Ep 122 – Isn’t It About Time We Put a Stop to All This Nonsense?

Sometimes, when something really gets to you because of its inherent unfairness and solid foundations in utter bollocks, you need to speak out. This episode is one of those times. In a departure from the usual format, this week we share the story of a small girl who wanted to be on the school council. Unlike the boys in the class, the girls had to undergo a separate, extra selection level, because they were not boys.

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Ep 121 – Holiday Knitting

How to decide what knitting to take when travelling?

How do you decide what holiday knitting to take with you when you travel? Do you spend more time choosing what yarn to take than which clothes to pack?

This week we tackle the thorny subject of holiday/travel knitting. A source of much anguish for the average knitter, choosing what to take with you, and what to leave behind, can be like picking a favourite child. Even a short getaway can lead to stash packing that would enable you to survive a zombie apocalypse.

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Ep 116 – Return to Shetland with Susan Crawford

Susan Crawford of Susan Crawford Vintage joins me this week and we take a journey through the past three years since Ep55. In that episode, Susan talked about the Pubslush (crowdfunded publishing) campaign she was undertaking to print pre-orders of the book. She also described at length, the painstaking process she had been through the research and create the Vintage Shetland Project.

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Vintage Shetland Project book cover. Image Copyright Susan Crawford.

This involved researching at length pieces in the Shetland Museum archives, along with the stories of the people behind the pieces. It is a social and historical exploration of the Shetland Islands and beyond, as the stories stretch far away from those shores. A computer program was written to record each stitch of each project meticulously, and these details were used to create patterns to recreate these pieces in the modern day, in a range of sizes, for men and women. You can hear the full story of this here, along with more about Susan and her journey to becoming a knitting historian, writer and knitwear designer.

On location at the Vintage Shetland Project photoshoot on Vaila, Shetland Islands.
Image Copyright Susan Crawford.

The Vintage Shetland Project

The Vintage Shetland Project was officially published in February 2018. The culmination of 8 years of painstaking work, the book is an absolute triumph, both as an academic work, but also as Susan was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer just prior to the original planned publication date.

To quote from the blurb on the Vintage Shetland Project book:

Fashion & social history intertwine in the Vintage Shetland Project as Susan Crawford recreates & explores cherished pieces from Shetland’s rich knitting heritage.

The Vintage Shetland Project, is the culmination of eight years of hard work and personal determination. Inspired by the patterns and colours of Shetland knitting, the fashion historian, author, designer and publisher Susan Crawford began a journey into the rich heritage of Shetland knitwear, and in particular the pieces held in the Shetland Museum archive. With the help of Dr Carol Christiansen, the museum’s curator, Susan undertook the task of carefully selecting the most stunning and original designs from the 1920s to the 1950s, transcribed them stitch by stitch, and has here recreated them for the modern knitter, in stunning detail and a range of sizes for women and men. In combination with the collection of 27 comprehensive patterns for garments and accessories are carefully researched essays exploring the stories behind each piece and honouring their creators – some famous, some forgotten. Photographed by Susan on the island of Vaila, situated off the west coast of Shetland, this book also celebrates the untameable beauty of Shetland itself. Compiled with Susan’s trademark attention to detail, this book is a fabulous treasury of Shetland knitting design and a valuable insight into its textile traditions. It offers you the chance to delve into a fascinating era for knitwear design and to bring it to life in stitch-perfect vintage style.

The meticulously written patterns showcase Susan’s new yarn range, Fenella, created specifically to enable you, the knitter, to perfectly recreate these unique museum pieces. Made using 100% British wool, grown, spun and dyed in Britain, in a range of 26 colours carefully chosen to emulate the shades found in the original vintage pieces.
The Vintage Shetland Project is a celebration of stunning design, beautiful knitting and the people of Shetland themselves, during a time of local change, international conflict and revolution in the knitting industry.

Yule – Vintage Shetland Project. Image Copyright Susan Crawford.

In this episode we talk about the realisation of the Vintage Shetland Project into its paper form, and discuss a few of the amazing stories that have come out as a result of this research. This includes a hitherto forgotten knitting historian from 1930, whose work was destined to be lost forever until this project and a daring WW2 pilot, who believed the Fair Isle sweaters knitted by his doting Aunt kept him safe from the Luftwaffe.

Inside the Knocker Jotter. Image Copyright Susan Crawford.

The Knocker Jotter

Next, Susan talked about another project, connected to her diagnosis: The Knocker Jotter. Susan was very open about the details of her journey through cancer. The Knocker Jotter was a creative project, that came about with members of her cancer support group, and was very empowering for the women involved. It involved a photoshoot of all the women, as they are following cancer; all the way from undergoing chemotherapy to a full, double mastectomy without reconstruction. These images were combined in The Knocker Jotter.

FUBC Shawl in the Victoria and Natural colour combination, modelled by Victoria, who inspired the colour way.
Image Copyright Susan Crawford.

FUBC Shawl

Susan also created the FUBC kit, which is a shawl kit that was launched to celebrate the end of Susan’s breast cancer treatment. This included two skeins of Ghyll yarn, one of which was a limited edition colour by one of four of her favourite hand dyers, the other undyed, and two different shawl patterns which combined the two colour ways. £15 from the sale of each kit is donated to Cancer Care, which was the charity which helped Susan during her illness.

One of the glorious views at Monkey Ghyll Farm.

Future Plans for Monkey Ghyll Farm and Susan Crawford Vintage

Finally we return to the present, with exciting plans for Monkley Ghyll Farm. There are naughty Shetland sheep, retreats, workshops and jam and gin on the horizon. Susan has a vision for turning the farm into a creative sanctuary, and sharing this special location with others.

You can find Susan at

Music for this episode is ‘I Need a Drink’ by Adam and the Walter Boys and is available on iTunes.

Episode 102: On The Edge Of Something Magical


It’s been a little while that I have been on sabbatical, but I am once again back behind the mic and with you. There’s been lots of things ongoing behind the scenes here at Shiny Heights, preparing the new house and getting settled. I’m very much enjoying our new surroundings and hope to have many fun tales for you to come.

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Episode 101: No Dalmatians Required


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Welcome back after a short break to the podcast. I’m deee-lighted to be back with you once again, as I have missed you terribly during the break. Having hoped to have moved by now, I am still, sadly, in the same house, but hopefully moving next week.

So, I know you’re all wondering – did Mini Paul Rudd buy the house?

I’m afraid not. I think he bought a smaller one in the next street, and took his somewhat handsome father with him. Luckily though, after a viewing with Chinese Jackie O and another one in which my first impression was one of ‘OMG does Vicky Pollard live here’ (to them, not them to me), we got an offer and are cracking now with the sale as quickly as their ineffectual conveyancer will allow. Which is pretty much at a glacial pace.

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Episode 98: Knitting in the News

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Few thoughts on news items this week, I’m feeling all topical. Think Mock the Week meets Nevermind the Buzzcocks but with only one panelist and three knitty stories…

Before we get going though I want to remind you that I am still preparing for Episode 100 and so am open to any ideas. There are a few on the table already but nowt has been decided as yet so send ’em in.

Oh and my Voodoo shawl is still missing – cheers Royal Mail – so if you happen upon it send it my way. I may even have to start doing my own blocking because of this. Pah.

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Episode 96: This Thing of Paper – An Interview with Karie Westermann


Straight into the news this week as I have so much of it. Firstly, I want to thank you all for your wonderful positive feedback on last week’s episode and my time with Countess Ablaze. A lot of the feedback was around how well she copes with her autism, and how it doesn’t stop her from doing what she wants to do. We have both appreciated it very much, you are all lovely people.

If you would like some of our crazy Orange Mocha Frappuccino, the bad news is that the batch we dyed completely sold out to newsletter subscribers in two hours. [Fortunately for us, The Countess (despite being in incredibly high demand) has kindly agreed to do a very small number of pre-orders for those of you who missed out. You can pre-order the yarn here until the limit is reached or 20th June, whichever is earliest. Dispatch will be 1st July. Edited: This is now totally sold out. Thank you!

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Episode 94: Global Hypercolour

Image Details: 'Fluorescent Ort Loom (Weaving Detail)' by Nic McPhee, via Flickr.

Image Details: ‘Fluorescent Ort Loom (Weaving Detail)’ by Nic McPhee, via Flickr.

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REVISED Yarn Crawl Passport FRONT

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Episode 92: Midwinter Yarns – An Interview with Estelle Faust

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I am delighted to welcome Estelle this week. I always enjoy the Midwinter Yarns stalls and particularly their banter so I was thrilled when she agreed to be interviewed on the show…twice. For those who are not familiar with them they are into traditional, robust yarn but with a modern style – very Scandi.

Fair warning, there is a small amount of cake/pastry chat today.

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Episode 91: Is that it?

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I’ve had lots of happy messages this week, which is nice. First off, LJ is alive, arse and all, and managed to run the whole ruddy thing. Amongst my other lovely messages was one that particularly made me smile. It was from Lisa and made me realise that we need to relax and enjoy life. Let’s not take ourselves, or others, too seriously. Live like Westy. If you’re not sure what I mean, do as Lisa did and watch the below video. You will laugh, feel better and return to your knitting and correct your mistakes. Or watch Westy videos all night. Either way, you’re winning.

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