Thursday, 28 January 2016

Bringing tidings of joy and dreaded price increases

Hello all!

It's been a while...I've been so busy tech editing that I've been remiss in updating this lonely blog, and now I'm here, I'm afraid, to let you know that prices will be increasing on my indy patterns come 1 February. It won't be much (only about 50p for each pattern), and it's the first time this has happened in all the years I've been designing (bar VAT--not my fault!), so I hope you'll understand that this increase is just to account for increased expenses and cost of living.

The US dollar is especially strong against the pound right now, and if you're wanting to buy a pattern or two of mine and have been waiting for a good time to do it, this might be it.

Happy knitting!


Monday, 17 November 2014

Now on LoveKnitting

Because the EU is starting to be a liiiiittle bit demanding and I'm starting to geeeet a little bit nervous that I'll no longer be able to sell patterns on Ravelry come the new year, you may start seeing me pop up in new places! LoveKnitting is a one-stop-shop for covetousness, as they carry gorgeous yarns, knitting accessories, and my patterns. I'm slowly putting my catalogue up over there; do check it out.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Bygum, some new patterns, I say!

My life for the past year has roughly been a strange, insomnia-filled cycle of edit-knit-write-lunch-edit-edit-garden-write-malaria-edit, with not much time left for design work. The next few months, I will remedying that by squeezing some colour (mostly blue) into my life (and yours!).

Here's a sneak peek:

Brandybuck (Out now!)


Crocodile Lagoon

Loria Cloche

Felted Tweed Cardigan of Undetermined Name
Keep an eye out!

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Give me Thin Mints, or Give Me Something Like Thin Mints

I've been in the UK for nearly five years now, (six if you count that eye-wideningly educational year in university), and I'm not sure why the urge for Girl Scout cookies is only hitting me hard now. It might be because that I've found myself wanting things I can't have (Of COURSE I love Tootsie Rolls. I've always loved Tootsie Rolls. I'm going to buy some Tootsie Rolls. Why the hell did I say I liked Tootsie Rolls?).  It might be because Facebook is inundating me with posts about my American friends kidnapping girl scouts for their biscuit haul.* I'm not sure.

But to come down to it, I was feeling jealous, so I thought I'd try to make some of my own.

*Possibly slight exaggeration. 

(adapted from King Arthur Flour's Chocolate Peppermint Snaps Recipe)

Oops...forgot to take photos until this was the only one left...

  • 170g unsalted butter
  • 110g brown sugar
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 180g plain flour
  • 20g cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Chocolate Coating
600g approx 50% Chocolate
40g unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 180°C (160° for a fan oven). Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Beat butter and sugar. Add egg, beating well to combine. Add vanilla and peppermint and beat in.
Add flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Sample dough and eat way too much of it before deciding whether or not you want to add any more peppermint extract. I added about another 1/2 teaspoon.
Drop cookie dough by generous teaspoonful onto baking sheet, allowing 1-2" between cookies. Bake for 12-13 minutes and transfer to rack to cool. Cookies should be crisp when done.
When cookies are cool, melt chocolate and butter in microwave and stir to combine. Use a spoon to coat the bottom of each cookie and place on parchment paper. Use spoon to coat each top and allow to harden at room temperature.
Store in fridge in airtight container.

...except this one that managed to mysteriously escape my plate and lodge itself to the kickboard beneath the kitchen sink. So I promise that the chocolate will set!

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Amish bread rolls

I'm posting this here because I am obsessed with this recipe and having to re-calculate into grams every time is driving me crazy. My family loves these things. Four of us sat down and easily ate one entire batch in one go. I could have made two and we'd still have made a sizable dent. Probably not great for your waistline, but a very good way to make friends.

Amish Bread Rolls (slightly adapted from King Arthur Flour)

2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
510g Strong White Flour
71g sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs
85g butter
About 200g potato, mashed (about one medium-large potato)
170ml water (leftover from boiling potatoes, if possible)

Combine ingredients in bowl of bread machine and set to dough cycle, checking after 10 minutes to adjust consistency for a soft, smooth ball. Complete cycle and let rest for approx 30 minutes, or until doubled.

Divide dough into 15 equal pieces and place in greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Cover and let rise for 2 hours, pre-heating the oven to 180*C/160-ish fan toward the end of rising time.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, take out of oven and brush with butter, if desired (I don't think they need it).

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Welcome, Fyberspates Blog Tourists!

Hello there, and welcome to the next stop on the Fyberspates Blog Tour. How's your trip been so far? Good? Good.

My name is Ashley, and, well, I do the numbers*. Right now, I'm trying to think of a way I can "sex up" my days spent on Excel and Word, typing in stitch counts and measurements and formulae and watching my cat groom herself, but I'm failing. Just be assured that I'm the one there poking the designers, prodding the words, and making sure every pattern in our collection is as clear and error free as possible (and our wonderful designers make this a pretty easy task!).

Behind the scenes. My spreadsheet anecdotes can go on for days.

Right. So, that done, how about I talk about Lyme Regis instead?

Jeni rocking the Rock Lea Scarf. Photograph (C) 2014 Jesse Wild
How beautiful is Lyme Regis? Jeni (Queen of Fyberspates) and I are both lucky to live in a stunning little part of England where photo opportunities abound, but when Jen AC mentioned that we were going to be heading down to the south coast (a place I'd never been - and, to my American, west-coast-east-coast-oriented mind, still sounded impossible. Never mind, you know, the Gulf Coast) to photograph the collection, I may have gotten a little excited.**

Lerryn Mittens (Photograph (C) 2014 Jesse Wild)
After spending a very cozy night at the kind AC house with Jen's cat as a neck-scarf, Nic (our fearless layout magician) bundled me, our photographer, one lovely model, the samples, and a lot of photographic equipment in her van. Hours later, having successfully staved off car-sickness on the windy Dorset roads, we finally made the sea.

It was my first proper English seaside trip, so I got to do all of the things that the usual English seaside visitor gets to do in February: buy and eat too many chips from the only open chippy on the beach. Try to not get attacked by seagulls.Huddle in a beach hut or do star jumps and try to keep myself warm.

Kenwyn Hat and Cowl (Photograph (C) 2014 Jesse Wild)
But I'm usually on the technical side of things, so getting to see the photoshoot take place, keep our photographer's special photography umbrella-y thing from flying away in the seaside gales, and watch our lovely models work their magic was quite a treat. I also got to spend a lot of quality time with our samples, and wishing I was wearing all of them at once.

Larigan was starting to look pret-ty cozy. (Photograph (C) 2014 Jesse Wild)

Now if you'll pardon me, I'll go back to my word processor and Excel document and point you in the direction of the next stops on our Blog Tour. Take care!

*I'm the technical editor for the Fyberspates Collection Book 3!
** Estatic that I was getting the opportunity to work outside the house. Also a little terrified of having the opportunity to work outside the house.

Fyberspates Collection 3 is now available.

Price:   (print and digital) £12.00, $26


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Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Chicken Dreams

I live in an odd place, a sort of honey-colored dreamworld that I'm not always keen on leaving. If you asked me ten years ago if I thought I would end up in the Cotswolds, I would have said "What's the Cotswolds?" and then carried on worrying about where I was going to go for college.

2013 was a good year in the Wonk household. My husband landed his dream teaching job and is well on his way to becoming the Best Teacher Ever (if  his Christmas gifts from students are to be believed). I wrote a new book and landed my dream agent (hi, Molly!), and am so excited to see where my career is going to take me. I went to New Zealand. I became a UK citizen. We got chickens, sort of.

They're actually my landlords', but Dora's destroyed my flowerbeds, so I think I get some claim..
Where will 2014 lead? Who knows! Hopefully wonderful places. Hopefully to more chickens, and more books, and a garden that doesn't get overrun in cabbage worm (RIP cauliflower). It's had an excellent foundation.

Bye, 2013. It's been real.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Free Pattern! On Rice Mitts

For my birthday, I'm giving you a gift.

On Rice.

Please pass it on and consider donating what you would pay to support Typhoon Haiyan disaster relief, instead. Thank you!

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Becoming British

Celebratory Bunting

Tomorrow afternoon I will become a British citizen.

It's been a long road here, full of lots of fretting, stress, worry, and throwing money at the UKBA, hoping it would stick. But I'm here now, and after tomorrow, I am so, so thankful I will (fingers crossed) never have to worry about visas ever again.

So...the council website says they welcome traditional dress of the applicant's home country. But for some reason, I think faded jeans with an American flag sweatshirt sporting pizza grease stains might be frowned upon. Ideas?

Saturday, 12 October 2013


There comes a special time a girl's life where she must exercise her high-school-grade, out-of-date web-editing powers and make a few changes to her website.

So I'm cleaning things up a bit: clearing out the knitwear categories (you will now find my patterns link goes straight to my portfolio on Ravelry - everything is there! Plus more patterns will be coming soon); adding some more information about myself in case you haven't fulfilled your daily recommended intake of narcissism,  and trying to update this thing more frequently, because my life is suddenly going in a very exciting direction and I want to have my website ready to go with it.

Anyway, there you go. I'll be adding some new content to the pages (up there) in the next few days once I'm not relying on an internet connection that has to travel through several feet-thick stone walls. You have my promise!

Now for some pretty pictures because I'm saving up my brain power for some more book revisions and another full week of technical editing starting on Monday.

How did I spend my summer?

Wondering how appealing the Devil's Bath Tub would be to actually bathe in. (Sulferic pool, Rotarua, New Zealand)

Wondering how the Moa ever actually existed, and only 600 freaking years ago. (Also pictured: my lovely in-laws, for size comparison).

And coveting border designs in the Wintergarden, Auckland.
Not pictured: playing with kittens; obsessively checking my e-mail; squatting in my garden to see if my vegetables have grown at all since earlier that morning.