Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Crafting on the go

Hello there!
So today I thought I would share with you the projects that I took with me on our recent trip. Usually long car journeys mean crochet for me but my current blanket is too big to sit on my lap in the car now and I am determined to finish it before starting another one! Of course it still came with me to work on at other times while we were away, this is where I had gotten to with it before we left...


I managed to add about five stripes to it while we were away so now I'm working on the last stripe of each color (I'm working six color repeats for this blanket). While I'm working on it I'm thinking about possible borders for it, I have a few in mind but no outright winner so far...
Earlier in the year I bought some patterns from Tin Can Knits and I plan to knit matching Antler Cardigans for my two grandsons for Christmas. The sleeves and bodies are pretty much plain stocking stitch which makes for perfect travel knitting so I decided to make a start on the smaller one. Being as Little C is quite a small dude this came together pretty quickly and I was soon up to the yoke where the interesting stuff happens! I worked through part of it but decided to leave the decreases for when we were home and I could concentrate more. It really didn't take long once we got back, would you like to see the finished cardigan? 


Because this was still sitting on the needles I couldn't start the one for his brother while we were away so I had taken something else with me as back up. The North Shore  sweater (also by Tin Can Knits) has been on my Ravelry favorites for a long time and this summer I decided it was time to do something about it. With the yarn and pattern bought it was sitting all ready and waiting for me. It is basically the same bottom up seamless construction as the Antler and Bergen cardigans or the Autumn in a Ball jumper. Plain knitting all the way up to the yoke and then some fun, a pretty Fair Isle pattern in this case. I picked a similar main color and one of the contrast colors as in the original but three different colors for the other contrasts (I'm going for autumn trees). Although it will be a while till I'm up to the yoke! While we were away I knitted the two sleeves and made a start on the body... 


Now we are home I'm trying to concentrate on projects which have a deadline (ie Christmas) in an effort to take the pressure off November and December. Well that's the theory, I'll let you know how that works out in practice! So far I have succumbed to the temptation of starting two of the patterns I bought at Yarndale - and neither of them are Christmas related!! Well I hope you have a lovely week whatever you are working on, I plan to be back here soon with a few more photos from our travels.





Friday, 13 October 2017

Exploring Yorkshire - part one

Hello there!
Today I want to share with you some of the other sights and sounds from our recent trip to the Yorkshire Dales. I had hoped to fit this all into one post but it turns out I have way too many photos for that! It's a part of the UK which I have never explored before and it turned out to be a very pretty and interesting area with lots to do. I think we will have to go back...
The Leeds and Liverpool Canal runs through Skipton (where we were staying) and we had taken our bikes with us so one morning we decided to follow the towpath for a little ways...


There were a lot more boats on the water than I had expected, many with interesting or funny names. We were too busy riding to take a lot of photos but I had to stop and snap a pic of this one...


The green, red, and gold paintwork seemed very in keeping with Middle Earth too :-) Apart from ducks and boats we passed swans at several places and even one cow standing in the water! The countryside was very pretty...


It was quite relaxing as there was no traffic to deal with and only the occasional walker or jogger to greet on the path...


 We came across quite a few locks...


...and wee stone bridges...


...and ended up going a bit further than we had planned!


The weather had also started brightening up and if we had taken a flask of coffee with us we probably would've have gone even further. On the way back we explored one of the little villages we had passed through earlier so by the time we got back to Skipton we had ridden 16 miles - definitely time for a cuppa! Later that day we walked up past Skipton Castle to explore Skipton Castle WoodsIt was very pretty with the early autumn colors glowing in the dappled sunshine...


The following day we decided to explore in nearby Malhamdale and picked a circular walk from Malham village leaving by a traditional stone clapper bridge...


The path crossed open fields before heading back into some pretty woodland and finding water once again. I loved the undulating shapes of these branches!


We followed the stream up to Janet's Foss a waterfall behind which a Faerie Queen (Janet) lived according to local legend...


We continued up the path to Gordale Scar which is one of those places where the scale of the landscape is hard to capture on a camera. The limestone cliffs really tower over you!!


You could see the effects of the dry summers this part of the world has been having recently, the waterfalls were noisy but you could see the path the water takes when they are full. 


Even so I did not fancy taking the path which continues up next to the waterfalls to the top of the cliff! This sign made me chuckle - is this an example of Yorkshire humor?!


We retraced our steps to the road and then took the alternative path up the hillside. We were heading for Malham Cove, a place I have wanted to visit for quite a while because it has inspired many works of art and literature over the years and, more recently, has been used in various films.  At the top of the cliff is an area of limestone pavement which was used in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part one and after a steady climb we caught our first glimpse of it...


Some of the rock fractures looked like the bones of giant creatures, you can see my foot at the side of this photo for scale!


Even in this windswept rocky environment plant life is fighting to emerge!


The view from the top out over the valley was amazing...


...and we decided to have our picnic lunch at this spot...


Then it was time to descend the steps on the other side, I think this must be the Year of the Stone Steps for me!


Thankfully these were much easier to navigate than the steps on Ben Wyvis (for one thing none of them moved underfoot!). At the bottom we spotted Malham Beck rising from the caves beneath the cliff...


The path followed the beck for a little ways through some beautiful countryside, looking back was pretty stunning too!


We walked down into the village of Malham where we had left the car. I loved seeing this old signpost as I remember signposts like this in the village where I grew up!  


Well I hope you have enjoyed this little trip around the Yorkshire Dales with me and will have a lovely weekend whatever you are up to!










Monday, 9 October 2017

Summer stitches

Hello there!
Before I launch into more tales from our Yorkshire trip I have a few other projects to share with you from before we went away. (The original plan was I would finish this post the week we were away but our internet was awful so that wasn't possible.) There has been a lot of yarny activity here this summer but there has been a little stitching going on in between times. I got around to finishing my little Margaret Sherry hedgehog into a wee pillow...


 I also stitched up the August Stamp from the Lizzie Kate series and finished it as a flat finish...


This was stitched on my last piece of 14 count ecru aida with the listed DMC threads (except for the pale green behind the word for which I picked a lighter green than the suggested one). I chose to leave the little brown buttons off because I didn't think they would be visible from across the room where we sit so I am saving them for another project. With these two projects my August shelf looked like this...


Hopefully next year I can add a couple more sunflower designs to the shelf but for this year I decided to focus on finishing my seaside summer stitch. You can find my original post on this back here if you want to play spot the difference between the charts, but one change I made that wasn't on either chart was to use seed beads for the bubbles...


...I just love their little faces! Here is the completed design finished into a wallhanging with fabrics from my stash...


I also made a summer tablerunner. I had a play with some of my batik scraps and came up with a simple design but one which I think lets the fabrics take center stage, it also goes very nicely with the summer wall hanging I made a couple of years back.






After this you would think I would've finished off that poor Yo-Yo Pumpkin who has been waiting patiently on my sewing table since the end of July! Instead I started a new wall hanging for the kitchen... I have more autumnal quilt patterns and magazines than for any other time of the year so I decided to pick some of my favorite parts from a variety of patterns to create a September wall hanging. So far I have cut and ironed on the applique parts and made and attached blocks and borders to complete the top...


...next I need to find some stabiliser and sew the edges of the appliques, then sandwich it, quilt it, bind it, and add the finishing touches. I hope to get this done over the next few weeks (I might need to rename this as an Autumn wallhanging seeing as September is long gone!).
Thank you for visiting with me today, I hope your week brings you lots of creative opportunities!








Friday, 6 October 2017

Yarndale bound

Hello there!
**Warning - this is going to be a very photo heavy post but I really want to share some of the sights and sounds of our recent trip with you!!**
Some of you know I have a very supportive Hubbie; where a lot of ladies have to sneak craft supplies into the house and hide them from their husbands mine is fully aware of and rarely questions the growing yarn and fabric stash upstairs. He regularly accompanies me into stores where he knows he will be asked to admire something for it's color, softness, or suitability for a project I was telling him about last week. He comes to craft shows with me as chief photographer, donkey (carrying purchases), and time keeper (as in "you might want to speed things up a bit? We've been here an hour and you've only done one row of stalls, you won't get round everything at this rate!). When we were planning holidays for the coming year and he suggested a trip to Yorkshire to coincide with Yarndale I jumped at the chance to visit the show and explore the surrounding countryside. We booked self catering accommodation in Skipton for a week and decided to split the journey in Edinburgh on the way down so as to visit with our younger son who is at university there.
Early on the Friday before Yarndale we set off and it was quite wet as we crossed the new Queensferry crossing over the Firth of Forth. I'm not usually that bothered by the architecture of bridges but I was surprised at how much I like this one and snapped lots of shots on my phone through the raindrops and windscreen wipers!


This is one of the two crossover parts between two of the towers...


On the other side I glimpsed this view of the new bridge, old road bridge, and the iconic rail bridge...


We met up with our son and decided to walk into Edinburgh city center. We visited the Scottish National Gallery and St Giles Cathedral...



The weather was improving so we walked across to The Mound with it's impressive old buildings...


It's funny what catches your eye when out exploring - pipers in full dress are not a novelty when you live where we do ;-) and I must've been one of the only people snapping a photo here trying to get the patterns on the door behind the piper instead of the piper!! 


I just love that the Edinburgh School of English has the unicorn for it's symbol! (This is probably because the unicorn is Scotland's national animal.)


We had a nice catch up with our son and the next morning we continued our drive South...


We made good time to Skipton and decided to go for a little explore before finding our evening meal. We spotted Coopers Cafe Bar, known to readers of Attic24 for it's hot chocolate and because Lucy has her studio upstairs...


It's the window with the little white flowers around the edge and for the Yarndale weekend Lucy had invited anyone who was interested to pop in and look round her studio. I couldn't resist! As it was not long till closing time there was noone else up there but I think it had been a lot busier earlier in the day! Here's a little peak...


We walked on up to Aireville Park and started to see some signs of yarny activity...





It was definitely time for supper now so we headed back to the town center and our little home for the week. The next morning we decided to walk the mile across Skipton to the Auction Mart even though it was down one hill and up another. Here I am crossing the canal and trying to contain my excitement at getting close!


Closer to the Mart we saw the amazing yarn bombed bollards by Thirsk Yarnbombers...





...the beautiful Mandala Hoops hanging in the trees...


... and the yarn canal...


Yes that is a yarnbombed caravan at the end of the canal! You know you've found your "tribe" when you compliment the inhabitants on their yarnbombed van and get the response "you can squish it if you like!" !!! It's a lot more 3D than it appears in this photo so I did ;-)


New for this year from the group who made the yarn canal was the yarn meadow...


So much to see before we even made it through the doors! 
In the Hub there was the famous bunting...


(This was snapped as we left at the end of the day, it was chock full of people when we arrived!). There were also the adorable knitted and crocheted sheep mascots...


...and this year's creative community display Creative Hearts which raised £1227.46 for the mental health charity Mind...


Apart from all the amazing stalls inside the Mart there was Hester's Giant Mandala - 14ft across and absolutely stunning! Apparently it took three people to lift it into position!


An amazing amount of socks in the Sock Line...



There was also the display of smaller mandalas...


...and during the afternoon the Giant Swaledale Sheep arrived!!


It was an absolutely amazing experience, without a doubt the friendliest and most inspiring show I've been to and if you ever get the chance to go I would highly recommend it!!! Color, skeins and skeins of hand dyed yarn, fiber, fabric, weaving, spinning, crochet, knitting, and did I mention COLOR! Everywhere you looked!!! The stallholders and designers were so helpful and friendly, amongst others I had lovely chats with Anniken AllisAnn KingstoneChristine Perry (Winwick Mum), Helen from Ripples Crafts, and Lucy from Attic24! So were there some purchases? You know there were!!!


All the yarn is 4ply sock yarn (with the exception of the white which is the softest merino I've ever touched!) but the two blue skeins from Ripples Crafts are not going to become socks - watch this space! I bought two books of patterns I have been drooling over since they were published (Stranded Knits by Ann Kingstone, and Yokes by Kate Davies), Christine's Simple Rib Socks pattern, a mitten pattern by Anniken Allis, and a cowl pattern by Purl Alpaca. I found some thinner yarn needles for darning in ends on finer projects (which I have been looking for for ages!), a tiny 25cm long circular needle for knitting socks, and a tunisian crochet hook. I have been looking at some tempting tunisian blanket patterns online and a really lovely lady (whose name I didn't catch) taught me how to do a basic tunisian crochet stitch when I asked her how hard it was - this is what I mean about lovely folks at Yarndale!! I treated myself to a Flora the sheep canvas tote bag which makes me smile a ridiculous amount every time I look at it, but the find of the show for me was the book in the center of the photo above. It is The Art of Fair Isle Knitting by Ann Feitelson, a book I have borrowed from the library 4 times because it is now sadly out of print. I have hunted everywhere for a second hand copy of this book in recent years and never managed to find an affordable one (I really can't drop +£40 on a book) but then at Yarndale I spotted it!!! Sitting amongst the selection of preloved knitting books on the Ida's House stall - I couldn't believe my eyes!!! Then when the lovely lady told me it was only £5 I nearly fell over!!! She reckoned it was sitting there waiting for me and I have to agree, inside it is the original sale reciept and it is made out to a Helen! (I laid a yarn peg over her address)


I still have to pinch myself that I finally have my own copy of this book and I am so looking forward to knitting some of the projects from within it's pages. Overall Yarndale was so inspiring, and I have been feeling a very strong urge to knit and crochet all the beautiful things now ever since I walked out the doors! I will save what I have actually been up to for another post but I hope you have a happy and creative weekend wherever this finds you :-)