Capturing the Autumn :: Knitting ::

Friday, 9 October 2015

Happy Thursday everyone! Thank you so much for the support and messages you have sent me since Tuesday morning. I read every single one of them, and they all touched me. We are all trying to cope in different ways. We are very lucky that Baby MiH has carried on with nursery and has great friends there, so he is happy to go without too many questions. I scheduled my blog posts, so actually October is sorted, so I have some sort of focus. It is all trivial, and at the same time it has become of the utmost importance to find a new routine. I always believed in the healing powers of crafting - I need them to operate just a tiny bit of magic, like now. 

Mindless knitting is great - especially in the round. This hat is exactly that, and I don't often make 3 hats off the same (free) pattern (blogged here and here), so I highly recommend that you have it in our Ravelry library (have you added it yet?). 

I do not often knit with variegated yarn. When I was looking for a project for this skein of Silk Blend Manos del Uruguay, I always went back to stockinette, because it shows off the colours best - and equally I found myself really boring for not trying to knit fancy patterns. I am glad I went for stockinette, because this truly shows the depth of the colours of the yarn - it is like having Autumn in a skein

As you can see, comparing my first version and this version, I seemed to have modified the pattern, but this was not done on purpose. I probably mixed the inches and centimetres. I prefer the first version that stuck to the instructions. But this last version let me knit more of this skein. 

Pattern: Mock Rib Watch Cap (free pattern on Ravelry)
Yarn: Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend in Gracia (I reviewed the ethics of the yarn here)
Modification: Added a pompom. using a pompom maker (reviewed here)

And now for the giveaway winner - it number 31, a new blog follower - Lindsey! Lindsey I tried to contact you, just email me your address! 

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Yesterday was a very sad day, I had to say goodnight to my little blue eyed angel forever. It was so sudden, I hardly had time to say good night to him - and we were not ready for this. There are no words. I received a lot of support - from family, friends, people I don't even know. The next weeks and years will be tough. I need to carry on for Baby MiH - he is starting to understand, but it will take time. I am filling his schedule with playdates and activities so that his (maybe even my) time to reflect is limited, and I am hoping that he is young enough to remember but can make a new life for himself. We are working on our new normal with my little boy with the moon and the stars.

Mr MiH is running a 10k for him on Sunday. If you can do something on Sunday just to remember him, light a candle, say a prayer, run a 10k, whatever you would like to do, please do.

I know Lucy from Charm about You is organising a bee for a quilt on IG as well. The
 ‪#‎therearenowordsquilt‬I cannot tell you how appropriate the name is.

Slow Fashion October :: Week 1 ::

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Happy Sunday evening! I am finally writing my first post for Slow Fashion October. The weekend did not go as planned, when do they do anyway? So it is late, but I really wanted to be involved in this project.

I think having my second son has really changed my view of the world and what my responsibility towards that world was (It is Sunday night and it is going to be heavy conversation). I started with a simple mantra, I did not want children to make clothes for my children. And I was lucky because I could make clothes for my boys - and therefore have some control over this. Except that this is only half the battle, as to make my own clothes or that of my children, I needed to make sure that the supplies I was buying were also ethical. 

I started to read and watch many documentaries about fast fashion and I was as depressed as I was felt positive about it. Depressed by fast fashion and what it meant , and positive about all the brands that wanted to make a difference and were offering fashionable alternatives to fast fashion products. 

And of course, I decided to make more garments myself. I am first a knitter, but a very slow one, second a sewist - but not as proficient as I would like to be/think, I also quilt, crochet and loves embroidery - which makes it quite hard sometimes to prioritise projects. I am basically on a learning curve, and can only get better. Given my 'limits' I have tried harder to find patterns that suit my shape, and choose colours that I will actually wear. As far as the supplies I am using, I have made a massive effort to destash, and all my new stash is from an ethical source - and I try to be transparent about it, like I expect brands to be. 

To ensure that I really make a concious decision about what I buy, I have set myself a budget for supplies (as well as for my wardrobe). It is a very recent decision so I am not sure whether the figure I have imposed on myself is not too high still. 

This month, I am hoping to learn more about tips to ensure a continuous commitment to slow fashion (and a more ethical stash). I would say one of my goals is to make an Autumn outfit, but I may just say I want to have started it. I have an idea, just need to take the jump and cut. 

Read here to get involved in Slow Fashion October

Friday Randomly Sharing

Friday, 2 October 2015

Happy Friday everyone! Welcome to FRS where I share what has caught my eye recently - but where you could also share what has interested you - so please make full use of the comment box!

- Have you heard of the Fold Line? Finally there is a platform to share notes and pictures of patterns we use! Think Ravelry for sewist - at least that is what I understood. If you are a knitter, I am sure  you wondered like me why such a platform never existed for sewists (the Burdastyle community is really not that great - or at least I never used it as a resource). I have now registered  you can see my profile here. Please bear in mind that this is really new - I think it was launched yesterday - and therefore it will only work if we all post our makes. It will take time, but it is going to be worth the effort for this to become as good as Ravelry. 

- More baking over at MiH. The Green Kitchen stories posted a new gluten free wholesome muffin recipe, I just had to try it. I made some changes so that I did not have to do more shopping: I changed roll oats for quinoa flakes, the potato starch for tapioca flour, cardamom for nutmeg; and I just made sweetened apple sauce (with coconut sugar) so I used it. It was delicious and wholesome none the less. Also I made the switch from eggs to chia seeds, and it is wonderful, who knew! I did not make a vegan version - but you easily can by replacing the dairy yoghurt by a vegan version. 

- I just pinned this lovely crochet hat - the ribbing part sounds really interesting, so one of the boys is sorted. The other one will get a knitted hat - this one specifically... At what age will they tell to go away and wear my own knits? 

- The crossroads of should and must - so inspiring. I saw the video, but this is the written script (search for Elle Luna)

- The new pattern from Aime comme Marie is called Aime comme Majestic. I think I like it -  in fact it would  be perfect for my work wardrobe - this version made me like and dislike this pattern at the same time (note she is pregnant...).

- Free acorn crochet pattern - I am in! Autumn I am coming to capture you! You could also go for a walk and get some conkers for this DIY

- Love this story about running a second-hand shop

- I love the idea of styling nature in the home - I am not sure I will send a picture to enter (I have no space for that prize), but my house could really do with a jar full of feathers. 

- I loved reading Felicia's commitment to Slow Fashion October. It totally made sense to me and my own path to sustainability. 

- I keep hearing about Periscope - here is a guide on how to use it, maybe I will try it. 

- This refashioned denim shirt - just whoah (although there is no tutorial, such a shame. But I will keep an eye out for it!)

That was my list, what has caught your eye lately? 

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Hello October! Everything seems to start to slow down at the MiH house. Every project requires weeks of preparation before being ready to share (and I am not even talking about knitting). We are slowly hibernating, and that is fine. I like to take things slowly, especially as I know it will all be over next month when I go back to work. So one month of slowness is fine by me. 

I love October, not sure about November, and adore December. The colours are magnificient, you get some sunny days and beautiful natural light. I love planning for chunkier knits, hats, mittens and throws. All of these are on my to-do list, and I may have some spare projects if I got bored. 

I am hoping to finish my double moss cardigan - and just move on to something else! I have started to follow Rebecca's tutorial on natural dyeing  - I am on the final stage of getting the fabric ready - so there may be some progress to share this month on that front. The boys need beanie hats and scarves - I know one of them will love wearing both, the other is yet to be convinced that anything on his head is a good idea, I am hoping he will get used to the idea (like soon!). 

I have also asked some guest bloggers to help me out - Charlie of Offset Warehouse will tell us all about running her own ethical online fabric shop, and Cecile will share a tutorial on making an Autumn wreath (I cannot tell you how excited I am she said yes). 

I do have some finish projects for you too. And I will finally share with you what I did with this embroidery work. 

More knitting, more sewing, more inspiration... I hope you will join me and enjoy October as much as I will!

The picture was taken yesterday when Little Baby MiH and I were on a walk. 

* Don't forget to enter my current giveaway here*

Bamboo Silk :: A Sustainable Fabric Alternative (if chosen carefully) ::

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

* Don't forget to enter my current giveaway here*

Let's be honest I never had a lot of silk in my stash - in fact I only have one piece of silk which I have been too scared to actually start cutting into. I bought it on sale some time ago, it was pretty, cheap and I felt quite brave at the time. And now it is stuck in my stash. 

Later on I read about the process to obtain silk - basically boiling the worms alive inside their cocoons. To ensure that the silk filament is whole, culturists must destroy the chrysalis. This is done by stoving, or stifling the chrysalis with heat.This is heavily protested against by animal rights activists and vegans, who view the killing of these chrysali which would soon emerge as moths, immoral and cruel. So I  decided that silk would not be added to my stash (or wardrobe) anymore - but that was an easy decision - the same however applies to yarn of course - a harder decision for me. 

However I do love the feel of silk. A silk top will always add a bit of glamour to an outfit. I like the drape, even though I am not that keen to work myself with silk. So what ethical alternatives could provide a similar glamour factor? 

This top from this collection
I looked alternatives to silk, such as "Peace" or "Ahimsa" silkMost cultivated Ahimsa Silk is Bombyx mori. It is raised just like conventional cultivated silk, right up to the point where the cocoons would be stifled, or processed with heat, in order to kill the pupa and keep it from breaking through the cocoon. The Ahimsa cocoons are all allowed to hatch and breed, and the silk is processed from the hatched cocoons. In some cases, the cocoons can be cut open and the pupa tipped out; this avoids the moth soiling the cocoon with urine. There is however some controversy about the cruelty-free aspect on this silk as well.  

Humane alternatives to silk—including nylon, milkweed seed pod fibers, silk-cotton tree and ceiba tree filaments, polyester, and rayon—are also easy to find. Another alternative is bamboo silk. I made a top with bamboo silk (not blogged yet) - and I loved the drape, and using the fabric. Although it is slippery, it is nowhere as slippery as silk. Whilst researching bamboo silk a bit more, I have now discovered that it might not be as sustainable as it might seem. 

Bamboo is an extremely fast growing grass taking only 4-5 years to fully mature and harvest (compare that with 20 years or more for other woods). It can grow up to a meter a day, and re-sprouts through its roots, so there’s no need for replanting. The plant’s growth puts little strain on the environment because it requires no pesticides or irrigation for growth, and can be harvested sustainably.

However turning bamboo into a silky fabric requires highly intensive chemical processes. The undertaking is a viscose rayon process, turning a cellulose fibre (plant material) into fabric. Any plant or tree—in this case bamboo—can be used as a cellulose source, but the fabrication transforms bamboo into rayon, and must be labelled as so. Not all ‘regenerating cellulose fibres’ are chemical intensive. For example, producing lyocell captures and reuses 99% of the waste.

The growing of bamboo is environmentally friendly but the manufacturing of bamboo into fabric raises environmental and health concerns because of the strong chemical solvents used to cook the bamboo plant into a viscose solution that is then reconstructed into cellulose fiber for weaving into yarn for fabric.

Bamboo silk fibre - picture from here
Some bamboo fibre manufacturing facilities put forward their sustainability and green credentials by establishing ISO 9000 Quality Management policies and ISO 14000 Environmental Management policies. This is largely a PR excercise because these ISO standards do not mean that the facilities, their manufacturing processes or their fabrics have been certified by any of the international certification bodies such as SKAL, Soil Association, Demeter, KRAV, or OKO-tex.

So not all bamboo fabric is eco-friendly. Some companies choose to chemically process the bamboo. Look for the Oeko-Tek certification (like this one in the UK) to ensure that you are purchasing true eco-fabric.

I will use the silk in my stash - it is there, it is still beautiful. But I like working with bamboo silk better, I have already made a top out of it, and there are cream and black fabrics in my stash ready to be used. 

Have you used bamboo silk or silk? Which ethical fabric do you like working with best? 

The Way I Blog :: Truly Myrtle ::

Sunday, 27 September 2015

* Don't forget to enter my current giveaway here*

Happy Sunday everyone! I hope you are all having a great weekend! As you can see I decided to blog regularly from now on, but I am still trying to find the right balance between crafting, blogging and of course my life. I have also often questioned the way I am/was blogging, and interact here. And as always when it comes to learning, I ask people I admire to tell me more about their experience. Libby will kindly be sharing 'the way she blogs' today (she also has a newsletter, a podcast, very active IG and facebook accounts... and 4 children - I mean whoah!). It is really instructive, and there are definitely points I will take on board for my own blog! Thanks so much Libby!

Hello everyone! Thanks for inviting me over Nat! I'm really happy to be here and to chat to you all about blogging.


I'm Libby aka Truly Myrtle. These days I design knitting patterns and chat about my patterns on my blog but for a long time Truly Myrtle was an on-line space where I simply enjoyed sharing all my creative adventures. I chatted about knitting, sewing and spinning and generally had a ball.

Truly Myrtle started in 2012, a couple of years after I started following a bunch of craft and knitting bloggers. I felt so inspired reading about other people's projects and over time found myself wanting to take part and start a blog of my own. I was terribly nervous writing those first posts. Would anyone read them? Did I really have anything interesting to say? I tried not to let nerves stop me though - I grabbed my little digital camera and dove straight in taking lots of photos and putting together posts for my imaginary readers! I tried to tell a story or teach a lesson in most of my posts and that wasn't too hard because I am always trying new things and learning new stuff. For a long time my husband checked all my spelling and grammar before I pushed "publish" (he still checks my newsletters!) It's amazing the little mistakes that are easily missed and an error free post is much nicer to read.

I can't believe I've been blogging for nearly four years, it's been super exciting to see Truly Myrtle evolve into something. I didn't anticipate how a blog would connect me with so many fabulous people and I love the community that's grown around Truly Myrtle. I never imagined how much I'd learn (like how to write basic computer code!) and my creativity has been pushed and stretched, which has been super exciting.

I haven't ever had a hard and fast rule about how often to blog although mostly I have tried to post at least once a week. In general the frequency of my posts has tended to vary depending on what else is going on in my life. I've had times when I've had so much to say that I've posted three or more times in a week and others where weeks have gone by without a peep. A couple of times I've played with the idea of using just photographs for posts - once when we were having a "staycation" and again when we moved from the UK to live in New Zealand. I do make sure I label each of my posts so that it's quick to find them again. For example, I tag each of my podcast posts "podcast" so that I can link to them easily in my menu.


Photos are the foundation of all my posts. Over the last couple of years I've become more and more interested in photography so that now I can't really begin writing until I've taken some photos. A year or so in I decided that I wanted to shoot better photos so bought a DSLR and took a photography night class. Both really helped (along with a whole lot of practice).

The process of gathering my bits and pieces to illustrate my post, styling them and taking pictures sets my imagination whirling and it's during that time I get a feel of exactly what I want to write and where my post is going. When I'm writing a longer article (I publish a monthly "mini-mag" newsletter) I spend a bit of time researching - but then it's still always photographs before words!

All of Libby's patterns are available here
I wish I could tell you that I am a master at editing my photos but quite frankly I'm not. I import all my photos onto my Mac Laptop and use the very basic software in the photo programme to crop and adjust them. I try to take photos that need very little editing so that I'm not stuck later. For buttons and photos including text I use the free service PicMonkey. It's super easy to manage and does everything I need it to.

I'm very conscious these days of readers being overwhelmed with information and you hear a lot that blogs are dying in favour of short, quippy media like Facebook and Instagram. I've always tried to keep my posts a reasonable length. Partly, because I have only a limited amount of time available to write them and also because I know people are busy. Having said that my posts do vary depending on my mood and what I'm sharing! I don't have a particular format that I follow when I'm writing but usually I pop a picture in first.


I've learnt a lot through blogging - a lot about the process of blogging but also a lot about me.

Here are my top tips for getting started and writing a blog:

  • Just start. Don't think about it too hard, just dive in and post something. It doesn't have to be perfect! It takes a while to find your "voice" so it's good to experiment and take risks.
  • Be you. I can't stress this enough. It'll be easier to keep blogging if you are true to yourself and not second-guessing what people might want. People often tell me when I meet them that I'm just the same in real life. It's true! I can only be me.
  • Don't worry too hard about what to write about. Look around you, the best topics are often right under your nose. Keep it simple and narrow your focus. I find it works best when I limit my posts to just one or two ideas.
  • Tell a story. I love a good story and so will your readers. Especially a story that develops over several posts. I think you can turn almost anything into a good story. Remember the details, elaborate with pictures and enjoy yourself.
  • Talk to your readers - both in your posts and in real life. Reply to them, ask them questions. Get to know them. It's exciting watching a community grow around you.
  • Don't look at the numbers. Most likely they'll only depress you! I've only just installed google analytics - don't fret over how many people are reading your blog. Celebrate engaged readers that never miss a post and leave you lots of great feedback rather than getting thousands of readers that only dip in once.
  • Meet other bloggers. This is super fun. Once you start blogging you're already part of a great community and people are mostly really friendly and welcoming. Visit other blogs and leave comments. You know how good that feels! If you want to collaborate with someone, take a risk and email them. You'll be surprised how many people you'll end up calling friends even though you've never met.


I've been doing a lot of knitwear design over the last year and the way I blog has changed a little as I've gotten busier. I tend to schedule posts in advance and pre-plan posts, especially when I'm releasing a new pattern for example. I've been thinking a lot lately about how my blog will evolve as my business grows and what's the best way to promote Truly Myrtle Designs. While I have started a podcast and a newsletter and those are going well, I'm also working on some exciting plans for my blog for the next year. There are so many interesting topics that grow out of knitting design - yarn choices, caring for knitted garments, sourcing great yarn, talking to other people in the industry, know how and tutorials. But many of my readers have been with me since the beginning and they enjoy hearing about the sewing, spinning and jewellery making I do, so I intend to make space for them too.

The thing I really love about blogging is that I'm the boss. Truly Myrtle is my space on the internet and I can experiment and play around there as much as I like. It's very fun.

Libby is wearing one of her latest designs - the Koru hat - which I intend to knit very soon.
Libby aka Truly Myrtle, is a knitting pattern designer living in rural New Zealand with her husband, four children, a big vege garden, a gaggle of chickens, a flock of sheep and a puppy.
She designs modern knitting patterns that are clear & easy to follow and a pleasure to knit and wear.
Join in the fun and explore the Truly Myrtle blog at to find out about Libby's patterns, free tutorials, knit alongs 
and more crafty fun!