Hi everyone,

It is now just under five weeks until Woolfest! Sooo excited! I am pretty much only going to buy raw fleece I think, and one extravagent purchase – a new drop spindle. I am hoping to buy one from Spin City. Her spindles are beautiful, pretty, glittery and oh, so many words to use!

I’ve been busy with my fibre again and am happy with what I have done so far. I still have a huge bag of Zwartbles to card and a white Shetland. Maybe if I have a bit of time on the weekend I will try and get it done. A good few hours of carding might build up my arm muscles a bit.

What do you think of this lovely Gotland?

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I bought this at Woolfest last year – 500g I think.

It went through the carder twice. Here it is on the first round.

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Look how lovely and wavy it is! I opened all the locks out by hand, it took sooooo long! Def. a bit of TV watching whilst that went on. I got five batts out of this fleece.

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This is fluffed up lamb Hebridean. I got a small 200g bag from Woolfest last year too. I’ve always been a bit wary of Hebridean but this one was lovely when washed. Unfortunately I got rid of about half of it whilst prepping it due to second cuts, etc. But I have got three batts out of it.

 

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This is the unknown brown fleece that I found tucked under the stairs. It felt VERY dry but carded up really well. I got three batts from this. I’m REALLY looking forward to spinning this one.

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Alpaca! Even with the amount I washed I still have been getting rid of about half of what I take out of the bag. In future, I will not cheap out and buy seconds alpaca. As you can see I have made some rolags out of it. I filled the box and when spun it gave me a heavy, packed bobbin on my Bliss. So, I imagine another box will give me a full bobbin again and I can get perhaps two decent skeins out of it. Even with the washing there is so much dirt coming off it! My hands are left black at the end of it, haha. My blending board has been getting some decent use out of it lately.

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This picture makes me very happy! I fancy taking some decent photos outside though, this picture is a bit blurry. I imagine this will be a lot bigger when I have carded the rest of the fleeces.

I also fancied doing some more dyeing. I used kool-aid again and used the white Shetland as soon as I finished washing it. I didn’t wait for it to dry, just put it straight in. I also left it all curled up instead of carding it, as I want the fleece to get a mix of colours, not just one solid colour.

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I pushed as much fleece into each bowl as possible. Each bowl got several minutes in the microwave, the dark dyes getting longer. The red ones were nearly impossible to get the water to run clear. When I spin it, I will have to give the red skeins an extra rinse. I didn’t rinse these in the washing machine, but left them to dry outside. I loved the colours the pink lemonade dye gave.

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My little work station at the side of the kitchen. My lovely dried, dyed fluff. Each colour made a decent sized batt.

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They were very easy to card. I decided to use a diz for the first time on my carder and made roving properly. I was so impressed with how easy and effective this is! Why have I not done this before?!

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Most of them I managed to get done with just one ball of roving.

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I spun up the pink one in the photo. Small skein, but sweet.

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Lots and lots of fleece! I still can hardly believe that this was from a manky Shetland fleece!

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I got this little machine at a charity shop in Ayr. It looks complete. It is a Simple Frame Knitter, made in the early eighties. It looks brand new! I can’t wait to try it out properly, but I’ve left it at A’s for now. I had too much luggage to carry back this time.

I’ve also done a bit more on my CAL. I have sooo much to catch up on!

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Well, the next bit of this post is a bit sad. My lovely Martha died a few weeks ago. She was getting on a bit and not really eating a lot. (Except cucumber, she LOVED it). She had plenty of cuddles towards the end and died in her sleep. I miss her a lot and it’s not the same seeing five chickens when there should be six. Love you, Martha. ❤ This is one of my favourite photos of her. Beautiful girl.

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This post is dedicated to my wonderful dog, Ben. On the 11th May this year, it was six years since he has been gone. There is not a day going by where I don’t feel like something is missing from my life. He was a wonderful companion and friend. He was taken far too soon and if he were alive today he would still have many more years to go. I miss you so much, Ben. I hope you are happy with your best friend, Bo, who was also taken almost exactly two years after you. I love you and miss you loads too, Bo. Words can’t really describe how much I want to see and cuddle them again. Maybe one day I will. ❤

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Ben – 2004 – 11.5.2010

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Bo – 2003 – July 2012

xXx Love Kais xXx

Hey everyone,

It’s been another couple of busy weeks which I have enjoyed. I managed to get myself a little part time job which I enjoy. It’s not teaching so it is far less stressy and far more enjoyable! I am still open for supply work though so at least I keep my hand in for teaching.

I’ve been using the past few weeks for some major fleece washing and fibre prep. Let’s face it, it’s Woolfest in six weeks and five days. I need to shift the stash to add to the stash. Am I right??

I found my much neglected blending board and decided that I really needed to get some good work out of it. I bought it at Woolfest last year and have made perhaps one decent set of rolags from it (the gorgeous red and black mohair fibre ones). I checked out what I had in my fibre box (which is MASSIVE) and decided to blend some merino 70’s/tussah silk with some dyed merino and some tiny touches of black mohair.

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I was thinking that the rolags were quite hard to take off the board and wondering how others seemed to do it so flawlessly. Turns out I was doing it wrong. As you can see from the above picture I’m pulling them off from the top. I should have been doing it at the bottom and then pulling the fibre DOWN. A real DUH moment!

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My lovely rolags and the blending board from Hedgehog Fibres. Love this board. It is just the right size for me. I am not sure if they sell them on their website.

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I love these. Looking forward to spinning them very much! They are sooo soft. Must be about fifty in there?

I also found some clean Wensleydale locks tied up in little bundles in my fibre box and thought that I would dye them. Why the heck not?

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Five bundles and five sets of colourings. Two of them are different shades of red, one is pineapple orange, one is grape purple and the one on the right is lemonade. That hardly had any colour at all so I added a green shot of kool-aid and it worked much better. I did my microwave heat set and put them to dry outside.

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I can’t believe how quickly the fleeces managed to dry outside. Even though I was forever taking them in and out because drops of rain fell for five minutes and then it brightened up again! The fleece on the left is Gotland, also bought from Woolfest last year in a 500g bag. I am loving the silvers and greys in this fleece and it is a nice amount to prep. On the right side is black Shetland. First cut and sooo soft and lovely! I’ve prepped one half of that so far and the rest is soaking in the bath as I type.

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And of course, I had to bring it in at night, so here is the Shetland at the bottom, locks in the middle and Gotland at top.

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Oh, the photo above shows you how I wash my fleece. FARRR easier than dumping it in the bath or a larger tub. Rinses quicker and uses far less water. I then put the clean, wet fleece into a zipped laundry bag and put it in the washing machine on spin cycle for 16 minutes. Then I hang it outside or put it on sweater drying nets in the warm conservatory.

I try not to leave them in the front room because this is usually what happens…

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After checking out all of my fleeces in the shed last week I had four left to process. I did one full one but had to throw away most of the second one. It was dry and just not nice. Not something I would want to spend time on processing.

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Here is one of the fleeces. It is quite a large sack on an average garden table. (You can see the chicken house behind!!) This one was quite difficult to take out the bag as it was so big!

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This is it, still practically folded in half! These Zwartbles sheep are HUGE! I think this was the first one I did, so the good one.

Anyway, I know this has been a rushed post but I hope to bring some photos of the processed Shetland, alpaca rolags and Gotland batts for next time. I need to go and rinse the Shetland currently in the bath at the moment!

Have a great evening everyone,

xXx Love Kais xXx

Hello,

It’s been a relaxing, but busy day today. I’ve enjoyed just getting on with bits and pieces and sorting out stuff.

In my last post I mentioned that I had started some Christmas squares to make into a blanket. I had completed three full ones and yesterday I started the fourth one. I finished it this morning and did the complete white border with hdc border around that. What do you think?

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I can’t decide which square is my favourite. Which one is yours? The gingerbread man was my first C2C square and I really enjoyed it. Each one has a border of SC around it in the background colour, then the cream, then a HDC border. There are sooo many ends to sew in at the back! They are actually quite big, I’ll have to measure them. I am really pleased with how I have sewn them up. It looks really neat, and this makes such a difference in the overall blanket.

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I am going to do a strip at the top that spells out ‘Merry’ in sparkly red yarn, and one that says ‘Christmas’ at the bottom with the same glittery red yarn. I hope to get it done by this Christmas anyway!

I didn’t design the pictures, but they are really, really simple to do. I have so many ideas for C2C crochet blankets, one involving chickens!

I had a bit of a mad moment this afternoon and suddenly decided that I was desperate to see what fleeces I had in the shed! I got a bit of a shock!

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I think that’s a fair few – maybe 15? (And still inside the shed, can you see?) Amazingly, I didn’t actually count them. Perhaps too shocked? Most of them were Zwartbles fleeces. Such lovely, thick, dark fleeces. I skirted and sorted the ones which were not in the pillow cases. In the shed, if it is in a pillow case it is ready to be washed. Easier than having a million different bags all over the place. The pillowcases were 10p each from a charity shop. I found a beautiful black Shetland fleece, a white Shetland fleece, a chunky white fleece (can’t remember the name) and some other bits and pieces. I found a small bag of washed fleece, Manx Laughtan I THINK, which I brought into the house to spin.

Inspector Grace and Inspector Rose looked round the shed to make sure it was all ok to proceed with the fleece sorting –

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And more inspecting outside –

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I managed to get Mum to come and help me with the fleece sorting too. Dad has got wise and ran off before I could get him to help too! He helped me with loads before so I’ll let him off this time, haha.

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These Zwartbles fleeces completely cover the table. They are HUGE!

A neat(ish) pile of sorted fleece –

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Mum managed to put them in the shed, nice and neatly tucked away. Who knows, might get some washed the next hot day!

After all that working with the fleece, I fancied doing some spinning. I had some half finished alpaca that desperately needed doing. It must have been half spun for almost two years. This was a very quick spin and in no time at all I had some singles spun –

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Which in turn made some gorgeous DK plyed yarn. No idea what to make with it but I’ve decided to buy some more alpaca fibre from the Wingham Wool stand when I am at Woolfest. LOVE that stand!

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I have a whole bag of alpaca yarn to wash and spin up. I don’t think I will dye it. I might card it into rolags using my blending board.

I also found the purple mixed Merino blend I bought when I was in Germany so started spinning that. I am trying to do it super thin so it gives a 4ply effect. I felt like I had been spinning for ages when I took a photo of this tiny amount! I will take my time with it though, all I ever seem to do is  DK so this will hopefully be a fingering weight or a 4ply weight.

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I love this picture of Freddy. Soo0 relaxed!

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Anyway, I had better go now, it’s getting late here! Sleep well everyone.

xXx Love Kais xXx

‘Quick and Easy Patchwork’ by Claudia Schmidt – Book Review

Hey everyone,

I received an excellent book in the post from Searchpress Arts and Crafts. You can find them here. They are an independent book company with some absoutely fantastic books in print. I was asked to write an honest review in return for one of their books. I did not get paid for this.

You can read the Amazon review here. I will also be putting it here with some pictures of my findings. I also particularly like this one because the author is from near Cologne, Germany – one of my most favourite places in the world!

I am always on the lookout for new and interesting books in the sewing field and this one did not disappoint. ‘Quick and Easy Patchwork’ by Claudia Schmidt is well designed with hundreds of simple, clear illustrations and well presented tutorials.

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Unlike some other books full size templates are included, eradicating the need to photocopy and enlarge them.

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Although this book is aimed at more of a beginner level I would recommend it for people of all abilities. Each project is designated a difficulty level from ‘quick and easy’ to ‘more challenging.’ What sets it aside from other sewing books is that there is not an abundance of cushion and pillow covers, but other useful items such as a make-up bag, a wall-tidy and even a beautiful cutlery roll.

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Each project has a materials list and a cutting guide list making cutting out the pieces nice and simple. My favourite pattern is the e-reader cover and I have fabric already cut out and ready to sew. Most of these patterns have been designed for the machine sewer in mind, but there is no reason why they cannot be hand-sewn. 

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Personally, I would have preferred all of the templates to have a seam allowance included but this can be easily included during the pattern tracing. This book would be a colourful, useful addition to any crafters bookshelf. 10/10 for the lovely, full-colour photographs and ease of instructions.

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It is a very sweet book and very colourful, so I would recommend it to anyone just starting out in sewing, or anyone interested in doing something a bit different.

Have a wonderful day!

xXx Love Kais xXx

Hello,

It’s been a few busy days of crochet, crochet, crochet! I don’t know how my poor fingers are keeping up with it to be honest. After blocking my handspun blanket the other day, my index finger actually went numb. I couldn’t tell which end of the pin I was pushing in! I always use a ridiculous amount of pins when I block but it’s never done any harm, just taken a bit more time. I probably leave a less than 1cm gap between each pin. You can imagine how many I used for my blanket then. I kid you not, there must have been about a thousand pins. Ouch!

Here it is blocking.

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An example of how close the pins are!

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And here it is unblocked, still thankfully retaining its shape.

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I’m so pleased with this! After I finished blocking it, I found the rest of my handspun that I wanted to use for this blanket. I had four small skeins ready. I have put them in the order of colour that I wanted to use round the edge.

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I used only a simple SC crochet stitch around the edge. I also only used the first two colours as I felt anymore would spoil the simplicity of the blanket. I sometimes have trouble in knowing when to stop so I am pleased that I saw how nice it looked when I layed it down after the second row. I was also going to do a ripple stitch around but no. There was not enough yarn left anyway! I was playing severe yarn chicken and only ended with a couple of metres left from each skein.

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I have of course, the usual photos that everybody seems to take when they finish their blankets!

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I also finished my mini crochet square blanket and I think it looks pretty good! Very bright colours but cheerful at the same time!

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I have a small blanket pile now, I love it!

I found ANOTHER blanket that needs doing. It is a Christmas one, so at least I have plenty of time to work on it! I have done three large c2c squares and am over half way done with the fourth one. I plan on SC’ing around the edges with cream and then crocheting a top edge with ‘MERRY’ and the bottom edge with ‘CHRISTMAS.’ We shall see how that turns out! I’ll get photos for next time.

Have a great day!

xXx Love Kais xXx

 

Hello everyone,

I just want to say a quick thank you to everyone who follows my blog – I now have 101 followers! Thank you so, so, so much! It means a lot that people are following my blog, it must mean I am at least writing a little bit of what people find interesting.

I did start this blog off to show off what I have knitted and it just took off from there. People have witnessed my skills developing, learning crochet and my favourite, learning to spin. I have learned how to dye and created tutorials. I have created my own crochet patterns and learned so much about keeping chickens! So, once again, thank you very much for reading what I write.

So, what have I been up to?

Well, I am very excited to show off my, almost completed, hand-spun, hand-dyed, hand-woven (that was a mouthful!) blanket. I have spun all the yarn for it, mostly dyed it all myself and all have been woven on a (hand-made!) pin loom. I would recommend getting or making one, very simple, yet effective. I was looking through my wool stash the other night and came across thirty pin loom squares. I think I put them away because I planned on making a bigger blanket. But I looked at them and thought, ‘why not?’

I had already blocked most of them, but one was left. This was carefully blocked.

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I laid out all the squares on the bed.

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Don’t they look a raggy mess! I managed to sew them up quite successfully. I was very impressed with them really as, even after blocking, some squares were bigger than others. But the next day, the blanket got put into a hot bath to soak for ten/fifteen minutes. It was very heavy to get out! I rolled it into towels to squeeze most of the water out. I had already laid out a blanket and two towels on the living room floor and then placed a large piece of cardboard on top. The blanket then got some SERIOUS blocking. I kid you not, I must have used about a thousand pins.

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The squares look mostly the same size now and are mostly in straight rows/columns. I will unpin it tomorrow morning so I hope it will retain its shape! I even got my Mum to steam iron over it to give it a steam blocking too as it seemed to dry very quickly whilst I was pinning. Can’t be too careful, right?

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Please excuse the mess in the background. The blanket looks kinda of small, but I plan on putting a crochet border around it. Using handspun of course!

I’m very excited for this project.

I’ve done some more spinning. Some for the blanket using fibre I found under the stairs (don’t ask…) and some random other fibres.

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The top is Man Loughtan that was actually left on my wheel for ages. I decided it was time to ply it. This was from a fleece I bought at Woolfest last year, very clean and fluffy with lovely light brown tips. Prepped from raw, carded from batts. Batts were put through the carder twice.

The middle wool is Ryeland, also prepped from raw fleece purchased at Woolfest. This was bought in 2014… I think! This was an expensive fleece as it was so beautiful. Lots of silver and greys. I found some carded batts under the stairs and decided to spin them up. It is a nice, chunky spin. Dad wants a hat out of it, but I think it would be far too itchy for his skin! I still have so much fleece to prepare out of this though.

The bottom wool is Cheviot that I dyed with kool-aid, I think in 2013. So, a few years before it finally got spun! This MIGHT be going on my blanket, I’m not sure. Most little bits like this will hopefully go round my  blanket at least once, even if it is just tiny sc’s all around. I found LOADS of this under the stairs, all bright colours. I see some lovely spinning in the future.

What else have I been doing?

I was looking through my wool stash yesterday – look at the photo.

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Yep… I have a lot. The bottom one is full of fibre. Fibre I had completely forgotten I had. Carded Jacobs, angora, sparkly stuff, full braids. I am going to be busy this year as I am going to make sure that that box will be half empty by the end of December. The rest of the big boxes are full of acrylic and mixed yarns. One box is almost completely cotton and the top box is full of just handspun. I want to be able to knit from a lot of my handspun too. I have lots of fleeces to prep, so should have a lot of yarn to knit something decent with. Perhaps another pin loom blanket of natural coloured fleece? All from raw? Different breeds? Ideas, ideas!

In one of the boxes I found a load of crochet squares that I had made years and years ago!I remember crocheting around each square in yellow and then joining four squares together in red. It sounds bad, I know. I sort of cringed when I found it. I laid it out on the bed and decided hang on, no, it’s not THAT bad. I found some matching red, and crocheted the rest of the squares so I had sixteen squares attached. I went round the lot with red and now am working an SC around the border. I plan on doing a few granny square rounds (hdc3 in one sc, miss 2sc, etc). Then a couple of SC to finish.

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It is going to be a mini cot blanket. I’ll get a far better picture in the sunlight when it is finished.

I also remembered that I have seriously been neglecting my lovely Wonder Blanket CAL’s! One is much further on than the other and is only missing this fortnights stitches. I will see if I can do this tomorrow if I finish the above blanket. The other one is missing the last three weeks I think. Lots of catching up to do!

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I have completed almost four squares now! Attic24 blanket is slowly coming along. When I went up to A’s I took the whole lot with me so I could work on that and only that! It amazes me how much time it takes to do each square. I wasn’t best pleased when I left them in the living room on the sofa and Aya peed on them… I rinsed them with soap and water but they now STINK! They need to go in the washing machine.

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You can see the cool and warm colours emerging properly now. I worked on this whilst waiting for my train in Kilmarnock. An hours wait in the station cafe/book shop was well spent!

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I think that is all for now craft wise. I’ll leave you with a few animal photos ❤

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Aretha looks happy! They were tucking into boiled eggs with the shells still on. Absolutly lovely treat and it was a treat for me watching them. ❤

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The ground looks pretty naff at the moment as there have been a lot of heavy rainfalls. They still have plenty of grass, you just can’t see it! They have a lovely big yard though and lots of places to have dust baths and climb and just generally have fun!

Alfie has been giving us a few laughs lately!

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These dogs love their pillows, but Alfie took it one further. Pillow propped up against Freddy and he tucked himself into Mums cardigan and used it as a blanket/scarf. Sooo sweet! He slept for ages like that too. He has many funny poses – such as the meditation pose…

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He is fast asleep! He also sleeps like this –

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He loves sleeping on his back! Mind you, he is lying on his side with Freddy and me just now.

Look at them both – my whole world.

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I love Freds expressions ❤

Have a great evening everyone!

xXx Love Kais xXx

I’m finding, that since I am off work at the moment, I am enjoying some quality, relaxing hobby time. My contract finished a couple of weeks ago at the school I was working at and it is now Easter holidays. So a good couple of weeks off is amazing!

I went into our local city yesterday with my Mum. She is a bigger wool enabler than me! She managed to convince me to buy a sweaters worth of yarn as she is wanting to knit a jumper. So, we are going to find a nice pattern each, a few good horror movies, and have a knitfest! I fancy making a cardigan. I very rarely make anything for myself, except socks, so a cardigan would be quite nice. My last jumper didn’t fit me, so I am going to make sure this next one does!

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I’ve chosen the pink, Mum wanted the black and white. It is self-striping and the pattern it makes is lovely. I am going to show Mum how to do the sleeves at the same time. There will be more than enough yarn left over so I am sure I can use it up for little baby projects and so on. It was only 99p a ball as it was ‘perfect seconds.’ I can’t see what is wrong with it!

The two balls in the photo below were ones I had been after ever since I saw the lone ball in Blackpool Poundstretchers. I searched all of their yarn shelves and even behind them to see if they had another ball of this available. I ended up not buying it as I didn’t want to keep just buying single balls of wool. However, found these yesterday! I don’t know why, but I absolutely love these colours. I am sure they will make a lovely little cardigan. The yarn on top is 70% acrylic, 30% nylon and 4ply. It is baby yarn, but with nylon in it, it will make great socks!

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It really was a big yarn haul yesterday! The yarn below is not actually for me. My Auntie is giving up smoking and asked if I had any spare wool that she could have to keep her hands busy. I use up my bits and pieces to make blankets and rather than give her the scrappy ends, I bought her fifteen balls of sparkly and non-sparkly yarn. I am also going to give her one of my sets of crochet hooks in a case, so she has all the hooks she will ever need. My brother is going to print her a tote bag with ‘You Can Do It!’ on it with a big ball of wool. Most people will think that it will be that she can crochet, but she will know that everytime she wants a cigarette, she just needs to look at her bag and crochet away. I wish her all the luck because I know that giving up cigarettes is very difficult.

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I bought these today (or Mum did, I can’t remember!). A full tin of cottons for £1. Some were brand new and a couple of them are the perfect shade for my baby hexagon quilt.

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I haven’t worked on this project for a while – the fish hat from Knitty. It is for my brother who saw it and immediately wanted one for himself. I don’t much knit for other people, but it looked like great fun so I agreed. I’m half way done I think.

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As I said before, I managed to get two and a bit squares done of the Attic24 blanket. They are actually really quite big! Just under fourteen to go! I think when I got to A’s again I will bring the lot with me. Two hours on the train will get quite a bit done I imagine. And it will keep me busy the rest of the week too.

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I am seriously not looking forward to sewing in those ends!

Here is a picture of the blanket that I am working on. It is the seafoam stitch and is working up really quite quickly. I do think that I will need some more yarn to finish it though, I don’t think six balls will be enough! I had to sew in some of the ends as they were getting in the way, but just loosely tying them at the ends is working for now.

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A quick blocking at the end of this might make the dropped stitches more obvious and show the pattern a bit more.

The chickens are all doing well! They are getting on a bit better now, although there is still a lot of the pecking-order going on. Rose is definitely the big boss chicken though! If you want to join my Ravelry group ‘Rescue Chickens‘ please feel free. Lot’s of chat about chickens in general, as well as a thread for all of your projects that are going on!

Hope to see you there!

xXx Love Kais xXx