The best came last……..

On the last day before we flew home, the plan was to visit a couple of museums and then do a little shopping before lunch.   The museums were excellent (Museum of Asian Art, an extensive collection of Asian artefacts and a great insight into the Hellenic influence,  and Casa Parlante, a living history museum).    The shopping aim was to try and find some oregano in a small terracotta jar.  We had bought one such jar 6 years ago but had broken it fairly recently.  There were lots of herbs and spices for sale in the usual tourist shops, but no little terracotta jars.  My memory told me we had bought it on a road somewhere near the old market and not a very touristy area.   So we were heading up to this location and were having no joy in finding terracotta jars when I suddenly spotted this sign:


The sun was bright making the window more like a mirror than a window, so I looked very closely and was amazed to find a it was a very lovely yarn shop!

Crocheted Autumn Leaves in the window
Crocheted Autumn Leaves in the window (or earrings!)

I was in there in an instant.   I think my enthusiastic entry surprised the owner Elli!    The shop is very new (only open about 3 months) and has little internet presence (yet).  There is a facebook page which I am certain will gain more followers.

I had a long chat with Elli, a lovely lady with excellent English who has set up a perfect shop:  fresh, new and very modern.  She has many English friends who are interested in knitting and crochet and she told me it is also a growing trend amongst the younger generation in Greece, very much like here.    I explained my search for a yarn shop and finding one in a lingerie shop which she said is the traditional way to buy yarn.      She has a small library of English magazines and books, which she wants to expand so that her English customers can have a good browse, but as we know knitting and crochet is international, especially charts and symbols.   And she plans to do workshops.

I promised that next time I am in Corfu I will have coffee with her for a much longer chat, in fact that’s a very good reason to book another holiday 🙂

I asked if she had any cotton yarn and she took me in the back of the shop where the cottons are (as they are out of season now) and amongst the selection I found a linen mix in a lovely pale blue:

Pale blue linen mix
Pale blue linen mix

When I purchased she handed me a perfect little crochet heart as a present:

Crochet heart
Crochet heart

Pompon is located at 7, Velissariou and is near M&S.  With M&S on your left, head north and take the second turning to the left – that is Velissariou – Pompon is a short way up on the right.  It’s a short walk from everywhere – the shopping area, the old town, the old port and the new port.

I know there are plenty of people who visit Corfu Town on cruises, every day we were on holiday we saw one or two very large cruise ships in port.  I even know of some that do specific craft cruises – so if you are in Corfu Town, whether on a cruise or staying on the island, even if just for a day, pop by to see Elli at Pompon and enjoy her thoroughly modern yarn shop, a new gem to be found in Corfu!

Happy knitting and crocheting xxx

PS we never found the oregano in terracotta jar, so if you know where I can find one please let me know.




Autumn is here. Yesterday we had the first real storm of the season with very strong winds, rain and hail. The leaves were coming off the trees with little resistance. Normally high winds would swirl the leaves into a neat pile by the back door, easy for me to move when the weather permits. We do have a nice little pile there, but this time the leaves also accumulated at the front of the house – all along the front in large piles.

As soon as the weather dries up a little I will be knee deep in leaves (literally) which I hope to tame into a few big tubs and then the compost bin.

With the changing season my habits change.  My cooking changes to winter warmers. This week’s menu will include cottage pie, tuna and pasta bake (the real thing, no packet mixes in this house!) and, my all time winter favourite, beef, Guinness and prune casserole.

Along with these warming meals, for me autumn also means longer evenings of crafting. Over the last 2 evenings I have made a beautiful cowl – a design called Cassia by Amanda Perkins and made in some glorious yarn by The Natural Dye Studio – Phoenix 4ply, colour Tarr Steps. You can find the yarn here: Phoenix.  And in the previous week I have made a small lap blanket in baby merino, a scarf in Willow Knits silk worsted and a cowl in Rowan Cocoon. All this crochet activity is a little more than normal and not just because autumn is here. I am working on a new ebook, but it is still at development stage so this blog post will not include any photos because I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

I hope you are enjoying the autumn and all the goodness it brings.

Happy knitting and crocheting xxx

Another Black Sheep

Having been to Yarndale only a few days ago it was rather indulgent to visit a yarn shop but, when invited to join my yarny friends for a quick trip out to Black Sheep Wools, I could not resist, after all I am a self-confessed yarn addict! And I had visited Ovelha Negra in Oporto very recently – Ovelha Negra means black sheep – so I thought I should try an English one.

It was a fun time, we got lost going there and again coming back (the coming back was probably my fault – sorry Julie!). So when we arrived we were ready for a coffee, and in my case a lovely homemade scone with jam and cream, in the café. Once refreshed it was time to shop.

I didn’t need any more yarn but I can never resist. I had decided to make some slippers using a pattern in the new magazine #crochet which needed 2 balls of Rico Creative Cotton Aran, so I selected the 2 balls. I then found myself in the ‘yarn dive’ area which is full of bargains. I could not resist some Louisa Harding Sari Ribbon on sale at £4.99 per skein – this will be great from some Christmas seasonal makes but is also great for wrapping. Although Ruth did say I looked like a cheer leader holding up this sparkly yarn in both hands!

All those sparkles brighten up my day!
All those sparkles brighten up my day!

Black Sheep is an extensive yarn shop and includes other crafts. There is a good selection of fabrics and, with seasonal makes on my mind, I bought some:

Christmas fabric
Christmas fabric

One thing I didn’t buy at Yarndale was some more of the KnitPro Karbonz knitting needles. I bought a pair on my trip to Blackpool and they have become my favourite needles. I am using them at the moment for the Sunny Sail shawl (using yarn purchased at Yarndale) but I need to transfer to circulars soon. When Julie spotted they had sets for sale I really could not resist at all – so a set of 7 interchangeable needles was also purchased.

This set will help keep me organised
This set will help keep me organised

I enjoyed the trip out and I am sure to visit Black Sheep again, especially as their prices are very good. And the café does lovely cakes and food. Why is it that yarn and cake go so well together?

Happy knitting and crochet xxx

Yarn adventures

Here is the official Yarndale stash photo:

Yarndale stash
Yarndale stash

I had a fabulous day out at Yarndale but I had only recently returned from a holiday in Northern Portugal and my mind was still there.

The holiday was a short river cruise on the Douro followed by a short stay in a Pousada.

Prior to going I asked around on Ravelry to see if anyone could give me ideas of yarn shops to visit during my free time (a few hours on the first day) in Oporto. So I was fore-armed. Unfortunately things don’t always go to plan and my idea of having 3 hours free to wander Oporto on the day we arrived dissolved when we were whisked off for a coach tour of Oporto and a port wine tasting (and I love white port – so I wasn’t too disappointed!). However, the tour included 20 minutes of free time in an area very close to one of my ‘tips’. So I wasted no time in searching out ‘A Vida Portuguesa’. It is a lovely old shop with lots of beautiful items all made in Portugal. Unfortunately my enquiries drew a blank – I was advised they had no yarn.

As the time was ticking away rapidly, I felt quite low, my only possible chance of finding yarn in Portugal had diminished substantially…. or so I thought…. I unexpectedly I found a fabric shop/haberdashery on a street corner so took my chances and jumped in. After an interesting discussion consisting mainly of gesticulation, I was told to go around the corner and across the road (I have no idea how I worked this out as my Portuguese is extremely limited!). By now I had only 2 minutes free time left but I ran across the tramlines and into the shop……which turned out to be a fabric/haberdashery/yarn shop. It took only a quick peruse of the shelves to see there was no Portuguese wool – it was all acrylic. Nevertheless I asked and someone who could speak enough English let me know they didn’t have any local Portuguese yarn.

My first yarn hunt had drawn a blank but I was happily surprised at having found not one but two crafty shops in a small area of Oporto.

Two days later we visited Lamego – a small town famous for the sanctuary of Our Lady of Remedies and its long staircase down to the town (685 steps and yes I walked down but I didn’t count them! Thank heavens they didn’t ask me to walk up!!!).


After the long descent (which reminded me of my last fire drill from the 24th floor of the building I used to work in!), we wandered through the main parts of Lamego and then took a side street and lo and behold I found Casa Das Las on Rua Olaria – yes a yarn shop!!!! After the usual gesticulations (I was getting used to this!) I found some yarn in hanks that was 50% Portuguese wool. I was surprised to find it was sold by weight and priced by the kilo. I chose 2 colours and found they weighed about 240g for a total cost of €9.37.

Lemago yarn
Lemago yarn

Suddenly I felt I had achieved my goal of finding Portuguese yarn.

Two days later we were back in Oporto, but again the timetable had changed and I found we had 1.5 hours free time. Filipa, the hotel/ship manager, had given me a map to find Ovelha Negra, a modern yarn shop in Oporto of which I had read some excellent reviews. I found it easily and found someone who spoke perfect English. She seemed surprised that someone from the UK wanted to visit a Portuguese yarn shop! She helped me find some Rosarios 4 yarn (a Portuguese brand) and I left feeling happy. The shop is very modern and much like many yarn shops we have in the UK

Ovelha Negra
Ovelha Negra

Apologies for the quality of this photo – it was taken on my phone and I made a complete hash of it!

Here is the yarn I bought:

Rosarios 4
Rosarios 4

I was now on a high and decided I would like to revisit A Vida Portuguesa as it was a lovely shop, old and characterful, and full of local Portuguese goods. I ascended the beautiful old wooden staircase and just at the top I found some lovely yarn! Just a few skeins in a basket but this was clearly handcrafted and gorgeous! So my second yarn purchase of the day – and only 8 euros!

Restosaria Beiroa
Restosaria Beiroa

The next day we visited Braga – a larger town. Again we had some free time ….did I tell you about the fantabulous pastries in Portugal? Well I went in search of one of the pastry shops, which are everywhere, and lo and behold almost next door to the first pastry shop I found was a wool shop, no signage but plenty of wool (on Rua de S Marcos). Again the language barrier was overcome with gesticulation and a clear love of La (wool) and I was shown a section of hanks of 100% wool. I chose a hank and this was weighed and priced as before.

Pure Portuguese wool
Pure Portuguese wool

You can imagine how happy I was by now – 4 yarn purchases in a few days!!!!

Our last trip was to Guimaraes, a UNESCO world heritage site with a beautifully preserved medieval centre. It has lots of characterful buildings, restaurants and shops….and very strangely I found 2 yarn shops, much the same as the ones in Lamego and Braga. I was extremely restrained and decided not to buy any more yarn, maybe the size of my suitcase helped in this decision!

But I thoroughly enjoyed finding yet more yarn shops and I also spotted some small handcrafted crochet shops, primarily baby clothes but definitely hand made.

Finally, I fell in love with Guimaraes embroidery – which I found everywhere. Traditionally in black, red, blue or cream on cream linen. The best shop I found was a co-operative and I was tempted to purchase a lovely embroidered pouch bag – I love how the drawstring is crocheted!


And this was small and flat, so fitted easily in the suitcase!

So Northern Portugal has been very rewarding for a yarn addict. It is clear that there are more plentiful yarn shops than in the UK (much more plentiful). I just hope it stays that way.

And I must thank my husband, he was very patient as I searched out all the yarnie goodness in Northern Portugal and I love him to bits!

Happy knitting and crocheting xxxx

PS I didn’t mention it but the prices of everything are excellent, I can’t recall ever buying a bottle of beer (Super Bock) for only 70p!!! Visit Northern Portugal now, before it gets too commercial.

PPS I have been working with some of the Rosarios 4 yarn and there is a cowl pattern almost ready to publish…. a fabulous reminder of my yarn adventure in Northern Portugal!

A long weekend

This weekend is one of those long weekends in the UK which result from having a Bank Holiday – yay! I have had a lovely quiet weekend because my husband has been away partaking of his hobby on a racetrack at Castle Donington. So what do I do when he is away – well this weekend I planned absolutely nothing!

It is glorious to be able to wake up and do just what you like with no-one getting under your feet. Apart from the cat, that is. So we (the cat and I) have done just as we like. Naturally this involves a little crafting (crochet) but it also includes a little gardening (pruning), rather a lot of tidying (I have moved my craft room around for the 3rd time in a year – I think I need a bigger room), an unusual amount of cleaning (I cleaned all my kitchen cupboards and threw out lots of items that were chipped, cracked or just plain useless) and plenty of RnR.

Ok, I confess the crochet wasn’t exactly ‘little’. The May instalment of the Kaleidoscope mystery blanket came out this weekend, so I spent Saturday evening in front of the television watching all 6 episodes of the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice back to back, with crochet hook in hand and cat cuddling next to me (except on several occasions when said cat decided the yarn was the best play thing in the world, even the decoy ball of acrylic I always have handy wasn’t good enough for her!). Sunday night wasn’t quite so intense but did involve crochet, as did Monday (a bit in the morning and another bit in the afternoon) – so I have finished May.

May Kaleidoscope - just getting a little big to photograph on the table
May Kaleidoscope – just getting a little big to photograph on the table

Part of this drive to finish May was because I was expecting the Janie Crow mystery blanket instalment on 5th May (why oh why did I challenge myself to do 2 mystery blankets?) and had to finish Kaleidoscope before it came out. Except I made a mistake – the next Janie Crow instalment comes out on 8th May – so I have 3 days yet. Ah well, maybe I should do some knitting………!

Happy knitting and crocheting xxx


I count myself very lucky to have some inspirational crafting friends, they make some amazing things and are always happy to share their ideas and what inspires them. So I am now going to share 2 things that I made thanks to inspiration from my friends.

The first is a sewing project. Whilst shopping in Tesco this week I spotted some lovely tea towels, good fabric with nice patterns – £4 for a pack of 3 – one spotty, one floral (a little Cath Kidston I think) and one plain white waffle. I instantly remembered Riana sharing her tea towel tote, so I knew exactly how useful these tea towels could be. I just needed a bit of webbing, which I found in John Lewis, and in no time I had made this:


I call it the Tesco Tea Towel Tote! And it is destined to be a present. Thank you Riana!

The next inspiration came from Heike (do have a look at her blog here She shared a photo on facebook of a very colourful granny bag, gathered at the top into some handles. And this inspired me to make a purse along the same lines – here is my take on a granny purse.


The best bit of this is the lining, have a close look here:


Yes, it is a white waffle – taken from one of the Tesco Tea Towels.

I can’t recommend tea towel sewing more highly, you frequently find some lovely printed fabrics (Riana made a tote using a cupcake printed towel from Ikea), they are good quality and they are generally very good value. And they are already edged, which reduces the sewing. Next time you go shopping look for tea towels, you may find yourself inspired to make something beautiful from one…or two……

Happy knitting, crocheting and sewing xx


There are some yarns I just love so much….kidsilk is one.   So when I spotted the new Rowan Kidsilk Haze Glamour yarn in John Lewis I just had to buy some.   It has tiny sparkley sequins threaded on the yarn – gorgeous!   This is what I made with it:


The pattern is called Glamour Wrap and is now for sale on Ravelry here, and will soon be added to Etsy and Craftsy.   Like most of my patterns, it is deceptively easier than it looks!  I love it and just wish it would cool down a little in the evenings so I can wrap it around my shoulders!

Happy knitting and crocheting



A good day…….

Yesterday was one of those days to remember.  Along with a group of friends from knitgroup, I attended a patchwork workshop in Moseley, Birmingham.  I have never travelled too far for a workshop before, but when the workshop is being held at Guthrie & Ghani and the tutor is Sarah Hazell, I would travel the length of the country!  Have a look at Guthrie & Ghani here:

The Guthrie part of the business is Lauren Guthrie, who some may know was in The Great British Sewing Bee and was just pipped to the winning post by the amazing Ann (my Bohemian Rhapsody inspiration).  The emporium (I just can’t call it a shop!) is lovely. They stock the best fabrics, such beautiful bolts of pattern and colour, the best quality yarn (sooooo squishy) and oodles of really useful haberdashery.  And to top it all they have plenty of space to browse pattern books, or simply sit and drink a coffee inside or outside in the little courtyard.   Upstairs is the studio where workshops are held, and this is large, airy, light and very well equipped. 

Here is what I made:


The pincushion is destined for my blocking pins, and the lavender pyramid for my wardrobe, although I may change my mind as shutting it away in a wardrobe just doesn’t seem appropriate.

Sarah’s workshop was brilliant, she had prepared  lovely packs for us, and had lots of beautiful fabricfor us to choose from for our projects and she is an excellent tutor.  I have always had great fun at her workshops.    I had never done any sort of patchwork before and I am a little rusty at sewing (which I used to do a lot of in my teens) but I am pretty pleased with the end result!  She will be running more workshops at Guthire & Ghani, including Learn to Crochet and Luxurious Knitting with Kidsilk Haze.  In my view, her workshops are the best and you will learn so much from her.

I feel quite inspired and I have purchased all this:


I plan to make 2 shells tops, one of which will have some crochet…… keep your eyes open for that one!  And I love the pyramid lavender pouch, so I think there will be some featured in Christmas presents this year!

Happy knitting and crocheting….. and sewing!