Monday, 4 July 2016

The Shawl Society

This post comes with the warning *SPOILER ALERT* as it features the first two designs in The Shawl Society Collection by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade.
As you may have realised I can't resist a shawl design by Helen and as soon as she mentioned this collection of designs I was in!  The first pattern was released in June and it was called the Talisman Shawl as it features rows of star stitch.  I decided to use my skein of Phoenix 4ply, in the Watersmeet colourway, by Natural Dye Studio for this and I added beads between the stars and along the border.
I love the way the tails on crescent shawls curl!

The second design in the series is called the Amulet Shawl and this time I am knitting the large size.  I'm using stash yarn again, this time a beautiful gold Selkino by the Skein Queen.  The beads are brown with silver-lining.
I really enjoy using the nostepinne that my Dad made for me.  It makes beautifully wound, centre-pull balls and although the process is slower than using a yarn-winder, I feel that it enables me to get to know the yarn and allows me time to fully appreciate the colours.
I had recently purchased these two snail beads and quickly turned them into progress keepers for this project and made a few stitch markers to match.  It is helpful to place a progress keeper on this shawl to highlight the right side as both sides are quite similar to start with.
I haven't wanted to work on any other projects since casting on this shawl and as I have had a fair amount of knitting time this past week, due to a nasty chesty cough, I have managed to complete 60% quite quickly. 
As always, yarn from the Skein Queen is a delight to work with and I'm looking forward to wearing this shawl.
It looks like the snail has his eye on that flower! :)

21st Birthday Adventure

June is the month when three of us have our birthdays and this year J was 21.  For his birthday he wanted to climb Snowdon, so three of us headed to Wales for a week in a cottage.
Throughout the week we went on lots of walks around the Betws-y-Coed area and found plenty of gushing waterfalls, pretty wooded glens, hedgerows full of wildflowers and fields of sheep.  We even found a neolithic burial chamber, some jellyfish and a colony of bats swooping over a waterfall to catch insects.  Of course there was also the odd castle or two and we visited a woollen mill.

The highlights of the holiday were:- 
1:: Climbing Snowdon for J's 21st birthday.   A rather wet start, but the clouds cleared just as we reached the summit at 1085m for breath-taking views of North Wales.

2 :: Swinging through the trees! ;)


3 :: Zip World Caverns, where we went along via ferratas, rope bridges and zip wires in 100' high slate caverns.



4 :: Climbing Cadair Idris - A steep climb to 900m, where once again we were lucky to get great views from the summit as the clouds cleared.

We had lots of fun and adventure on this holiday, but the best part of it all was spending time together in such a glorious place.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

June Gardening and Knitting

Oops! A whole month has gone by since I have posted! At this time of year it is all go in the garden and at the allotment, so I have been busy weeding and planting.  We have had lots of rain, so the garden is very lush
and full of busy bees.
June is the month that the roses start to bloom

and when the foxgloves put on a lovely show.

The garden is filled with the sounds of the young blue tits calling to their parents for food
and the sparrows still seem to be nest building.

The plants in the pots and baskets on the patio are beginning to fill out and bloom.

The two water troughs that I painted have been situated at one end of the patio.
This area is still a work in progress.
At the allotment everything seems to be growing well, including the weeds!

We have had our first strawberries of the season.
When it has been raining, I have finished a couple of shawls.  My Cabin Retreat Shawl
and my Spindrift Shawl.  Both patterns are by Helen Stewart.
On my needles I have another of Helen's designs, The Talisman Shawl.  This is the first pattern for The Shawl Society KAL.
There are 6 designs in total and I hope to knit all of them over the coming months, so I guess I am going to be busy! :)