Posted by: Elizabeth Lovick | July 27, 2014

A Preview of Something I have been Working on…!

As you probably know, I have been working on the costuming of the film Tell Them of Us. We have been translating old patterns from the era to knit for the cast.

In addition, Pauline Loven, the person in charge of the project, asked me to design couple of patterns to be given away at the exhibition and on line.

Pauline and I wanted the patterns to be typical of the period, but also something which would be worn today, and we decided on a matching hat and scarf, and a shawl.  More about the shawl at a later date, but here is the hat and scarf!

Hat and Scarf 2

For the hat and scarf, I took the idea from one pattern and the stitch pattern from elsewhere. I wanted a pattern which was double sided (for the scarf) and this one is both typical of the period and has an interesting ‘wrong’ side.

Hat and Scarf 1

This is sized from toddler to large adult, so there should be a size for everyone!

Hat and Scarf 2

Note that these pix are just working ones!! Pauline and John Bennett will be taking proper ones for the patterns.  And these are the child sized items on my toddler, Wren.

The patterns will be available, free, on-line after the première of the film the second weekend of November.

Hat and Scarf 4

Posted by: Elizabeth Lovick | July 19, 2014

Two New Patterns

These last few weeks I have hardly picked up a ball of yarn. But I have got two magazines patterns ready and on Ravelry.

The first is the Cockleshell Wrap. This was originally in Knit last spring.

Cockleshell wrap 001

The wrap is made of two pieces which are sewn together in an L shape. The wrap can be used like this or the ends can be seamed to form a cowl.

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Cockleshell wrap 002

The L can be worn in various ways, with the point at the front or the back.

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I used J&S 2 ply lace weight, but it could also be knitted in other lace weight yarns.

To buy the Cockleshell Wrap pattern click the button:

The second pattern was in Knit Now about a year ago. This is the Ferns and Flowers Cape.

P1010112 xm

For this, I took stitch patterns from both the Shetland and Estonian traditions.

Fern and Flowers Cape 2

The cape is knitted from the neck down. The body of the piece is quite short, but the lace edging is wide, consisting of several insertions separated by steeks with Fern Lace at the bottom.

P1010112 xm

This is also a lace weight pattern, this time knit up in Debbie Bliss Rialto.

P1010116 sm

To buy the Ferns and Flowers Cape pattern click the button:

Both patterns are sized for child (teen, adult, plus) and have charts and row-by-row instructions.

Posted by: Elizabeth Lovick | July 3, 2014

A Year of Bliss!

I cannot believe I have had my Bliss spinning wheel for more than a year. It only seems like yesterday that the box arrived and we put it together. It spun well straight away, and had been spinning well every since.

This is my first spin on it. (Purists will see that I am spinning the Northern Isles way, with my front hand on top of the thread.)

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Over the past year a good number of folk have spun on it, including a local friend who went on to buy one for herself.

002 Julie and Bliss

Back in the autumn, we had a Bliss day in the village in Wiltshire where my parents live. This was one of the first multi-Bliss wheel meets in the UK!

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So what have I spun on my Bliss? The simple answer is LOTS! It is the one wheel I keep in the house, as it is so easy to spin on quickly without spending ages setting it up.

The first set of yarns I spun was for a lengthways scarf. For this I spun fine singles and a variety of thinner singles, and then plied them in various ways.


Some singles were slubby and some smooth, and there are caged yarns, core spun, and Navajo pied yarns.


Then I spun up some chunky yarn for a pair of mittens…

006 yarn and wpi gauge

… and some aran weight for a ‘snuggle’.


During last year’s Tour de Fleece, I set myself the challenge of spinning 1 kg of aran weight Corriedale for a sweater for my son.

008 TdF 004

And here is the full kg:

009 P1160722

I then spent a bit of time working at the other end of the scale, spinning a fine lace weight yarn from small rolags:




I had some lovely rainbow gradient fibre from Hill Top Cloud, and I spun and Navajo plied that to make a hat:

013 merge_003

014 my yarnetc

I came across a pretty length of fibre which became this yarn:

015 freebie with wpi guide

And so I could go on! But I will finish with one more pic. This shows some of the two ply yarns I have spun with my Bliss over the year – from left to right – lace weight, 3 ply, 4 ply, aran, chunky, and as thick as the orifice will take!

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I still love my Bliss. I still rave about it. It is still my wheel of choice for the vast majority of the spinning I do. And I am very grateful to Woolmakers for giving me the opportunity to own such a super wheel!

(And apologies for the long silence.  First I was chasing deadlines, then more recently I have had to come south as my mother had an accident in the shower.  She is on the mend, but I am here for a bit!)

Posted by: Elizabeth Lovick | May 30, 2014

Scottie Dog Update

I can’t believe I have had the dogs for only three weeks – it seems as if they have been here for ever! They have had their challenging moments, but it is lovely to see them settling in so well and enjoying their new life.

All my neighbours are saying how much weight they have lost already.

Isla then (above) and now

Isla then (above) and now

Meg then (above) and now

Meg then (above) and now

Part of this is actual weight loss, but part is increasing muscle tone. Both dogs enjoy their walks, and simply going out twice a day is having an effect. We usually do one ‘road’ walk……

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…..and one which is more play.

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Most of the time Isla will be running…..

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… and Meg walking!

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Once we get home, both love to rest in the sun if there is any.

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Meg has definitely taken over Scottie’s bed. If Isla does invade, Meg glares at me to get her out!!

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Meg takes any chews or treats to her bed straight away….

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… but Isla walks around the house and garden to find just the right spot!

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As well as making friends with all the neighbours, Isla had made friends with a group of 10 young cows. The first time they met she wasn’t sure, and as the galloped over the field to the fence, she cowered behind me. Very soon, though, she was going over to investigate, and before too long she was touching noses with them through the fence!

12. when Isla met cows sm

Taking pix with two flexi leads isn’t easy, so I took the opportunity of Elly’s recent visit to take some portraits.


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15. no lead Meg in heather sm

And Elly in the middle with two dogs going in different directions!

13. Elly at full stretch

(If you look closely you can see the tips of two ears and a tail in the ditch!)

Posted by: Elizabeth Lovick | May 13, 2014

Meet Isla and Meg!

On Friday afternoon, we travelled south from Inverness down the A9, through rain to just south of Pitlochry. It was there that we met up with Isla Reid, the rehoming officer for STECS Scottie Rescue. And there that I first met Meg and Isla, the two girls who were to come home with me!

Isla R had sent me photos of the two of them, so I knew what to expect: two very overweight girls, one black and one dark grey brindle, who has recently been clipped. They were in the back of Isla’s Belingo, and weren’t sure whether they wanted to come out!

Isla lifted them down. They weren’t too sure what was happening, but they soon managed to knit their leads!!

Meg and Isla 001

Nick put them in the back of the Fiesta with Nigel while I completed the paperwork with Isla. Then it was back north to Inverness to stay one more night with my friend Ingrid.

Ingrid has a big, fenced garden where we were able to let the dogs off the lead to potter about. I sat and watched their behaviour.

Meg (the brindle) was noticeably more nervous. She didn’t want to come out of the house at first.

Meg and Isla 007

Isla (the black) bounded over the grass, exploring everywhere.

Meg and Isla 004

Then they both discovered the end of the chicken run!!

Meg and Isla 002

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They did not bark or try to get to the birds to chase them, but just stood watching them, fascinated. It did allow me to get good photos showing their present size!

Meg, aged 11

Meg, aged 11

Isla, aged 8

Isla, aged 8

The next morning we set off fairly early. Isla wasn’t sure she wanted to get in the car again, but once in she settled. The journey up was uneventful, and they were not bothered by either of the two ferry journeys.

Once we got home, they were interested in the house, both of them exploring the house and garden. Meg had slept on a bean bag at Ingrid’s, so I had gone to get something similar on my way home. When I saw this one, I HAD to have it!

I put that down, along with Scottie’s old bed and their blankets. Meg tried the new bed first….

Meg and Isla 009

… but decided she preferred Scottie’s old bed! Typically, with a new bed and their two blankets to choose from, Isla chose the floor!!

Meg and Isla 008

Over the past few days, both dogs have been settling down. I have worked out that Meg isn’t just very stubborn and disobedient, but very deaf. She loves food, but doesn’t hear her dish being filled and doesn’t react unless she sees it. So I am keeping her on the lead all the time when out for walks.

Meg and Isla 013

Meg and Isla 014

Isla’s recall is pretty good most of the time, and after the first couple of walks I have let her go off the lead. If she fails to return to me when I call, she goes back on!

Meg and Isla 012

Meg and Isla 016

Both girls are loving the freedom of an open door, with access to the garden, and a slatted gate through which they can watch the world go by!

Meg and Isla 005

They have been introduced to many of the island’s residents, human and canine, and are learning what life is like on a small island. Both do have some issues, which we are addressing gradually. Both are on diets, and Isla is beginning to realise that barking is not acceptable! She is improving – to begin with she was barking at every car which went along the road.

But it is good to have furry beasts in the house again!

Posted by: Elizabeth Lovick | May 7, 2014

On the Road Again!

I am writing from Inverness. On Monday afternoon I got a call from Isla Reid, the East and North of Scotland re-homing officer for STECS Scottie Rescue to say that if I wanted them, she had a pair of Scottie girls I could have. Less than 24 hours later I left Flotta en route south!!

I was the first car on the ferry from Flotta to Mainland Orkney, so I was right up the front of the boat. Another car came on behind, then the artic tried to board. Huge crunching and scraping noises!

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Lorry stopped. Crew looked. Crew radioed up to the bridge. Lorry backed off. Boat turned round. Lorry backed up the pier. We backed down the car deck. Lorry backed onto the boat.

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And off we went!!

I left the car at Houton, and Nick picked me up, and took me to his house before going on. I had a chance to take some pix of his dogs – Bess is 10 and Wobble is 6 months. (She has grown a huge amount since I last saw her!)

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We spent the night at Steve’s place on South Ronaldsay, then this morning, Nick, Nigel and I set off for Inverness. This was taken from the car while waiting to start loading:

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The ferry goes past Stanger Head on Flotta, so I was able to take some pictures of where I often walk!

To Inverness 005

The weather was mainly lovely. The yellow gorse is out at present, making the hillsides very pretty. This was taken at Helmsdale, where we stopped to have something to eat.

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A little further on we stopped at the Clynelish Distillery to get a bottle of their cask strength whisky for Steve.

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Tomorrow we are just shopping etc. Then on Friday we go to collect my new Scotties. Much, MUCH more about them on Sunday once I get home. (We are travelling all day Saturday.)

So instead of Scotties, have a few more pix of Border Collies. Wobble was fascinated by my small camera – she is used to Nick’s big Nikon!!

To Inverness 008

Later, once they had settled down:

To Inverness 009

And later still, a portrait of Wobble:

To Inverness 010

Posted by: Elizabeth Lovick | April 21, 2014

Unravelling a Nineteenth Century Lace Pattern

In my internet travels for the Tell Them of Us film, I came across this shawl:


The lace pattern is also in one of my old Weldon’s leaflets, and seems to be known as Rose Leaf Lace.

Here is the pattern as given:

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So now I have to chart it. When doing this I always start by charting exactly what the pattern says, even if I think there might be errors. The pattern starts with 20 sts, but the first row decreases this to 18, and stays at 18 until the 7th row.

So the first chart is:

bl 01

And knitted up is:

try 1

It is clear that the yarn overs make straight lines, so the next thing is to adjust the chart to allow for this:

bl 02

Which when tidied further becomes this:

bl 03

Here it is easier to see where the mistakes in the pattern are. The yo, k2togtbl, yo in the 7th row should be over the ones in the 5th row:

bl 04

Now it is possible to look at the odd purl bumps dotted about! Looking at the original knitted sample, the odd bumps on the left definitely need to go, and the sets of 3 on the right need looking at:

try 1 marked

So the second sample is:

try 2

Looking at this, the sets of 3 purl bumps on the right shouldn’t be there…..

try 2 marked

… the chart is now:

bl 05Getting there!! But the chart isn’t quite right. The 3 separate purl bumps on the left don’t do anything, so they need to go, and the ‘no stitch’ stitch needs to move to the other side of the line of yarn overs:

bl final

And the third sample, knitted from this chart gives:

try 3

Here the purl bumps left in the middle of the leaves do serve a purpose, making the central ‘veins’ more prominent.

try 3 marked

So now I have the modern translation, ready to be written up and knitted into a wrap for the film!

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:

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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….

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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