Posted by: Elizabeth Lovick | April 12, 2014

This is the post I intended to write on Thursday…

It was a glorious day – quite windy, but lots of sun. The brakes had been fixed on my car, so Scottie and I went out round West Hill, one of our favourites.

The ‘main road’ between the pier and the houses on the island goes over the east side of the hill. The light was lovely, so we stopped at the lay-by at the top of the rise for me to take pix and Scottie to mooch about.

One of the lovely things about Flotta is that, because it is in the middle of Scapa Flow, there are views all round. This shows the uninhabited island of Fara in the foreground, with the hills of Hoy behind:

PhotoELF Edits:2014:04:12 --- Save - Overwrite --- crop; resize

And this one, taken from the same spot, but swung round a bit, show the lighthouse and Stromness in the distance. In the foreground is the Flotta plantation – something unusual on Orkney!

Spring walk 002

The north western side of West Hill has no houses. It is a ‘wartime road’, built in WWI, and now used by islanders for walking dogs, and for visitors for walking round the ‘Flotta trail’. It has views across to Hoy and Longhope, including this one looking over to the Lyness pier, once a huge naval base, and now one of the bases for marines renewables. The yellow and green ‘thing’ here is one of the devices, brought in for repair or waiting for deployment to one of the trial sites.

PhotoELF Edits: 2014:04:12 --- Save - Overwrite --- gamma; crop; resize

The road at this point runs close to the shore. If you look carefully you can see a couple of geese among the stones. These should have left for Greenland weeks ago, but more and more of them are staying through the summer, and causing problems for farmers, stripping newly planted fields as soon as the green shoots come above ground.

PhotoELF Edits: 2014:04:12 --- Save - Overwrite --- crop; gamma; resize

Most of the hill is covered in heather, but there are some areas of rough ground. One of these has long been used for dumping rotting hay and straw. And these often have self-sewn daffodils making use of the soil improvement this causes!

PhotoELF Edits: 2014:04:12 --- Save - Overwrite --- gamma; resize

The wind is the force which dictates most of the flora of Flotta. If seeds find a sheltered hollow they can do well, as with these Primroses I spotted near an old hut….

PhotoELF Edits: 2014:04:12 --- Save - Overwrite --- crop; gamma; resize

… but just across the road was a group of willows which are way behind those in gardens near me.

PhotoELF Edits: 2014:04:12 --- Save - Overwrite --- resize

And while I mooched about with my camera, Scottie was mooching about catching up on the local smells.

PhotoELF Edits: 2014:04:12 --- Save - Overwrite --- crop; resize

The end of the wartime road is at an abandoned farmhouse called Balaclava. As ever, there are daffodils along the roadside.

PhotoELF Edits: 2014:04:12 --- Save - Overwrite --- crop; resize

Posted by: Elizabeth Lovick | April 10, 2014

Scottie the Scottie. RB 10.04.14

last pic of Scottie

It is with a heavy heart that I’m writing to say Scottie was helped to the Rainbow bridge this afternoon. This photo was taken on this morning’s walk about half an hour before he became ill.

He had been fit and well up to this morning – getting rather deaf, but otherwise his usual happy self. He thoroughly enjoyed his walk on West Hill this morning, but as he got out of the car he stopped, and hardly seemed to be able to walk. He came in an lay down – not happy but not distressed.

Fortunately we have a noon ferry on a Thursday so I had just enough time to pick him up and dash to the ferry. There wasn’t much room but the boys got me on. He went straight to the vet, who said she wanted to keep him for a couple of hours to do blood tests and x-rays.

The x-rays showed a huge tumour on his spleen. I had no choice but to be with him as he was put down. It was all very peaceful.

He was only 10.

He had come to me via the Scottish Terrier Emergency Care Scheme, the UK Scottie rescue group, in September 2005. At that point he was so fat he couldn’t sit down. But he soon lost the weight. (He would have told you I just didn’t feed him enough!) He was always a very happy chappy, friends with everyone, and enjoying everything which came his way. And he made me (and lots of other people) laugh day after day!

So here are a few pix, all taken in the past 6 months or so, to remember him by.

Taking care of Nigel

Taking care of Nigel


Sharing his bone with 'his' blackbird

Sharing his bone with ‘his’ blackbird


His favourite place in winter!

His favourite place in winter!


Scottie and Tash

Posing with my granddaughter, Tash


One of his favourite walks, in summer...

One of his favourite walks, in summer…


... and in winter

… and in winter


His favourite position in the car on the island.

His favourite position in the car on the island.


His favourite activity when out - smelling the grass!

His favourite activity when out – smelling the grass!


Always nosy!

Always nosy!


And always happy!!

And always happy!!

Posted by: Elizabeth Lovick | April 3, 2014

The First Two Great War Era Patterns

As you probably know, I have been working on knitwear for the film Tell Them of Us recently, and the first two patterns are ready to go on sale.

The first is a cardi/jacket for Violet, William’s girlfriend.

WWI 01 cover sm

It was knitted by Sheila Cunnea from a Bear Brand pattern in Rowan yarn.

Suburnburn 003

The construction of this one is a common one for the time. It is started at the back hem, and is worked in one main piece, casting on for the sleeves, then working over the shoulders and down the two fronts. The collar, cuffs and pockets are added later.

(C) Pauline Loven

(C) Pauline Loven

Like almost all patterns of the day, this pattern was originally published with just one size. I have added three more sizes. (The construction and the size of the pattern repeat made more sizes far too complicated!)

(C) John Bennett

(C) John Bennett

This pattern can be bought here: 

The second pattern is for a set of Dutch hood, scarf and fingerless mitts which can be knitted in Frangipani, DK or aran weight yarns.

WWI 02 ebook cover sm

The pattern (or ebook as Ravelry insists on calling it!) has two different stitch patterns which are charted and written out row-by-row. Either can be used for any item. This has four sizes – child, teen, woman, large woman/man. All patterns are very stretchy and will fit a wide range of sizes.

(C) Pauline Loven

(C) Pauline Loven

The Dutch hoods (or Dutch caps as they were known then!) were a popular shape for both women and children. The shape is very easy, but the result is both pretty and useful. I have seen photos of children wearing then with elastic under the chin, too.

hood merge 1

The scarves can be fringed or not. In the early years of the 20th Century they were very fond of fringing, but the fringe is optional. (I have given illustrated instructions for making the fringe.)

scarf 1

scarf 3 and 4

It seems to me everyone, whatever their age or class was wearing fingerless mitts, or ‘mittens’ as they tended to be called, in those days.

fingerless mitts 2

There are photos of them and patterns for them from the UK and USA in all weights of yarn, ranging from very fine, lacy ones for the opera to thick, warm ones for everyday wear.

fingerless mitts 4

The ones in this pattern are typical of the ‘working’ mitts of the time, with a long ribbed cuff which could be worn under or over a coat or jacket.

PhotoELF Edits: 2014:04:02 --- Save - Overwrite --- resize *

This second pattern can be bought here: 

(You do not need to be a member of Ravelry to buy the patterns through the links.)

The header for all the patterns from the film ,released by various folk, was designed by Judith Brodnicki.  More about it can be found here.

Posted by: Elizabeth Lovick | March 25, 2014

The Sorting of the Sheds

As many of you know, my house was renovated last year, ripped out to the fours walls and roof. During that time I took delivery of a second, 10 ft by 16 ft, shed.

PhotoELF Edits:2014:03:25 --- Save - Overwrite --- resize

Within hours of it being installed, it was filled with everything from the house. Once the house was finished, the bigger items of furniture were taken out, and everything for the small shed in the front was put into it so that the small shed could be moved and a new concrete base made.

The net result of all this was that I had two sheds filled with stuff in no particular order, and I didn’t have a clue where things were. I had hoped to sort them out over the summer, but that was not to be. Elly had agreed to come over and help me, and over the past weeks we kept an eye on the weather forecast, looking for two days together with very little wind and no rain. Finally we got them!

I was aiming for ‘household’ stuff in the small front shed, and fibre stuff in the back. What we started with was this in the front, small (8 x 8 ft) shed….

PhotoELF Edits: 2014:03:25 --- Save - Overwrite --- crop; resize

… and this in the back, large, shed.

PhotoELF Edits: 2014:03:25 --- Save - Overwrite --- resize

Sheds 002

One the first day we got all the yarn into the main room…

PhotoELF Edits: 2014:03:25 --- Save - Overwrite --- resize

…. and then got everything out of the bags and boxes and back into the RIGHT boxes, chucking broken boxes and bags in the process.

PhotoELF Edits: 2014:03:25 --- Save - Overwrite --- resize

(You will be pleased to know that all the commotion did not affect the dog’s sleep.)

PhotoELF Edits: 2014:03:25 --- Save - Overwrite --- resize

We ended up with the right yarns in the right boxes.

PhotoELF Edits: 2014:03:25 --- Save - Overwrite --- crop

That done, we took the organised boxes out of the house…

PhotoELF Edits: 2014:03:25 --- Save - Overwrite --- resize

… and put them in the right place in the back shed.

PhotoELF Edits: 2014:03:25 --- Save - Overwrite --- resize

That took all day.

The next day we did the same with fibre. Once more the main room was filled with fleece, roving, tops etc.

PhotoELF Edits: 2014:03:25 --- Save - Overwrite --- resize

And once more we sorted it out into the RIGHT boxes before putting them back into the new shed in the right place in the right order.

At the same time, all sorts of bits I had ‘lost’ came to light – everything from the old toothbrushes for cleaning taps to pairs of shoes I hadn’t seen for 14 months. Household stuff, cases etc came out of the back shed into the front, and everything was put tidily away.

The results were as follows:

The back shed:

Sheds 013

The front shed:

Sheds 011

Sheds 012

Just the next day I needed a particular balls of yarn. I was able to go straight out, straight to the right box, and straight to the right yarn.


Posted by: Elizabeth Lovick | March 6, 2014

My Take on the Kissiae Stole by Elly Doyle

It isn’t often I have the urge, or have the time, to make something for myself from someone else’s pattern. But once in a while I see something I just have to make. Last year it was a hat. This year it was a crocheted scarf.

I only saw it because I know the designer, Elly Doyle. And I just LOVED the way the leaves ‘hang’ on the mesh!

Photo copyright Kat Goldin

Photo copyright Kat Goldin

But living on an island where the wind is a constant companion, scarves are not really practical – they just blow off your shoulders. So I decided I would make a cowl instead. Those do not have ends to blow away!

And being me, I wanted to play with the colours. I hadn’t used Brown Sheep yarn before, but from Elly’s website I could see it came in loads of saturated colours. I knew I wanted it to go with both my caramel coat and my black coat, and also with as many of my everyday sweaters as possible, so I could wear it as a collar. I spent a good while trying to decide what to use, and finally came up with this combination:

PhotoELF Edits: 2014:03:06 --- Save - Overwrite --- crop; resize

The yarn is Nature Spun, a sports weight (about DK) wool, which turned out to be lovely to work with, although the names of the colours were a tad fanciful!

PhotoELF Edits: 2014:03:06 --- Save - Overwrite --- crop; resize

The pattern was easy to follow and fun to knit. The design is clever, as you are effectively knitting both a mesh background and the leaves on the mesh at the same time. As always with crochet, I find I have to really concentrate on the pattern first time through – unlike knitting, it is difficult to ‘see’ the result in your mind, and so many of the actions take far longer to read than to do – but once I had sussed out how it all worked, it was easy to do.

PhotoELF Edits: 2014:03:06 --- Save - Overwrite --- resize; gamma

In wear, the mesh is hardly seen, but it makes the piece move well, and when it is seen, it looks as if the leaves are growing on a trellis!

PhotoELF Edits: 2014:03:06 --- Save - Overwrite --- gamma; resize

And the final cowl/collar:

06 Ellys cowl

If you are on Ravelry, you can buy the pattern here for £3, and see more of Elly’s work here. If you are not on Ravelry you can buy the pattern through The Crochet Project here. Elly sells the Brown Sheep yarn in the UK, and her website is here.

Posted by: Elizabeth Lovick | February 28, 2014

Grace’s jacket Part 2

Once I had the back on the needles, I had one more decision to make. The waist was shaped, but I did not know how. I decided to use k1, p1 rib on the smaller needles. This would be covered by the belt, so the look didn’t matter too much, but it gave the right shaping over the hips and in at the waist. The break in the pattern also allowed for easy decreasing from the peplum to the body.

001 waist 1

After that, the back was plain sailing. The photo showed the jacket to be wide across the shoulders, with a set in sleeve, so the number of decreases at the armhole was fairly small and the rest of the back straight to the shoulders.

I had already worked out most of the maths for the fronts. Only the pockets needed placing. The photo shows they are placed very low down, and well towards the side seams.

002 pockets

Other than that, I had to decide whether to use the rib at the waist (as on the back) or garter stitch to fit with the lapels. The photo is tantalising – little bits of the waist shaping are visible by the belt, but one side looks like garter stitch and the other like ribbing! After many times increasing and decreasing the magnification, I decided on ribbing, This will match up with the back, and again be good cover for the decrease in the stitch numbers above the waist.

003 front waist

The collar was another area where I spent a long time looking at different parts, trying to be certain of the stitch. On first sight it seemed to be stocking stitch, but this doesn’t fit with the rest of the jacket. Ribbing also seemed possible, and looked right in some places, but wrong in others. The edges definitely looked like garter stitch, and the line of the increases in stitch number on the front of the collar was clear. But the collar to the right of the photo looks like garter stitch, and to the left looks like ribbing!  I finally decided to go with ribbing as it would stretch more if needed.

004 collar

The other thing about the collar which is odd to modern eyes is that the increases inside the garter stitch edges are worked in garter stitch. This gives a wedge-shaped area of garter stitch on the front edges of the collar. These days these increases would be knitted in the stitch of the main collar, not the edging.

005 collar

The final decisions involved the belt. First impressions were that it was garter stitch, worked from end to end. But closer inspection showed it could have been ribbing worked upwards. I went for garter stitch as that is stretchy, and if necessary, the length could be altered by taking back rows from the straight end.

006 belt

Once the knitting was finished and the jacket was sewn up, there were just the fastenings to do. Pauline Loven had sourced some buttons which fitted very well. The button loops are done in blanket stitch over a couple of strands of yarn – just as my grandmother taught me before I went to school!!

007 button holes

I raided my great grandmother’s sewing box for a couple of snap fasteners of just the right size. There is one at the neck and one at the waist of the jacket, clearly visible if you know what you are looking for!

008 press studs

The jacket was finished!

3 views large

Now it was time to take photos and send it off to Pauline to be used for a still photo shoot recreating one of the Crowther family photos of Grace with her parents. This one is of Grace with her mother, Ann. Ann’s jacket was knitted by Liz Rogers, and the photo is by John Bennet.

Ann and Grace

Since then it has also been used in a costume try-out video, made last weekend by Nick Loven and his team at WAG Screen who will be shooting the final film over the next few months.

To see more about the film and other knitting projects for it, go to the Orkney to Omaha blog here!

Posted by: Elizabeth Lovick | February 16, 2014

A Tiny Digression…

I know I should be blogging about Grace’s jacket, but that can wait.  Now I need to introduce…

01 wobble 1


(UK readers will realise why one might call a Border Collie, Wobble – I am not sure if the joke travels.)

Wobble belongs to my son Nick. She was chosen at about 4 weeks old, but Andy, who bred her (and Nick’s 10 year old Collie, Bess) won’t let his puppies go until they are at least 8 weeks old. And that is why his dogs are good – the extra two weeks with mum makes a huge difference to their confidence etc.

-2 woble 3

So Nick picked her up on Thursday, and on Saturday she met the rest of the Lovick clan, two and four legged.

Ben my older on, also likes BCs….

03wobble and ben

Then Nick had the bright idea of getting a pic with all four dogs – his two BCs, Steve’s Scottie and my Scottie. This was easier said than done….

all 4 1

all 4 2

all 4 3

(note that Steve, Nick and Bess all have the same expression in this one!!)

all 4 4

After a while I turned the flash on. It didn’t help much…

all 4 5

all 4 6

Steve also has two cats, which quickly asserted their superiority over the puppy. I didn’t get a pic of the interactions, as Wobble took refuge under the table…

Next time I really will post something sensible, but in the meantime, puppies only come every 10 years….

Posted by: Elizabeth Lovick | January 29, 2014

Winter on Flotta

In the middle of winter, we don’t get a lot of light. So one has to make the most of what we have…

One good thing is that dawn is about 9 am, and another is that my kitchen window faces east. Although the sun is rising in the South East now, it does mean I often get to see beautiful dawns. This photo (like all the others) is as it came out of the camera.

01. another dawn

Although we don’t get much snow, the wind means it is usually pretty cold. Scottie has a favourite place…

02. Scottie and radiator

… as do the cats who live at the Post Office.

03. cats

Outside the kitchen window the birds enjoy the food I put out for them. These are starlings…..

04. Starlings

… and behind Scottie there is one of our ‘resident’ blackbirds.  He is a juvenile male,  born last spring, and noticeable by the white feathers (which shouldn’t be there!).

05. Blackbird and Scottie

In most weather, Scottie and I go out for a walk. As his coat is so thick, I usually try to get him clipped in October, but this year high winds meant that the boats didn’t go on the day he was booked in, so it wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that he got ‘done’:

06. before and after

Most often our walk is from the house, down to the shore. I always carry a camera in my pocket, and it is surprising the shots you can get, despite dull weather.

07. cow parsley

08. smelling the grass

09. black sky

10. geese and eider

This last photo shows Barnacle Geese in the foreground, a couple of the bigger Greylag Geese behind, a Pheasant by the post, and Eider ducks and drakes on the water.

The track goes down between two fields, and for a while these beasts were in one of them:

11. coos

If we have been kept indoors for a day or two by the weather, and then get a bright, crisp day, Scottie turns into a young dog again, and runs about madly….

12. 1st Jan

… while I take advantage of the slanting light:

PhotoELF Edits: 2014:01:29 --- Save - Overwrite --- crop; resize

And finally, a photo of our destination. The wreck is at the bottom of the track, and cries out for pictures in many different weathers…

14. pan hope

Posted by: Elizabeth Lovick | January 19, 2014

‘Tell Them of Us’ – Knitting for a WW1 Film

Social media are very useful! It was through Ravelry that I was first alerted to the fact that on Facebook there was a film company wanting knitters to make costumes for a film and exhibition focusing on one name from one war memorial in one village in England.

People responded to the call from all over the UK and from North America. It turned out that the film company was WAG Screen, a community group who specialise in making films about Lincolnshire’s history and heritage. The war memorial was in Thimbleby, Lincolnshire, and the man on whom the film is focusing is Robert Crowder. There are more details on the Tell Them of Us tab here.

The knitters who responded were asked to fill in a form about what types of knitting they were familiar with. I responded and mentioned that I am used to making reproductions of garments from photographs. To cut a long story short, I was asked to recreate a jacket for Grace Crowder, Robert’s sister, who by all accounts was a resourceful woman and herself a knitter.

Pauline Loven, who is responsible for the costumes, sent me a copy of the photo, and we discussed with type of wool needed. I thought DK would be about right, and while Pauline sorted out the yarn, I began work on the pattern.

Grace original sm

As always when taking a garment from a photo, the key is to find the areas of the photo which show the true pattern up best. In this case the photo was clear, and I could see many of the stitches. The areas circled gave the best definition.

Grace close up

The lapels were definitely garter stitch, and the rest of the jacket was some sort of double moss stitch, but with a break. By looking closely at the pic, increasing and decreasing the magnification, I came up with two possible stitch patterns:

initial ideas 1initial ideas 2I then worked up a swatch in an odd bit of DK I had lying about. After 3 or 4 rows it was clear that the first idea was wrong, so I went on to the second. After half a dozen rows it was clear that this pattern was correct.

PhotoELF Edits: 2014:01:18 --- Save - Overwrite --- crop; resize

I then made the final chart.

Final ChartOnce this part was ready, I then spent some time working out the edgings. On first sight it looked as if there was a band of a darker colour at the cuffs, but closer inspection showed that this was just a trick of the light! The cuffs are knitted long, then folded back. Again on first sight I wondered whether the cuffs and collar were knitted in rib, but comparing them to the bottom of the jacket (which one area shows is definitely garter stitch on smaller needles) it became clear that they too were garter stitch, but on the smaller needles.

A few days ago the yarn arrived from Pauline. Rowan is one of the yarn companies sponsoring the project, and my yarn is their Pure Wool DK. I swatched the main stitch pattern in it, to get the needle size and the stitch tension. I was able to use that to start working out the numbers for the pattern.

swatch and yarn

Pauline also sent me a photo of the actress playing Grace, a woman called Victoria Rigby, and her measurements. (There is a video of Victoria playing Grace reading one of Robert’s letters from the front line in 1917 on YouTube here.) It is so much easier only having to think of designing ONE size rather than the 10 to 15 I usually have to do!


Now I have started knitting the back. I have the pattern written to the armholes, and by then I will have the row tension, so can work the next bit out.

PhotoELF Edits: 2014:01:18 --- Save - Overwrite --- resize

There will be another instalment of my progress as I go! And you can follow the progress of the film on the Orkney To Omaha blog.

Posted by: Elizabeth Lovick | January 13, 2014

The Elvis Collection

Sometimes it starts with an idea. Sometimes it starts with a yarn. This time it started with a song…

I was wandering through the ColourMart site (as you do) when I came across this yarn:

PhotoELF Edits:2014:01:12 --- Save - Overwrite --- crop; resize

And into my head came I Want You to be My Teddy Bear by Elvis Presley. So the idea for Elvis the bear was born.

Ready Teddy Bear 003

One bear alone needs a friend. You Ain’t Nothing but a Hound Dog was running through my head, so the Hound Dog came in to being. When the record first came out (yes, I am that old!), animal pyjama cases were all the rage, so it seemed right to have that option.

Ready Teddy Bear 005

Interestingly, Scottie recognised ‘dog’…

Hound Dog 002

As I was knitting him up, I thought how nice a sweater would be in this yarn – something longer at the back to keep the essentials warm, and with a nice big pocket for the hands. Long, long sleeves would also help to keep the chills away, and the whole thing would be super-snuggly.

That Loved On Look 002

Hamish had his Big Tractor parked outside his shed, so I HAD to use that as a background…

That Loved On Look 004

By now I was singing all sorts of Elvis songs as I was knitting, and the idea of an Elvis Collection, with the items inspired by specific songs came into being.

I had been looking at the catwalk shows, and loved the Chanel fur helmets and gauntlets! Those HAD to be named for Crazy Arms…

Crazy Arms Helmet 002

PhotoELF Edits: 2014:01:11 --- Save - Overwrite --- crop; resize

…. the cowl made with left over colours was obviously Hawaiian Sunset…

Hawaiian Sunset Cowl 004

…. and the tablet cosy, or bag, had to be Moody Blue.

Moody Blue Bag 002

Incidentally, this is ‘made’ by a button from Dixie Nichols, made by her father, and a length of chain found on ebay!

It was one breakfast that I came up with the Money Honey Hoodie! It was so teddy bear-like it just HAD to have ears! The day we photographed it was cold and windy, and Natasha didn’t want to take it off!!

Money Honey Hoodie 003

Money Honey Hoodie 008

The yarn is not only good for large, comfy sweaters, but for neater garments too, so a cropped jerkin seemed like a good idea. I like pockets on everything, so this has pockets too. I closed the front with a Norwegian pewter clasp, but it would also look good with a zip – it does depend on how you like wearing such things.

PhotoELF Edits: 2013:11:30 --- Save - Overwrite --- crop; resize

(Incidentally, this was made to fit Natasha but the weather cancelled my ferry the day I was due to go over and take pix! Julie, a friend who used to live on Flotta, came over a few days later, and as it fitted her, she let me take the pix. Thanks Julie!)

PhotoELF Edits:2013:11:30 --- Save - Overwrite --- crop; resize

SO… How can you get hold of these lovely patterns??  There are several options.

The Elvis Collection ebook contains all the nine patterns.  It costs $15 and is available on Ravelry or ColourMart.

The three garments and the two toys are available as individual patterns, priced $6 each.  Clicking on the pictures will take you to the Ravelry page for more details and the chance to buy.

In addition, the four accessories (hat, mitts, cowl and bag) are available from ColourMart as one pattern priced at $6.

The yarn comes in lots of lovely colours from ColourMart here, and for the next couple of weeks there is 25% off.

Older Posts »



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 888 other followers