Wellbeing Check-in

We’ve been living under varying levels of lockdown for over three months now and (although everyone’s situations are different) I think it’s fair to say that all our lives have changed.

So I thought it might be a good time for us to do a wellbeing check-in!

Of the things that I’m grateful for during lockdown – my top three (in no particular order) would be: my garden, being able to work from home and living with a wellbeing advisor! Mostly because he’s lovely… but the wellbeing advice is always a bonus!

One of the things that Beardie often refers to as a good way to check-in with how we’re feeling is the “five ways to wellbeing”.

Research has shown that we need to fulfil certain needs in order to maintain good wellbeing: Connecting to others, being active, taking notice, learning and giving. You can find more details over on the Mind website here.

Connecting to others has definitely been difficult for all of us during lockdown… video chats just aren’t the same but they’re better than nothing.

So maybe do a check-in with how you’re feeling now and think about how that compares to the before-times. Maybe there’s one of these five needs that you’ve been fulfilling more during lockdown and you want to carry that through to the after-times?

I’ve personally been a lot more active and have really been enjoying running (still can’t believe that…) so I want to make time for that on the other side.

I’ve also realised how much I value seeing my friends face-to-face and being able to hug them! I’m definitely going to be a hugger when we have a vaccine!

Hope you’re all staying safe and mentally and physically well x

Jem Weston Shop

The Jem Weston online shop has re-opened!

You might have seen me re-launch the shop over on the virtual Yorkshire Yarn Fest last Saturday… my video is still on their page if you want to hop over for a watch. I had a couple of technical issues so apologies for the blurryness!

On the shop – I have copies of Cosy Alpaca Knits and yarn packs to knit the Alpaca Pillow, Tassel Pillow, Audrey Alpaca & Colin Cria, the Tassel Wall Hanging and Tassel Socks.

I should hopefully also have yarn packs for the Cosy Alpaca Blanket back in soon… I’m just waiting on the turquoise. Let me know if you want me to reserve a pack for you when I receive the yarn.

I also have some Cute Comfort Knits yarn packs – and don’t forget that all of those patterns are now available individually and as an Ebook from both my Ravelry and Love Knitting pattern shops.

I’ve got limited stock of The Knitted Nursery Collection left and won’t be stocking up again once they’re all sold… just a little warning!

In order to keep contact/risk low, I will be limiting my post office trips to once a week (on Tuesdays) for the time being, so apologies in advance for any delays.

All overseas orders will be posted using the Royal Mail Tracked service and you will receive a tracking number once your order is dispatched. All UK orders are still being sent via Royal Mail 1st Class – but if you want to upgrade to special delivery please just contact me for a quote.

Thank you so much to everyone who has continued to buy patterns while my online shop has been temporarily closed – I really appreciate your support!

Happy shopping x

Cropped Burnt Top

Last summer I knitted Burnt from Indigo by Kim Hargreaves in a gorgeous green shade of Rowan Cotton Glace.

It was a lovely fit – but I wanted to wear it tucked into skirts and it felt too bulky/warm around the waist and hips for that. So I decided to crop it!

I unpicked the side seams, picked up the row of stitches just after the hip decreases and chopped the bottom section off. I then knitted a reverse st st edge to match the neckline and sleeve edges.

I’m much happier with it – it feels a lot cooler and more comfortable. I love the style and the fit so I’ve also cast on a black version which will be a similar length. 

I’m looking forward to sewing some comfy summer skirts to go with my summer tops!

Another Lockdown Cushion!

As well as finishing off a couple of half done cushions during lockdown… I also started a new crochet cushion to go with the paintings in our living room.

We have four Alan McPherson paintings in our home – two of which were wedding gifts from Alan and his family and we absolutely love them! One of the paintings we have in the living room is from the eighties and other is more recent – from the Positions series.

I love the echos of shape and colour between the two paintings – almost 40 years apart, and have decided to redecorate the living room around them.

We’ve chosen Mid Azure Green from The Little Green Paint Company for the main colour, but have come to a bit of a standstill on the decorating as I discovered some bigger (expensive) jobs that need doing by an expert before I can crack on. Oh… the joy of old houses!

So in the meantime I finished my Alan McPherson inspired scrappy crochet cushion!

I’ve never crocheted a garment and therefore never measured my crochet guage – but I’m pretty sure my stitches come out too short. Squares certainly never come out square for me… so it took a bit of blocking!

I’ve also made a new cover for my Ercol armchair cushion as the old one wasn’t removable/washable… and the cats love that chair so it was a bit furry. I opted for denim – partly because I think it will wear well, but mainly because I had enough in my stash!

It has a zip so it’s removable for washing and I also had enough fabric to use it for the back of the crochet cushion as well.

The cats are already giving it a lot of kneading… by the time I can redecorate everything will have been well loved!

On pause

I’m taking a pause from my usual blog content this week.

This week (both on here and social media) I have been wrestling with not wanting to stay silent… but not wanting to be performative, centre myself/whiteness or suggest that I’m doing ever so well because I read some books! But this has completely occupied my mind and there was really nothing else I wanted to talk about this week.

So this blog is written for my white followers who want to do anti-racism work but don’t know where to start. I thought it might be helpful for me to share a few of the books I have read/am reading, that I have found/am finding really helpful.

I’ve intentionally kept the list below short to give anyone just beginning this work a focused starting point.

And just a note to say – you may feel uncomfortable, guilty, angry, ashamed and many other things… we must not burden our black friends or colleagues with these emotions and we must not let this stop us doing the work. Talk it out with your white friends and don’t let white fragility stop you from doing the work.

And with that in mind… White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo is a great place to start. Written by a white woman for white people – it is a great motivator to learn more and do better.

Learning about where feelings of discomfort and shame come from and recognising the harmful behaviors they lead to has given me a greater understanding of racism within society and how I am complicit as an individual. 

Brit(ish) by Afua Hirsch is part memoir and part history.

I have no memory of being taught any black British history at school so a lot of the history in this book was new to me. Drawing on her personal experiences made this really enjoyable to read as well as being interesting and informative.

Afua is also a columnist for the Guardian and you can follow her on Instagram here. 

Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad is a workbook with journal prompts. I’m currently working through this with a group of friends (via zoom) using the “circle way” which is outlined in the book.

Working through this book as a group might not suit everyone. I’m personally finding that hearing responses to the prompts from others is sparking things I might not otherwise have thought of and encouraging me to dig deeper when doing my own journaling.

Layla also hosts the Good Ancestor podcast and you can follow her on Instagram here.

Feel free to get in touch via my contact page if you want to talk.

Have a good Sunday x

Bank Holiday DIY

We’ve been so lucky with the weather this week! It definitely made me extend the bank holiday vibes and get lots of diy done.

I started with a few of those ‘I’ve been meaning to do that for ages’ jobs. I put up a wall mount for Beardie’s guitar and replaced our bedroom mirror with a big mirror that used to live in the kitchen.

I’d been putting off moving the mirror because I thought it would be tricky… and it was! It’s really heavy and oval – so difficult to get straight without making markings on the wall. We ended up making some markings on the wall and getting it wonky. Oh well… at least Beardie can now see his head a feet!

I gave my garden bench and outhouse doors a lick of paint so they look lovely and fresh… but the most exciting bit was painting an old chest of drawers with paint left over from our kitchen refurb.

This used to be my Dad’s chest of drawers when he was growing up and it’s lived with me ever since I moved away from home. It was looking quite worn and tatty, but is a really good, solid piece of furniture so I wanted to give it a new lease of life.

It was difficult to get a good picture in the sun and the colour looks a bit darker in real life – but hopefully you get the idea…

I think the colour (Farrow & Ball Inchyra Blue) works really well and it looks pretty classy! I had thought about replacing the handles but the original ones scrubbed up nicely with a wire brush and I like them with the blue.

Did you do any bank holiday diy?


Last week in the UK we were advised to wear a face covering when in enclosed places like shops. I’d already been thinking about making one – but this announcement spurred me on to make a big batch of masks for myself, family, friends and neighbours.

I’m really happy with the finished masks – so I thought I’d share the resources I used. Please feel free to share what’s worked for you in the comments!

I started by making one of the simple pleated masks from The Big Community Sew, but it turned out really bulky at the sides and wasn’t a good fit. I think that style would work better with a dress weight fabric and I was using quilting cotton.

Also – as I couldn’t see everyone in person to fit their masks, I wanted the ties/elastic to be in a channel rather than fixed to give the wearer more flexibility. Fixed elastic/ties would probably have helped to avoid some of the bulk on that particular style.

My final masks were made from Juliet Uzor’s tutorial and everyone seems happy with the fit!

The fabric Juliet used looks the same on both sides so if you find that confusing have a look at the video below. It’s pretty much made in the same way but the right/wrong side of fabric is a bit clearer.

I only had a small amount of elastic so I used that on mine and then used gros-grain ribbon on the others in the same was Juliet did. The ribbon ties are pretty good if you’re making masks for people you don’t live with as they make the fit more flexible.

I made mine slightly differently because I was using the machine. I cut out my circles using pinking sheers to avoid fraying and allowed a little extra for seam allowance. I also top stitched along the top and bottom edges which makes them a bit stronger and helps with keeping the shape/structure after washing.

I wore mine to do the shopping on Monday and was worried it might make breathing difficult- but it was fine!

An elderly gentleman dropped some shopping – I was within two metres of him to pick things up and was really glad that we were both wearing masks. Of course the masks don’t completely protect us – but I felt like it reduced the risk for both of us in that situation and perhaps he felt more comfortable asking me for help because I was wearing mine.

Does anyone have thoughts on gloves? Have you been wearing gloves to do the shopping? If so – what kind? I’m thinking about making some cotton gloves that I can wash with my mask, but I don’t know how effective they would be… and I might start to look like a walking patchwork quilt (which would be totally fine)!

Stay safe and well x

Virtual Garden Fest 2020

One of the things I’m missing during lockdown is looking around other people’s gardens! I love visiting National Trust places with walled gardens and neat veg patches… but mostly I love looking around ‘real’ gardens and picking up tips and tricks.

So this weekend over on Instagram I’m hosting a virtual open gardens! Yesterday I did a live tour of my front garden/veg patch which will be available until 3pm today – and this afternoon I will be doing a live tour of my back garden.

Everyone is welcome to join in! Whether you have an allotment, a messy small garden (like me), a few pots on a patio or a house plant that brings you a lot of joy… I’d love to hear about it. Just share pictures on your grid and/or in your stories using the hashtag #virtualgardenfest2020. And if you’re doing an Instagram live tour – make sure you let us know on your grid/in your stories so that anyone following the hashtag can find you!

And if you just want to follow along and have a virtual mooch around our gardens – hop over to #virtualgardenfest2020 and give us some love!

Happy gardening x

Me Made Plans

I decided not to take part in me-made-may this year but I’m really enjoying seeing all the handmade outfits on Instagram!

My wardrobe is very slow changing and I haven’t added much to it over the last year – so my outfits this month are pretty similar to me-made-may 2019 anyway (mostly the lounge-wear/secret pyjama outfits)…

I know that I’m not the only one who’s been struggling to focus on things during lockdown… so I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s lacking productivity at the moment. But I am feeling really inspired by both me-made-may and having The Sewing Bee back on tv… so I thought I’d share a bit about what I’m working on and what I have planned next…

I’ve finished knitting the back section of this little jumper which is based on Sheen from Indigo by Kim Hargreaves. This is going to be my (classy) festive jumper. I normally decide far too late in the day that I want a festive jumper so I’m trying to be organised!

The yarn is from The Fibre Fox, which I bought at one of the fantastic Virtual Yorkshire Yarn Fests and the beads are from Debbie Abrahams. I decided to do a simple all-over beaded pattern rather than just beading the front section – I’m really happy with how it’s looking so far.

I think that my next sewing project will be a sleeveless version of the Peony dress with a gathered skirt using the tweaked bodice block from my denim version. I’ve got a few fabric options in my stash… but won’t be touching the expensive Liberty floral until I’m sure I’m happy with the pattern!

I think this will tick off ‘summer dress’ on my make-nine-2020…

For the ‘knitted summer top’ I’m planning to make another Burnt top from Indigo by Kim Hargreaves.

I love the green version I made last year – but when it’s warm and I’m wearing it tucked in, it feels a bit bulky around the tummy. So I’m planning to make a black cropped version that sits on the waist – to wear with high waisted skirts (or these fantastic culottes that I’ve got my eye on!).

Are you super productive at the moment or just making plans?