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

 

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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, I hope the weekend is going well.

Been really windy here today with rain coming down hard at times. Then hot sun! It’s been a big mix of weather today! I have had a lovely, lazy day and feel quite relaxed. It’s been lovely having a day where I’ve not had to go out or do anything.

Let’s have a look at what has been covered this week then.

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I started making a little crochet cardigan I had seen on Ravelry.

Baby Girl Cardigan

I followed most of the pattern but changed it a little to suit what I was doing. Instead of adding sleeves I did some mini ones to just cover the shoulders and the tops of the arms. The pattern wasn’t greatly written for the turning at each end of the shell pattern but I think it was written for people who understood how to crochet fairly well.

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This is the top before all the ends were woven in. I thought that it needed a little something extra…

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I’m really pleased with it – very dainty and girly. I added an SC border all around the edges.

Then I thought it needed another something extra…

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A small hat to match! I’ve been looking at booties to match for ages but nothing has caught my eye so far. I tried it on Baby Doll.

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The photo on the doll doesn’t show it up how nicely it actually looks. I’m really pleased with this. I wonder if I can make it in a bigger size? It seems to be a basic shoulder down pattern. I might try it.

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I also got out the big box of stuff that has never had the ends sewn in, buttons not sewn on, things not sewn up, etc. I managed to get several cardigans with buttons added on, lots of ends sewn in and an entire hat and booties sewn up!

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They are too big for Baby Doll but you get the idea. I love the Aviatrix hat and plan on making another one soon, I have lots of colours I can do it in.

I ordered these amazing labels from an eBay company ‘label-on.’ They were very quick in delivery and the labels are perfect!

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The labels had everything I asked for and look and feel like the labels you will get in your clothes. Perfect. I wanted them to go in all of the baby clothes I had made, just to give them a more professional finish. And I loved the idea of ‘Made By Mummy xXx’ being in my babys clothes! (Not that I am having a baby yet, but when I do!)

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I really am impressed with how they look. 🙂 I managed to get only five done today but I have been busy doing different things. I plan on doing some more tomorrow.

I have finally gotten round to blocking some of the pin loom squares I have piling up. I counted them and I have 28 so far! I have some skeins of wool lying around for this purpose, so there should be another few to add soon. I haven’t got any blocking boards so thought I would improvise with some thick cardboard and some towels underneath. I measure out 7″ squares and pinned them out. I only got nine done and nearly two small boxes of pins used! Some of the squares needed serious pinning out. My index finger on my right hand is soooo sore from pushing all those tiny pin heads in!

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A before and after picture. You can see how crumpled some of the squares were.

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So many pins!

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I love how uniform they all look now. I am looking forward to putting them together to make a blanket. I would like to make a natural fleece blanket once I have finished my dyed and handspun coloured one. The yellow in the middle of the three on the left is my first hand spun yarn. I knew I would be able to use it for something one day. 🙂 I really like it and it reminds me of how far I have come. The pink one in the middle on the right is also some of my first handspun yarn. Those squares do make me smile and give me such lovely memories 🙂

I must go now. I need my sleep! I have some reports for school to write tomorrow as well as attending my mothers work to help out with one of their events. I also need to keep calm about my P3 school assembly! The children and I have been practicing like crazy and they have been doing so, so well. I am very proud of them all.

I hope everyone has a lovely week!

xXx Love Kais xXx

Hello everyone,

It’s the night before I have to finish the weekend and go back to work. I can hardly believe I have been at this job for about five months now. I love every minute of it, even though it is a lot of hard work. I’ve had a good weekend and feel like I have achieved a few things crafty wise. The photos that I will show you have been from the entire month of May. I haven’t had a great deal of crafty time, but I’m hoping to get more done on the weekends than I have previously.

I’ve been working on a crochet baby blanket. This one is SO beautiful I had to buy the pattern straight away. The words spell out ‘Your first breath took ours away.’ How sweet is that?! I am using Drops I love 5. It is 80p a ball, so I filled up the online basket to get enough to make this blanket.

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I’m using white cotton from a local yarn shop. It’s dishcloth cotton, but it is so nice to use.

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I also finally, FINALLY used my weaving loom! I was going to cut everything off, but then I saw it had loads of thread left to weave on. I grabbed some of my white cotton in the thought  of making some dish towels, but when the time came to cut it off and cut it into separate bits, I couldn’t do it, so now it is a nice, white cotton scarf.

I haven’t worked up the courage to thread it all back up yet…

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A couple of newborn crochet hats. These crochet up REALLY quickly. I did the blue one first, then decided to reverse the colours. I like the blue one better.

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I started making a sock the other day. I didn’t use a pattern or anything, just sort of made it up as I went along. I think the sole is too long and wide. Not too sure where to go with this. I will probably frog it.

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Look at this beautiful fleece! I visited a craft fair last weekend, but it was disappointing because it was so small. However, I got chatting to one woman there and she informed me that just up the road they had some sheep shearing demonstrations and spinning. Me and Mum went there straight away and we saw some gorgeous Zwartble sheep. I couldn’t believe how big they are! The owners were very nice and gave me one of their fleeces. It is HUGE. I took some photos of it this morning after unravelling it, but they are on the other camera. I have washed some (JUST remembered I have left it outside… I do hope it doesn’t rain!) and am just waiting for it to dry. It seemed to wash really well and was pretty clean. I look forward to carding it and spinning it.

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I thought I would get the trusty drum carder up and used for a bit. It has sat on my shelf for a good few months now, which is a shame. I raided my wool tops box and found some bits and pieces. The red one is a mixture of kool-aid dyed Poll Dorset sheep fleece (prepared from raw fleece) with some sparkly trilobal nylon carded in too. The blue one is a mixture of German sheep fleece wool tops, with some blue bamboo fibre. Also, with some white sparkly trilobal nylon in too. Both have been spun up.

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A very poor photo, but it is the two on the left. The two on the right are the darkest of the following photo –

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It is showing a blend of colours from white all the way to blue. Very soft and smooth. It has been lovely to spin too. I simply spun the whole batt into a single, then Andean plyed it together.

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It is a mixture of white German sheep wool tops, blue merino tops and white sparkly trilobal nylon. I am unsure yet of what to make with it, but I shall keep thinking!

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I found out my old vintage carders this afternoon after I had a sudden craving to make some rolags! I have some alpaca fibre that needs spinning but it was quite difficult just spinning it straight from the fibre. I cleaned these up the best I could and then started on the rolags.

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They do look funny in the box! I think I did fourteen altogether. I couldn’t believe how much easier it was to spin alpaca this way! However, it didn’t take too long to spin them all up. I’ve been looking at blending boards lately… they look fun!

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And here is the resulting yarn! Very soft, but my hands were filthy afterwards! I’ve left it drying upstairs in the bathroom.

So, that’s been my crafty month so far! Before I go, here are some lovely pet photos of the month. I LOVE this one, it looks like me and Freddy are just in the middle of nowhere – the grass and colour is so beautiful.

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Little man hiding in the field!

And a cute one of Aya, just before I left A’s house yesterday.

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Look at that face!

Anyway, it’s getting late and I must go to bed. I hope you all have a lovely evening.

xXx Love Kais xXx

Hello everyone.

So, what’s been happening? I’ve got some crochet done, a teeny bit more spinning, lots more lovely dyeing and some shopping!

I’ll start with the dyeing first.

In my previous post I showed you that I had been dyeing some Wensleydale X locks. I washed another load of them in the big tubs and it took a good while for them to dry due to the cool weather outside. (Leaving them outside all night probably wasn’t a good idea either… )

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I decided that I wanted to have another go dyeing since I have most of the fleece left in the shed anyway and colouring a few of the locks won’t hurt. I haven’t that much of an experience with dyes other than kool-aid, so I’m learning all the time. I wanted some nice deep, bold colours with the first batch of dyes and then I was going to dye more locks in the dye that was left, just topping it with a bit more water if needed.

I am so thrilled with the beautiful colours.

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I wanted to make an nice orange and a deep blue. Again, I only used minimal amounts of dyes, but a touch more than last time. I wanted another green too, and I realised towards the end of my dyeing, that I hadn’t actually dyed any yellows!

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I LOVE the colour of this green! I was very, very surprised by the colour of the locks when they came out however…

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A lovely summery yellow in the water, but almost neon when they came out! What was even weirder however, is when I put the second lot of locks in the water, they were dark green!

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Just a few of the locks I dyed. The yellow ones at the bottom look kinda yucky now, but I’m sure when they are dry and fluffy they will look fine.

I’ve been doing some more crochet on those little baby booties. I bought the pattern a few days ago and didn’t I have problems with it! I think I was just not reading the instructions properly and rushing ahead, which I’m very prone to doing. I managed it in the end but it wasn’t an enjoyable experience. I will try again using some thinner yarn which isn’t fluffy.

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I made a little baby all in one diaper cover which was a very quick crochet. The first time I tried it, it was tiny! I undid it and then went up from a 5mm to a 6.5mm. It did not make too much difference and the final result was still so small. It wouldn’t fit a normal size baby, but a premature one. I loved making it though, but would just love one that is bigger. Maybe I will have to adapt the pattern for that.

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I helped out in the charity shop again yesterday. The first thing I saw when I went in there was a doll. Ok, ok, I like my dolls, what can I say? I have a few but five are in the cupboard and only two are out… purely because there is no room in the cupboard! Well, I made a beeline for this doll and I couldn’t believe the weight when I picked it up. It was heavy, and the head rolled, just like a real baby.

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It smelled gorgeous, a bit like the cabbage patch doll heads. Sweet smelling, like babies. I looked at the back of the doll and was thrilled by what I saw –

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It was one of the dolls that they give out in social education classes in schools! You know, the kind they give to girls to teach them what it is like to have a real baby for a week. It cries whenever it needs attention, feeding, burped, changed, etc. I had to have it – I always wanted to try one! It didn’t have a charger but I had an adapter at home that fitted.

When I looked at the instructions for it online, it looked like I couldn’t try it without a controller. I was disappointed but had a go at charging it anyway. I found more instructions online which stated that it could be used if it was charged and a pin inserted into the reset button within thirty seconds of the charge being taken off. It chimed six times, and the baby cooed. It said not to place the baby on its tummy or it would cry. So, to see what it was like, I placed it on its tummy. BIG MISTAKE. The crying was horrendous. Is that really how loud they are?? Just wow. So, I have this baby screaming the place down, the dogs are scratching at me wondering what it is and I’m holding the doll. What do you do to placate a crying baby? You rock it. So, I was rocking it and it started to calm down. I stopped and the crying restarted. I rocked it again until it stopped and held it for a few minutes. I’m glad I only charged it for a few minutes because it wasn’t able to cry after that…. phew!

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Here she is with some new clothes 😀 Her name is now Abigail.

Last things… I got my hair trimmed. Mind you, you couldn’t really tell. Here is it after a slight trimming, with a bit on the right left to show you how long it was before.

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Anyway, got to go, picking A up from the station. I’m going to be later, grrr!!

xXx Love Kais xXx

Hello everyone,

It’s been a fairly busy morning this morning. I had a whole list of things to do in my head and I’ve achieved most of them.

  • Hang the washing out
  • Washing up
  • Clean out the chickens (incl. disinfecting the yard)
  • Sort out Wensleydale fleece
  • Try out some dyed fleece
  • A little bit of spinning done
  • Carding the dried fleece
  • Crochet booties from the pattern I bought last night

I got the big bag of Wensleydale X out of the shed again and had another look at it. I let the chickens have a wander round the garden when I was doing it.

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I took out 4-6 clumps of fleece, carefully separating the locks so they wouldn’t mix up. I then painstakingly separated each lock on its own and placed it in a little pile. I filled up two large tubs with hot, hot water and shampoo and submerged each pile. They took two shampoo washes and a single rinse wash.

After I had rinsed away the water I gave each clump a teeny squeeze and again, took each clump out and placed it very carefully, lock by lock, on the sweater racks I had bought a couple of months ago. I finally got to use them!

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I also took some of the fleece that I had worked on last night and dyed it. I bought a dye kit from ColourCraft at Woolfest this year and still hadn’t tried it. Today was the day! I’d never used dyes on the stove before either so that was new too. I used Scarlet and Aquamarine. I didn’t use the stated dye dose on the label, but only used a few dye crystals of each. I more wanted to see how it worked than anything. I used an old camping saucepan, filled it with hot water, dyed crystals and then heated it to a low simmer for fifteen, twenty minutes. Then I rinsed them and took them outside to dry in the sun. I then repeated it for the blue.

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I like the way they are darker at the tips. The white locks are there because they did not fit on the other rack. The other half of the dried locks were upstairs so I decided to do something with them. I combed them out lock by lock until they were white masses of fluffy clouds.

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That whole bundle there is about 20-22g.

I used a simple black comb to tease out the tangles. It worked for a good long while until the bristles went soft on it.

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Very fluffy!

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Here is one lock fully opened out. You can still see the crimpy parts.

Here is the process, from start to finish –

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Here is a photo of some yarn spun from it. I’m pleased with its softness and think that it would make a lovely lace shawl. This yarn is a simple spun, 2ply yarn.

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Apart from the little bit of fleece spun into the yarn, the entire batch of that big fluff cloud has fitted into this teeny tiny bag!

I had a very long night last night. I don’t think that I went to bed until about 2am. I just couldn’t sleep. I didn’t fancy doing any knitting, I tried combing a bit of fleece, and then browsed the internet for ages. In the end I decided to do some crochet and fancied doing some baby booties. I searched for ages and ages looking for a nice pattern and in the end I decided on the crocodile stitch baby booties.

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/crocodile-stitch-booties-baby-sizes

I settled on these in the end. I generally only go for free patterns but there were none similar to this that I liked. It’s actually a very difficult pattern! I like to increase my skill levels so here goes! I only managed to do the sole last night, which is a little different to how I thought it would be but that’s ok.

Anyway, I think I’d better go now. I need to go check on the fleece outside. These two were guarding it for me before 😀

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I hope that the fleece has mostly dried by now so I can bring it in. I’m going to let the chinchillas have a good wander round later this evening, so need to barricade some boxes around the bottom of my bed otherwise the cheeky so and so’s sit under there for hours!

Have a great day!

xXx Love Kais xXx