True Confessions – I’ve Been Distracted


Photo courtesy of Amanda Herbert Photography

If you’ve noticed a paucity of blog posts recently, this will be why. Meet Ella. She’s a four month old miniature schnauzer and we’ve been living together for six days now. Oh my goodness, it’s love – on both sides!

I have plenty of vacation time over Christmas for us to bond. She’s had such a lot to get to grips with already! A strange new home, and meeting new friends – including a visit from Huggie Does Homespun, who has designed an AMAZING fabric print, following a course at Central Saint Martins – check out the designΒ here. Swoon. In silk? Yes, please!

Ella has also had a health check at the vet, a visit from the dog walker, and dealt with the oh-so-hard task of night time separation. She’s shown nothing but grace and love in the face of these demands, along with the occasional accident. I can’t get over how quickly she learns! Oh no, I’ve become one of those people who crows that her offspring is a genius. Except Ella isn’t a child, is she? She’s a dog. A dog, Karen, remember that…


The past six days have really taught me the importance of Calm Love. I try hard not to squeal, fuss, or suffocate with attention. I’ve also learnt not to throw a bouncy toy in the direction of an ironing board with hot iron resting atop. Jeez, that was an interesting near heart attack!

You’ll be glad to read that I’ve already experimented with some sewing cutting out with a puppy in the room. I was all braced for chaos. Not a bit of it. Ella’s general approach to sewing is to watch from a safe distance, with a raised, hairy eyebrow. Why do you keep swearing? How come you sing off tune to the radio? What’s with all the clicking of the fingers? (I’ve realised I click my fingers incessantly to pretty much any song that comes on the radio. Not good, when you want a dog to nap.)

Don’t worry, this won’t become a dog blog. But it might become a knitting dog blog. I thought she looked guilty in this photo, but my friends’ concensus is that she looks defiant. What do you think…?


Ball of wool? What ball of wool?

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86 Responses to True Confessions – I’ve Been Distracted

  1. Oh oh oh!! Miniature Schnauzers are my dream dog (husband is fixated on German Shepherds and that’s a big gap to compromise over). They are o smart, so sweet, so clever. And chewy. There i a terrier in there of course. I am sure this is the beginning of a long term love up. SO happy for you! xo

  2. Ashley0107 says:

    Awwww!! What a gorgeous little dog! Good to hear she’s settling in well πŸ™‚ And that last picture is adorable, I’d say she look’s like she’s saying sorry and is about to put the yarn back. I love the name Ella too!

  3. Pella says:

    No, that is definitely the look that says this orange wool is now MINE. You didn’t need it anyway did you?

  4. BeaJay says:

    OMG how gorgeous. You have a right to be proud. Makes your heart melt.

  5. Sam says:

    Oh how gorgeous. A friend of mine has had a miniature Schnauzer for a few years and she is the loveliest natured dog I’ve ever met. I hope Ella is just as wonderful.

  6. Aww such a nice Christmas present for you both! I’m a little jealous… And definitely a defiant look πŸ™‚ My mum’s a knitter with a dog around the house; from her experience, I would watch the round needles closely – he goes in with a cleverly, carefully and precisely placed bite, and severs the plastic. Never the needles. And usually in the middle. How he knows it’s important, I have no idea. Even after eight years of living without a dog (I moved out), I still dog-proof the flat and get anxious when I leave items out that he could chew. If you want, I can send you a list of potential chewing items you might want to watch out for… but trial and error is fun too πŸ˜‰ Hope you have a great time together!

  7. She is lovely, knitting around dogs is always fun. I’m sure mine thinks my needles are sticks and when she gets all playful all she wants to do is take them from my hands. My worst knitting incident (this is entirely my fault) was during knitting a jumper for a friends baby, Little One was left on her own and completely chewed the needles apart, fortunately she left the knitting completely alone so I could just pick the stitches up again and carry on.

  8. nataliabird says:

    Hello Ella, aren’t you a luscious little fluff lump!? Karen, I for one would not be in the least bit upset if a few dog pics sneaked into the blog. (She already seems to have established herself as your knitting assistant!) I hope you have lots of fun together. x

  9. MrsAlex says:

    Definitely defiant and possessive, too. Mine! Has Ella lost her baby teeth yet? That’s when our mutt really needed to chew things; ice cubes were great to soothe sore gums and save my yarn.

    • Defiance? You’re not kidding! A little submissive type I certainly do not have. On day one, my mum said, ‘Ooh, there’s a stubborn streak there, isn’t there?’ Oh yes, there is… Possessive? That’s interesting. How does this manifest itself? No, she hasn’t lost her baby teeth yet.

      • Tez says:

        Simply given the breed, a lot of the possessiveness will be in the form of guarding you. Sitting on your foot, leaning against you. Standing in front of you when you sit down, standing in your lap…all are behaviours indicating possession of your person. When she possesses things, you’ll certainly know. She will hide items, jealously guard items, refuse to give things when you say ‘drop it’. She may even obsess about stuff she loves.
        Consistency is the key. She will be a delicious pet, you will enjoy the fun stuff, if you’re consistent in letting her know what she is allowed to do and not do.
        The breed is a very quick witted breed and her intelligence will blow you away, I bet!

  10. sewbusylizzy says:

    She is just precious! I think she’s looking at you and thinking “Karen… you are putty in my paws”

  11. Kerry says:

    Argh! She is too, too adorable. Hope you have a lovely time getting to know each other and I look forward to many more photos.

    Have you started looking at sewing patterns for dog coats yet? πŸ™‚

  12. Vicki Kate says:

    Oh she is adorable! Your in for so much fun and love! And I’d go with defiant too – whadya want this for? My ears need scratching!

  13. Awwwww! She looks like she’ll be trouble! But in a good way if you can keep your sense of humour about it…! πŸ˜‰

  14. I am also besotted….

  15. Joanne says:

    Oh you are so lucky! She’s adorable! I would love love love a dog. Oooh can I come round after baby’s born and we can swap for walkies?!

  16. Regina says:

    Ohhh, this is so wonderful. She is so cute. Now be watchful, pup-pups love to chew/alter your pattern pieces if given the opportunity!

  17. Roobeedoo says:

    Oh you should have said – you could have had MY dog! πŸ˜‰
    What a sweet little beastie and look at her collar and lead-styling! I predict an entire wardrobe of woolly wonders!

  18. annie says:

    Super-cute. We are adopting an adult dog next week. Wish me luck. I probably won’t be brave enough to sew for awhile.

  19. Michelle says:

    Oh Karen – Ella is absolutely beautiful! Love her to bits and pieces (I don’t mind if you also dogblog)

  20. Please, more dog posts interspersed between all the sewing!

  21. aaww, isn’t she gorgeous? such a cute little guilty face in that pic with the wool!

  22. Ginny says:

    Oh she is adorable! But really, anything you care about, hide it now! My pup got through 3 phone chargers, 4 hairbrushes (the rigid plastic bristle type), two pairs of shoes, my nanna’s sewing basket, and a foam sanding block. I can’t imagine how horrible that last one was to chew on. Oh, she had a go at my camera too but luckily it was too hard for her. It has a few tiny teeth marks that were all she could manage.

    • My friend’s dog ate a lightbulb!

      • Joanne says:

        These eating stories have had me in stitches. Husband has just told me his childhood dog ate his mum’s bra, and another got at a Christmas hamper and ate everything that wasn’t in a tin, so after eights, pudding, biscuits and pate. Had to have his stomach pumped!

      • Hide the TV remote control – they go for that too! Other than that, our family dog has also eaten glasses (apparently the frames are great), braces (household with four teenagers. apparently, it’s very common), and taught us all to keep the bathroom door shut so he can’t get to the laundry basket.

  23. shivani says:

    ooooo congratulations on the new addition! she is gorgeous and I think you should definitely work into as many posts as possible. simply adorbable! (you must have already seen the simplicity halloween costumes for dogs? and the matching family (incl dog) pjs – a crazy new world of sewing ideas!)

  24. Marie says:

    Definitely defiant Karen, not to be confused with guilty ;o) Ella is super adorable, I know you’re going to have some fun times together! How lovely!!!

  25. Jane says:

    Karen, your Ella is beautiful and I would say she’s looking defiant, in that “come on then chase me” sort of way. You are going to have so much fun together.

    Chopped carrots and swede (keep them in the fridge) are good for soothing sore gums when teething kicks in and she starts chewing everything in site.

    I don’t mind if it becomes a sewing, knitting, crafting, doggy blog at all. I for one want to see more of your new knitting assistant.

  26. Erika says:

    So, so cute! She’ll be a beautiful lady. As for the look… it reminds me a lot about how my mom’s little alpha-lady looks when she has decided something belongs to her and she knows we’ll make a fuss about it =) Our neighbours had a schnauzer (middle sized) and I remember them saying that this breed is often strong-willed. You’ll have your hands full for a while I’d guess, but it’ll be so worth it.

    Oh, and please pretty please: cute dog-blogging once in a while! I for one would love to see more of Ella!

  27. Kathi Giumentaro says:

    Ella is so beautiful. I always say, when you can see the whites of their eyes they are guilty. I call it the sneaky side eye. My dog tries not to look at me full on when he has just done somehting bad. It’s adorable.

  28. Sarah says:

    Congratulations on your new baby!! Ella is just gorgeous and I want to hug her a lot! I love the pic with the ball of wool in her mouth; definitely defiant – LOL! “I’m gonna chew on Mummy’s wool!”

  29. twotoast says:

    How exciting – welcome to the great world of hounds! I have two greyhounds and a collie and have had no issues with them as far as sewing is concerned, but one of the greyhounds is anexpert on expensive sock yarn. He won’t touch cheap acrylic, but silk/cashmere/merino? Yep, he is there to give me hand unravelling the knitting and the yarn!

    My top tip would be to crate train her. I only started this with the greyhounds – I fed them and gave them treats in their crates, put their favorite bedding in there, and now that is their ‘kennel’, their quiet place. It is good to know that when you go out they are safe – they can’t hurt themselves and if them have the munchies or an upset tummy – your house is safe!

  30. congratulations! ella looks like a sweetheart, and it sounds like she has a great temperament for such a young pup (at four months, i was more of the ‘exasperated crying love’ camp. there was very little calm). you’ll love your fur kid to bits. it’s amazing how much dogs can enrich our lives, and how well we can communicate with these creatures without really sharing a language.

  31. Abby says:

    I love seeing another dog-owning blogger! Everyone has cats. I’m going to put in my two cents and say that look is begging for something. My older dog has perfected the art of begging, and that’s what he always does. Head on table (chair arm, ball of wool, leg, etc.), eyes looking up. πŸ™‚ That always means he wants something, whether it’s dinner, attention, or going outside. Ella is so cute! I hope you have so much fun with her.

  32. Congratulations! I have become one of those crazy dog owners who sews collars and halloween costumes for her dog. My friends think I’m nuts. But what good is sewing if you can’t sew for your ‘kids’? Love those eyebrows on Ella, by the way. so adorable!

  33. Congrats on your new friend! I have a collie, and life is so much more fun with her. Be careful with dropping pins while sewing, my dog tends to pick them up and see if she can eat them. Eek! Also, I’m glad you’re in the dog-camp, sometimes I feel left out (kidding) because the majority of sewists seem to have cats. Have fun with Ella! (good name, btw)

  34. Jessie says:

    My dog is part schnauzer and they are the same colour. So adorable!!!!!!

  35. Tamsin W-P says:

    She is beautiful! Some friends have a miniature schnauzer and Husband, who hates dogs, said that if he were ever to have a dog then he would be happy to have one of those!

  36. liza jane says:

    Awww…. I love that little old man face!

  37. Awwww she’s adorable!! Congrats! My doggy sits on the sofa that’s in my basement sewing area and just stares at me wondering what I’m doing. And she totally lays on yarn/knitting too. πŸ™‚ Enjoy your new furry family member, she’s a beauty!

  38. Tez says:

    SUPER CUTE!!! I have the Giant version of that wee fuzz butt. (same colour and all!) πŸ™‚ My favourite breed, ever. Enjoy the fun antics over the vacation time, you’ll likely be in stitches, often.

  39. redsilvia says:

    She’s so cute! She looks like she’s plotting in that last picture – perfect! Congratulations!

  40. Aw I’m not surprised it was love at first sight, she’s probably the most adorable pup I’ve ever seen. PLEASE make her a little Sherlock Holmes- style coat!! If you don’t, I will! xx

  41. Trisha says:

    What a cutie! Please include pictures of sweet Ella from time to time. Maybe she can help you show off your sewing creations.

    My dogs like to sit with me while a sew. But if I’m cutting out a pattern on the floor, one of them will try to sit on the pattern to get my attention.

  42. Fiona says:

    Oh my goodness! What a beautiful little pooch. Adorable. Enjoy many happy years together.

  43. Bethany says:

    If you ever want to practice sewing for dogs, your local shelter would likely love dog sweaters, bandannas (especially for large dark dogs), cushions for cats to rest on… You could always get in practice on the other pups before making something for Ella. She is absolutely adorable!

  44. She is lovely, its okay we have a Baby of the Family ours is also know as a little person( yes she is a dog). You must get sewing some smart coats for her, the Baby of the Family has a selection of coats and there is one in my UFO pile which will be finished by Christmas, every young lady deserves a new winter coat.

  45. Jacqueline says:

    She’s gorgeous, I would love another dog, but long hours in a full time job isn’t a good mix.

    They’re such good company.

  46. Karen says:

    She is so, so sweet – congratulations! I hope she knows how lucky she is to have you for her mummy??? I love her name – we have a chicken named Ella (and she is a character!!). What is she getting for Christmas? Ball of yarn??

  47. Tilly says:

    Gorgeous!! And she looks particularly fetching with a ball of wool in her mouth, so you must be well suited. (Not that I’m suggesting you keep balls of wool in your own mouth, you understand.) Will you be… erm… sewing her any outfits?!

  48. Brenda says:

    I have two dogs. That is defiance…definitely!! As we tell our dogs-“If you weren’t so cute you’d be dead!!

  49. terrimm says:

    Awww! She’s gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous! ..and there’s nothing wrong with a knitting / dog blog… I have a crochet / dog blog, lol! I’m so happy for you, nothing like having a puppy in the house x

  50. Helen Made says:

    A-DOR-ABLE!!! It’s definitely defiance… but she looks so cute with that ball of wool in her mouth it’ll be impossible to tell her off! πŸ˜€

  51. gingermakes says:

    Gah!!!!!!!!!! She is adorable!! Happy new family member!!!!!

  52. Becky says:

    I think she is saying, “whaaaaah?” She doesn’t know she is supposed to feel guilty or defiant. Dogs, I love them, I have two terriorists, and I think you will have a long term love affair with this cutie! Now you can sew and knit for her as well.

  53. poppykettle says:

    My gawd… the cute-ness factor almost hurts me!! (doesn’t help that I’m desperately pining for a dog/puppy/anything-remotely-canine of my own to slavish love all over). She’s GORGEOUS. mwaaaah!

  54. Melizza says:

    What a beauty! She will make a great assistant. I can see it in her πŸ™‚

  55. Andrea says:

    What a cute dog, and I know you’ll love being a dog owner! I became one myself four and a half years ago, and I’m amazed at how my bond with my dog continues to grow. There’s no other relationship like it.

  56. Danielle says:

    She is so cute!! Good luck and have fun with her!

  57. Sharon says:

    Oh Ella is gorgeous and I’d say she wants that wool knitted up in a warm coat!

  58. Oh she is fabulous! If you ever need her to have a break in Worcestershire……
    (Have you seen a book called ‘Following Atticus’? A friend loaned it to me – it is about a mini schnauzer and is wonderful)

  59. Hello Ella!!! Love your stripy lead. Looking forward to seeing you again and maybe doing some WALKIES…..maybe we can teach you to knit given you already have a penchant for wool X

  60. silkenpaw says:

    Ella looks like a fabulous addition. And I agree, the look in in photo with the ball of yarn is defiance (“Just try to take that away from me, I DARE you”).

    Lucky you, with no interruptions to your sewing from the new family member. The cats are all over my cutting (dining room) table, from trying to be pattern weights to helpfully pulling pins out of the pin cushion. The kitten has scarily been chasing the rotary cutter. Luckily, there’s no room on the desk where the sewing machine is, or they’d be all over that, too, I’m sure.

  61. colleen says:

    Defiant, as in: cool it, I’m a dog.

  62. superheidi says:

    Aaaaw, cuuuuuutest of cute! Nah, it ain’t a child, but it’s like family, you’ll see. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy, life with a dog is so… just good. πŸ™‚

  63. sewingplums says:

    Hello and thanks for all the entertainment and interest you provide. I’ve nominated you for the ‘very inspiring blogger’ award. (I’m in southern England too.) If you’re interested, please see :

    And hey, I’m a dog person too – yours does look fun (I recommend a miniature long-haired dachshund for a sense of humour :D)

    Best Wishes of the Season.

  64. rehanon says:

    So so so lovely is Ella and I for one hope she makes multiple appearances on the blog after all the sewing community is nothing but welcoming especially to someone who enjoys a fine yarn also πŸ˜‰


  65. Debi says:

    What a love! How adorable is she?

  66. Carolyn says:

    Congrats! I hope you and your new companion have many wonderful years together!

  67. Tammy says:

    Oh, Karen, that is defiant, for sure. I see it often at my house. Congrats on your adorable pup!!

  68. Portia says:

    Ella is gorgeous!!! (and definitely defiant I’d say!) From what I hear of dog owners; having a puppy very closely resembles having a boisterous toddler!
    Happy new year to you Karen (and Ella of course!)

  69. Portia says:

    By the way, your friend is a fab photographerPx

  70. Karen B says:

    Ella is sooooooo cute! I too have a Schnauzer “Polly”, though I call her my shadow. She follows me everywhere I go. We are in lerrrve. She’s now 18months old and cuter that a button. I know you’ll adore having Ella around. Schnauzers are such terrific companions, not to mention the wonderful no-shed fur.
    Of course, I’d be VERY happy to see lots of pics and hear of her progress. I’m a dog-person now.

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