not your average zoe

life, love and knitting

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Who knew that there was going to be a 3+ year hiatus in posting eh?

Recently I have decided that 35 is the new 25 and that it’s time to kickstart … well everything so please make sure to head over to

to see what I am up to nowadays!



Blog hop from Noget Uldent

A few weeks ago, I was asked to participate in a blog hop by the lovely Pia, so here are 4 questions that have my (feeble) answers!

1) what am I working on?

I am currently; trying to finish a baby dress I started October 2013, finish a dishcloth I started 2 months ago, using Pia’s lovely pattern, and ignoring the knitted arunami shawl that is just 5 shells away from being finished, and the growing pile of blanket squares that need to be sewn together!



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2)How does my work differ from others of its genre?

hmm… it has more holes? more mistakes and repairs, plenty of bodges and a fair amount of plodding away on projects for absolute zonks.


3)Why do I write/create what I do?

I knit because I adore colour and texture and the process of making a fabric from a string of yarn.  It blows my mind! I love how the colours can evoke moods, finding the right pattern makes a yarn sing (or cry if it’s wrong), and I have a reasonably useful item that I can squish and cuddle at the end.

4) How does my writing/creative process work?

I pick a project generally by size, and yarn squishiness.  Though I’ve been on the baby run recently as my friends seem to be at that point in their lives.

So there you go, those are my most awesome answers!  Next I tag the lovely Anna over at


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tadaa! knitted puppet

As usual (I love that I wrote that, it’s merely a 2 year tradition), Stepson and I made boxes for Operation Shoebox to send across the world as a parcel of love for those in need.  He chose a 10-14year old boy, and I prepared a box for a 5-9year old girl.

As part of my box I knitted up a pattern from their site, a puppet in the vague shape of a teddy bear, and tadaa! Here it is!

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Have you completed any projects recently?

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Helping learners who have English as an Additional Language (EAL)

In my new placement there is a 80% EAL contingent in the school, primarily Polish, but some others thrown in for variety and spice!  As with all children the ability level is varied from 0 words of English to fluent, so although in my practice I use a varety of methods, today I want to concentrate on the real basics.

Firstly, be clear.  Do not use 10 words when you can be clear with 2!

Go and get your coat and bag, don’t forget your bottle and jumper or lunchbox! 

can be clearer as:

Coat and bag. 

and after that is complete:

jumper and bottle.

Which I would always say with Makaton signs too.

Secondly, don’t use a picture when a real object is available.  It means more.

Thirdly, explain, explain, explain.  When reading a story, ask all the children what words mean e.g. who can explain the word “crooked” to me?  “What does her face tell you?”  “Can you show me an angry face?  Upset face? Happy face?”  

Fourthly, if you are teaching phonics, make sure you explain words to them and don’t present them all as words they should know,  Many children with English as a first language benefit from this too!

Fifthly, Actions speak louder than words!  I personally love Makaton and use it constantly, if you have another method then use it, but some will pick up on the actions way before the words.  [This is a great way to introduce High Frequency Words too for all languages]

Sixth, be patient.  Mondays are hard as they have spent all weekend in native language mode.  Especially after holidays.  They will start off confused, but they will get there!

and lastly, try a few key words in their language.  In my experience the children are much more keen to try out English when I’ve asked them to teach me some of their words.

Some phonetic Polish that I of course use with makaton signs!

chesht = Hello

Yakta mosh = How are you?

Ya stem dobjer = I’m fine!

Prosher = please

dyenkoyay = thanks

parpar = bye!

Do you have any tips to share?