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Thursday, 17 May 2018

Wool@J13 Confessions

I saw the Wool@J13 yarn festival advertised in a magazine for local events which came through our door a couple of months ago.  I'd never heard of it, and I hadn't seen it mentioned on any social media sites either.  
Mark had his weekend planned with sorting the shed and garage out so it was the perfect opportunity for me to take a day out yarn shopping :-)

The event was held at Lower Drayton farm in Penkridge, just a couple of miles off junction 13 of the M6, (hence the name,Wool@J13) .  which for me is only a 30-40 minute drive.

It didn't look that busy when I arrived around 11am, the car park (field) is a few hundred yards away from the event itself but the kind farm folk provided a tractor / trailer ride up the lane.



I was very pleasantly surprised, everything was set out in a big 'L' shaped marque, and there was plenty of room to walk round without bumping into each other.  Outside there were picnic tables and various catering vans, and as it was a beautiful day there were quite a few picnic blankets out too.



I bet you are more interested in seeing what I bought than the food on offer, so here you go feast your eyes, lol

These were purchased from One Wool.
The grey and the natural are DK weight and the lovely yellow, which looks nothing special in the photo but is actually quite a beautiful colour is 4 ply.  But best of all, because I told the stall holder that I might be back later because I liked the yellow he let me have this skein for £2. 
How lovely was that!

From Dusty Dimples, on the right I Do Believe in Fairies a 4ply merino / nylon mix which I thought would be perfect for the Peachy Geometric shawl pattern from Sandra at Cherry Heart, (which I bought over 12 months ago) and the other skein has no name, is DK and will make some mitts because the colours go perfect with my coat.

The grey Hot Socks and the Drops Fabel I bought for cardigans for Bonnie


And another couple of Drops because it was only £1.50 a ball an it would have been rude not to :-)

I bought a lot, and I'm slightly embarrassed by the amount, but in my defense I do have projects in mind for most of it so I don't feel too guilty  ;-)

I also bought a couple of gadgets, a gauge checker and sock blockers.
I'm a bit annoyed because I didn't check the sock blockers close enough, I thought I was getting 2 when in fact there was only one in the bag.  My bad.


Why do I need sock blockers?  Well I am slowly working my way towards my first finished socks, I've made it as far as the heel anyway, lol

The pattern is from Ellie at Craft House Magic.

Last but not least of my purchases is a little pack of un-dyed yarn and some Kool-aid.


I saw that Jo had bought something similar recently and I thought when she posted about it what a good idea it was to have a go at something new, so when I saw these packs I grabbed one right away, I've no idea when I'll get round to playing at dyeing because I've got enough yarn to keep me occupied with knitting for quite a while!

  Here endeth my confessions, for now, but Yarningham is happening in July so I may need to confess again soon :-)

-X-

Friday, 11 May 2018

Empty nest, knitting and Tulips - (not necessarily in that order)

Jenny had asked for a chevron blanket for Arthur like the one I made when Joanne was expecting Bonnie.  I had enough yarn left over from Bonnie's blanket to make another one so that was a bonus.

Bonnie's blanket
I thought it would be a fairly quick knit but that didn't quite happen.  I took everything with me when I went to Norfolk in March thinking I would make a start on it.  Well I made several starts, all of them ripped back, I just couldn't get it right, I kept ending up with either too many or not enough stitches.

Finally I managed to get the first chevron done but I think I had problems on almost every single chevron after that, either too many or not enough stitches or I didn't like how my stitches looked, honestly, you wouldn't believe how many times I've ripped this blanket back!!

But I persevered and finally got it off my needles, the ends sewn in and washed all ready for little Arthur, not that he will be needing it at the moment.  I did the peg blocking again :-)

Arthur's blanket
It's identical except this one starts and ends with the purple yarn.
I still have small amounts of the yarn left but It will definitely NOT be going into another chevron blanket anytime soon, lol.

If anyone is interested you can find the free pattern on Ravelry.  
I cast on 169 stitches, each chevron is 20 rows and I used King Cole Comfort Baby DK.
It is a lovely pattern and very easy to modify, (the difficulty I had  knitting it this time round was of my own making and my inability to count to 10. ;-)
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I'm slightly obsessed with the garden at the moment, I bought one of those little plastic green houses and it's full of plants just waiting to go into the window baskets and tubs, I've also grown a few things from seed this time and they are doing well although they are taking over the conservatory now so I will be glad to get them outside.

In October I found a bag of tulip bulbs in the shed, I'd obviously bought them the year before and never got round to planting them.  I put the majority in this planter, the others I planted in the garden and never thought they would come to much because our resident squirrel kept digging them up!

But they turned out to be the best thing about this Spring, the pink came first and they bought a lovely pop of colour to our garden.  Then came what I thought were going to be white ones

But no, they are red and white





They are so beautiful, like they have been painted :-)

Because I just bunged them in this pot at the last minute and threw away the label I have no idea of a name, if anyone does, then please let me know because I want to buy more of these for next year.
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And the empty nest.....

Stevie-Leigh and her boyfriend, Darren, moved into their house over the weekend, so I now officially have an Empty Nest! 

It feels very strange her not coming back from work and asking what's for tea, and even more strange that she is grown up enough to have a mortgage and all that goes with being an adult.  Stevie is the youngest and I still think of her as being a teenager and to be honest I still did everything for her while she was living at home, I will miss her, but that doesn't mean that I'm not going to enjoy the extra time and less washing and cooking ;-)

-X-

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

The Welsh seaside at it's best

The weather forecast did not look good for the weekend, but sometimes they get it wrong, and I'm so glad that they did this weekend for my little trip to Llangollen and Llandudno.

Friday started off wet but by the time I arrived, just after lunchtime, it had stopped so I could have a little walk around Llangollen.

This place has a prime spot on the canal with great views




Saturday morning I set off for Llandudno, about an hours drive from where I was staying in  Llangollen.
I had never heard of the Great Orme or the Great Orme Tramway until a few weeks ago so this was my first visit.  To be honest, I wasn't expecting much from it, I certainly wasn't expecting it to be as beautiful there as it turned out to be!

Not knowing what to expect I chose the tram ride to the summit, but I definitely would like to visit again and next time walk to the top.  There are many pathways around the top to enjoy the stunning views and to fully appreciate this wonderful place I think you need to set aside a whole day to explore.





If you are more adventurous you can reach the summit by cable car



No idea if this video will work, i do hope so because it will give you more of an idea of how lovely the views were


You can find out more about the Orme HERE if you are interested

I made a quick visit to Llandudno pier and an even quicker visit to the town, (I just wanted to visit the Pandora shop to treat  myself ) but I liked what I saw.




The Grant Hotel at the end of the pier looks very impressive, and very Victorian



Another little video, of Llandudno beach (if it works)


I found something else new to me and it was only a short drive from Llandudno, The Smallest House in Great Britain


I paid my £1.00 entrance fee and can tell you that it is extremely small, apparently one man who lived there was 6 feet 3 inches tall!  It was last occupied in 1900 and is still owned by the same family today.

Conwy quayside and town are very pretty and have some nice individual shops.





The road into town is dominated by the 13th century fortress, and I realised too late in the day that you can actually walk the castle walls, the time on my parking ticket was almost up so I didn't get to do that and I'm a little bit disappointed because I bet the views are fantastic.

There are many more interesting places to see in and around Llandudno and Llangollen  and I will definitely visit again soon.
-X-

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Offpiste

 When I went to the craft show at the NEC in March I bought a kit to knit an asymmetrical scarf, I was really drawn to the colour and the yarn was really soft and squishy.  
It's called the Off piste scarf and is from The Wool Shop Leeds, I don't think they have a bricks and mortar shop any longer, just a website.


The pattern and two balls of James C, Brett Twisted yarn were included, I chose the shade T3, but the kit does come in other colours. 
It's just so soft and drapey, I'd definitely consider using it again to knit another scarf or shawl.

It was a lovely day when I washed it and I decided to hang it on the line with some pegs to weight it down, I bet the neighbours wondered what I doing, lol


The weather was glorious for the majority of last week, this week the temperatures have dropped again, I'm glad I took the opportunity to get out in the garden while it was nice.
The daffs and the forsythia have finished now but they do bring some colour while they are here.



Just a few days of sunshine and the white tulips are joining the pink ones


 And the Pieris has turned a glorious red.


In just a few days the Hostas doubled in size


 and the anemones, which I had forgotten I'd planted were a nice surprise.


The previous owners planted lots of Primula's so we have them dotted all over.


My fairy garden :-) 
Not everyone's cup of tea, but it makes me smile when I look out my kitchen window.


Mark thinks I'm totally insane, but seeing this little house lit up at night makes me smile :-)


Something else that made me smile, our cheeky squirrel, he was in no hurry to move from his sunny spot on the bird feeder!


Thank you to everyone who stopped by to leave congratulation messages, Arthur is already growing so fast, he didn't loose any of his birth weight but has gained 7oz in just over a week!

Oliver is taking everything in his stride, being the only one for so long we did wonder how he would react to having another small person in the house, but he's enjoying being a big brother, that may change in a few years when he has to share his toys, lol.


Until next time
-X-