Thursday, 26 March 2015

Spring

We have had some crazy weather here during March!  First we had glorious sunshine and then we had thick fog and even a freak hailstorm!  At times it has been warm enough to go out without a coat and other days the north wind has made it quite cold!
On the sunnier days my husband and I have been out and about, discovering new areas and we have completed our first Geocaches of 2015.  We are very lucky to only be a short drive away from many historic sites and some beautiful old churches.










Back home and the garden is waking up to spring.











The hedgerows are filled with blossom

and there are violets and primroses underneath them.
At the spring equinox there was a solar eclipse.  Unfortunately the cloud cover was so thick that morning that there was only a slight dimming of the light here.
We did see lots of frogspawn in the pond though.
Back indoors we watched the eclipse on television.  This was how it looked above the clouds over the Faroe Islands.
Craft wise I have been knitting and spinning.
I have finished my Noordzee Shawl.  I'm not too happy with the sewn bind off as it wants to roll.
These close-ups are truer in colour.

I also knitted a ski-style headband for when it isn't cold enough for a hat, but my ears need to be warmer.  The plan was also for it to hold my glasses in place as they keep slipping down my nose when I am gardening, but last week I broke said glasses!!  I'm now waiting for a telephone call from the opticians to let me know that my new pair are ready for collection.  I didn't like my old glasses so I'm not sad that they broke!  I usually wear rimless glasses, but have decided on a change and have chosen some tortoiseshell ones this time. 
I felt a little lost with out anything on my needles, so I have cast on Crescent over Lothlorien, in a Nimu Blea silk yarn.  This is planned to be a 50th birthday gift for my best friend.
 I have finished spinning Jane Seymour from Hilltop Cloud.
 I only had 3 small sample packs, so I decided to ply it with some of the Plotulopi that I bought in Iceland last October.
It is lovely and soft and sparkly!
I ended up with 76 metres of Aran weight yarn.  
I'm not brilliant at spinning, but I love it! So when I spotted the "Rhubarb Crumble" fibre by Pinki Punki on Etsy, I couldn't resist purchasing it.  I also bought "Daisy", which wasn't the colour I was expecting.  Such is the nature of colour when viewed through a screen!  I was expecting royal blue with green, but instead it turned out to be purple with pink! I did wonder why a royal blue colourway would be called Daisy; now I know! :) Having said all that I do like it.
 Apart from a 2 minute demonstration at a fair, I am teaching myself to spin and this month I learnt the reason for different weights of spindles.  My shell spindle is quite heavy and spins a thicker weight of yarn.  In order to spin thinner yarn I realised that I needed a lighter spindle.  Back on Etsy (this is becoming a habit!) I found this beautiful spindle by Wildcraft.  I am so impressed with it!  It spins as beautifully as it looks.  It arrived with some Polwarth top
which I immediately spun.
I then started spinning "Daisy".  I split the fibre in half so that I end up with approximately two equal amounts of singles which I will then ply together.
My spinning is still a little thick and thin, but I hope that it will even out once plied.
My final little treat to myself this month was this sweet brooch and cute stitch markers from A Homespun House, which I discovered through Dani of Little Bobbins Knits.
 And of course during March there was Mother's Day.  My children obviously think alike as they both bought similar cards! :)
Our daughter is now home for the Easter holidays and our son arrives home this weekend.  I have been having a sort out in M's room and Ella snuck into her bed when my back was turned!
 She usually follows me around the house and garden.
 Apologies for another mega post!  Thank you for sticking with me if you have reached the end of this long post.  I need to get back into the routine of posting more regularly, but just in case I'm not back here next week I hope you all have a lovely Easter.  Best wishes, Pj x

Thursday, 26 February 2015

February Catch Up

This month has just whizzed by and March starts this coming weekend!  March will be a busy month of sowing seeds and waking up the allotments.  I have already started by sowing some chilli seeds and soon will be sowing tomato seeds also, but before I get too far ahead here is what I have been doing this month:-
Firstly here are the mitts I crocheted for my blogiversary giveaway.  I can show them now that they have been received by Jo.  The pattern is by Pink Milk and I plan to make some more of these.
I have crafted some tag for my art journal.  There will be one for each month.
I have added a couple more pages and completed this page by adding some snowflakes.
 Of course on the 14th it was Valentine's Day.
My husband gave this gorgeous bouquet to me.
We have still been enjoying tai chi and fitness yoga and have also started body balance classes, which are yoga based.

We had to delay our pancakes to Ash Wednesday as we had a yoga class on Shrove Tuesday.
In the kitchen I also baked a yogurt cake
and a couple of batches of pumpkin, cheese and rosemary scones this month.  I don't do much baking at the moment as we are trying to lose a few pounds!
I finished my second book for the reading challenge I am participating in this year
and have just started my third book.
 I've fallen down a rabbit hole as for as knitting is concerned, so my first project to show you is rather appropriate!
I'm joining in with Zena and Dani's Little Along KAL 
and I have knitted two bashful bunnies.
 The pattern is from Little Cotton Rabbits.
 Dorothy has a dotty dress
and Primrose is wearing a party dress.
 The pattern is so easy to follow and is the most comprehensive that I have ever read.  These bunnies are destined to be gifts, so I might have to knit one for myself.
Last week it was half term and starting on the Friday it was Unravel at Farnham Maltings.  I love this fibre festival and go each year.
This green waistcoat caught my eye on the Tall Yarns stall. It is the Josefina Waistcoat. I can see this on my to-do-list.
 There were lots of rooms filled with everything yarn related.



Luckily I had saved my Christmas gift money for Unravel, so I was able to treat myself to all of this.
 From Hilltop Cloud


 From Coop Knits

 From kettle Yarn Co
 From Natural Dye Studio
 From The Knitting Swede
 From Baa Ram Ewe
 From Skein Queen

and two patterns from Fiona Alice, a Pompom magazine and some vintage knitting needles (shown in a previous photo).
 Knowing that I was going to be able to purchase some fibre at Unravel, I got my drop spindle out during half term and plied the small amount that I had previously spun.
It is very thick and thin and I wasn't too happy with the jumble of colours,
so taking a deep breathe I pulled my batt apart to sort out the colours.
I have tried spinning thinner yarn.  I think I may be over spinning it?  It balances once plied, but has too much energy to stay as a single.

I then decided to try plying the new yarn with this thread that I bought at Thread last autumn.
I have washed the yarn to set it and made two mini skeins.  The top one is from the sorted colours  - white, pink and purple.  The bottom one is a mixture of the remaining colours.  I'm hoping to knit a Bluebird of Happiness with it as part of the littlealongkal, but I will need to hurry as there are only a couple of days left!  This yarn can only be classed as an "art" yarn, but I rather like it.
 Current works in progress include my Noordzee Shawl,
 a little cardigan for Primrose Bunny
and I couldn't resist starting spinning the 
 fibre that I bought from Hilltop Cloud at Unravel.
 This is the Jane Seymour colourway and the colours are beautiful.
I'm trying to spin it a little thicker and not to over spin it.  Regardless of how it turns out I am really enjoying spinning and love the creative process and even if my yarn isn't perfect at least I'm having fun! :)