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  • Would you like to award someone special a knitted rosette? See the pattern to knit one here!

  • Little Squares Scarf, (quick pattern).

  • Little Squares Scarf, (step-by-step pattern, with lots of step-by-step photos).

  • How to sew up crochet or knitting with an invisible stitch, step-by-step tutorial

  • Sisterhood Crochet Blanket pattern for square.

  • step-by-step pattern for Sisterhood Crochet Blanket square. Makes crocheting this pattern a doddle for beginners!

  • step-by-step tutorial for some basic crochet stitches

  • Tara's failsafe cup cake sponge recipe

  • knitted slipper pattern

blogs I read

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Thanks for the desert island discs head-up, Vanessa, sounds a good laugh. I have the "Complete Guide to Sewing" by Readers' Digest which has a lot of good info on dress making. I confess to finding dress making quite stressful. Too much of the perfectionist, and even if I make the article well, I usually find it is too big or too small, grrr. Not my idea of fun, much as I wish it was! I think the trick is to be good at alterations so that you can really tailor what you make to fit. I still have a go every now and then!
Have a great weekend.
Hen x


Yes, that's Ann Ladbury. She was part of a team of women who did a show on Southern TV that spanned from the late 60's to the early 1980's called 'Houseparty' which I occasionally got to watch when off school sick. If I remember rightly she was a no nonsense type of lady, terribly, terribly practical in a stiff upper lip schoolmarmy manner. If you trawl youtube you can see snippets of her in 'Houseparty' - great stuff!


Hi Vanessa hope you're feeling more awake for the weekend! I'm exhausted at the moment - comes with having and 8month old! Xxx

Miss Holly

I thrilled to know about the desert island disks!! I'm going to start listening tonight..quite a few I want to hear!!!wonderful! Thanks

Magic Cochin


Hugo is a star to scan and send the knitting pattern to your editor.

Gosh I remember the sewing lady being on the telly - must have been when I was at school. I was already making all my own dresses (like my mum and gran always did). Sad to say I'm out of the habit now - but I have spotted some rather gorgeous Liberty fabric designed by none other than Grayson Perry - it's fab!

Yes I heard Len on the "DID" I was driving over from Suffolk to the Fens to visit my mum. Wasn't Len a scream! I loved it when he said he could always light a fire with the pages from the Shakespeare book :-) at least he's honest.

I'd tired too, so I'm off to put my feet up and start some challenging knitted lace!

Take care

Rebecca Barrow

So many memories of those hours stolen in front of the telly when sick off school. I learnt everything I know about sewing from Ann Ladbury! You've really taken me back there! Thankyou xxx


Hi Vanessa,
Oh i`m so glad you`re ok, i missed you on tuesday.
I,too remember Anne Ladbury on "Houseparty"! I used to love that program. I think you are doing really well with your sewing.
I listened to DID`s on sunday with Len Goodman (after the Archers omnibus) & it was good.
Take Care
Love Carole from Rossendale xxxx


Oh, Ann Ladbury and Houseparty! Happy memories of watching that with my feet up whilst pregnant and then at home with toddler daughter - distinctly remember learning how to baste an interlining into a tailored jacket amongst other things. Odd what sticks in your mind isn't it!


I feel your train pain- I was all prepared with my sketchbook and copies of "the Hat' magazine last weekend for a long journey there and back again...settled into my seat...not a single sketchbook or magazine to be found:they were still sitting cosily on the back of the sofa,ready for me to take with me....Len Goodman was fun, "crumpeting' is my word of the week.
If you get REALLY serious about the dressmaking,you will need an adjustable dummy ( the bees knees for getting things to fit you perfectly).I bet you get hooked and end up with one.

Vintage Squirrel

EVERYONE should listen to Radio 4! I have been listening to it daily since I was 22 and began working as a specialist decorative painter for my sister-in-law (see )but we pretended that our radio was permanently stuck there as it was not cool to admit that we actually chose to listen to it.....all day long!!


Thanks Vanessa for the DID archive reference.
Perfect for knitting to/with


Husband is about to take the kids out so I will listen to Len while I potter in the kitchen. I remember listening to DID when Roy Plomley used to present it.


I don't have one myself but it sounds like you could make good use of a Kindle for storing patterns and
I can empathise with the frustration of forgetting a pattern..but what a lovely hubs to fax the pattern for your return journey. Rainy days have given me lots of lovely knitting time lately.


Hello Vanessa,

I hope you are feeling more awake and chirpy this weekend. You made me smile with your tale of knitting on the train. I too have been super organised when packing my sewing/knitting bag as I relish train journeys for making progress with my projects but I am so perplexed when I discover I have forgotten something as essential as a pattern.

Here comes some shameful advertising here: go check my blog out to see some stunning flower art in a French childrens' book. I think you will like it.


Hi Vanessa
I don't always enjoy DID (some guests choose some rather pretentious music which you feel probably isn't their taste at all but they feel it should be!!) but I did enjoy Len Goodman - a breath of fresh air I thought. I'm looking forward to seeing your next dress - next week??
Take care
Gill x

Alice and Raymond!!!

oh my goodness, getting on the train without the pattern! Thats like forgetting the second needle, shocking! I love that Hugo scanned the pattern and e-mailed it, what a funny story, I loved it...
Knitting adventures!
Your new dress is looking gorgeous,
have a lovely sunday XXXXX

Sandi Lee

Vanessa, was lovely to learn a bit more about you and what you do, I so recognise your illustrations, and so good to know it is you doing them. 5 hours is a long time in the train and especially if you couldn't do any crafting, thank goodness you were able to do something at least, even tho it was not quite right.
x Sandi

Angel Jem

Crumpeting, cracking term. It implies warmth and a certain unctiousness of melting butter. I wonder what the equivalent for picking up men would be... cream horning? It looks good but it's actually quite empty and unsatisfying?

Jenni at Baa-me Kniits

I bet that was a real OH NO!!! moment when you realised you had forgotten the pattern, there is nothing worse is there!! Well done to Hugo for scanning and emailing hubby wouldn't have a clue how to do that :-)

Thanks for the link to desert Island discs. I love the program, but hadn't heard Len Goodman. What a nice man. I'll certainly look up the back catalogue - hours of entertainment there.


Oooh, pattern-free knitting. Brave you! Glad it worked out okay. Laura x

Homeowner Insurance Rates

Thanks for the desert island discs head-up. I love that Hugo scanned the pattern and e-mailed it, what a funny story!


I remember Angela Ladbury - she was quite a sewing guru in the 70s. I had forgotten about her, now I shall look out for her books in second hand shops. Thank you for reminding me

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Hello and welcome!

  • Hello, my name is Vanessa Cabban, and I'm so pleased you've dropped by! I'm an artist and illustrator, working from home. I have two Miniature wire-haired Dachshunds, Ellie and Douglas. I love being part of the blogosphere, reading your comments, and feeling like I'm part of a community. I hope you enjoy reading about my small world.

Books I have illustrated!

  • The Best Gift of All

  • Book and dvd,(narrated by Kevin Whateley), of Bringing Down the Moon

  • There's a House Inside My Mummy

  • The Magic Donkey Ride

  • Down in the Woods at Sleepytime

  • Dear Tooth Fairy

  • Dear Mermaid

  • No Place Like Home

  • Diamond in the Snow

  • Bringing Down the Moon