Wednesday, 25 March 2015

A Yarn Along

I am still reading Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell which although I am enjoying I don't seem to be able to find the time to progress with the story. Instead my time since Saturday has been spent knitting socks. I first cast on some socks last year but got frustrated with them and frogged them. However after knitting Tin Can Knits Rye socks in January and taking Clare Devines sock class I am feeling brave and on Saturday cast on a basic sock pattern for men's socks. I am feeling positive that this time I will finish them. Just as I am confident I will finish my book sometime very soon.

What are you reading & Knitting/crocheting? pop along to A Small Things Blog for A Yarn Along to discover what everyone else is Reading and making.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Edinburgh Yarn Festival

*warning, very wordy with lots of images post today! Sorry*

Last weekend I went to Edinburgh, The trip had been planned way back into last year with Mrs ID to go to Edinburgh Yarn Festival. So we headed up on the Train on Friday morning and had a lovely trip chatting and looking at the beautiful east coast views. I do like to be by the sea but wouldn't want to live so close to it myself.

We arrived just after 2 and checked into our room, dumped our bags and headed out to explore. It was grey and miserable out with the feel of rain in the air but non the less off we went. Everything with me has to be a leisurely pace as my knee won't allow me to do to much currently. The views around Edinburgh are nothing short of spectacular, I would like to have spent more time looking around the city but we only had the afternoon. I'm pretty sure I will go back.

Like I say a little grey and damp but still spectacular.

I am not at all used to city life as I have only lived in a town and now a village. So the constant buzz of traffic is a complete mystery to me, everything is so busy. The hardest thing I find about big cities, is the sheer amount of homeless people. It makes me so very sad all those people sat in the bitter cold wind and rain with no one to go home to. Living in a village it is not something I witness very often and it makes me feel so upset that these people are alone.

The architecture around Edinburgh is just inspiring.

We had a lovely drink and shortbread in the Elephant Café which is allegedly where JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter although I understand there is some debate around this. The toilet walls in the ladies really made for some interesting reading. That evening we headed to meet up with a few friends at Heads and Tails bar (Gin Bar). it was amazing and I would most certainly recommend the Rock Rose Gin!!!

Saturday was the exciting day and the main reason for our visit. Edinburgh Yarn Festival. The event was held at the Corn Exchange, and I have to say it is one of the best events of this type I have been to with a well planned layout. An area where coats and bags can be checked in for the charge of £1 per item run by the teapot foundation so all money goes to a great cause. The venue was warm and comfortable with three different cafes around the building and then the podcasters lounge ( I spent a lot of time in there).  The vendors were simply amazing I think that there was a wonderful variety of vendors there catering for all, the colours were spectacular and I (as well as Mrs ID) didn’t know where to go first. It was so exciting I didn't take any photo's! doh!

I wore my Chelsea waistcoat on the Saturday and I was approached by several people asking about the pattern and complementing me on the garment and its colour. Even the lovely designer herself from Pearl Alpaca Designs stopped me and asked me to pop by her stand so she could take a picture. It was also great to meet some of the vendors in person that I have followed on Twitter and Instagram for a while now. I met the lovely Owl Print Panda (Amanda) she is so lovely and I bought a couple of her sock patterns. I saw Victoria from Eden cottage yarns, and I have to say how wonderful I think her stand is and also her partner David, who remembered that I get very claustrophobic and offered to serve me from outside the stand (how amazing is that!) I was brave and I stayed within the stand.  After lots of shopping we headed to the pod-caster lounge where we met Louise from Knit British who was hosting the lounge, Jo from Shinybees, Corrie from Plutonium Muffin, Kate from the Golden Skein, Kate (Sock Kate), Chloe who is Sparkleyshoes on twitter, Gem who is JustGem and the lovely coachhouse yarns who was there as a customer (disappointingly) and not a vendor, and so many others that I have most likely forgotten to name them.  It was a great area to chill out, I took a crochet project with me as it was portable and easy to work on. We just basically chilled out there with our projects and chatted to various people. The atmosphere of the whole day was brilliant, everyone is just so friendly.

Saturday evening we attended the Cabaaret where there was a lovely section by knitsonik, I love her sense of humour and a raffle. Several people on our table got some lovely prizes including my best friend Isla who got some super lush yarn. I sadly didn’t win anything. There was also an exceptionally hard quiz, although we did have a pack to make a sheep and Chloe (Sparkly shoes) made the cutest little sheep ever We didn’t win the quiz either but we were close. It was a lovely evening filled with wine, laughter and knitting.

just some of my purchases. 

Sunday was home day but both Isla and I had workshops in the morning, Mine was basic sock knitting with Clare Devine and Isla went off to a colourwork class. I loved my class, Clare reinforced my basic knowledge of sock construction and imparted some excellent tips on types of needles, yarns, and the different constructions too. I do now feel more confident that I can make socks!

the cutest little sock

Then off back to the corn exchange, I went straight to the podcaster lounge to catch up with everyone and then I went off for a final walk around the vendors. There was a massive change in atmosphere on the Sunday. It was more relaxed rather than a frenzy of activity, the vendor hall was a lot quieter and some of the vendors stall were looking a little sparse. It was lovely to walk around, with everyone more relaxed you were able to get to the stalls and have conversations with the vendors more easily.  I did make a couple of purchases but nothing much. As all my main purchases were on the Saturday.
We stuck around in the podcaster lounge till around three when it was time to start our long (but not as long as others) journey home. Again it was a nice relaxed trip home on the train where Isla finished her lovely colourwork knitting from the mornings workshop and I got stuck into my crochet project.

It was a wonderful weekend away, it went by so quickly in a blurr of colour and yarnyness. I miss Edinburgh, I miss the buzz, the people, the smell of yarn and the purr creativity. That said it was lovely to come home to my little family, my own soft warm toasty bed. I didn't really get to enjoy my purchases until this weekend as I was straight back into work on the Monday morning, but they are ll now updated on Ravelry and I am pleased to say I have eventually cast on the Mr's socks again. This time I will succeed!

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

February's yarn adventures

Just as I got used to February it seems to have bid us farewell and we are already half way through the march, I simply cant get my head around how fast time is going lately. February was a bit of a mixed bag filled with every emotion going. Overall February has been great and I am looking forward to Spring. I love the fact that when I leave in a morning for work now it is already light. The longer days are really lifting of the spirits of those around me and a sigh of relief leaves me as spring is arriving. I do really love spring!

I am feeling quite accomplished this month, I have spun the best yarn I have ever done, I posted about that here, I also have three, yes three finished WIPs in February:

First of the needles (was the last WIP I started) was my Lapsang hat. I cast this on at the same time as Mrs. ID, she has the same hat now but in different yarn. It was a joint decision to make these ready for Edinburgh Yarn Festival. The hat is a Clare Devine Pattern and I cast it on using Eden Cottage Yarn Alpaca Chunky which I liberated from my stash. The pattern was so simple the only issue I had was playing yarn chicken towards the end, I think I only had a about 60cm of yarn left!

second of the needles were my lovely Rye Socks by Tin Can Knits. I wrote about them in February here. I was chuffed to bits to finally have a pair of socks of the needles.

Third of the needle was another Tin Can Knits Pattern, The Waffle Blanket from 9 months of knitting. The blanket is for my Friends new born baby. It was only just off the needles in February and the baby was just born last week. I used Stylecraft Aran for this project and it produced such a lovely fabric.The pattern only used 2 and  half balls. I did try two other patterns before I settled on this one and each one I just didn't like or the pattern didn't work the way I had anticipated. I was happy with the Tin Can Knits  pattern though as it just worked up so quickly and looks really affective.

Not the best picture. This is t the blocking stage. 
So there we have it, three finished projects in one month, this may explain why my reading progress was not that good. I'm not sure March will be as productive!

Friday, 13 March 2015

The Year in Books!

Hangs head in shame!

I have very little to talk about this month in terr ms of books, not because I have not been reading, I have just not been reading very much.

I have embarked upon one of the biggest books I have ever read! Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (now Fondly known as this Mrs Norris book in this house thanks to Mr M getting confused with harry potter). The book is a little over 1000 pages long and so far i think I'm a quarter of the way through. I was lent this book by Mr D (Mrs ID's lovely husband). Relaxing in the bath with a glass of wine and my book is the best end to a day I think!

I have since learnt that it is to be made into a BBC series. I will look forward to seeing how this quirky book translates to the screen. I shall save the full reveiw of the book until I have finished it, anything can happen between now and the next 750 pages.

In other book news I have taken the advise of Christine over at A colourful life (who seems to get through an immense amount of books) and started to listen to books. I spend around 40 - 50 hours a month commuting to and from work so what better way to fill that time than listen to a book. This month I listened to A discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. I had previously been put of reading because of the reviews but having the book effectively read to me made it easier. It filled up 24 hours of my commute and I found the story captivating and intriguing. What I did find fascinating was how the author managed to fit so many libraries into the story, filling in so much detail. she also dips into history in an enticing manner. I really did love the story and can't wait to listen or read part two of the trilogy. I'm spellbound by the story!

The Year in books does keep me motivated to read on and is away of discovering lots of new books, new authors and new friends too.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Megan's Reading Corner: Month 2

Megan's book shelf is currently overflowing

We seem to have made a child that is half human and half book worm, this is no bad thing, in fact I am so proud that the little lady is suck a book worm and reads at every opportunity. This Month Megan seems to have really got stuck into books again. Her book choices this month were:
  • The Witches by Roald Dahl
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling
Her attention span with these books always takes me by surprise. She does not seem at all discouraged by the size of the book. Her current read is the 4th harry potter book, which if you are a harry potter fan you will know is a big book coming in at around 600 pages. My current read is just over 1000 and I'm struggling! 

So to Megan's book reports this month:

My reads will follow very soon but they are not as impressive as Megan's I can assure you! Don't forget to pop by A Circle of Pine Trees for The Year in Books