Monthly Archives: July 2013

More humbugs

Ok, to follow on from my recent post ‘bah humbug’ I thought I would write a list…of why I dislike summer (I clearly still have the grumpy fairies visiting)
1. Midges
2. It’s too hot, I have Scottish blood, I am fair skinned, I go red in the teensiest amount of sunshine and then straight back to white with no redeeming brown inbetween.
3. I get heat rash which is very unattractive.
4. I am overweight, I get sweaty under my bra, ugh
5. It is too cold and the heating police will come round if you put on the heating (honestly)
6. Did I mention midges?
7. Everyone is off work, I am at work and can’t get hold of anyone.
8. I get sweaty hands so my wool squeaks when I knit.
9. My dogs get too hot.
10. The lawn needs mowing…every week! Surely once should be enough?!? It is too needy.
11. I try to grow vegetables, I can’t grow vegetables but I try every year and end up reinforcing my disappointment in myself.
12. People expect you to be happy in the summer. It is more acceptable to feel low in winter, you can blame the weather but if the sun is shining you must be happy!
13. Finally, as thirteen seems like a good number to finish on, I crave hot stodgy food but summer is the salad season…who invented salad??

Phew, I feel much better for having got that off my chest. I promise to be positive in my next blog, honestly I do. I am not a Pollyanna however, although I am sure you have worked that out by now.

On the knitting front, I am having great fun with my multnomah, I have made heaps of mistakes. Every time I have knitted feather and fan this happens. I’m not sure why but it might be to do with that fact it is a lace pattern, but not an especially difficult lace pattern so I don’t concentrate and lose count. I don’t mind though, you will learn I am not a knitting perfectionist as I have learnt (learned? I was educated in the 80’s, gramma wasn’t emphasised) that after a couple of wears I forget about all the mistakes and just enjoy the garment.

Ok that’s all for now, here’s a pic of Gizmo enjoying the sunshine, just because I can (at least someone is liking summer!) go well.

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Jacob crackers

I have been a very busy bee and have lots to share with you. We have had almost constant fog for the last few days here so yesterday we decided to go down south to take a peak at Dunrobin Castle, near Golspie in Sutherland. Once we got past Berriedale the sun emerged and we could see the blanket of fog over the sea, it was like looking out upon a moonscape…beautiful. I tried taking pics but they didn’t turn out too well, this is the best one

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We got to the castle, parked up and decided that actually it was too hot to leave the dogs in the car as there wasn’t any shade and it was actually warm so went off to Golspie beach instead.

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Isn’t it beautiful, it was really like being on holiday somewhere exotic. The water is so sparkling and clear and the beach was entirely empty, just us and the dogs. They had a great time running in the out of the sea, digging in the sand and showering us with salty water!

We went off to find somewhere to have our picnic and found ourselves at the ‘Big Burn’, a walk through some woodland to a water fall. It was just right, nice and cool after the hot sand.

Finally we got back to Wick in time for the Gala. Before moving to Caithness, I had never heard of Galas. They are a big part of the summer in Caithness and involve lots of different events throughout the week but culminate with the crowning of the gala queen and a parade of floats through the town centre. An awful lot of work goes into the floats and they usually have very clever, often topical, satirical poems on the sides about local issues.

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That one was about the horse meat scandal!

Finally we went off this morning to collect some gorgeous Jacob fleeces. As part of my venture into the world of selling wool I have thought long and hard about the kind of business I would like to run. So much British wool goes to waste, often burnt as selling it to the wool board often isn’t worth it for farmers as the price of fleeces is so low. I think this is appalling as it is a beautiful natural resource and, in the cases of Rare Breed sheep, such a loss to both the UK economy and the consumer. I hope to make a teeny change to this by supplying wool grown in Caithness and spun as locally as possible. Look at these lovely sheep, what’s not to love?!?

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And the fleeces, safe and sound in Mr Knittingkitten’s shed awaiting their next move to the mill.

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Go well.

Bah humbug

Well I’ve not really got anything new to show you nor have I anything in particular to tell you as most of my time has been occupied with either dying or organising my Etsy shop colouredinCaithness which while this is exciting for me, I do understand that the for the rest of you it must all be a little dull.
That said, I am VERY pleased with how it’s all going, I like my yarn (one of my conditions…it has to be yarn I would buy) and I have fairly high standards when it comes to wool.

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That is all for that today I promise!
On the knitting front I am making very slow progress on multnomah which I am knitting in some hand spun Manx loaghton, a yarn from a primitive breed of sheep each with an impressive set of 6 horns! Their wool bleaches in the sun so the yarn has different shades of brown.

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Apologies for the shockingly bad photo. It is a very soft yarn, easy to spin and it smells reassuringly sheepy.
We are still having light nights here but the sun has vanished and the weather is back to what is much more normal for Caithness in Summer…overcast with lots of sea fog swirling about. I have decided, controversially, that I don’t like Summer. I think it must be my knitter genes…I am soo looking forward to chilly Autumn evenings where all you can do is snuggle down with a lovely ball of wool, Ravelry and some knitting pins. Summer is all too,well, summery. It is either too hot and I get very sweaty paws which makes knitting, or indeed any kind of yarn based activity, unpleasant, or it is miserable but still not cold enough to justify having the heating on (I miss my heating…there is something about the dry heat that does me good) and I hate dislike light nights…roll on September I say. Go well.

PS anyone notice I’ve learnt how to insert links?!?

Carry on spinning…!

It was the Caithness County Show this weekend and the spinning group I attend were giving a demonstration. We had a great time, the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day for spinning.

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Mr Knittingkitten helped to carry all of my yarny kit and took some great pics. Here is our stall, we all brought examples of our craft with us, some just to show, some to sell.

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I brought some of my hand dyed yarn and knitting, Caroline brought some of her gorgeous hand dyed yarn and tops (she has an eBay shop called woolbothy), there were some woven shawls and hand spun wool. It all looked lovely and it was a privilege to be part of such a talented group.

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Frustratingly my energy levels weren’t great but I managed about half of the day which was long enough to meet lots of people and hopefully show them a little about the almost magical (to me anyway) process of transforming fleece from a sheep into yarn into garments.
I didn’t have enough fizz to have much of a look around the rest of the show which was probably a good thing as I would have only spent lots of money! I did manage an Angus burger and strawberries with ice cream though…

Despite chatting to lots of folks I found enough time to finish spinning and then ply some of the Gotland batt I bought at Woolfest, it is currently having a good soak and once it is dry I will show you how it has turned out, I am really pleased with it, it is so soft.
Until next time, go well.

Glorious summertime

Wow it is hot! Not quite as hot as other parts of the UK but certainly warm (as I wipe my forehead). It. Is. Lovely!! It is our fourth Summer in Caithness and every year has been salubrious but this Summer has definitely won the Good Weather Award; although now I’ve said that we will have gales and snow by this time next week…
I have been taking lots of photos because I just can’t resist it

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That was Dunnet Bay tonight; it was spinning today and the drive was glorious…I could go on and on so one more pic then I’ll shut up about Caithness and write about much more important things such as wool.

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So as I mentioned, it was spinning tonight. We are a busy group at the moment with lots of plans for exciting events. The first is in a couple of day’s time where we are going to have a ‘spinning exhibition’ at the Caithness County Show which is held in Wick this year. We will be having a couple of tables in the local produce tent and will be taking spinning shifts to promote yarny skills and wool. I am greatly looking forward to it although I feel a bit torn as part of me hopes not too many people will want to talk to me as that will interrupt my spinning!!
The second event we will be taking part in is a spinning link-up with another spinning group in the Falklands via satellite where we plan to spin and knit cushions alongside the group many, many miles away. I will let you know how we get on.
Ok, so another excitement is that I have opened an Etsy shop called colouredinCaithness (www.etsy.com/shop/colouredinCaithness) selling my British rare breed hand dyed yarns, please take a look, I need as much support as I can get. I promise not to go on about it (too much) here as I dislike blogs purely to promote businesses.
I am allowing myself a couple of photos but if you would like to see more just take a visit over to the shop.

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That is some 4ply Shetland. We have some stunning wool produced right here in the UK and it does annoy me that so many British dyers use Australian produced merino, so the underlying ethos to my shop is to promote locally produced yarn from small farms. I have lots of plans but will just have to wait and see if all of you out there want to part with your hard earned pennies for them.
Last pic…

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That is white faced woodland 4ply, a lovely yarn that is rather hard to part with!
Anyway, enough for now, go well, until next time.

Glad to be home

It’s been a long, hot week. We travelled down South to England last weekend to help prepare a family funeral. Despite it being a very sad occasion, in many ways it was a wonderful time; we spent some very special time with our family and it reminded me of what is really important in life.

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(I’m afraid I can’t credit that picture, it’s one I found a while ago on Facebook)
The city was definitely a bit of a culture shock, especially the weather! Very warm, sticky but lovely for us, a bit like going abroad. Mr Knittingkitten has come home with a tan and enjoyed getting his legs out for the first time in several years…
It is great to be back home although we feel an awful long way away from everyone, part of me wishes I could transport our house down South complete with view but be close to our family.
I didn’t get chance for much yarny stuff but did start a granny square blanket for my niece.

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Nice and simple, easy to do in the car or when talking and using up some more of my stash.
Before we left I finished another crochet project (I still can’t believe how quick it is!), I haven’t decided if it is for me or not yet. It’s made in North Ronaldsay wool which can be a bit scratchy but I washed it in the machine, hoping to felt it…not a chance! But it did soften it up a bit.

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The flower embellishments are from a book by Lesley Stanfield ‘100 flowers to knit and crochet’ which is fab. My only gripe is that she doesn’t give any guidance regarding stitches so I keep having to look them up elsewhere – 3 double treble cluster anyone?
I started some more dyeing today, it wasn’t quite as successful but a useful learning experience anyhow. I do love how the wool looks when it’s drying

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Right, that’s about all I can manage for now. My energy levels were ok last week as I think when needed I can run on adrenaline for a while but once I stop it all catches up with me as I’ve gone into energy overdraft. I plan to just sit and watch all the tv I recorded….bliss. Bye for now, go well and here is one final pic of one of our doggies who is also glad to be home. Go well.

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A period of reflection

The Yowes and Rams throw is finished (ought to be the other way round but I always think women should come first). The border seemed to take forever, well, maybe not quite forever but at least 940 miles worth, to Woolfest and back, plus some more since we got home. I completed the I-cord bind off with this much yarn left!!

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Phew! That’s a little too close for comfort for me; don’t you find yourself knitting faster when you think you are about to run out of wool, as if the quicker you go the less chance of running out you have…?
I’m very pleased with it

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I love the natural colours and am a little proud of my first big knitted item made with my own handspun wool, mainly from local sheep. Go sheep!
I had a bit a debate with myself (and Mr Knittingkitten who is very useful when it comes to knitting dilemmas) about whether to line it or not and decided to go for it.

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Sorry about the sideways photo, as you can see embroidery is not my strong point, just as well I’m a knitter, eh?
I always feel a sense of loss and of feeling lost when I finish a project that has been with me a while and I get tempted to start another one immediately! However I’ve learnt the hard way that rushing in to something else too soon is a mistake and a week later I come too and find myself knitting something completely unknittingkitten. Much better to focus on finishing another (of my many) WIPs and have a good think about what next. I am sorely tempted to start another fair isle project though, I do enjoy them.
It’s good to reflect on where we are at, knitting or otherwise. My family is experiencing some loss at present and, like knitting, the urge to ‘do’ something, to avoid the feelings, is strong, but much more helpful to try and stay with the feelings, however painful, as I know that we will emerge from the other side with more depth and colour.
Until next time go well, especially you Mr G Sr, much love.