Monday, 30 June 2014

A good weekend was had by all

Good morning good people.

Are you well? 

What a week!

I paid the price for forging on last weekend. I went to work on Monday and was utterly exhausted. By the end of the day I had nothing left at all. I took Tuesday off sick and didn't go to a meeting I had planned on Wednesday. I slept for near enough two days. I felt basically human again come Wednesday night. Note to self - when you're sick, give up and go to bed when your body tells you! Else it's much worse in the long run! 

Thursday I went back to work and Friday was the start of Woolfest! The tenth anniversary year was a great one. Lovely stalls and lovely people. 

I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I meant to. The two days seemed to pass me by! Friday was my day. I helped the organisers through the day, but essentially I could go where my heart pleased. I watched the rare breed parade commentated on by Peter Titley who is the president of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust; a man passionate about the preservation of our native breeds of sheep. It was lovely to see the variety of sheep who live on our shores. I may have seriously thought if it was possible to slip out with a Hebridean! 

I mean?! Why wouldn't you?! They're so small and cute!! Those horns might scratch if you're sneaking out with one under your jumper though!

My friends arrived on Friday night ready to hit Woolfest hard on Saturday. We watched the shearing demonstration first, there was so much knowledge and expertise in that ring. Wonderful to watch. 
Then a quick bite of lunch - Herdwick mutton kofta- yum! Then more helping out. One of my jobs was to help at an auction. Woolfest visitors where asked to craft an animal which bears fibre to donate to the auction. Proceeds went to the Allerdale Red Squirrel Society. I'm never doing it again!!! I ended up buying two lots!! A lovely massam brooch and a lazy camel! Still, it's for a good cause. We raised about £700! 

Social media has been awash with folk showing their haul this weekend. Mine is really rather tame! I wanted an Alien spindle. It's a cunning modular spindle system. The one I bought is 3D printed and 
very light weight. It comes with 3 whorls a shaft and 3 "bobbins". I love the colourful nature of the 
kit and although it doesn't spin for very long, I'm enjoying it. The other thing I wanted was a mini Turkish spindle. I found one at IST. It can best be described as a thing of beauty. I didn't want fibre. I've got loads at home that I really need to work through. But when you've just bought 2 new spindles you need to try them out then and there, yes?!  So I went to Hilltop Cloud and bought one of her tiny batt bumps. A snap at £3 - just enough fibre to play with and not have to wrestle with a huge batt or a long braid. On the boring front, I needed a drive band for my Kiwi. I also vowed that I didn't need yarn. FAIL!! I bought a lovely skein of Titus from BaaRamEwe along with a pattern for lovely mittens, and a skein of Teasdale lace weight from the Yarn Garden. Beautiful yarn to make beautiful things. Snag is I want to cast them all on NOW!!
I also bought a button. Just the one. It's made from African ox horn and it's stunning. I bought it in the vain hope it inspires me to cast Hana Hou back on!

As hauls go , I thinks it's really rather tame!

The best thing as ever about Woolfest are the people. I met up with Joanne and her husband. They had travelled all the way from Oregon. They are lovely people and I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with them. I was so worried that Woolfest wouldn't hold it's own against the big American fibre shows. Joanne assured me she enjoyed her trip. I hope to be able to stay in touch with her. 

This isn't the best photo in the world - my 11 year old was in charge! Ah well!

Feeling the love -

The virus from hell sapped all my mojo for the majority of the week, but a lot of my projects seem to have grown recently so I'll update you with photos. 

Ben's second pair of socks have proven to be a disaster. I cast off the first sock on Saturday evening and it doesn't fit. It's way too tight. Give me strength. The last pair I knit him, I increased to 60 stitches and they are too baggy. So this time I increased to 56. FAIL!!! I'll continue with the second sock and then give them away to some slim footed person! 

Also getting attention recently is the sock yarn blanket. In all fairness, it's seen the most action. The other day, when breathing seemed to take way too much effort, I faffed about and made 3 huge balls of sock yarn. I was sick of all my odds and sods falling out of my project bag so I magic knotted almost all of them into 3 gigantic balls. I've nearly finished one this week. It's starting to look really rather pretty. I'm happy with how it's turning out. 

The sun ray shawl ahas seen some action too.  I had thought I was making great progress until I realised I was only on row 82 of 258! Sigh

But it is looking pretty. 

On the horizon -

I desperately need to catch up on some housework. :-(

I'll continue to work  on the blanket, shawl and socks. 

I will resist the urge to cast on anything new with my shiney yarn, but I'm promising nothing!

Here's a quick montage of the weekend - enjoy!

Sunday, 22 June 2014


Hello there guys.

It's been two weeks, sorry about that! Trying to get any 'me' time has been nigh impossible recently.

The week before last week Ben was on residential with school in Oban on the west coast of Scotland. He arrived home on Friday night tired and happy. He had had a good week, and had done many fun things. The one thing he was most excited about was downhill mountain biking. He loved it! I'm just glad I hadn't realised he was doing it, else I would have worried about him breaking bones!

He also completed a high ropes course. I am so proud of him. He has quite bad vertigo, so for him to get round a course 20 feet off the ground is great work!

Last Saturday was a catch up kind of day. The sun shone and washed anything that stayed still long
enough! I was exhausted and happy at the end of the day.

Sunday saw Ben compete in another karate competition. It was a smaller event than his last competition - just between the 3 clubs his sensei runs. It was good experience for him and he enjoyed it. I feel that he did better this time.

Next came a week at work. Nothing exciting, just the usual. Well, until Friday at any rate. Friday was helllish. Thursday I woke up and realised something was brewing. My immune system was gearing up for something big. By Thursday night I knew this wasn't going to be pretty. Come Friday I wanted to curl up into a ball and stop in bed. In my line of work, that isn't an option I'm affraid. So I went to work feeling like death warmed over. I don't think it's flu, but it's one of the worsts colds I've ever had. The day seemed like it would never end.

I should have coached swimming that night, but I decided discretion was the better part of valour and went to bed instead. I knew I had to be functioning on at least one cylinder by Saturday.

Saturday was Diddy League day. The team was off to Kendal in the afternoon to swim what could be the last gala of the season. The team did so well. All of the coaches are so proud of them. We  scored a record 98 points and came third. We've never come third at a Kendal gala yet! So chuffed! We may even reach the finals! Everyone keep everything crosed for us please.

And here we are on Sunday. It's a beautiful day on planet earth. The virus from hell continues to taunt my phagocytes and lymphocytes and I'm sitting on a picnic bench at Kirkbride Airfield just outside Wigton.

I'm a little bit gutted to be honest. Last week when all was well my Dad rang and asked if Ben would like to go flying. So obviously if Ben goes flying, I go flying. Once upon a time I sat in the co-pilot seat and got to have a go. Sadly those days are over and now Ben gets to do that and I sit in the back
and knit!

As it happens one of the delights of this particular infection is a seconday ear infection that's currently brewing, so going up in a light aircraft is probably not the best plan in the world. In my place is Ben's uncle Tony. Now, amongst other things, Tony has a Commercial Balloon Pilot's Licence but has never flown in a light aircraft so he was keen to go. I bet he wanted a chance to get his hands on the yoke, bless!

Still, as I write this he's hopefully taking lots of photos I can include in the blog.

So here I am burning slightly (neglected to bring suncream!) enjoying a brew and a fabulous view. I can hear umpteen birds singing, there are butterflies fluttering around me and a gentle breeze gusting to keep me cool. So far there has been a chipmunk do a touch and run, three microlights have landed and a gyrocopter has taken off for a lesson.

So to the title of this week's blog. It took a while, sorry!

Last Sunday was also the kick off to Camp Aloha Friends. I'm delighted that we're off and running. It's been a gentle introductory week. The overriding theme of camp is to look around you with fresh eyes. Wander around, look and see. 

Feeling the love - 

In the last two weeks I've been knitting my little heart out. 

I've finished the charity full moon socks and they've been won by one of my customers

I also finished the Twisted Limone socks and they've been donated to my MIL. She is a most deserving recipient for hand knit socks.

Also feeling the love this week are my sock yarn blanket and my sun ray shawl. I haven't got new photos yet, but I'll get some for next time. 

While Ben was away he wore the socks I made for him a while back. He liked how they fit so I'm making him a new pair. He chose a ball of Regia in a tonal blue colour. They'll be a plain vanilla sock, nothing fancy. 

On the Horizon - 

Next week is Woolfest. I'm so excited I could burst!! I've got an idea of what I'm looking for and I'm desperate to get stuck in. I can't wait to sit in the main ring and watch the demonstrations while I knit or spin.  I can't wait to meet new folk and people who have travelled from afar. 

On the crafting front, I can't wait to see what Mel has in store for us at camp this week. I'll be 
working on my shawl and blanket and more than likely Ben's socks too. 

Lastly here are my wanderings for the week

Have a lovely week, I'll report back next Sunday. 

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Heart Broken

Good afternoon readers.

I'm late blogging this week, I've been away on my jollies. As I mentioned last week, we went to Centre Parcs. We had a lovely lodge right on the edge of the site. We were not far from a pond where ducks and moor hens are nesting. These little cutties don't mind about being surrounded by people.

Mummy duck wasn't bothered at all by me crouching down and taking a photo. Baby ducks didn't even bother to look around to see what was looming behind them.

The whole of the site is carefully managed woodland. There are lots of different habitats; the flora and fauna are amazing.

Beautiful flag iris.

Every morning, we had a knock on the patio door - 

Mummy and Daddy duck came asking for breakfast. Once it was served the babies came to tuck in

I'm not a huge fan of feeding baby ducks bread, I'm sure I read somewhere it swells in their stomachs, so I made sure they had a bowl of water handy to wash it down.
And if there's water around then ducks will do what ducks will do!

Why wouldn't you go for a swim in a bowl of water!?

We had a lovely walk each day around the site.  Ben found a little bridge someone had made over a brook. It was constructed from small branches. He assured me it was quite solid and safe. I assured him, it was unlikely to have been built with the likes of me in mind!

There are also lots of new carvings which have appeared since our last visit.

This bench is stunning. Amazing work.

On the Friday afternoon, after we settled into the lodge, the boys went to explore. I did what comes naturally, I made a brew and sat down to enjoy the afternoon and some knitting.

Here I'm working on the second Hana Hou sleeve (sob!!)

Friday night was the night of my charity walk. Jean and I completed the 5 mile course in 1 hour and 40 minutes. Not bad I think. I worked on socks to raffle as I walked.

Here we are just as we set off. Saints preserve us!  This year was a full moon walk and we were all to wear neon, hence the rather fetching head and wrist bands! I made good progress on the knitting too.

It was 12:30 am by the time I got back to Centre Parcs. The lovely security guards helped me park my car and then gave me a lift back to my lodge so that I didn't have to find my way back alone. A huge thank you to those guys!

Once back I treated myself to a glass of wine and a chill

I thought I'd work a few more rows on the sock, but I realised that I'd dropped a stitch near to the end, so I just worked to fix that, and decided it was too late to do more than that!

But I don't think that I did too bad for one 5 mile walk:

I had actually worked the toe while we waited to set off, I think increasing for a toe while walking might have been a step too far!

Saturday was a lazy day, we were all up late, and then sauntered to the pool for a swim. That afternoon saw Ben and I do archery. He loves it and he's really rather good at it.  Now he's older, we could join an adult class. It was great. The tutor watched you shoot and gave you tips on how to improve. We'll be back for more next time I'm sure!

Sunday involved more swimming and then quad biking for the boys. It was billed as a quad bike safari, and it was VERY off road Matthew says. Ben got a bit scared at one point when the bike had to tip really far, but they had a great time. They both want to do it again.

As usual, the food was good. I think the best part for me was not having to think about cooking for 4 
whole days!

Yesterday (Monday) Ben was off on a school residential to Scotland. It meant an early start, a yomp to the car, a quick drive back home, pick up his suitcase for the trip and then drop him off at school. Once I'd suitably embarrased him by demanding a kiss goodbye in the playground, I drove back to Centre Parcs to pack up the lodge. Matthew and I then had a couple of quiet hours by the pool before heading home.

That was when this week's title comes into its own! After I'd set the washing machine off, walked the dog and made tea, I settled down to finish Hana Hou. Those who follow me on Instagram or Twitter know what's coming. This week I've worked on the last sleeve. When I finished the first one, I realised yarn was going to be short - so short I did't have enough to add the cuffs, but I was happy with the length as it was, so no matter. As I worked the second sleeve, it quickly became aparant that playing yarn chicken was in order. 

I kept going, keeping positive thoughts at the forefront of my mind.

It was going to be fine, I could squeeze this 

Don't panic, I could weave in ends and magic knot the odds and sods together 

No, don't be stupid - that would look awful on the sleeve cap - SO obvious

I resigned myself, with one increase repeat and the cap to go - it wasn't happening

I couldn't stretch this any further

A heartbreaking hour later and this is what I have

Hana Hou is completely ripped out and in time out! 

As the Carolina Fiber Girls would say FoReal!?!?!?

I did pin what I had together to try it on and it was way too big. My swatch was bang on, but I think that the stone of weight I've lost since casting on has given way too much ease. So, I'll cast on again, this time the next size down. 

Not yet, but soon.
Right now, just looking at that photo gives me pain. 

Feeling the love - 
Not Hana Hou that's for sure!

I've worked a lot on the charity socks. I finished the first sock on the Saturday night (ah the joys of the 6-ply sock yarn!)

I'm also making good progress on the Twisted Limone stripy socks. I've finally found the tag and if anyone wants to know, the colour is called Bitter Sweet. Bitter sweet they are too. They don't fit me (bitter) they do fit my wonderful MIL Jean (sweet) who utterly deserves hand knit socks.

I have done a couple of rounds on the Sun Ray shawl. I love how it's turning out, I love working on it, it's just a shame that at the moment finding enough snatched quiet moments to work on it is proving difficult.

On the horizon - 

I may, or may not, cast on Hana Hou again. *sigh*

I will work on the charity socks, I'd love to finish them off this week

I will continue to work on the stripy socks, but I'm in no rush to finish them, I'm just enjoying the knit

I'd like to say I'll work on the Sun Ray shawl, but we'll see

I'm hoping to start a new crochet blanket. I've got the yarn in stock, and I'd love to turn it into something special. I've seen something on Pintrest I'd like to have a go at, but I need to knobble my crochet guru at Knit Night tonight and work out how to start it off! More details hopefully next week.

OOOHHHHH!!!!!! OOOOHHHHH!!!!!! CAMP ALOHA FRIENDS Bunkhouse alocations happen this week!

I'm looking forward to meeting the guys who'll be bunking with me in the Winnebago Wanderers bunkhouse. 

Can't wait to see what's in store!

Have a great week, 

Ellen x 

Sunday, 1 June 2014

So excited I could burst!!

Before I go any further, please press play below.

You can share what I hear as I type

Firstly I want to say - SSSSQQQQQQUUUUUUEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Last week I received 110 page views of the blog in ONE day!!!!! I was thrilled!!

I confess, I do check to see how many folk have popped in regularly, and I was so excited to see the number creep past 100!

T H A N K    Y O U !!

Today is a beautiful day.  I'm sitting outside on my MIL's swing seat. It's a warm, sunny day.  There are clouds in the sky but the sun is shining and the wind is just stirring the trees.

I've already been out and walked the dog. He decided it was too much like hard work to  chase his ball! He wouldn't even carry it. Silly dog

As we passed Mr Longmire's field he was training his new sheepdog.

A proper dog!

As this week's title suggests, I'm quite excited. Today is the first day of June. It's going to be a great month.

On Tuesday announces the winners of their blog awards. I'm confident I won't have won, but I'm excited to find out which blogs have. There was so many great entries, I've thoroughly enjoyed reading them.

Next week we go for a short break. A long weekend in effect. I've taken a day's holiday on Friday so that I can get us packed and ready to set off.  We're going all of 5 miles to a holiday resort called Centre Parcs. It's a gorgeous place set into a forest. We've been before and Ben loves it. Snag is, it's expensive to go when the schools are on holiday. I mean stupidly, disgustingly expensive. I understand the theory of supply and demand, but there's racketeering too! 

Ben often asks when we'll go again, and I keep saying that while his dad is at University we just can't afford it. But a couple of weeks ago I looked online for last minute deals and there it was! Cheap 
enough that we can go! Ssssssshhhhhh though! Don't tell Ben, it's a surprise!

I can't wait!!!

The start of June also means that Camp Aloha Friends is just around the corner. Mel has been keeping the suspense going by introducing our Camp Councillors over the last couple of weeks. I'm so excited I could burst!!

THEN!!!!!!!!!!....... two weeks after camp opens, Woolfest is on!!! I've already ordered my tote bag. For those of you going this year, check out the Ravelry group and the website! I've planned my route and my must see vendors. If you spot me, come say hi, we can have a brew and a knit!! On Saturday there will be a charity auction of woolly creations. I'll be there from 2pm helping unite folk with their won auction lots.

Feeling the love - 

I feel like I've been productive this week.

I finished and blocked my Path Less Traveled shawlette. I used the body off the Piper's Journey and added my own lace pattern to the edge. I was a little worried about  how it was going to turn out, but a good blocking cures all.

I'm happy with how it turned out.

The turning of the months meant I felt a sudden urgency to get Hana Hou off the needles. I've made good progress this week, I'm working on the collar now. I must say that I'm starting to get a little windy though. 
I've only got 2 skeins left of my yarn and I have both sleeves to do and the collar to finish. I got the back out of about 2 1/2 skeins, so I'm desperately hoping that the sleeves will take significantly less than one skein each.

Now I've joined the shoulder seams (Mel, you'd be so proud of me! I've done a reasonable job!) I can have a loose attempt at trying it on. I pinned the side seams a little and gingerly put it on. I have to confess that I was a little worried about the fit as I was working on the body, I'm a tad larger than the largest patterned size, and I was hoping that the positive ease would give me a little wiggle room. I needn't have worried. There's plenty of room. I think it's going to turn out to be the lovely squishy cardie I wanted it to be.

It is now, however, not a very portable project. As I've finished the shawlette too, I cast on the second of my self striping socks this morning as I walked the dog. There's no picture as it's the smallest piece of knitting in the world!

On the Horizon - 

Friday the 6th June sees me walking to raise funds for Hospice at Home. 

As I walk I will be knitting a sock to raffle. If anyone wishes to donate on my Just Giving page they will be entered into the raffle for those socks. If you comment that you've donated on the blog from May 18th you will also be entered into a draw to win a pair of custom made socks! It's a truly worthy cause.

Next week's blog may be a little late, I plan to write on Monday when I get home. I will be online though, so I'll be tweeting and Instagramming my progress over the weekend.  

I plan to take Hana Hou with me to knit in the evenings, the sock for poolside knitting, and either the Sun Ray shawl or another new project for a change of pace.

Have  a wonderful week,
Until next time

Ellen x