Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Soup, polo necks again, tidying and no pics!

Whoops have been really busy knitting today and before I knew it the light had gone and wanted to take pics in natural light - will tie a knot in my hanky so that I remember to do it tomorrow! The doggy polo neck is finished - not bad for a design sample - haven't put the sleeves in or done the fancy work around the neck, it is marginally long in the body which means the weeing tackle will have to be kept clear when it is put on, had planned on the edge of the jumper being out of firing range - it isn't quite! Will develop this idea a bit, knitted on four needles it was a bit thick and stiff to manage but quick to knit.
Have also been making soup today, still very cold outside - ideal soup weather! First pot for today was cauliflower and horseradish - easy, quick, filling and low calorie and this evening had some ham stock to use up which of course lends itself to split pea soup - that is Thursday lunch taken care of as well!
I bought myself some plastic storage boxes in varying sizes from Dunelm before Christmas. Have been having a long overdue sort out of crafting stuff - bearing in mind that Lizzie (now textile graduate) has dumped all her stuff at home - moved to a smaller flat and now 'grown up' doesn't want all her student paraphanalia around her new flat, therefore all brought home and dumped around the house. Most of it has been decanted to the barn but some has been recycled into my boxes. Have some great shelves at the back of the dining space which are full of books, saying goodbye to them and putting my crafting boxes there but then there are the boxes of tweed, fabrics and wool ... oh dear! More tomorrow and pictures!

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Snow, ice, chilean wool and polo necks for dogs

Oh boy is it cold! It is about -3c up here on the wold. Have been out walking today - very icy and slippy in some places particularly where there isn't any sun, the snow is still very deep in the shaded places and the drips from the trees have frozen onto the underlying snow giving a very pretty crystal effect.
I have been using some hand dyed chilean 4ply wool in blue/mauve shades for a pair of socks - they are very attractive, the wool was lovely to knit with and I have a good firm finish on the socks. I bought the wool locally in Driffield but the shop has since closed so I will have to look for another supplier. Have started some more socks with a Regia stripey 4ply, this is the one with wide bands of colour (orange and donkey brown) with a narrow band of black and white fairisle between each colour change. I knit on 4 dpns or sometimes 5 depending on the number of stitches - have never quite got to grips with circular needles despite Joan (Calana Crafts) best efforts! At the same time I am knitting Hamish (the westie) a polo neck jumper - he has a coat already but he is really sniffy about wearing it so I have decided that a polo neck jumper with sleeves is this seasons must have for a cool dog or even a warm dog! The vital statistics have been taken and the project has started a bit freefall, again on 4 dpns - about 6mm, using 2 strands of Katherine's Harris Wool in burgundy, I intend to do a bit of Icelandic/Norwegian patterning around the shoulders but I am thinking I may cast on around the armhole and knit downwards rather than knit a sleeve into a circular yoke - all this fuss for a dog! Will put some pictures on when the light is better tomorrow but for now here are some pics of the snowy wolds and a dippy dog on the scent!

Monday, 21 December 2009

Bags and socks

We are snowed in, this is day two so have spent my time catching up and finishing things off. Here are some of my design bucket bags, these are all in Harris Tweed and these have Amy Butler design cotton linings (Amy Butler is a designer for Rowan). The bags are trimmed with jute webbing and have jute handles. There is my tag inside (Tinshedbags - handmade in Yorkshire) and a Harris Tweed label on the outside of the bag. The bags are about 20 inches high by about 18 inches wide, plenty of room for shopping, magazines or your knitting. The bags 'sit' - they are shaped at the bottom to sit rather than topple or collapse. Will put more on as and when I make them. Also some pics of socks, the very multi coloured ones are handknitted in 75% wool/25% polyamide, this wool is called Mexico, colours are quite vibrant this pair are in size 7-9, the grey pair are in similar wool in the same size 7-9, they can be machine washed at 40c or below and cool tumbled - you can of course handwash them too!
Lizzie is home for Christmas from Leicester, she plans on making some corsage and a few other crafty bits, it will be lovely to see her as she hasn't been home 'properly' since she was here for a week or so with swine flu and some of that time was in hospital. I
I will be icing her cake and arranging the fruit on the top of our cake tomorrow - less calories without icing (well that is the plan anyway!)
The snow all looks very lovely but it is a nuisance not being able to get out - so I hope Lizzie can get through - the main roads are fine it is just our little lane up to the house but as that is three miles long it can prove difficult! These snowy pictures were taken on friday but we have had another six inches or so since then - we have a severe weather warning for tonight and it is -7c outside already!

Friday, 18 December 2009

snow and christmas cakes

It's happened - the snow and we are snowed in. Woke up to quite a deep snowfall but it has continued with big fluffy snowflakes through the day, thought I had better pop down into the village to stock up and got stuck on the hill by the church. Snowing again tonight so think we may well be stuck although a tractor did go down the lane not so long ago.
Finished icing two of the christmas cakes today - they look lovely on the dresser, they are twin cakes - they are both more or less the same, no arguments then! One for son Andrew and the other for Hil. Have used glitter on the sugar paste to add a bit more of a christmassy feel. Hil, my cousin is planning on visiting, she has just moved - the main roads are fine as they are gritted but will have to go out in the morning and see if she is likely to get through. Have tidied up the dining end in expectation - have made a load more bucket bags which I will photograph tomorrow along with some corsage that I have made and my daughter Lizzie has made and of course the socks! Hil is a ceramicist and is bringing me a plate she has designed and fired.
Here are some pics of the house in the snow and the cakes!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Snow forecast again ...

Well snow has been forecast again today this time upto 10cms. Last snowfall we were cut off twice as the snow in the lane drifted and was impassable for three days on both occasions, we have a steepish hill to get up to us and the gritters just don't come through all the little lanes on the Wolds, so we have to wait for one of the tractors to brave the snow and get through. Potatoes are being harvested now and there is mud everywhere so a smattering of snow will make everything look lovely!
Have been busy on the sewing machine today making some tweedy things - a Harris Tweed draught excluder in solid greyish turquoise. My daughter Rachel is complaining of a draughty front door hopefully this will help, will make some for sale on e bay. Have also cut out some more bucket bags, one in solid mustard Harris Tweed with a contrasting Amy Butler cotton lining. I have some really vibrant Liberty fabric in blues and reds and just the right piece of bright red Harris Tweed to go with it - will put some pics up of the work in progress. Also got some socks on the pins tonight, self patterning 75% wool and 25% polyamide, wonderful wool to work with and great through the washing machine and tumble drier too! My husband says they are the most comfy socks he has worn (no I didn't bend his arm to say that!), they are hard wearing and wash beautifully. Planning on knitting Hamish (the westie) a jumper, he has a knitted coat but it doesn't cover his chest - planning a polo neck jumper with sleeves for his front legs! He wasn't impressed with his coat (the body language says it all!) so I expect he will be sniffy about the jumper too but I have some lovely cherry red Harris wool to make it with and he will look so cute!
Hopefully the snow won't come tonight, shopping tomorrow for a few stock items just in case! It will be on to the UHT milk for a bit (I hate it !)

Friday, 11 December 2009

It's been ages since ....

I last wrote on my blog so here I am back! Life is busy out on the Yorkshire Wolds, very cold right now and snow expected. So what has been happening well start with me - joined a lifestyle group and have lost two and a half stone and still losing - dropped 2 dress sizes so far will be able to sideways behind a lamp post soon! (in my dreams) I returned to Harris during the late summer and saw some old friends on Harris and in Stornoway. Stayed at Urgha in Nina's ma in laws self catering cottage for a week - it was good to go back. Have since been to Norfolk to the boathouse again and also to Staithes just over the border into Cleveland. Lovely little fishing village hanging on to the sides of a very steep valley, the road down into the village is just about vertical and no space for anything - built before cars, all the houses are higgledy piggledy and streets have names like Slippery Hill. It was second homing in the extreme as it appears that most of the houses are holiday lets. We stayed in a tiny tiny one bedroom cottage built into the side of the cliff, sat outside most mornings (first week in December) catching the sun, knitting socks - have had a lot of orders.
What else - Lizzie graduated in the summer Textile Design and Print, doesn't have a job as yet but is signed up to do a business course with the Princes' Trust with a view to setting up a small studio in a converted warehouse in Leicester, apparently small spaces are let out very cheaply for people to get started. Lizzie wants to work with Harris Tweed making accessories and has lots of other ideas too.
I have also joined the Countrywomen's Association bit like the WI but not the same. Was encouraged to enter handicrafts in the village show and won the cup with socks, bags, corsage, baby beanies, sheep, brooches and some other things!
We are getting ready like everyone else for Christmas, have been feeding the cakes for a little while and next week is marzipan and icing. Again have orders - they will all be traditional, lots of royal icing! I have copied Kirstie (or maybe she copied me!) and have made most of my presents this year - socks and Harris Tweed bags, have done a new design and called it a bucket bag - Harris Tweed outside, vintage cotton lining, pinched across the bottom so it sits, quite big for shopping, holding the knitting and magazines or for use as a handbag, can come with a closure or with short or shoulder length natural jute handles, trimmed in natural jute. Gives a good contrast to the tweed and very sturdy. Again have had lots of orders and will be putting some on e bay in the new year when I have built the stock up a bit. They have been selling well locally. Carrying on my 'Tinshed' label they are called 'Tinshedbags' - Handmade in Yorkshire with the Harris Tweed label on the tweed. Here are some pics of the bags and the christmas tree with the morning sun coming through the door, Santa arriving by chandelier and Hamish sitting by the woodburner hoping someone will be going outside in the cold to fill the log basket! Well that is it for now - off down the big road tomorrow to Mansfield and then on Sunday Father Christmas is coming to our nearby town with his reindeer to the Christmas market - looking forward to that! Pictures to follow and if it snows - wow!