The adventure continues at Baa!

It has already been three years since our last post on this blog, and so many things have changed in the world and in everyone’s lives. Yet, there is some continuity for Janice and I. We are still on two different continents, but we are working together, and knitting and enjoying all things woolly and yarny!

The beautiful store front at Baa!, Stonehaven, Scotland

The current Covid-19 situation around the world means that Janice had to temporarily close the physical yarn shop in Stonehaven. However, we are trying to make lemonade out of lemons, and we have been working together to develop the online shop and online community at Baa!

It is an on-going process, and hopefully, the website will continue to grow, thrive and provide quality yarn and beautiful books, as well as interesting content for the knitting and crochet community. You will find there a new woolly blog, tutorials, an ever growing gallery of beautiful projects for inspiration.

Please come over and judge by yourself!

Posted in Baa!, Community, Crochet, General, Knitting | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on The adventure continues at Baa!

New Year… new adventures!

Hello, my friends,

Once again it has been some considerable time since my last post. Aurelie has settled well into her new life in the Middle East and I am missing her very much! Their beloved dog Lily arrived safely, so the family is now complete once more.

Soon to be …

Here in Stonehaven, I have been very busy working on a new venture.  A few months ago my good friend Nikki, who is Hyve architects, shared with me that she was about to move her office to larger premises. At that moment a tiny seed was planted in my brain and it very quickly started to grow. I had been in Nikki’s office on a few occasions and I immediately thought… What a great place for workshops and a perfect little yarn shop!  A few weeks later I asked her politely if she would be willing to rent it. And, she said, “Yes!”

Since that day life has been very exciting, and on occasion, my poor little brain has felt ready to explode but now it is time for the real fun to begin. I have launched a new website where the story of my little shop unfolds.

The Auld Woolly Alliance will of course continue, and our patterns will definitely be for sale at ‘Baa!’ Meanwhile, thank you for reading and perhaps I will see you over at Baa! very soon?

Janice x

Posted in Baa!, British Yarn, Community, Crochet, Design, General, Knitting, Review, Scotland, The Auld Woolly Alliance Group, Uncategorized, Workshop, Yarn | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Auld Woolly Alliance goes… intercontinental!

Dear All,

It has been a very very very long time in the planning and realisation, but I can now say that I am (temporarily I hope!) moving away from the UK to a far far far away country where the weather is far too hot for this little knitter fully acclimated to the Scottish weather!

This is also the cause of our silence for more than a year, as I was in the dark entirely as to when anything might happen, and all planning was made very complicated. Among many things that happened in the “planning” phase this past year-and-a-bit, I can also let you know that I got married to my long-suffering fiancé, after many years of engagement. But well, some time last year we signed the paper in the ever-so-pretty Marischal College, in Aberdeen. A very important place for us, with only a few close friends and family, for a very relaxed, low-key, no-fuss wedding. It was a perfect day, with all the Scottish weather in the same day: from sun, to rain, to hail and snow!

And yes, of course I knit a little something for myself and for our daughter! A stole for me, and a cardigan for her. Actually, I had first knit a little summery bolero, but as time was approaching, the weather forecast turned to cold, and I quickly whipped up a long sleeve warm cardi in a very woolly and cosy DK, to keep her warm on the day. It was so cold that the bolero didn’t get to be worn, even indoors. And no, I didn’t have anything warm to wear myself. Cue: see above for “fully acclimated to Scottish weather”.

As for the move, it’s all happening now, and at this precise moment, my house is pretty much empty, with most of my “life” put in storage, and the rest ready to be put into suitcases.

…Which brings me to one of the trickiest decisions a knitter has to do: how to pack for months, possibly years, of knitting? As you may guess, my suitcases have more yarn and knitting (and sewing) supplies than actual clothes. My personal wardrobe is pretty thin anyway, especially in the “hot summer clothes” department, so that is more room for yarn! Still, it was really hard to pick “what goes” and what doesn’t. *sigh*



So, what happens to The Auld Woolly Alliance? Well, business as (almost) usual! I have packed my designs-in-progress and hope that, once settled, I shall have my brain back and manage to concentrate on publishing the couple designs which are so close to completion.

While I was planning, waiting, packing, planning some more, and living day-to-day, Janice has been busy designing, teaching workshop, and we are currently working on preparing our first ever show! The Auld Woolly Alliance will be at Perth Festival of Yarn! The chances of me being there in person are very thin, but some of my designs will.


In the meantime, while I’m finishing packing the suitcases for the whole family, I have a little offer for you. As it stands, I may have to temporarily mothball my activities while I sort out the taxes, legal matters, etc. So before I do so, and if there is something that you fancy in my Ravelry store, I am happy to offer you 15% off every single self-published pattern on my Ravelry shop, from now until July 3rd! Just use the coupon code embracingchange at check-out.


Next time I write, I shall be far far away, in the Middle-East. Probably standing by the air-con vents…


Farewell, my friends. Wish me luck for the journey, I might need it.

Always woolly yours,


Posted in General, Sale, Travel | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Yarn Fest Fever


It is that time of year again. For the last couple of months, Woolfest has been mentioned at knit group as least once or twice during the evening. We are heading to Cumbria as a group of six this year. Our hotel is booked (Thanks Dx), our bus booked (Thanks to Scottish Fibres) and our excitement is building by the day. My own mind is working overtime…. less than 3 ¹⁄₂ weeks away…24 sleeps! My two heads are wrestling …

WOOLFEST YARN HEADS                                                                                       Sensible Head:                                                                                                                              “I will take a small amount of cash and spend only within my budget, I will not take any plastic! Absolutely not!…Definitely NO! I do NOT need more yarn!”

That one skein of yarn….

Emotional Head:                                                  “But… what if I spend all my cash and then spot that one skein of yarn…that one magical skein… (which I am unlikely to ever knit!) that will make my life complete!                                                                        I absolutely certainly need plastic…it is a life or death situation! I would be stupid beyond belief to leave my plastic at home!”

I think I may be developing early onset Yarn Fest Fever…

Yarn Fest Fever (Symptoms and Treatment)                                                                   Patients suffering from Yarn Fest Fever will display one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Anxiety  (Often regarding money, patients may collect loose change in jars for up to 12 months prior to onset of fever.)
  • Nervousness (Especially around yarn shops)
  • Insomnia
  • Irrational behaviour (Including the hoarding of yarn recepticals, e.g. canvas bags, rucksacks, baskets or trying to source a tow-bar and trailer.)
  • Night fever (Not to be confused with night sweats and hot flushes)
  • Sleep talking (Knitting, sheep, fibre, crochet of craft related conversation)

“If left untreated the fever could prove emotionally fatal. Great care must be taken to be kind and generous to the patient. Large gifts of money and constant reassurance will likely restore the mind back to its normal state. At this time of year, a full recovery can be expected in around 2 ¹⁄₂ weeks (Or 26 sleeps)” – Dr Whippety

If you suspect that you too could be suffering from the fever I would suggest forwarding the above information to all friends and family, especially those with loads of pennies!


And, now for something a little more serious…


On Sunday 10th September, when Woolfest is all but a distant memory The Auld Woolly Alliance will be attending Perth Festival of Yarn, 2017, with our own little shop!

I hope we still have a little time to purchase some skeins of loveliness as the list of vendors looks rather exciting!

Finally, if you are making the journey to Perth, please pop along to see us, it would be so lovely to meet you!



Posted in Community, Design, Edinburgh Yarn Festival, Festival, General, Gift, Knitting, Perth Festival of Yarn, Scotland, Travel, Weaving, Woolfest, Yarn, Yarn and Fibre Festivals | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Yarn Fest Fever

Hello 2016!

A decision made in January 2015 matures for 12 months………with unexpected results!

February 2015 was the second month of my 6 month sabbatical and I had high hopes of what could be achieved.

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Very soon 6 months became 9, when life (as often happens) threw a few spanners in the works.

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Throughout my working life I have been lucky enough to be a ‘stay at home’ mum. My hubby has had constant employment which allowed the juggling of part-time work that suited us both and meant I could always be around for the kids.

The Famous Five

The Famous Five

In the blink of an eye my ‘babies’ have become 25, 23 and 19 years. The toddler tears, tantrums, fun and laughter are treasured memories. It is so very hard to watch them go but the joy and pride that comes from watching who they become without you is awesome!!

In the last Woolly Alliance post Aurelie spoke of her struggle to gain a work/life balance in 2015, and her desire to fare better in 2016. Personally, this past year has been one of contemplation, hard work and realisation. The last 12 months have taught me many lessons. The most important of which is embracing the knowledge that many of my loved ones still need my help more than I need to earn money.  And, (for now at least) I am lucky enough to be in a position that allows me to do this.

So, my friends, Colin may take a little longer to embark on his next adventure but I promise it will be worth the wait!

Hurrah for 2016….I predict a good year ahead!

Posted in General, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Apologies and Resolutions

Dear all,

As always, time flies much faster than expected. It is almost the end of January already and I have no idea where the last two months went.

I am not too sure how universal it is, but in France, we have until the end of January to wish for a happy New Year. So, I’m not late (yet) for this, and I would like to wish you all a very happy and very woolly New Year, filled with exciting things and crafting successes.

Marischal College, Aberdeen, Scotland.

Marischal College, Aberdeen, Scotland.

Also, I owe an apology to those of you who are still waiting on the last sock design in the British Inventors and Scientists eBook. I am sincerely sorry for this. I have not forgotten about it and it is at the top of my to-design list, but it is still a work in progress sadly. The short explanation is that I need to get more organised and take on fewer challenges. The longer explanation is that I was well on my way to get it completed on time when I got frustrated by some sizing issues, had to rip part of it, and go back to the drawing board, charting tools and spreadsheets, and then other must-do-right-now things came up and I got overwhelmed. And apparently, I had also forgotten that Christmas and New Year are not particularly conducive to efficient working time. Anyway, I am really sorry about this delay and will do my best to get this design completed soon. In the meantime, here is a photo of the Marischal College which I took in November: it is one of the inspirations behind this 6th design. Yes, it is about a British Scientist or Inventor.

New Year is also synonymous of resolutions for many. I have heard (and read) lots of people decide on a theme for the year instead of specific resolutions. I like this idea, and have decided to give it a go. 2015 has been an interesting year, if a little chaotic and extremely busy. I have worked on many more designs last year than I ever did, and, while it was great to turn many ideas into actual designs, it was also quite stressful because most of my designing time is at night time. And apparently, sleep cannot be cut into forever. So, let’s put on some big girl pants and aim for more balance in 2016. It may result in fewer designs published this year, but hopefully it will be better for everyone.

In the meantime, I wish you all a happy end of January. Have you made some resolutions? Or have you decided on a theme for 2016?


Happy crafting,

Aurelie / spinnygonzalez

Posted in Design, General, Sock Club | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Gift-Along 2015: Little People’s wardrobes

Two weeks into the Indie Design Gift-Along * event, the chatter has slowed down only marginally as everyone is busy knitting and crocheting away on their many projects. At this time, there are over 650 projects have been completed by the many participants. And watching all the pretty project adds seriously to my to-knit list. I have also officially entered the “I-want-to-knit-all-the-things” mode.

Anyway, I promised you some Eye Candy related to the Gift-Along, so let me start with my main focus at the moment: replenishing the Little People’s wardrobes. There are so many cute things designed by talented designers out there that it is hard to resist. Besides, Little Man is outgrowing his favourite jumpers, and Little Miss could do with another couple more…

Quickly purchased and currently on my needles is Fold, by Wondrlanding. I love the modern look of this little dress, the oversized collar with the extra ‘fold’ all over the front and over the collar. I look very much forward to finishing it and seeing Litte Miss in it. I have picked a soft merino, Bordeaux-ish colour, from very deep stash. I like the yarn a lot, and the solid colour shouldn’t distract from the folds.

Fold by Wondrlanding (© Wondrlanding)


Belle Isle, by Heidi Atwood-Reeves is another one that fell into my shopping basket. I am thinking of knitting it with some 100% Bamboo soft yarn I have in stash for added drape. I would need to swatch first… This one will likely jump on the needles when spring eventually comes.

Belle Isle by Heidi Atwood-Reeves (Photography © Heidi Atwood-Reeves)

Little Miss is already the lucky recipient of a cute Roseberry, by Ann Kingstone (also a Gift-Along participant), knit by Janice. The long coat with the deep hood is roomy, adorable and very cosy and lovely. So in theory, she doesn’t need another knit jacket until she outgrows this one.

Roseberry by Ann Kingstone (Photography © Verity Britton)

However, how can one resist the cuteness of the Baby + Toddler Tiered Coat (by Lisa Chemery)? Last year, I eyed this pattern quite a lot, but it didn’t quite fall into my basket. This year, I couldn’t resist any longer. This one may jump soon on the needles, if the yarn I’m thinking of using works with the pattern.

Baby + Toddler Tiered Coat by Lisa Chemery (Photography © Lisa Chemery)


For the Little Man, I haven’t decided quite yet what garment I would like to knit. I have just finished a jumper for him (not a Gift-Along eligible pattern), so it should leave me a little time to decide what to knit next. However, the Abate (by Alicia Plummer) I knit for him last year for the Gift-Along has probably been his most favourite jumper all year, so I am thinking of knitting him another one. I have the perfect red in stash, but he has decided against it… For the moment, I’m waiting for him to change his mind (ha ha ha). And if not, well, I’ll consider knitting another green jumper, then!

Abate by Alicia Plum (Photography © Alicia Plum)

As for accessories, I would also need to knit Little Man another pair of mittens. A few years ago, I knit him a pair of Ringo & Elwood by Barbara Gregory, which now keep the hands of Little Miss toasty. Maybe I should just knit another (larger) pair? They are so happy and funny.

My interpretation of Ringo & Elwood by Barbara Gregory, stranded in the pattern, but I used the double-knitting technique in these little mittens

Finally, Intrepid Fox by Ella Austin has been on my to-knit list for a looooong time, and I think I have the right orange / rust and brown in stash to do it justice. Maybe I should just cast on… However, the question remains whether it would be a gift to Little Miss or Little Man. Or maybe I should just keep it for myself. Isn’t it cute?

Intrepid Fox by Ella Austin (Photography © Ella Austin)

Have I finished anything, you may wonder. Well, yes! First pattern bought, quickly on the needles, and quickly off. The large needles and yarn (Aran weight) made for a lightning fast knit.. It’s my only completed project in the Gift-Along so far, and I am ridiculously happy with it. The design is Tutu Top by Lisa Chemery, and I used some leftovers from a jumper I knit for myself a couple years ago for the main colour. And I bought a ball of one of my favourite yarns: Rowan Kid Classic in a very matching orange, which got used up almost to the last yard. Feel-good bonus: it’s probably the quickest ever that a yarn purchase has made it to the needles and off.

Little Miss’s Tutu Top (Photography © Aurelie Colas). Tutu Top is designed by Lisa Chemery.

Isn’t it a cute top? I am now toying with the idea of attempting a pair of legwarmers with the leftovers of the Tutu Top. I have recently been lucky to win a copy of Tiny Treads by Joeli in a sock knit-along, and I am very very tempted to knit a pair of Geppetto legwarmers. Looking at the directions, the stitch pattern should be perfect for the variegated yarn. I’m only hoping I have enough leftovers; otherwise I’ll just have to go buy some yarn…

Geppetto by Joeli (Photography © Joeli Caparco)

What about you? Have you started any gift-along knitting? Have you completed any?


Happy knitting,

Aurelie / spinnygonzalez


PS: a few useful links:

*: You need to be logged into Ravelry for these links to work.

Posted in Baby, Child, Gift, Knit-Along, Ravelry, Toddler | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Indie-Design Gift-Along is Back (…and so am I)

Long time no see… Apologies for falling off the radar. The past months have been pretty busy on several fronts, and blogging had fallen a bit off the priority list. I can’t thank Janice enough for being patient and continuing to write on the blog alone.

Somehow, the last few days of November are already upon us… And it is this time of year again when Indie Designers band together to bring knitters and crocheters a great event on Ravelry: the Indie Design Gift-Along*. This year, Janice couldn’t participate, so I am the only representative of the Auld Woolly Alliance.


Like last year, the event starts with a sale: get 25% off selected designs from each participating designers. I have selected 9 of my designs to be part of the sale, and you will find them here. There are newer and older patterns, quick(er) knits, whimsical designs (like the Hobby Horse for Little Knights!), but also all-time favourites like the Woodcarving or the Christmas Scot-ing. Use coupon-code giftalong2015 at check-out, the sale runs until November 27th at midnight EST.

Aurelie's Collage - Gift-Along 2015

Aurelie’s Collage – Gift-Along 2015

But the Indie Design Gift-Along is not just a sale event: it is mainly a great knit- and crochet- along. To participate, you may knit / crochet any pattern from any participating designer. Every project from a for-sale pattern entitles you to an entry in the prize draw, and there are dozens of prizes to win, and hundreds of electronic prizes too. On top of the knit- / crochet- alongs, there are also games, and a lot of chatter, enabling and camaraderie. Go have a look, it’s a lot of fun!

Wannabe Opadooper Badge

Join in the Opadoo Challenge! Wear your badge!

Finally, for those who like a challenge, there is the Head to Toe Ultimate Gifting Challenge, for which the contestants are entered in a prize draw to win a super prize. This Ultimate Challenge, also renamed the Opadoo Challenge (named after the octopus costume of a cute little person), consists in crafting one project for each of the height categories (inc. adult garments, shawls, socks, etc.). Needless to say I have absolutely no chance of completing said challenge. More exactly, I shouldn’t even start to think about it, as my to-do list is already overflowing.

But I couldn’t resist, and I’ve started my first project for my Opadoo challenge. At this point, my Baby/Child entry is almost complete! Pictures when it is finished, blocked and all, along with links to some of my favourite patterns in the Gift-along in a future post… Stay tuned!

Now I’m curious… Are you already planning your Opadoo Challange? Have you started it?

Come and join in! *
Happy knitting and crocheting, happy gift-along!

Aurelie / spinnygonzalez


PS: a few useful links:

*: You need to be logged into Ravelry for these links to work.

Posted in Christmas, Community, Gift, Knit-Along, Knitting, Ravelry, Sale | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Once upon a time……… John Lewis?

Once upon a time far, far away, (well about 12 miles actually) in the fair city of Aberdeen, I had a part-time job as the Rowan Design Consultant in John Lewis. Many customers came and went and many of them were really lovely. Two of these customers became my friends and have remained so. The first is Aurelie, of whom you all know so well! The second is Sue.

Sue was a great customer, who regularly knitted from the latest Rowan magazine. A beautiful knitter who always had something new on her pins. Sue knitted for herself, her girls, hubby, friends, friends children and children’s friends! I can also recall a few exquisite Christmas pudding hats! (Sue is pretty talented with her own creations too!) It was during this time that Sue taught her daughter Kelly to knit.

One day Sue came to John Lewis to let me know she was leaving Aberdeen as her hubby had been posted elsewhere. We have kept in touch via occasional emails ever since. In early 2014 I received news that both Sue’s daughters were to be married in 2015, just weeks apart. Happy celebrations were in preparation.

A telephone conversation followed during which……a slightly nervous Sue told me that Kelly wanted a small and friendly wedding with a handmade dress that she hoped to knit with the expert help of her mum. And so it all began…….we chatted about yarns, tension  and how to adapt Kelly’s chosen design, #21 Lace Dress by Shirley Paden.

Over the following months many people were involved, Isabelle Randall made the underskirt (By altering a silk nightie!) and Sue’s friend Catherine crocheted the delicate edgings that  finished off the dress. And we all met up on occasion for fitting etc. However, The majority of the work was done by Kelly and Sue.… What a team!

With Kelly and her new hubby Alasdair’s permission I would like to share with you a very special day in which I feel honoured to have played, a (very small) part. x

Lace skirt by Kelly, delicate crochet edgings by Catherine.

Lace skirt by Kelly.  Delicate crochet edgings by Catherine.


The finished wedding dress complete with silk underskirt, lace cap sleeves and lace hem by Isabelle Randall

The bride and groom at Strathpeffer Village Pavillion

The bride and groom at Strathpeffer Village Pavillion

Origami bouquet by Kelly

Amazing origami bouquet handmade by Kelly

Woodland near the village of Strathpeffer

Kelly models in woodland near the village of Strathpeffer

The back opening

The back opening

I love those shoes!

I love those shoes!

Silk Bow by Isabelle Randall

Silk Bow by Isabelle Randall

The evening reception.

Dancing at the evening reception.

Congratulations Kelly and Alastair! I hope you have many happy years together. Your memories of the day will last a lifetime x

P.S. You can read more about the making of Kelly’s dress here.

Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments