Category Archives: Knitting and Outdoors

The Great British Wool Weekend

Hello people!

Here (belatedly … the purple anarchic lace is taking up a LOT of my time!) is a special blog about a lovely event that I went to last Saturday.
It was The Great British Wool Weekend and it was at the Great Yorkshire Show Ground, near Harrogate in North Yorks (lots of ‘greats’ there – but it really was!) As the name suggests, this was an event that celebrated all aspects of the wool industry in the Uk – from fleece to felt, from shearing to spinning, and knitting, crochet, weaving, hand-dyeing … everything!
The event was not huge – there were some workshops available, but I didn’t make it to any of these. It was just lovely to wander around the various stalls and soak in all the talent and creativity on display.

Here are some of my photos, showing some of my personal highlights from the event:

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Lenny

Actual Sheep-Shearing!

There was a demonstration of sheep shearing, and a really interesting talk. It was fascinating to hear about all the different types of wool and what it’s used for. The sheep featured here are Lenny: a Lincoln Longwool and Dougal: a Scottish Blackface. There were other breeds of sheep featuring in the show, but these two interested me the most – Lenny because of his fabulous coat, and Dougal because he actually seemed to want to pose to have his photo taken!

In addition to the sheep there were (of course) so, so many stalls selling speciality yarns, patterns and a whole load of other woolcraft related goodies. There was so much to choose from, and I just felt obliged to make a purchase – it would have been rude not to. I bought 600g of variegated lamb’s wool, similar to the strands in the picture here, but in different colourings. Watch this space for it featuring in a future blog, when I have turned it into something cosy to wear.

There were also tons of lovely things that people had made. So much to see, I came away with masses of inspiration, and thoroughly enthused!

Piggy Things

Felt Flowers

The Birds

There were special interest groups, such as this one devoted to Shetland sheep – and again, showing what can be done with a bit of yarn and talent!

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I also discovered some great new shops that I can’t wait to check out – there was Native Yarns, a lovely, colourful new business based in Suffolk, and specialising in beautiful hand-dyed yarns of loveliness, and Texere, from whom I bought my yarn, and about whom I’m doubly excited as it turns out they’re based quite near to me in West Yorkshire! This could get expensive!

Native Yarns

And as if that wasn’t enough, there was a whole load going on about spinning:

More of which in future blogs … as I hope to have some exciting news in that regard shortly.

Hope you’ve enjoyed reading about this event. The next one I’m going to will be Yarndale, at the end of this month. Very excited about that one!

In the meantime – anarchic purple lace is calling me!

Thanks for visiting!

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Summer Update and KITTENS.

Hi there Blogasphere!

It’s been ages since my last blog, as I’ve given myself a little summer break, so here is a MEGA POST with updates of various summer happenings …

I’ve been having a lovely summer, enjoying the Tour de France, which came right past our house! We had a great street party and featured in the local paper.

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The whole event was brilliant – from the ‘caravan’ of sponsors that came through the village ahead of the Pelaton (including Fruit Shoots! How could they see to steer those things?), to the sense of camaraderie between those of us who live here and those who were visiting. It was so well organised and really brought out the best in everyone. You may notice an absence of photographs of any actual cyclists – truth is, they were just too darn quick! None of my frantic clicking turned into anything worth sharing!

We’ve also done our usual bit of travelling, including Sidmouth Folk Week where we had a great time, seeing all the gang from around the country whom we often only see that week of the year, and celebrating the life of our friend and Sidmouth stalwart Ralphie Jordan, who passed away in December. It was also lovely to spend time with our collective parents who came down on holiday too.

Alfie

This is a picture of my parents’ Parson Russell puppy, Alfie. I didn’t take too many photos at Sidmouth, as we were generally busy playing, but it was Alfie’s first festival, and he was really very well behaved, so I thought he deserved a mention.

Further good news was the marriage of my friend, Heather on August 1st (Yorkshire Day). This gets a mention on here because it was a very joyful occasion, but also because of the crafty nature of our gift to her and her husband, Dave. As I have mentioned on here before, the boy indoors is a musician and sound engineer, so what were we going to do for a gift but record the music of the service for them and present them with their own CD?! This was particularly relevant as Heather is a music teacher, and the music for the service was written and arranged for her by two of her ex-students. But … what is the crafty knitter going to do for her contribution to this gift? … Well, I’ll tell you what … she’s going to make a cover for the CD sleeve out of … wait for it … knitted blanket squares! Here you go … retro-funky, no?

The square patterns were from a lovely book called ‘Blankets and Throws to Knit: Patterns and Piecing Instructions for 100 Knitted Squares’ by Debbie Abrahams (published by C & B Crafts). It’s a great book but my blanket making always gets overtaken by other projects, so I average a few squares a year. I may manage to complete a blanket at some point in my lifetime. I live in hope.

Speaking of other projects … Behold, the sparkly purple top of anarchic lace (well the back thereof), my first experiment with freestyle lace knitting! It’s great fun and so refreshingly stress-free as you can’t go wrong!

Lace

 

In addition to some crafting this summer (more reveals to come in the next weeks and months!) there has been much growing and preparing of one of my major passions in life … FOOD! Here are some ‘arty’ photos of some green peppers I grew!

Anyway … Now for the big news! Time to introduce you to the latest additions to our family: William and Theodore (Bill and Ted).

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They are great, and are keeping us very busy!

A little bit of social media news before I say goodbye for now …

Firstly, for those readers who also use Facebook, I have set up a group on there called ‘Daily Positives’ where people record and share the positive things that happen in their daily lives. I did this to provide a counter balance for all the tragic things that appear in Newsfeeds, and it’s proving to be quite popular, so if you fancy a look we’d love to share our good news with you on there!

Secondly, William the kitten has taken to Twitter (!!) so if you fancy following him and keeping up to date with his and Theodore’s antics and life in the Madhouse, you’ll find him at @williamthecatt. He’d love to see you on there!

Anyway, enough daft ramblings for now … time to do some proper work – or maybe a cup of tea and a bit of knitting …

All the very best of loveliness and thanks for reading.

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Gower

 

Hello everyone,

Ever noticed how being ‘on holiday’ can be so flipping busy??? I really love summer, but there can be times when our sort-of itinerant lifestyle can get a bit hectic!

Last weekend took us to my favourite festival of the year: Gower Folk Festival. We’ve been really lucky in that the boy has been booked to play there for the last few years and we’ve had the chance to enjoy this magnificent festival in one of the most beautiful parts of the country. In previous years, other gigs on the same weekend have meant that we have only been able to enjoy part of the festival, but this year we had an entire free weekend, so were able to enjoy the whole thing.

I took a LOT of photos, and have been editing periodically all week (in and among other travels and adventures!). So here are some of my favourites:

We got there in the late afternoon, after fun and games on the M4, in time for sound check, and then for the boy to do his thing in the evening. They were playing for the evening Bal (like a ceilidh, but French), so there was lots of dancing and I was too distracted to take too many pictures – also, I have hundreds of these already! But here’s a couple of him doing his thing:

The first image shows him drinking out of his quart pot, while looking like he might be about to play his Hurdy Gurdy (the true instrument of rock and roll) and in the second he is playing the cittern that he built for himself.

We also got to spend the weekend with some of our lovely friends from around the country, and it was a pleasure to watch them doing their thing!

This is a particularly beautiful image of my lovely friend, Nancy, during a duo set with her husband, James:

Nancy 1

And our friends, Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer:

Vicky Nyckelharpa 1 Vicky Smallpipes 1

Jonny Sazouki

Vicki is playing her Nyckelharpa and her Scottish Smallpipes, and Jonny is playing a Sazouki (a hybrid of a Turkish/Iranian Saz and a Greek Bouzouki) that was made by Colin Kendall, our friend in Bury, Lancashire, who taught Jon lutherie (instrument making). I’ve mentioned Vicki on here before, in a post about hats, as she crochets hats (called Nyckelhats) and sells them to fund her new instruments: Music and crafting in harmony!!

Another brilliant part of festivals is getting the chance to see friends that we don’t otherwise see. Our friend Charlotte Goodwin, who lives in Cardiff, was there and it’s great to talk craft with Charlotte, because as well as being a great fiddle player, she makes the most beautiful things! Here is a bag that she made (from TIES!) and a cover for her fiddle case that she’s crocheting (the yellow tacking stitches are not permanent!)

Charlotte Fiddle Case

Charlotte Bag

We had a lovely time, and as ever, it was sad to leave.

Gower Moon

Love, and happy Solstice to everyone!

Thanks for visiting!

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Mille Feuille

Hello everyone, and Happy Springtime!

Hope you’re having good times this weekend. Lots and lots to show in this Blog as it’s been lovely, busy, sunny times round here.

Firstly – Last week I shared the sad state of my craft room and cutting table. Well, I’ve been a busy bee, and now have a lovely clear space in which to work. It’s a gorgeous place to be:

Craft Room

 

And … having said lovely space in which to work, I have FINALLY finished a small project that has been on hold for weeks and weeks because of lack of time. It’s another bunny, similar to (but smaller than) the one I showed previously. I’m pleased with it, but it highlights something I already suspected about myself and crafting – I don’t like making things more than once. I know some people love designing different versions of the same thing – cards, soft toys etc, but for me, what I like is the creativity and the element of risk involved in seeing if I can make something new for the first time. Once I know I can do something, I find it very difficult to motivate myself to repeat the process. So … no more bunnies for a while. Anyway, here is Bunny #2:

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I have lots of new projects in mind for the coming months – including … wait for it … I’m about to start to try my first attempt at Fairisle, as I’m planning to start a blanket pattern I found on Ravelry. Yarn has been purchased and casting on will be happening imminently … wish me luck, I may need it!

Also, I hope you’ve been having good weather this weekend. It’s been lovely round here and the light in the late afternoon was just wonderful, so I had to get out with my camera. Just a brief wander down the road with my camera and my favourite lens (my grandad’s Pentax Fixed 50), and a bit of messing in Lightroom – and here are the results:

 

I’m quite chuffed with these results, though obviously nature did all the work!

Hope you’re having a lovely weekend and, if you celebrate it, Happy Easter!

Thanks for visiting x

 

 

 

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Wanderings …

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Happy days! Thanks for visiting!

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Bunny!

So FINALLY I get around to posting a picture of my latest crafting obsession. It’s a BUNNY! It’s from a pattern I found on another blog – Little Cotton Rabbits, which is about knitting and autism, and therefore right up my street! It’s one of many, many really lovely patterns, and I love the fact that his clothes are inter-changeable, so I foresee a full wardrobe, possibly with seasonal variations on the horizon! I’m already in the process of making more, and have been asked to make some commissions, though these bunnies are going to be presents, so can’t really be posted on here until their recipients have seen them.

Anyway … Dum dum DUUUUUMM (Drum-roll if you please!)

ImageIsn’t he great! I’d seriously recommend a visit to Little Cotton Rabbits blog. So much to see!

Anyway – that’s all for now. It’s half-term so more time for crafting, but also some interesting trips planned with lots of photography opportunities so WATCH THIS SPACE!

Thanks for visiting!

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Looking Forward!

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So … Here I am, once again the band-widow, waiting for the boy to get home in the wee small hours, and I’m thinking ahead to the summer! I’m so looking forward to getting on the road for festival season! My new commitments this academic year have made life much less ‘itinerant’ than I’ve got used to as I’ve previously been fairly free to go travelling with Jon. Festivals are the best though … Pretty much summed up in the photo above – mobile knitting, camping, wine out of tankards, fire pits and lots and lots and lots of music! Can’t wait!!!

Crafting is ongoing and I promise I’ll post more pictures when I have time! Just wanted to share my ‘looking-forward’ thoughts now though, as they definitely belong in my Happy Place!

Hope you’re all happy, and thanks for visiting!

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Spring is springing (…maybe!)

Hello!

So, I’ve been absent from the Blogasphere for the last couple of weeks as a conspiracy of illness and much, much too much work have meant that not only have I  had no time to blog, but I haven’t really had any opportunity to do anything to blog about!

Anyway, I think things may be turning a corner, and I’ve had a lovely weekend including some rest, relaxation, fresh air and KNITTING! I’m not going to share the knitting with you yet, as I’ve begun a (very, very cute!) project but in its unfinished state it looks a bit freaky – so I’ll share that when it’s finished.

In the meantime, I’ve been out and about with my family today, so here are some images from a walk around Hardcastle Crags near Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire. Hardcastle Crags are woodlands maintained by the National Trust, and the building you can see is Gibson Mill, a water-driven mill dating from around 1800, and one of the first of the Industrial Revolution.

And …

The light was wonderful today, and there was so much lovely green around. Daffodils on their way through as well! Makes me feel hopeful! Especially as we’re off to Keswick in Cumbria for a few days quite soon!

Hope all is well with you – thanks for visiting 🙂

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Mummers the Word!

Hello everyone, and happy Sunday!

Well, it’s been a while since I posted anything – busy busy busy with much business!

That means that I haven’t had chance to post about the fantastic LONG COMPANY MUMMERS! For those who haven’t come across mumming before, it’s a tradition involving the performance of a play around specific themes – involving a battle between St George and the Prince of Paradine (the baddie!) They have a battle and St George is slain (boooo!) but a doctor appears who revives him and he defeats the Prince of Paradine. Different versions have other characters and  sub-plots … ours involves Common Jack, a representative of the ‘working class’, and Beelzebub! Mummers plays have been performed in this format since the mid 18th Century, usually around pubs or house-to-house, and were often a means of agricultural workers collecting money to supplement meagre incomes during winter.

Anyway – our Ryburn 3 Step ‘Long Company’ Mummers Play happens each year on the 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th January at various venues in the Ryburn Valley with the play outside and then a session in the pub afterwards. As with many of the things we do, it’s closely aligned to the seasons – in the same way as dancing the Morris at dawn on May-Day to welcome summer, and is a major part of our year.

If you want to actually see what I mean, have a look at this footage from a few years ago on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whXGEt_OF5Y

Also, last night we ran the monthly Ryburn 3 Step Ceilidh at Waring Green Community Centre. The ceilidh is one of the events that we run – in addition to a monthly Folk Club (the 4th Wednesday in the month at The Works in Sowerby Bridge) as well as Appalachian stepping groups, Longsword and Rapper and a singing group. This gig was especially good, as the band was one of Jon’s bands: Heretique, and in the absence of many of the usual committee members, I was managing the stage and front of house. It was really great to be able to actually go to one of Jon’s gigs, because usually these days I can’t go on the road with him on a ‘school night’, and I really miss it. He was in Derby on Thursday with a good friend of ours – Paul Scourfield and I was so sad not to have been there, so last night was a nice treat!

Anyway … back to my ongoing themes: The ‘outdoor’ pictures for this blog were taking this afternoon in Hebden Bridge, in the Calder Valley, West Yorkshire where we went this afternoon for a wander around and a coffee (the cake was Jon’s I hasten to add!) I’ve been working so hard recently and needed to get out for a couple of hours, and Hebden Bridge is always a go-to spot for a break. Here you go:

I’m especially pleased with the red door – took a bit of lining up as there was a road in between me and the building, but when I saw it I just had to take it. Likewise with the cake – good job Jon is pretty laid-back about my idiosyncrasies. There aren’t too many people who’d be ok about the idea of being given cake on the condition that the giver spends ten minutes photographing it in the middle of the coffee shop first!

And, as to the knitting. Not been so productive of late because of all the other things going on, but I have bought some gorgeous new yarn (and discovered a delicious new wool shop in Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire! That could prove expensive!). Anyway here’s a couple of photo’s of my most recently completed square – I’m not too sure about this, as the hexagon that is worked into the panel in moss stitch hasn’t come through so well (in ‘real life’ as well as on the photo). I might do another of this pattern and use another colour to pick out the details – you live and learn! The other photo’s are of the lovely, lovely yarn I’m using at the moment. Not doing anything too complicated with it as the colours need to speak for themselves, but hopefully I’ll have something completed to show you before too long, it really is gorgeous yarn to work with!

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Needles and Sticks

Here we are then!

Week 2 of my theme-blog. Here are some images I took yesterday when out on the hillside in the beautiful Ryburn valley. This weekend I’ve been out walking for the first time with my Nordic Poles and I have to say I have loved using them. They’re like trekking poles but the handles are different so I don’t find that you get as much impact on your hands and wrists. I’ve started using them primarily because some health issues mean I’m not able to run at the moment and am looking for exercise that doesn’t put too much impact on joints, but I also find that you use much more energy and get a more ‘thorough’ walking experience. In short, I LOVE THEM. Though it makes juggling the poles and my camera and tripod and other ‘gubbins’ quite an interesting experience!

Anyway – here are this week’s views:

And here are my knitting pictures for the week … not so much done for the blanket, as I finally received some yarn that I had ordered through the post in order to finish a neck-warmer that I was in the middle of. (Just in time, it’s getting cold round here!) So here are some blanket squares – I think they’re going to be mounted on plain arran squares to give them a bit of body. And the aforementioned neck-warmer. Incidentally I read on another blog recently about the idea of ‘ugly duckling’ and ‘swan’ yarns – being the idea that some yarn can look beautiful while in a ball, but not so magnificent when knitted up, and vice versa. Well I personally think this yarn looks beautiful in both forms. I’d heartily recommend you have a look at this blog yourself- there’s some lovely work there: http://thetwistedyarn.com/

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Hard to get the pictures to do the wool justice. In fact, photographing knitting is becoming a hobby of mine in itself! I’ve been playing with 2 DSLR cameras this week and it’s been very, very satisfying! A great study for texture and colour! Hopefully you’ll see improvements in my editing skills in the coming weeks and months – I’m having a lot of fun with it!

So, that’s all for now! Not sure how much production there’ll be in the next week on the knitting front, now that the blissful holidays are over, but we’ll see how we go.

All the best for now.

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