Thursday, 30 April 2009

Pigeons and elbows

Busy busy today as a pigeon came to visit down the chimney in Lizzie's bedroom which doesn't get used except when Lizzie is here so by the time we realised there was a pigeon in the bedroom it was dead and what a mess it left behind. I have been scrubbing, disinfecting, cleaning the carpet and washing everything that will fit into the washing machine. Anyway the room is clean and fresh, the last moving boxes are empty and the pigeon has gone. However all that scrubbing has irritated my poor elbow, it feels stretched and achey and lifting saucepans or the kettle is so painful. In need of rest I think, I am going to heat up the wheat/lavender thing and put that over it and massage some tiger balm into it. If it doesn't feel better tomorrow then I shall sit and rest it by knitting! The perils of getting old! No pics today - only dead pigeons and nackety elbows but here is one of a lovely rusty metal heart I found in the garden and some very bright socks knitted in regia sock wool that I took a few days ago.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Hamish on strike, knitting, Teds and hens

Hamish the westie is on food strike again! Nothing new but turning his nose up at home made beef stew is a bit brutal! For those of you who don't know Hamish - he has always been rather particular about his food - very particular about not eating it! He'll eat mine and anything that is handed to him under the table but not in a dish on the floor. Other dogs don't seem to have any problem eating from dishes on the floor but not Hamish. We have been in situations where we have visited other dogs' houses and the food is guarded (Bramble @ Scalpay Linen does this) but Hamish couldn't give two hoots and when Bramble visited us she woofed down Hamish's food. I know of another westie who is even fussier - that's Chico at Aird Ashaig, she has lamb cutlets for tea every night - well I am not going that far! He will have to go hungry until he decides to eat, I am sure he won't fade away!
Was in Pocklington twice today - once for the market and the woolshop and then later for the craft group. Bought some Regia sock wool, this time in pinks and fair isle, which will knit up in stripes and another sock wool by King Cole which is white/pink/green/peach, it looks nice in the ball but has a rather dated effect when knitted up rather like those early random knits - very disappointing and bland - not the impact that the Regia and Opal wools have - so won't use that again!
At the craft group lots of stuff going on - some proddy, some knitting and crocheting with plastic bags, a lot of socks, hats and tiny body warmers being knitted for the special care baby unit in York - these are really tiny little ribbed beanies and little body warmers that open on the front and on the shoulder for little ones who weigh about 2lbs, some of the little hats have eyelets around the rim to allow all the tubes to be passed through whilst keeping the baby's head warm. I will get some pics of the hats and bodywarmers. They are so lovely.
I am knitting Teds again. Did a lot when I was on Harris for Harris Voluntary Services who were organising Teds for use on emergency vehicles, the idea being that if a child or older person was in distress they would be given a Ted as theirs to keep. The Teds were knitted to a standard pattern in one long length, folded over, stuffed and embellished. Really effective. Here is a Ted that I knitted recently although this one is not for passing on as he is rather fluffy and has a ribbon rather than the sewn on knitted scarf. This time the Teds are for use in A&E departments same as the emergency vehicles, will post a pic of the group when done! But here is one to be going on with.
I won the ark on e bay and it arrived today in a big box weighing 34 kgs, the next jobs are the fencing and the hens themselves. There is a farm supplier down in Market Weighton - will trot off down there and see what I can find. Mick (the ploughman) reckons the posts are going to be difficult to get in - none of that softish Hebridean peat here just rock hard chalk! The hens will come from the Livestock market that is held in York on Mondays. Apparently the bank holiday markets are the best ones but we won't be ready in time for next Monday! I thought I would like pure bred but think that maybe Heinz 57 type hens will be best to start with although I would like some Arucanas, the eggs that I used to get from Sheila were wonderful and so pretty!
Anyway off to see if Hamish has scoffed his tea - watch this space!

Saturday, 25 April 2009

tractors and terrace

Vintage tractor rally today met for lunch - pie and peas, in the stackyard. There were 24 tractors all in various stages of renovation and some needing a bit of assistance to get under way again. Great to see them chugging along the narrow Wolds lanes. Some had come from York (about 20 miles away) but most were local from the little villages nestling in the Wolds. This rally is an annual event about this time every year and is in memory of a local vintage tractor enthusiast whose name escapes me - apologies! The tractors parked outside our barn so we had a brilliant viewpoint hanging over the barn door just behind this yellow Ford tractor. There was a lot of revving up (not unlike the Grand Prix on t.v!) and a lasting smell of diesel in the air as they all departed in convoy.
I was out very early this morning as the sun was up. I love going out into the garden with a cuppa and my knitting listening to everyone else waking up. There are a lot of swifts on the telephone wires over the inside garden. Hamish has discovered their droppings and just loves to roll in it - he has been showered and blowdried this morning because he was so pongy and here is a pic of the handsome beast looking very white and about to roll again! Anyway back to knitting - here are some little socks and some bigger ones that I have knitted over the past few days - sorry the pics are a bit fuzzy. You can see these socks and others in my little shop on - it's called the tin shed.
The terracey bit of the inside garden is looking very pretty as both my father in law and I have been potting. The plan is to plough up a bit of the front garden and get some veg going but we have very little topsoil, the chalk is just under the surface - raised beds may be the answer. I am also going to put in some fruit trees in my hen area. Five fruit trees = an orchard. I have heard somewhere that there is a government initiative to encourage orchard planting as 90% of orchards in England have been ripped out for one reason or another. We have an elderly bramley apple tree in the front garden that looks very in need of tlc - will get John Seymour out to see what he says. I think I will put in some apple and plum trees - the problem will be getting a hole big enough in the chalk - that will be where Mick and the tractor get roped in!
Keep finger and toes crossed for me as I am bidding for an ark on e bay for the hens - the palais de poulet was left on Harris - a new home for hens is needed! Kenny (the remover from Grosebay) said he had never seen so much stuff so I didn't like to ask him to bring the henhouse and then he moved my mother in law..........

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Being crafty and dotty

Here I am again blogging away! Lizzie has arrived home from Uni for a couple of nights bringing with her the 3m length of fabric she has been working on for sometime - she has designed the print, applied the print and is now embellishing which is where I come in - tomorrow is attaching day - lots and lots of little dots. Once it has been submitted I will put a pic on here of her work. She is in the final weeks of her degree and as yet no job!
I have had the needles clacking away making socks - here are some just finished made in Regia sock wool - it is lovely to knit with but makes you very lazy cos all you have to do is go round and round on the four needles. This pair and others are for sale on along with other items - my little shop is called the tin shed and is full of crafty bits and pieces which are added to regularly. I have also made some cute little socks for a 3 month old in debbie bliss cashmerino, they are lovely - really soft and some birds in harris tweed. The teeny beanie is in rowan organic eco cotton - didn't like it very squeaky on the needles - I use lovely tasmanian oak needles. The hat is knitted from the top down so you start with the i-cord and then increase downwards on 4 needles giving a nice wheel effect on the crown of the hat.
The weather here on the Wold has been very foggy, very damp and dreek. The tractor has been in to cut the grass in the front garden - that is the job for Sunday raking it all up - hopefully it will be a bit drier by then. The Farmers Market is on this Saturday and I have been thinking about taking a stall there. Another lady has a stall doing crafty bits and pieces. The market is increasing in popularity and seems to attract quite a lot of visitors.
We have a bit of land at the side of the house and I am thinking (again) of hens. Didn't quite get round to hens on Harris - the hen house was built and ready, the hens just didn't arrive but I think we will get the bit of ground here hen proofed and go for it. I was thinking some Buff Orpingtons, some Aruacanas and some speckedly ones - maybe Scots greys. There is a breeder close by so will go along and see what he has at point of lay at take it from there. The hen house is still on Harris - Tony will have to get the hammer, nails and wood out and get going! Maybe the pheasants and partridges that live in the hedge will move in too!

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Long time since...

I last wrote and I see my one of my island pals - Sheila from Scalpay Linen is even writing from Japan!
Anyway we have settled into the new abode high up on the Wolds in Yorkshire. It's cold here. No wind as in the Hebrides just the cold and earlier in the year the snow. We are a bit behind the Hebs with regard to flowers - the daffs are only just out here, the snowdrops were beautiful and the bluebells are on their way now.
Down to the knitting I have been busy making lots of socks with the Regia sock wool - I love the new Kaffe Fassett designs and they don't seem to repeat throughout the sock, I look at the pattern and it almost repeats but then it doesn't anyway have knitted some really great socks so will get the pics on tomorrow. Have joined a knitting/textile group that meets over the Wold. All sorts of things going on - cold felting, proddy, knitting and crochet. There isn't the crafting ethos here that there was on Harris - I found being with Joan and Sheila (Calana Crafts and Scalpay Linen) so inspiring and wanted to get on and do all sorts of stuff. Haven't found that here yet - people tend to be a bit safe and do things from patterns rather than the freefall stuff we were doing on Harris and I am sure Joan and Sheila are still doing. I am getting on and working through my stash although I have so much scottish tweed aran weight I don't know what I am going to do with it - maybe destash!
The craft fairs are starting here - again not the sort of handcrafted stuff that was evident on the island. The cost is much higher - some places are £45 for a table and that is a lot of sales before you start to make a profit! Have been doing some lower cost items at £1 or £1.50 just to make the table fee without devaluing what I am doing too much. The agricultural shows are apparently good for crafts and I am planning on table sharing with a fellow crafter. I have made bags and some accessories in Harris Tweed but I don't think they 'get it' here. I will have to work at it a bit more, here there are mainly walkers so the socks do go well and hopefully once people become more familiar with the tweed they will love it too!
Here are some pics of the new home, the snowdrops, the snow we had in March and the dog!