Bramble Lace Cape, Knitting Magazine issue 123


I’ve just received my copy of the December issue of Knitting Magazine and looks what’s made the cover… my Bramble Lace Cape!

It’s knitted in my Chunky Baby Alpaca and I chose the wonderfully rich red Raspberry Twist shade because, well just because the theme for this issue was ‘Christmas Elegance’. I think that Emma and the team at Knitting have done another great job with the styling creating a festive vibe without going too over the top and having my design featured on the cover is a great way to end the year.

The cape is very simply shaped as it’s knitted flat on a circular needle (due to the width of the piece) with columns of Bramble Stitch alternating with columns of lace. Once the required length has been knitted and the centre back seam joined, the deep rib collar is added by picking up and working into the side edges. It’s knitted on 6 mm needles which means there’s still enough time left for you to make one for popping on with your party dress this Christmas.

Alternatively you could pop over to the website where readers of Knitting can get an exclusive 10% off the knitting kit. Whether you knit one to give or buy the kit I think either would make a lovely Christmas gift. Just use the code given on page 66 when you get to the checkout

Until the next post, happy knitting and keep warm

J x

The inspirational Mrs T



I absolutely love when, in the course of an otherwise unremarkable day, an object can completely lift your mood and not just bring a smile to your lips but fill your heart with an overwhelming wave of happiness and love. Today, on a freezing cold morning when I was really just looking for another layer to pull on, that’s exactly what this dress has done for me.

This Aran weight pure wool dress was hand knitted by my mum, the inspirational Mrs Trotman, way back before I was born. My Mum (along with my Dad) was part of the generation that answered the call for labour at the end of the 1950’s and came to the UK from a tiny island in the West Indies. Having left sunny Barbados and settled in London they raised four children and each held down a full time job, Dad working nights and Mum working days, first as a ticket collector for London Underground then as a State Enrolled Nurse (SEN) for the NHS. As so many women did back then and do today, she juggled a lot and cooked, cleaned, sewed and knitted to keep her family fed, happy and warm.



I remember this dress from my childhood, let’s face it you couldn’t exactly forget the colour, but I also remember being fascinated by feeling all those textures beneath my fingers. Now as an adult I understand what goes into creating those perfectly formed columns of cables, Blackberry stitch and woven basket textures. As a designer of mainly accessories I’m used to small scale projects so what I find truly remarkable about this dress is that my Mum found the time to knit at all. I can’t imagine where she found the time to be creative but it was truly a labour of love and given the quality of the yarn she used, it wasn’t a cheap knit. Mum no longer knits and she’ll no doubt have forgotten that I rescued this dress years ago when she was going to throw it out. At a time when many hands are busy making last minute gifts for Christmas it reminds me just how much more is invested in something so lovingly hand crafted than just ‘lots of stitches and rows’. 

Enjoy your gift knitting, I’m off to so some of my own

J x


Dried Cranberry & Ginger Steamed pudding

It’s really been one of those weeks. Not just because of the time of the year      (Christmas always  means lots more  additions to the usual ‘to do’ list ) but getting the house prepared for another viewing ( please someone buy my house ) and travelling through to Glasgow for my first ever shoot for a TV ad! It was a very, VERY long day but for someone who spends her days isolated and indoors knitting it was both fascinating and exhausting to be involved in the process.

I’ll do a longer blog post once I’ve dowloaded some of my images, hopefully that’ll be next week.

In the meantime something sweet! I promised KnittyFred on Twitter that I’d post a recipe in exchange for his Pistachio Marzipan which he posted on his blog here. ( Ok, so it’s taken me a couple of days to do it but we got there in the end Fred ). I must admit this isn’t my recipe so I can’t take credit for it but it’s DELICIOUS, not only for people like me who think that normal Christmas Pudding is the work of the devil but it also tempts those who ‘don’t normally do puddings’. It works equally well as 1 large pudding or divided into smaller ‘mini’ puddings. It also freezes well.

Dried Cranberry & Ginger Steamed Pudding

Serves 8

Preparation: 15 mins

Cooking time: 2 1/2 hours

Calories per serving: It’s a pudding don’t bother!


175 g ( 6 oz ) butter

175 g ( 6 oz ) caster sugar

Finely grated rind and juice of 2 large oranges

3 eggs, beaten

175g ( 6 oz ) self-raising flour

Pinch of salt

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp ground ginger ( if you like things particularly gingery, add more )

75g ( 3 oz ) dried cranberries

40 g ( 1   1/2 oz ) fresh white breadcrumbs

– Cream the butter and sugar with the orange rind until pale & creamy then beat in the eggs a little at a time. Sift the flour with the salt, baking powder and ginger and fold into the creamed ingredients with the orange juice, cranberries and breadcrumbs

–  Spoon the mixture into a buttered 1.8 litre ( 3 pint ) pudding basin and smooth the top. Cover with a sheet of baking parchment and then wrap the top of the basin with foil. Steam the pudding  for  2 and a half hours regularly topping up the pan with boiling water to prevent it from drying out

– When ready turn the pudding out onto a plate and serve with hot custard or creme fraich. MMMMMMmmmmmmmm!!!

Foul weather but a new design!

It’s HORRIBLE today! I don’t have a problem with Monday’s like a lot of people but today the weather is foul, so foul in fact that I’m about to decamp to the front room and work in front of the stove – solid fuel, not cooker, mmm. Hopefully this new design will help keep the chills at bay.

Tait2 is a cowl, knitted in my Chunky Baby Alpaca and SO warm you’ll soon forget the weather. 


It’s knitted in the round on an 80 cm long circular needle with  a cable and rib pattern travelling across it’s width. The pattern is only 6 rounds long so there isn’t a lot of pattern to remember meaning you can concentrate instead on enjoying the softness of this luxurious yarn. PLUS it’s very quick to knit so there’s still plenty of time to get a few knitted as Christmas presents.








You can buy the pattern from my Ravelry Pattern Store here or keep an eye on the website here for how to buy both pattern and yarn at a very special price

Etsy finds and the Eco Gift Guide

I’ve been a bit slack about getting my head around both Ravelry and Etsy so I’ve tried to put that right this week, so much so that my eyes are a bit screen weary, think I need to do some knitting.

Anyway, I spotted the work of Edinburgh based fashion knitwear label Isobel and Cleo at a wee makers fair in the Edinburgh last Sunday. Their collection of knitwear and accessories is an interesting and exciting blend of hand and machine knitting, if you like your knitting 4ply & Fairisle this will take you out of your comfort zone. Have a look at them over at Etsy and whilst you’re there check out Going Home To Roost a hub of gorgeous home crafting run by a lady called Bonnie. As well as selling  her range of hand made aprons, cushions and home accessories on Etsy Bonnie also blogs. This month she’s included Kitglobal’s Shetland Flame Scarf kit in Organic dyed Walnut in the Eco Conscious section of her Gift Guide which brings together truly original gift ideas for tech lovers, crafters, outdoorsy types and lots more.

The combination of this, Kirsty’s Homemade Christmas and the fog that’s been sitting over Edinburgh all day makes me want to stay in, stick another smokeless briquette on the fire and knit ~ in fact that just what I’ll do.

duppdupp Gift Vouchers . . .at last

I designed these weeks ago but just hadn’t got the chance to get them onto the site. I think the problem is I spent too much time tweaking with how they look (typical ) anyway they’re up at just in time for the final push towards Christmas.

There’s a different design for each denonimation and they start at just a fiver. I can personalise them and send them to the lucky recipient ribbon tied and at no extra cost!

I’m multi-tasking at the mo working on another design for The Knitter and making more needle cases so I’m off . . . .  

PS Thanks Anne for the suggestion that I actually wear a pair of my fingerless mittens to combat the finger freeze I had last post. I think my brain must have been frozen too as it didn’t even cross my mind