Author Archives: woollyholic

Adventures in Middle Earth

After attending the hedgerow basket-making course a few weeks ago I was today able to go along to my first meeting with local basketry group The Middle Earth Weavers. Today the group were making nesting baskets for Long Eared Owls, a project they have been working on with the Brewood Bird Ringers. You can read about it in more detail here on my friend Morgan’s blog.

Here are a few ‘in progress’ pics of my basket…


The baskets had to measure 30cm across and be no more than 15cm in height in order for them to be suitable for the owls to nest in.





My completed basket…! It was a little wonky in places but on the whole it turned out really well and I was really pleased that it was good enough to be added to the baskets being passed on to the bird ringing group.


I can’t tell you how proud I am of my finished basket! Also it is a pretty nice feeling to know that it may become home to breeding owls and their babies. Today another ten baskets were completed to go with the other ones made by the group at their January meeting. I can’t wait to find out if the owls move in to these lovely baskets and how they get on if they do!



For a while now I have had a Folksy shop called Ladybird Meadow where I’ve sold things like project bags, notion purses and stitch markers. The shop gradually started to wind down over time and has been empty now for a couple of months while I’ve been doing other things but lately I’ve been thinking of getting it back up and running. With that thought came the desire to freshen it up and remodel it a bit. The shop name Ladybird Meadow didn’t sit quite right with me somehow. A bit twee, somewhat detached from the shop itself and most importantly the things that I sell there. So with that in mind, today I have opened my new shop!

Woollyholic on Etsy is my new space for selling my handmakes. Woollyholic was the name I chose when I first joined social media years ago and is ‘me’! So, as of this morning my new shop is up and running. Currently it is stocked with just a few sets of stitchmarkers but in the coming weeks and months I’ll be adding other items too. I can’t say for sure what those items will be yet because I really feel like I just want to roll with whichever direction my creativity takes me. My crafty endeavours are such a huge part of who I am and it seems like right now I need to let that part of me fly free. I’ll be keeping the blog up to date with how those crafty creations are going and any that I feel are worthy of being added to my little shop.
Woollyholic is open!


Hello again!

Hello all. I have been neglecting this space somewhat haven’t I! I began the blog back in September with an intention to post once a week. Well that didn’t work out but here we are already near the end of January 2016. Lets give this another go!

First up – a week or so ago I attended a one day hedgerow basketry course. I’d heard about it through a Twitter and Instagram friend a few weeks before Christmas. I’ve often thought I’d like to have a go at basket making and I was excited to have an opportunity to try it out. I booked my place and then eagerly looked forward to January 17th!

Our fab teacher Morgan began by introducing us to the different types of willow that can be used in basketry and the tools that are needed. We worked with green willow on the day, which basically means willow that is untreated. Morgan had prepared the willow by soaking it for a few days to make it pliable to work with. We had a choice of Flanders Red and Brittany Green willow, also some Dogwood, the colours of which were just beautiful. I chose the Brittany Green and started by making two loops which formed the basic framework for my basket.


The two loops had to be secured on each side with split willow which we wound around the crossed loops using a method called The Gods Eye.


Once the loops were fastened together it was time to place two supporting rods beneath each Gods Eye and begin weaving. I continued with the Flanders Green willow but decided to try using a few stems of Dogwood too (that’s the darker stuff making the reddish stripe). The dogwood was thicker and more difficult to work with. I also wasn’t sure I liked the way the thicker stems sat next to the green so I carried on with the green but left the red in for a bit of contrast. After a little while my creation began to look basket-like!


Having placed two more supporting rods I carried on weaving. By the end of the day I had an almost finished basket.


Morgan very kindly allowed those of us who hadn’t quite finished to take home a small bunch of willow so we could finish our creations. On arriving back home I settled down with a nice cup of tea and carried on weaving until my basket was finished. At this point it looked a little tatty around the edges but after a few days drying and a little snip round with my secateurs I had my very first hedgerow basket.



I had about thirty stems of willow left which I did not want to waste so the next day I wound them into this wreath. A little plain at the moment but I’m working on a plan to decorate it. More news on that as it happens!


I had a great time on this one day course and really look forward to further adventures in basketry and willow weaving! Thanks again to Morgan for running a brilliant course.

Up hill and down Yarndale

This weekend my Mum and I made the journey north to Skipton in North Yorkshire for this year’s Yarndale festival. We had a day of pure woolly joy! A large and varied selection of exhibitors selling their fibre wares were gathered in the agricultural auction mart in Skipton. Set at the foot of the Yorkshire Dales, Skipton is a very pretty place indeed. The festival was open to the public over Saturday and Sunday. We were there on Saturday when the festival was very busy indeed.
We arrived at Skipton Railway Station at about 11am. I suspect we would have got there earlier but my satnav decided to take us the scenic route which didn’t bother us much at all because the scenery was absolutely stunning! At one point en route we had to stop and get out of the car to take in this view…wow! It was still quite misty at this point and was hard to photograph but it was still breathtaking. What a beautiful place Yorkshire is. I’ve never been to this part of the country before, but I will definitely be returning to explore more of it. It is stunning.


On arrival in Skipton we parked at the Railway station and made use of the big red bus service set up to ferry us woolly types to the auction mart and back. ‘Jean’ was decked out with crocheted bunting, mandalas and woolly flowers. What a lovely and very British way to arrive!

DSC_1112Once there we spent a very lovely few hours browsing the different stalls, of which there were many! What always amazes me about yarn shows is how friendly everyone is. We chatted with so many people who we’ve never even met before. Within just a few minutes of our arrival I was stopped by a lady who commented on the shawl I was wearing. My Dane shawl, knit by my lovely Mum, is one of my favourites and I always gets lots of lovely compliments when I wear it.
As we wandered around I saw lots of people wearing their own knitted and crocheted items and I couldn’t stop myself asking some of them about their beautiful creations! One lady I met was wearing a beautiful crocheted shawl in stunning colours. I didn’t get her name (silly me!) but she told me about her shawl, an ‘Elise’ and graciously allowed me take her photo. I hope she won’t mind me posting it here. I’m sure you will agree, she and her shawl looked lovely.

P1060382Another lady I met was wearing a crocheted shrug which was so stunning I just had to talk to her about it! Suzanne was lovely and more than happy to tell me all about her beautiful garment. It had started life as a Sophie’s Universe Blanket which she very cleverly turned into a gorgeous shrug. She wore it beautifully and even posed for me! I love this picture of Suzanne. She looks lovely and her smile really captures the mood of the day. If I remember correctly she said she’d used King Cole yarn which I think you’ll agree worked up beautifully. I love the colours and was so inspired by Suzanne’s work that I could not resist buying some yarn which I hope to be able to turn into something similar! Thank you Suzanne for chatting with me and so sweetly allowing me to feature you on my blog! It was a pleasure to meet you x

P1060390One of the things which I think helps to make Yarndale such a special and friendly show is that the organisers ask for yarny creations to be sent in for display at the show each year. They use these items to ‘yarnbomb’ the whole site along with other things made by the organisers themselves.


DSC_1199The first year the festival took place they displayed beautiful crocheted bunting, the second year it was crocheted mandalas. Both looked amazing when they made another appearance this year along with the project for 2015’s show – flowers, which looked absolutely stunning.

DSC_1115Lucy who blogs at Attic24 is one of the Yarndale organisers and she has made many of the items which were used to yarnbomb the auction mart as well as the local park! Mum and I didn’t have time to walk through the park to see them for real but you can check out Lucy’s blog post here to see and read about her beautiful work.

It is always so lovely to see the sheep and alpaca at the shows and the ones at Yarndale were lovely, real posers!


I always find yarn shows so inspiring and nearly always come home home with lots of ideas. With all of its colour and variety Yarndale was no different.  As always I have returned with the desire to make all the things! Of course, I made a few choice purchases to assist in these future makes!


So what did I buy?! As you can see I couldn’t resist some of the items from the event shop. I bought a bag and mug featuring the adorable pompom sheep! A gorgeous bolga basket from Injabulo was on my list of things to look for. They are such beautiful baskets and when I’ve seen them in the past I have had trouble choosing, but this time I found one which was just perfect and had to come home with me. I bought three lots of yarn. The always lovely Mr Easyknits had a few Gobstoppers left and I chose a skein of the colourway Spectre. It will make a gorgeous pair of socks. A pattern for a moebius cowl and some very beautiful yarn to go with it were purchased from The Knitting Swede. I also picked up six balls of Drops Delight which I intend to use for my attempt at Sophie’s Universe. I bought a shawl pattern called Puck from Sparkleduck but I didn’t buy yarn to go with it because I suspect I may have some in my stash! Some more sock sized Knitpro Zing needles also found their way into my bag! Ooops!

This was our first visit to Yarndale. We’ve been to other fibre festivals such as Wonderwool, Woolfest and Fibre Flurry, all fab shows but I have to say that Yarndale was easily my favourite of all of them. We had a fantastic day! There was something different about it. The place was buzzing and to say I spent the day on a yarn high is an understatement. There was an atmosphere at Yarndale unlike any at the other yarn festivals I’ve been to. It is such a friendly, happy show and my Mum and I had a fab time. We are already looking forward to next year!


Yarny Works In Progress


First up on Works In Progress this week is my current sock project. Having already made socks for Husdude and both of our kiddies in the past few months I decided that it was my turn and so these socks are for me! The Rose City Rollers pattern by Mara Catherine Bryner is a free download on Ravelry and was being knit by lots of people I follow on Instagram. The pattern was getting lots of good comments and everyone seemed to be enjoying knitting them up. They are easy, top-down construction, roll top ankle socks and are a really nice travel project. I cast mine on shortly before we went on holiday to Cornwall in mid August, expecting to have chance to knit a bit during the evenings. As it turned out I didn’t manage even one stitch while we were away! I motored on with them once we had arrived home though and am currently shaping the heel on sock two. I finished the first sock with yet another dodgy attempt at grafting the toe. I understand Kitchener stitch, I just keep losing track of where I am in the sequence while I’m doing it and usually end up with a somewhat messy graft! This one was no different!IMG_20150911_213409

The pattern is written for dpn’s but as I prefer magic loop I’ve been converting it as I go. I’m using some gorgeous self-striping sock yarn from EadenYarns which is knitting up beautifully. Those colour changes are making this a ‘just one more stripe’ kind of knit! I’m loving this project and can’t wait to have the pair completed now that the days are getting cooler. Our cat Jess was less than impressed with my latest attempt at Kitchener stitch too! I shall need to concentrate a bit harder when I graft sock two!

Onto my other current WIP and oooh this is a good one!
Neon Beast by Veera Valimaki is a large garter stitch shawl worked with short rows. I chose to use roughly the same colours as Veera herself used for the one pictured in the pattern. I bought Madelinetosh Merino Light in Fleuro Rose, Edison Bulb and Doctor Zhivago’s Sky. Don’t you just love those colour names! This yarn is absolutely divine, a real treat to work with. It also wasn’t cheap but sooo worth it! I’ve almost finished the first section of the knitting but haven’t even reached any colour changes or short rows yet, so I’ve a looong way to go! I am really enjoying this project. I love a bit of garter stitch. So satisfying!

DSC_1061I started my Neon Beastie on a pair of Knitpro Symfonie needles which I love working with, but the other day I caught wind of a new needle available from Knitpro. They are called Zing and look how gorgeous they are. Well, I could not resist! Seriously, ordering online is too easy. I had a pair ordered in approximately two minutes flat! The always lovely Shiela at p2tog popped my order in the post super quick and my needles arrived the following morning. I transferred Neon Beast onto them as soon as they arrived and carried on knitting away very happily indeed. Zing needles are made of lightweight aluminium with coloured shafts and silver tips. They are very smooth and are quite simply a joy to work with. I’m using a 4mm fixed circular here with an 80cm cable. The colour of the 4mm needles is ‘Sapphire’ but they come in an array of gorgeous colours specific to their sizes. The combination of such gorgeous soft yarn, a lovely pattern and beautiful needles is making this project hard to resist!

That about wraps it up for my current yarny WIPs. This coming weekend my Mum and I will be travelling up to Skipton in North Yorkshire for this year’s Yarndale. I can’t wait and hope to share some pics with you here next week.
See you soon x

Welcome to woollyholic!

Hello and welcome to my blog. I’m Marie. I am a thirty-something, happily married mum of two, currently lucky enough to be a stay at home mum.

I have created this blog as a space to record and share my yarny and other crafty endeavours, my love of baking, thoughts and experiences in general. I’ll share the odd recipe here and there, maybe the odd crochet creation and other crafty bits and bobs. This space will be filled with my works in progress, in particular my knitting! I love to knit! Also, I’m about to start a dressmaking course and will be sharing my progress here. I can sew small things like project or make up bags, little purses and bunting etc and have sold a number of them in my little Folksy shop, LadybirdMeadow. However, I’ve never produced a garment and I can’t wait to change that! I’m looking forward to learning how to create clothes from scratch. I’ve been branching out a little craft-wise recently and tried my hand at a bit of illustrative sketching. I may share a bit of that with you too if I’m not too embarrassed about my attempts! I love trying new crafts and find lots of inspiration from fellow Twitterers and Instagramers.
There are links to my Twitter, IG and Ravelry pages over there in the sidebar. Feel free to check them out and do say hello if you decide to follow me there. There’s also a link to my Folksy shop and an email button if you want to get in touch.  Comments and queries are welcome here too. 

Thanks for reading. I hope that anyone who finds their way here will enjoy my little piece of the blogosphere.