Sunday 21 October 2012

Doesn't time fly...................

Hi Everyone,

It's a year since I wrote my first blog post!  This year has just flown by...and it's been an absolute joy connecting with all of you through my blog during this time.  I'm getting to know some of you more and more, and the friendliness and support that comes from all of you is truly wonderful.

As I have made many friends over the past year, I realise that I haven't really shared much about me personally, and so I thought I would take this opportunity, on my blog's birthday, to tell you a bit more about me.

I have already shared that I am a Cumbrian girl, who moved to South-West Scotland in January to start a new job.  I've shown pictures from my windows showing sheep and various wildlife filing past my flat, but if I point the camera a little bit to the left you can see this...

Not a bad view is it!  I work as the Housekeeper in a Scottish Castle within a large estate; think Mrs Hughes in Downton Abbey (which I loooooooove), but with a lot more to do than mince around with a very large set of keys!

In fact it's much more likely you will find me fighting a war against moth and woodworm, while trying my best to care for and preserve the wonders inside the castle.  For a history lover like myself it's a fabulous job and I love the camaraderie with the household and wider estate staff which is a wonderful community, most of whom have lived and worked on the estate for all of their lives.  I'm only just starting to understand the broad scotch accent that many speak on the estate, ken!

The castle is sandwiched between two lochs, and the scenery is simply idyllic.

I took all of these photographs this afternoon; the sun was shining and there was barely any wind.  It was amazing - I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else.

I share my garden with lots of red squirrels, hares, rabbits, hedgehogs, roe deer and pheasants, none of which stayed around long enough for me to photograph today!

I used to work as a PA for an English Peer on an Estate in Cumbria, but I'm afraid as I am getting older, a desk job just isn't good for my waistline and I decided to change to a more active job.  While most of my leisure activities involve yarn and fabric I need to get my exercise at work!

When I've got this lot on my doorstep I have no excuse not to get out and exercise, that's for sure.

Well, I've waffled on for ages, and you still don't know much more about me!!!  How about some random facts:

  • I love all animals, but especially cats...  (in fact I'm considering fostering cats for the local cat protection league)

  • After school I went to catering college in Kendal (home of the mint cake, yuck!) but I really don't like cooking - well I don't mind baking...

  • I also lack a green thumb, and doing anything in a garden other than sitting in it leaves me cold... (and I feel guilty about this as though I should enjoy it!)

  • I love word games and puzzles.

  • Other than the occupants of the castle, my nearest neighbours are Len & Stella, the gamekeeper and his wife.  I enjoy going to aquafit once a week with Stella at the local leisure centre.  Spookily they also come from Cumbria (Penrith).

  • I am addicted to pinterest.

  • After having my two daughters I went back to college to get secretarial skills - made sense when I can't stand cooking!

  • I can knit very well, but it's too slow going for me and I don't have the stamina to finish a garment...  to my shame...  I've made quite a few toys and I love Alan Dart's toy patterns.  (Alan Dart also lives in Cumbria!!!).

  • I'm a perfectionist.

  • I love strictly come dancing, and would love to learn to dance (perferably with Vinthent!)

  • I would love to craft for a living.

  • I don't have time to make all of the designs I think of.

Do you want to see what my imagination has come up with lately...

I had an idea for a polka dot blanket...

A flower hexagon similar to my northern star hexagon...

Some whirly-gig squares...

Some fabric circles in crochet hexagons...

I'm not sure how to describe these...  moon craters perhaps???

And some puffy flowers...

I'd be interested to know if  there are any you particularly like and would like to see published...

So, here's to another great year!

Happy crocheting



  1. What an awesome view to wake up to in the mornings! I would love to see all of your hexagon patterns. You are so talented.

  2. Karen- it is ALWAYS so nice to 'hear' from you- but this post just really makes me want to come visit! Oh to live in such a place, I am completely envious!
    And all your blanket motifs are so clever, you may just spur me to try 'real yarn' again one day, although I fear I have worked for too long with thread crochet it may feel like trying to crochet with rope! Those whiligigs are super fun though...
    much love and prayers dear!
    Cara Louise @ Cara's Handcrafted Crocheted Ornaments

  3. Hi Mrs Karen...nice post , nice pictures and a lot of work done.All beautiful and nice and different textures.....Nice Post.Have a great week.

  4. lovely! everything you so is always so beautiful! i'd love to see a tutorial on the fabric circles in crochet hexagons. Happy Sunday!

  5. Happy blog anniversary to you! It's fun to get to know you a bit. You work in a castle?! Not many could say that! What a beautiful place to live. I love your crochet designs and look forward to seeing more :)

  6. Happy Birthday-Blog Karen!
    That beautiful images is a fairy tale.
    I love your work and I respect him, I like craters and swollen flower,best of all, I like everything!!!!
    Here is your link to the flower, THANKS!

  7. Happy Birthday, it'll be mine on Tuesday too! Awesome job, awesome living abode/setting and awesome crochet! x

  8. Gorgeous views - I'm very jealous! I'm from up the road from you in Lanarkshire, but marooned in Leicester these days. I agree with you about knitting too - far too slow for anything except Alan Dart toys and, in my case, monkeys! Happy Blogaversary!

  9. LOVE the Puffy FLowers and the Whirl-a-gigs has me very interested in how they are made.

    I am stil amazed that people live in castles. Your castles are older than my country (USA). When I visited England and Germany, I was lucky enough to visit several castles. My favorites: Heidelburg in Germany and Dover in the south of England. Still amazed at how these structures were built with man power only . . no big, strong equipment to hepl out.

    What beautiful views you have . . . so green and fresh.

  10. Scotland is beautiful. I used to live in England and I definitely miss all the old castles and history!

  11. Oh Karen!!! You live in a magical place!!! I love the Nature that surrounds you!!!
    And I love all your works that you have shown us today!!! Thank you!!!
    Happy Birthday Blog !!!! It has been a pleasure to visit you along this past year!!!
    xxxx Alessandra

  12. I want to live your life and crochet like that!! Please publish ALL the designs!

  13. Congratulations on your first blog anniversary, Karen. I like all your crochet designs but I particulalry liked the one with the fabric centre, that's so pretty and something I've been wanting to try for a very long time. I'd love it if you could do a post about those.

  14. Happy first year of blogging. Really interesting to find out about the idyllic place you live and work. I can see how it could inspire you in your creativity too.

    Loved the whirligigs btw.

    Lisa x

  15. Happy anniversary!! What a wonderful job and an awe inspiring location. I am completely jealous of your job and your wonderful crochet lol!!! I would love to see a tutorial on your fabric circles in crochet hexagons. Looking forward to the next year.

  16. Happy blogiversary! What an amazing job you have!! I love ALL your crochet squares/rounds/hexies, they're just beautiful.

  17. Happy Blogiversary Karen.

    Your mind must always be a whirl of design ideas ... just goes to show that all that fresh air must be good for you!!

    What a fantastic job you have, it's lovely to find out a bit about you, though I am now slightly envious of the views you get to look at each day.

    Have a happy week.
    Fleur xx

  18. Hi Karen - Happy Blogiversary! You sure do live in a beautiful place. I love all of your new crochet ideas - you're very creative. :)

  19. Happy Anniversary and many more to come!! I love history and to live where you do must be so magical!! I live in the USA and to think of the history over there makes me drool! Oh,that sounds gross...sorry!
    The patterns you come up with amaze me,do you have ANY idea how talented you are?!? And I truly think you could make a living selling crafts. I love all the ones you showed and would buy each of them! But I am fascinated by the "moon craters". So different!
    Thanks for sharing your life! Darlene

  20. Wow! Anyone can be a house keeper... but in a Scotish Casttle... wow wow wow...
    You have the ability of making simple things so special.
    Congratulations for your first anniversary in Blogland.
    I'm sure this new country life will be inspiring (in spite of the lack of time)
    Thanks for sharing your art and thoughts.
    Hugs from Spain

  21. Congrats for your first anniversary. I love your blog.

  22. What a beautiful place to live!!!! Happy Blogiversary!!!!!

    Luv Jane XX

  23. Hola Karen feliz aniversario del blog!!! estaba extrañando tus entradas y crochet todo me encanta pero me quedo con la flor. Un cariño desde Colombia,

  24. I am still in aww of your pictures. I have gone through them several times. I live in such a tiny horrid house :( I love the puffy flowers but all are so unique.

  25. Karen, I loved this post. You have the most amazing job, how lovely to take care of something so amazing. I love your projects and I am thrilled you are blogging.

  26. What a gorgeous place to live. I must come and visit Scotland one day. Living all the way down in South Devon makes it rather a long trip! It was lovely to hear all about you and such fantastic crochet creations. No doubt about it - publish them all! My favourites would be the whirlygig squares, but the moon craters are fun and I love the spotty blanket and the puff flower and the combination of crochet and fabric is interesting too!! It took a while for me to get around to reading your post. When I realised there was so much in it I 'flagged' it to come back to when -I had a spare minute. So glad I did - here's to the next 12 months :)

  27. Puffy Flowers and Whirlagigs please. And thanks for the bit about you - most interesting thing I read all day, ken? (I learned the ken thing when reading the Outlander series, 18th century scots time travel)

  28. What a wonderful place!! it has to be so inspiring. Your circle crochet are superb, congrats!

  29. Thank you for sharing your beautiful home, Karen! I now have a small idea of where you draw inspiration for your creativity, which are all equally fascinating. Happy one year blogging. I am looking forward to many more to follow!

  30. Oh the polka dot! the polka dot! so pretty,simple and fresh, the colour combinations are endless gorgeous,
    Daisy J fellow crocheteer!

  31. beautiful pictures of the castle and grounds. amazing, really. also your list of things about yourself, we have at least half of those in common. except the neighbors. Sadly, I am not neighbors with the gamekeeper. :)

    Would love a pattern for the moon craters. LOVE IT more than I can say.

    Lovely work.

  32. What a wonderful environment you work in. I work for a Bishop and make sure the maintenance of the Palace he lives in is kept up along with dealing with catering at events. I think of Downton Abbey a lot when I'm working and which character I would be for that day!...and also my next crochet project. The puffy flowers have my vote. Lovely blog xx

  33. How happy you must be! Such lovely surroundings of nature & that castle is amazing. I'm in love with the puffy flower. It would be sweet as a pillow or blanket or even a wall hanging design. Have a great week end!

  34. It's always so interesting to have a peek inside the lives of other people. Especially when the live and work in a castle! Our small little apartment seems pretty plain in comparison (but it's filled with love!). How lucky you are.
    And the work you've been doing is beautiful as always. I love everything, but am most inspired by the fabric and yarn squares. It combines quilting and crochet in an inventive way!
    In my blog post today I'm showing off my Chevron Lace Wrist Warmers.
    Come take a look!
    Happy weekend to you!

  35. Hello Karen,
    Happy Blog Birthday! You sure do live in a beautiful place, I love your pictures and I LOVE your crochet work!
    Thanks for sharing, hope you have a lovely weekend!

  36. Hi Karen, what a lovely place to work and what a job! (I'm quite jealous.) Your photos show what a special place the castle is. (I love Downton Abbey too.) I like all your crochet ideas but would love to see the flower hexagon in the 2nd photo, the whirly-gigs and the moon craters as patterns. The moon craters would make a great blanket for little boys too, think of all the little toys that could play in those craters. :o)

  37. Lucky you! Such a beautiful area to live and work. I have a desk job at the school my boys attend and I know what you mean about the sitting. It's not normal for humans to sit inside behind a desk all day. Definitely not healthy. I love hiking and being outdoors but live in a desert country where that is not always feasible. Your crochet work is so very lovely. I especially love the fabric hexagons. And those poofy flowers are so pretty. Hope you are having a great weekend. Best wishes, Tammy

  38. Your job sounds completely perfect! What a lovely way to get paid. I am so envious. I love all your polka dot designs, especially the fabric-centered one. I've never seen anything like that before! :)

  39. Oh, oh all your designs are beautiful, they make me go all wibbly. Speaking of wibbly, Pasha or Artem for me please, if you are asking! (And the gorgeous canadian (Matt?) ice dancer from Dancing on Ice too larf). What a beautiful place to live, I adore history and lovely old buildings, be they cottage or castle. You are very lucky, I live in uglee town, Kent *sigh*.
    Susan x

  40. Well I'm surprised! I hadn't imagined you in that work role....just goes to show!!! Very interesting post.....I quite like the idea of all that history around you it must be daunting at times and what a beautiful place to work.

    Bit difficult for me to say which of your creations I'd like to see published because I like them all. The moon craters are very original but I also like the puffy flowers.

    keep well

    Amanda :-)

  41. Karen, I feel like a kindred spirit. I too am a housekeeper, but not for something so wonderful as a castle. Love crocheting & knitting but also prefer crochet because knitting takes too long. LOL I will do some very small projects in knit because I like the looks of knit.
    It was wonderful getting to know you.


  42. Oh, and by the way, I love your blog! Thank you for all the great tutorials. Love all your creative patterns. They are beautiful! I love granny's too. :)

  43. your blog and all your crochet. I would love to know how you made your flower hexagon (the one listed similar to the norther star pattern). Thank you for such a wonderful site and sharing your lifestyle which is very beautiful.

  44. just stumbled upon your blog and i LOVE it! your job sounds fabulous! to be surrounded by so much history daily must be so lovely :) i am from the US and have never been to scotland or england... but i am OBSESSED with finding my way there one day. my husband is of scottish decent and i have always wanted to go there and find out more about his family history. i look forward to reading your blog in the future. your crochet is lovely, your photos are lovely...thank you for the inspiration!