Isn’t it nice to have some sunshine again! I’m enjoying my garden at the moment, especially these pompom pops of purple chives which are right outside my kitchen doors. I do love alliums, and it’s still exciting seeing what my new garden has to offer me as the seasons progress.

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Knitting has been sorely lacking here of late. I am gearing up to do a tubular bind off of the bottom ribbing of my crazy stripes, but haven’t managed to summon the courage or find the time to dedicate to it properly yet. Soon, I hope.

Theatrics continue. I have auditioned for a play and got a recall, but am still waiting to hear whether I’ve been cast. This week also sees the start of workshops for the next full-scale musical production my local society are doing. It will be good to get stuck into something again soon.

I’m also trying to get back into running again. I did quite well at the start of the year, running fairly regularly and getting up to 3k routes, with the aim of taking part in a parkrun 5k event. I stalled at 3k though and life and (not wanting to cripple myself before) shows got in the way, as they do. So, after several months of not running at all, I did the sensible thing and just decided to go for it and do the parkrun anyway! Crippling yourself *after* a show is fine, right!? I didn’t manage to run the full 5k. There was rather more walking than I’d have liked, but hey, I made it to the finishing line in a reasonable time, and I can only get better, right!? Maybe having a time to beat will encourage me to put some work in!

 

Little green froggy

Today I had another visit from the little green frog. Rrrrribbit!

I finished the body of my crazy stripes a couple of days ago, but I’m just not happy with the bottom hemline where the front left meets the back. I’ve trawled through a lot of finished projects on Ravelry and many seem to have quite a wobbly hemline over the hip in just that spot, and I don’t think it’s something that can just be blocked out.

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One project, fortunately, had some notes about just this issue, including a record of what she did to fix it. She was making a different size so I’ve done a little maths myself and think I’ve come up with my own solution, so I’ve ripped back 48 rows (thankfully much shorter ones than last time I had to frog!) and am reknitting to hopefully achieve a better looking line. I quite enjoy a bit of knit-maths but still I hope the numbers stack up!

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On the plus side, my new stitch markers really came in handy for this one!

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Treasure Trove

A random comment I noticed on a Facebook group last night sent me off on a treasure hunt this morning. It mentioned a fabric shop I’d never heard of, just a short drive from where I live. I’ve been on the lookout for some cheap knit fabric so I can practise the Renfrew top pattern I bought at the Knitting and Stitching Show, before I let myself loose on the spensive fabric I bought with it.

The fabric shop itself was much smaller than I’d hoped and didn’t carry a vast amount of stock. Most of it was printed cottons suitable for quilting, but I did find an end-of-roll offcut of a pink floral-printed jersey. I didn’t measure it, but it was only three quid, so I bought it anyway and hope it might be enough for a first crack at a Renfrew.

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The treasure was to be found in the adjacent barn. It hosts a selection of small businesses, almost like a small indoor market – vintage clothes, art and papercraft supplies, a small haberdashery, a petfood stall, fruit and veg, even a yarn shop, but the crown was the most amazing Aladdins Cave of a cake decorating supplier. They stocked just about everything you could possibly want for cake decorating – tools, toppers, food colourings, fondant icing, edible glitter, boxes, cake boards, stands, and a huge selection of cake tins for hire. I know where I’ll be heading next time I need some serious cake supplies, and it’s much nearer than the place I used to go to!

I think I’ll have to keep looking for a good local fabric shop. I discovered a great one a few weeks ago when I visited a friend and her yarn shop in Essex, but sadly that can hardly be considered local! Still, if you’re in the vicinity of Braintree in Essex, Blake House Craft Centre is definitely worth a mooch. They have a whole range of shops there though I’ve only been in two of them myself. And Sew On stocks a wide variety of fabrics and haberdashery supplies. I could have lost hours in there and left with a considerably lighter purse had I been in the mood for indulging. Just next door is my friend’s shop Sconch, which is just yarn heaven. It carries probably the biggest range of yarn types I’ve ever found in a single yarn shop. They have a great space for running Craft and Cake sessions several days a week. The staff were friendly and helpful. They also run an online shop which I’ve ordered from in the past and they have excellent customer service. I’d definitely recommend stopping by if you can.

I’m resisting buying any yarn at the moment as I have several projects lined up already, but I couldn’t come away completely empty handed, so I bought these cute stitch markers.

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What’s your local yarn or fabric shop like? Have you ever come across a crafty treasure trove?

Don’t they fly!?

The years, I mean. WordPress kindly informed me yesterday that it was my 3 year anniversary here. That would have totally passed me by!

I celebrated by picking up my knitting for the first time in about a week. I only managed a couple of rows but something’s better than nothing.

I also went to a rehearsal last night. I’m itching to get back to rehearsing a show. But this one was for a show I’m crewing in a couple of weeks time. Backstage work is something I enjoy, and you still get the buzz of being in a theatre, but it’s not the same as being part of the cast who’ve been rehearsing for months and going out on the stage in front of an audience. So I’m keeping my eye out for other opportunities.

In other news, the cake is safely in the freezer and it remains to be seen whether it survives on the other side.

Ganseys

On a trip up to the North Norfolk coast last weekend, I visited the small but delightful Cromer Museum. Whilst there, I noticed these amazing Fishermen’s jumpers, known as ‘Ganseys’. The knitting was so small and fine, that it’s hard to believe that they were handknit – they looked more like modern machine knitting – and some of the patterns were beautiful. It was fascinating to read about them.

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Here’s a bit of the blurb about them:

“Fishermen traditionally wear a blue woollen jumper called a ‘gansey’, which is a corruption of Guernsey.”

“Ganseys were hand-knitted ‘in-the-round’ using dark blue worsted wool to make a hard-wearing garment. The upper part was decorated with a pattern of purl and plain stitches.”

“Despite great age and years of hard wear the quality of these labours of love shines through.”

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I was also intrigued by these ‘Knitting shields’, though despite the explanation, I can’t quite picture how they would have been used.

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“The shield was tied to the waist or stuck into the waistband of an apron. The right hand needle was inserted into the end. This helped to support the weight of the gansey and steadied the needle.”

The museum also had a great exhibition about the work of Olive Edis, a female photographer around the turn of the 20th century, who also worked a war photographer during the First World War.

All in all, the museum is well worth a visit, and Cromer itself was just glorious!

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Improvisation

Pumpkin forgot to take his football kit to school today for his after school football club. Fortunately for him, he has a kind mummy who was willing to come to school early to deliver his kit and then wait around for an hour until football finished. School is a 25 minute drive away so not worth coming home in between.

Fortunately for me, this gave me a whole hour of knitting time. Or so I thought, until I read the first line of the next section of my pattern which told me to slip around a third of my stitches onto waste yarn, and I had neither spare yarn, nor scissors, nor yarn needle with me. I attempted to improvise. Spare yarn was to be found in one of my existent sets of held stitches for the sleeves. I used a key to cut the length of yarn I needed, but was stumped as to how to get the stitches onto the yarn. I was just considering using a spare needle tip ( the split one I replaced recently) to somehow thread the stitches, when I went to put away the stitch marker that was no longer required and there, joy of joys, in my stitch marker box, was a yarn needle!

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The stitches were swiftly and safely dispatched onto scrap yarn and I made the most of the remainder of my knitting time!

Is there a good way to slip stitches to scrap yarn without a yarn needle? What would you have done?

Roll on spring

 

The show is over. I miss it. We all had an absolute blast but I was utterly exhausted by the end of the week. I’m just about recovered now and the stripes are calling once more.

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The sunshine and the garden are also calling. I’m enjoying seeing what appears from the ground in our new garden. Spring bulbs fill me with joy and the blossom is beautiful!

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Spring Knitting and Stitching Show

I had something else in the pipeline to post about, but I fell off my shoes at a rehearsal the other day and injured my wrist, which has put both crafting and typing about it slightly out of the picture for a few days. It’s nearly better now, so I’m just popping in to say I’m off to the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show at London Olympia this weekend, and having just perused the website, I’m now rather excited about it. I hope I’ll remember to take a few photos while I’m there this time. Is anyone else going? Do say hi.

In the meantime I’ll just drop this little teaser of what I’ve been up to recently. The stripes have been temporarily abandoned!

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Unravel 2017

I’m starting to really love my annual trip to Unravel at Farnham Maltings with my lovely friend, and this year was no exception.

I enjoyed a good squish of many different yarns, and delighted as usual in the vast array of colours and patterns available for purchase, and those being worn by all the yarn-addicts wandering the rooms and manning the stalls.

I largely failed to get any photos, mostly everywhere was too packed with people to get close enough to squish, let alone snap the gorgeousness.

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My split needle was very kindly replaced free-of-charge by Knitproneedles.co.uk. I was less successful on the quest for extra yarn. The lady at Debonnaire Yarns was as helpful as she could possibly be, but unfortunately (and unsurprisingly) she didn’t have any more yarn that matched my original grey. She has actually completely changed her yarn ranges and didn’t even have anything that came close to that same colour. She suggested using a contrast colour for the edgings, but I’m not quite convinced that will look right. She said she’d have a rummage back at base for anything that might do, but I think I may have to do something a bit different with the sleeves. I have just about enough yardage between the two colours to complete the cardigan, but the sleeves may need to be more predominantly done in the contrast colour, rather than striped as per the patten. Frustrating, but not entirely unexpected. I knew I should have bought 3 skeins of the grey in the first place.

As for everything else, it seems I was very drawn to grads this year. I particularly loved the Sweet Georgia yarns, and their Party of Five grad mini skeins, which I realised afterwards were the ones Cassy at Knitthehellout recently used for her daughters latest tunic. But I was very good and resisted the temptation to stash without plan. I need to finish my Crazy Stripes first, which was my Unravel 2015 yarn purchase, and then I need to use the grad I purchased at Unravel 2016 for the shawl I’ve been planning for years. After that I can start a new project and buy some more pretties.

Even my friend was very restrained. She was rather taken with a pair of socks she spotted at Hand Dyed by Kate, but since she also has projects on the go from the last two years of Unravel, she also resisted.

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So, instead of indulging any further, once we’d thoroughly explored the festival, we headed for home, and spent a rather enjoyable afternoon sitting on the sofa working on our respective WIPs, feeling very virtuous for having resisted the call of the yarn! We’re off to the Knitting and Stitching show in a couple of weeks, so we can always indulge then if we feel we’re missing out on something!