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

 

 

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

Hey everyone,

It has been soooo lovely having a few days off work! I am going down to two days a week at work since my contract has almost finished. I’m going to miss the work but I am really looking forward to a few relaxing, stress free days!

I went up to Ayr last week and had a few days there since the schools were on holiday. We didn’t do much since it seemed to rain constantly. When we braved going outside it was just for a walk round the shops. The weather was kinda  poor and it got really windy at one point. My first thought was, ‘Typical! Bet the trains will be cancelled/delayed!’ On the line I use, it constantly seems to get cancelled due to flooding. I know, I know, better safe than sorry, right?

I treated myself to a few nice things from woolwarehouse.com. I had been reading Attic24’s lovely blog (check her out – awesome!) and I saw a beautiful, sunny blanket that she had made. I immediately found out what she used and ordered a pack, along with a few sneaky extras…

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Aren’t the colours lovely? If you can see them of course, I’m aware the photo is not the best it can be. I started off by doing the middle of the squares first, all sixteen of them. Then the next round.

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Then the next round!

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I even did a bit on the train going home. But that is normal for me. It would be odd if I DIDN’T have my crochet/knitting with me.

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I think I was watching Men Behaving Badly. When I got home I started on putting in the bright, beautiful colours. It took a little while, but it was relaxing and I loved picking out the right colours for each row. I’ve only made one square but I hope to get some more rows done tonight.

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When it has been blocked it will look much better. There are ‘cold’ colours on the right side and ‘warm’ colours on the right. I am dreading them sewing up of the ends hidden at the back right now…

… So it is a good thing I bought some of these!

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I saw these on a FB group post and thought that they were a fantastic idea! They can be used at both ends meaning that you can weave even the smallest ends in without panicking that the needle won’t turn anymore. They are a little flimsy, but I think that they do the job perfectly well.

I also bought some teddy bear bits and pieces. I’m hoping to get some teddies made during my free time, so I bought a load of eyes and noses.

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I also purchased some teddy bear joints on eBay. I would have bought them from Woolwarehouse but they didn’t stock any unfortunately.

I’ve done a few rows more on my CAL blankets. They are slow going (due to only 6-10 rows only being released every two weeks) but I don’t mind. It keeps my interest going in them. This weeks is a bit dull because we are doing basketweave stitch, which I’m not a major fan of. Oh well, it’s a learning curve, right. I couldn’t do it before, now I can! I did start another CAL blanket but I’m finding it really, really boring so I might quickly frog it before I change my mind. I don’t like giving up!

Ooh,  I have been super busy designing things lately… I am a massive fan of a certain radio show and have been creating a large throw using this genre. I am have managed to add in characters and scenery and words. I had most of the yarn needed to begin the project and added in a couple more colours when I went shopping in Glasgow a couple of weeks ago.

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I’m really pleased with them. I have all of the charts completed now. You can only see four out of nine charts in this picture. I am going to put it on Ravelry when I have finished. I don’t know if other people will like it, but we shall see! Because Old Harry’s Game is a comic radio show about the underworld I am using lots of fire colours. I wasn’t going to put a backing to it, but I saw this amazing fire polycotton mix in Remnant Kings in Glasgow for only £3.99 a metre. I had to buy it! I’m hoping it will fit well onto the back. What do you think?

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I have an awful lot of crochet to do by the seems of it!

I have also managed to squeeze in a little bit of spinning. Some of a Manx Laughton fleece from Woolfest 2015. It’s nice and soft and easy to spin.

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It’s looking a bit unevenly spun but once it has plyed it will sort itself out. It smells lovely too. Using shampoo and conditioner on a fleece really makes it nice, haha!

I made Mum a hat for her birthday using a fairly popular pattern at the moment – the Baa-ble Hat. I used Drops Karisma for the sky and grass and acrylic for the sheep and extra bits.

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(Yep, I’ve just finished knitting it on the train!) Mum was really pleased with it and wears it to work and when out all the time! I want to knit another one sometime. Someone at the camera club wants me to knit him a star themed one. I’ll have to see what colours I have first.

Last crafty thing – embroidery. Now, I have never embroidered in my life. I’ve done cross-stitch and tapestry, but never embroidery. I was very kindly given a load of old crafting and needlecraft magazines, some of which still had their free kits attached. These magazines were from 1992, so fairly old! They are very useful (the magazines) and one has an article on beginning bobbin lace making, so I am keeping that one out for future reference. I WILL learn how to do that this year!

This kit showed you how to make a Dorset button and some simple stitches. The needle had rusted completely so I had to replace that.

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I really enjoyed the process and it is something I would do again. I’m going to have a dig through the kits and see if there are any more like this.

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I put it into the card provided and will give it to my Nanny. She likes gardening so I hope she likes this card. I’ll be sending it to her this week.

I got this lovely  book from one of my little brothers for Christmas.

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I’ve been using it as a craft diary and using it to write down all the things I have made and all the things I want to make. It has little notes, diagrams and achievements. I even stick in little fabric samples, etc. It is great when you are travelling and suddenly have an awesome craft idea. I also use the back of it to note down what crafty things I have bought this year. Hopefully with the idea of using them up by the end of the year. I’m a terrible craft hoarder! But we all are, right? Right??

Well, I’m off to do some crochet and read some more blogs. Feel free to comment, I love hearing from you!

Have a great night,

xXx Love Kais xXx

 

Hello everyone.

It’s a funny day here. Sun trying to come out through the clouds, lots of threats of rain and clammy weather. When the sun does come out it’s very, very bright!

So, what’s been happening? I mentioned in my last post that A was getting a flat in Ayr. It doesn’t look the prettiest from the outside but inside it’s wonderful! It’s big and airy and the rooms are a fantastic size. This flat has EVERYTHING in it that he could ever need, including (very pretty!) plates, cutlery, cleaning products, all kitchen equipment, furniture, etc. When I first saw it the only things that concerned me were that the fire alarm did not work (so we got a new one straight away), the fridge wasn’t quite right and the hot water was non-existent. We soon discovered that the water was heated by a Merser heater so once we got that figured out it was all ok. Oh, and the electric key did not work which meant trips to two different Spar shops to get the right one done. But when it was done, we could relax…

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This is one of my favourite pictures of the flat… can you guess why?! I pretty much finished the blanket! I’ve managed to do two and a half rounds on the border which is great so next time I’m there I’ll try and get some more done. But for now, it’s a useable, bright blanket which cheers me up when I see it. A was very pleased when he saw it as I’d been promising him for ages that I would get the blanket done for when he gets a flat. When I saw the bed for the first time I waited until A was in the kitchen before I quickly put the blanket on, ready to surprise him when he walked back in. Big smiles!

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The kitchen is lovely too, wooden cupboards with a teeny dining set of two chairs in there. I’ll have to put a photo up later.

I had an hours wait in Kilmarnock before I got to Ayr which I was a bit fed up about really – who wants to wait an hour for a connecting train with just a sit in a waiting room? However, when I got there the really nice station guard offered to let me keep my suitcase in the station office so I could go for a wander. (The suitcase was huge!) I was very pleased to do so and thanked him a lot. I then took a little wander into the town, which isn’t even two minutes away and into a Wetherspoons. It was a lovely day so I ordered a cup of tea and went to sit in the sheltered outside bit. It was lovely with the sun shining and barely a breeze. I continued working on A’s blanket for about thirty minutes, listening to horror stories on my phone.

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Idyllic really.

I got to Ayr about half elevenish and took a leisurely stroll to his new flat. He was already there, helping the removals van man take all the stuff upstairs so I was quite happy to get there myself. This is a view from one of the bridges I passed.

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Just behind this bridge is another footpath bridge into the town, directly opp. the set of flats.

I gave him a card my Mum had been busy working on the night before – she had made him an amazing Minecraft card! Unfortunately I do not have a picture of the card because it was great and you should have seen it 😀

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So, what else have I been up to then, craft wise?

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This was just a quick Minnie Mouse crochet hat. It didn’t take too long to make at all. I think it is a six month plus size. I didn’t have a clue how to tie the ties on properly but I have an idea now. Oh well, just a trial run!

I also finished this little hat, and here it is blocking on a towel. I really like how the cables turned out.

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It is made with a cotton/linen blend. I’d make another few, definitely. I have another ball and three quarters of this left. I think perhaps some cabled leg warmers might make a nice match? And some mittens too.

I’ve started on another little cardigan too. I can’t resist baby cardigans! This one has lots of different cables and it’s a bit different for me because it’s using a chart. I’m finding it is actually working ok and I haven’t gotten into any trouble with it yet. I’m using 100% acrylic yarn and it’s lovely and soft.

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What do you think?

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Let’s see how this one works out.

I was looking at my little (!) fleece stash and saw my Wensleydale X sack. I grabbed a good handful of wool and have decided to give it a wash and perhaps dye some. I’ve never worked with long curly fibre like this before so it shall be an interesting experience.

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One of the fleece inspectors having a good look!

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Look at the lovely, crimpy locks! Bet these are heavenly to spin.

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Longer than my hand! Granted I don’t have very big hands, but wow!

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And here they all are, ready for their bath.

They have just had their second soak now, using shampoo and hot, hot, hot water. I’d better take them out as the water will probably have cooled more than I wanted it too. It keeps threatening to rain so I’m not sure they will be dried today as I would have liked. I shall let you know how I get on with these.

Have a great day everyone!

xXx Love Kais xXx