not your average zoe

life, love and knitting


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




Ad fontes

Today I have the privilege of working with Pia from Noget Uldent!

New summer #hair, thanks to my lovely mum!

A post shared by Pia (@psjuulsen) on

Isn’t she just beautiful?  She’s written us a guest post all about her need to “do” and, sister, I’m with ya…

So here we go.  Enjoy!  (and if you do, make sure to pop over to her blog and tell her so)


Here’s something you may or may not know about me: I like doing things from scratch. I’m willing to go a step back in any process at least once and thankfully I found a man just as odd as me. This translates into our cooking, breads and pastas are all made from scratch, as is pretty much anything else that goes on in our kitchen.

The 2014 Jelly Making is now officially done! We got 2ltr. Juice and 11 glasses..

A post shared by Pia (@psjuulsen) on

#rhubarb crumble.. Nom nom

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It translates to my field of study as well, as a theology student, I labour over Old Testament Hebrew, New Testament Greek and the Latin of the church fathers, to words that have in a sense become a lifestyle for me: ad fontes and it doesn’t stop there.

#knitting waves and studying 1 Timothy in Greek… #knistagram #knittersofinstagram

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In a pursuit of a more natural, simple and in many ways minimalistic life, I’m on a lifelong journey  towards becoming an old-fashioned generalist, instead of the prevailing specialists of our day and age. As knitters (or crocheters and weavers) we have the almost magical ability to make cloth. This skill allows us to clothe ourselves and our loved ones, in a way that is off limits to those not in the know. Once upon a time, this was a valuable skill, a skill everyone possessed, a life securing skill. Today it’s a recreational activity, but valuable nonetheless. Knitting allows us to take a step back, in creating our own clothes we are in a sense liberated.

Knitting is, however, only the first step back in a long sequence guiding us back to the animal or the plant. Spinning is the next step, then comes preparing the fibre ourselves, harvesting the fibre and finally raising the fibre. Every one of these steps allows us a closer connectivity to the land and  speaking as the theology student I am, to our creator.

The worst part of #spinning #yarn is the 24h or so wait before you should #ply…

A post shared by Pia (@psjuulsen) on

With every step mastered comes a sense of empowerment and joy. As we move ever closer to the source we make the circle of our activities smaller. We gain control over how our fibre is raised and processed, we gain the knowledge to pass on to the next generation and I fully believe we gain a deeper appreciation for our crafts.

It can be challenging to take the next step back and your journey will be different than mine that much I’m sure of. We live in a world where we don’t have to do everything ourselves and if you don’t enjoy spinning, then please don’t do it. After all it is in deed a recreational activity we are talking about here, you and yours will be clothed no matter what. I do, however, strongly encourage you to look at where you are in you fibre journey and find out what the next step back for you would be. Now that you’ve gained that awareness, then please take the leap and try it hands on. You may find that your love of your craft just just rose to a unexpected new level.

Enjoying a #spinning break from all the studying 🙂

A post shared by Pia (@psjuulsen) on

So now it’s your turn.  Share in the comments where you are and what the next step back towards the source is for you!

A happy #brunch monster

A post shared by Pia (@psjuulsen) on

Thanks Pia!

Please note that all photos are Pia’s from her Instagram account and I just picked the pretty ones I felt fitted – I hold no personal copyright for them, nor do I claim to.

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Knitting and making list

My mind is whirring with creative projects at the moment those for family (as dictated on the family holiday), those for friends having babies, and Christmas gifts.  Not to mention a few for actual ME!

So my brain doesn’t pop and I can orgainse my thoughts I have had to make a list (yippee!).  It means I now have 3 knitting projects for my in-laws alongside 6 Christmas projects for them.  I also have 4 baby projects (2 on the needles), 18 tree decoration gifts, the blanket squares I mentioned before that need sewing up, 5 Christmas presents I hope to knit, and 2 December birthday presents.  –ahem–

So to combat all this, I’ve decided to share some of the projects I lOvE and want to do the second 1.1.15 hits!

First we have the leaving cowl.  I already have some amazing grey SkeinQueen yarn lined up for this:


The “I’ll never finish, not afford the yarn” project, by Yellocosmo

The “I love the yellow” cardigan, by the amazing Georgie Hallam



and finally (for now) the amazing hap blanket by knitting legend in her own lifetime Ysolda Teague,

because who doesn’t need 12 blankets (yes I’ve made 11…)


What are you lusting over at the moment?

Please note I do not own the copyright for any of these pictures.  I have lovingly slurped the photos from Ravelry, and clicking on the images above should take you to the Ravelry pattern pages.


summer of bunting

I love Vero – tweet her @vero – and her pattern for making a bunting penant.  So much so that I have now made 2 strings of my own, and contributed to the Skein Queen Surprise bunting too.

I made the first and showed you earlier this summer, but here it is again:


bunting for a baby girl.

Then my niece saw it and my yarn and spent a happy half hour (that’s ages for a 5 years and 1 week year old!) picking colours for her bunting from my stash.  Then asked me to make it… [PS I’m one of those people that has their stash about them, stash is for petting, stash is for life.  Not to be caged in plastic boxes….].  I added the stripes to the orange all on my own (*blush* why thank you!) to mingle the patterned penants and add extra colour… and stop boredom…. and use up stash…

So here we are!


Some of the multiple reasons for loving this pattern:

  • it’s free
  • it’s portable
  • it’s not a complicated pattern so I can knit the penants at knitting meet ups without goofing up.
  • it’s not socks which seems to be a popular choice for porable projects
  • it is stash-busting
  • it is postable

I hope she likes it – she loves pink, but I didn’t have any that coordinated in stash, and I just wanted to make a £0 outlay gift for her (ok, I spent £2.80 on postage).  August for supply teachers is a l-e-e-e-a-n time.

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WI and Hobbycraft yarn review 3 – Premium Acrylic

Today we have the final part of my Hobbycraft yarn review.  I know it’s been a long time coming, however, as I explained in my other yarn review posts I am not a fan of making a square for no reason – I insisted [to myself] that the yarns must be used to produce useful items.  I really believe that this is a more representative test of a yarn too.

So lastly we have Premium Acrylic, one of the 4 yarns that the Women’s Institute have produced in collaboration, and exclusively with, Hobbycraft.

IMG_0338I loved the pattern that I made this hat with which is Audrey’s Hat by Nancy Ricci – something I picked up at the Knitting and Stitching show in London in 2012 (!) and the yarn seemed to suit my project.  I am also super proud of the way in which I created the bow pattern.


The yarn is 100% acrylic and is the cheapest of the yarns I have tested at £2.20 a ball.  The yardage is comparable to other budget acrylics, and I enjoyed knitting with it.  Though whether that was the yarn, the pattern, or the combination I am loathe to analyse.


There is a great range of colours in this yarn, though due to the current 3for2 WI yarn offer on the site many colours are out of stock – I do recommend that you get on board with this yarn!  Due to the yardage, I could have made another 2 hats with these two balls.


The downsides for Premium Acrylic were the 3p donation to the WI [not that I disagree with charity donations, just that I am still surprised how small the donations for each type of yarn are] and that the beige yarn had a number of nubbs – the term I use for when the stuffing of the yarn comes out due to uneven and disappointing spinning.

On the whole, I consider it an honour and a privilege to have tested these 3 yarns, and I can’t help but think that purchasing them would be a good purchase.  My personal favourite is the Soft & Silky variant, and I can’t wait to get more of this microfibre gem!


I am not paid for this review, which is an honest and true reflection of how I feel about this product.  The yarn was sent to me free of charge, in return for an honest review of the yarn that will be made available to Hobbycraft.

Thanks to my lovely hubby for once again taking the photos!


STOP PRESS! The Hobbycraft 3 for 2 on WI yarn continues!  Get yours here, and if you have a nectar card?  Head to the Nectar eshop and get extra nectar points on your Hobbycraft purchase!



Hobbycraft Women’s Institute yarn review: Soft & Silky DK

On to Women’s Institute Yarn review number 2!


Today we focus on Soft and Silky a double knitting yarn that is 100% Microfibre acrylic.

I was perplexed by this as it felt so….. silky.  (well done marketeers for excellent labelling).

I took the yarn to my knitting group, minus the label – what do you think of this?  I questioned?  What do you reckon it is?


Lots of stroking, oohs and aahs happened.  Lots of happy smiles about how vivid the red was.


“It’s Hobbycraft acrylic.  £3.00.  Light DK – 5ply” I inform them.

Multiple splutters of disbelief.  Taking of yarn and strokage and working out whether trips to Hobbycraft can be worked into the Saturday afternoon routine.

So far – so good.



I looked at my Ravelry queue (list of projects that I want to do – by no means a definitive list, more of a starter for 10) and found that the Circlet by Dani Sunshine would be perfect yarn/pattern match – seeing as how rare it is for me to actually check these things and then actually find a match I knew that it was destined to be.

So I made two crowns – one for my niece and one my nephew – and here are the results:


Let me tell you – I LOVED this yarn!


It feels so super luxurious


yet, it’s acrylic and £3.00 a ball (with a minimum of 5p going to WI per ball).

Go and buy it.  You really need to.  There aren’t enough colours in my opinion – but other than that it is a great value purchase.



Thanks to Hobbycraft for sending me this new and exclusive yarn to review.  The yarn was free, but the views are entirely my own and I am not paid to write my opinions.

Thanks also to my gorgeous husband for using his fancypants new camera to take better photos than I could ever manage!


Hobbycraft Women’s Institute Yarn: Soft & Cuddly

Hobbycraft have recently launched an exclusive line of yarns that are acrylic based, value prices and donate money to the Women’s Institute with every purchase.  The yarns are rich in colour, nice to the touch and wont break your yarn budget either.  I was lucky enough to be sent 2 balls of the 4ply baby yarn Soft & Cuddly, 2 balls of  5ply sport/light DK weight Soft & Silky and 2 balls of Premium Acrylic.


There are far more positives than negatives with all of these yarns – however I feel I must mention something that did jar a bit with me.  Much is made of the money going to the Women’s Institute by buying this yarn.  It feels good when you indirectly do something good, when buying something huh?  However the yarns really aren’t going to revolutionise the charity funding sector.  The 4ply yarn donates a whopping minimum 2p a ball.  You read it right – 2p.  The biggest donation comes from the acrylic 100g ball – wait for it….. 10p.  Not a massive donation is it?


Anyway – I thought that each type deserved a post of its own and so this first in the series is dedicated to the baby yarn 4ply – Soft & Cuddly.


I don’t really enjoy knitting swatches for the sake of it, so I decided to make purposeful samples – another reason why my review has taken so long!  The 4ply was very thick so I wanted to use it to make squares for my knitting group blanket that we are making for a local retirement home that gave us MASSES of yarn.  More on that when it’s done – back to the review-

The sample above is the shade “blue stripes”  – and I really enjoyed knitting it up.  The blue shade was self patterning as you can see and I think that the pattern came out well considering that I knit a diagonal square and it was all garter stitch.  My only note was that there was a lot more grey than I anticipated in this colourway.  Not something that would worry me, but those choosing it as a baby yarn may desire less grey.


Next I made the same square in the “Pink Flecks” colourway.


I found it strange that this was not a self-patterning yarn as the blue had been, but it did seem to fleck in stripes of pink then burgundy and a pale purple.  Still pretty and the square definition is more visible as the colour is less dominant.


All in all I enjoyed using this yarn and would pick it again for future projects that required a heavy 4ply acrylic – especially at £3.00 a ball.



Thanks to Hobbycraft for sending me this new and exclusive yarn to review.  The yarn was free, but the views are entirely my own and I am not paid to write my opinions.

Thanks also to my gorgeous husband for using his fancypants new camera to take better photos than I could ever manage!




The pattern I used is:

Cast on 3stitches

Row1 – knit 1, knit front & back, knit 1,

Row 2 and all even rows – knit

odd rows k1, kfb knit to last 2 sts kfb, k1

when triangle is desired size (this is as wide as it will be ) start to decrease on odd rows:

k1, slip 1, k1, pass slipped stitch over, knit to last 3 stitches, knit 2 together, k1

Continue to knit all even rows.

When just 3 stitches remain, cast off all stitches.