An Interview of Sorts

A few days ago, a machine knitting friend of mine Marianne Henio sent me a questionnaire so that she could write up a blog post about my creativity

If you’d like to find out a bit more about me then you can read it here

I am enjoying my knitting machine again at the moment, but really I should be decorating, or at least doing a bit of painting, I will, I can’t wait to have our study in working order, I will keep my knitting machine in there once it is finished, so it is in my interest to get it done as soon as possible.

Barry has painted the ceiling and filled in all the gaps everywhere and it looks great, the gloss bits are next, I quite like doing that, not the skirting boards though, my poor knees!!

Thought I’d add a photo of the latest bunny to come of my needles, I do like a photo in a blog post:)

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Machine Knitting

I bought the pattern for the Slanted Rib Jacket ages ago as I really liked the shape of it. Then I read the notes and realised that the tension was so small and I didn’t think I had anything suitable in my stash and the yarn used in the pattern is not available in the UKšŸ˜¦ I put it to one side and forgot about it

Then I saw that somebody had made a lovely version of it on Facebook in the Machine Knitting Group and it sparked my imagination again. The yarn that I wanted to use had also been in my stash for a while, the colour was so perfect but the yarn looked a little unstable and also it was a slightly boucle yarn which might give me problems?!?

As it turned out I found that the yarn knitted beautifully at TD5 on my Knitmaster 360, I liked the fabric but the tension was looser than that stated in the pattern. I decided to knit the second size which was smaller than the size I would normally choose. I knitted all the pieces, only have a few problems with the ribbing at times, in my defence, I hadn’t done much work on the ribber for quite some time. I got caught up on the right hand side a few times but I think I got away with it as I sewed the edge to the cardigan and hid the errors in my stitching…this was for me so a couple of bunched up areas wouldn’t bother me

The colour of this lovely cardigan really made me happy and I couldn’t wait to wear it on our anniversary day out on Monday

We visited Gunby Hall in Lincolnshire, a National Trust property…the house and gardens have such a lovely feel to them, it was a very good day and we both took lots of photos. Thank you Barry for these two photos, it’s not that often that I like myself in photos Ā I didn’t realise quite how good my cardigan looked but I knew that I was really enjoying wearing it

Sadly the colourway that I used has all sold out, I would definitely buy some more if it comes back into the shop

You can read more info, including a link to the shop that sold me the yarn, on my Ravelry project page

Barry and I are really working hard in the garden and in the room which used to be out dining room but is now our junk room. A wasted space as we have just put everything in there that didn’t have a real home. Emptying it is proving to be an endless task but the results will be worth it. It will become a study and also a home for my knitting machine and all the paraphernalia that entails!

I’d better go and get this day started but I will leave you with some darling little fairy houses that we found at Gunby Hall as we walked around the gardens

fairy house 5

fairy house 5

fairy house 4

fairy house 4

fairy house 2

fairy house 2

fairy house 1

fairy house 1

fairy house 3

fairy house 3

Some lovely fabrics and yarns have arrived and they are really calling to me to get creative with them but I shall have to wait until that room is finished…..!

new stock 1

new stock 1

new stock 2

new stock 2

new stock 3

new stock 3

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Early morning gardening and stuff

For some reason I woke early this morning and gardening would not leave my mind. For a while now, I had been thinking about digging the border and moving some plants around and removing others

So at 6.50am, I got dressed in a funky comfy outfit and some old boots, twisted my hair up out of my face and set to work…I really enjoyed it and have half filled the wheelie bin with weeds and unwanted twigs etc

After a while, I realised I was waning and came in for a coffee, it was 7.30am…my intention was for half an hour now and then until I have got the job done. Some of the shrubs in the border are not to my liking but are really too large for me to tackle on my own. I will enlist the help of my husband for those tricky activities.

Sadly, my gardener Mark, who used to come to do an hours work every other week or so, has had to go out to a higher paid job so I am on my own until I can find someone to help me out

Anyway, I was really surprised to have woken so early this morning after the busy time we’ve been having lately

On the 31st March, Barry and I travelled up to Scotland to spend the night with my lovely Aunty Sally and Uncle Allan, those two are around the same age as us and we get on really well. Sally has a creative business painting reclaimed pieces of furniture, she has also recently finished the decor in a holiday cottage. I’ll do a blog post about the new combined venture we are working on soon, so much to tell you!! If you’re on Facebook, you can see Sally’s work here

The next day, Barry and I caught the ferry to Larne and then drove down to Enniskillen to spend a long weekend with my Mum, when I got there and went in and called woohoo! I got no answer, so I went into the front room and there was Mum sleeping on the sofa, I kissed her and woke her and she gave me the biggest hug!

On Saturday, my brother Matt took us all out for lunch to celebrate Mum’s and his birthday…we went to The Smuggler’s Creek Inn and had a very special meal indeed, gourmet fish and chips for me!

That’s just the fish, the mushy peas and chips came in a separate bowl…oh my it was so good!!

Here’s a photograph of us all after the meal, Matt put his camera on a tripod and set it for a few seconds delay on the timer, but every time he tried to get into the shot, the camera clicked before he got there. A man at a nearby table did the deed in the end

On the Sunday, Barry went out early with Matt to take some waterfall and bird photos, they both came back really happy as they’d seen a little dipper, Barry got some fab shots of that

In the afternoon, we all went up to Matt and Sylvia’s where we were treated to a BBQd steak dinner and plenty of prosecco! I did end up on my own later on in the day though as Matt and Barry were fiddling on the computer. I didn’t mind though, I tried to do some knitting but the prosecco kept making me go wrong so I gave up for the evening haha

The next day, Barry took Mum and me out for a long drive, when I say long consider this, he just kept driving to find new treasures to view and photograph, the miles we travelled I reckon we fitted three days of places into one day…I was in the back of the Mini which was surprisingly comfy but I did feel a bit sick but perked right up when I saw a sign for Studio Donegal …. no complaints for the driver either, he likes a happy MariešŸ˜‰

Mum couldn’t manage the stairs sadly but she managed to buy herself a gorgeous hat and was looked after very well by the staff, I think she tried on a few before choosing this one.

While Mum was busy downstairs, Barry and I went upstairs to the weaving room, oh my, what an aladdin’s cave of delight awaited me

The two chaps in there were very friendly and didn’t mind me taking photos so I clicked away to my heart’s content

Not sure if this will work but I took a video of one of them weaving, it’s on Facebook and it might work, click here

I just love these old shuttles and the pretty colours of the yarn

The difference in the feel of the fabric after it has been milled is dramatic, it becomes so very soft. This old loom used to be a carpet loom but they cleverly transformed it to a cloth loom and it has such a great width to the fabric. Imagine warping up all those yarns!!!

Look at the size of that carding machine! I only just missed the weaver spinning some more yellow yarns for the cloth he was working on

That big drum is the warping machine, not sure how the warp gets transferred to the loom though…look at those pretty colours:)

I did succumb to buying myself some of the gorgeous, wonderful and colourful Donegal Tweed fabric

You can see it being cut in the next photo

I bought just 1 metre of these two colourways

dsc 1220 copy

Donegal Tweed

dsc 1218 copy

Donegal Tweed 2

and also treated myself to some of their lovely yarn to make myself a cardigan, no plans of a design yet but I’m keeping my eyes open for the right pattern!

and more driving later…

Mum and Barry at Fintra Bay, we were spoilt by the wonderful weather that day

That last photo is one of my favourites, I love the sparkling Atlantic Ocean

What a lovely happy busy time we all had…it was really hard leaving Mum on the Tuesday morningšŸ˜¦

Life didn’t stop going fast forward for me until yesterday, Sunday…but that’s another story, I think I’ve said quite enough for now

If you’re interested, you can see my whole album of photos here

Postman has not long been and he’s brought me even more beautiful tweed fabrics to play with, Harris tweed this time..layterrs!!

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Harris Tweed and Liberty Tana Lawn

Oh my, what an amazing combination these fabrics are!

I never used to rate Tweedy fabrics, I found them far too itchy, but then, in one of my online sewing groups, I kept seeing these beautiful, colourful bags that one or two of the girls had been sewing

I did some research on Facebook and managed to buy myself two pieces of such beautifully woven and milled Harris tweed

I bought a blue version and

a pink version

This gorgeous fabric is not at all itchy but it does feel like wool, sturdy…but it also fills my heart with joy!

I found in my stash two perfect pieces of Liberty Tana Lawn fabric with which I will line the bags, I also found two contrasting or matching long pull zips to complete the project

So I set to work and created a gorgeous 2 Zip Hipster, one of my favourite designs by Dog Under My Desk

It looks and feels beautiful!

When I showed the photos, so many people reacted so positively to it…

Rather than bombard you with individual photos, if you click the collage above, you will be able to see the bigger picture:)

This bag is sold, but I do have more Harris Tweed on order so hopefully I will be able to make some more of these for my shop…oh the ideas!!

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Homemade potions

Recently I’ve been experimenting with home made lotions and I’ve been so impressed with the results

I have no eczema on the backs of my arms since I’ve been making my own body wash and moisturiser using organic ingredients and essential oils

I also made some face moisturising lotion a while back but i put too much essential oil into it and although it was a great moisturiser and left no horrid residue on my skin, I felt it was a little runny. I used it all up though!

So today, I made up some more of the lotion and doubled the quantities which made it so much easier to measure the tiny quantities of most of the ingredients

Don’t they look posh! Each of those tubes containsĀ 30ml of lotion, I also refilled my original pot with what was left over and have already been using it. I am thoroughly moisturised, all up my arms, several times haha:) I find it hard to just wash up the bowls that I’ve used, there is so much good stuff clinging to the insides of the bowl. How many times can I moisturise myself today?

I also made some facial cleansing butter

I had been using plain coconut oil to deep cleanse my face and neck, and that is really brilliant but I find it so hard to get out of the pot, I think I can whip it though which might make it easier to use. Also, now and then, I get a bit of the coconut oil in my eyes, as I like to use it to remove my eye make up too.

The cleansing butter above uses sweet almond oil and shea butter, when cool enough it is whipped and then you add some essential oil, I used the sweet orange and mandarin oils again as I love the smell. I’ll let you know how I get on using this stuff…

Then i thought I’d make some lip balm, one is just melted shea butter with a couple of drop of rose geranium oil in each pot. Very rich and moisturising. The other is a honey and orange lip balm which is very tasty!

They haven’t all set yet in the photo…I’ve got lovely moisturised lips now as I spilt some on the work surface and couldn’t waste it, I also rubbed some into my nails, it can’t hurt!

I also made up a delicious strawberry and cream mousse for dessert this evening. It is sugar and fat free and as I’m doing a SW diet at the moment, it fits the bill nicely and there’s plenty to last another day or two if we’re not too greedy with it!

ā€‹I’m feeling very laid back here, all those essential oils are getting to me lolā€‹

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Storage Pods and Project Baskets

I have been busy making these cute storage pods

The design was created by love from Beth

The fabrics used for these pods are all from the same collection

I just love making them…

They are for sale in my shop

If you buy three or more I will refund Ā£3 per pod…

I’ve also been making these perfect project baskets

As soon as I finish showing them on my Facebook Page, I seem to sell them!

The one above is made using some beautiful Stoff fabrics, superb quality!

The cute version above, featuring those darling little piggies is for sale…if you’re quick you might be able to purchase it

Here’s a direct link to it

It looks like a pretty day out there, freezing cold but the sun is shining…my sort of winter’s day…

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Stinger!

This week I have dyed up quite a bit of a delicious blend of Ramie and Blue Faced Leicester Wool 50/50

The dyes have taken beautifully to this mix, keeping the freshness of the colours so well

This is my Red Delicious colourway, on other blends it looks less bold, the colours can be more muted but this version has to be a real favourite. I think I need to keep back one of these braids to spin up myself

I deliberately photographed this Black Pearl version from this unusual angle. You see, there is not a lot of the mauvey pink in this braid. some of the pretty colour is hidden inside the briad too. It is a magical colourway and would make a stunning shawl or scarf or cowl or something lol

Parklife! It looks so different on this fibre…I love it! Is it wrong to love what I do?

Oh my….Jewels, so very pretty

Rooftops, this colourway was inspired by the rooftops we kept photographing on one of our Italy trips….I’m feeling the need for another one of those wonderful holidays

Honestly, I was only going to show you one or two but they are such show offs!

Highland…so softly beautiful!

An old favourite, Maddie, always so popular

And bringing up the rear we have Jo!

You can find these beauties and a few others in my shop Fluff-n-Stuff

Today has been a bit different to the day that I’d planned. This morning I went to the post office and then I came home. I meant to go food shopping but I appeared to be on auto pilot and just drove home. I didn’t have my bags with me anyway.

Then Instead of doing the food shop, I told myself to photograph the fibre as the light was perfect, so I did…

Then I made some Aloe Vera moisturising lotion, as it melted and did it’s thing, I tidied the kitchen and then decided to make a beef stew

While the stew was cooking in the pressure cooker I had a whim to make some lip balm, so I did but I added too much beeswax to the mix and it went so hard so I added more oil and so it went on, I only wanted a little pot of it! I’ll use it on my nails as well as my lips so it won’t get wasted

I’m really enjoying experimenting with DIY beauty at the moment, I have sensitive skin and develop eczema if I use cheaper brands of moisturisers or body wash. It was costing me a fortune so I am making my own and the results are really good and smell amazing from all the essential oils that I add. I am going to make some soap one of these days but I have to build myself up to using lye as it sounds a bit scary to deal with

Barry has just got home so I’ll stop nattering now…

Happy Thursday everyone!

PS I’ll do the food shop tomorrow!

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Smoothie

A couple of days ago I was just putting some washing into the tumble dryer when my pile of fibre blends caught my eye

So, on impulse, I grabbed a bag and decided to do some dyeing

The blend was Polwarth and Mulberry Silk, 60/40… total luxury!

I quickly weighed out the lots and put them to soak whilst I searched my dye recipes to find the colourway that matched this handspun

I searched long and hard but for some reason I haden’t written it downšŸ˜¦

So I got out my dyepots and recreated it as best I could

Barry has named it Parklife…the name is perfic, thanks husband!

I have been using that handspun yarn on my Talus Cardigan…it is very nearly done, just one more sleeve to complete

That’s part of the lower piece of the body and the following photo is of the first sleeve

I love how the colours sit, I was a bit concerned about that bright orange patch on the sleeve but now I love it and just hope the other sleeve will compliment it

I have also dyed up four more colourways, that one above is a bit bright and so hard to photograph, it will certainly make you smile so I have named it Happy

The next one above is my Babbacombe colourway, it is more green in real life, less blue…another colourway that my camera took a dislike to!

I added a couple of colours to my Highland recipe and called the one above, Highland Fling:)

and the last one is my Southwold Colourway, one of my absolute favourites!

You can find these beauties in my shop right now

Shop Link

Hope these colours bring a smile to your face on these cold dark winter days….I wonder what I’ll dye up next?!?

Happy Crafting!

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Bag of The Month Club

For some reason, I felt compelled to join this club last year. I’d noticed people talking about the Bag of the Month Club and thought it might be fun. So glad I did if this first bag is anything to go by…

So I took out an early subscription which saved me even more money…$35 for 6 bag patterns from known designers can’t be bad…the price is now $40 but that is still less than $7 per design!! I usually half the dollar amount to work out the sort of GBP pricešŸ˜‰

You can find the details here

Anyway, here is my bag

The Backgammon Bag by Betz White

So clever, if/when I make this bag again I might try paper piecing the triangles to get cleaner points

This is my favourite photo of it, this is the back of the bag, the pocket is the same back and front, they both close with a magnetic snap

I chose a delicious aubergine purple linen for the bag and found a pretty contrasting Tula Pink fabric, the purple matched so well but I didn’t have enough of that fabric for the lining

I love the twist lock on the flap, my first ever, so much easier than I thought it would be

You can see the lining in that last photo, it is a Lewis and Irene design I think, someone might know better? I love the pop of lime green and the little dandelion seedheads make for a cute fresh hope of summer!

Of course, my bunnies, who live at the back of my sofa, just had to get in on the photo shoot, gives you an idea of the size of the lovely bag too.

This bag is for sale, I’ve not put it into my shop yet but if you’re interested then drop me a line…

Last week I made a pile of these cute phone cases

That’s my own one, I love the design by Embroidery Garden

I also love using my Kam Snap pliers, much more fun that those old fashioned metal poppers! The colours really make it fun to choose which one will feature on each little bag!

All these have sold but I’ll be making a new batch as soon as I can…!

So now, I will get back to my tax return….every year, after I send it off, I say to myself, I’ll get that sorted as soon as I can after 5th April, but do I? Nah!! Maybe this year?!?

Oh and right now, I have some sweet vanilla sourdough proving, which will hopefully turn into some cinnamon buns, any volunteers to eat them up? I have lost a few pounds since last June and don’t want to put the weight back on but I love to cook! I am really enjoying the whole sourdough experience….it fits in with my lifestyle, nothing needs doing in a hurry, slow and steady….

Lots of people are struggling in some way or another right now, I had my turn of the nasties at the end of last year, but I do think I am starting to get back to my old self again now…..I just need to see some sunshine and a few Spring bulbs wouldn’t go amiss…

Special love to my friend Sarah….X

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A Comedy of Errors of Sorts

At about 10am today, I set off to visit my lovely friends, Heather and Anna

All was well, the sun was shining and I was making good time

About 2/3rds of the way into my journey I hit the curb of a new to me traffic calming feature. You know, the ones with a Ā sign that have two arrows on it, a red one and a black one. I could have sworn that bit of narrowing of the road wasn’t there the last time I drove to Heather’s house!

As I approached the area, I had a feeling that I was going to hit the edge, so I did ‘BANG!’

Then the road sounded really noisy, erm no the road was not going to get any smoother which was strange as it hadn’t sounded so loud before. I thought I’d better stop and have a look at the damage, I pulled over, put my hazard lights on and cautiously looked at the wheel from which the loud bang occurred

I said a big swear word inside my head and got back into my Mini and phoned Barry

Luckily I had my knitting with me…

He was with me within an hour

My mini doesn’t have a spare wheel/tyre/whatever it just had a jack and spanner and some stuff to inflate a puncture enough to get you home

When I told Barry what had happened, he said that the stuff would be of no use as I’d probably burst the tyre. Ā I had burst the tyre, he showed me by putting his fingers into the hole

He suggested I knock on the door of the nearest house to ask if they minded us reversing the Mini into their driveway so that Barry could remove the wheel and then we could go and get a new tyre fitted. Ā Of course, said the lovely man that came to the door, he told us where to park it, he had a big driveway, covered in gravel, so Barry reversed it onto the only bit of grass on show there, I gesticulated to him about the grass and he then amended his position

Barry found the little jack and proceeded to raise the mini until it bit, then he removed the bolts, meantime the lady of the house came home and was quite surprised to see a strange Mini in her driveway. Ā I explained the problem and told her that her husband had given me permission. I also told her that my husband had come to my rescue and was removing the wheel. She then walked around to where Barry was doing his stuff and said ‘Hello Muscles!’ Then when Barry turned and smiled at her she blushed and told me that she thought I had said ‘her’ husband had come to my rescue. The poor woman backed off and went in her house, popping out a short while later to ask if we’d like a cup of tea, so kind

Anyway, Barry could not get the wheel off, and was getting frustrated so I phoned Mini Breakdown and explained the problem, they organised a pickup truck to come to my aid within theĀ hour. Whilst I was on the phoneĀ the man of the house came out and was chatting to Barry. I finished my phone conversationĀ and then the man of the houseĀ told me not the look and he bashed the wheel with a large piece of 4×4 wood! Not once but a couple of times, it worked! The wheel was free…I didn’t need the pick up truck now so I phoned them back and cancelled

We made our way to a tyre fitting place

As the new tyre was being fitted, I had a text from Heather telling me that they had made their way to the pub for lunch. It was then that Barry and I realised we were both really hungry so he said it might be a good idea to meet them for lunch. So we did! Hurrah, I got to see my lovely friends.

Anna and Heather had already got a drink and the menu, when H realised that we’d arrived she looked surprised, my text hadn’t arrived, no signal! They were sat at a table for two in two lovely comfy armchairs, we needed a bigger table but there wasn’t one..anyway, a table for four was eventually found after we’d dragged a couple of chairs into position at a table for two, such fun….

Barry asked me what I’d like to drink, I asked for a diet coke…he came back to our table with his drink and said that the coke was too fizzy and would take a while to sort out…here we go again thought I. My coke did eventually turn up though and we ordered our food. I decided on a Salad Nicoise with some poached salmon. Then Barry came back and said that there was no salmon. Why was this happening to me? I decided I would have the aubergine and beetroot curry, good choice, it turned out to be delicious:) I really thought it was not going to be good, but thank goodness it was very yummy indeed!

After lunch, Barry said why didn’t I stay with the girls and he would go back and fit the tyre then come back and get me, no wonder I love that man! I said I needed my knitting out of his car, he went and got my project bag and went on his way

Anna, Heather and I walked back to H’s house and we all were chatting and laughing whilst a pot of tea was made

We made our way from the kitchen to the sitting room and I got my knitting out of the bag when my phone rang…it was Barry

Barry said he was on his way back to H’s because he didn’t have the keys to the Mini, erm, yep, they were in my handbag!

So I put my knitting away, not having knitted one single stitch, I finished my lovely cup of tea and went back with Barry to the mini

The new tyre/wheel was put back on and as I was not in love with my Mini it was decided that I would drive the FreelanderĀ home. Ā I wasn’t sure it was the best decision but thankfully the journey was uneventful apart from some petrol cards attacking me when I pulled down the sunshade!

I cannot tell you how happy I was to make it home, and how flipping exhausted I felt!

What a day…..guess what I’m doing this evening?

KNITTING!!

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