Thursday, 25 June 2015

New Logo.

How about this for my new logo!

I like it and I think it reflects what I am about so massive thanks to the wonderful Carol for sorting it out for me.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Monogamous Knitting.

Gratuitous picture of foxgloves on our patch of land.
 I was wandering around in the blogosphere the other day and I came across the concept of the monogamous knitter. I can't remember where I was when I found it so I'm afraid I can't credit the person who has summed me up knitting wise. I really do like to have just one project on the needles at a time so I can focus on it and get motivated by my progress. There have been times when I have had several projects on the go at once but it is not such a satisfying experience for me. Currently I am knitting a simple gilet from a pattern in a Woman's Weekly Knitting and Crochet magazine. I am using my handspun yarn which is one ply black alpaca which I have prepared from raw fleece and one ply I have spun from commercially prepped and dyed merino.

 
It is growing steadily and I am just in the process of dividing for the armholes. I hope that I like it when I have finished though that is by no means certain!


Reading has returned to Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series - I just can't get enough of narrator Johanna Parker's beautiful voice and Sookie's quirky outlook. I have also been keeping up my study of Steiner's Philosophy of Freedom for study group. I'm not sure that I would have the staying power to get all the way through it if it wasn't for the support and motivation supplied by being part of a group. It is not that the book is not interesting, it is interesting but quite ponderously written which I suppose should be expected of a philosophical book.

Elsewhere we have exciting news to report. There are new additions to the Misty Cottage population. Last week there was a swarm of bees in the garden of the house that my husband was working in. He hot footed it home to get his bee suit (protective clothing, not a bee-like costume) and collected the swarm which was large and is proving to be very vigorous. So now we have three hives of bees and high hopes of being able to extract some honey this year though probably not from the new swarm. The bees are really enjoying the flowers on the purple sprouting broccoli. Despite having lots of things waiting to be planted out we have left the flowering broccoli as it is literally buzzing with bees all day long.


Also on Monday I went to pick up our turkeys. They are organic chicks which are just off lights and ready to grow on for Christmas and beyond. We are rearing 5 this year though I would love to do more. I enjoy turkey meat and find it very versatile so we have one for the Christmas dinner and the rest I joint and freeze for use throughout the year.



Last night we had a St John's fire in the garden and cooked our dinner out there, sang songs at the tops of our voices and then sat on a hedge up the lane to catch the sunset - good family times.


I'm joining in with Jinny's Yarn Along and Frontier Dreams' Craft On. There are lots of lovely bloggers to discover there.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Preparations.

This week I am focusing on making the preparations for opening my shop. This has been quite a journey for me, full of stops and starts over the last few years which have sometimes arisen from external circumstances and sometimes from my own crises of confidence. I think that it is now or never though, the timing is good and I just have to work through all the hurdles that those of you who have set up online businesses will be familiar with.

My logo, which was designed by my lovely papermaking friend, Carol, is nearly ready for use. I am waiting for the printers to send me through some revised proofs then I can make my shop banner and change my avatar and ravatar etc. Hopefully I will be able to share that with you in the next few days.

Today I have spent quite a bit of time making a light box to help with photographing my items for sale. Photography is not something that I know much about so I can see a steep learning curve stretching in front and above me - all advice gratefully received. I found tutorials for making it on YouTube which were very helpful and clear. YouTube is amazing, pretty much everything you could want to learn how to do is on there!

In amongst all this I have been spinning and knitting as usual. I have spun some black alpaca and plied it with some teal/turquoisey coloured merino.

The first photograph to be taken using the light box.

When I first started plying it I didn't really like it much which was very disappointing. I have to say though that it has grown on me and as I knit it I think it looks OK. So I am knitting a simple open vest/waistcoat type top which I hope will not take too long or too much fibre. I am anticipating the usual white knuckle ride towards the end where I fret about whether I have got enough to finish the garment. Those of you who have read my blog before will be pleased to know that I placed a stitch marker at 50 stitch intervals whilst casting on the 224 stitches and it was SO MUCH EASIER! So thank you to those who gave such sound advice before.


Reading/listening has changed this week. I am now listening to The Long Weekend by Veronica Henry. I thought I should have a break from the Sookie Stackhouse mysteries before I spend all my credits on one series (makes me think of being a child with my pocket money being told 'don't spend it all in the same shop and don't buy bubble gum'). I only began listening to The Long Weekend yesterday and have not plugged myself into my ipod today so the scene has been set for several people to have an interesting time in a small Cornish coastal village. I think I am going to enjoy it and will get back to it tomorrow. I am trying to keep my mind clear today as I have a study group meeting tonight to discuss the second chapter of Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy of Freedom - so I most definitely have not got much mental energy to spare!

I feel like I need to learn a lesson from the bees at the moment. How to just put your head down and do all that needs to be done to reach your goal - busy, busy, busy!

I just went outside to take a picture of the hive but then I thought you might like to see how those tiny ducklings from a few weeks back are doing.

They are growing like mad at the moment and are by far the greediest animals we ever have here - even greedier than the pigs and that is saying something! We managed to hatch twice as many in the last incubation so there are now 12 tiny ducklings in the broody box and I have had to say a firm 'enough' to the rest of the Misty Cottage crew who would happily keep incubating and hatching until we were overrun by ducklings. 18 is plenty for the year I reckon.

One of the veg beds benefited from some attention at the weekend and is looking smart and productive so I'll share a picture of that.

The sun is a bit bright today for everything to show up but there are carrots, parsnips, kohl rabi, peas, kale, brussel sprouts, purple sprouting, beetroot, golden beets and right at the far end, enough Swiss chard to feed almost everyone we know!



Pop along to Ginny's Yarn Along and Frontier Dreams to see what everyone else has been doing.



Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Proper Woolly

There is so much to write about this week that I am not sure where to start!
Last week was half term so the children and I took the train up to see Granny and Grandad. I love the train journey from Cornwall to London as for a short part of the journey the track runs alongside the sea. This link should take you to YouTube for the train driver's view. It is beautiful though I have been in the train with the spray from stormy waves splashing up onto the windows before. I have to admit that was a little nerve wracking!

Whilst visiting my parents we took the children to the Warner Brothers' Harry Potter studios for a special day out. Oh my goodness, there are some serious Harry Potter fans out there! It was a really good day and the children enjoyed seeing all the sets and finding out about how the films were made. There was a fantastic model of Hogwarts there which is what they used for filming all the outside and distance shots. I came away thinking that I would really like to have an office like Dumbledore's which is in three interlocking turrets - very cool!


I took some knitting with me to my parents' house of course. The pesky hat (I have lost count of the number of times I had to restart it) with the double spiral, is finally finished just in time for summer - typical! It looks enormous but as I have lots of long hair to tuck into it, it works well as a slouchy and I am looking forward to being able to wear it later in the year.


I also finished a sock which has been on the needles for a very long time so I guess I should cast on its partner now.


I have to admit to hesitating a bit as I am in the process of spinning some merino in teals and turquoise that I am going to ply with some black alpaca that I have already spun.


I am dying to get it finished so that I can knit something with it. I had planned to try this pattern which is a cardigan with leaf pattern panels but I think I have changed my mind in favour of a very simple sleeveless open cardigan (I'm sure there is a technical name for the garment I have in mind but it escapes me at the moment.

In the picture with the sock you can also see what I am currently reading. I have two books on the go at the moment, the first being Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy of Freedom and the other being The Inner Work Path a Foundation for Meditative Practice in the Light of Anthroposophy by Lisa Romero. Tonight is the first study group meeting here at Misty Cottage where a small group of us will be studying the Philosophy of Freedom together. I think it is likely to be pretty challenging but that's a good thing - isn't it? The other book was a birthday present from a lovely friend. I have only just started reading it but I think there will be plenty of food for thought within. On a lighter and altogether more trivial note I am listening (avidly) to Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse mysteries. They are maybe not for the fainthearted but are pacey and engaging and beautifully narrated by Johanna Parker who has the most lovely southern states accent which I could (and sometimes do) listen to all day!

Last weekend was very exciting for South West England as there was a big fibre arts show, Proper Woolly. It was very exciting for me as it was my first experience of an event of this kind. There were lots of stalls with some amazing things for sale - so much hand dyed fibre and some really beautiful nuno felted garments. I collected loads of business cards and information leaflets and got some incredible inspiration. I came home with some wonderful materials to work with and a head full of ideas. My major purchase was this swift, truly a thing of beauty, from The Threshing Barn.



Here are the other things I bought (can you tell that I have recently had a birthday and therefore had a bit of cash in my pocket?!)

Lots of ribbons for weaving through my knitting.

Sock yarn from Rosie's Moments with a lovely lavender sachet attached.
Hand dyed silk brick from Mandacrafts.
Dyed locks from Sara's Texture Crafts.
So no more buying for me for a while. Perhaps I'll try my hand at selling something instead. Hmmm, guess I might need a shop ...

Joining in with Ginny at the Yarn Along and with Frontier Dreams.