Gemma-Rose is delighted. I finished knitting her cardigan. I’ve even sewn it up and she is wearing it. That’s two cardigans I’ve made for her this winter. That might not sound a lot to more experienced knitters, but it’s a record for me.

Don’t you just love that moment when you trim the last piece of wool and then spread out the garment for a good look? I also love shouting, “Gemma-Rose! I’ve finished your cardigan. Do you want to try it on?”


Of course she did. A couple of minutes later, she returned with a huge smile on her face. “I love it, Mum! Thank you!”  I think Gemma-Rose is actually starting to have confidence in my ability to finish what I start. I am amazed myself!



As I looked at Gemma-Rose in her new cardigan, I wondered what she reminded me of. A liquorice all sort? No. Some other kind of sweet? I couldn’t decide.



“Go and show the other girls,” I encouraged.  

Gemma-Rose was soon back. “Imogen says I look like a Neenish tart.”

A Neenish tart? Yes! That’s exactly what I was trying to think of. It’s just as well Gemma-Rose doesn’t mind looking like a cake. I think she is the most gorgeous Neenish tart I have ever seen.



“What are you going to knit next, Mum?” Every member of my family was hoping it was his or her turn for a knitted garment. They all looked at me with hopeful eyes.

“You haven’t knitted me anything for a long time,” pleaded Andy.

“You’re too big. Think of all the stitches...” I replied. “I remember the last jumper I made you. It took me so long to knit and then we had that huge disaster.”

Yes, I remember that large cream Aran jumper I started just before Andy and I were married. It was an ambitious project: loads of stitches and a complicated Aran pattern. It took me months to complete it. Actually, I think Andy thought I’d never finish it. Then a few weeks before his birthday I thought I’d surprise him. In quiet moments when Andy wasn’t at home, I knitted as fast as I could. The night before his birthday, it was finished. I wrapped it up and proudly gave it to him the next day.

Andy was delighted with his jumper. He wore it constantly for a couple of weeks and then I prised it off him so I could wash it. And that was the end of the jumper. Once immersed in water, it grew and grew and grew… I was heartbroken. All that time and effort. The wool was best quality and I’d even followed the washing instructions perfectly. I just couldn’t understand what went wrong. I decided then and there that I’d never knit another man-sized jumper.

Never? Well, maybe I will relent one day. I really would like to make something very special for the love of my life… but not right now.

On Saturday Andy drove me to town to buy some more wool. I came home with 6 balls of dark purple and 2 balls of grey/mauve wool.

“How would you like a jumper like this?” I asked Sophie, showing her a pattern for a hooded jumper.


Of course Sophie likes the idea of me knitting her the next jumper. I think she can’t believe it’s her turn.

I have begun knitting. It’s growing fast and I am thinking, “If I knit every spare moment, how quickly can I finish it?” I can already imagine Sophie wearing the jumper.


I also happen to have some multi-coloured wool in pastel shades that would look perfect with plain pink ribbed trimmings… But one jumper at a time.

So I’m off to knit a few more rows. But before I do that I’m going give my gorgeous Neenish tart a big hug.


By the way, Neenish tarts seem likely to be an Australian creation. They have a pastry base and a jam and cream filling. Half of each tart is topped with chocolate icing and the other has pink (or white) coloured icing. There are lots of different recipes. Here’s a really fast one from Woman's Day, if you’d like to make some of your own. Even the more complicated recipes are much quicker to make than Neenish tart cardigans!

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  1. That's lovely, Sue! It makes such a difference to be creative with colours - and, yes, Gemma-Rose looks gorgeous:-)

    Did you get on okay with Continental knitting? Maybe, it could be a lot quicker to make Andy a jumper, now. It's a nice story about the last one, despite ruining it in the wash.

    I thought I'd be getting cosy with knitting this winter but we're out and about, instead. It might have to wait until a really, really rainy day when we get flooded in:-)

    God bless, Sue:-)

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    1. Vicky,

      I have to admit I never conquered Continental knitting. I changed my way of holding the wool while doing the traditional method, and it made all the difference. It just seemed faster to continue what I'm comfortable with.

      I wish I'd taken a photo of Andy's jumper before it was ruined in the wash. I certainly didn't want a picture of the stretched and saggy version. Maybe I will surprise Andy with another jumper. I should start knitting it during summer when I'm not knitting for the girls.

      I noticed you've been out and about. Not even the rain has prevented your photography trips to the many beautiful beaches near your home. I hope you don't get flooded in again! Probably you wouldn't knit on such a day because you'd have a continual eye on the water level.

      Thank you for stopping to say hello. We must have a proper chat on the phone soon!

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  2. The cardigan looks lovely. Well done.

    I never heard of Neenish tart before. I wonder if it's just an Australian saying; or whether we have something similar over here with a different name. Sounds delicious though!

    God bless.

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    1. Victor,

      I can't ever remember seeing Neenish tarts in the UK. I do remember bakewell tarts though. I love those! We can get the Mr Kiplings sort in a box but they are quite expensive. Definitely a treat!

      God bless.

      Delete
  3. Wow - that's gorgeous! Congrat's on finishing two in such a short time :-) I've never heard of a sweater growing in the wash - I've shrunk one to doll sized though =0 !

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    Replies
    1. Beate,

      I'm glad you saw the photos because I posted them for you! Your encouragement keeps me knitting.

      I have also washed jumpers and had them shrink. (Actually I think I put them in the washing machine by mistake.) They tend to felt and become smaller and thicker. My growing jumper must be out of the ordinary. It was so disappointing!!

      God bless!

      Delete
    2. You are tempting me to look for knitting magazines ;-) Yes, the little sweater I inadvertently washed with other clothes felted up beautifully - it would be lovely as a nice stiff sweater for a preemie ;-) Bad thing was, it wasn't even knit by me, so I felt terribly guilty! I was reading a history of knitting book recently and was fascinated by the different ways of knitting - in one pic, it showed the woman using a hoop at her neckline to tension the yarn! Anyway, it made me think of you ;-) I don't think I could figure out a different way to knit either.

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    3. Beate,

      I love collecting knitting magazines. The only problem is that I want to knit everything all at once! I see something new and lose interest in what I'm working on.

      The history of knitting? That would be so interesting to read about. I wonder if the male knitters in the Scottish Isles feature in the story. I just love all the intricate Aran-type patterns. I taught Callum to knit when he was a child. He didn't persevere though!

      The girls are inspired by my recent knitting success. Imogen is now knitting Gemma-Rose a matching Neenish tart hat to complete the outfit. Charlotte wants to knit a striped bag.

      God bless!

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    4. It's so cool that your girls are knitting also! Mine have all started scarves at some point. I remember well how I slogged through my own 1st scarf when I was 9, so I don't say anything when they put it down ;-) I found your patterns for dollhouse food, I think that might just be perfect for my girls. Can't wait to see the hat. My niece and I are planning on knitting some veggie caps for babies.

      Just finished cleaning my little girls shelves, no off to the home improvement store for some hooks..

      Delete
    5. Beate,

      Yes I like the doll house food too. I think it was Natalie's clever daughter who knitted teddy bears who had their own picnic food. It could have been swiss rolls on plates.

      Immy is using up the leftover cardigan wool to make Gemma-Rose's hat, and I bought Charlotte some wool for her bag today.

      I had a knitting disaster last night. I knitted and knitted... I was determined to finish the back of Sophie's jumper before I went to bed. I did the last row and then spread out the knitting to look at it. I then discovered I'd used two balls of purple wool from different dye lots and there is a distinct line where one ball ends and the other begins. Heart breaking! I should have checked the dye lots, I usually do. Shall I unravel it all? I can't decide.

      It sounds like you are being very efficient and organised!

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    6. I'd leave it and call it a wide stripe ;-) As for organized, their bookcases were a disaster and I couldn't find a book I wanted to read, so the whole mess is now in some form of order ;-) They'd also tacked a stack of varied art work randomly on their walls, so I strung a hot pink line across one side of the room and handed them some clothes pins. Much better!

      Delete
    7. Beate,

      A wide stripe? I love it! You have solved my problem. Actually, I think sometimes we get discouraged by the feeling we have to be perfect. It can be good to accept a lower standard and keep moving forward. I bet no one notices the change in wool colour once the jumper is finished and sewn together. Anyway, I have renewed enthusiasm. I am working on the front piece and I am going to look forward and not backward. Sophie doesn't seem to care about the stripe. She just wants a handknitted jumper!

      I like the sound of your organised bookshelves! It's frustrating knowing there's a particular book somewhere on the shelf.. but where? I've been tempted to just go out and buy a new copy rather than sort out the mess!

      Delete
  4. Btw, love the new header!

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    Replies
    1. Beate,

      Thank you! I am getting better at putting images together. I've been inspired by Elisa's headers which are always very artistic!

      Delete
  5. I had to google neenish tarts. Yum. Looks good! This cardigan is beautiful!

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    Replies
    1. Elisa,

      I was half-way through writing this post when I began to wonder if Neenish tarts are unique to Australia. New Zealanders also make and eat them but not people in the UK or USA. They are very sweet and rich.

      I remember when you knitted a milo. Milo here is a chocolate malt milk drink. I couldn't understand how you were knitting a milo until I saw your photo! All the differences between countries is very interesting.

      Delete
  6. Hi Sue, I'm not familiar with neenish tarts either! Sounds yummy based on your description! Gemma-Rose looks beautiful in her new pretty cardigan! Good job mom!

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    1. Noreen,

      Thank you for your encouraging words! Are you a knitter? I imagine with your cold winters, you could do with some warm real wool jumpers.

      Thank you for your comment. I always love seeing you here on my blog!

      Delete
  7. Sue, I'm envious! You do gorgeous work! If I tried to knit/crochet my daughter a jacket, she would be embarrassed (rightfully so) rather than proud.

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    1. Dana,

      Thank you! My work isn't perfect but I've learnt it doesn't have to be. Sometimes I end up with one less or one more stitch on my needle than is supposed to be there. I just stretch the wool a little as I sew everything up to compensate! Gemma-Rose never notices.

      I bet your daughter would also appreciate the work put into a home-made garment despite your doubts. You could knit her one of those trendy hats or scarves for the winter. We have loads of beautiful patterns that any teenager would love. Or a woollen wrap or vest... there are so many beautiful fashionable designs. I wish I could knit more quickly!!

      Delete
  8. We had never heard of neenish tarts either, but I checked out the link. They look delicious and are so pretty- though as you said, not nearly as pretty as Gemma-Rose in her new sweater. :)

    Your blog is giving me and my family such an education in Australian culture. My children are very interested in learning more. They are wondering what side of the road you drive on-- the left like in England or the right like we do? I promised them I would ask....

    Thanks, Kari

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    1. Kari.

      I love sharing differences in our cultures too. Everything from language to customs is so very interesting. Tell your children we drive on the left side of the road like in the UK.

      I didn't realise there are so many differences between us until Ellen edited my children's book manuscript for me. She quite rightly pointed out that I'd written about many things that our Australian children are familiar with but they wouldn't necessarily be understood by children in the US. We have trolleys and you have carts, we have torches and you have flashlights. Our Christmas is in summer, yours is in winter, we eat Anzac biscuits, and walk through the 'bush'...

      Maybe I should post some more photos of our local area so you can see where we live. You could then tell me if it is very different to where you live. I'd love to hear more about your home too.

      God bless!

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    2. Sue-

      Thank you for answering our question! My children are even more curious about life "down under" now. I hope you do not mind but I have continued this dialogue over at ACF in the hopes of sharing it with others.

      Oh, and we would love to see pictures of your home. It would be fun to compare and contrast!

      Thanks again and God Bless you, Kari

      Delete
    3. Kari,

      I love your ACF post. I will add a comment and I hope others do too. We'll have to think up some questions for your family to answer. We could post that over at the ACF blog too. Sharing between countries and friends... that was such a great idea!

      God bless.

      Delete
  9. Sue, This cardigan looks awesome...and appears quite easy, Should try and get my head around making on for Brid

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    1. Leanne,

      You are right: the cardigan only involved easy knitting. I think it is the colours and the blanket stitch around the edges that make it look special. This particular pattern only goes up to children's size 10 but I think you could use any basic cardigan pattern that has a collar, and get the same effect. Just choose a few colours that look good together!

      Do you do a lot of knitting, Leanne? I wonder if Brid knits.

      God bless.

      Delete

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