Wow, it’s been a while! I used to be pretty good at keeping up with my blog posts but I haven’t done many crafts in a while really. I have been busy though, that’s a good enough excuse, right? I haven’t even been on WordPress checking out everyones blogs.

Well, first things first. I moved house! Me and A have finally got a house together!!! It’s in the village where I live, only five minutes walk from my parents house. It’s a decent sized house, good sized kitchen and living room and two bedrooms. The downstairs hall is really big and that is where the chinchillas live in their large cages. Plenty of room for everyone! I’m glad the two cats get on well enough with them. There was a bit of climbing on cages to begin with but they seem to have settled that down now. The chinchillas (especially Molly) have started trying to bite them though the cage if they get too close now. I’m glad they are sticking up for themselves!

I’ve done a bit of knitting and completed my seafoam stitch blanket. I know I mentioned it in this blog a while ago, but not sure when.

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It is pretty big! I was going to do a border around it but I found once I sewed up the ends I really liked the way it looked. It fits the bottom of a double bed like a runner or fits nicely on the top of a single bed. It’s pretty heavy!

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I really like the stitch definition.

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I am so pleased with this one! This was the Groovyghan CAL and I was so excited to finish it. There were two or three parts I did not join in with (the long pieces right across the blanket) as I liked the small parts that I needed to sew together. (Sssh, I LOVE the sewing up part, just not sewing up the ends!)

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It’s really nice and warm and fits across the double bed. I’ve managed to sew in half the ends at the back and boy, did that take a loooong time! You can see the ends sticking out from the unsewn half.

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The look quite small, but are pretty warm and sizeable. The crochet blanket that is underneath is one I actually bought from a charity shop a few months ago. It was dumped into the box for dog blankets. Not saying that dogs don’t deserve a beautiful blanket (I LOVE my dogs) but this one was stunning. It looked brand new (just made) and it seemed such a shame that someone had crocheted something so beautiful and it was just dumped in a charity shop. I bought it for the massive price of £2. It completely covers the double bed and it sooo warm, especially on these cold nights. Thank you to whoever made it, it’s well loved!

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Here are my lovely hand-made blankets. Think we shall be warm this Winter! I’m missing my other sewn one, a mini picnic blanket.

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Lovely and warm!

Right, I’m off to go and read a few Golden Hands magazines (remember them??) and then eagerly wait for ‘The Missing’ to come on BBC1.

Have a great night!

xXx Love Kais xXx

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

 

 

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

It’s certainly been a while since I lasted posted. The longest gap yet I think. I have had a few reasons for this though. First is that I was in Germany for a month. Gosh… that doesn’t seem real really. It was only a few weeks ago I came back and it hardly feels like I was there at all. I miss it so much, but I know I will be back there one day. Maybe next year, if I am lucky.

Here are a couple of my favourite photos.

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Koln am Rhein. This bridge was very long – the Hohenzelle Brucke. Absolutely stunning. If you lean over the side you can see the ships and boats going underneath. The first few times that I saw it, the bridge was pretty empty except for a few tourists. The next time I went it was so busy I could barely move! I love the idea of the locks on the bridge. You put the name of your lover or loved ones on the bridge. You lock the padlocks (which are engraved or written on) and then throw the keys into the water below. This symbolises ever lasting love. (Apparently, if you split up, you have to dive into the water to retrieve the keys). I, of course, had to join in this beatiful tradition.

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Me and my boyfriend, my parents, my beautiful, beautiful dogs, and above, my wonderful family 🙂 I took a photo of the surrounding area and the number above the bridge so I can hopefully find them the next time.

Here is a quick picture of me on the way back home (after a 24 hour bus journey!!) I was almost home… I look so tired.

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If you would like to see some more photos of the Cologne trip you can view them here –

https://adventuresincologne.wordpress.com/

I created a little blog so I could show the photos to my family whilst I was away. I was there for a month but have only sixteen days worth of photos up. I need to get around doing the rest later.

I saw some beautiful craft shops in Germany, and the craft book section in Mayersche book store was beautiful. They sold sewing patterns too.

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I loved this sign on a clothes shop window!

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Knit Club!

I bought a fantastic crochet book from Mayersche shop. It is a pattern book for a really cute set of dolls with an entire wardrobe.

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It was E12,99, which is kind of expensive. Ah, who am I kidding, it IS expensive. I worked out though, it was the same price if I had bought it online at home. I think it works out to about £9/10. The illustrations are so pretty. As soon as I got home I found out my favourite Patons Smoothie yarn and started. (After I had translated several of the instructions). It didn’t take me too long to create the basic doll.

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After that I created some mini pants (whilst watching The Apprentice. Anybody been watching the UK Apprentice show? Last one was horrendous, was so annoyed with it) and then a little jacket.

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I haven’t done any features on the face apart from a teeny yarn nose. I think she is cute. And it gives me a great excuse to buy some more Patons Smoothie. I cannot rate that yarn highly enough!

Mum had bought back my jumper knitting project from my Nans house and it was waiting for me in my room when I got back. It didn’t take me too long to finish the sleeve and sew it up. It was a little too tight the first sleeve I sewed, so I unpicked it and sewed it as loose as possible. Still a bit tight but wearable. I love it.

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I had planned on knitting some socks when I was away but never got around to doing them. I started them a week ago and have them finished. I’m wearing them right now actually.

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I used Sirdar Crofter yarn that I had been given ages ago. I used Silvers Sock Class tutorial to make these.

http://www.cometosilver.com/socks/

Absolutely fantastic tutorial for anyone who would like to learn how to knit socks, either on four needles, two at a time toe up or one sock at a time on circular needles. I think I can remember how to do it without a tutorial now which is really helpful. This is my second two at a time toe up socks on circular needles. Invaluable. I don’t think I would like to knit socks singly anymore, haha.

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I added a bit of cabling and a picot edge bind off. The cabling was my own design. Not fantastic, but I like it. It might have worked better on non stripy yarn.

I bought some mini Christmas decorations back from Aldi in Germany. They were E2,99 and you could make six little people from it. It had an awful lot in the pack!

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I love the little knitted hats. I did a bit of one and Mum did the rest. They look so cute! She put our initials on each of the angels.

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They are hanging on a little tree in our hallway at the moment. They look so pretty. I need to get a photo of that.

The following pictures are of the little project I finished today. I fell in love with it when I saw the pattern online. It did not take too long to make and I want to make loads!

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I then put it on Christina doll.

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Haha, I love it. The pom pom took aggges. I haven’t made one in such a long time!

Anyway, I’d better go. Here are a few pictures of my babies… I was so happy to see them again. I couldn’t believe how much I missed them. It’s Alfies birthday today too, exactly one year old! Happy Birthday Alfie!

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Alfie fell asleep like this…

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Gorgeous boys together. Love you Freddy and Alfie.

Have a great night 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 –

Chicken Run 2

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!

Boys

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