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Wednesday, 30 September 2009

A Landmark in History, A Handspun Clapotis & New Lace!

On Friday, my son turned 18!


18 years old - that's incredible! I'm now the mother of an adult!

It's actually a very scary thing, being the parent of an adult. You don't stop worrying, they're still your baby and your life still revolves around them. Nothing really changes, except he's now legally old enough to buy cigarettes and beer and I have to get his permission to discuss personal matters with someone else!

This is what he woke too:

For his birthday he got some New Rock boots.

A new mobile phone

And - the biggest surprise - 25 years of Wrestlemania!

He was really pleased with his presents.

Mum and I took him out for lunch and that night we ordered a Chinese takeaway!

In other news.......I ran out of handspun on my Clapotis! Now I've got to make the decision to either frog and reknit, or to just order more fibre, spin it up and then knit that! *Sigh*

I have just joined the Seasons of Lace though. I have decided to knit the Sampler Stole from Victorian Lace Today and in true 'me' fashion, I'm knitting the biggest one and I'm knitting it in purple!

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Happy Waters

I finished my first pair of toe up socks earlier this evening. I wouldn't say I massively prefer toe up to top down, although it's definitely handier knowing you won't run short of yarn an inch short of your toe!

Pattern: Waterfall Socks
Source: Wendy Knits
Yarn: Wendy Happy Sock Yarn Aquarius
Time: 7-09-09 - 26-09-09

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Blending Challenge

I finished the blending challenge last night. I had to borrow a Niddy Noddy as Joy took back her skein winder on Monday

Rachael kindly loaned me her niddy today.

So, I started off with this:

This is a wool mix blend from Karen who I bought Edward from. The blue is called Midnight and the pink is called Starlet.

I used my carders to blend the two colours together, I played with adding more blue then more pink and I turned them into rolags:

They were all so individual!

Next I started spinning. I spun most of it but I must admit; I knew I wasn't going to use the yarn for anything and I quickly got bored! After I'd spun a sufficient amount...

...I thought about plying. At first I thought I'd Navajo ply, but the yarn was quite overspun and it snapped easily so I 2 plied it.

Now to get started on the Christmas challenge...

Wednesday, 23 September 2009


The Isle of Wight Fibre Crafts has a few challenges going. One is to spin and then knit something for Christmas, it can be anything but it has to be Christmassy and sparkly. I have all the materials, I just need to get started on that one.

The other challenge is to do some blending.

The perfect opportunity to try out carding. I have two sets of carders, the first are curved and came with my wheel. They're rough and awfully hard to use. The second are flat and a mini pair and I can use them much more easily!

I did a few yesterday, but today I went at it with a vengeance. I'm carding a wool mix, one pink and one blue.

I'm amazed at the difference I got with each blend but I had to stop because my hands were aching LOL.

Once I've done this, I've got a whole fleece that was recently sent to me. I've cleaned it and now I've got to card it - but I think I'll buy some larger carders

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Operation Craft Room - The beginning

As you may remember, Jess agreed to move out of my bedroom so that I could have it back and turn it into my craft room!

Well, today was the first step - she has moved her bed stuff upstairs and all the games consoles out of the boxroom.

I've decided to keep a diary of the journey of the room from shared bedroom/dumping room to my Craft Room - complete with photos.

Here are the first lot - you basically have an all round view of the room here.

Isn't that just awful? Look at the state of the room! First of all, I need to get the rest of Jessica's stuff out of there - all her clothes, stuffed animals and....................stuff! She has a lot of stuff...I think it breeds!

Once she's out completely, then the bed will go upstairs - probably to Kyle. That will be an all day job because it will have to be totally dismantled to get it upstairs. That's a day of screaming at each other and lots of swearing probably.

After that I need to sort out my desk - Alex wants that!

You see all that stuff under the window? I have a confession, that's my stuff, not Jessica's - it's all my books. I decided ages ago to get rid of all my books as I had bought an e-book reader. I made loads of money and could afford to take the kids on holiday to Scotland last year. Oh hey, if I sell a load more, I'll be able to afford a new WooLee Winder for Edward!

Then my mum is going to seal the room as we have a problem with slugs getting in there.

After that, I shall paint it - I think I'll go with white and display some of my finer shawls on the wall!

This is not going to be a quick project, but I'll keep you updated!

Sunday, 20 September 2009


Yesterday was World Wide Spin in Public Day!

Joy, Su and I met at Osbourne House at 10am. Su had to leave at lunchtime, but Jane and Rachael joined us in her place.

I took Eric along so that I could finish the Yarn Yard BFL I was working on and I'm still getting used to the Sonata - although a day of spinning on it would've done the trick!

We had a great day, beautiful weather and lots of interest! It didn't matter their age, most people stopped and had a look, quite a few asked questions and some even took pictures!

Unfortunately our local paper couldn't make it to the event, but have asked Joy to send them a photograph. She took this one:

We even got a chance to go into the house where we could view a painting of Queen Victoria knitting and we saw her own spinning wheel and skein winder. Unfortunately, we're not allowed to take photos inside the house, so I can't show you!

On a side note, my Kromski Sonata has told me it's name - he is Edward and his sheep is Esmerelda!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

I'm sorry I haven't posted for a while, it's the computer's fault!

I bought a swanky keyboard to go with my new Mac, it had an inbuilt trackball and lots of programmable buttons and it looked great. When it arrived it turned out that although it wasn't actually compatible with OS X and I couldn't programme a lot of the buttons :(

Then after a couple of days of owning it, the bloody trackball stopped working! I nearly threw the whole lot out of the window in frustration! I e-mailed the eBay seller I got it from and he said to return it for a full refund and I bought a new keyboard in Maplin's and ordered a Logitech Trackman from Amazon.

It all finally arrived today so that I could get on and post.

Last weekend I went to iKnit, it wasn't as big as I was expecting but there was a bit of choice. I bought 200g of black Wensleydale, 2 zauberballs and 500g of Alpaca/Merino!

On the way home, I stopped at Gunwharf Keys to meet up with Karen and bought her Kromski Sonata from her.

Today we collected the camper - it's soooooo exciting! We're going to go to Brightstone Forest with the dogs tomorrow to give it a good run and to see if we can figure out how to use all the stuff inside LOL.

Next month we're hoping to spend a couple of nights in the New Forest.

I'd also like to visit some people too, so if you're in the UK and you fancy a visit - lemme know!

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

RAK Recipient

I don't know if you remember the little baby jacket I made ages ago as a RAK gift for a fellow Ravaler?

She finally got around to sending me a picture of her beautiful daughter, Natalia, wearing the jacket!

Here I come, ready or not!

Mum and I went for a wander around town yesterday.

Eventually, we ended up at the campervan dealership - we end up there a lot!

We found the most adorable camper! It's only a 2 berth, but it has a shower & toilet, a fridge and a cooker! Which is all we really need because if we're going camping, the children and I will be better off in the tent anyway!

So, today Mum and I went to the bank and said "Can we borrow £16000 please?"

They said "Yes!"


They transferred the money right away and we went and bought it!

It's still at the dealership at the moment as it has to have a service and be made road legal, but we should be able to pick it up within the next week.

So if I know where you live - look out, I might just visit!

Sunday, 6 September 2009

My new Mac arrived!!

I'm still learning how everything works and I was a bit upset to discover when I visited my blog that all my fancy fonts were missing - Old English and Occidental don't exist on the Mac obviously!

So I'm reverting back to an old favourite - Papyrus (which I know exists on Windows because I used to use it)

I'm also trying to get used to the fact that the fancy new (non Apple) keyboard I bought to use, doesn't work completely - I'm a bit pissed because the ebay seller I bought it from, neglected to say that it only works with Windows!

Even though it knows there's a keyboard, it's swapped my @ and " keys around - @ is now shift+2 and " is shift+' *sigh*

All the fancy buttons down the side don't work either (well, they're not doing anything when I press them!) but it's working.......sort of!

Apple did send me Snow Leopard free of charge though - bonus!

If anyone knows how to get this thing to read English English and not American English, I'd be much obliged if you'd let me in on the secret! :D

Right, what happens if I press this?

Saturday, 5 September 2009

My son, the writer

I've just received this letter (slightly edited for privacy and copyright):

"Dear Parent/Guardian,

Recently Alex's school submitted some of their pupils' work for Young Writers' Mini Sagas 2009 competition. In the exciting competition, children were asked to write an imaginative mini saga on a theme that inspired them, with the added challenge of using 50 words or less.

Mini Sagas is Young Writers' nineteenth annual creative writing competition and we have received in excess of 30, 000 stories from all over the UK and overseas. Work has been selected for publication based on perception, imagination, expression and creative use of language. I am therefore delighted to let you know that Alex's story, The Jar Of Pickles, has been chosen for publication in Mini Sagas 2009 From The UK. A copy of the book will be kept at the British Library and further libraries across the UK and Republic of Ireland, providing a lasting record of your child's achievement. Information has been sent to the school giving details of Alex's success, and enclosed is a bookmark and certificate to mark Alex's achievement.

Books in this series are attractively laid out A5 softbacks with a glossy, full colour cover, giving children a real sense of pride in their achievement as well as an engaging book to browse and read. They also make a great keepsake for other family members, capturing a snapshot of Alex's work at this age in a format that will last for years to come. Mini Sagas 2009 From The UK is scheduled for publication on 30th November 2009. Family members are entitled to order before publication at a reduced price.

I'd like to close by congratulating Alex, and hope that this achievement will encourage confident participation in future creative writing. If there is anything you would like to discuss, or you would like further information, please get in touch.

Best Wishes

Angela Fairbrace, Editor"


Alex had absolutely NO idea that his school was going to do this and I'm over the moon that his work has been chosen for this publication.

If you wish to congratulate Alex (and please do so) you can either leave a comment here or send him a message through his twitter page.

If you want to know more about Young Writers, please click here.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Some handspun

I finished some more handspun last night.

Here's some BFL that I got from Natalie, the colours are 981 and 982. I spun each plait into a single then blended the 2 singles together. They were quite similar in colour, but with subtle differences.

I'm really pleased with how it turned out.

I also finished spinning and plying the last of my purple and black yarn and I now have a total of 750m and I've decided to make a Clapotis with it!

My dream...

I decided some time ago that when my children are older and decide it's time for them to move out that I would console myself by turning a bedroom into a craft room.

At the moment my house is set out like this: downstairs there's the lounge, my bedroom (mine as in it's where all my clothes and stuff live, but Jessica's as in she sleeps there, I sleep in the lounge) and the kitchen. Upstairs is the bathroom, WC, 2 double bedrooms (occupied by Alex and Kyle) a single bedroom (occupied by Matt) and the box room (which houses all the games consoles and a fold out sofabed).

There simply wasn't space for me to have a craft room so I knew it was going to be several years before I got one!

Then I cancelled Sky TV. Now we rarely watch TV at all (even though we have a humongous TV in the lounge).

Recently Alex and I decided to play on one of the games consoles and because I find the sofabed uncomfortable, we bought the PlayStation downstairs to the lounge.

Can you see where I'm going with this?

Now, bit by bit, the games room is merging into my lounge!

Today, I had an epiphany! Move the games consoles down to the lounge, move Jess up to the box room and turn the downstairs bedroom into my craft room!

Nah, Jess'll never go for it!

BUT, just on the off-chance, I mentioned it to her this evening. The conversation went like this:

"Jess, how do you feel about moving into the box room?"

"Ummmm, ok. Where are the games consoles going to go?"

"The lounge."

"Oh, ok. As long as I can have a TV up there!"


Jess has agreed to move back upstairs and THAT, Ladies & Gentlemen, means............


Obviously, it won't be immediately. I'm going to have to buy Jess a bed and some stuff for her room, then I want to decorate the downstairs room and carpet it. It also needs sealing (we have a slug problem at night). But it shouldn't take more than a couple of months.

Wonder if I can be in there before Christmas?


I'm very pleased to see that my Spinning Journal and Knitting Journal are both being downloaded!

I have something else for you. I'm a new spinner and I'm still trying to learn what stuff feels like so I decided a Samples Dictionary would be a good idea.

My idea for using it is this: spin your yarn and then ply it back on itself in the manner you usually use then just stick it in the dictionary, write down the name, grade it's softness and any other notes (what plying method did you use, did you like spinning it, did it break, etc).

The Samples Dictionary is available to download here

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Alex has socks!

I started a pair of socks for Alex absolutely ages ago.

I made one sock...........and it didn't fit!

So I started another one, slightly larger and worked the sock from the top down rather than toe up.................that didn't fit either!

In my despair I had a chat with Joy; the problem seemed to be Alex's heels. The kid has major skinny legs, wide feet and almost abnormal heels, I tell ya!

So we decided I would work a top down sock with a stretchier top, garter stitch short row heel and a 2x2 rib.

Here is the pattern for anyone else with abnormal heels!

Cast on 99 stitches.

Work one round: *k3, p2, k2, p2, rep from * to end

Work next round: *k2tog, p2, k2, p2, rep from * to end. 88 sts.

Work in 2x2 rib until desired length.

Work a short row garter stitch heel.

Work foot of sock with st-st on sole and 2x2 rib on top. Work preferred toe.

Here are the socks!

Pattern: 2x2 ribbed socks
Yarn: KG Egg A La Scullybunbun Sock
Time: 15-07-09 - 2-09-09 (with other projects!)