Sunday, 26 July 2015

Fibre East 2015

Where to start? At the beginning I suppose! My Fibre East adventure was a little different this year, as I not only went as a visitor, but also spent a day volunteering so I got to see the event from both sides. All I can say is that I am in total awe, admiration and appreciation of all the people who have been working so hard all year long in order to put on the event. I arrived at the venue in Ampthill around 10am where I met up with Jan, the driving force behind Fibre East. She introduced me to some of the other volunteers before I started work for the day - measuring and marking up the areas for all the vendors. I became a dab hand with a tape measure and can of spray paint and I only managed to spray my foot once!! We were all well looked after with plenty of delicious refreshments to keep up the energy levels and I was made to feel very welcome. While others were shifting tables for some of the stands, I made myself useful stapling signs together and then helped set up the display of entries for the spinning and weaving competitions. I was so pleased that I was able to play a very small part in helping with this year's show and would like to make it a regular occurrence. 

I stayed overnight in Bedford so I wouldn't have to leave Norfolk at some unearthly hour for my spinning class. I had booked a workshop on spinning luxury fibres way back in January; long before tendinitis set in. But I decided that I was going to go and do as much spinning as I possibly could. So armed with plenty of ibuprofen, I arrived in class. There had been a last minute change in the course tutors, with Sarah Wroot replacing James Perry. Sarah proved to be a most interesting and inspiring teacher, sharing her knowledge of fibre with us. One of the most important things I learnt during the day was not to be afraid of changing things on my wheel. I ended up with a totally different brake band which slowed down the pull of the yarn into the machine immensely as well as trying out a home made lace bobbin with pipe insulation to change the speed of the bobbin. We sampled a number of fibres including merino, Optim, alpaca, yak, cashmere and angora. Sarah showed us a number of different techniques for spinning and then we got to play with each of them! I was amazed by just how the slightest tweak to the brake band could make such a difference to my spinning. I managed to spin the finest yarn during that day. I am very proud of this alpaca yarn!

Fibre East 2015 goodies (9)

We were encouraged to take samples of our yarn and record them for future reference. I think it's a brilliant idea and something that I plan to do in the future. 

Fibre East 2015 goodies (1)

With only 8 of us on the workshop, we had plenty of individual attention and I left feeling inspired to get going on my wheel again as soon as possible. 

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It was also wonderful to be able to look at some of Sarah's own spinning. I don't think you ever stop learning. Spinning is a life-long journey of discovery.

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Yesterday saw me heading back to Ampthill, this time in the company of Snoopydog. Although I had been on site the previous day when the vendors were setting up their stands, I hadn't seen inside any of the marquees or halls as we had been in class the whole day. I was totally bowled over by the size of the show and the huge number and variety of exhibitors. Hats off to the organisers for booking such a great selection. Whatever your interests were, there was something for you. So hard to pick any favourites, but here are a few photos to give you a flavour of it all. Pop over to my Flickr album to see all the photos I took. 

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Of course I brought back some 'souvenirs' of the day! As well as some gifts for friends, I managed to buy 3 skeins for myself, a couple of postcards, a fob for my sewing scissors and a mini loom kit that will hopefully be useful for school. The green and yellow yarn is from Sparkleduck and will make the perfect pair of Norwich City match day socks for Mr JK! I seem to have a bit of a 'thing' going for sparkly yarn right now as I couldn't resist the lure of the raspberry coloured skein from Debonnaire yarns. Snoopydog bought a skein too so we can be sock twins! The third skein was my first purchase - a dark grey fingering weight yarn with little rainbow splashes throughout. (I seem to have a thing with rainbows too!) This was from the Knitting Swede. I'm so glad I bought it when I did because when we went round a second time, all the skeins had gone!

I was delighted (and somewhat astonished too!) to discover that I had some placings in the spinning competition. I'll tell you more about that another time!

Fibre East 2015 goodies (2)

Hope you have enjoyed your virtual visit to Fibre East. I'll be back soon, but please excuse me for now as I have some yarn to fondle! xxx

Sunday, 19 July 2015

The weekend in a nutshell

Mr JK made flatbreads for lunch and we ate them warm off the griddle with some smoked salmon and salad. Mmmmmmmmm!

weekend lunch

I baked some more biscuits. Following the success with Delia's Gingernuts, I dabbled a bit with the recipe and made some oaty vanilla biscuits. The house was filled with the delicious fragrance of baking and Mr JK's eyes lit up when he returned home from the gym this morning. They provided the perfect boost to his depleted carbs and he polished off two! (As did I, it would have been rude to let Mr JK eat alone!) They were really very yummy indeed. If anyone is interested, I will add the recipe another time.

oaty biscuits (11)

We went for  a walk around the gardens at East Ruston Old Vicarage this afternoon. It's a lovely place to visit as the gardens are changing constantly. All the summer flowers are in full bloom right now. There's something about sunflowers that just makes me feel happy! 

East Ruston Old Vicarage July 2015 (56)

Florence, as planned, has had a lazy weekend. Lots of this! See you later in the week when I'll be on holiday! Yay! xxx

Miss Flo looking magnificent (3)

Friday, 17 July 2015

Wrist status: 2

Wrist: still splinted

Number of days without knitting: 26

(Non) Knitter's mood: Glum

I am resigned to the fact that it doesn't look likely that it's going to be a quick recovery. Despite wearing the splint every day, my wrist is still swollen and painful when gripping/turning/twisting things. But the good news is that the x-ray showed that my joint was fine and the blood tests were all normal, so at least it would appear that it's an isolated injury rather than something more worrying.

Last weekend I did manage to do some baking - banana, cranberry and walnut muffins - (yes, we had an overripe banana almost crawling out of the fruit bowl, and some dried cranberries and the last of a bag of walnut pieces in the cupboard!) and they were actually rather tasty.

banana and cranberry muffins (1)

Mr JK put in a request  for some ginger biscuits, so I turned to Delia for a recipe. Her gingernut recipe is very, very simple and very, very good! There are a few left in the biscuit tin but I doubt very much that they will last the weekend!

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Just three days of school left and the prospect of Fibre East next weekend! Can't wait! More of that later in the week. I am planning a lazy weekend and so is Flo! How about you? Got anything exciting planned? Back soon xxx

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Monday, 13 July 2015

Blossom and Yarn

What an unexpectedly wonderful day we had yesterday! Quite by chance last week I spotted  a yarny event happening in Norfolk over the weekend. Even more fortuitously, it was taking place a mere stone's throw away from where Mr JK was running a 10k race! So no sooner had Mr JK crossed the finishing line, then we were heading to a group of villages in the heart of rural Norfolk

The Blossom and Yarn knitting and flower festival grew out of an idea from its artistic director, Lois Gill. She wanted the six churches in the Wayland group who worshipped together to collaborate on a creative project, involving others on their journey to make something really special. Back at the start of 2014, teams of knitters began knitting 4" squares using reclaimed yarn. Those  squares have then been combined to create some extraordinary pieces. Each church was given a different event that is part of any church's year - Easter, Harvest, Remembrance, Christmas, a baptism and a wedding - and within that church, the villagers decided how they were going to recreate it. So sit back and prepare to be delighted as I take you on a journey through a year in a country parish!

St Margaret's, Breckles - Easter

We were welcomed in the church porch by branches of brightly coloured Easter eggs, bunnies and daffodils galore and the promise of Hot Cross Buns and Simnel cake at the end of our visit if we so wished. A chorister singing Easter hymns and an organist to accompany him were two of the delights, as well as real ducks and rabbits in the Easter garden up at the altar!

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Blossom and Yarn - Easter

Holy Cross, Caston - Wedding

Pink bunting adorned the gates to the church and surrounding houses, and garlands of roses trailed down the pews, along with rose trees and turtle doves. The bell ringers were busy in the porch and the bishop had come along to assist in the proceedings! The wedding party took pride of place down at the altar - bride, groom, bridesmaid, best man and vicar - all watched by a number of wedding guests. Across the road from the church, the wedding party continued with cutting the wedding cake and rose petal confetti scattered on the tables. 

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Blossom and Yarn - Wedding

St Martin's, Thompson - Harvest

Garlands of sunflowers and carrots festooned the porch, along with a bountiful harvest of almost every fruit and vegetable you can imagine. The attention to detail in this church's work was amazing, and I think this was my favourite of all the churches we visited. Tables were set for a harvest supper down the aisle and sunflowers intermingled with wheat to create a stunning display. Apples ripe for picking hung down from a huge apple tree at the font, and there were lots of harvest mice enjoying the feast too. Guaranteed to make you smile!

Blossom and Yarn - Harvest (7)

Blossom and Yarn - Harvest

SS Peter and Paul's Church, Griston - Baptism

The baptism of Princess Charlotte was recreated here, with visitors following the lines of pastel bunting and pompoms into the church. Knitted teddies sat on ledges and delicate daisies decorated the screens. The proud parents stood with their new family of four at the font, while other guests were seated close by. 

Blossom and Yarn - Baptism (1)

Blossom and Yarn - Baptism

St Botolph's, Stow Bedon - Remembrance

An air of solemnity was present as you entered the church porch, with its poppy curtains. Poppy petals cascaded from the font and the display of poppies at the altar were a fitting tribute to all those who laid down their lives to serve their country. 

Blossom and Yarn - Remembrance (12)

Blossom and Yarn - Remembrance

Holy Trinity, Great Hockham - Christmas

The echo of Christmas carols welcomed us into the church where the porch was 'lit' by beautiful candles and greenery. A huge Christmas tree at the door was laden with decorations and gifts waiting to be given. The Nativity  scene at the altar included a full size sheep and donkey. The three wise men bearing gifts were also in attendance and there were Christingles lit on the window ledge. Mince pies and yule log were on offer for any hungry visitors as well as a glass of mulled wine!

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Blossom and Yarn - Christmas

The festival was on for just four days and I have only been able to give you a flavour of what you could see. I urge you to go and look at the photos in my Flickr album (be warned, there are a lot so make a cup of tea before you start!) to enjoy the Blossom and Yarn festival for yourself. You are in for a real treat! xxx

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Wrist status: 1

Wrist: splinted

Number of days without knitting: 14

(Non) knitter's mood: tetchy! The Tour de Fleece began yesterday and it's the first year since I have been spinning that I haven't been able to take part.

I'm sad to say that there has been no change to my wrist, despite wearing the splint religiously. I have an x-ray this week, so hopefully that will show up if there are any underlying joint issues. Thank you to everyone who suggested books for me to read. I have been reading more this week, and Mr JK and I have been enjoying extended evenings in the garden thanks to the gorgeous weather. A friend on Ravelry suggested that I get a colouring book for grown ups so that I can do something creative. Who knew that such a thing existed?! I browsed several on Amazon and eventually picked one up in Sainsbury's on Friday. I am going to have a play around a little later today. I found my pencil crayons and put them in a new home - a fun tin from my dear friend Snoopydog - and I will let you know how my new hobby develops!

colouring (1)

Despite my frustrations at not being able to do anything yarny, there have been some good times this week. 

*** homemade chocolate chip cookies and frothy coffee in the garden ***

chocolate chip cookies (3)

*** Watching Flo find a shady spot outside ***

hot Flo (2)

*** Our first strawberry! ***

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*** An unexpected gift from a Ravelry friend ***

gifts from Beki (2)

*** Meeting up with Snoopydog to celebrate her birthday! ***

happy birthday snoops (2)

*** A bunch of cheap and cheerful Sweet Williams to brighten the house ***

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*** The French beans having a race to get to the top of the cane! ***
(I seriously cannot get over just how fast these guys grow.)

happy little things (4)

*** Lavender in full bloom ***

happy little things (3)

Have a good week. I'm off to sharpen my crayons as I'm itching to get colouring! xxx