Jamieson’s Dicey

jenjoycedesign©Jamiesons Dicey 4 I’ve been busy making some shaping improvements to my Dicey Highlands Bonnet design. Here knit with Jamiesons Of Shetland Spindrift 2ply wool yarn, with my new favorite diced band style using three colors. I think this particular one is more a man’s cap, and there is a particular Scottish fellow who may just have his name on it come Christmas. About the design elements.  I’ve come to the opinion that it should be blocked flat , with the diced band brim eased into flatness as well , instead of blocking it with faced-band standing up  . . .

jenjoycedesign©steam-flat The toorie is as before, one simply threads the ties of the toorie through the middle of the crown and ties it on . . .

jenjoycedesign©tie-on-toorie Simple & pure ,

strong & good mannered too . . .

jenjoycedesign©toorie-tied-on Such personality !

I am smitten already with this handsome creature . . .

jenjoycedesign©Jamiesons Dicey The confident,  all-natural, pragmatic sort . . .

jenjoycedesign©Jamiesons Dicey 2

My Dicey pattern is already a year old, and now I am only just now studying it’s many facets  while trying out all kinds of yarns and test-knitting, for I honestly feel that the design is so deserving of every attention.  This pattern will be having extensive test-knit samples knit up by myself and some friends, and is undergoing an update soon.

jenjoycedesign©Jamiesons Dicey 3 I’m already casting on another , testing my new shaping ideas,  in a lively ensemble of colors… so watch this space ! 🙂

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Details on Ravelry HERE

Treats From Scotland !

I recieved another package from Scotland today ! Kelly  and I seem to be in the yarn shade-cards trading, for as soon as I sent her my home-made job of  a Hebridean2ply shade card,  she promptly and unsuspectingly reciprocated with a Jamieson & Smith Shetland Yarn shade kit. This kit has every available color of theirs : Shetland 2ply Jumper Weight, Shetland Aran, 2ply Lace weight, Shetland Heritage, and Shetland Combed top for spinning !!!  I am beguiled by a yarn prism of Shetland woolliness… thank you Kelly !

Along with the very much appreciated shade card  came a book from Kelly’s library,  Luise Roberts’ “1000 Great Knitting Motifs” , from which I’m certain I will get plenty of use. Just take a look at the bounty spread before me of treats. We have not one, but two dvd postcards all about the Highlands of Scotland, and I am sampling as I write this , authentic Scottish Tablet… no joke !  Not just Tablet, but Scots fudge & Scots macaroon, all hand-made too. I think my favorite is the macaroon, with it’s lovely textured appeal. Last but certainly not least, a very lovely gift of a the Scottish Thistle letter seal & sealing wax. I am already thinking I may seal the plaid ribbon around my wee bags o’ shortbread with this. Its arrival is brilliant!

Kelly, I can’t thank you enough. You are an inspiration as a Highland Designer, and a dear and generous friend ~~ xx!



” Dicey ” is a simple and fairly traditional Scottish style bonnet. It has a checked, or ‘diced’ band as it is called.  It has come to me in a sort of time capsule of  childhood memories of Peter Rabbit . . .

Benjamen Bunny Tam
as well as my present-day intrigue of a name by “Tam O’ Shanter” . . .

In a poem by Robert Burns  ‘Tam O’ Shanter’ tells a story of a farmer named Tam,  who  gets drunk with his friends in a public house and then rides home on his horse Meg, enduring a night of terror and misfortune. (click to go to resource)

The Scottish forename “Tam” (for Tom) followed by “mishanter” (misfortune, ill-luck, the devil) =  Tam of shanter .   Coincidental how the name for the style of Scottish bonnet which Tam wears is what we think today of the voluminous hat with a pom pom on top of it.  Its evident that the hat called a ‘tam’ came from Robert Burns’ character.

Oh, and check out this old tobacco label ! The dicing on the band is rather vaguely penned . . .

Tam O Shanter Pipe Tobacco - 1932

Actually, as far back as 1500’s the bonnet was a popular thing to wear throughout Europe, and the diced or checked band is a motif I find very timeless and yet fashionably dynamic !

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Dicey is knitted with Virtual Yarns Hebridean 2ply  shown here in colors “Selkie, Red Deer, and Sun Dew” (with a few rounds of Jamieson’s Spindrift black).


A small semi-felted pom pom, or “toorie” which sits on top, makes Dicey just a little bit whimsical, with real ‘sassitude’ .

jenjoycedesign©Dicey-sassitude (2)

Dicey has a sort of horizontally ‘incorporated’ cord stitch ( i-cord) bordering the diced motif either side . . .


Dicey has a built in ‘cord’ stitch knitted right into the fold on the band, lined with more rounds of knitting, then the turned hem is knit into the fabric with no stitching afterward, very  neat and tidy !


Dicey is very much the traditionally inspired bonnet I wanted it to be.


Dicey has been undergoing many designerly changes since its beginning in this post .  I feel I’ve finally arrived with the right motifs, the right techniques, the right yarn, the right gauge, the right shape  (with much feedback, knitting, and knitting over from Carol  I thank you !).  I am very pleased it is finished, and the pattern soon available !

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jenjoycedesign©Dicey-Bonnet - Copy


What Have We Here?


Looks a little like something the cat brought in.

It is the toorie . . . a decorative ball of fluff . . . a bobble.

It is to be tied to the imminent bonnet.

It has been in a bath, felted up a little, shook off, and will get one more trim.

Imminent Bonnet is back-stage (blocking & reblocking) soon to make it’s debut appearance!

So hold to your seats !

Sair Heidies

I’ve been posting a flurry of things last two days, this being my second post of the day ! In a post about a package from yesterday I mention some new cookbooks, and a recipe I wanted to try, particularly today, since it’s Easter Sunday. Well, here is my first attempt at making ‘sair heidies’meaning ~~ ‘sore heads’ ~~ which are absolutely darling little cakes inside parchment with broken aspirin-looking sugar cubes imbedded on top (thus the sore head, needing aspirin?) . . . and then tied with kitchen twine. I had neither sugar cubes, kitchen twine,  nor proper baking rings… so I improvised, as I do everything.

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I wish you all were here with me to enjoy a couple of these with tea right about now, because they are absolutely delicious and hitting the spot !!!  Kelly, I thank you again for giving me this creative opportunity in the kitchen, and I look forward to experimenting lots more with authentic Scottish cooking ! 🙂

Edit in ~~ Now all of you may try making them if you like, as I’m posting the recipe from the book , via photos !
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Helpful Note : I did not have sugar cubes, so I cooked a little sugar in a pan, and then tossed the goo with some more sugar and made ‘lumps’. I recommend doing the real thing, and buying sugar cubes (so they can look like broken aspirin too). Also, I did not have ‘self-rising flour’ so I added 1tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp baking soda to the flour, worked well !

A Package Arrived!

I have recieved a gift package from Scottish Highlands ! In fact, I think this package was mailed about the same time that my package (of alpaca mitts and home-made shortbread) was mailed to Kelly , the winner of my little give-away the other week.   Our two packages crossed in flight,  and I just now have picked myself up off of the floor, being that I was completely bowled over by the generosity from Kelly,  in the way of a pile of treats from the Highlands of Bonnie Scotland.

And I do mean a pile .


Some darling wee coasters (already stained with tea rings from my afternoon tea while studying cookbooks )  and postcards, depicting old castles nestled into Scottish landscapes,  and most sweetly,  two yarn cakes from Kelly’s personal stash, of lovely Hebridean 3-ply yarn in the ‘pebble beach’ colorway.

Oh but wait… as if two cakes of Scottish Hebridean yarn wasn’t plenty on it’s own, there’s more !  Some ‘cakes’ of Scottish soap . . .

and ~~~ Scottish cookbooks !!!!

Nay, not one. . .but two !!!


And right on time, because I’ve been having a real hankerin’ for some Cullen Skink lately !

And just look at these adorable wrapped cakes called ” sair heidies ” !!!


I’ll be trying the recipes in these Scottish cook books, beginning today.  I believe me sair heidie is for want of one of these wee wrapped cakes, with my afternoon tea this weekend, perhaps tomorrow,  on an Easter Sunday ( I wonder if I can use wool in place of kitchen twine?)

Ah, but the yarn which arrived in this package, well, it got me thinking.

Since now I’m happy owner of a couple of skeins of some Hebridean 3-ply Virtual Yarns in ‘pebble beach’ colorway…   (see all those colors? Yes, do click the photo) . . .

Pebble-Beach-3ply-Skein, Virtual Yarns

. . . perhaps this is a great incentive to swatch for my first Alice Starmore sweater? Since buying her book “Fishermans Sweaters” a couple of years back, I’ve had one on my mind to knit.  In particular , since acquiring the book, I’ve dreamed of knitting miles of cables and moss stitch diamonds in deep navy tones in this design , and more recently I’ve pondered the idea of substituting her Hebridean 3ply for her Scottish Fleet yarn in one of the fisherman designs.

 However my thoughts have now refined to a more feminine style of ‘fisherman sweater’ style, perhaps an Alice Starmore sweater for myself. I just took a look at her designs for which she uses her Hebridean 3ply yarn, and so now I’ve got my eye on this one~~~

a sweater she calls  Scalpay .

 ((I really do just love shawl collars ))

What do you think? 

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Thank you so very much Kelly,   for all of the treats from the your  Scottish Highlands ~~ they’ve become food for thought, as well as for my tummy !   Maybe the Hebridean 3ply yarn you sent will launch me into a knitting diversion,  for I’ve wanted to try for some time, my first Alice Starmore Design. . . just maybe ?

But it’s off to the kitchen for now, because I’ve got a sair heidie thinking about all these knitterly possibilities…. and I’m going to take some pantry inventory and prepare myself for some real Scottish cooking !!! xx !

Kilt Hose Sighting

Remember  these ?

Oh, it looks as if we have a kilt hose sighting ….

and one involving a kilt of Campbell Ancient Tartan !

Two days short of the anniversary of this post , by sheer coincidence I recieved this photo and a short message from Mr Campbell Scot, which I am so very grateful for, and thought I’d share it with you :

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Hi Jen ~

I had occasion to pull on my kilt hose today and I got to thinking that it was about a year ago that you started knitting them for me. I thought I’d mark the occasion by sending you a postcard of them being worn proudly on location of Glenarm Castle which sits on the Antrim coast and is home to the Earl of Antrim and clan chieftain of The Antrim McDonnells. The occasion was the annual Highland Games that are held there where there is fierce rivalry between the Scots and Irish competitors that take part. But of course the rivalry only lasts on the competition field and these Celtic cousins always depart as the best of friends to do battle on another day. I must tell you that my socks have been greatly admired during their travels, and they will always remain my greatest treasure.

~ The Campbell Scot

Kilt Hose Finished !

They’re done, and I will miss them, but the person they’ve been custom made for will be more than happy I hope, so I will send them off to my Braid Scot friend in Northern Ireland, and he will have them when his kilt cloth gets off the loom and is being sewn into his kilt in Glasgow.  It was very nice to partake in a custom of Scottish tradition, and I must add , that I learn’t much in that area as well.

This epic little project, at first guessed to take a couple weeks ~but which turned into a couple of months~ not only taught me how to make socks, but taught me how to do so much more.  I wrestled my way through learning new techniques all around,  plus overcoming my impatience as well.  Last but not least to wrestle on this project was the Kitchener stitch, which like riding a bicycle, started off wobbly at first, but then went like a charm.

I would like to give special thanks to my Sonoma neighbor and good friend  Morrie ,  for she helped me generously with any question I had ~ from nursing me a whole afternoon through a heel flap and turn in Eye-of-Partridge stitch, to how to do short-row toes on the phone at 9 o’clock pm, and in the end agreeing that the grafting is indeed more like a ‘Bitchener Stitch’, than Kitchener, and lastly, giving me good sound washing and blocking instructions for the best attitude of the yarn used.  And we had a little fun with the Glasgow Patter as well.

The beginning of the project starts here. From from there and up to this post, over the months of July and August, there can be found many posts of progress of these kilt hose.

Kilt Hose posted on Ravelry here.

In the Home Stretch.

Okay, so I totally blew my deadline of having these finished last week. But they will be finished this weekend , you can count on it, then they’re off to Northern Ireland !

I am learning *so* much about so many things with this unexpectedly epic little project : a braided cable, cuffing and reversing direction of knitting, narrowing down into a garter section (I chose to use smaller needles as well), Eye-of-Partridge stitch, sock gussets, and soon to be toe shaping and kitchener stitch… and I’m reinforcing my skill in reading a pattern (something I haven’t done much of, strangely). I had to totally improvise picking up stitches, and I got my SSK and K2tog mixed up a few rows on the first sock gusset start (quite obvious if you look closely at the one on the left). So far these have been a hugely valuable learning experience. I will miss them when they are done.

Tam O’ Shanter !

. . . This truth fand honest Tam o’ Shanter,
As he frae Ayr ae night did canter,
Auld Ayr, wham ne’er a town surpasses
For honest men and bonnie lasses. . . .

(excerpt from Robert Burns Poem ” Tam O’ Shanter “)

The ” Tam o’ Shanter ” is a name given for the traditional Scottish bonnet which was born  from a character in poet Robert Burns’ imagination,  and comes to life in his epic poem  Tam o’ Shanter.  Also called  a “Tam” or a “Tammy”, the hat is flat on top, usually made of wool , and has a pompom on top called a “toorie”, or pom pom,  even a tassel, but also they are made without any.  There is in fact, an actual arithmetic equation of the popular design, that the crown is  twice the diameter of the head , but I’ve noticed many of the  bonnets in different sizes  and shapes.  Originally, having only plant dyes available, the hat was made only in blue,  but they are now popular in many colors, as well as tartan plaids.   Tam o’ Shanters, the Balmoral bonnet, and the even the somewhat military Glengarry cap all are worn either formally or informally in Highland dress, as well as in uniforms of a number of military units.  (I personally suspect the Glengarry evolved from the Balmoral Bonnet, as a scrunched or folded version, the advantage being that it can be folded flat and tucked into the waist of the kilt).  These Scottish bonnets have been worn by men in a traditional sense ~ however,  it is quite obvious that the Tam is popularly worn by women in modern day, especially the knit versions, having endless designs and motifs.

The Scottish Bonnets I think are smartly fashionable, and though some styles have a bit of a regiment look, I think any excuse to wear one is acceptable !




Originally a soft, knitted blue cap with a flat voluminous crown, it gave the Highlanders their nickname ‘Bluebonnets’. Here the Balmoral style of Scottish bonnets appears in a 16th century portrait …

The band was sometimes checked, or ‘diced’, and sometimes plain. A diced band, with a  feather placed into the band,  is shown in this illustration …

Now , in case you’re wondering about all this hullabaloo about bonnets, well, it is because I am going to make one !  Perhaps several. I am keen to also try sewing one from felted wool cloth, either or both solid and plaid, which I will no doubt over-dye for a signature color affect.  Of course I’ll include the grossgrain ribbons on the band,  and make a cockade  on which to fasten one of my lovely pins .  Whichever I decide to do, I’ll keep you posted !

Falling in Love with Fair Isle.

My first tammy ~ and my own design !   This little tam I made for my girlfriends’ birthday, last year in September .  It’s significance is huge because  it launched a sort of knitting rennaisance in my life.  I had been for the first time become aware of traditional Fair Isle knitting, and had just checked out in the library a heap of books on the subject, including a few of Alice Starmore’s .  I have just bought my first knitting book,  the reprint of Alice Starmore’s  “FairIsle Knitting”.  In the years before this project I hardly knit much, save for a flurry of projects in my first years of spinning, however, in all the years not knitting,  I yearned and yearned.  Yearning has became the word which best expresses my feeling about knitting (when I was not knitting), and from which I entitle this blog  ‘Yarnings’ . This here little Tam O’ Shanter was my first stranded color knitting ever, and it has lured me down a one-way road into  yarn and needles and  designing the next Autumn or Spring sweaters for my nieces. Knitting has  grown in a very short time into a passion which has overtaken all else.

I used the charts provided in Alice Starmore’s “Book of Fair Isle Knitting”  which are for the most part, traditional motifs.  I used Jamiesons Shetland Spindrift yarn ~ so light and fluffy, I absolutely fell in love with Shetland wool !

Finest yarn I knit to date.  Ever !