Sunday, 23 October 2016

Living the Dream

A lazy relaxed morning...
An afternoon walk through woodland..
or through picturesque valleys...
Followed by an evening of knitting and reading..
or maybe spent with a pint or two of good beer in an atmospheric old pub -

This is my idea of a perfect day.  Lucky me, I've been able to spend seven such days on holiday with my husband in one of my favourite counties, Shropshire.

We had our annual holiday to Church Stretton.  Usually we go Spring / early Summer time but this year we were able to enjoy the delightful Autumn colours.

This dog does not belong to us!

It was lovely to have a mix of slow paced relaxation with some vigorous mountain climbing.  It's just a pity it was all over so quickly.  Never mind, there's the return next year to look forward to.

I took a variety of knitting projects on holiday with me, but ended up just concentrating on my Fair Isle cardigan.

It's looking lovely and colourful and it's such good fun to knit. Hopefully it will be finished sometime this week.

Before we went away, I managed to complete a pinafore  dress.

It's sewn using my favourite dress pattern, Simplicity 2444 and the fabric is a fine needlework.  I just love the raspberry colour.

Because I'm working monogamously on my Fair Isle cardigan, I haven't managed to finish any other projects.  I did complete a shawl a few weeks ago but as it was a gift for my Mum, I haven't been able to show it to you until now.

My Mum's favourite colour is yellow, and as it is also my favourite colour, it was a delight to knit this.  You can see details of this project over on Ravelry, here.

So now I'm back home, and we may not have scenic mountains and dramatic valleys, but I'm lucky that my days are relaxed and filled with pleasant moments... and plenty of knitting!

Saturday, 8 October 2016

So Proud

Yesterday, my husband and I had a trip down to London.  We only had three hours there, but it was well worth the visit.

We met up with Eve and walked to the Brick Lane Gallery on ... Brick Lane.  The reason for our trip was to see the exhibition entitled East End, the place we call home.

The exhibition is only at the Brick Lane Gallery this weekend.  After that it goes on tour around Tower Hamlets.

We were very impressed with the colourful pictures and captions that told the story of the East End over the past ninety years.  The story was told thematically around the idea of building and providing homes for East Enders.

There was also a very interesting film in which residents talked about what the East End meant to them.

The exhibition had been formally opened on Wednesday by the Duke of Kent and I understand he was very impressed with the display and enjoyed meeting many of the people who were included in the film and who contributed to the exhibition.

And one of the main people who has worked on this exhibition for nearly a year is my lovely daughter, Eve.  I feel so proud of all her hard work and what she has achieved.

It was just a shame that we weren't able to spend more time with Eve, but hopefully I'll be able to get down to London and see her again soon.

We might have only had three hours in London, but we certainly had many hours on the trains!  On a positive note, this did give me some extra knitting time.  I have started knitting up a Fair Isle cardigan using leftovers of Jamieson and Smith 2 ply jumper weight yarn.  This is as far as I've got on the sleeves.

I'm using 14 different colours so it will be a riot of colours and patterns!

The Fair Isle was too fiddly to take on the train, so I cast on a shawl with some of the yarn I bought at Yarndale.

I love the way it's knitting up and I'm tempted to carry on knitting this now but I want to concentrate on the Fair Isle so the shawl will be put to one side for now.

October is going to be a colourful Fair Isle month.  I've already made some mittens this month, using up tiny bits and pieces of Rowan Fine Tweed.

I ran out of yarn on the tip of the last thumb!

This yarn has been a favourite of mine since it first appeared five years ago.  Sadly it is now discontinued, no idea why Rowan have done this.  It's so annoying when they constantly change their yarns.

Anyway, I'm getting back to my colourful cardigan.  Have a good weekend and if you're in London see if you can get down to Brick Lane!

Monday, 26 September 2016

Yarndale 2016

I think I've finally recovered from my hangover.  I've been bingeing on yarn at Yarndale and it's taken me a few days to get back to normal.  We had a fabulous time at the festival.  It was just as busy as last year and so many lovely stands.  Everywhere you turned there was yarn.  It was heavenly.

Having dieted for so long, it was wonderful to just go and overindulge.  I largely kept to the wish list I had made before we set off but I did slip in quite a few treats.  So here's my collection of loveliness.

Isn't it wonderful.  I didn't spend as much as last year but I feel I spent my money more wisely this year.

Grace went with me again and this is her collection.

I bought some gorgeous skeins for shawls.

I love the colours and patterns of the Cuddlebums yarn, on the left.

This pretty sock yarn had to come home with me.

I also bought this lovely British Wool DK weight yarn for a cardigan.

The yarn colour is called turquoise but it actually looks greener than in the above photo.

I topped up my purchases with other bits and pieces that I can use in Fair Isle and I also bought an undyed skein of yarn that I want to dye up myself, which should be fun.

At Yarndale we met up with Instagram friends for a picnic.  The weather was a bit cool and there was no sign of the sun, but the meet up was fun so that was all that mattered.

I received lots of lovely compliments on my Lily the Pink cardigan which was very pleasing.

So now I'm going to be working my way through my haul.  Plenty to keep me quiet for a long time to come.  I'll also still be busting the stash I already had - that's an ongoing mission.  The day after we got back from Yarndale, I finished this shawl.

It was knitted with the last of the untouched yarn that was bought at Yarndale last year.  I love the colours in the yarn, so I'm currently using the leftovers to make some fingerless mittens.  Details of the shawl project can be found on Ravelry, here.

I hope you all had a lovely weekend and if you were at Yarndale, I hope that you managed to bag yourself some loveliness as well.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

My Very Own Craft Room

Thank you all so much for your good wishes following my husband's retirement.  We're settling into a pleasant routine, helped by the lovely warm weather we had last week.

As a result of his retirement, I have taken over the room he used as his "study" and it's now been re-designated as my "craft room".  I had the foresight to decorate the room bright pink some years ago, so it was as easy process to convince him that he wouldn't want to use the room after his retirement.

I have collected together all my crafting bits and bobs.  They were previously scattered (hidden) around the rest of the house.  I must admit that I shocked myself at how much "stuff" I actually had.  Craft books alone fill most of the shelves in the bookcase.  I found so many duplicate items that I had bought that had been stored and forgotten about.  All I can say is it's a good job that I have spent this year de-stashing my yarn, because I would never have been able to fit it in the room otherwise.  It's certainly made me appreciate having a more streamlined yarn stash.

My mini sweater bunting is decorating the walls, and it's lovely to see all the different yarns and remember what I originally knitted with them (mostly socks).

There's still some more organising and tidying to do before I'm happy with everything and can remember where I've stored various things.

And because I'm no good at being disciplined, I bought three more craft books this week!  I'm going to struggle to fit them in the bookcase, but they were only £1 each, so I couldn't leave them.

There's something interesting in all of them.

This week I have finished the cardigan I was knitting.

Most of my cardigans are cropped or just below the waist length.  This is my preferred style for cardigans as I tend to wear dresses and skirts all the time.  Occasionally I wear jeans but I don't have any longer cardigans to wear with them, so this boyfriend-style cardigan fills a gap in my wardrobe.

It's in worsted weight yarn that had been frogged from a previous unloved cardigan and the pattern is a free one by Vanessa Townley.  You can see full details of this project on my Ravelry page, here.

 I'm now working on a shawl with the last of the unused yarn that I bought at Yarndale last year.

I love the colours.  The pattern is for a two colour striped shawl, but I'm just working with the one colour throughout.  It's semi-circular and the body of shawl is in stocking stitch with a lace edging.  The pattern is from a book by Kirsten Kapur and is called Cladonia.  I'm hoping to get this finished over the next week before Yarndale.

Finally, as well as the craft books, I bought some fabric this week.  I wanted something to make dresses and skirts for the Autumn.  I ended up with two fabrics, one for a skirt and one for a dress.

Dress fabric

Skirt fabric

I don't think I'll have time to make a completed outfit this week, but I'm hoping that I can get the dress cut out - ever the optimist.

Oh and finally, finally, I just remembered, Grace gave some some amazing fabric when I saw her recently.

Isn't it fabulous, Paddington Bear is my favourite character from my childhood and I still have all my books.  This fabric will be made into a tote bag for a knitting project.  Something else I'd like to get done this week - so long as I can find more hours in the day.

Well I had better get a move on if I want to get everything done.  I hope you all have a happy and productive weekend.  Bye for now.