Dog Days

Hello All

It has been an activity mish-mash at Casa Moke over the last couple of weeks. No matter how hard I try my poor old pea-brain can’t come up with a coherent single theme for this post. Dear reader be prepared for the confused Cornucopia of everyday life here in the brr-is-it-me-but-is-Winter-coming-to-the-fffff-reezing-North-?.

First to the ‘Dog Days’. No 1 Daughter frequently travels with her job and last weekend she had the chance to combine work and a family trip while visiting some wonderful Animals Asia supporters in Glasgow. Only two small ‘problems’ her furry friends, George and Buddy. Yahoo! chance for me to enjoy the company of the boys for a couple of days dog-sitting.

George and Buddy would probably call it human-sitting and to be frank they would be right. Their time here does seem to entail a lot of sitting on me!

George takes the lap…

… and Buddy purloins the feet! My doggy visitors certainly make themselves at home. Bless ’em.

And while we relaxing, look what dropped through my door:

It is always exciting to see what classes are happening locally but this year I found it even more exciting. If you have a look under Arts and Crafts you might notice a few entries for ‘Introduction to Needle Felting’, guess who is responsible for them????

Yup that will be me! I am lucky enough to be running a few short courses over the Spring for Cumbria County Council’s Community Learning and Skills Programme in South Lakeland. It was such fun to micro-teach the interview panel that I am really looking forward to sharing one of my favourite crafts with new needle felters.

[Clears throat and takes on serious tone] Better keep up my crafty credentials in case any of my students-to-be are looking (can’t wait to meet you by the way). I have done a little more work on the wall art. The character on the right seems to be sending out some star-dust to cheer up the rather drab lettering:

I think she has done a good job and may need to be rewarded with a tiara or floral tribute…watch this space.

I have also been patch-working my way through several cushions:

I think almost all the fabric was from Reticule in Kendal. They have a huge range of beautiful and stylish fabrics and quarters. I chose these to coordinate with particular colour schemes. I can’t help but chuckle when I look at the blue birds: they seem to be on a see-saw. Have you spotted them? Hope they don’t get sea-sick!

Finally as ‘Winter is Coming’ a wee bit of sock knitting was called for.

Just knitting socks makes you feel warmer doesn’t it? Or is it trying to keep all the stitches on the needles and the counters in the right places that keeps me warm? Well done to Crafty friend KS who has launched herself into the world of sock knitting on circular needles with great results. I think I just like the suspense of working on double pointed needles, will the stitches stay on for another round ….

As you see I have a few projects to keep me busy and snug. And there are those courses to plan. Can’t wait.

Until next we meet,

Moke x

Happy 2015 and welcome to new projects

Hello All and a very Happy New Year

Well here we are 2015. Flying along through the new millennium. I wonder how they felt in 1015? Muddy? Worried about the way Cnut The Great was looking at our monasteries? Thank goodness times have changed, now we look forward to the latest Nordic Noir (especially Sarah Lund’s Faroe Isle knitwear), love the way some of us have names that end in  -son thanks to our Viking ancestors and admire the beautiful wool crafts the Norse created then and now.

If I’d any sense (and ability) I’d have lined up a wonderful Scandinavian knitwear project. You know the sort: a highly patterned cardigan with ornamental metal clasp fastenings…drool…. Although that day may come for now I recognize my limitations and present you with (fanfare) the first socks of 2015 on the DPNs.

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As you can see the going is slow due to all the little twisty cables. Nonetheless the knitting is tactile-y pleasing as the yarn is Rowan’s ‘felted tweed’ a beautifully soft mix of Merino and Alpaca (I get no payment for saying this!).

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Holidays finished and it is back to work. But it also back to one of my favourite haunts, the library. Good friend BS recommended a book by Jacquetta Hawkes and with a little help from the wonderful, knowledgeable, helpful, hardworking staff (you know who you are!) I was soon excitedly clutching a copy to take home.

‘A Land’ is a revelation. A history of the formation of Britain and its people written by a brilliantly gifted woman who brought to her writing such rich poetic humanity. Her use of Isaac Newton buried under a deluge of apples is typical of her ability to convey information – in this case stratification – memorably and with humour. Thanks B, as always a superb recommendation.

Plenty to keep me inspired and busy through the still dark evenings of January.

I wish you all the best for a happy and healthy 2015.

Until next we meet, Moke x

PS Thanks to my friend Jackie at ‘Knitting With Heart’ I am reliably informed that 2015 is The Year of The Sheep. An excuse (if one were needed) for twelve months of woolly wonderfulness. Yippee! Mx

 

 

Bank Holidays are for relaxing….

Hello All

I could be cleaning paintwork….I could be cutting the garden back (first dry day for a while)…I could be re-grouting the bathroom … dusting … washing …. ironing ….. BUT its a Bank Holiday and I am relaxing. Luverly.

Instead of being a domestic goddess (never going to happen) I’ve been spending time catching up with friends and escaping the dust-bunnies by putting my feet up with a couple of glossy magazines. What a treat.

One is an old favourite

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with wonderful articles, gorgeous photographs and witty columnists, including newbie Caz Graham whose voice will be familiar to anyone who listens to Farming Today.

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Caz once recommended a book to me, Michael Morpurgo’s “I Believe in Unicorns”. DownloadedFile

It is one of the most moving books I have read. Set in a war zone where the local library comes under threat “I Believe in Unicorns” reveals the power of story-telling to move humanity.

My other glossy was a lucky find amongst the racks of our local supermarket Booths.

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‘Landscape – Life at Nature’s Pace’ appears every three months and I picked up the latest Autumnal edition. It is absolutely crammed with arts and crafts, kitchen goodies, gardening, country matters, history and heritage and regular columns. Brilliant.

In this edition I was drawn to the article on farriers.

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My father was a blacksmith – as was his father before him – in the days when the village blacksmith turned his hand to all kinds of metal work: hoops for kegs, iron work for gates and fences and of course shoeing horses. ‘With Hammer and Anvil’ celebrates the work of today’s farrier a real fusion of ancient and modern.

I used to love hearing my father’s tales of working with horses. This well written and researched piece brought those stories back.

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Believe it or not there was also a useful article on darning! Something some of my older hand knitted socks could do with before winter. Talking of socks….

I’ve been wondering what to use my super new notebook for

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It suggests sewing I know …. wonder why?!

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But as my old pattern/row counting book is almost full a perfect use was obvious …. and with a new pair of socks beckoning my notebook was soon fulfilling its destiny.

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Do you know No1 son bought that wool and I wasn’t at all sure I was a brown sock sort of person yet it’s knitting up most pleasingly and has a touch of Fair Isle about it. Can’t wait to see the full effect.

Until next we meet. Moke x

Midsummer – and a woman’s fancy turns to…socks

Hello All

Now I don’t know if it is because I have been reading the beautiful Fox’s Lane blog which comes from the opposite hemisphere where it is winter and brrrrrrrr. Or it’s because I have been sooooo hot that I have lost my ankles and dream of chillier weather that will banish my Kankles. Or I am just perverse. But I find myself longing for cold winter evenings and snuggley, warm, home knitted socks!

I have a couple of pairs of own-knitted woolly goodness in my sock drawer.

But if you look closely you will see that they have seen better days. I have spared you close ups of the toes that are sorely in need of darning…. Usually I do not think of repairs and knitting new pairs until the ice crackles underfoot. Unfortunately this means – as the slowest knitter you can imagine – that I have no chance of finishing a new pair until we hear the first cuckoo.

Not this year! Thanks to the thought of the Antipodean winter the double-ended needles came out and stripe-y hose is already being knitted up beautifully (if I say so myself).

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Self striping sock wools. I love them.

Hopefully this is a rare sign of forward planning ( miracles will never cease). At last I can claim my Kendalian sock-y heritage. My aunt May and mother worked in the now long gone sock factory which was based in Sandes Avenue in this little auld grey town of ours. Mind you I seem to recall that my mother left soon after accidentally creating a double-heeled model…. moving swiftly on….

A few of you have been kind enough to say that you like Drekie – believe me he has a swollen head – so I thought you might like a look at how he is evolving. DSCI0222

The little fellow now has two arms and is developing small claws. Hopefully this week he will grow back legs and while I have a few days off become more colourful.

Four days to Woolfest! Celebrating its 10th anniversary Woolfest 2014 is sure to be another cracking event. I have gone along every year…bar one (sob)… and always come away inspired and cheered by meeting such friendly knowledgeable people. Brace yourselves here comes a front shot of yours truly taken at Woolfest (cough.. a few years ago). What is it with me and socks?!36846_442679875750_135370_n

Whoo-hooooo Woolfest here I come…

Until next we meet. Moke.