And you’ll always land amongst the stars…

I loved that saying as a kid – it made me feel that no matter how high you aim, with hard work, you may not get all the way there, but you’ll get somewhere.

It’s been another hard week, and I am certainly feeling like the moon is very far away right now! I may change my aim and go for some far off distance planet…Saturn looks very pretty…

But enough about that. Let’s talk about rockets. Inklings school has been encouraging parents to send in party bags and to do little birthday parties in the class as to avoid people mixing bubbles arranging their own kids birthday parties given our times of plague. I like this plan, the kids get to celebrate, there’s no added stress of covid, and it’s a lot easier to just not have to worry about it. The only issue is, my two are used to having a party with a theme and a party bag with a little knitted something in it to match said theme.

Isaac declared all things transport. Cars, buses, planes, trained and rockets. He only declared this about two weeks ago and the party bags are getting sent in end of next week to quarantine before distributing. A quick and thorough browse through Ravelry and my knitting books and I came across Mini Knitted Rocket Ship by Ilana R. Marks. It’s not the first time I knitted this pattern – Isaac has a Fallout inspired Red Rocket mobile (now taken apart as just toy rockets)

It’s quick, easy, and with 30 to make…well, the perfect pattern!

A short post this week, but do remember, aim for the moon and keep safe, I’ll see you somewhere amongst the stars!

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I’ve not even reached the bank holiday Monday and I am beat! It has been a manic week. Monday and Tuesday where my last part time furlough days and I made use of them, painting some of the fences and the main gate, gardening, the never ending cleaning and tidying and sorting of the house, and on Friday after work if was IKEA for new armchairs and meatballs. That evening the sofa was taken apart, armchairs assembled and much laughter ensued about pretending to be cats in giant boxes…

Saturday was a dump run, rejigging the living room a bit then some Nerf at the local park with a set of friends. It’s amazing how easy you can maintain your 2 meter distance when wielding various blasters…

The big thing this week? Today I finally got to see Rabbie!!!! We met halfway in Cumbria at Lowther Castle and had an absolute ball. The Terrors got to see their favourite auntie and uncle and fur cousin, as well as run around the ruins of a castle and explore the fifty million things scattered around the grounds…Despite a tiny bit of drizzle, the weather held and even had us wriggling out of a few layers!

Back home now, Terrors are tuckered out on the new arm chairs and I’m putting my feet up for a well deserved cup of tea and a break.

I’m also rocking my newest complete pair of socks! A retake on Siobhan Crafts Halloween colourway – stripes instead of blocks – and once more using the pattern NO swatch, ANY yarn socks by Ida-Maria Tyyskä. Seriously can’t recommend this pattern enough – just about convinced one of my knitting friends to take the plunge into sock knitting using this recipe!

Anyhow, I am ready to hit the hay, so enjoy your long weekends and till next week, stay safe!

Wool Count

Starting total – 897

Wool used – 64 (1 this week)
Wool bought – 3
Wool given to me – 21
Wool gifted to others – 1
Wool handspun – 8

Total – 864

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This week’s blog title definitely has two meanings. The fun one is to do with my most recently completed knitting project, the other…

Last week, lockdown fatigue had really, really set in. It was literally at the point where I felt like I was just dragging myself through each day, one day after the other after the other…the mantra of ‘Just keep going, just keep going’ playing in my head.

But the restrictions here have begun to ease, last Sunday our little family went an hour and a half down south to meet up with our friends and their parents dog and we had an amazing day at their local reservoir/water park – there was lots of new scenery, big play parks, a tiny train…it was amazing.

And exhausting. I am not a sociable creature by habit, but we are a sociable species, and finally getting that social contact…yeah, I was tired.

So this low followed by this exhausting high led to their being no blog post last week. As such, we are having not just one, or two, but three finished products to show off!

These are made following the free pattern 19 Fishes on a Mitten by Magdalena Svanberg, except I added extra length so there’s 24 on these.

The idea of this whole set came into being after Engel bought be some of Siobhan Crafts hand dyed mini skeins all based on fish, I looked at them and knew they had to be made into a gift for Rabbie. She did marine biology at university, she does diving still, and her love of all things that live in the seas, oceans, rivers and lakes is astounding.

This crazy bright creation follows Alternating Current by Alex Tinsley from the book ‘Doomsday Knits’ – I followed the pattern pretty much except I used 3.5mm needles rather than the recommended 5mm due to the wool weight.

Another reason Rabbie deserves all the cosy warm Knits’ is that she feels cold. Painfully feels it. I often joke she’s a lizard, but I do feel for her. So this satisfies my mother like instinct to swaddle her in all the hand Knits!

Another free pattern, Fishies by Jackie Ziegler – I was determined to use every scrap of this wool!

This weekend I’m seeing the same friends I saw last week, only they’re driving up to us. I’m excited about this, but no where near as much as the fact that I am finally allowed to see my sis again! Next week we’re meeting up and I can’t wait to give her all these warm and cuddly things I have made, and let her know everyone she wears them that she’s appreciated and how much I miss her.

This pandemic has taught me a lot of things. I am a much stronger person than I ever thought I would be, I am capable of being a teacher, a mum, a wife, a friend, a sister, an entertainer, a crafter, a story teller, a games master, and more than I could list in here. It’s also taught me that I can’t survive alone. I can be a mother and a wife, but I need the husband and father. I can be a sister, a daughter, but I need family. I can be a friend, but I need them too. When presented with the unknown, I fill it with as much as I can to make it seem less scary, and I burn out because of it. But most importantly:

All any of us can do really, is to just keep swimming. We’ll get there, wherever there is.

Till next week, take care.

Wool Count

Starting total – 897

Wool used – 63 (13 this fortnight)
Wool bought – 3 (needed more black DK)
Wool given to me – 21
Wool gifted to others – 1
Wool handspun – 8

Total – 865

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Hello everyone, if your like me you’ll be lamenting the long easter weekend now being a distant memory, and the warmth and sun we had then too…seriously, it keeps snowing and its definitely spring.

In part to bring some of spring inside, but mostly because, well…

My little terrors gave me a chocolate rose on a little plastic stem for Mother’s Day, and it was really cute especially as I hadn’t expected anything. The sentimental part of me wanted to keep it…but the glutton in me also wanted to eat the chocolate…

Who says you can’t have your rose and eat it?

Its from a free pattern, Rose by Libby Summers, and knit with my own handspun. The reason for the pink wool is to continue my quest to knit all my kitties – the ginger ninjas Outbreak and Lockdown are next on my list but one ginger cat looks much like another…so their collars will be different.

But that won’t be for a while as I have some very fun yarn I’m playing with at the moment as part of a gift for Rabbie for just being awesome during this time of plague.

In other news, I went through my wool stash today with the ‘help’ of my terrors and one of the felines, and counted a lot more wool than I thought I had. Let’s just say it was about 100 out. I’m choosing to say the maths was done wrong, or the counting, due to my ‘help’ and will therefore continue with my current wool totals.

And on that note:

Wool Count

Starting total – 897

Wool used – 50 (10 this week)
Wool bought – 0
Wool given to me – 21 (MIL ripped out a jumper I made for FIL many, many years ago as he has lost a of of weight since then, so its made its way back to potentially be turned into a slimmer one. I really didn’t have the heart to tell her in could have just taken in the existing one and save myself the job of knitting one…)
Wool gifted to others – 1
Wool handspun – 8

Total – 875 (Up by 11, sigh…still more out than in though!)

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As I type this, curled on the sofa, sipping lemon and ginger tea and nibbling at my chocolate easter egg, I can say for certain that I needed this long weekend.

Its been a relaxed one, playing with the kids, doing crafts and reading and playing games, and with lockdown easing, been able too see people at the park and talk to them without that sense of guilt hanging over me…

We’ve had local Easter Trails and today I made a little indoor easter egg hunt that the kids demolished through in less time than I took to set it up…the weather has been good and it actually feels like spring, with changes just on the horizon, and that feeling of positivity beginning to creep in.

I also finished an impulse knit – sort of – in five days given that it had a weeks deadline, so I’m pretty pleased. I want to eventually have a wreath for the window for every month, and last year managed a spring wreath, two Halloween wreaths and a Remembrance wreath. Easter was definitely one of the ones to make, and last week I decided to just go ahead and make it.

Its an eclectic mix of patterns, all free, there’s Springtime Wreath, Daffodils, Small Knitted Dogwood Blossoms (which I tweaked the colours of to make Periwinkles), Forget-me-nots, a cute pair of Square bunnies and of course, the Easter Egg.

Its bright, its colourful, its silly, it used a ton of little scraps, and its what I needed.

So I hope your all having a great weekend, regardless of whether you participate in the chocolate goodness and silliness of Easter like I do, and that your keeping safe. Till next week!

Wool Count

Starting total – 897

Wool used – 40 (5 this week)
Wool bought – 0
Wool given to me – 0
Wool gifted to others – 1
Wool handspun – 8

Total – 864

(Squee! If I keep this up, I will be able to justify buying two sweaters quantities of yarn that I really want for a pair of projects!)

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Last year Engel decided I needed a little treat and so picked up some of the beautiful hand dyed yarn over at Siobhan Crafts – and he selected the limited edition Halloween set of mini skeins in sock weight yarn.

(He also picked up a tropical fish set and an adventure bike set – the former will be a gift for Rabbies once I settle on a pattern and the latter is wishful thinking of socks for himself… Which I will probably relent to…)

So, without further ado…

Socks! And better yet, socks for me! So squishy and cosy and I have enough left over to make myself a second pair! The pattern used is a free one and one I highly recommend for those who are new to sock knitting and more importantly don’t like knitting a gauge swatch! Its the NO swatch, ANY yarn socks by Ida-Maria Tyyskä. Expect more socks using this particular pattern in the future!

In other news its a week until Easter, I have no idea where the time has gone this year at all! It feels like just a blink but also forever…but soon, hopefully, with luck, we’ll be out of lockdown enough and can start doing all the fun things again that we’ve all been missing…

Besides wishful thinking, there’s not been much but work and as I am on part time furlough, a big stab at the various large jobs that need doing about the house and garden…

Oh. And Rusty. A stray tom cat that’s been trying to move in. We have a microchip reading cat flap, and after finding him in the house for the third time, managed to figure out how he was doing it. Outbreak, our little lady, hears him calling at the cat flap, goes over, unlocks it with her chip and then let’s him in…

I wouldn’t mind so much, but he’s not fixed, and so sprays. So Operation: Messenger Cat began! I managed to collar him, as in put as collar on him, and a note asking his owners if he was on medication or had any allergies…

The next day, I for a knock on my door and found myself speaking to one of Rusty’s lodgers. It seems my house isn’t the only house he’s breaking into. In fact, theres about five. I also found out about his actual owner – after Rusty took to wandering they decided that since he left the house, he wasn’t welcome back, and washed their hands of him.

So he was effectively abandoned meaning…what to do? I got in touch with the local cat charity and explained the situation and tomorrow will be Operation: Cat Catch as they are kindly going to have him neutered as they can’t have a stray cat fathering kittens and being a nuisance. He’ll get fixed, chipped and as long as either myself or his many lodgers agree to ensure he’s kept fed, watered and sheltered, that’s it, he’s good to continue being as free spirit.

I wonder if the cat shelter needs anything knitted for them, I haven’t chosen my good deed yet for this year…

Until next week, stay safe!

Wool Count

Starting total – 897

Wool used – 35 (10 this week)
Wool bought – 0
Wool given to me – 0
Wool gifted to others – 1
Wool handspun – 8

Total – 869

(I know a lot has been used this week, I’ll tell you why – I’m working on an Easter wreath and using up all those tiny odds and ends I have!)

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Have you ever had an idea, inspiration, slowly brewing and building in the back of your mind until you have to create it, unleash it, and let it free?

That’s exactly what happened to me during a family discussion on WhatsApp initiated by my niece regarding her school art project. To pretend to receive a commission, noting what it was and from whom, and then to create it. She wanted to do a sea shell crown but couldn’t think why it would be commissioned.

Eventually it was decided that a theatre was having a production of The Little Mermaid and that’s why they wanted a sea shell crown. Myself and Rabbie where keen for her to scrap the shell idea as another girl in her class had declared that as her project, and felt she could do something similar, with a Scottish twist, perhaps with Selkies…

For those who don’t know, Selkies are a mythical Scottish creature that is a seal who can remove her seal skin to take on the form of a human. As you can imagine there are many tales surrounding that premise, and it was the seal cloak that myself and Rabbie felt would make a great project for my neice.

She stuck with the sea shell crown, but this idea about Selkies and seals and the crashing cold waves along the Scottish coast stuck in my head. And then it began to grow. And change. And form into an idea that just had to be created.

And so, I present the Selkie Shawl:

The centre is meitered squares in varying shades of brown, to represent the different rocks and shale and pebbles of the Scottish coast. Surrounding this is the crashing waves, leading out to slowly calmer sea, and trimmed in a border called Old Shale, that looks like cockle shells and originates from the Scottish isles.

It’s huge, when I blocked it I found that it just kept growing and growing. I stopped at the width you can see in the photo above, but could easily have squeaked out another foot. However, all the wool in this is made from fleece I dyed with natural dyes (coffee and beetroot for the warmer browns and oranges, purple kale from my sister’s garden for the grey blue) and I didn’t trust my own spinning skills to withstand that much pressure!

And so there it is, an idea born from a conversation that evolved and grew into something else entirely. It took six months from conversation to completion, with only four months of actually working on it. First, I had to spin the wool, which I am very slow at, then I let it just do as it wished on the needles. As it grew I had to spin more wool. And more wool. Whilst doing this, I was also working on numerous other projects as I wanted to work in this only when the desire to do so came about.

The shawl has been finished for a few weeks, but I didn’t want to share it until I could get some photos of it where the land met water. Ideally I wanted to go up to Scotland, and with my family, go to one of the less tame Scottish coasts…but lockdown hasn’t allowed that, and so, a local reservoir had to suffice!

That’s all for this week, until next, stay safe.

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So…many…penguins…

No, really, there’s a lot of penguins. The last thread of the last penguin has literally been tucked in and this blog is getting updated. So, I mentioned previously that after getting caught out at Christmas just gone, I wasn’t going to try and knit 60 things in 12 days again. So I knit the 60 things as my first big at work and between projects knit…so it took three months, but there is 60 penguins.

(There is actually 61, but Engel pinched one to give to his boss who is obsessed with penguins apparently…)

In other knitting news, my big handspun project is blocked and I love it, and I do have generic in the garden photos of it but…I can do better. Photo wise. Hopefully next week for the big reveal!

In non knitting news, a friend is running a 40K RPG and despite the fact I am not a good player, I am playing it. It’s different. But I have a cyber mastiff called Fluffy. I have also started a big Cthulhu campaign and, if it wasn’t for my letting them spend luck to fudge their own rolls…well, total party kill ten minutes in and a player got eaten by the big bad monster…they are all now suitably paranoid!

I also decided to rip my living room apart, go through everything with a fine tooth comb, rearrange it, and put it all back together. I ache. Moving all my RPG books near killed me…

I hope everyone else managed at least a few smiles this week, and until next, stay safe!

Wool Count

Starting total – 897

Wool used – 25 (1 this week)
Wool bought – 0
Wool given to me – 0
Wool gifted to others – 1
Wool handspun – 7

Total – 878

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Now, I will admit that I love magic. The kind that leaves you pondering just how they managed to do that, was it an illusion? A slip of the hand? Mind control? My brother in law does a lot of magic, and I personally think he’s amazing at it. Both the terrors are convinced that he’s a wizard, and he wears that title with pride.

So when he asked me to knit a teeny tiny bear, no taller than 6cm, in burgundy, well, how could I refuse?

And here he is, safely up in Scotland nestled amongst a variety of magic tricks! I knit him following the pattern Teddy Bear by Sarah Keen from her book 100 Little Knitted Projects.

I cannot wait to see him in a magic show! Will he disappear? Reappear? Transform?!

In other knitting news, I finished the huge hand spun project I’ve been working on. It’s been blocked and is ready for a photoshoot, the only problem is that when I came up with the concept, I had a certain type of location in mind to photograph it…but with lockdown/ covid/ the plague…well, I can’t get there. Even something remotely similar…

Guess we’ll have to wait and see how that pans out…

In regards to the rest of life, I finished off the current Cthulhu campaign and if it wasn’t for the fact I let players spend their luck to fudge their dice rolls…well…they all died. Repeatedly. In various fashions. But with barely any to spare they did manage to limp home victorious!

Its been a hard week this week with all our routines being out of sorts, and not having Crumble to give me my evening cuddles and bedtime snuggles… But we’re getting there, wherever there is.

Just need to keep putting one foot in front of the other and take life one day at a time I think!

So until next week, stay safe!

Wool Count

Starting total – 897

Wool used – 24 (3 this week)
Wool bought – 0
Wool given to me – 0
Wool gifted to others – 1
Wool handspun – 7

Total – 879

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So last week, I very briefly mentioned that I had spun some dog hair. Allow me to go into a little bit more detail now. So, my work colleague who has now left has the most gorgeous collie, Holly:

And we had previously had a few conversations about my spinning and trying some interesting fibres, like reindeer, and how I wanted to try more types. She commented that her dog Holly had hair with a lot of the qualities I was speaking about – a good long staple, a fine crimp… And so:

This is 13 meters of pure, unblended, collie fur. I was given a ‘small’ quantity and was very pleased with the softness, staple and crimp. It spun beautifully, those due to the softness of it, I had to go quite slow compared to most sheep fleece. So, goal achieved, what do I do with it?

Knit a teeny tiny Holly of course! I very loosely followed the free pattern Small Sausage Dog by Amanda Berry – it was the smallest I could find and given I only had 13 meters…well, a bit of tweaking and voila, a collie! The white detailing is some white Jacobs fleece I have spun previously, and the brown eyes is some suffolk-texel fleece that I had dyed with fresh coffee grounds.

I have to say, I am super impressed with how this whole project has come out from start to finish. It’s not often that an experiment done completely on a whim with no planning actually works out!

I’m going to give the wool count here, and then finish off with some sad news, as I feel it’s more respectful that way.

Wool Count

Starting total – 897

Wool used – 21 (5 this week)
Wool bought – 0
Wool given to me – 0
Wool gifted to others – 1
Wool handspun – 7 (3 this week)

Total – 882 (a net total of 2 down)

On a much sadder note, my eldest and very beloved cat Crumble crossed the rainbow bridge yesterday morning. She has always been a fighter and had a habit of defeating the odds. Going from an incredibly awful start, she was deemed too emotionally damaged to be rehomed, and so we took her in as our first and only foster fail. In October she was badly injured after going missing for two weeks, the vets didn’t expect her to survive but she did. And out of sheer stubbornness she got an extra four and a bit months of love and cuddles.

May she enjoy herself across the rainbow bridge, eating all the boiled eggs she wants and continuing to be Queen.

RIP Crumble.

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