Well, I can hardly believe it, but I have had a blog for almost a full year. 94 blog posts over 12 months. I’m amazed at the fact I’ve kept going with it, and I haven’t given up. Often, I’ll log on just to read over what I’ve done through the year, just to see what I’ve actually achieved. I used to write diaries a long time ago, but I’d fallen out of that habit when I started University. Having this blog has been amazing and I’ve met some awesome people through it. This last blog post for the year will just be looking at what I’ve achieved through the year and the sort of things I have done.

Thanks for looking, and have a very, very Happy New Year!

Things I have achieved.

  • I can spin
  • I have two spinning wheels
  • I have a drum carder
  • I had a stall selling woollen wares
  • I can create silk hankies
  • I can prep straight from a raw fleece
  • I’ve made lots of baby items
  • I’ve had people asking me for advice for their spinning/knitting/carding/crocheting, etc
  • I’ve taught my crafts in schools.
  • I have a teaching job
  • I have some rescue animals
  • I can now quilt
  • I have a TEFL certificate
  • I can dye using a variety of dyes
  • And lots, lots more!

Things I would like to try/ achieve in 2014.

  • Learn long draw
  • Dye using proper dyes
  • Learn entrelac
  • Crochet a baby garment
  • Knit another pair of socks
  • Get as many of my kits done as possible
  • Finish CAL blanket
  • Do something with Tunisian crochet
  • Sew up my dpn holder
  • Sew the Christmas advent calendar
  • Create my own knitting pattern
  • Make some felt kits
  • Get lots of more sheep fleece prepped
  • Do the following patterns –

Patterns for 2014

These are from the pattern books I received. The socks I will be making LOADS of!

The following photos are sorted into examples from each month and show things that I have been proud of or learnt. Thank you for looking. xXx

JANUARY

January

FEBRUARY

February

MARCH

March

APRIL

April

MAY

May

JUNE

June 1

June 2

JULY

July 1

July 2

AUGUST 

August 1

August 2

SEPTEMBER

September

OCTOBER

October 1

October 2

NOVEMBER

November

DECEMBER

December 1

December 2

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

xXx Love Kais xXx

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This is just a short blog post today. As many of you know, I got a sewing machine for Christmas, and I’ve been busy trying it out.

What I’ve admired for a good long time is quilts. Hand made quilts. The time and effort put into these stunning quilts is phenomenal. I’ve wanted to make one for ages, but lacked the confidence to ‘just get on and do it.’ Since I had such a great time making the teddies, I thought I would challenge myself further.

There is a stunning tutorial online that I read through in great detail. It has a wonderful step by step guide with explicit guidelines on how to do each part of the quilting process. You can find it here –

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-sew-a-quilt-Quilting-101/?ALLSTEPS

I found a thick wad of cotton rectangles that we had bought in Blackpool this year. It was £1 for the whole lot and there must have been about 50/60 rectangles in it. It was one of those fabric books, you know, where you flick through the colours and choose which ones you want your curtains/upholstery, etc to be in. I loved the bright colours in it.

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I cut out lots and lots of 6″ squares, I wanted the rectangle to fit 4, 4″ squares, but sadly it wouldn’t. I changed it to make them one big 6″ square instead. I made 40 squares. I then laid them out on the floor to check how I wanted the colours to go.

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I tried to get the colours going diagonally, if you can see that in the picture? A diagonal line of blue, then reed, then green, etc. It looks like a mixed up colour quilt, with just a teeny bit of co-ordination.

Fred liked it very much!

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He kept looking at me, but every time I pointed the camera at him, he turned his head away deliberately. Every time. Naughty boy! Haha. I think it’s his stamp of approval every time he lies on my projects. Does anyone else let their pets do this? I know, I know, I’m too soft!

I then painstakingly pinned all the squares together.

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It’s shrunk quite a bit, huh! I had pinned some squares the wrong way before, but only about three, so that was easily fixed. Now, I had to sew it all up! I sewed it with about a 1/4 ” seam allowance, maybe a little less. I followed the little line on my machine, so it was all the same size. It didn’t take me much time at all, and I thoroughly enjoyed the process. I had put the pins too close to the top of the material when pinning it for the first time, which meant I had to stop and move the pins down in order to put it through the machine. But I will learn!

I made sure I sewed each strip up carefully, and then sewed one strip to another, long ways.

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After sewing up the first couple of rows it got a bit more difficult due to the weight and size. I folded the blanket up on itself and pinned it together to make it easier. It worked.

The back of the sewing looked like this…

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Looks like dozens of very flat, tiny boxes. But all the seams were roughly the same length so I was pleased. Wanna see the end result??

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Theres a few threads poking through, but that’s fine, they are easily dealt with. It’s also very crumpled, so perhaps I should iron it before I got any further? I’ve decided that instead of making this any bigger, I’m going to leave it this size. I am going to put some wadding at the back and then cover it with a white sheet. My Mum suggested that once all that is sewn on, that I sew diagonally both ways across the quilt, making a simple, but effective pattern. I love the idea, but I think I will create a small padded square to try that out on first! This is going to be a soft baby play mat!

I’m really proud of myself for making this, and I didn’t realise it was so damn easy! Sewing machines used to mystify me and I couldn’t imagine how people seem to use them with such ease. The only thing with quilting is that you need to be slow and accurate with it. But I enjoy it. I am hoping to get the backing done today if I can find an appropriate sheet.

Has anyone else done something this year which changed their attitudes towards something? A new craft perhaps?

I’ll have my last blog post up tomorrow for this year, eeek! Have a great day everyone.

xXx Love Kais xXx

PS (Only 25 weeks and 3 days until Woolfest!)

Well, do you want to see? See how the neat pile of material sewed up into a teddy bear?

Well …. I managed to sew up the body….

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I turned him the correct way round, stuffed him all up, and with some difficulty, sewed the head half on. The rest of the head I had to hand sew.

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He looks like  a proper teddy! I finished sewing him up, and then thought that he needed a little something extra. I thought about buttons for eyes, but there was nothing that suited him. I need to buy some teddy bear eyes I think. I found some ribbon in my sewing bag, and tied it in a neat bow around his neck. I thought it would be really cute if I made his nose match. I took a bit of the ribbon and sewed it round an old button, and firmly sewed it to his nose.

Here is the finished Teddy. What do you think??

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He’s got a little fat tummy, and solidly stuffed arms, legs and head. I couldn’t stop cuddling him for AGES.

And you know what? I went straight onto making another one… This pile of material here…

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Became this skinny fellow here!

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He looks a bit wonky because I am not very good at lining up the limbs properly. They are all the same size though. I think he is sweet, a certain charm about him. I think he needs a proper black teddy nose, so I shall look out for some next time I go into town.

They both sit on the shelf, next to other teddies. They look very cosy together.

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The rabbit on the left is a cuddly toy I have had since I was born. Bunny Girl. I’ve taken her on many a holiday with me. The other bear I got this year from A. He is called Benny! The two new bears look like they are holding their paws out for a hug! At a risk of sounding ridiculously soppy, I’ll stop, haha.

I’m not too sure when I’ll make another bear. Perhaps I should buy some new material. It’s lovely working with this material, and no way on Earth did I think I would produce a bear as good as I did, so perhaps I should invest in some other type of material? This was rather expensive at £12 a metre, but it was folded in half, so I basically got 2 metres. I’d also like to try making the paws and soles and inner ears with different material too. Something floral would be quite pretty. This is the start of a WHOLE new hobby. Oh jeez, the expense!!! ( Who am I kidding, I LOVE it!)

Spent a rather quiet day today just tidying up the house basically. The weather was shocking yesterday, but it had calmed right down today. Just quite cold outside, but with beautiful sun. I gathered up all my fleece from under the stairs and had a look at it. I selected the washed and unwashed Poll Dorset fleece to finish sorting it out. Three fleeces (Dorset Down Ewe, Hebridean and Jacobs) were left under the stairs to be sorted another day. I also looked through my stock boxes and selected four batts of Jacobs wool to spin up.

I bought the fleece upstairs and sat it on the carpet on a blanket. With the washed fleece, I was planning on simply picking it and fluffing it up, ready to be put onto the carder. I seemed to get rid of as much as saved which I was a teeny bit disappointed with. But, on the other hand, I’m not as bad as I was, and if I can’t card it, what’s the point of wasting time and energy saving it all? I picked out the long, thick locks and put them into a large bag, and the waste I put into another bag, ready to use for something else, whether it is felting, or stuffing. I tried to get as much done, but Freddy had different ideas!

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He jumped head first into the soft pile and lay there, playing with his ball! I love it when he does stuff like that.

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And then he fell asleep in it! How adorable is this?? I couldn’t bear to move him, so I just used the bits of fleece that weren’t trapped under him. He must have been there about half an hour quite happily. I didn’t get too much done, as you can imagine, but it was nice starting to get back into it again.

Did I tell you all about the wonderful swap box I got from my Secret Santa swap partner on Ravelry? Oh, it was stunning!

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All these beautifully wrapped presents in one big box. I was sooo spoiled! I opened these last on Christmas day, slowly, savouring each one. Want to see what I got?

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  • A sheepy cup and saucer.
  • Soya Bean Top
  • A GORGEOUS Falklands dyed roving
  • A ‘fat rolag’
  • Merino and silk mix
  • Merino mix
  • A bookmark
  • Stitch markers
  • A silk brick
  • Some teabags
  • Chocolate sheepy!

It was a fantastic present, and even though I don’t know who you are, thank you! I plan on spinning up the Falkland one when I have a bit of time. I’ve always wanted some roving like that, and the colours are beautiful. I think fractual spinning will suit it perfectly.

Right, that’s me for this evening. I’m off to go have a loooooooong, hot soak in the bath. Shame the bathroom is such a mess as we are in the middle of redecorating it!

Have a great night everyone.

xXx Love Kais xXx

PS ( Only 25 weeks and 5 days until Woolfest! Less than HALF a year!!!) xXx

This weather isn’t too good over here is it! Power cut early this morning, high winds, pouring rain. Going to get worse I’ve heard. Thankfully we don’t have any flooding here, but the weather is getting worse. Hopefully it should start to calm down soon.

I’ve been keeping myself busy by doing lots of crafty things, as usual! My parents and I took a boxing day trip to the local city, and of course, no shopping trip is complete without a trip to HobbyCraft! (We had to go there first of all anyway because a kit I had bought from there brand new, had already been STARTED! I know right, it looked like it had never been opened, but all the contents were open inside the box and the sewing had already started. I couldn’t believe it. We took it back and got it exchanged no bother). Whilst there we took a look at the sewing machines, and out we came with this one below…

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It was a good price, and we got with it, a free sewing machine bag, worth £30 on its own. It’s a nice red one, with polka dots. I don’t know why I haven’t got a photo actually.

Here it is all out the box, shiny and new…

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Mum and I got it all set up and started on the first bits of the teddy bear. The ears!

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Mum managed to do the ear straight away, but me? The first time I tried it I got the teddy bear fluff caught in the bobbin bit at the bottom! Took agges to undo! My second attempt was far better.

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Mum let me do the rest of the teddy bits after that, and I’m really pleased with how they turned out. Not perfect, but not bad for a first attempt. The soles and paws and nose and snout were the hardest bits. Urgh, doing this tiny circle of a nose was hard! But I managed.

Here are the pieces all sewn together.

1. The Head

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2. The body and leg.

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3. All the teddy waiting to be sewn up.

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It took me a good while to get this far, and my work station was so messy. I don’t know how many times I knocked over the tub of pins at my side.

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I’m determined to get Teddy finished by this evening.

Below are some photos of the crafty things I got for Christmas. I love each one!

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Some really good knitting and crochet books. ‘The Expectant Knitter’ one I’ve wanted for ages. Really cute baby patterns in there. The ‘Cute Little Gifts to Crochet’ has an awesome Reindeer amigurumi! The ‘Crochet at Play’ book has some beautiful tops in there I am determined to try out very soon. And the ‘Funky Knits’ book is a simple knitting book which I think will help me immensely if I teach knitting at schools again.

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The little packet on the left is twelve stamped cross stitch patterns for a quilt. No threads provided, which means I can choose the colours myself! (There are suggestions for colours in the packet). With my new sewing machine, once completed, I can get some nice matching fabric and creating a small cot blanket.

The middle kit is another stamped cross stitch pattern, for a huge cot blanket. I think this is stunning. It’s pretty large which means it will take me a while to do. I love the Noahs Ark theme on it, and the wonderful bright colours. When I finally have a baby of my own, this is going in their cot first. 🙂 What do you think of the colours of the latch hook kit on the right? I adore them. The bird is just so, so, so pretty. I really need to start on my latch hook kits, I have plenty to do! I have one left over from last Christmas I have not done yet. I am going to be a busy, busy girl this upcoming year.

I think I had best be going now. I am unsure of whether I’ll be doing a blog post tonight. Depends if I get Teddy finished or not! Hope everyone has a great day.

xXx Love Kais xXx

Merry Christmas everyone! Hope everyone has had a great day and an awesome dinner. I am stuffed.  Happy and full and smiley. Last night I spent quite a bit of time working on the teddy bear I said that I wished to start.

I gathered up all of the equipment I needed. This was the pattern itself (which was already cut out), pins, and the fabric. A huge two metre bolt of it.

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We pinned each of the pieces onto the fabric quickly and easily.

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It didn’t take too long to cut each piece out. Very soon we had a neat pile of teddy bear pieces.

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We didn’t realise that some pieces had to be pinned backwards when it said that there needed to be two pieces of the piece. Might sound a daft mistake to those who do sew, but I’ve never done this before. We just took away the extra pieces we had made, and put them into another bag, in case we make another teddy. Then we pinned the traced pieces properly until we had everything we needed.

Instead of sewing up the teddy straight away, I had a play around with the pieces to see how they worked together. I was really pleased with how it looked. Here it is below, minus ears, soles, eyes, nose and paws. It’s pinned the best I could at the time, and I can’t wait to see what it is like when sewn up. His name is simply ‘Teddy.’

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I think he is going to be quite sweet when finished. I really enjoyed the process, and I can see myself doing this a lot if all works well. Unfortunately BOTH of the sewing machines we own are not working correctly. One is a really old metal one which seems pretty stiff and doesn’t move much, and the other newer one (I saw newer, it looks newer) just won’t sew a thing. I am thinking of buying a simple, smaller machine of my own. Just a little one I can have on a table that doesn’t take ages to set up.

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Here is what I unwrapped from my little brother this morning. It was one of those snuggly blankets, you know, the kind where there is arms at the front and a long blanket bit at the bottom? Like a back to front dressing gown basically! Well, he got me a pink one and a blue one. This is what he scratched out and wrote on the front of the box. My family know me so well!

I’ll write more later about what I got. I’ll leave you with some gorgeous photos of Freddy. He enjoyed Christmas more than anyone else!

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Nighty night everyone, have a great night.

xXx Love Kais xXx

Merry Christmas everyone!  Only eight more hours until it’s Christmas Day here. Who else has been tracking Santas journey online? I use the same web link every year and it’s great fun tracking him. As I type, he is heading towards the Phi Phi Islands, in Thailand. Check this out…

http://www.noradsanta.org/

Click on ‘Track Santa.’ You get to watch him go over Google maps and dropping presents off. Currently he has delivered over one and a half BILLION. Kids will love this link.

I went to Glasgow on Wednesday last week to see my brothers. They had already put up their Christmas Tree. I was over the moon to see the awesome ‘fairy’ they had put on the top of the tree.

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It’s the knitted Gandalf my Nanny knitted for them a while ago! I love it, and it makes me smile so much when I see this picture. I think next year I shall make one for our tree. I like the look of the Alan Dart knitted advent set too, so I might treat myself and purchase a copy.

http://www.alandart.co.uk/product/all-patterns/christmas-tree-decorations/

Talking of Christmas decorations, my Mum and I decided to make some. I had quite fancied having a go at sequin art ever since I saw a kit in a shop. I managed to get hold of some sequin pins from the town, and sequins and polystyrene balls from HobbyCraft. (I’m a menace when it comes to that shop. I shouldn’t be allowed in!)

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There is a faint line that goes right round the ball, which is fortunate as I would have found it very difficult to get around the ball neatly. I chose a nice bright green and just started pinning the sequins around it.

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As you can see, I stuck a load of the pin in the top of the ball as it was far easier than picking them up out of the tub all the time. Any marks left were covered by sequins later on. I simply did my bauble in rounds that got smaller the nearer they got to the top. I used a LOT of pins!

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Here is the finished bauble! I’m very pleased with it. I’ve simply put it onto the tree and it sits in among the branches, but if I’d wanted to put a ribbon on it, I would have folded a small piece of ribbon and pinned it on with the sequins at the top. That way it would have been hidden underneath, and only the hanging bit would be showing.

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Here is the version my Mum did. We both agreed it took far, far longer than we thought! She used the larger sequins in a large mix of colours. I used the medium sized sequins.

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I haven’t done too much more knitting lately, except for a mini present, but I can’t show you that just yet! I’ve completed the back and two fronts of the cardigan below. I adore the wool I’m using. Merino superwash. Soooo soft and easy to knit with. Altogether, it’s taken about four and a half hours to knit. I wonder how long the sleeves will take? I’m using my favourite red metal needles. You can tell they are well used as the tips have turned silver from over use!

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I had a look through my craft cupboards the other day and pulled out a few kits I should really get a start on. I started this one a long, long time ago. I bought it from a car boot sale. I thought that all the wool was there, but I think a couple of the mini skeins are missing. It doesn’t matter as I’ll be able to pick them up when I go to a wool shop again. This kit is a tapestry replica of the sort of design Mary Queen of Scots did when she was imprisoned. I love the history behind it.

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The above picture is the kit when I first took it up again the other night.

The below picture is what I have managed to add to it in a night or two. I did quite a bit last night, and a fair bit this morning too.

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I had a lot of ear ache last night due to the right one being very blocked. I’m trying out the ear wax removal drops, but it must be pretty blocked as the drops don’t even seem to be going down! I also lay on a hot water bottle hoping that would sooth it too. It’s not hurting as much now, but I am a bit deaf in my right ear and my left one has been twinging a bit too. Tell you what, I am ALWAYS ill or having something wrong with me when the Dr’s are closed! Grrr! I sort of propped myself up with loads of pillows with the hot water bottle and concentrated on doing the tapestry. It certainly makes me lose all sense of time. Before I knew it, it was midnight.

I bought this kit at a car boot sale too. I had this exact same kit when I was younger, but I have no clue as to what’s happened to it. However, this one was in mint condition and all the wool is there. Cost £4 for a £30 odd kit! Haven’t started this one yet, but I plan on doing so soon! Again, another historical one. This is of Elizabeth 1st. I love the haughty look on her face and the bright colours in her jewels.

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My Mum picked up this kit for me and her at a charity shop. It’s a huuuuuuge latch hook kit of the popcorn bear! It’s a rug when it is finished. Again, I’m not too sure if it is all there or not, but it’s worth a try! Thinking about it, I’m not too sure where my latch hooks are… I think I should probably order a few online, that way I’ll always have some handy!

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I’m also thinking about trying out some more sewing in the new year. I found these sample fabric squares downstairs, which I think will make a very nice patchwork quilt. Only a small one, but it will be nice practice. I will have to attempt to use the sewing machine again!

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Talking of sewing, I bought a metre of teddy bear fur fabric from HobbyCraft too. I bought some old patterns from a charity shop the other day, and there was a teddy bear pattern in it. I also saw some woman making one on the telly and I wanted to try it out too. Perhaps tonight Mum and I shall pin out the teddy bear pieces and cut them out, ready to be made up.

When I get rid of the sofa in my room, I plan on having a large table in my room. It would be great to have my sewing machine all set up and ready to use, as well as my drum carder. I have so many plans for this room!

Anyway, I’m off to go do a bit more of this tapestry and have a cup of tea. And try not to get too excited for tomorrow 😀

Oh, if anyone is interested, Santa is now at Zhangye, China, and has delivered 1.6 billion presents.

Have a Merry Christmas everyone!

xXx Love Kais xXx

Hello everyone, been quite a while since I last posted but never mind. Been a busy few weeks here really, with school and Christmas, etc. I have however found a few (!) odd moments to do some more crafty things in! Mostly to do with wool of course.

As you saw from a few posts back, I had knitted, or was knitting, a baby blanket. I eventually cast off, thinking there was more on the needles than there appeared to be when I cast off. I followed the pattern exactly, but I think it is a little small. However, it shall do nicely for a small cot blanket, so I’m not too fussed. Here it is pre-blocking.

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And here it is ready to be blocked. Well… blocking actually.

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Bit annoyed that it didn’t block as well as I’d hoped. I know it’s mostly acrylic, but there is some wool in there too. Oh well. The edges are a bit wonky but no matter.

I also had a go at spinning some of my dyed silk hankies.

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I couldn’t find my large drop spindle that I normally use so I used one I had made myself. Only problem with it is that it doesn’t hold as much spinning as I would like. I spun the silk up fairly slowly, and it seemed a bit of a chore to be honest. I didn’t enjoy spinning it as much as I usually do.

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I then plied them both together using the Andean ply technique. Took aggggges!

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Sorry for the poor photo quality, but here is the finished silk skein. I need to weigh it and measure the length.

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This is what Freddy was like the other night. He couldn’t get enough fuss! The poor dog was pretty sick last night. With almost no warning he just threw up on my bed. Not nice. So, I got up out of bed (urgh), took the covers off, got him outside and got a drink, and went back to bed. He lay on the bottom of the bed just quietly. He later cuddled up to much and this time gave a few seconds before throwing up again. So, repeat. Blankets off, water and outside, new blankets and towels. Back to bed. Uh no… TWICE more. I’m sure a lot of people would wonder why I didn’t put him in the kitchen, but I’d far rather clean up the mess in here than leave him alone in the kitchen. He got a bit shaky and upset afterwards so I got him back on the bed on an old blanket and instead of going back to the top of the bed like I usually do, I bought my pillows to the side of the bed and lay down next to him. I think he appreciated it. 🙂 He slept soundly until the morning anyway. I hate it when my sweetheart isn’t well. But he seems ok now 🙂 ❤

Now, I’ve managed to get in quite a bit of spinning! I managed to spin up six batts of Dorset Horn and I’m quite pleased with it. It felt slightly greasy once spun up, so maybe I need to give the fluff a bit more of a thorough wash. But regardless, it’s still perfectly find to work with. Here are the two bobbins, ready to ply together.

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One filled bobbin ready to remove the wool from. I had to take the wool off this bobbin three or four times! I ended up with almost 500g of spun DK wool by the end. I was very, very pleased. I could do with some more bobbins, but I managed ok with the three I have. I’m not too sure what I plan on doing with this wool. Maybe making a few squares with it to start off an heirloom blanket? We shall see. Something will jump out at me one day!

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Remember the big pile of magazines and patterns I received the other day? Here is one of the patterns I chose to do. As it is garter stitch I thought it would be a quick and easy knit.

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I got quite far on the first night!

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And here is the finished garment. I sewed it up yesterday, but added on the neck edge, buttons, and sewed in all the ends this evening. I’m really pleased with it. Will try it out on one of the Smoby dolls later as it’s far too big for Baby Doll. I thought it was smaller like it looked in the photo, but this seems pretty huge! I actually knitted most of one sleeve in the dark, on a car ride the other night. I thought, why not get some knitting done whilst sitting doing nothing in the car??

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I have a good few other photos to show actually, and some more to write, but I am afraid that will be a job for another day. It’s getting pretty late now, so I should start thinking about going to sleeeeeeeep!

Have a great night everyone,

xXx Love Kais xXx