Hello again!

One of my New Years resolutions was to do more on this blog. Well… better late than never, right? (Last post was in September, eeek!)

Well, my little one is over a year old now, I can’t believe it, how on Earth did that happen so fast? I adore her so much. I also have another teaching job which is good fun most of the time.

But what of the crafts?!

I haven’t really knitted a lot recently. Just nothing seems to have caught my eye. Crochet, however, has been quite popular the last couple of months. I found my Attic24 Log Cabin kit under the bed where it had been languishing for quite some time and pulled it out. I think I had done five squares. I’ve now completed eleven out of sixteen. It’s a slow project, but easy going. I cannot wait to sew it all up together.

I also started making my own graph blanket from the popular radio series ‘Old Harrys Game.’ It’s a comedy series based in Hell from the demons and the devils point of view. Very funny. I won’t put that up until I’ve got it a bit more done though. I’ve got two out of nine squares done.

For a while I haven’t really been into my spinning. I’ve found time-wise it a bit difficult, but I went to Woolfest on Saturday and my interest just sort of exploded again! I bought a beautiful Jacobs fleece (you just can’t beat a nice Jacobs!), a Berrichon fleece and a North Ronaldsay fleece. As well as all the other bits and pieces, including seven issues of Yarnmaker for a grand total of £3.50! I have only been thinking the other day that I really could do with looking for back issues of the magazine. It’s a fascinating read.

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This fleece was absolutely massive, it would have carpeted the whole of the upstairs! I was ruthless on all my fleeces. I uhmed and ahed at times but then thought ‘nope, no use working on bits that aren’t the best.’ It just wastes time trying to card out yucky bits or wash out the really dirty areas. There is still a huge black bag full of fleece. The Berrichon was lovely too. I really was unsure about it but thought I would give it a chance. It came in a cotton pillowcase (just how I store mine in the shed) and was pretty clean, with a short staple. When I lay it on the ground there was loads of great, useable fleece, even with the ruthless skirting. I took maybe a quarter away to wash using three buckets. It got a three rinse bath using a 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner. It smelt lovely afterwards!

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I think this is it after its first wash. Look how clean it is!

I then set about dyeing it. I had been given a great jam pan by my mother in law, which I thought was perfect for dyeing. I set it up with warm water and added in some magenta easy fix all in one dyes.

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I think I put in 5ml of the dye. I actually used it to dye some white wool I bought at Woolfest. I did the yarns one at a time, adding a shade mixer after each yarn to make them lighter, but matching, if you see what I mean. I love these colours. Eliza will hopefully be getting a Fair Isle hat from these.

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I used the final dye to dye my raw fleece. I decided to just dye it straight away whilst it was still wet, which motivates me more than having a load of white fleece and no clue what to do with it. I wanted to make a lovely purple fleece so added in some turquoise, which made a lovely purple.

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It’s a shame it didn’t stay this way!

After rinsing, this was the result.

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On the left is wool from the dye after twenty minutes, and on the right it’s wool after being left in the dye for 24 hours. Both pretty much the same. Because the dye had the added shade stuff in it, I think it prevented much dyeing to be done and maybe also because the blue just wasn’t holding as much as the pale pink was? It’s all a learning curve for me as I don’t dye that much with easyfix dyes. I usually use kool-aid!

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I put the fleece into net bags and hung it on the line outside to dry. It’s been super hot these past few days, and I mean SUPER hot. It’s been between 27-30 degrees centigrade which is almost unheard of around here. Once dry, and filling a washing up bowl nicely, I decided to card some. I cleaned out my carder of all the old colours and bits of old fleece and started going. It’s very theraputic sorting out the fleece and fluffing it up, turning the handle and watching all the fibres align nicely. I managed to get two small batts done on my Classic Carder before dinner time. Not much done, but little and often is my motto at the moment. The pink looks very pale in that photo but it isn’t that pale really.

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It hardly looks like anything has been taken from the tub! Tomorrow, after visiting the local town to see some dolls house furniture in the new recycling charity centre, I plan on having a few hours to myself in the shade outside, sorting fleece, washing it, and then carding the rest of this loveliness up. I have a gorgeous blue fleece outside washing too. It should match this nicely as it is quite a pale blue. I need to give myself confidence in using more of the dye, I can always buy more if it runs out! The batts in this photo need running through the carder again. I usually card it all once, and then once all of them are made, card them again. I love making batts and seeing them all on the table afterwards. Argh, I’m wanting to do some more now!

But, it is getting late and little one is asleep now and I don’t want to leave her. I love just being beside her, watching her sleep. I just keep looking at her and thinking, ‘wow.’ She truly is everything I ever wanted.

Have a good night everyone, and happy spinning/ knitting/ crocheting/ crafting, etc!

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,

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

Ok, so this is it. The end of 2014. Can’t believe that it is the end of the second year of my blog! Last year I wrote about things I feel I have achieved and things that I wanted to achieve.

What I have achieved this year

  • I have been horse riding.
  • I have wall climbed! (I am immensely proud of this one).
  • I have been to the top of Blackpool Tower – TWICE!
  • I finally went to Germany!
  • I am now a high A2, low B1 language level in German.
  • I have been abroad on my own – full independence!
  • I have a new teaching job.
  • I got a summer job teaching English.
  • I finally went to a pub gig and did some dancing.
  • I rescued some more chickens.
  • My boyfriend and I got a flat.
  • I learnt how to sew.

Looking back over that list I am very proud of myself.

This is last years list. I will cross out what I feel I have achieved.

Things I would like to try/ achieve in 2014.

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

Yeah, looking good! I kept meaning to sew the Christmas Advent Calendar but never got around to doing it which is a shame. Me and Mum will sew it for next year. I tried having a go at Tunisian Crochet again but I don’t think it is for me. I used the fabric for the dpn holder for making baby pants, haha. Knitting pattern, hmm, thinking about I think I did sort of adapt a knitting pattern so that is kinda my own pattern, right? As for getting kits done… urgh! Hardly any done. I really, really need to.

Ok, this is what I would like to achieve by the end of 2015!

  • Have at least ten baby items sewn, aging from newborn to age 2/3.
  • At least ten baby items knitted, aging from newborn to 2/3.
  • At least ten baby items crocheted, aging from newborn to 2/3. (Can you see the links here??)
  • To get every single fleece in the shed and porch washed and carded into gorgeous, soft, fluffy batts.
  • To spin up ten batts/tops/rovings that I have in my spinning box.
  • To spin up an entire fleece.
  • To knit/crochet/weave something using the handspun yarn under my bed.
  • To learn to weave on my weaving loom.
  • To weave on a pin loom and create a blanket from the squares using my handspun wool.
  • To not buy any yarn/wool until I have used up as much as possible from the cabinet. (See how long this one lasts!)
  • To lose at least two stone.
  • To reborn at least three reborn doll kits.
  • To go back to Germany at least once.
  • To have something I have wanted since I was little.
  • To make a baby blanket.

I think that is enough for now! I am looking forward to the end of next year to see if I have achieved any of these! I really, REALLY want to lose two stone so will be doing (after the New Year dinner) the dreaded diet and exercise… if possible! I would like to do some more reborn doll kits but will just sell them when finished. I already have two, it’s just the crafting that I love. And sooooooooo much wool craft – it makes me so happy to think of all that lovely wool!

Now, to see some photos of what I have achieved this year. Sadly, not nearly as much as last year but I have been working an awful lot. 🙂

January

JANUARY

February

FEBRUARY 1 FEBRUARY2

March

MARCH

April

APRIL

July

JULY

September

SEPTEMBER1 SEPTEMBER2 SEPTEMBER3 SEPTEMBER4

SEPTEMBER5

October

OCTOBER1 OCTOBER2

December 

DECEMBER1 DECEMBER2 DECEMBER3 DECEMBER4

Ok everybody. I hate this bit… it always feels so sad knowing that this is the end of a long year. I hope that everyone has a very, very Happy New Year.

Make sure you do all that you want to do. Love deeply, be happy and don’t regret anything.

Happy New Year!

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 again everyone.

It’s been a busy few months, hence my rather long absence from this blog. I’ve missed writing it but I’ve been rather preoccupied with work and such. From starting out contracted with only a day and a half a week, this past few months I’ve been working almost every day. Sadly, today was my last day. I thought I’d be ok but nope, the tears started flowing. The staff were lovely and bought me a beautiful bouquet of flowers. I’ll have to get a photo of them and show you. Some of the kids made/bought me cards and I got a few chocolates!

Anyway, it just means that I’ll have a bit more time to myself, after the holidays that is.

I got a summer teaching job!

I’ll be teaching foreign children English. I look forward to it very much. It’s going to be for six whole weeks at a residential school, which means six weeks away from home! I’ll be ok, but I bet I’ll be sobbing when I have to go. It’s down in England, in Worcester. It’s a beautiful place and only twenty minutes from my Nans house, meaning I have some family there so I’m not totally alone. There are great school trips the kids go on, lovely evening activities and the teaching will be fun too. I teach three hours of English a day to a class of fifteen children. The first few days there are training days for the staff and then the kids come in. I hope that it is single person accommodation – otherwise some poor person is going to have to suffer with my snoring!

I went to Woolfest the other day 😀 I’d waited 52 weeks for it!! It did not disappoint. The fleece sale was great and it had changed a bit too. Instead of the fleece checking table being behind the payment desk it was at the side meaning it was far easier to check. I didn’t use the checking table last year as it seemed to be too much hassle cramming in past people. I used it plenty of times this time! A few fleeces I would have gone for from first glance in the bag were rejected because the inside of the fleece was poor. I remember seeing one that was a high price for something so awful – badly felted and dirty. I bought eleven fleeces this year. I only bought seven I think last year from Woolfest and I used all of them up, so didn’t feel bad in buying eleven this year. Image

I can’t really remember which ones I got, but I will try my best.

  1. Shetland X
  2. Wensleydale X (shearling)
  3. Black Welsh Mountain
  4. Shetland X (shearling)
  5. Whitefaced Woodland (shearling)
  6. Badger Faced Hogg (or something similar to that!)
  7. Jacob
  8. Herdwick
  9. Ryeland shearling (GORGEOUS!!!)

I cannot remember the other two though. Absolutely gorgeous. One of the Shetland X’s was really badly packed but was only £2.50. I thought, what the heck? I bought it to check it out. It wasn’t anything great by all means, but I will get something out of it.

I was very surprised to see that it had been rolled up (or rather, squished up) and then held together with a cable tie or two!

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My Dad is modelling it for you in the picture, ready with the cutters! You can see why I went for it in the first place, with the nice crimpy bits on the front. I won’t lie – most of it was rubbish, but I got some ok bits from it. This is what the fleece looked like all spread out.

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Very dirty, very dusty. I haven’t washed it yet, but I have pretty much skirted everything yucky from it.

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Some good bits of the fleece.

My ‘get rid of’ pile and ‘keep’ pile.

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I got some beautiful Ryeland fleece. This was the most expensive at £20 – most I’ve ever paid for one!

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These pictures speak for themselves. Beautifully sheared, so soft and light.

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The size of it! It swamps little Alfie, haha. The bottom left picture shows the different colours on this one fleece alone!

I will have to put more of the fleece on another post, my eyes  are getting a little tired staring at the screen. I’ve washed a fleece this afternoon, a lovely Shetland Shearling X and it’s drying outside in the sunshine now. It was so hot this afternoon! I didn’t spin it out like I should have so it is still a bit drippy. Next time I shall def. spin the water out.

I look forward to carding it on my Classic Carder and then trying to make roving using the new diz I bought from HilltopCloud at Woolfest.

I also bought –

A diz (Hilltop Cloud)

4 x wool tops  (Wingham Wools)

Carded Cotton (Wingham Wools)

Trilobal nylon, both gold and silvery white (Wingham Wools)

Blue alpaca tops, 100g (Wingham Wools)

All in one Easy Dyes (ColourCraft)

Dye squeezy bottles x 2 (Colour Craft)

Extra large syringes for dyeing x 2 (D and T Designs)

Purple dyed silk cocoons (Hilltop Cloud)

Alpaca 250g

Gotland fleece 500g (Eden Gotland)

Alpaca seconds x 3 huge bags (Why Not Alpaca – I think!)

Felting needles, extra fine, size 38 (Karl Hof? or something like that!)

Knitting magazines (Charity Stall)

Wool nepps (Wingham Wools)

I THINK that’s all I bought from Woolfest. We nipped into HobbyCraft on our way home and I bought a gorgeous cream metal container – looks a bit like a bin with handles, but it’s very pretty. I will use it for my washed fleece.

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Oooh, I didn’t mention – we got some more chickens! They are called Grace and Martha 😀 They are both beautiful girls with quirky personalities. Grace likes to jump on your arm and sit on your shoulder like a parrot 😀 Martha likes demanding to be let out of the run and is first out on the grass!

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Hello, Martha! Rose in the background having a drink of water and Donna striding across the run! Gorgeous Donna 😀

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Grace at the back and Martha at the front, checking out their surroundings.

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An example of Grace sitting comfortably. She roosted happily on top of my hand for ages. They didn’t get on well with Donna and Rose for a while but now they are as thick as thieves and adore each other. 😀

So there we are – just a little peek into what has been happening the last couple of months. I’m going to go now and try and finish as much of this last sleeve as possible.

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This is just the front as an example. I’ve finished front, back and one sleeve. I’m only needing to do one last sleeve and I’m done, yay! I’ve never knitted an entire jumper for myself before so I’m very pleased.

Okey dokey then, have a great night everyone!

xXx Love Kais xXx

 

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

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

Things I have achieved.

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

Things I would like to try/ achieve in 2014.

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

Patterns for 2014

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

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

JANUARY

January

FEBRUARY

February

MARCH

March

APRIL

April

MAY

May

JUNE

June 1

June 2

JULY

July 1

July 2

AUGUST 

August 1

August 2

SEPTEMBER

September

OCTOBER

October 1

October 2

NOVEMBER

November

DECEMBER

December 1

December 2

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

xXx Love Kais xXx

Hello again everyone. 

Been such a busy couple of weeks, I feel I’ve had hardly any time to myself whatsoever. I’ve worked loads of extra time at the school lately since one of the teachers is off with laryngitis. Hope she feels better soon, I’m exhausted! Haha. Lots of busy time planning and sorting out things, and because it is December very soon, lots of Christmas plans to make! Urgh, I haven’t even had the time to think about what Christmas presents I’d like to get for other people. I won’t even start until next month. 

So, what has been happening lately craft wise? 

I was helping out in the charity shop again last week, and when I walked in, what did I see? 

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Oh yes, mine immediately! I was very good however, and only picked them up once I had finished all my school work. There are some good patterns in there, and some I know my Nanny will LOVE. Even a few Alan Dart patterns in there – score! 

I get a little bored sometimes in the shop when it is quiet, so the last few times I have been there I brought my knitting along with me. I started this a few nights ago, using one of the massive Aran balls of wool blend that I had been given. 

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It is the ‘Falling Leaves Baby Blanket’ that I found on Ravelry. The designer has used cotton yarn which gives great stitch definition, but I thought wool would be nice, warm, and snuggly. 

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/leafy-baby-blanket

It is (the one I’m doing) 100 stitches per row, with a seed stitch border. Normally I hate seed stitch, but it’s working out perfectly fine. I’m worried about it being a little small, but I could always block it to see what it’s like after, and perhaps a nice, little crochet edging. Someone left a comment on the page about doing perhaps six rows of seed stitch to begin and end as it will match the sides better. As I knit on and look at the blanket, I can def. see why they would say that. Good idea. 

I’m using my gorgeous brand new needles for this blanket! I’m still so excited about these needles, they are beautiful. Someone one Ravelry was selling a case of Boyes circular needles in coloured aluminium. You know, the kinds with the detachable cables? I saw it, and just KNEW I had to have it. I messaged the seller immediately and within ten minutes – mine! 

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I’m using the 6mm ones at the moment for this lap blanket, the red ones at the bottom left. The cables get loose from the needles occasionally, but not enough to come off. Quick tighten and voila! They are so soft and smooth and I adore them. I love the fact that there are little end caps too (the little pink things in the top middle) that I can screw onto the ends of the cables, so I can use the needles later, or if I want to put them away. Beautiful. I wonder now if I can get dpns in the same mixed colours. Then I will have a case of circulars, a case of crochet hooks, and then some dpns. I’m using my circulars as straights too. 

What else? I started spinning some ‘aubergine’ coloured alpaca the other night and finished it a few hours ago. 

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100g of DK dyed alpaca. I got out some more of my own hand dyed stuff from under the stairs and quickly spun up some of that too. 

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50g of Cheviot, hand dyed – Lucky Dip! This turned into… 

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Slightly thinner than DK. When people say that their fibre decides what kind of thickness it wants to be spun, I used to think, oh, how silly. Now I know that it does happen, it does decide for itself sometimes! 

I am desperate to start dyeing up some of these silk hankies. I have plenty of oranges and reds to dye it with. Not sure if I want to dye them in full lots, or mix the colours up. I have about 100gish of hankies to dye. I might just dye them altogether. 

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A few great photos to finish this post off… 

On a cold day, we made some porridge for the chickens. Didn’t they enjoy it! 

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We also made some for Freddy. He hasn’t been quite right these past few days 😦 He started coughing the other night, and we thought it was because his collar had been pulled a little too hard once he was out on a walk. At night time he woke up three or four times just coughing, which is heart breaking to hear. He was very coughy through out the day too, but last night he was fine. And he hasn’t coughed again since I’ve been back. But the coughing was very loud, like he was choking almost, and sounded like a ‘honking.’ He wasn’t sick on any of the coughs which is good. We were going to take to him to the vets if the coughing continues but he seems right back to his beautiful, bouncy, adorable, energetic self. He is lying next to me right now, snoozing away, which I adore. 

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Right, I’d better go now, I’m so tired. It’s only twenty to nine, but feels sooooo much later! Might watch some TV shows with a cup of tea and the blanket. School tomorrow, so early night too. 

Nighty night everyone! 

xXx Love Kais xXx