Coming up in July

Phew, June has been a rollercoaster of a month. The UK tour is coming to an end, I fly back to South Africa tomorrow. Unfortunately I am going to miss Woolfest but I am glad to be heading home too.

I want to check in with you because I am acutely aware of how quiet I’ve been for the last few weeks. Well, fear not! July is going to be jam packed with posts, I have lots to report from my UK trip including LYS trips from easy, west and “the Big Smoke”.

June has been a bumper month for FO’s too, I have finished off some long standing WIP’s and I will ube sharing details in the next week or so.

In addition to my trip and general knitting exploits I also have more interviews, reviews and an exciting piece of knitting inspired jewellery. Then of course there is news from the Cookie A challenge.

I hope you have had a fab June and I am looking forward to seeing you around these parts in the coming weeks.

Update

Sorry for the silence.

The UK tour is well underway, in fact it is almost over. I have so much to tell you but without a permanent base it’s been tricky keeping up with the blogging.

Today I am going to two London LYS and I am super excited. First I will visit iKnit in Waterloo, I have not been there before so think I am in for a treat. In the afternoon, if all goes to plan, I will pop into Loop, gorgeous Loop.

I can’t wait!

Hope you have a fab day.

On Tour: Wool Clip (LYS)

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Caldbeck Fells. Copyright: Richard Harvey 2006. Shared under CC License

The Wool Clip is a wonderful shop at Priests Mill in Calbeck which is about 30 miles from Carlisle and Penrith. We decided to visit on the way home from the Woollen Woods at Acorn Bank.

The Wool Clip

It is a really beautiful shop run by the same people who are responsible for Woolfest. The Wool Clip is an award winning co-operative consisting of 15 local “woolly workers”. All types of woolly crafts are featured in this magical shop: growing, spinning, weaving, sewing, dyeing, knitting, crocheting, felting and general yarny love.

There were many gorgeous items in the shop and I spent far longer than I had planned wandering around looking at everything. On offer were beautifully crafted items made from wool ranging from lace shawsl to felt bags, carpets and wall hangings. Out of respect for the artists (and obeying the signs) I did not take any pictures of these lovely items.

In addition to the finished products there were a number of interesting yarns avialable to buy. I snapped a few pictures of some of the products on offer that caught my eye.

These included local yarns dyed and spun by Jan and Celia of Johnby Hall Estate in Cumbria, Herwick yarn from Crookabeck Farm and blends from Pam Hall at Fornside.

I settled on some gorgeous and very sheepy yarn from Ruth Strong who was one of the founders of Wool Clip. She lives and works in Cumbria raising sheep, spinning and knitting. I bought a 50g skein of local hand dyed Herdwick Aran in shades of blue and purple.

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Having not heard about Herdwick before I set about doing some research when I got home, this is what I found out.

Herwick Sheep

Herdwick Sheep. Copyright: Miss Smith. Shared under CC License.

The Herdwick sheep is native to the Lake District. Herdwick comes from Old Norse “herdvyck” which means sheep pasture. The sheep breed is prized for its robust health, ability to live on forage and their tendancy to be territorial and not stray.

They produce a unique wool quality, it is very sheepy and the bristle provides a protective layer to protect the wearer (and the sheep) from blizzard conditions. While the weather in Cumbria today is glorious, I hear it is usually freezing, windy and damp.

I was thinking of making a pair of mitts with the yarn but I think it is more suited to making a felted pouch, especially as I also have two buttons made with sheep horn bought at Wool Clip.

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A very satisfying LYS trip, it’s a shame I miss Woolfest by a matter of days. Maybe next year …

On Tour: Woollen Woods

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On Friday 2nd June I started my “Woolly Tour” with a visit to the Woollen Woods. I have been eargerly awaiting this trip because my mom and sister went recently and they both said it was great.

The weather was glorious which made walking through the woods all the more wonderful.

The Woollen Woods is a fabulous outdoor art installation at Acorn Bank which is a National Trust property near Penrith in Cumbria. It is part of the Eden Art Canopy Project which features art works and installations displayed in trees and woodland areas throughout the Eden District in 2013. A wide range of people and groups from all over the world have contributed to the installation which is made up of hundreds of woodland themed items. It has been run in colloboration with Wool Clip to encourage active participation in crafts and engagement with outdoor spaces. Everything has been created using 100% wool in support of “The Campaign for Wool”.

It really is a brilliant project and I would recommend a visit if you can get to it. If you can’t I took the liberty of snapping some pics for you. I used my camera phone as I am trying to travel light with the baby, in practice this means carrying millions of baby items and very few mamma items – the real camera had to stay at home …

Without further ado … here come the pictures …

Acorn Bank is beautiful and there are sheep! For a woolly addict like me this is the perfect setting. I am learning there are a lot of sheep in Cumbria, more about this later on. Summer decided to join us and the sun shone brightly on the green hills and fields. It really was spectacular.

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Once we entered the woods my mom quickly pointed out the bluebells, she was very impressed that they were “English Native Bluebells” and not the hybrid kind often found in gardens. This does not mean that much to me, but was very important to my plant obsessed mom. I just think they are really pretty and certainly epitomise the arrival of summer in the countryside.

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We headed into the woods to see the woolly critters hiding out in the trees. I was like a “kid in a candy store” it was brilliant, words just can’t describe how excited I was.

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This is my favourite item from the woods display. This pair of Blue Tits with their young is exceptionally well executed, the detailing is superb.

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As we wandered through the woods we spotted many other brilliant items in the branches. This tree had some cure playing cards hanging down and many other gems hidden around.

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Here is a selection of some of the woodland critters we spotted including ladybirds, owls, and a spiders web. There were even some mushrooms sprouting from a tree trunk.

Wrapped around some of the tree trunks were beautiful flowers garlands, adding a touch of colour to the woodland scenery.

Once we had finished looking at the woolly critters we walked to the restored mill house and then on through the woods and back to the gardens. They have a wonderful selection plants and herbs in the wonderfully kept gardens.

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No day trip to look at woolly critters would be complete without cake! We stopped off at the cafe and I indulged in a scrumptious slice of almond layer cake – yum!

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