Sunday, July 29, 2007

Bargains in B*******!

(The name has been hidden to prevent embarrassment as you will find out!)

I am so behind with everyones blogs since coming back from our holiday and I don't seem to have had any time to remedy that. I will try to catch up with everyone as soon as possible.

After a mad-cap non stop week after coming back from Devon I had 3 days in work, rather than my usual 2, and then was straight over to stay with Mum without pausing to draw breath!
It was a lovely break as always and Emily ran us both ragged, as usual, and we before we knew it it was time to go home again. Not before we found some lambs at a local Rabbit Farm (and lots of other animals!) in an attempt to entertain young Emily who after running round came back and excitedly told us she'd found some poo! Bless her!

Cute Lambs.

We did manage to get to Mum's local charity shops and found the bargains of the titles. In the same shop where Mum found a huge pile of 'Vogue Knitting' back issues we found a set of five folders full of knitting patterns which have some little gems in them and which were only £1.50 for the lot. We also found a complete set of 'Golden Hands complete knitting, dressmaking and needlecraft guide' books. We asked the lady how much they were and she said "£2". Her colleague then piped up and said "Well it says here 6 books for £1, so 18 books... that's £2". We didn't argue, Emily was starting to get bored and it was time to haul all our goodies back to the car. It was only when we got to the car that we realised that Emily had acquired a new little car and little toy car - Oooops!
Anyway back to the books. There are loads of lovely ideas in amongst this set of books and lots of really mad seventies stuff which I'll try and find some choice selections for you. None the less I can see myself spending hours browsing through this lot!

There hasn't been much knitting going on as I've been spinning like a dervish and enjoying every minute of it all. I've just over 140g left to spin up before I can finish all the plying and get things worked out for my project. I've set myself the challenge of trying to finish the spinning and knitting up by the 31st of October which will be a year from when I first got my wheel and for me a marker of how much I've learnt in a year - we shall see! Hopefully this yarn will knit up with subtle variations of colour - each skein so far is different and yet toning as you can see. Those white parts are luscious lumps of silk!

The other news I suppose I should tell you all about is my lovely parcel I received. Can you tell what it is yet?Maybe this shot will help you!
That is it - my spinning equipment supply is complete with my lovely new drum carder. What with all these fleeces I've got in the shed I decided it was a must have if I'm ever to work my way through it all within my lifetime (I exaggerate of course!). Haven't really stopped long enough to have a really good play with it yet but all the ladies in Mum's guild have said the Ashford is the best out there to go for and with all their experience and talent who am I to disagree with them?! What I have done with it I am pleased with but really want to get this project out of the way before biting off another thing right now.
Oh and one of the girls I work with brought me a shearling Suffolk Mule fleece from her sisters small flock in West Kirby so I now have two local fleeces to play with ( and wash ASAP!) as if I needed more! But bless her it was going free and she thought of me!
Right, as I'm really waffling about nothing I shall leave you with some pretty pictures from our Devon trip as a reward. These were amongst the few that don't have Emily in and I hope you enjoy them!

Beesands beach, Start Bay.

Slapton Ley, also Start Bay.

Streete Gate.

Looking along Slapton Ley to Torcross.

As you may have guessed these are all in Start Bay and local to where we were staying. For those of you who don't know the area it's South Devon down the coast from Torquay and Paignton and so peaceful and beautiful with all these pebbly beaches and rolling hillsides. Well recommended for a visit if you're ever down that way.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

End of Summer

At least that is always how it feels coming home from our weeks holiday, never mind! But I've not been resting without knitting, fear not! I have been busy and have a number of FO's for you plus one I haven't photographed yet as well which is the 'Green Gables' top which was completed in time for WoolFest which really is a bit sinful - wearing Cotton to WoolFest!!! Well I would have been if we'd gone in for another day! The other FO finished before WoolFest are these wonderfully cozy socks:

They were finished only a few hours before WoolFest admittedly but still! And I was so reluctant to take them off as my feet were so toasty warm wearing them. I had planned to knit them up later in the year in time for Winter but I was in the midst of Cast On Fever and as they are knit in Sirdar Super Nova on 3.75mm needles they were a seriously quick knit. The pattern by the way is 'Log Cabin Socks' from 'Hand knit Holidays' by Melanie Falick. You will be seeing more of these socks!!

Next in the FO-fest is some overdue spinning starting with 109g / 194m of Merino/Silk plied with some fine kid mohair - what it will be I do not know but suspect this is calling to be a hat of some form or another. I'm hoping it will call to me and tell me what it wants to be. It's roughly aran weight and is a bit lightly spun in parts and certainly not evenly plied but it was the first bit of spinning I'd done in a while so I'll not worry about it and it is after all a very fluffy and soft yarn to stroke in times of stress!

And besides, why worry about lesser spun yarn when I'm happy knowing I've 4 bobbins full of some Merino/Silk blend from a WoolFest purchase I forgot to confess to tell you all about which was a giant 600g batt from Winghams which I am really enjoying spinning up. There is a plan with all this spinning and hopefully it will be enough to make the garment I have in mind. I'm not going to tell you about it yet as there will be maths involved with the yarn and pattern and I think I'll leave the reveal until I've made a start on the item in question and see if it's going to work or not. Suffice to say the inimitable Mrs Zimmermann is involved somewhere along the line in this grand project!! (Okay - not grand really but I'm a little nervous trying to spin enough consistently for a garment!)

And there's more! My current WIP - a lacey tie front shrug to provide a little warmth on all these balmy summers evenings we're having (sorry, wishful thinking!) - was a little to complex to knit all the way down to Devon. So, desperate for something to break the tedium of all those miles on the motorway out came some Colinette 4ply and Sensational Knitted Socks and here you have....

... some Lace Rib socks (on the M5). The yarn is more muted than it looks thanks to the sunshine and the flash (bad combination for yarn photography!) and makes me think of cottage gardens but isn't really great for showing up anything much of a pattern as you can see below. I'm just turning the heel on sock number 2 but have the slight hitch of not being able to find it at all, never mind so I think we'll have to wait for a finished pair for now!

I should also confess to having found some yarn shops whilst away as well and of course had to make a purchase to support the local economy, etc.. and so came away with just a little more sock yarn for the stash! (Like I really need more!)

So here you see 4 balls of Lana Grossa Melinweint Mega Boot Stretch (Mum yours is the one above the lary orange one that looks day glow!) and a hank of Jitterbug in Gaugain colourway which reminded me of the colour of the sea in glorious Devon. when my brain wakes up again I'll try to remember the names of the shops but for now will tell you one is in Totnes and was the first stockist of Colinette ever and the other is in Paignton.

I suppose I should leave you with some lovely scenery shots to calm the mind after all my wittering so here you go! Many thanks for all the comments, I will try to get round to catching up with you all as soon as possible but am drowning in laundry right now so bear with me!

*Blogger must be tired as well and doesn't seem to want to let you have any pretty scenery shots tonight so I'll let you see those again another time, after all I think I may have shown you enough FO's to last a while yet!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Walking Through a Wooly Wonderland!

Wowee! What a fantastic time we had at WoolFest even though we were all thoroughly exhausted by the end of it. I'm so glad I was staying in the van with Mum and her DH as the weather was so wet and windy that there was a tent on the site that blew away. But other that that everyone survived the night if not a little bedraggled.

Friday morning brought sunshine and blue skies and felt just like Christmas morning when you were a kid and seeing all the delights once in WoolFest itself did nothing to clam me down. To say I was hyper and manic would be putting it mildly and I would say that I've been hanging round 2 year olds for too long and got rather over excited! Mum didn't help by giving us a picnic dinner of Pain aux Chocolat and Coca Cola. Anyway I shall move on to tell you all about the delights! It was full of wonderful colours and textures, fibres and fleeces and it was really nice seeing all the livestock as well.

Herdwick Sheep

And on top of all that we met so many lovely people throughout the day. Before we even left the camp-site Kath came over to introduce her self to us and introduce us to Carrie-Anne, Becky and Bev who are all so lovely and instantly feel like old friends.

There was so much to take in that I don't think I really know where to start in describing the atmosphere there. Everyone was so friendly and didn't object to wide loads like Mum and me laden down with fleeces and other bags of goodies and trying to squeeze through the crowds.

Laughing Hens Knitted Sofa

There was certainly a lot to be tempted by as well which is why we only managed one day of madness. Both Mum and I grabbed loads of goodies, so much so that we'd spend our weekends budget in the first day. We just about managed to see everything but there was at least one aisle that I know I didn't manage to get down but we were just so tired by the end I couldn't really care or not. Anyway the goodies...

I did get some yarn as you can see - (clockwise from bottom left) some stunning lavender blue alpaca sock yarn from Fyberspates and some kid mohair/silk blend from MoBear which is beautiful. But the main purchases were fibery goodness such as the firey shades of the alpaca roving's which are again from Fyberspates and then some sparkly Sock-stuff from Freyalynn. Mum and I had a discussion that evening about what colours we chose when shopping and we both decided that we do seem to get a colour stuck in our minds when we are on a spree and I can certainly see a trend in the above photo and could even say that it goes back to the last lot of yarn I bought in the closing down sale. And like my green phase before that (and I could still happily pick up the same shade of green and buy it without thinking!). Mum did the same thing and bought fibres in the same colours as she was currently knitting! Has anyone else done this?

Right on the the natural bits! I got myself some Wensleydale curls to play with as well as some silvery grey angora fluff, a Turkish drop spindle (not sure how I'll get on with it but I'll give it a go!), some Bamboo staple and some baby alpaca rovings. All this in addition to the fleece I got in the sale which was some Moorit Shetland first cut and some Blue Faced Leicester which was a bargain! All of which will keep me busy for a good while! And as the fleece was a bit smelly we had to think of somewhere to store it overnight...

Handy Fleece Hanging Rack

All in all a great weekend and we shall have to go back next year and try to meet up with everyone again but for now I'll have to content myself with keeping busy with my spinning! See you all next time!