Hello everyone,

I’ve feel that I’ve not done a vast amount of crafts since my last post but I think I have. I’ve tried out a new craft, washed some fleeces and done a fair bit of crochet.

This is a large hand made loom I made. I simply made this from the wooden frame of an old picture I found in the charity shop for £1. I marked where to put the nails in and then spent a good while putting them all in. (Took waaay longer than I thought!) I’m amazed it didn’t split the wood whilst I was putting them in. For added strength I added some brackets underneath the frame. As I make my second blanket I can see how the nails are buckling in already. I imagine if I didn’t have the brackets underneath it would have snapped already.

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Making these blankets is not tricky, but it requires patience – a LOT of patience! At each point where the strings cross you double tie a knot, really tight. When that is done you cut the strings at each side of the ties, but only half way done the strings that are there, e.g. if the squares are twenty strings across you cut only ten. Then fluff up the cut strings into mini pom poms. I wasn’t a fan of the pom pom side, I thought it looked quite scruffy and not the nice, neat pom poms I have seen on peoples FB posts.

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To be honest, it reminds me of a bath mat…

I much, MUCH prefer this side, the back!

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It looks really neat and tidy and the tassles at the side look nice too. What do you think? I think the ribbon sets it off nicely too, although you can use any colour. I have another blanket on the loom already, a simple white one. I’ve done 20 odd ties, but it is such a looong process!

I’ve washed my fawn North Ronaldsay – aren’t the colours lovely?

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I also ordered a black North Ronaldsay. It was more a very dark brown, with light brown tips, but it’s perfect for what I need. Both are now washed and fully dried, waiting to be carded. I had left the North Ronaldsay for a couple of days in cold water and I was worried I had ruined it. I found that it seemed to help the process and the fleece was less greasy that the other North Ronaldsay.

My fleece washing process –

1 – Hot wash with shampoo.

2 – Hot wash with conditioner. (If it works for our hair!)

3 – Hot rinse.

4 – Hot rinse. (If needed).

5 – Spin in the washing machine.

6 – Hang out to dry in a laundry bag on the washing line. The windier it is, the quicker it dries.

I might start putting a cold rinse for a couple of days though, see if that works. I’ll try it with an old Zwartbles fleece.

I’ve also been working on a CAL (CrochetALong) called the Groovyghan. I’m really enjoying it. I joined late, but I’m catching up quite quickly. I’ve left out the long pieces that go across the blanket but I’m making sure I do all the squares neeeded.

Parts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

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Part 6, 8, 9 and 10.

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I love the colours! It is all from my acrylic stash and I’m running dangerously low, haha.

Want to hear a funny story? Well, not funny at the time!

Miko, one of Andrews naughty cats, went missing whilst I was looking after Andrew’s house. My Dad had come over for a cup of tea and we were about to go back to my house. I said that I had to go check on the cats before we left. I found Aya straight away and for some reason, I couldn’t find Miko. I thought she would be upstairs, so that’s where I went next. I was starting to get worried that she might have gotten outside. (They are house cats). Up and down the house I went, calling out her name. Dad joined in the search too. We upturned chairs and the sofa, stripping the bed, checking cupboards. Panic mde fully activated! It had been at least fifteen minutes of searching the house (with not that much stuff inside, he had not long moved in) to no avail. I went into the kitchen and for some stupid reason though ‘I have opened the fridge in that time, could she have possible jumped in there??’ (Stupid thoughts go through your head when you get worried!). I looked up just above the fridge…. and what did I see?

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I was pretty damn angry at that point so didn’t have much sympathy knowing she was stuck up there. Mean, I know! But I’m a panicker, so she had me seriously worried. Dad got her down and she hasn’t managed to get up there since, phew!

Ooh, something wonderful happened on the 1st July! They say pictures say 1000 words, so here is mine –

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My gorgeous fiance graduated with a 2:1 BA (HON) degree in Film-making and screen writing. I am so proud of him! I made the graduation with only ten minutes to spare as the trains had very odd times. So glad I made it, what a lovely day.

Anyway, I think I must go now, have written quite a bit!

Aretha says ‘byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!’ Gorgeous girl ❤

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xXx Love Kais xXx

 

 

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I thought that I might do a quick blog post looking at the sorts of fleece I have been prepping over the several years I have had this blog. I just love fleece!

Seeing all this fleece makes me want to just dive in and start sorting. I know I was complaining about how hot the weather was before but I’m now sorry for doing that and wanting it to be hot again! I could get soo much lovely fleece washed and dried.

What is your favourite fleece?

xXx Love Kais xXx

Well, that’s it for another year. Woolfest has been and gone. I had a great time and I’m sure so did everyone else who went there.

For those who don’t know – Woolfest is an annual event held just outside Cockermouth (don’t laugh!) in Cumbria. I think this is the eleventh year it has been run, but don’t quote me on that. It is held in a giant auction mart and there are so many stalls there, selling all sorts of things, from clothes, to animals, to fibre, to wheels, to tools, to anything woolly you can think of.

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I really enjoy seeing the animals here. I now desperately want an angora rabbit, especially an orangy, beige one.

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The sheep are a definte bonus too! Here are some Herdwicks, some sheared, some not. (First time I haven’t bought a Herdwick fleece this year, but I have one in the shed ready to be washed).

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I think this gorgeous guy is an Exmoor Horn ram. He had a sign on the pen saying ‘I am a lovely boy, but sometimes I can get grumpy, so please don’t put your  hands in the pen!’

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My favourite – North Ronaldsay. It’s a fairly coarse fleece but I like it for the history and unusual eating habits of the sheep. They graze on the beaches and eat seaweed. We used to have some when I was little so they make me feel all nostalgic when I use the fleece.

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Some photos of inside –

This stall had a lot of X fleeces, including Merino X Shetlands. Quite expensive, so I didn’t buy anything from this stall. It was here when I was looking through a pile of fleece packs that I helped a German lady with understanding the prices here. It was the highlight of my day helping her, in GERMAN. (I love the German language and would LOVE to chat to people in German, but no-one around here speaks it!)

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Look at the size of this drum carder!

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I was fascinated by this huge loom.

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Joe’s Toes – A stall specialising in making slippers out of felt. You could buy the seperate pieces to sew together.

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Wool!

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It doesn’t look very busy here, but at some points it was very crowded.

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I love the little fat sheep at the bottom of this picture.

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So, what did I get?

I think I was maybe a bit more restrained than last year… no… no, I wasn’t. I just spent less at Wingham Wools as I have a massive box filled to the brim full of fibre! I spent a lot less on raw fleece but still seemed to come back with as many huge sacks.

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I bought (what I can remember, the fleeces are now in the shed) –

  • North Ronaldsay grey/brown fleece
  • Black badger fleece
  • Shetland X Hebridean fleece
  • Hebridean fleece
  • Soay fleece – (£1!!!!)
  • Jacobs fleece

I think there was another but I can’t recall what it is. I also got loads of bits which you can just about see in the picture.

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I’ll explain these soon when I finish this post.

xXx Love Kais xXx

 

Hello again,

Woolfest is only a day away, I am so excited! Right now it is Wednesday and it is held on the Friday and Saturday. I don’t think I need to tell people who have read this blog before about how excited I get about going to this once-in-a-year-opportunity. My Mum and Dad are coming too, my Mum usually does, but I’ve badgered my Dad into going too, so I’m happy, happy, happy! I don’t get to visit other wool shows (bar the ICHF show in Glasgow, but that is more sewing – something else I adore) so Woolfest is pretty much my once a year buying opportunity for fleece and other related products. I haven’t bought a fleece online in a few years bar an alpaca seconds I got last year. I have been spinning some of it though so at least it is being used. Being seconds it takes a lot of time to prep. It took a while to sort out the decent stuff, then wash it, then sort out the decent stuff once again.

I finally got round to using up my North Ronaldsay wool that I spun up last year. I love this but it infuriated me no end that I had spun it up entirely and not actually done anything with it. My Dad suggested a shawl might be a good idea and I agreed with him. It was too rough and scratchy to go against the skin so a good shawl for poor weather or cold would be great over the shoulders. I decided using the pattern ‘Margarets’ Prayer Shawl’ on Ravelry as a start-off, using a 6mm hook. Instead of changing the last two rows at the end, I simply repeated the same row over and over, using a 3dc stitch per gap.

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As you can see, the shawl is pretty tiny. I am going to see if I can buy a nice brown North Ronaldsay fleece to continue it. A nice, two tone shawl in the same fleece breed. I don’t think it will need much blocking as the wool is holding its shape really nicely. But I do need to wash it as the wool is still slightly greasy and a bit itchy.

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What a lovely sight!

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I had a bit of a spinning binge and managed to spin up quite a few of the batts I had previously prepared. Using the unknown brown fleece I knitted my Dad a thick, warm hat for Winter. I had changed the pattern slightly because I did not like the way the ribbing looked when turned up for the headband. I ribbed as normal, and then when it came to the main part of the hat in st-st, I simply knitted the other way, making the ribbing look ‘right’ when it was turned back up. (Sorry if that makes absolutely no sense at all!).

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I also spun up some of the black shearling Hebridean fleece. Why have I not done this before?! It wasn’t very nice to prep, but oh my, what a joy to spin! I got three small skeins of wool and the colour is lustrous. I think the wool would look very nice in a fair-isle type pattern but nothing has caught my eye yet. The Gotland fleece was quite nice to spin too and the different colours were interesting when spun up. I plan on using some of this fleece to make some pin loom squares. I might get some Gotland when I go to Woolfest. (Did I mention I was going to Woolfest?!)

Yes, I quite fancy making another pin loom blanket, this time using natural coloured fleeces, all prepared from raw fleece by me. This will probably be an ongoing project throughout the year, rather than something I sit and work on. I really like the idea of another pin loom blanket. I wonder if I can ask Dad to help me make some more pin loom squares, but a bit bigger. My one is 8”. Maybe a 12” one might be nice.

My brother gave me some interesting sack fleece fabric yesterday when I visited him. (Happy Birthday, Franz! Eldest little brother is 25 now!). I had been thinking for a couple of days how nice it might be to try rug-making. (I can hear my family groaning now – ANOTHER hobby?!) I know a vintage stall at Woolfest sells rug making tools so I’ll have a look and see how much they are. Maybe a nice rug for in front of the TV – as long as A’s cats don’t destroy it.

My list for Woolfest –

North Ronaldsay fleece x 2, hopefully a brown one.

A small, white fleece.

A few interesting coloured fleeces, hopefully a fairly short staple.

Some ‘grab bags’ of fleece from the breeders stalls, maybe some more Hebridean and I would like to try Valais Blacknose. I’ve heard it is really coarse though.

A drop spindle from Spin City. Her spindles are beautiful.

A rug tool or two.

Some wool tops from Wingham Wools.

Silk Hankies from Wingham Wools. (IF they have any! Haven’t had them for a couple of years now).

Cheap magazines.

Alpaca from Wingham Wools.

LOTS of photos! (My Mum is the photographer of the family, she will enjoy doing this!)

Oh, I also designed a tote bag to take to Woolfest. I’m really proud of it. What do you think of it? Finally got around to using those dyed locks!

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Sewing the locks onto the penciled drawing.

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Backstitching the face of the sheep. I really love the nose. It wasn’t meant to be there, it was a slip of the needle, but it really works!

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Have a great day everyone!

xXx Love Kais xXx

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

Hello everyone,

Looking back, it looks like my last post was on the 5th of July. A few things have happened since then, so this might be a long post.

Four days after the last post I was on my way to Oxford, England. Last year some people might remember I worked for a summer camp and absolutely loved it. Four weeks of trying out things I didn’t have the opportunity to do here. Well, I was asked to do it again this year and I agreed.

I wish I could say that it was a whirlwind of a time with me learning brand new things and having new adventures. Well. . . I can’t. I loved my class towards the end and would be happy to have a class like them forever. I also liked my little room a lot and spent a bit of time there watching stuff on my laptop. My favourite part was spending time at the river at the bottom of the school and sewing, listening to my MP3 or the sounds of people going past on punts. Oh, I also enjoyed the punting. (Look it up, it’s a way of sailing).

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Another great thing that happened was meeting up with someone I have known for almost eight years online. He came up on his motorbike (very late Alistair!!) and it was wonderful to finally meet up. We went for a coffee, then a wander round town and then a coffee again. Why we didn’t take even one photo was beyond me!?

I almost forgot. I went on the London Eye. Twice. First time was amazing! Second time I sat and crocheted the forty minutes we went round.

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Anyway, I was relieved when it finished. I had a day or so off and then I was back to work! A brand new P3 class. They have been exhausting and drive me nuts, but I love each and every one to bits. They are a vastly different class to my previous one but I don’t care. I have put up most of my displays and am looking forward to doing some Christmas art with them in a few months. Oooh hang on, Halloween stuff first!

However, I had to have three days off last week, which is virtually unheard of for me. I detest having time off school. It always makes me feel guilty for leaving others in the lurch. As it happened, two other teachers were off at the same time too. Ooops. My problem? Two burst eardrums. Yep, TWO. BURST. EARDRUMS. Painful was not the word! I left school in a hurry on Friday as my left ear suddenly went very blocked and my tinnitus shot through the roof. It started pounding and I must have been in tears the entire drive home. My Mum called the Dr who simply told me to take Ibruprofen and that it would go away soon. Well, I did, grudgingly. (Long story). It did go away, and it worked really well! Until the early morning. The pain restarted and nothing stopped it. I had to call NHS24, who got me an out of hours appointment. The Dr there gave me Tramadol and said that if it starts to hurt again I was to call NHS24 again. He told me that my ear drum had a hole in it and that my ear was leaking pus from the pressure build up. (For those not in the UK, NHS24 is an helpline who can give you medical advice and if neccessary provide ambulances and appointments for those in need. It frees up calling 999 if it is not an emergency yet you still need help). It was ok for most of the night, until I started being sick. I lasted until the next day where every single movement made me throw up. It was a real struggle getting out of bed. I called NHS24 again, who gave me another appointment. I took two steps out my front door before being sick, as it was such a struggle. I’m amazed I wasn’t sick in the car, but I was as soon as I got out at the hospital! (Sorry for TMI!)

The Dr there gave me antibiotics and saw that my other ear was leaking and she said that it had burst too. The tinnitus was driving me crazy. It felt like my head had been smacked between two saucepans and the result ringing was insane. I was assured this would go down. She gave me tablets for the sickeness too. As soon as I got outside her office I was vomiting again (thankfully she gave me a sick bowl beforehand!). She led me to a side Dr’s room and gave me an anti-sickness injection – in my bum cheek! Haha. I tell you what though, it worked. Sickness gone instantly. That is amazing stuff, lol. I was able to sleep  until she came back.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I went very deaf for a while so had to take time off work to recover from the sleep deprivation and to get my hearing back. I can hear almost properly now, just my left is still a bit deaf.

Ok then, let’s get to the fun and interesting stuff!

chicken sweater

 I know this looks a bit strange on Grace, but this is her little chicken jacket, all ready for the Winter. She is losing a lot of feathers at the moment. I know chickens moult, but she is looking a bit too bare! I am going to make one each for Rose and Martha too. It’s a very simple crochet pattern, with spaces for her wings so that she can still spread her wings and stretch. She wasn’t too happy about it for the first minute, but absolutely fine after that! Pecking away at the grass and scratching in the dirt. I think when all three of them are wearing them, they will be fine together. I half used a pattern from online but modified it heavily. I will put it on here if anyone is interested.

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I tried it out using fabric from my stash but made it far too big. I think it is a big too thick for them though. Oh well, when I have finished we shall see. I think the crocheted one is better for them though as the neck is a lot more free.

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You can see on this one where I have tried shortening it. If I have a little bit of time tomorrow I’ll finish this off. Pattern is my own and I just used what was in my fabric stash. I’m pleased with it.

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This is one batt of North Ronaldsay wool. I’ve been wanting to spin this for ages. I have one batt here and one still on the carder. It took me ages to get the first batt like this as it is so neppy and bitty. On the second pass of the fibre I did it really slowly, picking out nepps as I went. I hope to get this finished tomorrow. Can’t wait to get it spun up! I have some Manx Loughtan I desperately want carded too, and some Hebridean!

When sorting through some boxes of old projects and yarn from under my bed, I found loads of unfinished bits and pieces. Mittens that were not sewn up, pieces without buttons, etc. I gathered them up and finished them off. Some of the things you are about to see were in the start of my knitting days and some were not knitted until about four + years ago!

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I did the little socks a month or so ago, sewing on some lace and extra ribbons and bits. I really like them. That’s got me wondering where the fabric roses I bought have disappeared to…

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I’m not a fan of the little white vest on the left but I’ll finish that eventually. I love the little red and yellow booties though. The yellow top is the first clothing item I ever crocheted. And the socks at the top are the first baby socks I’ve knitted too. The hat on the bottom right is made from a bamboo and silk mix. Very nice and cool 🙂

Right, I have a few more things to show, such as my quilt and my busy books I’ve been working on. But, this blog post is over 1400 words now, so it might be a bit much all in one! Hopefully I will be able to get back to more wool and crafty things to blog about. I miss my crafting so much!

Hope everyone is well!

xXx Love Kais xXx

Hi again. 🙂 Thought I would just do another quick blog post about the blending board I bought at Woolfest. It was bought from the very nice people of Hedgehog Equipment. They had run out of blending boards at Woolfest so very kindly offered to send me one free post. I LOVE it!

It was sent very quickly and was wrapped well. I think it had only just been made too.

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So, of course I had to try it out straight away! This is some Shetland X wool which I had prepared from raw fleece, with some purple merino.

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It took a little bit of trial and error to get the rolags off properly.

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What do you think? All odd sizes and thicknesses but I enjoyed doing them.

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I thought I would try out some nice multi coloured rolags using some fibres I had bought specifically for it. Red and black mohair with some white sparkly trilobal nylon.

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I lay down red in stripes, and black in stripes between them. Then some red on top and then sparkles on top and more red on top!

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You can see which ones came off the blending board last as I find it more difficult to take them off at that point.

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I really like the shinyness of them all.

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All ready to spin and kept nicely in a shoe box, using the new spindle bought from Woolfest. (Hilltopkatie).

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Here it is all spun up! I am surprised how much yarn there is from it. I really, really like it. I plan on making some more rolags with this colour design.

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And here is the delights of using my spindle around cats! The look on Ayas face when I caught her chewing on it! Ah well. I will put some tape on the end and hopefully it will still spin as well!

Feel free to join my group ‘Empress Spinning’ on Facebook and share your fleecy and fibery photos. Everyone is welcome.

Have a great day everyone,

xXx Love Kais xXx