Archive for the ‘fun’ Category

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got my busy on.

April 14, 2010

Oh now where do I start? well this post is all about the crafting. Oh and if you’ve not already seen it is VERY image heavy.

Knitting

I finished a pair of mittens for a friend. He gave them two thumbs up. I also did a matching phone cosy cos nothing says I thought of you than a matching gift set. Knit in trekking xxl and knitted with two strands together for super manly toughness.
accidental stripes   mitts

I started this scarf on holiday and after the first ball it was not long enough. Part way through the 2nd ball and I can’t decide to make it super long or add some other twiddles to it with the rest of the yarn. The yarn is pure silk cord bought at Alexandra palace knit and stitch show. Its dyed with natural indigo and something or other and stains the needles. I gathered up the scarf because it sort of shows the drape a bit better. This is one knit I want to write the pattern for because its super easy and one I wont mind giving away.

pure silk scarf

I LURVE this project. Katie & Matt have a lovely little bairn called Noah who was a miracle to the world after the long and hard process for them to have kids. I had a bit of consultation on what Katie wanted and produced this so far. I still need to knit another 6 hexagons and sew them all together properly. Then back it all in fleece in the same as the bright blue in the picture. I think this is still going to take some time. This was mutilated from a berocco free pattern Arabesque.

TA DA! 

Matt’s iphone cosy. Although I should send this on, its waiting for the blanket.

iphone cosy 

I started with this lovely merino lace weight on Wednesday night. So far I’m on the 2nd pattern formation of Laminaria from Knitty. I thought that the Laminaria would be far too complicated but now I’m sure its addictive and not half as difficult as it looks. Except for the 2 or 3 into 9 stitches. THEY are a pain. I’ve not got any decent photos of the shawl as yet.. I suppose I should but that will be on the weekend and by then I may have done most of it! hahahah, who am I kidding. It’s a lovely knit but I’m not THAT quick.

lace weight

Now to meet an old friend. I made this around November time and completely forgot to blog about it. It’s because its my all time favourite hat. PLUS its the first thing I’ve ever fully made from my very own handspun yarn. Now this does need to be written up because its one of the easiest knit patterns I’ve ever made. Although I’m worried someone else has already had the idea before. Cast on 70 stitches with a 3mm needle, K2 P2 for ribbing then YO K2tog, round and keep increasing the needle size until you’ve got enough size for the hat. Then with the largest needle decrease stitches on hat. Simples! which all leads me on to…

my favourite hat

spinning, cos I bought 4 of these lovely bags of alpaca. The finest, the softest and the hat up thar was spun from this. Sadly I don’t have a photo of any of the spun yarn but I’ve only spun one bag so far. I still have another 3 to go. I think I spoiled myself with this wonderful fiber, also bought at the Alexandra Palace knit and stitch show. Spinning this was a delight and made everything else feel tough and not as easy.

!00% pure alpaca

This is 100% pure merino that I bought from the YoYo to make flowers for the wedding. I held on to a good slug of this fiber to spin and I messed it right up. I think I plied it long after I spun it and plied it the wrong way. DOH. Still, its usable and it will probably wash out nice after being knitted but I’m not happy with it. It’s not drop dead gorgeous or floofy or… anyway lets just gloss over that and move on to nicer things.

Eh... Bad spinning

I picked out a few greens I had accumulated from the flower floof for felting and a batt set I bought from etsy and spun them in to….

mix of floof

This! a lovely light two ply but still has some solid weight to it. I’m no lace weight spinner. I just grabbed long hanks of each colour and randomly span each and plied the two together. I was aiming for a barber pole with occasional pooling.

mix and spun

So from bobbin to skein it goes…. My home-made skein winder is starting to get a bit shabby but it still works.

handspun 

and here it is on the right, all ready for a wash and balling. The one on the left however is something entirely new which I will now cover.

plied and skeined.

This skein was the end result of a rather long process. It’s all natural and came I think from an alpaca but may be camel. I’m not entirely sure. I would like to know though because I’ve got this whole bunch of it… A whole fleece.

hand washed fleece.

The above picture is after I spent a weekend washing and teasing all the fibers apart to make sure it all dried nicely. It’s fully dry here but not in a spinable state. I had hand carders but I’m not technically the best at hand carding. After long deliberation and haunting ebay and other places I placed an order with an independent UK business for this lovely drum carder from Ashford.

Woohoo!

So once I got the drum carder there was much *squee* and oooh and ah. I followed the instructions and from the big ball of floof up there I carded these so far:

hand carded fiber

So far around 400g of carded wool ready for spinning or felting. It’s very soft but also some of the fibers are a bit short. It was a real tough sort through it all to try to keep it all a decent fiber length. After carding I did a bit of spinning. Just one bobbin then passed it back through the spinning wheel to Navajo ply. Just make a slip loop and keep spinning and adding slip loops. Much easier than it looks. So now I have some big choices to make. Do I spin the lot? because I’m going to have to card a whole lot more at some point. Also are these items sellable because I’ve not got what sort of animal it came from. Anyway I’m counting my blessings 1, because it was fun and 2, I have a new drum carder and 3, this fleece along with the bags below were all free with my spinning wheel.

how handeh.

I also took some silk and two colours of merino and created two lovely soft mixed batts. I’m saving these for another day too. Not sure what to do with them yet. I have a ton of this silk bought at AP again but I’m running out of these colours to blend it with. I will make some more because two small batts is not enough even to spin. It was just good to get some blending practice in on the drum carder.

3 on left = batt on right.

So on to the stash of wool I have yet to deal with. This is not the yarn, just the fleece, most of which came with the wheel. The first one is self explanatory. I’ve got two bags this size of corridale/shetland mix.

hand washed corriedale/shetland

This potato bag is hiding a lovely slightly darker fleece than the one I’ve started on above. It appears to be slightly smaller than the one I already dealt with. This is still raw and unwashed.

medium rose

Then this… A guaranteed lovely rose brown alpaca. The fleece in this bag is beautiful. Also not washed or dealt with at all yet but it will be. I need to get down the first fleece yet but this one will be something very soft and special one day.

beautiful brown

Then I have the bag of scraps so far. I cleared out two potato bags to fill one half way with rejected bits. It was a whole days work to wash and sort a fleece. I’d love to make this a business but after trying the first fleece I’ve proven it’s a hell of a lot of hard work. I don’t mind doing the work if I could make it profitable but there is where the problem lies, I’m not sure I can set a suitable price and create batts that are stunning enough to get top dollar. Its something I’ve been thinking long and hard about because having a wool business from home sounds like a dream come true. Still at least I have the right tools for the job now.

scraps

So I was chatting to friends on twitter about this and that, a friend in North Norfolk owns a farm and creates the very best pork pies. Now I don’t eat pork pies but if you do I’ve been informed they are well loved all over. I checked out brays_cottage web site when they mentioned the wedding pork pie and noticed they have sheeps. I asked if they used the fleeces and within a day they confirmed they don’t. Then offered me the fleeces to their sheep for free.

Now this is going to be a whole lot of work. At least 6 sheep and all coming at once during shearing season. I’ve said a tentative yes to this because I’ve seen a couple of photos and fallen in love with the sheep.

Meet Marcus
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He’s a stunningly beautiful Ram with the stunning horns to match. I love his silver black coat and keep him as my deskptop wallpaper at the moment.

Then there’s the females and the new lambs coming in this season. I have just got to get to the farm to see them all before they stop spring bouncing.

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I’d like to have a name for each sheep and their fleece so I can have a full lineage for my products from these darlings. I also want to highlight the localness of it all, showing the low mileage for my products. Although all this is still very much a pipe dream and I’m not even sure I could wash a full very dirty fleece properly. I’m setting myself some big challenges with a lot to learn and hoping that I can at least start a sideline to my day job, even if I’m not sure I want to put in the hours yet! Still any ideas gratefully accepted and suggestions are wanted! What do you think? am I turning in to a mad sheep/cat lady? Or do you know how I can turn a profit?

Next update: hopefully the garden. We’ve done some of it but I need to take some photos. Probably over the weekend.

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a week off.

July 22, 2009

So I had a weeks holiday. Already half way through the first week back at work and I am missing my time to myself, the freedom and the lack of stress.

Anyhew you don’t want to hear what I returned to, I’m sure you’d rather hear the sort of  fun we got up to whilst relaxing.

Saturday was Scotty’s work doo. It was a lovely evening out at Bressingham Steam and Gardens for the whole family. All Scotty’s colleagues and their families were invited. Scotty was semi official photographer and got some great shots of the lovely attractions laid on and the stocks where several staff got a good soaking.

Sunday I went food shopping and we BBQ’d some fishes! Very tasty indeed. We even sat out in our lovely back garden to eat. Bliss.

Monday Dad came over to fit a tap in the garden for watering the plants. We had a great time with Dad performing some magic plumbing voodoo on the downstairs loo and drilling holes through walls that would be an impossibility for scotty or myself. I cooked us veggie burgers for lunch and we showed off our growing vegetables.

Tuesday was probably the best day of the week because we too a trip on the Albion Wherry a 111Yr old Sailing boat designed for the broads. It even spent some time working for Colemans. We departed from Dragon Hall at around 10am and sailed out from Norwich to Surlingham and the Ferryboat pub for lunch. It was very good food their too. On the way back we cracked open the red wine and I spent quite a while at the tiller and holding the main sheet, which was a blast from the past like riding a bike. I forgot how much I really LOVE sailing. Scotty even got on the cranks and lifted the sail twice after going under bridges.

There was one small downer on the trip, and not really a downer as such. I forgot the last time I went to dragon hall was my wedding day, which was great to see the place again, not quite the same but still exciting. Then I was chatting with one of the ladies on the trip that joined us and she said something that sounded just like mum. Then it hit me. I burst in to tears on this woman I’d just met. Scotty was not there because he’d nipped to the loo so I had to explain to her it was the last time I had seen my mum alive. Heart rending at the same time as becoming a bit more closure on loosing mum. Anyway once we’d set sail I knew all was well and we had so much to see, and enjoy the issue was soon a distant memory. One thing I found really cool was passing by the Colemans factory it was smelly but in a good way. That day they were cooking mint sauce and its all that could be smelled for a good 100 meters before and after the factory. Minty, vinegary goodness.

You’ll find pictures here and here of the wherry trip.

the next half of the week is coming in another post.

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Setup my phone

July 7, 2009

Now I know I’ve been a bad blogger. I hope this will help me note down what I’ve been up to.
I need to go two weeks back now to catch up but I think it’s worth doing.
I sneezed on a Tuesday and blew a blood vessel in my eye. Now this is partly why I’ve not blogged because it was all down hill from there. (its healing nicely now EDIT, and its not painful at all)
I made it to work but was coming down with some nasty lurgy. I made it to the spice lounge on Thursday night for a works meal. It was delish and somewhere I want to go back to. But after that I was invited to 2 further work parties in the same weekend. I did not make it. Instead I slept. It was not a head cold but I sure was not right at all.

Anyway spending a weekend sleeping ain’t much to blog about. I did however get in to my back garden and harvest all the new spuds. They were the best spuds we’ve ever had and I’d recommend them to anyone. Grow your own!

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feelin groovy.

February 12, 2009

most things are going better now. I’m almost back to normal. Working hard and enjoying having lots to do at work.

I’ve done so many little things since or during my week off that I’m not sure I’m going to be able to put it all down here without drowning you in info.

I completed a pair of socks in a week. Crikey. They are the best thing ever and I even got to wear them on my birthday. I love the yarn that Bockstark sent me and they are wonderful socks. Flickr has photos, here’s a snippet: (click image for other photos)
mount sockage!

I cleaned the kitchen, damn it needed it. I took my time whilst I was off, it was worth it.

The sinusitis is nearly gone. I cant say its completely removed. The antibiotics seem to have just about worked. I’m feeling more normal now. I spent most of the week dizzy and slightly queasy from the sinus infection. Most of it has gone now and I don’t have half as much whistling in my ears.

Daddy came over on the Wednesday of last week which was lovely. We both cried our eyes out but it got a lot out in the open that we needed and I suddenly realised, mum would not want me to be so sad. No matter how much I miss her I need to get on and look forward. A hard lesson but now I truly feel it may have been learned.

Saw the family on Saturday. We went over to Dad’s house. I got some lovely pressies. A loaf tin from Dad. A book on quick and healthy veggie cooking from my brother. Then some BEAUTIFUL yarn from my sister from the aplaca farm in her village. Plus a wedding book completed by her husband M, who took the wedding photos. It nearly made me cry it was that lovely.

Sunday I woke up in a mood to cook. Not any ordinary cookery mood either. I nipped to the shops and stocked up on a few items to make sure I had what I needed. I started by making a veggie bolognese sauce with red wine for pies and pasta and kept some back for lunch with a puff pastry pie crust. The rest was stored for later in the week.

Then I got all the root veg out of the fridge and did quorn chicken pieces and root veg stew with cider YUM and cheshere cheesy herb dumplings. This was dinner later. The rest of this also got stored. Then veggie sausage rolls to use up the puff pastry…Once all that was done it got to about 2pm we had lunch and I went for a nap. I was exhausted.

When I got up the urge to cook was still with me. I then made deep chocolate Victoria sponge with cream filling and large chocolate buttons on top. If that was not enough I then also made some lemon ginger and coconut cupcakes. Oh and Scotty made a loaf of bread. Really food for the rest of the week and cakes for me to take in to work.

 belated birthday lemon ginger coconut cupcakes

Monday, I took ALL the cakes in to work and they didn’t even last until lunch time. It was like gannets at my desk. I was very very proud of myself for home baking all the cakes and got so many great compliments. I did save a little back for Scotty but I’m just going to have to bake another one soon. Its his birthday too soon.

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like a kid again.

December 31, 2008

This break has meant one thing to me. I’ve felt like a child again. Days on end getting up late, doing the things I want to do. Main activities have been movie watching, especially KIDS movies, this is why I’ve felt a return to child hood. I’ve knitted LOTS, I’ve cooked a little, played with the cats and their new toys and played computer games like little big planet. Oh and taken a little bit of video of our cats.

Scotty and I popped out on boxing day to PC world and stocked up sale tech items. He needed a new hard disk for the play station and bought a new 16Gb memory stick. I got a new memory card for my little camera so that I could store more than 3 photos on it!

Saturday Ewan and Bethan came over to watch wall-e, Dad brought them over and also stayed for the movie. My sister came by a bit later after going shopping in the city. I said she was crazy, she confirmed as much when she turned up. Her instructions were to avoid marks and spencers. I’m not going shopping any time soon at all, definitely not city shopping anyway. I am needing of nothing that it can provide at the moment. Anyway, the film was good and the kids enjoyed it. Dad and I nipped out and went to get fish and chips for everyone for lunch because the kids could not agree on anything else they liked.

Sunday watched films including the very unsurprising surprise I got for Scotty batman the dark knight in HD. I bought it last thing on 23rd when going late night shopping. Except I forgot it was in the bag when Scotty put everything away for me. He exclaimed “oh wow!” when he found it, I followed that exclamation with”Oh crap” that’s another surprise blown. He was good about it.

I made pies with new pots, some quorn chicken and creamy veg pies with mashed potato and turnip on top. I used my new potato ricer to make perfect mash. Except turnips get a little wet and spray all over the place when put under pressure with the ricer. Entertaining, squishy and splattery. Photos of most of my lovely cooking items are available by clicking above. I got some more silicone cake trays, non stick cooking rings and Scotty got a new elephant tea tin.

On Monday I painted pig. It was a woolies special. I asked for one when I saw my niece get one in woolies in Sheringham. I was happy to get it and spent a good couple of hours painting. Its not perfect but I’m very happy with how it turned out.

before:

After:

I think he’s a multi-coloured giraffe style. I could have done a little better but I love him just as he is.

Tuesday went shopping and cooked and knitted. Yet again I want to save the knitting for a whole new post of its own. I’m starting to think I want to be a house wife so I can do more crafty things, spend more time being thrifty and creative. Althoug I do need the wages to pay the bills, so for now it just is not going to happen so I wont get my hopes up. I’m unlikely to win the lottery because I don’t play it.

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if not already melted

June 12, 2008

in a pile of snot, I am now melted in a pile of awwww cute.

good enough to cheer any soul, cute overload featured Lion cub cam. Be warned it is SO CUTE it could burn your fingers.

In other news the service went fine on the car. I managed to get home before the council had left our close, some of our neighbours have been making it known that we struggle for parking in our “new” close. Bad planning and people using our parking from sprowston road have caused all sorts of hell for picking up rubbish and recycling. Plus then the builders on top and most houses having 2 or MORE cars. I had a great chat with them and they were very understanding saying that as this close was commissioned by the council and it is their fault they did not plan for access better or stop plans going ahead because of access they will hopefully be able to add double yellows to small sections of the close so that I can park my car in my garage and still get in and out without being blocked on a regular basis. They would not normally allow for a sub area like this to be painted all over but as its their fault I often have issue parking even in my own garage they will hopefully sort it all out. Shame its going to take until at least spring time next year to sort out. Still I am amazed at the work put in by neighbours to get the council on site to assist and talk with us about the situation. I must admit I’m very impressed with our street neighbours, they have all been very nice and if any have blocked me in, they have always moved when ever I have needed them to. Then our next door neighbour had cut back a bush that was causing me hay fever hell because I’d been nice about them blocking me several times. I really like living there and feel safe with the neighbours we have.

Once I did get in the front door I collapsed, Slept the whole evening except when Scotty brought me dinner in bed. What a wonderful man. He made a Delicious hot curry, filled with perfectly cooked veg. I am very glad I’m marrying this man. He so knows how to look after me when I’m ill.

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back at my desk

June 11, 2008

My recovery from travel should be over. I should have been able to cope and blog yesterday or the day before after all that went on. Nope. I pushed it just a widdle bit too far. I am now FULL of cold, streaming snot and having to come to work because I’ve had too much holiday/sickness already this month. Plus I had to take the car in for service today. I just cant wait for the £120 bill at the end of today.

Yesterday I took the cats to the vets. It is official Jasper is a fatty. Otis is well and they are both fine really. Jasper’s fatness is down to his allergies and being snipped. He does not appear to be getting any wider so I think we’re on top of things for now. I dropped a piece of raw pasta the other day and he ate it. He is a total carb freak, addicted to what does him no good at all. Still he’s cute though, with a very girly meow. They both seem to have enjoyed the time at my brothers house, although they did not get enough time to completely get used to the place. They were not scared and were good with the kids. I’m not sure my brother wants my cats for a whole two weeks over late august, we’ll have to see. Still at least their jabs are up to date and I’m down another £55… them cats are not cheap!

So, on to Alton Towers. It was stunningly sunny, a lovely day, except the waiting around which could not be avoided. One of the rides broke down whilst we were queueing and it took over 1 1/2 hours to spend all of 1 minute on air. Shame. We shot zombies with lasers, squirted pirates and got wet, rode nemesis and oblivion, got wet in bathtubs on the flume and went on the sky car. Oh and Hex, which was very entertaining because we totally did not know what to expect. Sorry, but being so snot ridden you can find the photos via my flickr link over there.

We drove back from 6pm on Sunday and stopped at Corley services to meet up with Mary and Steve. It was great to see Mary, it had been a fair while. I plied her with spare stash so that she can keep knititng until kingdom come. We ate and relaxed and it was the best break from driving I could have had. We got back about midnight on Sunday, then the builders started first thing, then our neighbours were decking their back garden all day. The issue is I just did not catch up on my sleep and it has made me mrs grumpy.