Trusty Steed

Hello All

New job, new place of work, new transport. Those of you that regularly visit me here at Casa Moke will know that I am very fond of a bus journey and failing that a train or perhaps even Shanks’ Pony. Prepare to be amazed. The easiest way for me to travel to work will be by …..

bike! Sorry if you were expecting a horse. Neigh! It is a two-wheeled steed that will see me hurtling to early starts come September.

Thanks to No 1 Daughter who left her bicycle behind and thanks to Bike Ranger Steve who took it away for a service I am almost road-worthy (just fitting the lights) and ready for a few test runs. Oh my lor’…they do say you never forget. Let’s hope ‘they’ are right.

I feel my (oops No 1 Daughter’s) bike is female and while No 1 Daughter did not give her a name I am toying with calling her Hecate. Hecate was the Ancient Greek goddess of crossroads who protected travellers from evil on the road. I am hoping that there is not a great deal of evil on the road from home over the couple of miles to work but being at a crossroads resonates. Let’s give Hecate a whirl.

Remaining pedestrian at heart I strolled into town yesterday for a little bit of shopping and look what you see when you are walking:

The Vegan Is Kind website set my mouth watering. What a fab idea hope I can try the supper club soon.

Inspired by the Heathen Vegan, hungry after the walk and topped up with the necessary ingredients from town I trundled home to make an asian themed supper of Tarka Dal, Saag Aloo, and Roti together with a simple salad of onion and tomatoes mixed with lemon juice.

Delicious if I say so myself. Making the roti was particularly satisfying! With heaps left over I am hoping it will taste even better today. Infact I am getting a little peckish as I type. Best dash.

Until next we meet

Moke x

Little and Large

Hello All

A quick secondary post in case anyone is worried about my apparent current lack of craftiness.

I have been working on a special blanket for a new arrival and until it was given to the parents and brand new little person I could not say too much about it. The blanket was a simple pattern but slow because it used such a small hook. Hence the seemingly long gap in craft posts.

I am pleased to report that mum loved it and as it has turned very chilly I am glad to have sent an extra layer for Baby A.

That was ‘Little’ now to ‘Large’. I have been longing for a rug to put in the nest I laughingly call a study and yesterday grabbed the opportunity to put to good use the giant needles AJ gave me and the selvedge yarn I bought at Yarndale.

I popped the balls into a rough colour order

But found after one ball that the rug was knitting up really fast and big

So only two balls and a few hours knitting later I had the perfect cosy rug for my very shabby (and not so chic) study.

With three balls left I am scouting spots in the house suitable for another satisfying rug make.

I can throughly recommend making a rug like this as the result is very pleasing. Only one word of warning: it is hard work for wrists and hands so take plenty of breaks.

Until next we meet,

Moke xxx

Kitchen Table Crafts

Hello All

What a lovely day. A day of conversation and cuppas enjoying woolly crafting. All from the comfort of my kitchen.

When friend AFl suggested coming over I balked slightly at the craft she suggested. But as soon as I started gathering everything we would need I felt the old excitement I got from running workshops and joining in Wool ‘n’ Stuff sessions.

What were we going to do? There’s a (BIG) clue on my kitchen table.

‘Felting’ you say? Felting yes but with a twist. This is Nuno felting (felting onto cloth) and if you want to have a go at this low cost craft – or just want to see what we got up to – read on.

Here’s what we used:

  • surface to work on that you don’t mind getting a bit wet (kitchen table = perfect);
  • bubble wrap;
  • cling-film (needs to be quite robust variety);
  • muslin (remember there will be about a 50% shrinkage so allow for this);
  • fibres (we used dyed merino tops);
  • plastic bag each;
  • cool soapy water (I put a mix of washing-up liquid and cool water in an old plastic spray bottle);
  • clothes washing flakes or liquid; and
  • vinegar.

At this point I should have been able to show you what we did first but fueled with coffee (and a cheeky donut..or two…) I forgot to take any photos!!!! So words will have to suffice. Normal photographic service will soon follow.

Our first steps:

Bubble wrap was laid out bubble side down;

We wet the fabric and spread it out on the bubble wrap;

Remembering that less fibre leads to more shrinkage we pulled our wool tops into small, even and thin pieces;

Then we lay the fibres in all directions (one direction means shrinkage will only be one way);

We gently sprayed COOL soapy water on the fibres and cloth; and

Covered our fibre patterned muslin with cling film (AFl had brought an old industrial sized roll which was perfect cos it wasn’t too thin nor very sticky).

Now we gently pressed all the water down through the wool,

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until it started to go flat at which point we rubbed gently – still through the cling-film – with our scrunched up plastic bags. A bit like rubbing down a wet horse I thought …. or is that just me?!

Off came the cling-film and rolling commenced … oops just noticed the cling-film is not off … remember to remove yours.

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We rolled three hundred times (yes 300!) one way and then having re-rolled the felt in the opposite direction three hundred (YES 300!) more times.

Unbeknowst to us hours passed as we chattered and rolled … and rolled …. and rolled …  Time flew.

Once we could see fibres making their way through the muslin we flipped the bubble wrap over and rubbed the nuno (yes it actually looked like nuno felting, amazing) along the whole length.

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We put the nuno into hot soapy water. As hot as our hands could cope with. Ooooooch. Then came the best bit.

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‘Is that it?’ I hear you cry. OK it doesn’t look very exciting but this is my nuno felt after I had thrown it full force S-P-L-A-T onto the table. This only needed to be done about a dozen times but as I hurled my felting I found it was a great means of working off my angst … “and this is for …. bang! and this is for …. BANG!” Twelve throws was not enough. When you get to this stage you’ll know what I mean.

Not only was it therapeutic but it was also magical. Shrinkage! Houston we have shrinkage!

Finally all our nuno needed was a rinse to get rid of the soap and a last rinse with a splash of vinegar and more water.

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We were very pleased with ourselves. We had actually created nuno felted pieces and had just enough time for a celebratory soup as they dried.

Excellent way to spend a day. Getting together with a friend and having a bash (quite literally) at a kitchen table craft. Thank you AFl for reminding me.

Until we meet next. Moke x

Big Night In

Do you remember my lunch with my best buddies? …the climb that was worth it?

Stoney Lane

It was more than time that I repaid the hospitality. With all the kerfuffle  of the new job and the longer working days I didn’t want to lose sight of the really important things: my family and friends. So on went a pot of my trusty veggie chilli – with a base ingredient of red lentils and a dash of sherry to enrich the flavour – and in went the jacket potatoes. You can already tell I’m a rustic, you could say basic, cook! I laid the table,

and thanked the heavens that my daughter’s boyfriend is a romantic soul who regularly brings her flowers, ‘cos they set off the table beautifully, DSCN0627

We did get more to eat than tomatoes and dip, honest! My chums all brought share-sy food (and wine) but things were so relaxed and convivial that I didn’t want to break off from the conversation to start snapping photos. We nattered about so many topics it was sometimes hard to keep track so there were some funny moments when we talked at cross-purposes only realising when we went beyond surreal.

As always books were well covered and I am now after a copy (from the library of course) of “Alex” by Pierre LeMaitre, it sounds like a real page turner of a thriller. In the meantime I am finishing off Robert Goddard’s “Hand In Glove”, images

which has seen me through being stuck behind several freight trains and is a good read before my eyes can’t stay open any longer.

There is one other book that is close to my heart at the moment and that is “Amazon – Slave of Rome”  an historical action novel being written by yours truely… If you want a sneaky peak you’ll find it posted (well the first 5 chapters) on Wattpad if you search under ‘Discover’ for Amazon – Slave of Rome.

I’ll leave you all with a cheery sight, there’s something about sunflowers that makes me smile, DSCN0632

thanks AJ.

Happy days.