Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Relax - the waiting is over....

Ok the waiting is over - my last parcel from My 'Not So Secret Pal' was a purely decadent one

First of all another beautiful handmade card:

Handmade card
Handmade Piglottie card

This is the 3rd card that Piglottie has made me & they've all be fantastic. Then the most beautiful yarn ever:

cashmere sock yarn
Posh Yarn 100% Cashmere sock yarn

100g of Mulberry & 10g of Amethyst from Posh Yarns & they're soooo soft . You can read the detail on the label here. It's so special that I'll need to choose the pattern carefully - I'll probably use another pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks but which one depends on the gauge it comes out at.

In addition there was a HUGE bar of Green & Blacks 'Maya Gold' but I'm afraid that didn't survive our last jaunt with the caravan.

I'd like to send Piglottie a HUGE thank you for being my pal. I love everything you gave me (the first parcel can be viewed here and here) and am glad that you enjoyed your gifts as well. I really enjoyed spoiling someone I know & had fun tracking down the right presents for her.

Now I just need to find out who my Secret Pal and One Skein Pal are. I've search on clues that both have given me & have drawn a blank in both cases I've already revealed myself to my One Skein Pal but will wait & do a One Skein reveal in one go.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

My 'Not So Secret' Pal Does it again!

I'm going to be really cruel now & briefly tell you about the fantastic present that I received this evening from Piglottie aka My 'Not So Secret Pal'.

It's beautifully soft, no that's not enough, exquisitely soft & I want to sit here & stroke it all night - ohh urgh that sounds dodgy doesn't it

But I'm not going to tell you what it is yet as DH couldn't take photos tonight so you'll have to wait. We're going away again tomorrow for a few days with some friends so have fun whilst I'm away & all will be revealed when we get back .......

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

it was envitable....

Before we went away I purchased my August yarn so I was determined NOT to buy any whilst we were away. Hah! I was kidding myself.

When we were nearly at the campsite I sent a text to a friend (who I know now to be an enabler) as I couldn't remember if the excellent LYS that I'd heard so much about was in Ulverston or Ullswater. The reply came back with lots of information wonderful fibre 'must visits' but not on that LYS. I soon realised where it was when I looked at a map as Ullswater couldn't have a LYS unless it was on stilts.

I managed to resist the beauties in Spinning A Yarn even though I was sorely tempted. I had brought yarn for a new project away with me & determined to concentrate on that. However I promised myself a daytrip away from kiddies & filled with fibre & other distractions, so on a cloudly morning set off for Crookabeck Angoras having first made an appointment. However my useless navigations skills (even aided by a sat nav system) meant that I went everywhere else first!

I managed to find The Wool Clip without meaning to as I intended to go there after Crookabeck. A lovely little shop filled with beautiful hand made items & lots of locally produced yarns, fibres & more. I bought some things for other people & as I had no service on my phone the woman very kindly rang Crookabeck to let her know that I was still coming but had gotten a bit lost

I then studied the map fiercely & reprogrammed the Sat Nav so finally felt confident that I was going in the right direction. All was well until I spied the sign for The Alpaca Centre. I decided to pop in quickly as it'd be a waste of fuel not too & I might not get to it again.


The Alpaca were so cute as were two miniture donkeys. I managed to walk out empty handed, apart from this although I was sorely tempted by their cones of Apaca 4 ply but reasoned with myself that I had no need for it, so left.

Back on the road. I managed to get to Patterdale (find Ullswater & keep going until the water runs out) but then couldn't find the farm. I eventually found it after getting directions from a local hotel - the dead end sign that I'd seen over a bridge was actually the route I needed to take, up a very narrow track & keep going until I couldn't drive anymore!

Mary Bell was very welcoming & the goats were gorgeous as usual. I didn't take any pictures as they were covered in straw and worse & enjoying the sunshine in all their extra coverings but I've got a picture left from Woolfest so you can get an idea here:

Crookabeck Angora Goats
Crookabeck Angora Goats

I admired some machine knitted socks, made from their yarn in her shop but said that I preferred to knit my own, which is when I fell I'm afraid. Two skeins of her yarn jumped out & attacked me demanding come return home with me:

Crookbeck 4 ply Fine Spun Mohair
Crookbeck 4 ply Fine Spun Mohair - dirty & yet to be dyed

I then spied 3 lonely skeins of the same yarn but dyed a beautiful delicate lilac colour & they couldn't be left behind so they jumped in the back of the car as well:

Crookabeck Fine Spun Kid Mohair
Crookabeck Fine Spun Kid Mohair - 4 ply lilac

Apparently Mohair is 30% stronger than wool so makes an excellent sock yarn. This yarn is hardly fluffy at all & feels soooooooo soft that I just know that my feet are going to be heaven when wearing them. She also had lots of beautiful blankets made from her Herdwick flock but I had to pass on those.

So now I'm all yarned out and as soon as my original August purchase arrives will have to own up to a Strike on Stashalong. I've actually realised that I'm owed another one as I bought some bargain yarn last month & forgot to mention it - whoops....

We also made a trip to Sedbergh as we're all keen readers. After haunting 3 bookshops & lunch in a lovely cafe, we were heading back to the car when I spotted a couple of skeins of a single colour Sari Silk in a shop window. DH & DD carried on to the car & I promised I wouldn't be long - yeah right!

Sleepy Elephant is a book shop specialising in textile texts!!! I was disappointed to discover that the huge shelf of knitting books contained lots that I liked but that I already had. However the owner very kindly offered to take me to her nearby warehouse as I didn't live nearby. DD came with me & proudly wore her black headband. She had a huge selection & I left with these:

knitting books from The Sleepy Elephant
Books from The Sleepy Elephant

The Farmyard book is for DD & I couldn't resist the other. I also had to bring these home as I didn't have them:

Interweave Knits
back issues of Interweave Knits

Sleepy Elephant have been trading for over 20 years & mainly do mail order so if there's a book you've been searching for give them a go.

Now, finally to prove that there has been some knitting going on recently rather than just scenery gazing & getting lost, a glimpse of what I've been working on recently:

Molly's headband
red cotton headband

Last seen on Lake Windermere - another headband for DD as she loves her black one so much. Plus a gift for my Canadian friend or rather her daughter:

Babycashmerino Poncho
Babycashmerino Poncho

The pattern is from baby cashmerino 2 and has to be a contender for the most boring knit ever However the pattern was chosen by my friend so I'm sticking with it. 165 stitches seems far too many for 12-18 months but it is a wide garment

Monday, August 21, 2006

Tolkien country

As they're so popular I thought I'd share the other pictures that DH took of the fantastic tree roots at Aria Force:

Tree roots
Tree roots

Tree roots
Tree roots

The whole area reminds me of Tolkien from the impossibly steep hills & passes to the lakes & trees.

(Click the panoramic for a much larger image, beaware that the image is large but worth it..)

Wrynose Pass
Wrynose Pass

Lake Coniston
Lake Coniston

Whilst I was walking the dogs in the woods alongside Lake Coniston I could almost imagine a Hobbit or two to passing me on footpath....

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Our holiday in the Lake District - warning LOTS of photographs

We had a fantastic time & luckily the weather held until the last day of the holiday. As we drove out of the Lakes yesterday we heard that a severe weather warning for Cumbria had been issued with really didn't surprise us as the rain was torrential.

But away from the British preoccupation with the weather on back to the holiday. As predicted the first week was busier due to the family coming along too but we all had fun. They went out every day but our DD likes to stay at the campsite so we had a few 'lazy days' during which we read, played cards & I knitted

DH & BIL went up The Old Man of Coniston with Annie. Blue is a wimp who would have refused the hard climb so he didn't bother to take her.

(Click the panoramics for much larger images, beaware that the images are large but worth it..)

Click for a bigger of the view from the summit of The Old Man of Coniston
View from the Summit of the Old Man of Coniston

Click for a bigger of the view from the summit of The Old Man of Coniston
View from the Summit of the Old Man of Coniston

Annie at the Top of the Old Man of Coniston
Annie at the Top of the Old Man of Coniston

Poor Annie struggled coming down & found the lack of a pathway frightening. DH resorting to carrying her part of the way which isn't easy as she's not a small dog.

Annie Knackered
Annie knackered after walking up The Old Man of Coniston

As DH was out all day DD & I went to Ulverston with Blue. We quickly found Spinning A Yarn which has to rival Heirs & Graces as my favourite Yarn shop. I drooled over many yarns including Noro Tao & a locally produced 2 ply Alpaca. But I'd already ordered my August yarn before I went away so I was good & didn't buy anything. However DD purchased two balls of Noro Kureyon as she wants to try felting. Has anyone got any suggestions as to what pattern she could use with 100g?

On another day all 9 of us went to the Sellafield Vistors Centre. The younger kids had fun but the rest of us were bored silly so it's just as well the entry was free.

nieces & nephew at the Sellafield Visitors Centre
Brains of the future

DH & BIL were disappointed that they couldn't go on a tour of the power plant but with the security scare that the country is undergoing at the moment we could totally understand why. They had to make do with this:

Sellafield Nuclear Power Plant
Sellafield Nuclear Power Plant

The countryside is absolutely fantastic & I was far more impressed with the scenery on the journey back to the campsite as we went over Wrynose Pass & Hardknott Pass (known locally as 'The Struggle':

Wrynose Pass
Wrynose Pass

(Click the panoramic for a much larger image, beaware that the image is large but worth it..)

Click for a bigger of the view of Hardknott Pass
Hardknotts Pass

The local inhabitents were extremely hardy:

Herdwick Ewe on Wrynose Pass
Herdwick Ewe on Wrynose Pass

and her lamb was very cute:

Herdwick Lamb
Herdwick Lamb

In the second week we spent a day on Lake Windermere on the boats which we last did 3 years ago.

boat on Windermere
boat on Windermere

Steam boat on Lake Windermere
Steam boat on Lake Windermere

A bouy on Lake Windermere
A bouy on Lake Windermere

dogs on a boat
Airedales on Lake Windermere

red headband
knitting on Lake Windermere

We also went to Aria Force a beautiful Waterfall maintained by the National Trust:

Aria Force Waterfall
Aria Force Waterfall

Aria Force Waterfall
Aria Force Waterfall

Tree roots
Tree roots

We visited another National Trust property Townend which is the most stunningly preserved house. Daisy I agree with you about the library. Photographs were by appointment only so you'll have to go yourself to find out about it's charm.

So that's all folks until the next installment of our holiday - the knitting related purchases which will be coming soon......

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Yipee - FO's!!!

We had a great time in Coniston & got home this afternoon. Living in a confined space for two weeks really makes me appreciate my home, modest it may be but I don't have to share one of two washing machines with 315 other 'units' some of which may contain 6 people!!! Yes you've guessed it the machine has been on almost constantly as has the drier since we got home & there will be lots of things to put away tomorrow. But thats for tomorrow & is housework so enough said.

I've finally got some FO's to show Lady Eleanor has been OTN it seems forever but has finally been cast off, washed & blocked.

Lady Eleanor blocking
Lady Eleanor blocking on the spare bunk bed mattress in the awning of our caravan

Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole
DD modelling Lady Eleanor

Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole
DD modelling Lady Eleanor

DD enjoyed her photoshoot in the woods behind our caravan & had fun swirling around as DH clicked away.

Yarn used: Noro Silk Garden shade 232
Amount of yarn used: 6 1/2 50g balls without a fringe.
Needle size: 5mm
Pattern from Scarf Style edited by Pam Allen
Dimensions pre blocking: 37cm x 107cm
Dimensions post blocking: 43cm x 139cm.
Started: 10th May 2006
Finished: 8th August 2006

I enjoyed the pattern but my disaster with the yarn early on in the project tainted it for me. I haven't added a fringe yet as I'm not sure which type I want if any. I know that I don't want standard tassels like a scarf & am not sure re a knotted fringe or a beaded knotted fringe so for now it's staying as it is.

I've also finished the headband for DD:

Lace headband with i-cord
DD's Lace Headband

Pattern: Molly's Headband from Interweave Knits
Yarn: Rowan Hand Knit Cotton
Amount of yarn used: 31g out of a 50g ball
Needle size: 4mm
Started: 26th July 2006
Finished: 10th August2006

I had intended do do two more for my nieces but it took too long so I made them a quick substitute. Too be honest this pattern is better for them as they're younger & the pattern above would be too wide for their heads.

Headbanger head band
Niece 1 in blue Cork Headbanger

Headbanger head band
Niece 2 in red Cork Headbanger

Pattern: Headbangers
Yarn: Rowan Cork from my stash.
Needles: 8mm
Modifications: The original pattern calls for a different yarn on smaller needles with 14 stitches. As Rowan Cork is thicker & I didn't want to make the bands too wide I worked on 8 stitches.
Made on 10th of August: each band took about half an hour.

I have a LOT of photos from our holiday so will start another post tomorrow, get ready for loads of shots of the English countryside as DH had fun with his camera!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Farewell for now....

We're going away tomorrow morning to spend two weeks in the caravan in Coniston. The first week will be really busy as we're with DH's mum, sister, BIL + their 3 children. The second week is just the 3 of us & I know that we'll need it after such a busy noisy time. Lots planned but most of it is weather dependant & it's been foul recently which brings back memories of our holiday last year. Our nephew is 3 1/2 & a total live wire so it'll be hell cooped up with him inside if it's raining heavily so we're already planning activities for rainy days. Swimming is one as there is a pool close by so DD is ecstatic - you think she'd want a break as she trains 8 hours a week but she loves to visit new swimming pools. We're also members of the National Trust so will be exploring the local sights.

My knitting is packed as is most of the caravan so tonight is picking up last minute things & DH is in the kitchen making a huge salad out of the contents of the fridge & a 'throw together' (vegetarian bolognese type sauce) to use things up as well.

A few weeks ago my Secret Pal Hostess sent everyone in her group this questionnaire & finally I've done it - I feel so slack but I was really wasn't up to this a few days ago.

1) What is your favorite season of the year?

Autumn - I love the cool after the summer, the leaves turning orange on the trees & the shortening days.

2) Where is your favorite vacation spot?

Northumberland in the North of England.

3) If you could visit any place in the world, where would it be?

Canada & we're going next year

4) If you could pick any job, and be paid well, what would it be?

A gardener for somewhere wonderful like the Helmsley Walled Garden, work in Animal rescue & rehoming or something else that I can feel proud of & feel that I'm making a contribution back into society - that sounds cheesy doesn't it but I've always worked for profit making private companies.

5) If you were going on vacation for 1 week, and had to take ONLY one project with you, what would it be?


6) If you won a shopping spree to your favorite Yarn shop, what would you get??

Before I could answer this I had to have a long hard think to work out which was my favourite yarn shop. Definately none in this city as it's a real yarn desert & if you're into acrylic & novelty yarns you're well catered for but I'm not.

I think I'd have to go back to Heirs & Graces which I visited whilst on holiday. They had a good stock of yarns that I normally only see on the internet which was real treat.

As to what I'd get in my shopping spree it would have to be some Pure Silk as I couldn't help stroking the skeins. Plus some Kimono Angora and a few books.

Does that give you a hint as to what I've ordered for my August day off on Stashalong???

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Warning - totally addictive

I'm off to bed now having wasted nearly an hour playing games!