We have just returned from a photoshoot. It is a very hot day and Tom couldn’t stop taking photographs of Bruce’s monumental panting tongue. (Don’t worry, he was supplied with plenty of water). In between the hot dog shots, he was photographing my new pattern – a cardigan, which is due for release toward the end of the month. I am very pleased with this design, and couldn’t resist showing you a couple of outtakes from the shoot.
This will be the first of three designs, all inspired by my favourite Edinburgh places. More soon!
It is a while since I’ve known a spell of weather like it.
The verges have bloomed into wildflower meadows.
Everything seems sharper, brighter, a dappled world of light and shade.
The evening air is soft and fragrant.
Folk stroll about, bare-armed, leisurely.
Inside, the new rooms are cool and clean and very pretty.
Bruce prefers the shade.
We are looking forward to a quiet weekend, with no workmen, and no dust. It will feel like a tremendous luxury to simply cook and enjoy a meal together in the kitchen. While the relocation stress continues, things are out of our hands for a wee while – our only worry at the moment is Jesus – who has not put in an appearance for 11 days. Jesus is an elusive creature, and he has been more than ordinarily elusive of late while the workmen have been here. Still, 11 days is a long time, even for a self-sufficent and resourceful feline like him. Come back, Jesus.
Hiya! It is I, Bruce. I am here to tell you about a Fun Walk I had yesterday at Braid Hill with Kate and my buddy, Felix. This walk (which is one of my favourites) begins by Golf Course. Golf Courses are very mysterious human spaces: men walk purposefully about them with large bags and sticks, and occasionally a ball flies by which I am not allowed to chase. Also, Golf Courses are composed of large flat, inviting lawns which clearly say “gambol upon me.” Oddly, though, whenever we encounter one, I am not allowed to gambol but am sternly told to walk to heel. Yesterday, though, I was so happy to be engaged upon the business of Walking with Felix that I got away, and gambolled happily about the Golf Course. Then I did something in the middle of the big green lawn which made Kate shout “Oh No! Bruce!” in that way she often does. So I thought I’d cheer her up by rolling in something a horse had left nearby . . . sadly this did not seem to do the trick.
Felix remained in good spirits, however, and, fully fired up with eau de cheval, we ascended Hill. At the top of Hill it was clearly time for a game, and, after rummaging in the bushes I presented Felix with Old Ball.
Come down from there, Felix, it is time to throw Old Ball.
Look at me prance with Old Ball, Felix.
Time to throw Old Ball again, Felix.
What do you mean, its the end of the game?
Please throw Old Ball again, Felix.
Sadly, there was no more Old Ball fun for me as Kate decided it was time to take some pictures of her new sweater.
Such is life.
See you soon, love Bruce xxx
Skylarks and sunshine, whin and whin-coloured knitting. A yellow day.
(Mel gifted me several amazing Bruce-shaped stitch markers a while ago. One day I’ll show you the whole set. )
Hiya! It is I, Bruce. Today I am here to tell you about the place called New Lanark.
As well as being an important World Heritage Site, New Lanark is a place where you can enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Falls of Clyde.
This was definitely the bit that interested me.
Up along the river banks and woods, there is much fun walking to be had. I smelt many interesting smells and went for a swim . . .
. . .I looked after the humans, hurrying them along the paths, and posing obligingly for photographs.
. . . I also heard some sounds that were new to me. For example, these icicles on the opposite bank made an interesting crrrrrrack and crrrrrash sound as they broke and fell into the river.
Then we came to a place called The Hide.
There was much excitement around The Hide because The Egg had just appeared in the nest of a Peregrine. The humans at The Hide had equipment through which Tom and Kate could look and see the Peregrine sitting on The Egg. Kate seemed quite interested in The Egg, but was perhaps even more animated by the colour of the Peregrine’s eyelids, which were apparently a very very very bright yellow. I was not allowed to look through the equipment, but I was very good on my lead and did not snaffle any of the Hide humans’ tasty meat-filled sandwiches while they were being distracted by the excitement of The Egg.
Now, I know and understand many human words — egg and chicken, for example, are two words that make a lot of sense to me. But two words that do not make sense are the words called Monkey Walking, which is what the humans shout at me with glee when I do this on a path with gaps in it:
The naming of things is perhaps the deepest of all human mysteries. For example, why is this crunchy, tasteless, pointless thing called Lichen when there is nothing to like about it at all?
Why is this piece of Scottish hydroelectrical equipment called YORKSHIRE?
Who named this bench BROWN LONG EARED BAT?
And which daft human decided that this fence should be called DONKEY?
Answers on a postcard, please . . .
See you soon, Love Bruce
Kate adds: A shout-out to Laura, the New Lanark ranger, who reads this blog and who we met on our walk today. Thanks so much to Laura and all her colleagues for their hard work maintaining this wonderful landscape for everyone to walk in and enjoy! xx
Hiya! It is I, Bruce. Today I am pleased, because, after a long break for the Winter, the walking and camping times have begun again! This particular walking and camping time was a surprise, because the weather is good, and Tom has not yet begun New Job. We packed up the van, and set off for West Highlands, a place in which Tom and Kate always seem very happy.
In West Highlands there is excellent walking to be had, and many interesting smells that I do not smell in other places. These smells are because of the big deer buddies, with whom I am not allowed to play. Indeed, an interesting feature of West Highlands is the prevalence of fences and gates, which are there to keep the buddies IN and me OUT. As you can see, however, the buddies sometimes get OUT . . .
. . . and (with human assistance) I can get IN.
These gates are mystifying machines. Try as I might, I cannot operate them.
The best thing about West Highlands is that we go for lovely long walks. This time we walked up hills and through woods. . .
and then we walked along the side of the water. All of this was fun.
Afterwards, we went to camp in the place that is called Bridge of Orchy.
The place is called Bridge of Orchy because of this:
The Bridge. Of Orchy.
At Bridge of Orchy it became very cold. I am often told that I have a nice thick coat, but although this is true, I do not have extra woolly clothes and fluffy bags to keep me warm in Extreme Highland Conditions. The humans have these things, and though they were cold, they were not as cold as I. Then a very exciting thing happened. Because I was cold, I was allowed to get on the hunky bunk with the humans for the first time ever! It was cold on the floor, but it was warm on the hunky bunk with three of us, and so we all slept there together! This was very good. All I can say is, now I know just how good it is on the hunky bunk, I shall definitely expect to sleep there at all times. I shall ignore all human mutterings of “this is not a precedent” and suchlike — YES! ITS THE HUNKY BUNK FOR ME!!
In the morning, there was ice all over the van, and the water had frozen in the pipes. And then we discovered that the van had run out of cooking gas. Kate was extremely worried that she would not be able to have her requisite Giant Cup of Tea, but disaster was averted by Tom, who is the keeper of all equipment, and who had the forethought to bring the spare camping stove.
Giant cups of tea were drunk, I snaffled half a hot cross bun, and everyone was happy.
See you soon, love Bruce xxx
Its all change round here! Tom is about to start a new job. He has worked at the University of Edinburgh for the past decade, so there were an awful lot of payslips to gather up from the desk drawer, and a very hearty whisky-fuelled send-off from his friends and colleagues. It was Tom’s work as an immunologist that first brought us North to Scotland ten years ago . . . an awful lot has happened since then. His new job is in Glasgow, so today Bruce and I helped him move his office contents and cell lines over to Glasgow’s Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, where he will be establishing his own laboratory. I don’t mind admitting that I’m massively proud of Tom — he does really important work (in the field of auto-immunity) and he also works incredibly hard. This is is a very good move for him and his research.
We also had a lovely walk in the park, where Bruce met a wee pug buddy . . .
And then the sun came out, and I tried to take some photographs of the crocuses that are gamely attempting to mark the transition into early Spring.
Bruce is full of the joys of the season, but unfortunately has little respect for floral photography . . . or for flowers, for that matter.
This picture is so hilariously characteristic that I just had to show it to you (with apologies to those who maintain Kelvingrove Park, and to those of you who feel that allowing ones dog to leap through the crocuses is a model of irresponsible canine ownership). But the image is also suggestive of the general mood of excited anticipation around here. Springing forward!
Here’s to the next decade, immunological and otherwise!
Hiya! It is I, Bruce. Today there is SNOW. I like SNOW because when it arrives we get up early and go for fun walks in my favourite places.
One of the many mysteries of taking a walk in the SNOW with humans is how very different their priorities are from mine. Kate, for example is endlessly preoccupied with taking pictures of the SNOW. . .
. . . as well as photographing other humans lost property . . .
. . . and muttering in vague rhapsodic fashion about how Edinburgh looks beautiful in the SNOW.
I on the other hand know that SNOW is best for frolicking . . .
. . . and that if you are good in the SNOW, BISKITZ magically appear.
However, one thing that is very odd about SNOW is the thing that is called SNOWBALL.
While other BALLS may be chased after, retrieved, and chewed, SNOWBALLS are mysterious and elusive. They smell of next to nothing, and, when thrown and chased after, they are somehow able to conceal themselves in an extremely vexing fashion!
And worst of all, on the occasions that you manage to catch a SNOWBALL in your mouth, it just makes things cold, and then it disappears! Beware! These SNOWBALLS are not at all like other balls, but are confusing and not to be trusted!
Personally, I find a STICK to be a much more steady and reliable creature, even when it is covered in SNOW.
And one of the best things about this particular SNOWY walk is that it visits a selection of my very favourite sticks. Do you remember that I once told you about the sticks that sing? Well, here are the singing sticks, singing in the SNOW.
The obvious conclusion: sticks beat SNOWBALLS paws down.
Hang on . . . she’s off again. . . . I’d better catch up . . .
See you soon, love Bruce xxx
I’m really pleased to be able to release another sheepy pattern! This design is a collaboration between myself and the wonderful Sandra Manson of Jamieson and Smith. As you can see, this cute canine coat features the same charts as my Sheepheid and Rams and Yowes designs, but the pattern is all Sandra’s. It was designed for her characterful Yorkshire Terrier, Toby, who is a true Woolbroker’s icon. Here they are together at Jamieson and Smith HQ.
Toby is such a lovely old boy — he will be 17 next month — and is often to be seen around Lerwick and Bressay sporting a very impressive range of Fairisle knitwear, all of which is designed and made for him by Sandra. Without doubt, Toby is Shetland’s best-dressed canine, and it is about time that he had a pattern of his very own!
Toby’s coat is made from the tail upwards and, in the same way as you’d create a mitten thumb, uses contrast yarn to create ‘afterthought’ front leg openings which are picked up later.
The neck of the coat is shaped with decreases and a ribbed edging is added all around the sides, creating a button-and-buttonhole band for the coat to fasten securely around the chest. Stitches are then picked up for the front ‘sleeves’, and a pair of neat straps are knitted to fasten the back of the coat underneath the hind legs.
Toby’s coat should fit any small-breed dog, such as a Westie or Jack Russell. The pattern includes detailed schematics, enabling you to adjust the dimensions if necessary to best fit those of your dog by adjusting gauge, or the length of the fastening straps.
Charts by: me!
Pattern by: Sandra Manson
Tech-editing by: Jen Arnall-Culliford
So, I suspect it won’t be hard for you to guess what provided the inspiration for the last pair of designs in the collection . . .
These two designs really were an awful lot of fun to work on . . .
For what is more fun than a puffin?
Um, garments inspired by puffins, that’s what!
Here we have a puffin sweater . . .
. . . and a puffin mantle . . .
Both of which feature the same six-shade garter stitch chevron pattern. . .
. . . which echoes the colours and texture of the beaks of Shetland’s most beloved summer visitor.
In Colours of Shetland you’ll find several puffin-related treats . . .
Including talented Shetland photographer, John Moncrieff’s, fabulous puffin portraits . . .
. . . and an intriguing, puffin-related MAP that has been specifically designed to accompany my essay in the book. All will be revealed as you turn the pages . . .
These designs are simple and fun and I love, love, love both of them. Pardon my hubris, but I have to mention that when I’ve worn the Puffin Sweater in Shetland, it is the design that has drawn most comment, from airport security staff who complemented me on my ‘blendin’, to local knitters and designers whose positive remarks really mean the world to me.
The mantle incorporates further decreases into the pattern to create a neatly-fitting and dramatic-looking wrap.
We shot the mantle photographs around Lerwick’s lodberries on a quiet, grey sort of day.
But I love the way the bright colours of the chevron pattern stand out against the stone.