a lovely label.

Shaving cream tutorial.  or this recipe: Place 100mls coconut oil and 100mls shea butter to a glass bowl and microwave for aprox 30 seconds. Stir and microwave an additional 30 seconds. If mixture is not completely melted, microwave an additional 10 seconds.  Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to mixture and a few drops of essential oil and stir.  Refrigerate until solid and then whisk for until mixture is fluffy.  Decant into a jar and add a lovely label.

Mustache Wax, here is a good tutorial.

Beard Oil: 50ml coconut oil, a few drops of argan oil, few drops of essential oils – rosemary, lemon or mandarin are great.  Pour into a jar or metal tin – Baldwins do a great range and have all the ingredients as well. Do add a lovely label.

Bags are a great choice if you have time, there’s still a few weeks to go!  Merchant & Mills have fabulous patterns and I liked the Costermonger.    The kitbag is a fab tutorial, has a real vintage look to it.  And if he takes lunch into work, what could be better than this lunch bag by Purl Bee?  If you add an insulating batting would be fab all year round.

Do hope this may have helped spark a few ideas, if you don’t have time Etsy has some fabulous products.  If you have a gadget mad man, there is a wooden iphone speaker that is brilliant – not just for men either!

Please note this is not a sponsored post, all items chosen by me.


Christmas gifts to make


This week Greenpeace have dubbed #makesmthng week.  So I thought I’d kick off a simple Christmas guide with some lovely things to make as gifts.  I’ve started my gift making, some quick and simple & others are taking a little more time.  One thing I do is pin ideas throughout the year, so if I am stumped for a gift – I’ll click over and scrole through.  If I can’t find one it often sparkes a new idea.  So first up:

lisa mario.jpg

Image and to buy

Great idea for a simple backstitch embroidery and can also be done on woolen jumpers.


tutorial available here

japanese knot bag

image & pattern

These are lovely gifts, great for young, old & anywhere in the middle.  Would be super special made in vintage kimono silk or Liberty tana lawn.


The Orton bag – free pattern

Lots of bags!  I have made many boxy pouches with applique and embroidery, named, first aid even insulated for lunch boxes.  All using this basic tutorial and making changes to size and adding a lining hiding the raw edges etc.

swan scalf.jpg


If your a fast knitter this is brilliant and and you can’t knit they are also available ready made.

frida quilt top.jpg

modern Freda pattern

This Freda quilt pattern is fabulous and would be great in lots of different colourways, it a PDF pattern with instructions for a speedy bondaweb version and also a traditional needle turned method.  Etsy has some also readymade if you love the look but don’t have the time.  The pattern would be great on a tablecloth for Christmas, or small sections for napkins.  Urban threads has lots of embroidery machine patterns and they all have hand embroidery versions of every pattern.

Hope this sparks some fun ideas for your Christmas makes this year.