Monday, October 14, 2013

Lots of woolly outings

It has been a really hard year healthwise and I will be glad to see the back of it.I was supposed to have another operation on the 20th September but I started having Infliximab infusions again and thankfully I am feeling better . Huge relief as even the surgeon doesn't really want to operate if he doesn't have to as he says my insides are such a mess, although he reckons it will only be a matter of time !! . So I'm trying my best to prove him wrong and keep away from him and his knives!!

We haven't been away in the van hardly at all this year due to me being ill and poor Tony has used most of his holidays for when I have been in hospital, or looking after me when I came home.
So as soon as I felt well enough we could hardly wait to get away if only for a week but where to?? Well it was September and where else would we go but Masham. We love going there and the surrounding countryside is nice too so off we went .
 We had a wander about the evening before.
The day was fun as always and we were up to our armpits choosing fleeces for us and some friends who wanted some. 

Then as we were in the area we decided to go on to Yarndale ,a new show in Skipton. I'm glad we went on the Sunday as apparently it was manic on the Saturday
It was organized by' Attic 24' who is a crocheter and so its was mainly a yarn based show .I didn't buy much there only a couple of dyed tops which I don't normally do but I liked the colours at the time and some Drops sock yarn I had been after for a while.I did however pick up a big bundle of tops to be dyed for selling from the lovely John and Juliette Arbon. Just love his stuff and I figure my customers deserve the best of British wool.
Not the best photo to depict the show but it was full of very colourful crochet bunting.
We then went to another favourite place of mine Malham Cove . I couldn't do our usual walk sadly but now there is a wide footpath all the way to the cove . Not sure how I feel about these footpaths but I guess it does protect the rest of the area and it does make it more accessible for folks like me.

We went back to Skipton to explore it and thought it was a very interesting town with plenty to see
Then we moved on to a lovely site near Kendal. I hadn't been to Kendal since I was a teenager and didn't remember much of it. We thought it was like a lot of High Streets in the UK at present, a bit sad with many empty shops and a plethora of charity shops.
BUT we did find a really great wool shop called Williams Wools . What a lovely shop with lots of really gorgeous yarns and run by a lovely lady .
You could sit here all day :)
Before we knew it was time to go home and the very next day it was another outing to the All Wales Guild gathering which is held every other year in Llanidloes.

Its always a great event and a chance to catch up with folks from around Wales and see what other Guilds have been up to . There is a Guild challenge and a display by each Guild.
These are ours

I sadly contributed nothing as I have only made it to two meetings but it was wonderful to see what folks had been up to.

Last but not least last Thursday we went to a Wingham sampling day and it was a first for Tony. Needless to say he thoroughly enjoyed it and we did buy a few goodies.
So now we have plenty to do over the long winter months and I am hopefully doing two craft fair and busy churning stuff out for them. I have also been selling my handspun at a local wool shop which is brilliant and I will tell you more about that later .
  






Sunday, May 26, 2013

Absent but not idle

Its been a long hard winter in many ways and my health problems haven't helped. I have been in and out of hospital so many times over these last few months and am still trying to avoid another major operation ;its a struggle at times I can tell you  !!! But despite being absent I have still been very busy with my crafting. .
I finished my Cusco cardigan at long last and I love it . It was made out of handspun local fleece which was a BFL x Texel

Then I made Sheep Heid out of handspun Shetland fleeces 

This one intrigued me for a while until I got bored with it but its a lovely shawl non the less
Another FO is this Noro  sock yarn sweater which was endless stocking stitch but love the end result with its lopsided hems.

I have quite a few other finished items which I haven't photoed yet but some have already found new homes !! On the needles atm are http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/clair-de-lune-3  and another Lesil plus of course there are always a pair of socks on the go ;)
Plus I am spinning yarn for a Scatness Tunic 

I have also joined an art class which I am enjoying when I can get to it that is !! 
This is what I have finished so far 
 I enjoyed doing this type of art as it's rustic and  naive and am in the process of doing others .

Last year our guild decided to do a group entry for the Longest Thread and I was having a hard time spinning anything let alone fine yarn after my last op but surprise surprise I won our group entry . I say I'm not a competitive type of person but I guess I am with myself . I always like to push the boundaries of what I can achieve for myself ,not for any one else. So I am going to enter again in 2015 to see if I can beat my own record.. Here is a linky Bothwell Spin-in and you can see from the results the amazing yardage some folks have achieved which makes my attempt look paltry lol. I was also surprised to receive a prize. 
 I shall treasure them plus I now have a brass plaque on my wheel to show  

 I also made it to Wonderwool this year and it was great to meet up with friends as usual . I did enjoy it but there are changes which I feel are not for the better imop. Too many of these upcycled clothes which are copying the original idea but not done as well . Wonderwool used to have style and there were a lot of folks dressed with style also but I saw less of that this year .There were stalls there which had nothing to do with wool and I do wonder if the organizers are just filling stalls just for the sake of it There was less indie fibre and more 'one skein wonder' stalls .Saying all of this it was still a great show and although I didn't buy much there were a few new stalls that caught my eye and I will return to buying online from. I have no desire to go to other fibre shows either this year as I am well past SABLE now and have enough stuff to keep me going for quite some time ;) Its great that there are so many of these shows about though as folks don't have to travel so far to see at least one .
 This brings me around to thinking how things have changed since I started blogging . I started because I knew no one else who knitted and to keep a record of what I made . Then came spinning ,weaving dyeing etc and again I knew no one around me.  My how things have changed , now I have a circle of friends living around me that do all of these things and we meet up regularly ,plus of course there is the SWD Guild which is a great place to learn new things.
 A lot of this is down to the likes of Ravelry for spreading the word and that is great but I find I need the online stuff less and less now that I have it in the flesh so to speak. Don't get me wrong I still visit Ravelry but usually for pattern searches. I don't read forums like I used to either ,I don't have the time ;I 'll leave that to the newbies . 
 I have made great friends through being online but I have also had my fingers burnt by users and takers so am much more wary these days of who I befriend . I guess its like all things ,I have come full circle and at the moment am quite happy creating and sharing with 'real time' folks rather than being online.Also a lot of the folks I used to follow no longer blog , maybe they too have come to the same conclusion as I .So my posts here will be sporadic but I will never be idle . Who knows I might even take photos and post them here .
 At the end of the day if its no longer fun and turns to be a chore then why do it ?
 As for now the sun is shinning and the garden calls so its out with my wheel to sit in the sun.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda / Happy New Year and may 2013 be a healthy and happy one for all.
After re -reading my last post many moons ago I see I  now spoke too soon about feeling better than I had done in a long time.Things deteriorated  and the Crohns went into full flare with me going back to hospital.in November.It's still flaring and now I'm back on the dreaded steroids and will be started back on the Humira injections today. I'm struggling but a little better and just have to accept things the way they are and get on with things; fortunately I am on the whole a glass half full type of person and accept that there is no gain without pain and get on with taking my meds and hope for the best. My options are very limited and it could be that I will face another op this year if things don't calm down.Its such a horrid disease and in some ways I wish it was cancer as that at least they can cut out but this just spreads  and spreads .

On a brighter note 2012 wasn't all bad and we were able to get away in our motor home a fair bit. I really don't know what we would do without it.
We had a trip down to Pembroke which we love for its beaches and the weather was kind to us . We stay on a farm which just has the basics but is peaceful and not too far from our fav beach Freshwater East; we never go in season so we get the beaches to ourselves some days and the dogs love it.


Then for our wedding anniversary in October we went to Scotland ,the rugged Scotland we love and it was stunning in all its Autumn colours. Again the weather wasn't too bad ,really cold but we had sunny days interspersed with snow and rain ,so very dramatic.Again we had it to our selves and the roads were quiet and the few sites which were open and we stayed on were too .







I have been busy crafting but as usual am useless at posting pics  but will try and find some things that I have made, certainly over the Christmas period.  We did a craft fair in November which Kath had to do on her own as I wasn't well enough but we did rather well and we have been asked if we are interested in joining a craft cooperative so now I am busy making things  .Plus a lady who has just opened a lovely boutique has asked us to make one offs for her as well so that will be fun as she especially  likes the arty .handspun things which I had made for the craft fairs .. So enough to keep me busy thank goodness & to take my mind off things .
I do need to finish a couple of WIP  too ;)

So I guess that will be my New Year Resolution if any ,to finish WIP and to get to at least one  fibre festival this year as I missed them all last year :(( Its Wonderwool I really want to go to plus I want to find a really interesting workshop to do this year,something totally new and exciting !! No idea what as yet but hopefully there is something new out there ???

So I will now post this and go dig up what FO that I have that haven't been sold or gifted  and take pictures of them .


Monday, September 03, 2012

Slowwww down !!!!


Well I am feeling better in myself than I have done for many years but I have been told to slow down by the nurses as they say my wound is not healing as it should. Its sooo hard when you  want to do so much but I am having to listen, but hey at least I'm getting there ;) In the meantime my friends have still been fabulously supportive . Our very dear friends Ursula  and Phil came over a couple of weeks ago to stay and look what she made for me. Its my 'Hug' blankie for days when I am feeling low or I just need a hug ;isn't it absolutely gorgeous?                   
  



Then some other friends came over and we did some natural dyeing. I didn't get to take a pic of all the finished yarns as there was a lot of chatting and laughing going on.






As I said in lots of ways I am getting there and I drove the car to our nearest town of Porthmadog which is about 13 miles away for the first time last week and I walked the dogs in the woods for the first time in three months too. 

One of the things I am still having problems with though is spinning on my wheels and I can't do it for long periods which is a bit of a blow especially as I need to get that Longest Thread spinning finished. I am doing a little at a time so hopefully it will be finished with soon. I hate doing competitions really but this was more against myself in some ways but of course I am not able to give it my best so am losing interest in it now and if I hadn't said I would do it for the Guild then I would have stopped it . Still nearly there and then I can spin what I want as long as I don't do too much.

On the other hand I am enjoying knitting and have finished my first Knit Swirl jacket which I love
I bought the book well over a year ago and then bought two lots of Noro Silk Garden at Black Sheep sale last September but there it sat in my stash until I had some 'me' time.In the meantime  I had seen some FO on Ravelry and did wonder if I liked the design done in stripes after all, as in my opinion it doesn't suit all shapes (some look like a giant dart board imop !!) ,but figured I would do it and if I didn't like it on me I was sure I could re-home it . Well as I said I love it  and will use the next lot of Noro to make another but not just yet as I have other knitting plans first  . The one thing I will do next time is to shorten the sleeves ,I think many people have found the sleeves to be far too long.              
  
 On my needles at the moment and as a supposedly quick knit before my next larger one I am doing a Kate Davies design, Betty Mouat Cowl and all was going swimmingly ,or so I thought until I realised I had twisted the flippin thing!! So it was frogged back and another 546 had to be cast on late last night before I went to bed . So this evening when I get to my knitting I must concentrate on NOT twisting it .

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Bigger Picture

Well they say be careful what you wish for don't they ? I so wanted this op over and done with and I am sure that in the long term things will be better but at the moment I have only exchanged one problem for another and am still tied to the house waiting for nurses to attend wound dressings daily (wouldn't you know it the wound has opened like a zip !!) Tony has been trained to do it but I do still need to see them as well. Some days are fine but others are just downright painful and like today the only place I am comfortable is in bed.
 So life is on hold again and I can't thank my dear friends enough for the cards ,gifts,phone calls and visits . The visits have been especially fun with much laughter and such , we even put together a fellow spinners new wheel last week. At least now I can spin on my wheels again but when I couldn't I had to use spindles and found as usual the support ones were the easiest for me . So although I can spin on my wheels I can't for any length of time so spindle obsession has come to the fore again
My latest acquisition is the stumpunk glitzy one in the front which one of my Guild members is very cleverly making these days.It just spins and spins and I love it and am thinking of the next purchase from her in the very near future. They are such well balanced spindles and as I said spin forever and I love how it sparkles when its going. She will be opening an Etsy shop before very long and I will include a link here when she does .

I have found knitting also very difficult to do and have only just managed to finish a pair of socks and this shrug which I absolutely love. Its done in the handspun from the previous  post and I can see another of these  made soon
 .It does look really nice on especially now that I have lost more weight and can wear more fitting garments. Love my Lagenlook clothes but am so glad I can at last have more choice of things to wear now,instead of hiding away in baggy things.


We have managed short outings and one which I wish I could have stayed longer at was a farm open day near us and there was all sorts going on of interest . Tony even had a go at shearing which he did with some help at first and then with a watchful eye.





 There are so many spinning group events going on around me at the moment and this has long been a dream of mine , to have all the folks meeting up and sharing knowledge. Things have just snowballed and taken shape and in fact I am missing yet another days spinning today ; I can't even begin to tell you how frustrating it all is not to be able to go out to play .
BUT as the title says I must look at the bigger picture ,I will get better in time and I will get out to all these events. I have a most wonderful supportive husband and family and the best friends I could ever wish for.So its all good days ahead of me waiting until I get fit enough to join in on all the fun
.

Ohh and before I forget I have at last got the perfect drum carder set up ,we have bought the jumbo Classic Carder with the three different sizes and it will even card the Bowmont fleece on the finest one. I am thrilled and have spent happy hours creating the smoothest battt ever .

Sunday, April 29, 2012

I've been Bonding ;)

Well after yet another cancellation for my operation I was feeling low last week but after a trip away in the van down to Aberdovey I am feeling more positive. So now I have to sit and wait for a phone call to go in which is frustrating but what can I do ?
The question then was do we go to Wonderwool ? We did think about it for about five mins but to be honest I couldn't have coped with it and after hearing how cold it was there I am so glad I didn't go. I have heard mixed reviews about it all this year but as I didn't go I am not going to make further comments on here .There will be other years and to be honest the main thing I love about these shows is the craic and I have had a lot of  feedback from various friends of all the gossip ;)

So what to do on a wild wet weekend? I dug out a fleece to prep and eventually the one I picked is a luscious Bond fleece that I got via Ravelry.   It came all the way from Australiahttp://www.bondsheep.com.au/ and a group of us got together to order some. I have had small samples before and I did like it but I thought I would get a jumpers worth this time. This is the softest one I have had and I am really pleased with it,very clean and should make a nice sweater .
I decided I wanted to comb this to blend all the colours in the hope I won't get stripes when it has been spun and plyed. I have tried and bought various combs in the past and have found nothing suits me better than the English Combs.Its all down to the way you use them and it really isn't hard work if  its done properly.We went to a workshop a couple of years ago with Amanda Hanniford where she showed us how to use them.There are some great videos http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcYY1xF-JvY that Amanda has made.
.I find the smaller combs are far more painful for me to  use even with a table clamp;funny that you would think they would be easier .

Here it is lashed on to the comb
Now ready for dizzing
 and in no time I have basket full of the yummiest roving. I have started on this lot already and it really spins itself.Such a joy to spin and worth every minute of prep.
Talking of Amanda she is one of the few indie dyers I buy from and a funny thing happened the other week. I had dyed the roving on the right which is a merino,alpaca blend and Amanda listed some Soy Silk in her Etsy shop and I couldn't believe what a perfect match it was to mine so I just had to have it.
 Spun and plyed together I have 860yds to be made into a lacy shrug.The colours are really lovely but don't show well in this picture as its been dark here all day .

   
I have spun
some of the Bowmont from my last post and I decided to spin it my usual laceweight as a starting point, I have got 182 yd on this 11gm skeins ,so I have a really long way to go to make any sort of entry!! 
 I am taking the next one a lot slower and see how much I get out of the next batch .I am not going to spend too much time on this as I have lot of other things I want to do and its not like I knit with frog hair ;) I have to say though it really is an interesting experiment and I really admire those with far more perseverance than I.
 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Deja Vu

Sheesh where does time go ? its been two months since I last posted !!
Have you ever seen that film 'Groundhog Day ' ? Well my life seems to be like that at the moment. Had another  pre-op ,had another date for my op and still waiting !!

Deja Vu ,even down to my FO ;they too are the same .
Lousy picture of another Idlewood and the colour is nothing like in this picture.Its a lovely mossy green and I made this one shorter and more fitted as I am losing weight now that I have come off my infusions and steroid treatment.Great to have a waist back :) I have been wearing this a lot which is why it looks so misshapen here (I really should be more patient with my photos but I don't have the time !!)
 Another pair of socks done in 'Socks that Rock' I have been wanting to try this yarn for some time and now I wonder what all the fuss is about ?Its okay  but nothing special and I wonder how it will wear , we will see. As usual I have another pair of socks on the needles now.

I spun up 200gms of baby camel and silk and thought I would make a shawl and I have been wanting to make 'Pamuya' for a bit .Its a really simple mindless pattern and a quick knit but I think it would have been better in a solid or semi solid yarn .Its okay but I now wish I had chosen a better pattern so that I could have used up all my yarn as I still have 100gms left I did think of making it longer but to be honest I got bored with it.I think re shawls that I have gone off triangular ones and much rather the faroese style ones or something with better construction . I also like my shawls to have more of a challenge but for gift making its the perfect pattern and I guess I will do it again .
Of course I have done a bit of this



We have been asked to take fluff to Abergele WSD Guild Friendship Day in May and I know I won't be able to do any dyeing for some time after my op so these and a few other things will be added to that pile of things to take.

 Then I have been fleece washing but not just any fleece, oh no its a fleece from here http://devonfinefibres.wordpress.com/
I only bought a few hundred grms of this gorgeous Bowmont but it really is fabulous and deserves the proper treatment so al la Margaret Stove it had a special wash ,a roll in a towel and then hung to dry . I just love the way each lock puffs up when its dry . Here are some pics of the process I did . So worth the effort of washing lock by lock. 



I have bought this to try it for using for the Longest Thread competition which our Guild is hoping to do. 
Well I am hoping this will post as it seems that Blogger has changes its format YET again and is driving me nuts as I have already tried to post this once before and lost the lot !! Here goes .......