Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Falling Down a Rabbit Hole!

I'm still working on my Silver Lining Shawl as part of Alicia Plummer's Thunderstorm MKAL,
using Selkino from the Skein Queen and my stitch markers
and progress keeper that I made.  I've fallen a little behind with this project, but hope to catch up soon.  I'm still loving taking part in the MKAL, but have just been distracted by other projects!
One such project was this mermaid featured in a recent magazine.  I don't often make toys, but she appealed to me.
When we were having some hot weather I enjoyed sitting on our patio stitching a blackwork panel for my patchwork project bag.  Unfortunately, it has been wet and windy here recently so I haven't been sitting outside stitching.
I am working on my Low Tide Cardi by Tin Can Knits as part of Little Bobbins Knits Purposeful Stash Along.  I have completed the front of the bodice and I'm now working on the back.
Earlier in the month the Skein Queen's Attic had an open day.
So many beautiful yarns to choose from!
I came home with an armful of Enchant.  Perfectly named!  I'm itching to start using these hanks, but I must finish off my current WIP's!!
What is actually slowing down my progress on those projects is that rabbit hole!  On our way home from M's graduation ceremony we visited Fibre Hut to purchase my birthday present.

This is what we ordered - an Ashford Joy 2.  
It arrived on the Tuesday afternoon and I soon had it ready for spinning.
I started with the Cheviot fibre, kindly given to me by the lady at Fibre Hut.

I plied it with some Plotulopi, but I although I was having fun, I wasn't very happy with the end result.

I am attempting to rescue the fibre and turn it into a usable yarn! My original attempt was over spun in places as my feet get carried away sometimes, but I'm getting better. :)
After my first try at plying I knew I needed a Lazy Kate!  This makes plying so much easier!

Next I decided to risk spinning this beautiful braid from Hilltop Cloud.
I find that splitting and slightly pre-drafting the fibre has helped me to spin a more even yarn.
Still a little over spun in places, but hopefully plying and washing will help.

Seascape plied and now waiting to be soaked and thwacked.
I had been saving Rhubarb Crumble from Pinki Punki, until I felt a little more confident as I really didn't want to mess it up!
I prepared the fibre again.  I always use my Nana's wooden fruit bowl to hold my fibre and it feels as though she is there with me whilst I spin.
Getting better at controlling my feet! :)


Plied and just waiting for a warmer, drier day to be washed, as I thwack my yarn outside on the edge of the patio table.
Next I had a problem ... I didn't have anymore fibre in the house, except for this project that I had started on my drop spindle.
I knew there would be pitfalls when plying, but I decided to spin the other half of the fibre on my wheel.
The drop spindled yarn is thinner than the wheel spun yarn and as I had weighed the fibre to roughly match the colours up, this meant that I had to play with the length of it whilst plying.
It didn't turn out too bad.  I had to spin the rest of the purple on a second bobbin.  I now realise that I need bigger bobbins and a freedom flyer for my wheel! ;)
I was still left with the problem of having no fibre left in the house, but luckily I had planned to go to Fibre East.  I carried my camera around all day, but didn't take a single photo with it! That is so unlike me!!  I did take this one photo with my iPhone.
I had hoped to meet up with people I know from online, but that wasn't to be.  I just had to console myself with a spot of retail therapy. ;)
I stocked up on fibre.  I'm not sure, but I may combine this white and grey together for a project.
I'm going to wait for the right project before spinning these.
I have plans for a winter scarf with this Falkland merino and silk, but I need that freedom flyer first.
Beautifully dyed BFL from Wildcraft.
Art yarn fibre in amazing colours from Coastal Colours.
This is so soft!
Alpaca, merino, llama fibre on an old silk mill bobbin.  It could make a lovely edging to a shawl.
Botticelli's Girl is a blend of BFL, baby alpaca and tussah silk.
And I couldn't resist these gorgeous yarns:-
Maiden Hair and Sea Silk by Hand Maiden Fine Yarn
I'm hoping to combine these two together to make a shawl.  The Maiden Hair colours remind me of fossil hunting on the South Coast of England.
Alpaca Sock by The Wool Barn
I was spoilt for choice at this stall.  So many beautiful hanks of yarn!  I settled on Summer Fete, the middle hank in the photo below and then matched the other two colours to it.  I'm thinking there should be enough to knit a top or cardigan.
Westminster in Purple Martin by Kettle Yarn Co.
Bought to knit Talavera from the latest Pompom magazine.
And two hanks of Diana 4ply from fivemoons - Silver Mist
and Anthra, to be used with the pink and blue Diana I purchased at Unwind last year.
My final goodies from the day were the Pompom Quarterly magazine that I mentioned previously, another cable for my ChiaoGoo Twist needles, a set of Fripperies and Bibelots heart shaped stitch markers and a pretty diz from Wildcraft.
On arriving back home my cheeky boy asked, "How much fibre do you need?!"  I replied, "There's no point having a spinning wheel if I haven't got any fibre!"  ;)  Luckily my husband agrees. :)
And with all that bouncy fibre and those squishy yarns, my landing at the bottom of the rabbit hole will be a soft one! :)

Friday, 24 July 2015

Mad Hatter's Tea Party and a Very Important Date!

Mad Hatter's Tea Party
This year is the 150th anniversary of the publication of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and when we visited RHS Wisley at the end of June, there were bronze sculptures of the book characters dotted around the garden.





"Off with their heads!"
The Queen of Hearts was appropriately in the centre of the rose garden.

I loved the addition of the red rose petals in the knave's bucket.
Our main reason for this visit was to see the roses which are at their best during June.







It was a very hot day and this white rabbit was telling me it was time for ice cream! ;)
Mint Choc Chip was just what was needed!










We watched a mother duck with her very cute ducklings.
Near the end of our visit we discovered Alice

and my favourite character from the book, the Cheshire Cat. :)



"I'm late! I'm late! For a very important date!"

A Very Important Date!
There was no way we were going to be late for this important date!
We were up at 4am!! On the road before the sun had risen.
With our two babies in the back of the car.
It is quite lovely to be up and out on such a lovely day,
driving through the English countryside.
Our destination was Trentham Gardens near Stoke-on-Trent.

All dressed up
"in our best bib and tucker" as my Mum would say! :)
The occasion was our daughter's graduation.



The FX Faculty celebrating in the usual style.
video
M is now a Bachelor of Science.

Afterwards we were each given a picnic to take into the gardens to enjoy.
 There was a sweet cupcake topped with a mortar board included.
 J looked very smart and all grown up in his suit.

 We are very proud of M for her achievement.


 Late afternoon we left the gardens and drove past the university one last time and headed towards home.
We did stop off somewhere for me to get something, but that will be part of my next post.