Friday, 4 December 2015

Feeling Festive

Are you feeling festive yet? I think it's creeping up on me, which is good. I do love the festive season - although I could do without the over-kill on the marketing side. For me, Christmas is about spending time with my family and we're all looking forward to Christmas Day Bingo at Mum and Dads. Then over New Year, we're off to spend 5 days with our daughter who works on a Cruise Ship, so we're visiting Hamburg and Bruges on a mini-cruise break and can't wait to see her perform in the shows. Then she finishes her contract and will come home with us for a couple of months, which will be lovely.
But first I have a lot of knitting and crochet to do. Not just for commissions, but for presents too. Not to mention the proof-reading and pattern checking that's waiting. No rest for the wicked!!!!
My Christmas commissions have been slowly coming into publication. I didn't seem to have as many Christmas commissions this year, as my August break clashed with the various Christmas deadlines, so I had to decline quite a few requests. But I had fun designing this little fellow for Let's Knit Magazine. The yarn and toy filling came free with the issue, so there was no excuse not to make him. I've seen a lot of readers makes, and they've turned out very cute too, which is always a huge relief. I'm currently working on a crochet Santa pattern, which should be available soon - hopefully in time for Christmas.
I was delighted to see that my cable wreath with robins has been featured on the front cover of Woman's Weekly Magazine for the 15th December issue, which should hit the shelves at any time. It's such an honour to be feature on the front cover and I'll be buying quite a few copies no doubt.
I used DMC Woolly, which is a beautifully soft Merino yarn, that comes in a great range of colours. It was perfect for this project - not too thick and not too thin. It would make a great gift and something that can be used year after year.

The cabled wreath cover is simply a strip of yarn that stretches (quite tightly) around a polystyrene wreath. The edges are slip stitched together. The holly/berries and robins are made separately and attached.
My tip for knitted or crocheted wreath making is to make sure that your wreath cover is a very tight fit because the fibres will relax once sewn together and if it's not a tight fit it will be too baggy. If your cover does become baggy you could always insert pins through the cover and into the polystyrene so that it doesn't move around. Do this on the back so that it's not visible.

I'd love to hear if you're making any gifts this year and I hope you're more organised than I am.
Enjoy the festive season and happy crafting,
Lynne xxx

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Book Review - Fiona Goble - Knitted Animal Scarves, Mitts and socks

Some time ago (I confess it was quite a while), CICO sent me a lovely book to review by Fiona Goble, called "knitted animal scarves, mitts and socks". It's been patiently waiting up in The Woolnest for me to put some time aside, have a good look through and tell you all what I think about it.
Please note: This review is my own thoughts and words and I haven't been asked to write anything specific.
I admit to having a soft spot for Fiona Goble's work, and own a few books of hers already. I love her Scarves and Cowls book and her knitted characters are always unique and quirky. Her latest book draws me in too, with her cute and colourful scarves, mittens and socks for kids of all ages (and adventurous adults too). 
Fiona has ingeniously transformed all sorts of our favourite creatures into fun, wearable accessories that seem quick to make with simple instructions. Chapters include Country Creatures, Furry Friends, Water Lovers and Wild Animals and creatures range from hedgehogs and koalas, to flamingos, aligators, frogs and penguins - all brought together to create a great knitted menagerie.

My firm favourites are the hedgehog mitts (front cover project), mouse scarf and socks, fox scarf and mittens and last but not least, the seal pup, flamingo and racoon scarves. To be honest, every single project is very cute indeed and your child's favourite animal is bound to be here in one form or another.

There are full making-up instructions to help you finish your projects, and the beautiful, clear photographs make this book a real treasure.
I'll share it around my knit group friends to see what they think and I'll let you know. In the meantime, I'm off to find some yarn in The Woolnest to make someone a very cute hand-knitted Christmas present.

Book Details:
Knitted Animal Scarves, Mitts, and Socks
Fiona Goble

Published by CICO Books

ISBN-10: 1782492526
ISBN-13: 978-1782492528

Thanks for visiting and see you soon.
Happy Making,
Lynne x

Wednesday, 23 September 2015


As you know, I've embarked upon a much needed tidy up and clearout of The Woolnest. Each day I stop and take a few moments to look around, mooch through a drawer or empty out a tin, just to see what's there and to decide whether or not I can keep it - using my USE IT OR LOSE IT rules (you can read about them here). It's surprising what lovely things you find when you start to look!!!

So far, I have a lovely new shelf, thanks to hubby who called in at IKEA, bought me a shelf and fixed it up for me. Perfect.

Now all of the things that were on my desk are on the shelf, which leaves room on my desk to work. That's a first for The Woolnest.
I also parted company with my beloved Molly Makes magazines, converting a pile of magazines that I barely look at, to a few sheets of paper that I want to keep. These are either projects I would like to make, or inspirational photos.

I also mooched out all of the free gifts from the mag, which I'd stuffed into a box for "someday" and I carefully removed the accompanying instructions from each mag. Now I have some fun sewing projects that I can give to friends, complete with instructions. Brilliant. It took me a couple of hours, but it was worth it.

I then found a bag of 100% wool balls that I keep buying from the same lady at Yarndale and Wonderwool. I'm not sure why I keep buying these little balls of yarn, but I love the lady's stall and I'm drawn to it like a magnet. She sells vintage paraphernalia as well as these gorgeous balls of wool (100% British and hand-dyed) in lots of subtle, earthy tones. I don't intend to buy any more on Saturday when I visit Yarndale ...... but you never know!!!

So I pondered what to do with these little lovelies and, as if by magic, Black Sheep Wools announced a Crochet - A - Long for their Spice of Life Blanket, which will be perfect.

Photo credit: Sandra Paul at Cherry Heart and used with permission

The blanket has been designed by blogger Sandra Paul (aka Cherry Heart) and patterns will be released every couple of weeks. The blanket is crocheted in Rico Baby Classic DK and you can buy the pack here from Black Sheep Wools:
You can read Sandra's fab blog here with lots of helpful hints for beginners:

I'd love to hear how you're getting along with your own USE IT OR LOSE IT campaign - don't forget to tweet about it using #useitorloseit and you can join the Ravelry group here (some ladies have posted some great ideas for organising your stash):

Use it or Lose it Ravelry group

Happy Making,
Lynne xx

Saturday, 5 September 2015


My stash busting project is going well and I now have a crocheted shawl that I'm halfway through, a little pile of books for selling and I've made around 15 small flower brooches for the ladies on my Yarndale trip (which is only a few weeks away - yippee). I still need to buy the printed ribbon which will say "YARNDALE 2015" on it, and the idea is that the flower will act as a little momento of our trip.

I've been using up the remains of 3 skeins of British Gotland DK, which is perfect. The natural fibres create a slightly fluffy effect and the yarn changes colour ever so slightly throughout, due to the hand-dyeing.

 love the colours I'm using too which all have such great names - 'Sunset over Chequers' (pink), 'Monkstone Beach Sands' (mustard) and 'A Touch of the Blues' (blue).

The yarn was left over from a design commission, and was provided by The Little Grey Sheep. They produce the most beautiful yarn and you can see their products here:

I thought I'd share this pattern as it creates the perfect little flower that you can add to your favourite bag, coat or scarf. You could even add it to a headband for a little girl, or clip the onto the front of you favourite shoes!!! It only uses around 8g of yarn, so with a 50g skein, you could make about 8 flowers. I've added the pattern as a pdf file, so that it's easier to print off, or you can save it to your computer or tablet and avoid the printing.

Click here to download the Yarndale Flower Brooch pattern

I've added the pattern to Ravelry here, so don't forget to add your projects. If you share your flowers on social media it would be fab if you could link me - I'm @thewoolnest on Twitter and Facebook and the_woolnest on Instagram, thank you.

If you want to join in my stash busting project, you can read the rules here (and these are just my rules - you can change them to suit yourself).

Happy making, Lynne x

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Exciting Things Part 2

I blogged here about my first bits of exciting news - and this time next week I will be at Event City, Manchester with the Woman's Weekly team, teaching crochet. I can't wait. I'm excited, but just a little nervous as teaching 30 people to crochet in just one hour is quite an undertaking!!! Wish me luck!!!! Michaela Strachan is opening the show - I remember her more from the Hit Man and Her in my Youth, but enjoying watching her on the various nature programmes she now hosts.
And now I have some more exciting news to share. I've just signed another book deal with Search Press for one of their 20 To Make Series. I'm really excited as the content will be colourful and fun to make and I'll share more with you once deadlines and full content have been agreed. I love their 20 To Make Series and have a nice little collection up in The Woolnest. I have a feeling that mine will be very popular. One of my current favourites is Sue Stratford's mini Christmas knits.

Talking of books, I was delighted to see these little characters pop up on facebook - made by a teacher for her class. Aren't they so very cute. I love it when people share their photos, as I often a worry that when other people make my designs, they won't turn out the same and they may feel disappointed. Afterall, we all crochet and knit ever so slightly differently, don't we. But these are perfect, phew!!

Other great news is that I have a interview in the current issue of Crochet Gifts Magazine. It falls across 2 pages and is followed by Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, also from my crochet book "Once Upon a Time in Crochet".

You can buy my book here from Amazon. Sometimes it goes on offer for £6.99 which is a great price. It currently has 10 reviews and all are positive, which is fantastic.

I have a little bit more news to share with you, but I'll save that for another day.
Have fun making and crafting, Lynne

Monday, 31 August 2015


I've already made a start on my new campaign. It involves a magazine, lace-weight yarn and crochet.

I recently added (yet) another magazine to my ever growing magazine stash. I do try not to buy magazines unnecessarily, however, I spotted Crochet Gifts (published by Practical Publishing) in Morrison's and remembered that I'd been asked to do an interview by the lovely editor Hugh Metcalf. I skimmed through and there was little old me on a two-page spread - how exciting.

On the following pages are the patterns for Red Riding Hood and the Wolf from my Crochet book Once Upon a Time in Crochet. Well I had to buy it, didn't I!!!

So with my new rules in place (you can read them here), I must either USE IT OR LOSE IT.

I really need to keep this mag and luckily a project immediately caught my eye - The Odeletta Shawl by designer Anna Nikipirowicz (

It's right up my street - simple and pretty (plus it looks very quick to make). The project calls for 2 x 25g balls of Rowan Kidsilk Haze, which is beautiful, feathery mohair/silk yarn, but unfortunately I can't wear it near my skin. So I had a little mooch around The Woolnest and produced a skein of beautiful organic silk lace weight yarn with more than enough meterage to match the 2 balls of Kidsilk Haze. Sorted!!!! I did have 2 skeins of this gorgeous yarn, so it looks as though I'll be making one as a gift too.

I started last Thursday (4 days ago) and I've made quite good progress. It was a little bit fiddly to begin with, as the yarn is so thin and my stitches very small, but now that I've worked a few rows, it's getting much easier to work with. I love the softness of the organic lace yarn and can't wait to wear this beautiful shawl.

How are you getting on - have you made a start yet on your own USE IT OR LOSE IT campaign???

Good luck if you have, and don't forget to share your projects here on Ravelry:
Click here to join the group on Ravelry

Thanks for reading and Happy Crafting, Lynne x


Finally, I’m pleased/relieved to share my latest stash busting project with you.

I’ve called it:


The capital letters are for my own purposes – I keep saying these words over and over to myself but I don’t seem to be taking any notice. So now I’m shouting them to myself and it’s finally working. So if you want to join in, here are the rules - I’m setting rules so that I stick to them. If there are no rules I’ll probably find an excuse to just keep everything that’s in The Woolnest and that would be fruitless and pointless as I really REALLY need to have a MEGA sort-out.

Use It or Lose It: The Rules
Rule 1:
1. Go through my magazine stash.  I literally have hundreds of magazines stacked in piles under the bed; in boxes; in bags. They’re everywhere I turn and are getting me down as they’re heavy to move.

2. Look through each magazine and if I see a project that I would make, then I can remove the pattern and keep it - IF and only IF I have some yarn in my stash that I can use (NO new yarn to be purchased!!!). If I spot a handy technique that would be useful in my classes, or a photograph that inspires me, then I can remove it from the magazine and keep it in a file. The rest of the mag will be recycled. If there’s nothing in the magazine that takes my fancy, then I will give the whole magazine to a friend or charity shop.

Rule 2:
1. Go through my books. As with magazines, I have an ever-growing pile of books that I have bought or that have been sent to me to review on my blog. I have far too many books and barely look at some.

2. Look through each book and if I want to keep it I have to choose at least one project to make, using yarn from my stash – remember - no buying of yarn is allowed. If nothing takes my fancy then I will give the book to a friend or charity shop, or if it’s like new I may sell it.

I’m already having palpitations at the sheer thought of Rules 1 and 2 above!!!!

Rule 3:
1. Go through my stash and identify what yarns I have. I will do this a drawer at a time, otherwise it will be too overwhelming (I really do have lots of yarn!!).

2. Write down the yarn types and quantities and decide what I’m going to do with it. I can use Rules 1 and 2 to help find projects to make. If I really can’t decide what to make with the yarn, then it will go to a friend or to charity, or if it’s new and still in neat balls, then I may sell it. It will probably take me years to use up my stash, so the sooner I make a start, the better.

Rule 4:
1. Go through the various drawers, jars and tins dotted around The Woolnest and identify what’s in them – most likely buttons, ribbon, beads, felted balls and that sort of thing. I need to make sure that I start incorporating them into projects. I’d be reluctant to give these away as they really do come in handy with my commissions and it would be silly to get rid of them, just to buy more when I need them. But I need to make sure I’m using them. If I find anything I just don’t like and would never, ever use, then I will give them to friends or charity.

Rule 5
Find my Work's in Progress (WIPs) and decide whether I'm going to finish each one. I have quite a few dotted around the house so I'll need to round them up. I need to either finish each one or if I don't like it then am I prepared to unravel it or would it make a nice gift if I finish it???? Decisions......decisions..........

So there we have it. The Rules of USE IT OR LOSE IT. If you want to join in, you can use the hashtag on twitter #useitorloseit , and I really look forward to seeing what you make along the way.

Good luck and don't forget to share your makes here on Ravelry - you're all welcome.
Click here to join the group
Happy Crafting, Lynne x

Monday, 24 August 2015

Exciting Things Part 1

Lots of exciting things are happening here at the Woolnest.  I'm a happy bunny at the moment, and can't wait to share all of my little secrets with you.
Firstly, you may have noticed that I've been very quiet for some time. One reason is that it's holiday time, but another reason is that I've been rebranding my website/blog and social media accounts. What do you think of my new logos? I love them all and have the very talented James at to thank for my new branding. I particularly love my Twitter and Facebook branding with the knitting needles and crochet hook.

I've been busy grappling with technology and loading my new banners to each site. It does take a while, but I'm nearly there. I still have my blog to work on, and all of my patterns to rebrand, so it may be a while before I'm finished. I'm happy to take things a step at a time and fit things in around my design work.
My second piece of REALLY exciting new is that I'm joining the Woman's Weekly Knitting & Crochet team at Event City in Manchester on the 10th/11th/12th September. It's a jam-packed craft event and  I will be teaching crochet at their free crochet sessions throughout the day. I really can't wait and although I'm nervous, I'm really excited too. I feel honoured to be invited to join the team at their annual craft event and you can read more about it all here:

Wish me luck and hope to see you there. More exciting news will follow soon.

Happy Crafting, Lynne x

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Yarn Review - DMC Natura XL Just Cotton

Good Morning All. I hope you're keeping well and enjoying the lovely sunshine. I love the warmer weather as it means I can work outside and hopefully brown up my milky white legs and arms.

This week I've bee hooking with DMC's new yarn - Natura XL so I thought I'd share my thoughts just in case you'd seen this yarn and wondered what it's like to work with.

Please note - this isn't a sponsored post, or something I've been asked to do - it's just my own thoughts.

I first came across Natura XL at a recent Trade Show where I was invited to the launch of this new yarn. I was really excited as I've used DMC's Natura Just Cotton and Woolly (Merino) yarns in my crochet book and they've become some of my favourite yarns. At the show I received a little goodie bag with a couple of balls of Natura XL, a couple of free patterns, knitting needles and crochet hook (the one in the photo below). We spent a fun hour hooking up and knitting some quick projects and it was great to meet some of the magazine Editors that I work with and have never met. It was also lovely to meet Cara from DMC and speak in person.

Then by coincidence, I was recently asked to work up a crochet commission using Natura XL and when the yarn support arrived from DMC I was delighted with the bright, summery colours. They remind me of packet of refreshers - one of my favourite childhood sweets.

I used my free 7mm DMC crochet hook which I have to say was perfect. It's bamboo and has a cute little painted end, and the yarn didn't stick to the hook as the hook has a slight sheen. I shall definitely be buying more of these hooks, as I struggle with metal hooks - in fact I have to wear a fingerless mitten if I'm using a metal hook as they cause me a lot of pain.

Here are some facts about Natura XL Just Cotton:

Fibre content: 100% Cotton
Ball Weight: 100g
Yardage: 75m/82yds
Recommended Hook Size: 6-7mm
Recommended Knitting Needle Size: 8-9mm
Care: 30 degree wash/dry cleanable/low iron/do not tumble dry
Tension:17 sts and 12 rows in stocking stitch on 8mm needles
Price: approx. £4.49

My Review:
I found Natura XL easy to work with for both knitting and crochet. The yarn is made from 10 strands of yarn and each of the 10 strands are made from 2 twisted strands - so that's 20 strands in total. These are twisted together quite tightly to create one chunky strand and I didn't experience any splitting of the yarn. It has a matt finish and provides great stitch definition. It comes in a wide range of colours including vibrant shades and more subtle tones.

It produces quite a heavy fabric but would be great for accessories, such as bags, scarves and mittens and I would love to make some cushions or a floor rug. Because it's a chunky yarn, projects grow really quickly and each of the coasters I made took only 15 minutes each. I used a free pattern which you can find here (and I stopped after Round 3):

Free pattern for crochet coaster

In terms of quantities required for projects - I'm making a pair of small wrist warmers with just one ball; a decent sized neck cowl would take approx. 2 balls and a medium sixed bag would take around  6 balls, whereas a floor rug may take around 10 balls, So you can spend as much or as little as you like and still make something lovely.

Natura XL Just Cotton is a yarn I'm looking forward to using more often and I already have some great ideas for some stylish creations.

If you've used it too I'd love to hear your thoughts and see your projects.

Thanks for reading and happy crafting, Lynne x

Friday, 27 March 2015

A Free Knitting Pattern - Knitted Easter Bunny

Good Morning All. I hope you're enjoying the slightly warmer weather. Spring is definitely in the air and my mood is lifted today with the bright sunshine warming up the conservatory, where I've been enjoying a relaxing morning, catching up with emails and organising my work. Spring is one of my favourite seasons; for me it symbolises new life, new beginnings and brighter days.

I decided at New Year that I would start to share the many patterns that I have filed away on my PC. I have literally hundreds of patterns that have been published in various magazines and it's such a shame that they're just stuck on my PC when you could be using them to make lovely things.

So first up, with Easter in mind, I have a knitted Easter Bunny pattern to share with you. This little lady is knitted in the round but you can easily adapt her to work in rows as the head and body are worked in one piece in stocking stitch. Her arms and legs are worked initially in rows and then continued with an i-cord (there's a great i-cord tutorial here: i-cord tutorial at Purl Bee)

She stands at approximately 22cm high and would make a cute little pocket pal, to be taken on adventures far and wide.

I've used Rowan Tweed DK, which is quite a luxury yarn for this little bunny, but you could use oddments of any double knitting yarn, as she only uses a very small amount of each colour. You could use larger needles if desired for a slightly larger bunny (try 3.25mm), or you could use 4-ply yarn with 3mm or 2.75mm needles for a slightly smaller bunny.

You can download the pattern here:
Free Easter Bunny pattern

I've put her on ravelry so I'd love to see your little bunnies if you make her. You can add your projects here:

Happy Easter and Happy Crafting, Lynne xx

Sunday, 22 March 2015

My Alzheimer's Crochet Blanket

Despite having found numerous UFO's amongst my stash during a recent tidy up of The Wool Nest, I've started a new project, which is called my Alzheimer's Blanket (yes - I know it's very naughty of me!!!)

My friend is organising a Garden Party in July in order to raise money for Alzheimer's Charity, where I've offered my services to run a crochet class. I thought I'd also make a blanket to raffle, in the hope of raising a few extra pounds. This sparked a "stock take" of my stash which revealed enough yarn for at least 4 or 5 blankets  (and that's only part of the stash!!!!). I found enough Aran, double knitting and cotton 4ply to make a number of fairly sizable throws.

I pondered on the course of action to take - shall I knit or crochet, shall I make squares or work in rows? I tried various ideas but nothing seemed to grab my fancy. In the meantime I was working on a really gorgeous lampshade cover for Homemaker Magazine made from pretty mini granny squares with a daisy centre which I promptly declared my favourite granny square....... and thus my Alzheimer's blanket was born. With a few additional rounds it would make the perfect square.

I'm using up my leftover DMC Natura Just Cotton, which is a beautiful 4ply yarn, suitable for both knitting and crochet. It comes in a fantastic range of colours, all of which compliment each other. I used DMC yarns for my crochet book due out soon (which I'm super excited about!!!!) and I fell in love with it. All of the yarn I'm using for my blanket is left over yarn from my book and from a few other projects, and was all kindly provided by DMC, so I'm pleased to be putting it to good use.  You can see how gorgeous the shades are for yourself by downloading the full shade card here

I'm using Ibiza (01) for the centres and Blue Jeans (N26) for the final round of each square and also to join and edge the blanket as I have the most balls of yarn in these shades. I will then use up my other colours for the main part of the square. So far I've used:
Tournesol (N16)
Bourgogne (N34)
Gardenia (N36)
Canelle (N37)
Safran (N47)
Chartreuse (N48)
Bleu Layette (N05)
Giroflee (N85)
Moss Green (N75)

I mainly have 1 ball of each, but have 2 of Canelle and 2 of Safran. Whilst I love the creamy tone of Gardenia, I only have a very small amount - perhaps enough for 3 or 4 squares, so I may even buy an extra ball. But as the idea is to use up my stash, I shall try my best not to.

I love my Daisy Squares, and I will share the instructions with you shortly so that you can make your own blanket - a bit like a Crochet-A-Long - what do you think?

Thanks for reading and happy crafting, Lynne x

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Galloping through January

Wow - is it really halfway through January? New Year seems like yesterday in some ways, but a distant memory in others. We celebrated the start of 2015 in Amsterdam on a lovely Cruise break. It was a wonderful time, especially as we were all together as a family - Hubby, son, 2 daughters and little old me. We watched our daughter perform in the amazing shows (She's a dancer on the ship) and we enjoyed Bruges and Amsterdam before we said goodbye to Izzy as she headed off to the Caribbean.


Once home, my aim was to ease myself gently into the new year and take stock of my progress so far and think about where I wanted my little business to go. I have a lot more time on my hands now that my children are growing up and for the most part it's just myself, hubby and youngest son at home. Ollie is 13 now and is growing into a lovely young man. But he spends most of his time at home either at his friends or in his room. We eat together at meal times, always and have a good chat and often I'll pop into his room to make sure he's OK or to make sure he's done his homework, but mostly he's connected online to his friends, and they're usually having a good old laugh at something they're doing together together. My girls are doing their own things now, but still need a lot of support, in one way or another, so sometimes things can get a bit hectic before they calm down and I'm back in my steady routine.

Well my dreams were soon shattered as over the last couple of week I've been flooded with a number of new commissions, teaching, a couple of fabulous new crochet books to proof read/edit and some advisory work for a new knitting mag. Wowsers. Now my diary is full up to the end of February. Don't get me wrong - I'm not complaining; in fact quite the opposite as I love my work. But I did hope to find a small amount of time to work on some new ideas that I'd like to develop.

I have found a little time to make some things for myself though. I mentioned here that I had an embarrassingly large yarn stash to trawl through, and I'm pleased to say I've been keeping up with my fairisle blanket knit-a-long, my crochet-a-long and have yet to start my Let's Knit Secret Garden blanket.

I have a stack of gorgeous yarns just waiting to be turned into something lovely and I'm still working on my 90 knitted squares. But when the postman delivers this sort of parcel - what's not to like. It's a mix of British Gotland 4ply and Double Knitting from I can't wait to dive in and make a start on 2 lovely commissions for Homemaker Magazine.

I hope you've had a good start to the year - have you made any crafty resolutions? and are you sticking to them? I'd love to hear.

See you soon xx