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Tag Archives: Health

If You Are Going to the Woods Today..


A short and sweet post from me. I have a proper knitting post lined up for tomorrow, but this one is an important one.

It is tick season in the Northern hemisphere. My eye was caught by this BBC article about the European Space Agency backing work on mapping Scottish tick hotspots. The article is pretty good but also carries a really unfortunate image of a bullseye rash.

Here’s the low down.

Ticks are tiny arthropods who like to suck blood from humans and animals. They range in sizes – the young ones are tiny and the size of a pin head. Grown-up ticks have a characteristic light brown body. Most ticks are harmless and won’t harm you or your animals. Unfortunately a small number carry a bacteria called Borrelia burgdoferi – this bacteria transmits Lyme Disease or Lyme borreliosis. And you really don’t want to contract that.

How to Protect Yourself & Loved Ones from Tick Bites

  • Don’t walk through long grass or brush against foliage.
  • Wear long trousers and long-sleeved shirts if you are outside. Tuck your trousers into your socks.
  • Wear light-coloured clothes so any ticks crawling on you can easily be detected (remember some of them are tiny)
  • Wear gloves when brushing yourself and your loved ones down before going inside
  • Check for small black dots and full-grown brown bodies in dark, damp and moist places- i.e. behind your ears, in your hairline, armpits and bikini line.
  • If you find a tick, you can try to remove it.

Remember that a tick bite does not mean you will automatically become ill! Don’t panic but act responsibly.

So You May or May Not Have Been Bitten By a Tick

  • If you develop flu-like symptoms over the next six months, go see a doctor.
  • Symptoms of a Lyme borreliosis infection include rashes, headaches, facial paralysis, ear pain, fever, disorientation, joint pains etc.
  • People go on about bullseye rashes being a key symptom – not everybody develops this rash!
  • Lyme borreliosis is treatable with antibiotics and early intervention is key.
  • Read more here. Google responsibly (there is a lot of awful information and hand-waving out there).

I was bitten in the summer of 1996 and know first-hand what a tick bite can do to you. I only sought medical help after several months of unexplained ailments – don’t be as stupid and naive as me. Go out, enjoy nature and be smart about protecting yourself & loved ones.

Much love.

Now We’re Getting Somewhere

October2013 141

I was looking through an old photo folder when I came across this swatch I did for what would eventually become the Proserpine shawl. The swatch was knitted in an unreleased Old Maiden Aunt shade and I love how the camera picks up unexpected shades in the soft khaki green. Patterns have an interesting path they take from initial swatch to finished object. Proserpine was always going to be knitted in a rich, jewel-like shade, but for a short period of time it only existed partially in my head and partially in this soft green shade. Colours play such a part in how we see designs – once I knitted Proserpine in Caerthan‘s rich teal, it became a different, separate thing to what it was at this early stage. Part of me still wonders what it would look like in the OMA colourway. If I had but world enough and time..

.. if I had but world enough and time, I would knit many things.


(Loch Fyne earlier this year; so many ideas)

Maybe this is a good time to tell you that I have tentatively begun doing research into Something New. It is much too early to say more about it as I want to run this very differently than Doggerland. In fact, the research is at such an early stage that I’m yet to pull together a colour palette or formulate a design vocabulary (and all those other things that make my partner laugh when I start talking about them – “are you sure you didn’t go to art school?”). But the idea is there, it has been there for some time and it keeps nudging me. All this is good.

However, first I will be focusing on other things. It is Wovember, after all, and I have a lot of travel time over the next few weeks. I am hoping to get a few knitted gifts done (strong emphasis on hope) and I have some delicious Blacker Yarn earmarked for that. I’m finishing up a few articles too and there is something very special in a knitting magazine later this month.

Just a brief, final note. I have been out for the count with a dreadful migraine for the first five days or so of this month. I took three days off (as I couldn’t see out of my left eye!) and I’m now trying to get through all messages, mails, edits, revisions, and so forth as quickly as I possibly can – please be patient with me!

World Cup Knitting Injury

Many people don’t like the World Cup in football. I do. It makes for great sample knitting company (especially because I have no stakes in this tournament) and I can zip through my to-do pile a lot quicker than if I were stuck watching TV series or films. And, honestly, I find assorted Tumblrs and various memes hugely entertaining.

On that note, I would like to share my own World Cup injury. It seems as though there is apparently such a thing as too much knitting. Won’t stop me from applying bandages and heading back onto the pitch. After all, I have matches to watch and things to finish.

BqhVsHXCMAAzLbV.png large

PS. button brains, I am looking for seven dark wooden buttons roughly 18mm – any good UK suppliers I’ve missed? The usual suspects of Textile Garden, eBay and Etsy have failed me.

Onwards & Upwards

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I am awash in a sea of teal. It being a “thing” for a “thing” I cannot spill too many details – except that I am currently 4380 sts away from finishing the thing (which equals about 3 hours of concentrated work – it’s not a quick knit, alas). The “thing” has kept me company for the past few weeks of enforced rest and I shall be sorry to send it away.

Actually, the “thing” was much admired today by three new-to-knitting nurses. I spent some time at Glasgow’s Western Infirmary getting my leg checked by an orthopaedic specialist and took my knitting with me in case I had to wait around. The verdict? My leg is still very bruised and if I am still struggling two weeks from now, I am to see the specialist immediately. Right now, though, there is no evidence of a torn ligament (hooray! silly A&E) but the tissue surrounding the ligament is definitely badly bruised. I am to rest my leg as much as possible but also begin to do exercises including prolonged periods of walking and gentle stretching.

I am hugely relieved by the news.

However, I do find walking very fatiguing and overwhelming. As a result I am having to postpone a few engagements over the next couple of weeks. I hate disappointing people but I’m really not at my best right now. I am very sorry.

Thank you to everybody who has been in contact over the last few weeks. Your messages, texts and emails have been enormously cheering.

Onwards and upwards.

Out of Joint

About two weeks ago I was working for a client in a yarn store when I suffered an accident. Some big shelves fell on the back of my knee and I was left with a very impressive bruise. As the bruise faded away, I expected to be back to normal but unfortunately my knee is still bad.


Image via WebMD

I went to the A&E last week and they concluded that while I didn’t have a fracture, the overarching conclusion is that I have torn or badly bruised my lateral collateral ligament. The LCL stabilises the outside of the knee and also grips the fibula (the outside bone of the lower half of the leg). I have an appointment with an orthopaedic clinic next week and hopefully that will lead to physiotherapy.

For me, enforced rest is always difficult. I like being active and I get easily bored if I’m restricted in my movements. I have kept myself going by writing patterns and doing some sample knitting, but as the days have passed I just feel increasingly worried about how long this is going to take and what that means for my working life. While it has been great to dig into some editing gigs, I have been forced to cancel quite a lot of jobs. March is going to be an exceptionally lean month, in other words. Being self-employed means a huge amount of freedom but it is also a precarious way of making a living.

Yesterday I celebrated my birthday and it was a curiously low-key day. I received some lovely presents (among others: my bestie gave me an ace book on Doggerland and my parents gave me a fantastic-sounding novel about 18th C Danish colonisation of Greenland) but most of the day was spent resting in bed. We caught a taxi down to the best burger joint in town but although I enjoyed being outside Casa Bookish, I ended up in considerable pain (and waking up in the middle of the night begging for painkillers is not the best way to end my birthday).

So it is a hermit’s life for me right now.

(If you need anything tech-edited, copy-edited or actually written, now is a fantastic time to get in touch (just fill in the form). If you were considering buying one of my patterns, now would be an equally great time to do so! If you want to recommend any knee exercises, leave a comment!)

A Knock on the Door

At Midnight

I don’t think I’ve ever shared this photo before. I’m wearing all three At Midnight yarn club patterns at once .. I’m rather proud of how well the three pieces work together. I’m currently prepping the patterns for general release. Watch this space.

However, I am running way behind schedule at the moment. I had a medical emergency just before the holidays which disrupted every single plan I had made. Then all of Casa Bookish fell ill with winter flu as we were driving home from our Aberedeenshire family holiday. Horrible, horrible flu –  it took forever to clear and I think it’ll be a couple of weeks before I am back to normal levels of well-being. Grrrr.

This means that I’m pushing the release dates of some new patterns as well as the oft-mentioned Doggerland collection. When you are a one-woman operation it doesn’t take much for the house of cards to fall, alas.

However: there is a new Scottish knitting event happening this year – the Edinburgh Yarn festival. I’d strongly suggest you keep your eyes peeled for some big announcements being made soon. My lips are sealed!

Happy new year!



I was going to write a long post about being strapped into a rollercoaster of woah and longing for days of meh. I had it all worked out in my head, but once I had written it down, my brilliant metaphors seemed significantly less brilliant and more .. belaboured. And as we all know that belaboured prose is one of the cardinal sins, I will quietly forget that blog post I composed in my head this morning over breakfast.

Life is rushing past me at the moment and I find it difficult to catch my breath. I remember that feeling from my university days when I found a rich seam of information to mine and just lost myself in the library. It is so tempting to just step into that slipstream of excitement, fascination and intense, hard work – but these days I have some very good reasons as to why I cannot quite allow myself this. Back at university I would end up with ulcers – these days my body has other acute reactions that I should very much like to avoid (not that I am very good at avoiding them – as I am typing this, I have a very distinct headache brewing). It is just difficult to remember to say no to exciting opportunities – especially when I am having so much fun.

A fellow freelance knitting person recommended Asana to me the other day and it has already given me so much. It is a time and task management tool that is geared towards small teams, but works really well for this one-woman venture too. I have slotted in all my to-do tasks and I can already see where things are potentially clashing and how I can push one task into another time slot.So useful: I might even end up with some spare time on hands at some point!

I have already begun plotting what I would like to do with potential spare time: I’d like to whip up a few sewing projects, I’d like to finish my Acer cardigan in time for winter, I’d like to see some friends, and I’d like to read some proper books. My partner gave me a Kindle for our anniversary and while I have been using it a lot for nefarious knitting purposes, I have also devoured a lot of bad regency romances (which in itself is a sure sign of me being stressed).

(What? You think me plotting activities for my spare time is a sign of impending doom? I think you might be right. Ahem.)


+ if you have signed up to the Karie Bookish Knits/Old Maiden Aunt yarn club, the yarn parcels are under way and the first pattern will land in your inbox this Friday around noon UK time. This means I can finally blog about a Finished Object – that very thought thrills me no end!

+ I will be part of the “Reviving Woollen Traditions” Public Study Day at Glasgow’s The Lighthouse Design Centre on October 18. This Public Study Day forms part of a Glasgow University research project and although the day is open to the public, I believe the organisers still would like you to sign up. It looks ace and I am looking forward to meeting a lot of online friends who are also participating.

Finally: 10,328? Ah. The number of stitches I knitted on Sunday. In laceweight. Doing lace. My wrists and shoulders are still aching.


Boo(Yes, that is a 1940s quilt/blanket)

I am hiding under my quilt clutching tissues, listening to my iPod, occasionally working on my new pattern, but mainly just dozing as I am bravely battling the common cold.

So, here are some things I have enjoyed recently.

Frontier & A Bike

Blog Photos March 2012My knitting mojo seems to have returned – although I probably jinxed it by saying that.

I have finished two things – neither of which I can show you right now – and I have cast on for a new project. Luckily I can show you this one.

This is going to be Frontier by Julia Frank. Julia is a knitwear designer that works within the realm of deconstructing traditional knitwear ideas: she works with relatively fine yarns knitted at very loose gauge and with dropped-stitch patterns worked across large areas. Her work is a tiny bit more commercial now she is designing for Rowan: Frontier interprets the loose gauge and the dropped stitches within the context of a cropped summer cardigan. (Oh, and I also really, really like Julia Frank’s Clara jumper from the recent Studio 26. Knitted bottom-up in the round with a yoke .. but this traditional construction just seems so fresh in Frank’s hands.)

Anyway. Frontier. I am using Rowan Pima Cotton in “Bark”. I am always wary of knitted with inelastic fibres like cotton or silk, but my hands are doing just fine. It has been a quick knit due to knitting a DK yarn on 5.5mm needles using a drop-stitch pattern. I had to adjust to the double whammy of a loose gauge and dropped stitches (either is fine, combined they are interesting). It helped when I changed from my customary circs to straight (bamboo) needles to stop the wraps getting tangled. I am just one ball into the project but I’m already at the arm hole shaping for the back.

Blog Photos March 2012In lieu of any photos of my two FOs, here is a photo of the delicious vegan date cake I had at Artisan Roast during one of my bike trips.

Yes, the bike arrived this week. I cannot begin to tell you what a difference having a bike has made to my emotional wellbeing.

When I lived in Denmark, I used to bike everywhere – it is simply part of the Copenhagen lifestyle – but I have been reluctant to get a bike here for a number of reasons (traffic & health being two major ones). Recently I have seen a rise in the number of people biking around Glasgow and I decided I might as well join them. I am so very glad I did. Apparently I never feel quite at home in a place before I can navigate it on a bike. Glasgow belongs to me  now.

I am also very amused by the male bikers on their 17-gear racers who look at me with disdain as they race past me – and whose facial expressions turn positively green with sourness when this skirt-wearing lass on a three-gear classic ladies’ bike catches up with them at the red light.

And, yes, I wear a helmet and I am significantly less suicidal on a bike than I was back in Copenhagen (where everything goes if you are biking). Don’t worry.

Happiness is a red bike.

Recent Events & Works in Progress

And another thing happened.

The day before my birthday – Friday – I called to see my doctor as I was concerned about something. As a rule I am not fond of doctors, so I had waited a couple of weeks before actually making the call. The young doctor gulped, prescribed strong antibiotics (which meant I was being arty in Edinburgh whilst combating awful nausea) and made another appointment for me Monday morning. And so by Monday afternoon I was admitted to hospital awaiting emergency surgery.

I am very thankful for the British National Health Service. They were quick and efficient: I had my operation and I was discharged again by 6.30pm. If you live in the UK or are a British citizen, please consider signing this petition urging the British Government to rethink its Health and Social Care bill.

Fifi ShrugWhilst waiting around, I managed to do a lot of work on my crochet shrug.

The pattern is Fifi from the new Rowan Holiday Crochet booklet. The stitch pattern looks quite complex, but is actually a relatively easy two-row repeat worked with double trebles (US: trebles) which makes progress very quick. Apart from still needing to check how to turn, I have memorised the pattern – and I am very pleased by how much I have managed to do on just a few days.

And the colour is gorgeous – I cannot seem to get away from mossy greens. I actually picked up some Liberty needle cord earlier this month which has an accent of mossy green – I wonder if I’ll actually manage to whip up a skirt or if my nerves will betray me once I face cutting into Liberty needle cord.

Later this year I am going to a wedding celebrating my wonderful friends Elaine and Steve. I was going to make my own dress, but then I found a silk dress in John Lewis reduced from £150 down to £10. How could I resist!? However, I have not forgotten my pledge to wear handmade to the occasion. I am going to design and knit a delicate shrug – and I am going to make my own fascinator.

Fascinators are so utterly British. I think the rest of the world noticed them last year when tuning into the royal wedding. Not being British, I have never had the chance to wear these flippant hair pieces before, so I am actually rather excited about the prospect.

Fascinator #1I bookmarked a few tutorials and pinned a couple of pictures to Pinterest before having my first go last night. I used this tutorial to make the piece in the photo.

It was fairly easy, actually. I used some silk flowers I had found ultra cheap on Ebay and added a few beads I had lying about.

The flowers are not the right colour for the dress (a radical departure from the usual Ms Bookish uniform of green and/or red!) and I’ll be wanting to add different beads to the actual fascinator/hairpiece – but I am still satisfied with the outcome. I’ll be trying to reverse-engineer this hairpiece next, though, as I am not sure I’m a Big Floral Thing On My Head person.

Which reminds me: do say hello on Pinterest.