Winter Skies

One advantage of living in the north is the fact that in the deep mid winter sunrise and sunset are at civilised hours, so sun rise and sunset are easy to photograph.  The main disadvantage is that round Christmas, the dogs’ evening walk happens at 1 pm so that we can get back before dark.

One thing my dogs have to learn early in life is that at times they have to sit and wait for me to take photos!  All these were taken on dog walks.

At present the morning walks, starting about 8.10 am, begin in the dark.  Gradually the sky lightens and becomes orange to the south, where the sun will soon rise (OK – south east).

In the morning I tend to walk the dogs separately.  I usually take Magnus first, and then Eilidh.  They get to choose whether we go left at the bottom of the road, to Muddisdale, or right to the Peedie Sea.  The day I took these photos Magnus went left, and Eilidh right!

At the turning point in Muddisdale I can see our house – the bungalow on the right in the photo below.

Eilidh and I then went to the Peedie Sea.  There are three pieces of water here.  Technically the round, central one is the boating lake, but the whole area tends to be called the Peedie Sea.  The spire here is St Magnus Cathedral, and the other two towers are the old power station.  The long view…

.. and the close up:

Another day we were slightly later, and the same scene looked like this:

By the time we get home, the sun is up, but very low.  This gives a wonderful clarity to earth and sky.

On the afternoon walk I usually take both dogs, and we go up along the Old Finstown Road.  This gives wonderful views of Kirkwall:

Occasionally I leave the walk a little too late, which means we get the full benefit of sunset!

And in case you were wondering, these photos are as they came out of the camera. I have cropped them, but the colours are all as they were.


The New House

We moved into our new house in September.  It is the first time I have lived in a new build, and some things have been a bit of a learning curve!  It is a wheelchair-friendly bungalow, with a wet room as well as a bathroom.

It has triple glazing.  If you have ever lived in a house where the curtains swung every time we had a bit of a blow, and where you are paying 15% of your income in electricity and still feeling cold, then you will know the joy that small sentence gives!  Here we are actually warm!

As it is a Housing Association house, we had no time to move in gradually.  Boxes were filled PDQ and my wonderful carer, Michael, took lots over and filled the kitchen cupboards before the removal van day.  But we still had loads of bits and pieces.

The dogs took it in their stride, and soon found places to snooze and gather their energy for ‘helping’ with the next bit!

Having come from a furnished let, we were missing some types of furniture.  We have a place called Restart Orkney which repairs and sells items.  We got 2 leather arm chairs, a riser recliner and this 1930s ‘unit’ from there. 

The unit is mahogany and was made by a Kirkwall firm that also made a lot of the furniture for Melsetter House, the Arts and Craft Movement house on Hoy.  The items on its top keep evolving!

Being a wheelchair-accessible house it has wide corridors – wide enough for good, deep bookcases and a sideboard.

It also has a low window in my room (officially the living room) which the dogs took over immediately.  Here they sit and watch the world go by, and here they sleep exhausted after dog training classes!

The garden is fenced and is sloping.  Perfect for the dogs to rush around.  It looks over fields to the golf course: so suburban.

I cannot see the sea from the windows of the house, but can from 10 feet away!  For those of you who knew where we lived before, Braevalla, and where Nigel lives, this gives some idea of the locale:

Being at the top of the scheme, it can be a tad windy at times, but we do get the most beautiful skies.  This is taken from the back garden…

… and this is taken on one of my dog walks.  Our house is roughly in the middle (from left to right) of this pic, towards the bottom.

Another thing about winter is the fact that dawn is about 10 am and sunset about 3 pm.  This means I take the dogs for their morning walks before sunrise and have to make sure I am back from the ‘evening’ one before 3.  The sun rises and sets in the south!

This is dawn from the front of the house…

…and this is dawn from one of my walks.  The Peedie Sea is in the foreground with the spire of St Magnus Cathedral framed by the two towers of the old electricity power station.

The Adventures of Eilidh and Magnus

Eilidh, my sweetie wheatie, is a stubborn and determined little baggage!  She was the smallest of the litter, but the first to have both ears up.  So I never knew her with her ears down.

Magnus, on the other hand, spent the first few months with me with one ear up and one ear down!  They say that if a Scottie’s ears are not up by the time they are 5 months old they will never go up.  Magnus was 6 months old before his second one went up!

Both dogs were unaffected by the cold and the wet, and spent hours rushing round the garden, pausing occasionally to take stock.  They are both diggers, but it shows more on Eilidh….

Then came the snow – something they both LOVED!  They took every opportunity to get wet and dirty, then they would crash out on the sofa.

Both dogs learnt very early that my granny wagon meant fun.  They rode on the footwell until they got to the end of the wall, when they got off and ran along the grass.  They are very good at staying on the verge or pavement.

About this time Eilidh decided she was part meerkat!  She loves to stand on her back legs so she can get a better view.  When on the lead she will sometimes use it to lean off, but in the garden she just stands tall.

By now their adult coats were coming through.  Eilidh is fifty shades of blonde, while Magnus is a hundred shades of everything. 

As ever, videos here.

Boxing Day Gift

As most of you know, I do not do sales of free give-aways.  When my electric and groceries are free, my patterns will be free.  But most years I do a Boxing Day special to thank my loyal customers for their support.

Where ever you are in the world my patterns on Ravelry and Etsy will have a reduction with the code BOX18. 

If you want to pay in £££ then patterns in my Etsy shop will have £4 off.

If you want to pay in $$$ then patterns in my Ravelry shop will have $6 off.

This means you can choose either to have a pattern for free, OR you can have the discount off a more expensive item like an ebook.

Here are some ideas.  Click the captions to be taken to the pattern in my Esty shop. (Note that once the discount is placed the VAT will change.)

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For all the patterns in my Ravelry shop, go here.

For all the patterns in my Etsy shop, go here.

While I have been away….

The past couple of years have not been the easiest, but things are settling down now.  I have had to leave Flotta for good – a wrench, but there it is.  I am now the main carer for my elder son, Ben, and we are in a new house in Kirkwall!

The main change has been the entry into my life of the terrible two.  Just over a year ago I decided I couldn’t live without a Scottie, and I went on line to see what might be available.  Several weeks of searching led me to a litter of wheaten puppies.  Now, I have always wanted a wheatie, so I enquired.  I had just missed the last one.  Then 24 hours later I had another email from the breeder to say someone had pulled out, and the one with the purple collar was now available.  This is Eilidh.

A couple of weeks later a brindle boy became available from a friend of Kath’s, so Magnus became mine.  Tricia brought him up to Lancashire for me and I travelled from there to Inverness by train with two dog carriers!  I was met by my friend Sue and we travelled on up to Orkney by car and ferry.

Both dogs had been born and reared in a family home, so they were very well socialised. 

Ben met them first…

… then Nick (I gave up trying to get them all still – 2 out of 3 was my goal!)

Then came Ben-dog, the black Scottie belonging to Steve.

Both pups were fearless, and on one occasion Eilidh got herself stuck in the mechanism of my riser-recliner.  It took Ben lying on the floor and messing with the motors to get her out.  As soon as she was free, she just curled up by his feet and went to sleep!

Most of the puppy piccies I have are of them asleep – that is the only time they were still enough to get pix!

They were interested in everything, and adored cardboard boxes….

If you want to see moving piccies visit my YouTube page!

5-4-3-2-1 Goodbye 2016

To celebrate the end of 2016 I am running a special bundle offer.

$5 each bundle
4 bundles
of 3 patterns
for 2 days
1 chance only

The bundles are either completely new patterns, or ones which have been in magazines and are now available as single patterns for the first time.

The promotion will go live on the evening of 29th and will run for 30th and 31st December,

There will be two ways to get your bundles.
1) On Ravelry. This will mean your bundle will be in your Ravelry library, but it will also mean you are liable for VAT.
2) From my website. I will be manually sending patterns out, so you will NOT be liable for VAT. I will NOT be able to put them in your Ravelry library – sorry.

Remember, too, that I am in the UK so may well be asleep when you purchase your patterns.  I will send them when I am up again!

The URL for my website page is:


The Fair Isle Bundle  –  Ravelry code FIBUN


The Children’s Bundle  –  Ravelry code CHBUN


The Cropped Top Bundle  –  Ravelry code CTBUN


The Accessories Bundle  –  Ravelry code ACBUN



The details of all of the patterns are in my Ravelry shop, my Etsy shop, and in the Patterns section of my website.

Lots More Skillshare Classes

Oh, I have been busy!  I’ll talk about the knitting stuff on another post.  This one is to tell you about my new Skillshare classes.  If you do anything with fibre I may just have the class for you!

For those who haven’t heard of it, Skillshare is a video-based teaching site.  Some of the classes are free, but for most of them you sign up to the site and get access to ALL of the classes.  Teachers have what is called a ‘channel’ – in other words a page where their classes are listed.  My channel page is here.

So what is new?  Quite a bit actually….  Let’s go through the classes I have published since I last mentioned them here.  Click on the pictures to go straight to that class.

For spinners there is Spinning Long Draw.


For knitters there is Starting Lace Knitting, Lace Knitting 2, Reading Lace Knitting Charts and Blocking 1.





For crocheters there are classes aimed at the forgotten section of the hooking community, those who are left handed! Crochet for Left Handers and Crochet for Left Handers 2.



And for dyers there are the first two in a series of four on dyeing with Kool-Aid, Dyeing with Kool-Aid to get Even Colours, and Dyeing with Kool-Aid to get Uneven colours.



I have more classes in the pipeline, so why not ‘Follow’ me and get notification when I publish a class?  I hope to see you over there!