A penny for them

Hello All

I often wonder at stream of consciousness. When I was studying for my A Levels … or was it O Levels?…. well some sort of exam that stole the best of the summer with revision .. I remember reading A Portrait of The Artist As a Young Man by James Joyce. Joyce we were told wrote using stream of consciousness technique ( yawn, give me back the sunshine). Nowadays I realise Stephen Daedalus is not alone with his wayward thinking.

Random thoughts seem to pop into my head especially when I AM TRYING REALLY HARD TO CONCENTRATE. A bit like Homer Simpson I am listening or reading as best I can then whoops! I have a 'Squirrel in a Tree' moment. Distracted once more by cerebral flotsam. And what was it today? What colour are your rhododendrons?

Excuse my impertinence. Mine are pink.

I understood that soil type dictated the colour of rhododendrons but when I am out and about locally I have noticed that they appear in a variety of colours even within a small area. That was today's little unnecessary conundrum. Why am I so distracted?

What I AM TRYING REALLY HARD TO CONCENTRATE on is doing more crafting and deciding what small items I can make by needle felting, crochet, or tablet weaving – suggestions on a postcard please – to sell through a small local cooperative. But I think I have crafters' block. I seem to have come to a making halt and even simple projects elude me.

Hopefully rescue may be at hand. Two friends are coming over tomorrow for a kitchen table crafts session. I am sure they will inspire me and help me finish at least one little project.

I mean those ends?! Not sewn in….

Until next we meet, Moke xxx

Hope you like your greens

Hello All

I said that I would be practising with my new camera app. As you know photography is not my forte so it couldn't be any worse, right? Well you are right! Definitely sharper and clearer. Sorry turns out a good camera doesn't help my sense of composition or subject. If you are allergic to green look away now. I'll tell you when it's safe to come back.

I have a penchant for allotments. There I have admitted it. I love the thought of all those superb tasty veggies growing in small scale patchwork ranks. Mmmm satisfying.

On my way through to Oxenholme Station I like to wander from the main road and walk through allotment land.

Yummy goodness. Gorgeous fruit tress. No scrumping was undertaken. Honest.

Everyone has their own style. From slightly chaotic to serried ranks. You. Leeks! shoulders back, stand up straight.

Anyone remember 'The Flower Pot Men' ? Bill and Ben and most especially Little Weeeeeed? Those were innocent times!!!!!

Productive way to recycle old window units.

Rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb.

If you are ready for some new recipes for all those scrummy, crunchy, luscious veggies… (oh yes… you can look back greeniness is over … sort of).

I spotted this book yesterday and thanks to a kindly friend JH and her gift of a book voucher I was able to buy it and bring it home. At first I thought it might have too many fancy clancy ingredients that this country mouse would struggle to get. But as I sat drooling at all the tastiness within I realised the recipes were heart-warming, stomach-filling and easily made. In addition to the glorious food are tales of the rich Middle Eastern culinary heritage beautifully and humorously written.

Definitely got p166 Imam Biyaldi (The Swooning Imam … apparently) lined up for a warming supper. And warming is the order of the day here in the Cumbrian summer. Don't know about anyone else but I have been ffffffffreezing lately. So much so it has been even more of a pleasure to work on one of my ongoing projects, the scrap blanket.

Thankfully it has reached the stage where it is large enough to cover my legs and toes. And the scrap mountain is going down. Win win.

Hope your week is going well. What are you and your weather up to?

Until next we meet,
Moke xxx

Patterns are fun …eventually

Hello All

The sun has got its hat on. Hip hip hip hooray! Yesterday was a wonderful day for a train journey to my favourite city, Carlisle. A day when all my bus train bus connections came together and travel was an absolute pleasure.

As you know there is little chance of finding me on a train without wool and a project. Yesterday was no exception.

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In truth however I was running scared. I thought after the bauble success of last week I would try another pattern from the colourful “Boho Crochet” book edited by Merenke Slump. My knees turned to jelly when I realised I was moving from a two star to a THREE star skill rating. What was I thinking?! FPtrs and FPdtrs awaited along with surface crochet and sl st into blo (don’t ask, spare yourselves).

But before I could hook my way through a new crocheting learning curve my train had pulled in at Carlisle station. I had a little time before meeting with my friends at Tullie House Museum. Time for a visit to the library to pick up some light reading and settle down with a cup of tea.

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And yes that is brilliant sunlight casting shadows! Apologies for getting so excited but we don’t get a lot of sunshine in Cumbria. Infact like Nosferatu caught out by dawn we squinted, we fidgeted, we MOVED to get out of the rays. We may not get much sun but when we do it is stunning. Our eyes need time to adjust.

It was lovely meeting up with my friends but all too soon I was time to go our separate ways. A beautiful train ride later and I was back home and it was time to face my ‘Star Fruit Pattern Rug’ fears. Gulp.

Things didn’t get off to the best of starts.  I discovered I didn’t know my WS from my RS!

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Oops!

But having discovered this fundamental I started to get to grips with the lingo and enjoy myself.

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The Star Fruit shape began to form as I worked in the surface crochet. And the motif came together with the addition of the third colour edging.

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In no time at all I had three motifs completed. Only another 67 to go and I’ll have a rustic new rug!

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In case you were wondering I am using a 4mm hook and these chunky rough dyed rug yarns from Farfield Mill.

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Patterns. Pah! Nothing to fear after all. Next time 4 stars. Bring it on.

Until next we meet, Moke x

What’s on the kitchen table?

Hello All

Having said last week that Spring had sprung this weekend has been f-f-f-r-r-r-e-e-e-e-zing. Best spend the day in the warm with copious amounts of tea and a small (ie I have a chance of finishing it) craft project.

So what is on the kitchen table this week? Having a giddy flash-back to ‘Play School’ … what is through the …. round window? (I always wanted the round window). Enough of the 1960s back to the kitchen table:

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Time to set about a wee bit of crochet inspired by “Boho Crochet” edited by Merinke Slump until

 

I have two half orbs. Then only a few stitches follow and …

voila! a bauble

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with all it’s playful possibilities. Sparkle-y yarns for celebrations and your favourite colours for interiors …  all worked in a trice.

Infact it was finished too quickly. The great outdoors is still less than inviting so it is back to ….

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the sock-a-thon. Which as a dedicated woolly crafter I am doomed I mean duty-bound to complete.

What crafts have kept you busy this weekend? and who remembers Gonks?

Until next we meet, Moke x

Latest Addition

Hello All

Now I am back in the blogosphere I think I had better introduce to you the newest member of the It’ll Be Reet clan.

On Thursday 17 December 2015 Number 1 daughter gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. She and her partner were over-the-moon as were new uncles and aunties and two very proud grandmothers (Nanna A and me, Omi).

Birthday 17.12.2015 few hours - Peanut 1

Being new to this Omi lark I am not sure how much baby cooing and gurgling I should subject you my dear readers to. But if you will forgive me I may run wild with gooey-ness in just this one blog.

As you can see yarns have been important from day one. Little Peanut was a wee bit on the small size and needed a prem-baby-bonnet to keep warm. But I can’t claim to have knitted the one above – good grief what sort of Omi am I?! – it was knitted by the kind knitters of Leeds especially for the maternity unit. Thank you lovely ladies and gents.

Peanut was obviously a chip off the old block and soon was enjoying the snuggly pleasures of an Omi made blanket..

16.1.2016 Peanut and the blanket that Omi made

… and a Daddy-sized woolly hat.

27.02.2016 Daddy's hat suits me

So there is no better way to wish you a Happy Easter from our latest addition, Peanut, in her own fleecy Easter bonnet.

2016.03.27 - Blue eyed bonnet

Until next we meet, Omi Moke x

Bookshop Bunnies

Hello All

Still here! Miracles will never cease. Good job too as I have a trio of little chums to introduce you to. Back in March my very good friend B and her husband re-located their home and wonderful bookshop, Fireside Bookshop, from the Lakes down to Littlehampton on the south coast.

I was on my blogging ‘sabbatical’ when B moved but shortly after they had established their new shop I sent them a little fellow to remind them of their days in Windermere. DSCI0451 Meet Gerald the first of the Bookshop Bunnies to leave the shelter of the Old Sycamore (handily situated in my garden) and travel to their favourite bookshop.

An opportunity for Gerald to be joined by some of his nearest and dearest has now arisen as B is paying a visit. And a couple of Gerald’s kin decided they would hitch a lift back with her – think the Post Office does not offer the comfort they would like – to join him at Fireside Bookshop.

Nancy has been waiting some time. Counting the days until B’s visit.
DSCI0468But with a little needlefelting on this wonderful Gotland fleece (a purchase from this year’s Woolfest),
DSCI0132she has now been joined by a traveling companion –
DSCI0133wearing a rather natty crochet shawl –
DSCI0135her grandmother Marigold.
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Today – with a small lump in my throat – it is time to say ‘bon voyage’ as they set off on their journey to West Sussex and their new home at Fireside Bookshop.

Good luck Bookshop Bunnies.

Until next we meet, Moke x

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