Sunday, 27 September 2015

Oh my hands - don't let me down!

What can I say about Yarndale?  Crowded oh so crowded and anyone that knows me, knows how much I hate crowds, (stomach churning, breath gasping, lean against the nearest wall, getting very shirty are all manifestations of this). However I managed to go round the stalls I knew I wanted to visit first before the crowds really took hold. And boy did they!
This was the only place I could stand back in the main bit - the Knit and Natter Lounge
 The mandalas from last year - I couldn't get near this year's flower display
I think this might be mine - the one with the green edges.  I'll have to check back though to be sure. The colours are the same as I had at that time but they are from the Stylecraft Cotton Collection which is very common.
Angora rabbits - you don't get the scale here but they looked huge!
Some endangered breed sheep which I forget to get the names of. Tiny little things they were - bigger than the rabbits though.
Now are these lamas, no I think they are alpacas and I'm embarrassed to say I don't know the difference.
The views over the hills were spectacular but it was so bright that I couldn't get good pics on my phone.
I bumped into my lovely friend Barbara from Ring-a-Rosie (the best wool shop in the country) and we both clung to the railings while we talked because she doesn't like crowds either. She was just off to the Lakes with her husband. And, yes, she did buy some wool!

The most moving moment was when I went to buy some yarn from Amanda Perkins. She closed her Natural Dye Studio last year to concentrate on her designing business. She had brought her last little bit of yarn with her because she said she couldn't justify keeping it.  I said I would give it a good loving home and she welled up - she said it was like watching her children leave. She made me promise to email her pictures of the things I've made.
The five skeins on the left are her babies. They have settled very well with my other yarns from the Natural Dye Studio. It is a crochet tragedy that she stopped dying her yarn - it is totally unique. The other skein is Manos del Uruguay Silk - at £6 an absolute snip.  I think this will become a couple of Neck Wraps in a Solomon's Knot. The yarn bowl has been on my wish list from the first Yarndale. The lady that makes them is also a knitter,  I got a pattern I don't need (as always) and two crochet hooks I didn't have.
You need so little to crochet - yarn, a hook, a pair of scissors and a needle. Like hand quilting you get totally lost in the stitches - better than meditation.

This morning Ben and I went shopping whilst his daddy and mammy went to see about getting a new car. (John's broke down again this week). It's a 12 year old Seat Arosa and has done a good job over the years,  but now he is the proud owner of a Guillieta.
Ben helped load the things on to the belt, then went for a drive in the little van next to the tills. He was sitting quite happily when he looked at me and said "oh no it's broken down".

He jumped out, pretended to lift the bonnet and then jumped back in again "it's ok" he said, "I've fixed it". Guess who's been watching his Daddy!
Then we went round to get him a Thomas the Tank Engine for his birthday on Thursday. He insisted on carrying it.

Oops I forgot - I got these little beauties (each 15grams) of linen.
I was up at the crack of dawn to watch the Grand Prix but the telly wouldn't play ball so I thought I would watch later at lunch time and then everyone landed and the recording I made was all crackly so I ended up watching the high-lights late this afternoon.

I haven't been able to quilt or crochet this weekend because I strained my hand and can't even grip the crochet hook.  So I've had to make do with squishing my precious purchases and my two little boys. Hopefully my hand will get better soon (an old injury). But the squishing was pretty enjoyable.
I'm just off now to gaze at the fantastic moon tonight - a partial eclipse and a full moon.

It's only the bright one now - the eclipse won't happen until about 3am. Sorry it's a bit shaky and blurred. The next one won't be until 2033 apparently.

Although if you believe some of the fringe religions we won't be here then. Hey ho.

Have a good week xxxxx

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Making Merry or Merry and Bright?

Well it's not quite finished - I'm just quilting the inner border tonight (what ironing? - what washing up? - what dusting?).
This is the hanging layered up and ready to quilt:
And being quilted - it'll look a lot better when it is finished and steamed into shape!
And writing the pattern.  It takes a lot longer than you would think to write the pattern.
I usually start with sketches and hand written notes. With something like this I'll make a grid and mark out all the sizes of each piece to make sure it all fits together and only then do I start cutting. When it is sewn together I make any corrections of changes. Then I get the laptop out and start typing and arranging so that it follows a logical sequence. I can't decide what to call it though.

I used to use Adobe for making patterns but I refuse to pay a monthly fee (a very large monthly fee). I don't mind buying updates when they come but I feel like Adobe cornered the market and then set their own rules.  I now use something called Affinity Design to 'draw' and am waiting for their publishing suite to come out next year.  The publishing suite I use now is called Swift which is only very mediocre but it does the job. I like Serif Draw and Serif Page Plus but can't use them on my Mac. Affinity is Serif's Mac version - and I love what I have from Serif.

My Thursday night ladies are very patient guinea pigs for my patterns and to them I am eternally grateful - they put up with half finished instructions without complaint! 
This is Ann's hexagon bag - maybe I should have plumped it out - the picture doesn't do it justice. She used purchased handles and a fabulous classy fabric.  It looks great.

I made some mini treacle tarts for class last week - the corner tart was the taste test. (Poor excuse)
It's a recipe my mother used to make - just syrup,  breadcrumbs, lemon juice and an egg - all in short buttery pastry.

This week was so busy at work I had to throw myself on the mercy of our chef who came up with some cherry and raisin flapjack for this Thursday night. I hope it is going to be much quieter next week (no open night, late meetings planned).  

I spent Saturday morning at John's clinic being receptionist and Saturday afternoon getting shopping and taking the two bunnies to have their operation scars checked.  I am pleased to say they have healed nicely and they are getting on well.

Today has been mine, all mine.  F1 and quilting. And now it's Sunday night again. Oh how quickly the weeks go. 

There's lamb in the oven for Will and I'm having soup for supper. And I really, really haven't done any housework. Bad girl. 

Ben and Max are doing well - cutie pies. I can only pick Max up for a few minutes because is very heavy and he's almost as tall as me! Such a jolly little chap.

Next weekend I'll be heading down to Skipton for Yarndale and I'm really looking forward to that. In the meantime I need to find out why my phone is sending three messages every time I press the send button. And maybe put a load of washing on. Oh dear I hope I have got enough clean clothes for the week ahead......

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Tired fingers - happy girl

What a week! I don't know why the first week of the Autumn Term always comes as a shock to the system but this was no exception - I'm so glad it was only four days long. But now I have had a quiet weekend to recharge the batteries.  A bit of stitching, a bit of pattern writing, some crochet, not much housework and the Italian Grand Prix.  Will has tidied the sun lounge (or should I say car workshop?) and I am at peace.

First an update on Flossie:
Yes there are two rabbits. Someone contacted us to ask if we wanted to give a home to their little rabbit as they could not look after it.  They said it was a girl, called Sugar..... Will wanted to get a little friend for Flossie so he went and picked her up.  She was incredibly skinny and tiny and quite scruffy.  She looked like a girl and was quite a bit smaller than Flossie.  We took them both up to the vets for a check and she is a boy - quite obviously a boy when you know where to look. By then they had been together for two days. The upshot is they are both going in to be neutered (at vast expense). But Scruffy is too cute for words and Flossie, after some initial posturing is quite happy with her new companion. Ben was totally confused and thought they were both called Flossie.  So now the new rabbit is no longer called Sugar but Scruffy. There is hay everywhere as they are brought in for a good night cuddle, actually he is sitting on my lap now.  It's like living in a farmyard - happily it smells better!

We had a lovely sunset the other night but sadly it poured the next day. This was the view to the west-

and this to the east - a lovely rainbow - my phone doesn't pick the colours out well but it was beautiful and ephemeral.

Yesterday I had a strange but very peaceful day.  I was receptionist at the clinic for John in the morning and then, because he had my car and was off to a rugby match to physio for them, instead of driving him there and going back home,  I decided to stay in the clinic and do a bit of pattern writing. I set BBC iPlayer away and caught up on the Bake-Off and had a very pleasant afternoon!

This morning I had a quick practice crochet before I set off for a lightning visit to the supermarket (the yarn is beckoning to me and I'm desperately holding off until my patchwork projects are further forward).
I am using Patons Cotton 4 ply.  It is really good value for money and I like to use it for experimenting with designs as it gives a lovely crisp finish although their range colours are not really my thing. This is a Maybelle Square from Rose Valley. I would love to make this from linen - maybe a throw for my bed or a cloth for the chest of drawers. Quince and Co make a lovely yarn but I couldn't afford to make a full throw from this (I can but dream).

Watching the Grand Prix this afternoon I finished the stitcheries for my new Christmas Wallhanging.  I just need to layer it up now and finish writing the instructions.
Full picture next weekend hopefully.

I got a lovely book this week - I can't remember where I saw it but it is a second hand book published in the '70s.

There are some lovely designs in it which are definitely going to find their way into my work somehow.  £6.75 well spent.

So, a few little chores and I will be ready for the week ahead - bring it on!