Monday, 30 December 2013

Sheep, not wool.

 The land around us is mainly given over to arable production. When we first moved here, the land behind us was part of a dairy farm. By the following summer, however, the Friesian cows had departed, and the fields were sown with wheat. The land in front of us was used for grazing sheep, but five years on, that, too, had become arable in common with the rest of that holding, which stretched around to one side of us. On the remaining side was part of a farm which ran as a dairy and bred lovely pedigree Dairy Shorthorn cows....gentle red-and-white spotted beasts, a favourite in old-fashioned story books. Happily, they are still there, although in reduced numbers, and the fields directly adjacent to us are mainly used for fodder crops.

So, I was delighted to awake this morning, to the sound of sheep. I knew that they were coming, but not when. The field opposite is now alive with the woolly beasts. The barley that had been in there last summer, was oversown with fodder beet. It is a quick-growing crop, and it meant that this flock of store sheep could overwintered on a good food source. I know that they will only be here for a matter of weeks, but they will make me smile while they are here.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Another shawl

Despite having a number of UFO's (Un Finished Objects), ( see Proliferation, 2nd November) I had to start on a new shawl. This is Abrazo , by Susanna Ic. Made in an alpaca/silk mix from Fleecewitch.  It is for my Sister-In-Law, Deb, for her birthday,
 It really is a lovely pattern, and the yarn is gorgeous. The two together made a very pleasing project.
 I slightly adapted the last few rows of the pattern, adding the eyelet and cast-off from another Susanna pattern, Summer Blooms.
 The border does not have such deep scallop as some of Susanna's patterns, which will suit Deb better. She is not so keen on the Goth as I am.
 I am pleased with the result. The only drawback, is that the little beads do not show up. Perhaps the colour match was too accurate.
I finally finished our Yule Cake on Friday. We both like rich fruit cake. We both like marzipan. But we don't like icing. So ...A marzipan decorated fruit cake !

Monday, 23 December 2013


Trips to Dulverton are either very quick and brief visits, or a more leisurely affair, but for someone else's benefit. Friday saw me in Dulverton again, but collecting things which had been ordered. It was a chance to look around by myself, and enjoy it.
A small shop, tucked in the corner next to the Post Office, has caught my eye on several occasions, so I took the chance to have a peep. Nimble Fingers is a Haberdashery, and needlework supplies shop. It is quite small, but crammed with an array of useful things. I spent a happy while, looking around and chatting to the owner.
There is a selection of yarns and knitting patterns, including some by John Arbon. A small but thoughtful selection of Excelana, and some of the Organic Merino range. I was unable to resist a skein of the natural white, aran weight, organic Merino.
Spotted on the stand of knitting needles, etc, was this Tunisian Crochet needle. I have never seen one before, and quite fancied trying it. The proprietor, Mr. Martin, assures me that he will always do his best to find tools and sundries for his customers.
This shop must be a god-send to local needleworkers of all sorts. It is also quite charming.

( Apologies for the lack of photos...I keep forgetting my camera just lately).

Sunday, 22 December 2013


So here we are at Midwinter. Most cultures have some sort of tradition, to celebrate their beliefs and bolster themselves against the dark experienced in the depths of Winter. Most have some element of light, to remind themselves that light will return. All have traditional foods.

Whatever your beliefs, I wish you harmony in your home and family, peace in your heart, and Joy in the season.

Thursday, 19 December 2013


On one of my little forays around Ravelry, I came across a little reference to the Knitsonik  podcast.  It is written and performed by Felix ( Dr. Felicity Ford). Felix is one of the three founders of Wovember,  and is also a knitter, spinner, designer, and sound specialist. All of these things, and more, come together in a delightfully whimsical fashion in this podcast.
 I was working on a knitting project which had a deadline, so sat and knitted, with Knitsonik  as company. It was utterly charming. I am looking forward to the next episode.

Monday, 16 December 2013


 On Saturday evening, Best Beloved and I attended a Traditions Evening, at the home of friends. These events have become a popular addition to the social round, in our extended group of friends. Different people take turns in showing how to do a Yule-related craft. I elected to demonstrate how to make a willow wreath, and then help folk make one. Gathering the 'ingredients' was an excuse for bringing home all sorts of greenery in the preceding week.
 I was surprised, and delighted, at the number of guests who had a go. On the whole, the children were much quicker at understanding the 'how to', than the adults.  Tilly ( above) decided hers was best worn as a crown!
About ten decorated wreaths made their way home with their creators at the end of the evening....and one stayed with the hosts.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Seasonal Knitting

 Although I don't do much seasonal knitting ( aka christmas knitting ), there has been a small amount going on. A quick visit to fivemoons studio last week yielded a beautiful merino yarn. A pattern was soon drafted, and then knitted up.
Barley was co-opted as model. This was the result....The Christmas Cabled Cowl.  The yarn is gorgeous....soft, squishy, very touchable ( i.e. suitable for those who react to wool by itching! )
It has been wrapped and given. I hope my friend likes it!

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Colour work

A few posts ago, I was enthusing about some new yarn. It is likely to be a new line of yarns, from Juno Fibre Arts. So far, the colours are the natural pale grey, and a wonderful, deep red. The red, which is called  Harts' Blood, has a slight variation in depth of tone, which I really love. The yarn itself is very reminiscent of Icelandic yarns, but is also very soft. I would even go so far as to say- cuddly. It is a Masham/Bluefaced Leicester blend.
I have made a tension square, and knitted up one cowl. ( I still need to weave in ends, and block it). It is quite nice, but does not fit exactly with my intent.
So, a second is on the needles. Slightly bigger, with a little tweaking of the colour-work design. It should be finished in a couple of days.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Exmoor shopping

Nick and I went down to Dulverton yesterday. The reason for our visit was Dulverton by Starlight. A beautiful, tiny town on Exmoor, we both love it. Apart from a Co-Operative Food store, the shops are small individual businesses. My favourite clothes shop, Castlemoor, a wonderful bookshop cum gallery, called Number 7, a couple of lovely delicatessens, and many other shops.
We called into The Tantivy for coffee. It came with a delicious, buttery waffle.....with their name pressed into it! (Excellent coffee.) They also sell a range of Bridgewater china, cards, books with an Exmoor theme, and lovely gifty type foods. ( Yes, we did a little shopping).

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Knit /Cake Night

It was Close Knit on Friday....or Fight Club, as some of the members call it. (I don't know why, it is one of the gentlest, warmest group of women that I know).
Anyway, cake has to be eaten, so I made a batch of spiced fairy cakes. Five ounces each of butter, golden caster sugar, and self-raising flour. Two large eggs. A good teaspoon of Chinese five spice. Usual method. Then iced with a slightly lemon-flavoured icing, and scattered with edible gold stars.

Friday, 6 December 2013


                                       Sloe Gin...filtered and ready for consumption.
                                                  ( Although it is for presents, really).

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Sunlit walk.

                              At this time of the year, sunlit days are a bonus, to be cherished.

Advent spur

A little trip to fivemoons studio, a rifle through the new stock, and ideas for a new project were spawned. At the moment, I really have quite enough  projects in progress, but the realisation that we have entered Advent acted as something of a spur.
This will be a simple cowl, a small gift for a new colleague. The yarn is wonderfully soft, 100% Merino. fivemoons  Luna DK , moonclad . It is almost half done, having started it on Monday evening.
But once this is done, I really must get on with some of the neglected WIPs sitting by my chair. (And certainly before Quince decides they are fair game for carrying around! )
Some Seasonal Baking is in order, too. The main cake has still to be made, along with checking the ingredient list for superlative Ginger Cake, and Christmas Pudding.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Lap dogs

           There will be no knitting tonight.....the Girls have decided that they are lap-dogs.