Saturday, 31 December 2016

Happy New Year

Well New Year's Eve. Let's hope the coming year will be better for all. It has been a tough year this year.

It actually snowed here! Not very much.  First time in many years that I remember snow for New Year. Didn't last long. 

I am not doing all my usual cooking; just DH, DD and me here. A peaceful evening by the fire. 

I didn't buy anything special, just what was already in the larder. Of course the usual lentils were obligatory! Lol! I did a slowcooker full of them for today and tomorrow.

Wishing you all a peaceful and serene end of 2016 and a very happy 2017!

Tuesday, 27 December 2016


This year is drawing to an end: it has not been a good year from my point of view. So many negative things have happened in 2016. However there have been some positive ones as well. 


The wheel is turning and a New year has already begun if you follow the solar year; will still soon be beginning if you use our "normal" calendar! ( My apologies to all who follow other ones as I can't remember the dates without looking them up!)

Now is the time when I start thinking of what changes to make in the New Year. 
I know we can start anew at any time but a new year beginning seems a good opportunity to start new projects and try to implement changes. 

new year

Most of the things I am thinking of doing are connected to the house and to my ongoing decluttering. With a few steps ahead and a couple back things are slowly getting as I want them. Not easy though. 

Finances are another thing to control. Sometimes I just don't know where to reduce costs but it is always possible. 

Going more and more "Green" is easy. "Mother Earth" deserves our best and I have always had a tendancy to respect nature: the way I was brought up!
If we don't take care of our world today there will be no tomorrow for our decendants. 

We are lucky to live in a place which is still relatively unspoiled and hope to help keep it that way.

I will be sharing new projects and ideas with you in this coming year.

What are you planning for 2017? New Year Resolutions anyone?

Monday, 26 December 2016

Village Holiday

Happy Holidays to all, whatever you celebrate. 

Here in the village there was the traditional Christmas fire burning all night between the 24th and 25th. There will be another one at New Year as well. 
A mixture of old pagan rites brought into the Christian celebrations.
DH helped bring the wood etc with other village folk. 

There was also a nativity scene set up in the piazza and a "Living Presepe" with villagers acting out the nativity story after a procession. 

The traditional big meal based on fish. (Lots of cooking!) On the 25th another big meal with meat this time. Some people even do it today the 26th! Personally I never have. Just too much food and drink.

 New year will soon be here as well and then Epiphany with the "Befana" who brings gifts:...and yes, there is yet more food! 

My idea of a holiday is just to rest and knit instead! Lazy! 

Did you have a nice holiday? How did you celebrate?

Sunday, 18 December 2016


The Wheel of life slowly turns:
New year, new hope but all in vain.
All in vain.

Trying, striving, never winning:
Always useless.

The years go by, never changing:
Always worse.

I see ahead, I see what’s coming
I know this path is never ending.

Another lonely wasted day.
No achievements, never praise.

Waiting for the night to come
So I can sleep.

No peace for me, no new beginning.
Time goes by, the Wheel keeps spinning.
On and on and on.

Just let me sleep and never wake.

Friday, 16 December 2016


If Roses grow in Heaven,
Lord please pick a bunch for me,
Place them in my Mother’s arms
and tell her they’re from me.

Tell her that I love her and miss her,
and when she turns to smile,
place a kiss upon her cheek
and hold her for awhile.

Because remembering her is easy,
I do it everyday,
but there’s an ache within my heart

that will never go away.

This birthday there will be no phone call to you. Missing you

Elf on a Shelf Hat

Elf on a Shelf Hat:

Made for my Hopscotch Hill doll using fingering yarn with size 2.5 needles.If you use bigger needles and thicker yarn it will fit American Girl size dolls.

Knitted flat version:
Cast on 46 sts.
1: Knit.
2: Purl.
3-16: As rows 1-2.
17: K1, (k9,k2tog)x4, k1. (42sts)
18: Purl.
19: Knit.
20: Purl.
21: K1, (k8, k2tog)x4, k1. (38sts)
22: Purl.
23: Knit.
24: Purl.
25: K1, (k7, k2tog)x4, k1. (34sts)
26: Purl.
27: Knit.
28: Purl.
29: K1, (k6, k2tog)x4, K1. (30sts)
30: Purl.
31: Knit.
32: Purl.
33: K1, (k5, k2tog)x4, K1. (26sts)
34: Purl.
35: Knit.
36: Purl.
37: K1, (k4, k2tog)x4, K1. (22sts)
38: Purl.
39: Knit.
40: Purl.
41: K1, (k3, k2tog)x4, K1. (18sts)
42: Purl.
43: Knit.
44: Purl.
45: K1, (k2, k2tog)x4, K1. (14sts)
46: Purl.
47: Knit.
48: Purl.
49: K1, (k1, k2tog)x4, K1. (10sts)
50: Purl.
51: Knit.
52: Purl.
53: K1, (k2tog)x4, K1. (6sts)
54: Purl.
55: Knit.
56: Purl.
57: K1, (k2tog)twice, K1. (4sts)
58: Break yarn and thread through remaining sts to close. Sew seam neatly.

Knitted in the round version:
Cast on 44 sts. Join to knit in the round.
1: Knit.
2: Knit
3-16: As rows 1-2.
17: (k9,k2tog)x4, (40sts)
18-20: Knit.
21: (k8, k2tog)x4. (36sts)
22-24: Knit.
25: (k7, k2tog)x4. (32sts)
26-28: Knit.
29: (k6, k2tog)x4. (28sts)
30-32: Knit.
33: (k5, k2tog)x4. (24sts)
34-36: Knit.
37: (k4, k2tog)x4. (20sts)
38-40: Knit
41:(k3, k2tog)x4. (16sts)
42-44: Knit.
45: (k2, k2tog)x4. (12sts)
46-48: Knit.
49: (k1, k2tog)x4. (8sts)
50-52: Knit.
53:(k2tog)x4. (4sts)
54-56: Knit.
Break yarn and thread through remaining sts to close. Sew seam neatly.

Sew a bell to top of hat.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Emily Cardi

Doll cardigan

50g Double Knitting weight yarn. (128.5m.)

Needles: US 3/ 3 mm. (or those you need to obtain gauge)
Darning needle.
Stitch markers or waste yarn.
3 small buttons .


Gauge: 6 sts x 12 rows in garter stitch
Co: cast on.
Bo: bind off.
St-stitch: Sts- stitches
K: knit
P: purl
Yo: yarn over
K2 tog: Knit two stitches together as one stitch.
Bh: button hole.

The cardigan is knit sideways and seamed only at the sleeves.
Start left front:
Cast on 35 sts.
Knit 4 rows.
1: Knit.
2: Knit.
3: K20, turn work.
4: P16, k4.
5: K25, turn work.
6: K25.
7: K30, turn work,
8: K30.
Repeat these 8 rows for a total of 5 times.

1: K20, place these sts on a stitch-holder or waste yarn. Cast on 19sts on left hand needle, knit these sts and the 15 left on needle. (34sts)
2: K34.
3: K19, turn work.
4: P14, turn work.
5: K19, turn work.
6: K24.
7: K29.
8: K29.

Continue sleeve:
1: K34.
2: K34.
3: K19, turn work.
4: P14, turn work.
5: K19, turn work.
6: K24.
7: K29.
8: K29.
Repeat these 8 rows for a total of 6 times.

1:Bind off 19sts at the beginning of the next row. Knit the remaining 15sts on needle.
2: K15 and then knit 20 sts from stitch holder.
3: K20, turn work.
4: P16, k4.
5: K25, turn work.
6: K25.
7: K30, turn work,
8: K30.

1: Knit.
2: Knit.
3: K20, turn work.
4: P16, k4.
5: K25, turn work.
6: K25.
7: K30, turn work,
8: K30.
Repeat these 8 rows for a total of 8 times.

Make second sleeve as for first sleeve.

Start right front:
1:Bind off 19sts at the beginning of the next row. Knit the remaining 15sts on needle.
2: K15 and then knit 20 sts from stitch holder.
3: K20, turn work.
4: P16, k4.
5: K25, turn work.
6: K25.
7: K30, turn work,
8: K30.
Continue front:
1: Knit.
2: Knit.
3: K20, turn work.
4: P16, k4.
5: K25, turn work.
6: K25.
7: K30, turn work,
8: K30.
Repeat these 8 rows for a total of 4 times.

Button hole band:
1: K22, yo, k2tog, k3, yo, k2tog, k3, yo, k2tog, k1.
2-4: K35.
Bind off.

Sew sleeves and finish off yarn ends.

Sew on 3 buttons.

free doll cardi pattern

Patricia Renwick © Copyright December 2016.
All rights reserved. You may sell items made from this pattern but not the pattern. Please respect my design rights. 

Friday, 2 December 2016

Bear Factory Teddy.

Many years ago when I was last in England we saw the Teddy Bears in the Bear Factory shop in the local shopping center.

Bear Factory Cat

Then six year old DD loved the bears but DH thought they were too expensive so sadly we couldn't buy one. It was a lovely surprise for DD to receive one the day we left. My sister-in-law Julie bought DD a bear: Emily. She even had her birth certificate and her passport. The customs officer at the Airport very seriously controlled Emily's passport and said she could go on the plane much to DD's delight!

Since I have internet I have often tried to buy a Scottish outfit for the bear. Prices always run too high on Ebay but recently I actually won a Bear Factory Cat with a Scottish outfit.

As you may imagine I was thrilled! 
He had a voice message so I asked the seller about his history:
"He belonged to a dear friend who's husband sadly passed, she didn't want to throw him away so she gave him to me as I was organising a Burns Night Event and I thought that he would look enjoy being the centre of attention at the head table. Fergus has graced a number of Burns Nights and Hogmanay's - We are downsizing. so sadly we have had to say farewell to him, but I'm over the moon that he has gone to such an appreciative and loving home!"
I so often "meet" such nice people on Ebay!  

Scottish Bear Factory Bear

Emily did have fun trying on the outfit but obviously I couldn't take his clothes from Fergus so I knit Emily a new cardi to make up for it. One day I will find her a kilt as well! Still searching! (Doesn't she look lovely in the kilt?)

Doll cardi

Emily still has her original outfits and her passport and birth certificate are put away with the family ones! Lol! Yes I am a little crazy maybe!

Fond memories of my last trip home to England and the last time I saw my parents. 

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Free Scarf Pattern

There are so many versions of the Bow-tie scarf available online, mainly free, all slightly different. All so cute.
Toddler scarf pattern.

This is the version I made for my 3 year old Granddaughter: Emma’s Bowtie Scarf. I thought I would write it here so I won’t forget if I want to make another one!
50g Sport weight yarn.
Size 3mm needles.
Stitch holder.
Darning needle.
Using 3mm needles, cast on 3 sts
1: Kfb, k1, kfb.
2: Knit.
3: Kfb, knit to last stitch, kfb.
4: Knit.
Repeat rows 3-4 to 31 sts.
K 10 rows in garter st.

1: Knit 2tog, knit to last 2sts, k2tog.
2: Knit.
Repeat rows 1-2 until 11sts remain.
Right side: Kfb every stitch. (22sts)
Right side: Kfb every stitch. (44sts.)
Knit 124 rows. (11” or to desired neck length.)
Knit 2tog across row.(22sts)
To make slot: *K1, slip next st onto a stitch holder, keeping this stitch at the back of the work. Repeat from * to end of row. Stitches are divided, half on needle and half on stitch holder.
Working on stitches on needle, work 12 rows in k1, p1 ribbing. Break yarn, and leave these sts on a spare needle.
Slip stitches from holder and work 12 rows in k1, p1 ribbing. Do not break

Next row: (To close slot and increase stitches). *Knit tog 1 stitch from needle and 1 stitch from spare needle.
1: Kfb, knit to last st, kfb.
2: Knit.
Repeat rows 1-2 to 31 sts.
Knit 10 rows in garter st.

1: Knit 2tog,knit to last 2sts, k2tog.
2: knit.
Repeat rows 1-2 until 3sts remain.
Bind off.
Sew in ends. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Baby Things.

I have been knitting several baby things recently neglecting my doll knitting. 
I decided to create a new baby blanket design for my soon-to-arrive granddaughter who will be called Vittoria. 

I wanted a pattern which was easy to remember with purl rest rows. The traditional tilting blocks pattern I like but in the garter block version, not the stockinette one. However that has both knit and purl on the wrong side so I set to to work to change the garter stitch blocks to make them into purl garter stitch blocks! A little bit of math and it gave an easy-peasy shawl to make which looks pretty!

I have written my version down and published it as a free pattern on Ravelry: Vittoria. It seems to be quite popular so far.

Vittoria Baby Blanket

At the moment all my babyblanket patterns are free. 

I also did some sewing. I found the cutest quited Teddy Bear design fabric and made a small quilt. I bound it in a matching fabric and also made a sheet and pillowcase. A bag to hold it all and I was pleased with the results. I managed to do the mitered corners and a nice well sewn binding on the quilt.

I have enough fabric left to make another one so I will make one sometime for someone who will appreciate it. It worked out quite expensive to make, the fabric wasn't cheap.

Baby quilt

Handmade unfortunately doesn't equate cheapness as some people think it does!

Now I have a matching bolero to finish for my Granddaughter and some mitts for my youngest DD and then it will be back to my dolls and patterns once more!
My dolls are always happy to have new clothes and never protest no matter how many times they have to try things on! Lol!

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Error code F19

Sorry I haven't been able to write much recently. My washing machine broke on September 15th. 

washing machine broke

I am supposed to have an insurance so called them. They don't even seem to know what the code means! No comment. I will never do this sort of insurance again I think the way it is going.

Just to cut a very long story short, I am still without a washing machine and today is November 8th! Absolutely disgusting in my opinion. 

Needless to say I am nearly killing myself by handwashing almost everything, and in sheer desperation I have asked my Bil if I can wash some things at his holiday house... 3 wash loads in nearly 2 months, again no comment. My washer usually goes at least every other day although I do always hand wash a lot of stuff! I am very tired with the whole situation. I don't think anyone understands the extreme stress this is causing. I could go to my DD's house but it is hard to get there and park, carry things, wait, and then return. Easier to handwash. I do not like to ask people. I hate having dirty washing. 

Talking about washing, I took some baby things, I made with love, to my Dil. She told me she will wash them in the washing machine and then steam iron for "bacteria"! I had made the things with love, hand washed and dried and blocked where necessary. 
 Thank goodness I hadn't made her a wedding ring shawl like the one I made for my DD's daughter's baptism. I so very nearly did. Not the same but similar, as usual for me exclusive. That would have been to throw out!

 My Mum sent me the Jamieson's cobweb yarn after DD got married. I will make my younger DD one while I am still capable of creating something like that. When she is old enough to marry I may not be able to knit this sort of thing, who knows. If I am here.

I am feeling so depressed. Tired. I am trying to keep the house clean and tidy, feeling frustrated with the washing machine thing and getting tired. Feeling inadequate. Useless.

Maybe fortunately I showed my sister-in-law the baby things and she said they were lovely. Unusual to have positive comments from them. Wants to make a babyblanket like the one I have named for this new DGD. Some small consolation. 

Yes because I am crazy enough to create an exclusive design with the name and publish it as I did with my first Granddaughter. 

I saw my son yesterday for the first time since April 10th. I have so rarely seen him since he was married. Not even the fingers of a hand.
 Is this life? 

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Cécile Rey Doll makeover

I was very surprised to see an American Girl doll on Italian Ebay. They are rarely on there and usually cost a lot. At 20 euro it was a bargain for me although not in good condition. I just couldn't leave that poor little waif all alone in Rome with the risk she would be thrown out!  So I bid for her and as there were no other offers home she came! I think the poor mottled photo put some people off! 

She is Cécile who is one of the historical dolls I wanted. 

So Spa treatment. Her clothes were washed and hung to dry. I was very pleased that the colours didn't run when I washed her original dress. 

Next her hair. I didn't have any wig shampoo available but used dish soap and fabric conditioner. I have heard that AG salons don't approve this but as the chance that I ever send her for treatment is less than nil, that didn't bother me. 

Wash, rinse and re-wash. Amazing how dirty her hair was! Then a fabric conditioner rinse. It is important to avoid wetting the body or getting water in her eyes which can cause silver-eye or rust, so she was wrapped up in towels. 
Cecile American girl doll

Then the hair. A lot of patience to find the central parting and to carefully detangle. Never pulling! 

I rolled the curls carefully first onto a knitting needle and then rolled them onto a straw and fixed with bobby-pins. Left to dry overnight. 

Today I carefully pulled out the straws, tied her hair with two white ribbons and she was ready to be dressed in her clean clothes and new boots! 

She seems happy to join my clan here!

American Girl Cecile

Doll hair recurled

A big difference from when she arrived!

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

How does your garden grow?: part 2!

I should have shared photos of my garden but got totally sidetracked. A few days ago there was a horrible hailstorm so I thought it was totally destroyed but strangely things are surviving and we even have zucca flowers once more! 

big zucca

It has been wonderful having fresh tomatoes and zucchini and zucca flowers all summer.
fresh tomatoes

 Fresh figs!
 Great big zucche!
 3 different types.

 Hailstones I thought would ruin all!

 See how big those leaves are now!

Flowers still grow!

Nature's fruits

Well it is porcini mushroom time again. DH has dutifully paid the tax and can go and collect them! 
Everytime he goes he finds a few, even one is enough to make him happy but usually it is far more.

Porcini mushroom

This afternoon after we got back from picking up DD from school he went to find some. I thought it was too late but he brought back this beauty: 500 grams!

porcino mushroom

and not a single maggot! 

2016 mushrooms

Some others he brought the other day.

Funghi freschi

Rositi and porcini here.


rositi funghi

DH suggested taking a photo with my dolls:

This is the school uniform I am making sans cardi!

Doll school uniform

Here with her cardigan!

18 inch doll uniform

So risotto or fettucini?