Monday, 29 September 2014

Yarndale 2014

Well what can I say?  Yarndale was brilliant once again!

Like last year I picked my best friend up early doors and drove the two hours to Skipton with tea and chatter interspersed with instructions from the sat nav! We arrived just after 9am and luckily the parking stewards were allowing the visitors to park.  After having a little snack in the car we decided to walk to the park near the auction mart to see some of the yarn bombing.  We didn't go far this year as there was a run taking place along the footpaths and we were in danger of being swept away by the runners.

Yarndale yarn bombing crochet letters of word yarndale
I had been organised this year and printed off the exhibitor plan highlighting our 'must see firsts' before things got too busy.  This worked brilliantly and as soon as the doors opened we headed to see Victoria of Eden Cottage Yarns.  As usual Victoria's stand looked amazing.  Obviously the yarns are stunning but the time and effort that has been put into their presentation makes for a real treat! Unfortunately I was so busy squishing, buying and chatting to Victoria that I didn't take any photos so you will just have to trust me when I say it was brilliant!  I bought two skeins of BFL Sock in 'Larch' (a really rich green) and one skein of Bowland DK (also 100% Bluefaced Leicester) in the 'Thunder' colourway - a grey purple stormy sky.  Love them both!

Another must see was the little grey sheep whom I first saw at Woolfest earlier this year.  The wool comes from Emma's own own flock of Gotlands and Shetlands however she has just launched some wonderful Hampshire Chunky in addition to her own wool.  All the sheep are sheared by Susie and dyed by Emma who I enjoyed chatting to again.  Emma not only has a great taste in colours but also a vivid imagination when it comes to the colourway names.  I came away with 'Shingle Beach' the Hampshire chunky yarn and two skeins of 'I met her by the river' in Gotland Double Knit.  

Yarndale yarn from little grey sheep
the little grey sheep stand
Purchases were made from my regular haunts including finally buying some Skein Queen Oosie.  Others included some four ply Bluefaced Leicester from Yarn Garden and more Titus from Baa Ram Ewe.   I was also very excited to make my first ever purchase from Blacker and bought the last of their Pure Teeswater in Sorrel.  More first purchases was a skein of Britsock from The Knitting Goddess, some Aran Wensleydale Longwool and some double Knit from Triskelion who are based in Wales.  Its safe to say I bought a lot of wool and it will take some time to add it to Ravelry.  Its all british so that makes everything all right....... doesn't it?  I did make some none woolly purchases including the brand, spanking new Road Trip by Tin Can Knits (I met Emily herself!!), a christmas decoration from Tile Productions and some wonderful buttons from Sky Blue Pink Designs.  
Isla of Axholme Yarndale 2014 purchases
My Yarndale 2014 haul

It wasn't all shopping you might be glad to know.  We managed to find our Yarndale mandelas among the 1,182 on display.  Mine was certainly in the minority as it was knitted but it did make it easier to find!  Unfortunately we missed revisiting the bunting and forgot to take a closer look at the giant mandalas in the Knit and Natter Lounge. 

My best friend was also part of an Instragram picnic meet up where everyone had to wear a crochet square in order to recognise each other.  It wasn't really the weather for sitting outside so we didn't stay too long but it was fun to meet people I would not have done otherwise.  However, my absolute non woolly highlight of the day was the Podcaster meet up.   I finally got to meet Jo, Louise and Aimee which was brilliant and surreal as well as Louise and Clare who I have chatted with on Twitter and Ravelry.  There were many others and I apologise for not mentioning you as I didn't get all your names.  Those who took part in the Lush Pod Kal proudly showed off their cardigans and Jo was able to pop her very nearly finished Lush on for a Lush Pod Kal photo!       

Were you able to go to Yarndale?  Tell me all about your purchases!  If you were not able to make it this year I highly recommend a visit next year!

Thursday, 25 September 2014

The 2 C's Camping and Crochet

Camping is one of those love or hate things (I love it).   However, until last September I had not been camping for ten years. Somehow I convinced Mr D that we should camp in my ancient little tent for a couple of nights with mixed results.  Fizz decided that my pillow was better than her bed, the tent leaked and we were very, very squashed. However, we did enjoy our first camping trip!  This led me to source and purchase a six man tent off Ebay last winter.

Our first camping trip of 2014 was in August, and a repeat visit to the campsite we went to last year.  Having a bigger tent with a 'lounge' and bedrooms made all the difference to the weekend as did having electric! We had chairs and a table and I could spend serious time on my crochet blanket right up until bedtime! 

Fizz woodhall spa dog drinking water
Our second camping trip was a few weeks ago. This time we went somewhere different and camped at Woodhall Spa.  We arrived at lunchtime, pitched the tent and had everything unpacked in time for fish and chips at the local chippy!  We spent the afternoon chilling, with Mr D and Fizz falling asleep while I worked on my crochet blanket again (crochet and camping are a perfect combination). Later on we explored the town where Fizz found herself a nice drinking spot at a charity shop!  

camping teatime
Camping tea with Mr D

We tend not to eat out when we camp preferring to keep things as cheap as possible.  We have a single gas ring to cook on which means you have to be a bit creative with meals! Friday night tea was couscous, lamb chops and green beans from my parents garden. Very tasty if I do say so!  

617 squadron since 1945 memorial wood hall spaWoodhall Spa is really pretty and has heaps of history as it was home to many military personal during World War Two.  It is perhaps best known as the home of RAF 617 squadron and the Dambusters.  The RAF continues to play a role in the town and there is a recent memorial alongside the dambusters memorial in rememberance of those that have lost their lives in recent conflicts. 

dambusters memorial woodhall spa

Woodhall Spa Arnham parade RAF band

On the Saturday there was a parade marking the 70th anniversary since troops left the town to fight at Arnham in 1944.  Poor Fizz was not impressed with the RAF band and their bagpipes and gave them a growl as they went past.  Afterwards we had coffee and cake in a dog friendly tea rooms! There seemed to be several places which allowed dogs which was nice to see and gives us lots options for future camping trips.

As we were beginning to pack everything away on the Sunday morning we heard a massive rumble.  Straight overhead flew the only two flight worthy Lancaster Bombers in the world! It was a fantastic site and the sound was incredible. Luckily they made a return pass and I was able to take some photos! Everybody on the campsite was buzzing after that! 

So camping this year has been a great sucess - it's been very a very chilled out affair with wine and nibbles and I've really enjoyed working on my crochet blanket. Roll on next year! 

Are you a fan of camping or do you prefer a good hotel? 

fizz myself crochet blanket outside of tent

Monday, 22 September 2014

Septembers woolly news

Where to begin........ 

The best woolly news happened yesterday.  I had been randomly selected for a Lush Pod KAL forum prize by Jo at Shinybees  AND my cardigan had been chosen by Louise from Knit British as her favourite finished object (FO)!  I was really pleased about the forum prize (a Tin Can Knits epattern book) but super happy at being selected for a FO prize.  Louise is going to hand deliver my woolly prize at Yarndale!

Isla of Axholme photo of Isla in Knit Me shawl pattern Inspiration Knits
Knit Me
After finishing my Lush cardigan last month I was on the look out for a straightforward project that would use up some stash.  At the same time Louise from Inspiration Knits released her latest pattern Knit Me, an easy stocking stitch shawl with picot edging and optional beading. I made Knit Night, the sister version, earlier this year so Knit Me caught my eye.  Louise was also arranging a Knit Me Tonight14 KAL to coincide with the release so I decided to join in and cast on with my remaining skein of Fyberspates Twizzle Silk which I purchased at Yarndale last year.  

It look me just over two weeks to finish and overall I'm happy with it. The colours in the yarn are really vivid and someone said it reminded them of a Monet painting. I did find it hard to keep my stitches even though, a result I think of the the silk content of the yarn and the stocking stitch of the shawl.  

Isla of Axholme lacy scarf work in progress
My WIP Crack Away entry
If one KAL is not enough I joined the WIP Crack Away KAL. This has been organised by Knit British Louise and Nic from Yarns from the Plain as a follow up to the Lush Pod KAL.  They came up with the brilliant idea of a KAL where instead of starting a new project the aim is to finish as many WIP's (works in progress) as you can until the end of the KAL (15th November). My entry is a lacy scarf I started back in April and would dearly love to finish soon.

While I made a small dint in my stash with Knit Me, I topped it up again last week! Victoria at  Eden Cottage Yarns has just increased her selection of milled dyed yarns to complement her range of hand dyed.  I bought two skeins of Whitfell chunky which is 100% baby alpaca in damson.
Isla of Axholme Eden Cottage Yarns whitfell chunky 100% baby alpaca damson
Eden Cottage Yarns Whitfell chunky in Damson
 It is so soft and should be fairly durable due to it being two ply and worsted spun. The colour is a rich purple but not too dark that any stitch details would be lost.  I am going to make the Dufton hat which Victoria designed and with the remaining wool some 
Langrigg mitts also designed by Victoria. I will let you know how I get on! 

We had our first Social Knitwork on Sunday at Axholme Tearoom in Crowle, North Lincolnshire.  It was a great success.  We were joined by six lovely ladies and the two hours flew by with much chatter, knitting and crochet.  There was an everlasting pot of tea thanks to Jules and Mike and a great selection of cakes including eggless Parkin.  Our next meeting is Sunday 19th October - can't wait!    

Finally it's Yarndale this weekend! I can't believe it's been a year since I went to my first ever yarn event and felt totally giddy at all the amazing wool for sale! Needless to say I am going again on Saturday with my best friend and can't wait to increase my stash! We are also going to the podcaster / podcaster listener meet up at 3pm in the Food in the Pens area.  Will I see you there? 

Isla of Axholme Yarndale 2013 crochet bunting
Yarndale 2013

Thursday, 18 September 2014

The year in Books: September

Following on from my Recent Reads post I have realised that I don't read as much as I used to and when I do read a book it seems to take me an age to finish.  What I was after was a reading equivalent to a Knit a Long (KAL)! 

Last week I read Rachel's (of my life in knitwear) latest blog post about what she had been reading recently as part of her 'the year in books' series.  The aim is to read at least one book a month and then share your thoughts the following month.  It is organised by Laura from Circle of pine trees and unlike a book club you decide what to read.  This is just the motivation I need to read more so I have decided to join in! 

My book for September is Atonement by Ian McEwan.  

The Year in books september atonement not knitting Isla of Axholme blog

 I am about a quarter of the way through and I like how the chapters alter from one character to another and also hint at the future.  Now I have NOT watched the film but I have a funny feeling someone told me the ending after I had purchased the book from a charity shop.  I am trying desperately hard not to think about that and instead concentrate on the story.  

So next month I will let you know how I get on with Atonement and tell you my October selection (hopefully a Man Booker Shortlist book if my library ever gets them in!). 

If you enjoy a good book pop over to Laura's blog to see what others are reading.  There are a few recommendations that have taken my fancy.

Monday, 15 September 2014

The Isle of Axholme - A bit about the name

As you know I live in the Isle of Axholme and as promised here is my first post about the area.  I thought I would start by exploring the origins of the name Isle of Axholme.

The Isle is located in the county of North Lincolnshire (the largest town being Scunthorpe).  The main towns that make up the Isle are Crowle, Epworth and Haxey each with their own history and different identities.  The name Isle of Axholme is made up of different parts.  

The Isle part derives from before the area was drained when much of the area was surrounded by marshland which left the towns and villages virtual islands.  The rivers Don, Idle and Trent ran around the area effectively creating a watery boundary and seperating the region from Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and the rest of Lincolnshire. 

Old map of Isle of Axholme showing rivers and drains
Image details: 'Image taken from page 102 of 'The history and topography of the Isle of Axholme, being that part of Lincolnshire which is west of Trent' from The British Library, via Flickr
This map shows the area after the drainage system of dykes was designed and created by Cornelius Vermuyden between 1626-1629. The river Don was later diverted to its current course. 

The word Axholme has evolved over time to become the word that it is today and consists of a mixture of Celtic, Saxon and Danish.  Axholme is thought to originally have started off as Axeyholme and over time got shortened to Axeholme.  If you split Axeyholme up Axe means water, ey is a word for Island.  The word Holme is the Danish influence and means an island or a grassy bank close to water. 

These days, while evidence of the drainage is clearly seen with the dykes and the vast fields of fertile farmland, the area is well connected and boats are no longer necessary! 

If your interested in further reading a really informative website is

Thursday, 11 September 2014

A knitting girls trip to York

A few Saturdays ago I went, with my best friend and her daughter (Little Miss), to York for the day. It was Little Miss's first grown up ladies day out and she was super excited at the prospect of lunch and taking part in some shopping of her own.  Little Miss is great fun to talk to and she is interested in knitting and crafty things.  It was easy then to include some woolly related shopping into our day.

Our first shop was Duttons for Buttons.  I was looking for a few more button options for my Lush cardigan in case the ones I bought in London didn't suit!  Duttons for Buttons has a LOT of buttons!  I picked out a couple that I thought might work.

Isla of Axholme knitting crochet blog duttons for buttons york internal image
Image details: 'Duttons for Buttons, York 1'
by Joey Ramone via Flickr
On the top floor they have a small selection of wool for sale. The majority didn't interest me but they did sell Brigantia.  This is a brand I love but is rarely stocked anywhere.  I could have bought their entire stock but I showed restraint and made do with four skeins of double knit in burgundy, enough for a jumper or cardigan.  

Following that exciting discovery it was time for lunch (Little Miss and I get grumpy if our tummies get empty!).  I had booked us into the Italian chain Ask. Ask is one of my favourite chain restaurants (I love their water jugs and wine glasses) and somewhere I rely on if I don't know where to go for decent food. Ask in York has to be one of the nicest Ask buildings I have been to.  There were chandeliers, columns and coats of arms.  Here is a link  to the Ask York page which has an internal photo.  It ticked all the boxes for us - good service, an interesting children's menu and somewhere grown up enough for it be be special for Little Miss.  Once our energy levels had been topped up we started our quest to find Little Miss a board game or two in the charity shops of York.  We hit gold when she spotted Mouse Trap for £3.... bargain.   
Isla of Axholme knitting blog york purchases from Duttons for buttons and Ram Shambles Brigantia wys bittond mint and red bear needle toppers
My York purchases

Our final shop of the day was Ram Shambles which, although small, is jam packed full of yarny delights especially in the front room.  Both my best friend and I succumbed to some very cute bear needle stoppers and I bought two skeins of West Yorkshire Spinners Bluefaced Leicester Aran wool.  One skien of which I have ear marked to make Amanda Collin's (Owl Print Panda) Light and Lofty hat which is in issue 38 of Knit Now magazine. 

Monday, 8 September 2014

Exciting news......The birth of Social Knitwork

Just a quick post to shout out about a knit / crochet natter group my best friend and I are launching this month in the Isle of Axholme!  We have talked about starting a weekend natter group up for a while. When Axholme Licenced Tearoom opened (they brew their own beer) the idea became a reality.  Mike and Jules, the owners, are interested in arts and crafts and were looking for groups to use their tearoom as a base.  The Social Knitwork was born and named by Mike.  Our first get together is on Sunday 21st September 2.30pm - 4.30pm.  Jules and Mike are very kindly supplying the tea and there is yummy cake made by Jules to tempt you.  Even I can have cake as Jules very kindly makes a cake without egg (I'm allergic to egg).  If you live nearby or happen to be passing on the third Sunday of the month come along and join us.  I am really looking forward to it and creating a local knitting / crochet community.

knitting crochet poster of social knitwork crowle 3rd sunday of the month

Thursday, 4 September 2014

The great 2014 bunny escape.

I am very lucky to have great neighbours but for such a small road (there are only five houses) there have been more than your average amount of bizarre goings on! In the past we have removed dead birds, helped calm injured children, sat with elderly relatives, fed fish and been on wheelie bin patrol for bugs. We have had water fights, snowball fights and sporting challenges, and trips to A&E when Mr D's foot had a disagreement with a bottle of wine.  I, to my embarrassment, have also tested our neighbours patience after having a glass too many at our streets Jubilee party!

Isla of Axholme blog bunny 2014 photo of fizz and cows The most recent incident on our street happened on Sunday following a Fizz walk to see the cows.  Imagine the site of seeing one of your neighbours standing in their dressing gown shouting 'the rabbits have gone' repeatedly! It transpired that our other neighbour, the rabbits owner, had left them in charge of them for the weekend.  However, the naughty things had launched their own 'Escape to Victory' and tunnelled out overnight. Now these rabbits are our neighbours babies, they are totally spoilt (which pet isn't) and the thought of our neighbour returning to missing rabbits made all of us feel pretty sick.  

After sounding pretty silly calling 'here bunny, bunny' into the bushes we managed to track down the party animals in the garden behind our neighbours house.  We then spent the next hour crawling and diving around trying to catch them. Luckily rabbit number 1 was bribed with carrot and was easier to catch but rabbit number 2 was a bit more adventurous and played hide and seek behind a shed.  With the use of a garden brush and a plastic garden carrier we managed to catch the 'darling sweet thing' and marched him back to his own house! When our neighbour returned they were shocked at what their darling rabbits had been up to.  I had to pay an emergency visit to our local tearoom for cake and some of their own brewed beer.

Please tell me it's not just my little road where this happens? Have you had any funny neighbourly happenings on your street?

Monday, 1 September 2014

Recent reads

One of my regular blog posts will be about books I have read recently.  I will not write about everything but will add them to my books I have read page.  Please feel free to comment or provide recommendations.  As you will discover I have quite an eclectic taste and I will read pretty much anything apart from horror!  For me though the books have to be physical paper books.  I know for things like holidays a kindle or such device would be easier but as I get most of my books from charity shops, second hand book shops or my local library it works out cheaper. 
Roald Dahl collection

The two books I have recently finished couldn't be more different.  The first is a children's book - Roald Dahl's Matilda.  Reading this came about as a result of doing some birthday present shopping for my best friends little girl and realising to mine and Mr D's horror that I had never read it!  At this point Mr D (who is a big Roald Dahl fan) wanted to disown me so I quickly searched our bookcases Unsurprisingly we had a copy (although worryingly it had Mr D's sisters name on the inside) so it was next on my to read book pile. 

If you have never read Matilda (I recommended you do) it's about a super bright little girl called Matilda.  The book journeys though Matilda's first year at school and her adventures along the way.  It's been many years since I have read a Roald Dahl book and they are still good fun to read even through adult eyes.  I loved his descriptive use of names for the characters ..... Miss Honey is Matilda's kind and sweet teacher versus the bullying and horrible Miss Trunchbull.  It's a great story, funny with some twists in the story that surprised me! 

The second book, which I started on the train up to Edinburgh, is a Penguin Modern Classic called The Lonely Londoners by Sam Selvon.  This is one of many, many books I have bought over the years at Barter Books, a massive secondhand bookshop in Alnwick, Northumberland.  Despite The Lonely Londoners only being 139 pages long (2006 edition) it still took me several weeks to read.  I don't know about you but it always takes me longer to read books that are written either in old English e.g. Charles Dickens or with a particular accent (in this instance West Indian).  I find it harder to understand so I have to read sections several times until I think I have understood it.  This was the case with The Lonely Londoners, words like spades and test are used for descriptions of people.  

The book is based in the 1950's and is told from the viewpoint of Moses, a West Indian, who has lived in London for many years.  Moses tells the stories of his fellow country men who see him as a respected person, someone to go to for help and advice.  There is no plot to this book instead it gives the reader an insight into migrating to a new country. It was an interesting read and presumably based on the author's own experiences when he migrated to London in 1950.  Very few books make it to my 'I would read this again' imaginary pile and this sadly is not one of them. 
Books waiting to be read
My current read is Children of The Mill by David Hanson which I have loaned from my local library.  It's a book which accompanies the Channel 4 drama The Mill and explores the lives of the workers at Quarry Bank Mil, Cheshire.  I thought it would be an interesting read but to be honest I am a bit disappointed with the book.  There are many sections where the author writes about imagining what it must have felt like to work at the mill which I am finding really annoying.  There are also comments about the television drama itself which, as I have not been watching it, I don't find very helpful.  However, I am one of those people that unless I really am not enjoying a book I will keep going until the end.  I have a couple more chapters to go and look forward to finishing it!

What are you reading at the moment?  Have you read any of the The Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist books?  I planned to read some but I have not got around to reading any yet and the shortlist is released next week.  

Happy reading.