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!

These past few weeks have been completely fleece and fibre full!  I’ve been literally counting down the days to the most amazing wool festival on Earth – Woolfest. I’ll be creating a blog post on it later. I did buy a few fleeces though, which you will see further down the post.

It’s also been the end of school for this year, until after summer of course. The last week has been hectic, getting decorations and displays down, sorting out school work and sending it home. The kids have had fun though and so have I. I look forward to my new class but I’ll miss this class a lot too. I took my spinning wheel in for the last day and they LOVED it. Even the boys couldn’t wait to have a go and were impatiently waiting in line to try using the treadle. Hopefully they might want to try it when they are older too!

Ok, so lets have a look at the fleecy photos then!

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This first photo is actually a Zwartbles fleece that was given to me by some very kind Zwartbles farmers. I cannot believe how HUGE the fleece is. The tub at the back is full of good stuff taken from it already, as well as all the fleece lying on the table! I’m using my Dad’s shed to sort it out – it’s a lot better skirting it on the table as my back aches horribly when it is lying on the floor. You can just see my Dad in the left hand side of the picture. I think he enjoys skirting and sorting the fleece just as much as me! You can watch the chickens from the window on the right.

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Photo in action!

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An entire fleece in the tub – it’s pretty squished in there.

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After that, I found some pillow cases and decided to name each fleece rather than just giving it a number. They all have girls names, except the male fleece, which is now named Rupert. Those pillow cases take an awful lot of fleece! However, Ruperts fleece took two cases, it was that big!

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Here are some carded batts, some from the Zwartbles (front) and the others from a Ryeland fleece I’ve had hanging around for a while now. I amaze myself how much fleece I have crammed in this house – I surprise myself sometimes! These have been through the carder only once, so definitely need going through again.

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Grr, I’m annoyed with myself that I cannot remember the name of this fleece. But it is MASSIVE. I bought this one to card and dye.

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This teeny one is a North Ronaldsay. I had been looking at these fleeces at Woolfest but they all seemed pretty horrible, dirty and greasy. Mum found this one and we checked it out on the fleece table. It was a lot better than others and was cheap, so I bought it. When I checked it out later in the shed it was actually pretty damn good! Hardly any vm, or too much grease or in need of much, if any skirting. I was seriously impressed. Thanks Mum! I look forward to washing and spinning this. I won’t be dyeing it, the colours are gorgeous enough as they are.

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This is a Shetland X (I think!) If not, it is a Zwartbles. Either way, the Shetland X was beautiful and very little vm or anything. It was very nice and soft. I bought several Shetland fleeces, mostly white.

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This little clump of fleece is Leicester Longwool/Wensleydale – I think! (Why didn’t I write the name of the stall down?! Ooh, maybe I can check the Woolfest map, I vaguely remember where it was). It isn’t very good at the bottom, but I got a whole bag of curls from this which I plan on dyeing later. The bit that is felted at the bottom – I plan on washing this, dyeing it in lots of pretty colours and making a cushion with a sheep on it. The sheep will have these dyed curls for its fleece.

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And this little lot is 200g of Hebridean fleece. Now, me and Hebridean fleece do not normally get on. I am hoping (and hoping!) that I can wash and card this successfully and actually spin it. I find it greasy and horrible normally so I hope it works. I actually found a Hebridean fleece in the shed the other day and put some into soak. I still need to move it from the bathroom . . . Fingers crossed it works!

I have lots and lots more to say, but I won’t put it all in one blog post. Hope you enjoyed looked at the fleecy photos – I’m looking forward to working with it properly.

Have a great day everyone. 🙂

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

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

 

It’s been a long time since I’ve written a blog post and I don’t have much of an excuse for not doing so. I feel quite demotivated at the moment which hinders my writing. Anyway, I’ve managed to gather up all my photos for a pretty long post, so here goes.

Sarah-Jane

I’m very sad to say that my beautiful girl Sarah-Jane died on Saturday 12th April. She had been absolutely fine in the morning when I went to shut them in the run as we were going to town for a few hours. I had been in a great mood when I got back and I did what I always do. I let the dogs out and I went to hop over the mesh to let the chickens out the run and I saw her.

I truly believe she had had a heart attack, but the most upsetting thing was that I found her in the water bowl. (Their water bowl is a rectangular tub). I think she had died on the spot and fallen in, but in my shock I was thinking she had drowned so I was very, very distressed about it. Her top layer of feathers was dry so she didn’t struggle, she looked like she had just fallen asleep in the water, so I’m hoping she didn’t know anything about it. The other chickens had left her alone so I’m glad about that. We buried her at the bottom of the garden with the other animals. It’s a nice spot and in the grass where she loved being. We had a very happy eight or nine months together and I’m very glad that we were able to give her the loving home she was denied at such a young age. The fact that battery chickens are still allowed disgusts me and I would love to get them all banned.

I love the above picture of Sarah-Jane. She looks very peaceful and beautiful with all her feathers. When she first came she had no back or tail feathers or front feathers to speak of.

We still have our beautiful girls Donna and Rose.

Chickens

I love my girls to bits, I really do. I think some people can’t understand how much they mean to me. Since Sarah-Jane has passed we are going to rehome another two hens. We are undecided on their names yet, but I think they will be Grace and Martha. (More Dr Who companions!) I’m excited to get some more girls. We will be getting them perhaps a day or two after they have been taken from the farms, so the poor girls will be pretty traumatised. I hope my two show them that there is nothing to be afraid of and that they will love their forever home. They will certainly be spoiled! Donna and Rose were happy when I bring them out cooled baked potatoes. I always pop an extra one or two in the oven for the girls.

We have been thinking about making a new chicken run at the bottom of the garden. Their run is great for them just now, but it hasn’t got any grass patches. I’ll show you what I mean.

Chicken Run

They have quite a big yard to be in and the whole of the side of the shed. (It’s pretty big!) They can scratch and dig around for things in the dirt and stones which they love. There is an old ladder in there and they love jumping up onto the rungs (the ladder is on its side). I enjoy watching them have dirt baths because they look so content. I’d love for them to have some grassy areas to play in and I do take them down the garden occasionally. We are thinking of turning this area into a run –

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We have a door frame already made up from when we had a chicken house years ago. I am thinking of making a squarish run with mesh all around it and on the roof. Ideally I would love to make two or three little pyramid ‘arks’ to put in the run so we could leave the chickens there all day. They would have these arks in the run so they could lie down in them, lay an egg, rest in the shade, etc. And they would have the whole of the run to play in during the day. (And it would mean I could possibly have another couple of chickens!) It’s certainly a big project! I’d even make the arks too, I’d love to do that. I’m really enjoying the whole idea of self sufficiency. (Though I couldn’t live without TV or Internet, so I don’t think TOTAL self sufficiency is my thing just yet, haha). We have a huge garden so even a large run wouldn’t take up too much room. I think it would be lovely to sit there in the summer and listen to them softly clucking away.

So, the first week of the half term holidays A and I went to Blackpool! It was our first ever holiday away together and we loved it! We bought a Big Ticket and got into six attractions for £45 each. Expensive, yes, but if we had gone into them individually it would have cost £90 each! We went to Blackpool Circus (no animals, just very clever humans!!), Blackpool Tower (wowww! I even walked on the glass floor!), Blackpool Dungeons (scary but fun!), Madame Tussauds (a wax works exhibition), Blackpool Tower Ballroom (just beautiful, I’d love to get married in here!), and the Sea Life Centre ( I could stay in here all day). We stayed at the usual Guest House my family stay in, a wonderful place. The hosts are so accommodating and lovely, and it’s like meeting old friends when we see them.

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We were pretty lucky the weather was nice and bright during our stay. Look at the wonderful clean beach and the views! And yes, you may have noticed I’m standing on the edges of the glass floor and not the floor itself :p I did eventually walk across it though and do have photos as proof! The views were amazing. (Gosh, my feet are STILL tingling looking at those pictures!)  The top picture is in Madame Tussauds next to the figures of The Two Ronnies.

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Isn’t the ballroom just beautiful? There is always an organ playing whenever you go in. The guy plays lots and lots of music and it’s beautiful to listen to when having scones and cream and jam! I love that place.

There is A sitting in front of the figures of Andy and Lou from ‘Little Britain.’ Ever seen that? Hilarious 😀 Lou looks very upset that A dares to sit in front of his chair!

We mostly spent our time wandering in the town, around the arcades and on the pier. Oh… and that meal. We wanted to go out for a meal to finish off our holiday. Instead of rewriting about it, I’ll copy and paste the tripadvisor review. I was not a happy bunny.

My boyfriend and I wanted to go for a nice meal to round off what had been a lovely holiday in Blackpool. I had wanted to go to this place for ages. We chose what we wanted on the menu (myself – steak and ale pie with chips, peas and gravy, bf – hotdog and chips with coleslaw, mustard and sauce). We were told that there were no peas with the meal. Disappointing but ok. I would have thought they would have offered something else in place, e.g. carrots or whatever, but no. It took a very long time to arrive and when it finally did (even though there were perhaps two families in the entire place) it was luke warm at most. I literally had a handful of chips and a piece of pie on the plate and that was it. We had to go and ask for the gravy which arrived cold. My bfs meal was just as boring and came without the coleslaw! I don’t understand how such a simple meal order was not followed through. We ended up leaving most of the meal because it was awful. We will not be returning there again. 
We thought this place was like a Wetherspoons with the cheap prices, but clearly not. Wetherspoons give good, filling, HOT meals whereas this place gives the opposite. Terrible.

Ah well, the rest of the holiday was great! There is a wonderful wool shop just around the corner from the guesthouse and I always make sure its one of the first shops we go into. The first time I went in it with A he got bored VERY quickly so I just had a quick look and went back on my own later. Here is what I bought.

Purchases

I bought the stuff in the top right corner. Just some sewing bits and pieces. I also bought some teddy bear eyes and limb socket thingies. I want to try them out the next time I make a teddy. I haven’t been able to find them anywhere else and they were really cheap from this place. Urgh, why can’t this shop have a website?! No matter, I’ll stock up again later!

All the wool on the left hand side was part of a bulk deal someone was doing on FB. 50 balls of wool for £40 delivered. It did take a long time to arrive (due to lack of organisation on their side I think – but they did have A LOT of orders) but I was thrilled when I got it. The colours are better in real life. I’ve already started making an entrelac blanket with a few of the colours (one thing to tick off on my New Years list!)

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It’s a lot easier than I though. I’ve started a blue on it now, and then will be going onto dark grey. I’ll put photos up later. The middle right picture shows some very pretty fat quarters I bought from a charity shop for £1 each! Beautiful colours. I’ve no plan for them just yet but the fact they were £1 I had to buy them. And the bottom right shows the fun fur fabric I bought to make some bunny rabbits. I bought a lovely sewing pattern book from a charity shop in Blackpool and am determined to work my way through them. The pictures are beautiful. Last night I copied out the patterns onto grease proof paper, cut them out and am waiting until later to pin them together and sew them. I just need to finish making the skirt pieces for the clothes.

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I’m making the bunny on the bottom right. She is so pretty!

Ahhh… something I am very proud to show you next!

Dress

I made my first ever dress! I spent a long time trying to find some nice (cheap!) material to make a lovely McCalls pattern with. I found some in the local town and bought everything I needed. It took me a long time to pin out the patterns as I’m used to working with far smaller pieces. I made them seam allowance smaller (and I’m glad I did) and I made the zip bold red to match the top part of the dress. I have got buttons to go down the side of the dress but I’m not sure if I will put them on or not. I need to hem the bottom too. What do you think? Ok for a first attempt? It’s a size 12 and fits perfectly. I was so glad because I would have cried after all that work and it didn’t fit!

Fleece

I decided to get the last full fleece out from under the stairs and start working on it. It was a hot day so it was perfect. Look at the siz of the thing! I managed to get it sorted into four bags – best, middle, rough and bin. I wonder why it took me so long…

Fleece 2

The fleece was really yellow in some places but after a good hot wash it came out fluffy white. I haven’t needed to card it or anything which I’m really glad about. It just means I can start spinning straight away. I’ve spun almost a full bobbin. As I have that much I’m just spinning until two bobbins are full and then ply them together. The bobbin on the right is my attempt at spinning in the grease. It was … ok, but not something I’d particularly want to do again. I much prefer working with washed fleece.

Luxury wool

I gathered up all of my handspun wool and took a photo of it for a blog post I did for Woolmakers. If you want to read it, the link is here –

http://www.woolmakers.com/blogs/almost-year-bliss/

The last to skeins I spun are on the left. One is a silk and llama mix I THINK, and the other one is superfine camel. I hated doing the silk mix but quite enjoyed the camel one. Overall I think I much prefer working with wool than any other fibre. But I don’t know, maybe I just haven’t found the ‘right’ luxury fibre for me? But no matter because I LOVE WOOL! 😀

Ah well, I think I’ve pretty much finished the blog post for now. Just a few pictures left to round it off. 🙂

My beautiful boys. Isn’t Alfie getting bigger so quickly!

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A quick picture of my gorgeous Patsy.

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She was enjoying time out of her cage in the hamster run. I put an old T-Shirt in there and she spent ages burrowing round in it. Fred was most puzzled seeing this old T-Shirt move!

And I know I usually finish with a picture of my baby Freddy but today I thought I would end with this. I don’t think it needs much explaining but here goes. This picture was taken in Blackpool in one of those photo machines. I’ve never done this before and it was something I always wanted to try. We got a set of two, so I took one and A took one. I love how happy we look in the photos and I always want to remember that moment. I want this photo to be something I look back on when we are both together and have grown old. I want this photo to be something our children one day see. It might sound soppy and silly but it’s just a little something special 🙂

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Anyway, I must go now. I have letters of application to write for various jobs I’m applying to. Wish me luck, I think I need it!

xXx Love Kais xXx