Thursday, 30 October 2014

Mini Finitos

Welcome to my new followers - another few have joined us - and many thanks for your lovely comments. I've really enjoyed reading them all.
This post is just to let you see some of the mini projects I've finished since coming back from my holidays. Do you remember the Hebridean wool I bought on Skye? You can read about it here if you don't or this is the first you've heard of it! I used the wool to knit the husband a new hat for the winter. Here it is. Just a simple cabled beanie but he likes it. It isn't cold enough to wear it yet; he has that pleasure to look forward to. I probably only used half the ball, so when he either loses the hat or pulls it to bits in the thorn hedge, I'll be able to knit him another one.

This next project was actually crocheted while I was on Skye (started here and completed here). I started making a bowl thinking I would use it to store odd balls of yarn. But while I was crocheting I thought it would be nice to use the bowl to display some heather. So, since coming home, I've put heather in the crocheted bowl and here it is. The heather is set straight into the bowl without anything else inside. I'm really pleased with the results. I like the way the bowl isn't completely rigid and sort of slumps a bit.

Now here is something really, really strange. When I made the heather bowl I thought I was doing something reasonably unique. Certainly not following a pattern or even replicating something I'd seen and liked. The book below is one I got about four months ago and think it has lots of gorgeous patterns in it. I flicked through it a few times when it was new and started a cardigan (which has been left to one side for now).

After coming home from my holiday, I was looking through the book again to find a pattern for a hat, and look what I found!! A crocheted bowl with, admittedly not heather, but similar looking flowers in it. Is it just a coincidence? Or did I see this picture months ago and make my heather bowl because this image was stored somewhere deep in my subconscious?

Anyway, I found a pattern for a tam that I thought would be nice for making myself a hat with the alpaca yarn I bought on Skye (read about it here). I worked a strand of King Cole Cosmos yarn along with the alpaca to achieve the sparkly effect.

Here I am modelling the hat. I wear it even though it isn't really all that cold yet. It's not just about being warm, is it? I love this wee tam and I've had many compliments on it.

These squares are finished and blocked though not joined yet to make a bag. While loading the photos for this post I went off and ordered leather handles. Susan, who writes Simple Cozy Living, suggested that I try for leather handles and I was very impressed with what they have to offer. Thanks you Susan for pointing me in the right direction.

My peg loom arrived while I was away so it was great to unpack it and get weaving as soon as possible. I did a few small pieces first to practise; I'll show you them another time as I'm going to use them for small wall hangings. Here is my first proper woven scarf. What do you think? It's made using Stylecraft Swift Knit Super Chunky in Wedgewood. I'll show you more about the peg loom another time. I posted about wanting to get one way back here and Ingrid of My Funky Crochet let me know that I could get a loom from Jenny's Crafts and Soft Furnishings. Thanks Ingrid!

I think that will do for now. For those of you interested in the cotton blanket - I've had to put it aside for awhile as I want to make lots of things for Christmas. I want to make so many things!! All the best. Leave me a comment please about my mini finitos and let me know if you like them.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Last Stop Wetheral

So we only had one night left of our holiday after visiting Yarndale. We headed to our last stopover (via Chesters for coffee!), the Crown Hotel in Wetheral. This is a lovely village in Cumbria, just a few miles from Carlisle, on the River Eden. The husband decided to go for a swim and I walked into the village to try and get something to ease my sting. After dinner the previous evening I had been stung on the left arm by, I think, a wasp. The area around the sting was gradually getting redder, swollen and more irritated. Unfortunately the village shop didn't stock anything suitable. I optimistically thought it would improve but I was wrong. Thankfully I was able to get cream and anti-allergy medication the next day (when the reaction had got even worse).
Back to Wetheral on the Saturday afternoon. When I came out of the village shop I decided to go for a walk as the village is very picturesque. First I walked down a steep hill and found myself at the river. This is the Wetheral Railway Viaduct.
It was really lovely but I didn't stay. Instead I started to retrace my steps back up the hill. Coming near the top I saw a sign for the Priory Gatehouse and decided to investigate. This road was more or less level and I had a lovely walk through the countryside. Before long I came across the Wetheral Parish Church called Saint Trinity. This picture is taken from the road, through the gateway. I should have taken a picture of the gateway itself but you can see it here if you want.

This is the church from the side.

Further along the road I came to the Priory Gatehouse.

 There was a stone spiral staircase up the inside of the tower.

I was very tempted to walk up all those steps but, according to the sign, the place was going to be closed in about five minutes time. I certainly didn't want to end up being locked in the tower! Years ago I got locked into the School of Music one Saturday morning. The following Monday was a bank holiday so the building wasn't going to be opened again until the following Tuesday. I banged the door as loudly as possible and, thankfully, the caretaker hadn't left so was able to let me out.

Sorry, I digressed there. I was still wearing my Yarndale Skirt, as you can see. It was very comfortable and easy to wear.

It was time to head back to the hotel as I reckoned the husband would have finished his swim. When I got back to our room he was already there. Doesn't sound unusual, does it? The thing was, I had the key! It turned out the he hadn't been able to get into the pool and, after waiting and waiting for me to return, had finally got the spare key from reception. Anyway, by this stage he knew he'd be able to get swimming so we both headed over to the leisure suite. I was worried about irritating my arm further with the chlorinated water so I sat at one of the poolside tables and crocheted. The wool I'd bought a few days previously at the New Lanark Mill was calling to me to be made into a bag. It's very difficult to refuse pure wool in gorgeous colours calling to be made into something useful with a crochet hook! I gave in and made Fudge squares from my 200 Crochet Blocks for Blankets, Throws and Afghans book. Each square is made using five colours so I changed the order of the colours so no two of the five squares I needed were the same.

All the squares are crocheted and blocked now but I still need to join them to make into a bag. Then line it as well. The reason I'm hesitating with finishing is that I can't make up my mind about the handles. When I get there, I'll let you see it.

Well that was the end of our holiday and we sailed home again the following day. Planning has started for next year's holiday!

All the best for now. I should be able to show you some of my finished projects soon. I'm looking forward to it.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014


On the second Monday of our holiday we left Peebles (after me being able to buy shoes) and made our way to our next destination; Finghall in Yorkshire. Again we had hired a small self-catering house on a lovely farm, to stay for the next four days. The house is called The Smithy and is a really well thought out refurbishment of an old barn. More about that shortly though. Coffee first. The first place we went while staying in Finghall was to Chesters by the River. Just to have some of their coffee and delicious scones. Quite a long way to go for said refreshments but worth the trip. Chesters is at Skelwith Bridge, a few miles outside of Ambleside in the Lake District. This is the river that is overlooked by the outdoor seating area. It's the river Brathay.

The weather was nice enough for us to take a table outside.

These quaint cottages are on the other side, away from the river.

Coffee and scones with jam and cream. Yummy!

And we also, very indulgently, shared this piece of coffee and hazelnut cake. They must have run out of walnuts!

Back to The Smithy. This is it ... didn't realise it was such a blurry photo but I've only got this one.

There were a few small caravans also staying at the farm. Everything was really clean and well appointed. I loved this clock on the outside wall.

The flowers were still in bloom and looking very colourful.

This friendly old collie just wanted to play constantly. He brought his ball for us to throw so he could catch it. Sounds pretty normal, doesn't it? Not when you discover that his preferred ball is of the golf variety! Every time he caught the ball you could hear it rattling his teeth. I'm surprised the poor thing has any teeth left!

While staying in Finghall we took the opportunity to visit the Bowes Museum.

The artifacts are housed in this magnificent building. It looks like someone's residence but it was actually built specially as a museum.

We really enjoyed our time at the museum. It was very interesting and the guide knew a lot about it. The highlight was seeing the Silver Swan, a magnificent musical automaton, being wound up and going through its motions.

The husband took the opportunity to go for a few cycle rides while we stayed at Finghall. So I took the opportunity to crochet some more of my cotton blanket!

I sat outside in the enclosed patio area and discovered this sign above the back door.

The blanket was really coming on well - part of it is draped behind the bench.

Another place we visited was the National Railway Museum in York. The husband thought it would be a good place to visit not least because the entrance is free. What we didn't realise was that it would cost £9 to park the car! We didn't mind as the museum is well worth visiting. Here's a few photos of trains just to let you see what it was like.

This is the Chinese engine, one of the largest single-unit locomotives ever built in the UK. It was presented to the museum by the Chinese Government in 1981. It's hard to tell from a photo but this thing is huge.

There's a separate hall for the royal trains.

I was amazed to find this special van for transporting bananas.

The next day we decided to just take a drive and admire the beautiful scenery. First of all along the side of a lovely river.

We stopped here to take some photos as it was so peaceful.

Not another car in sight!

We climbed up, getting pretty high, crossing the bleak looking moor.

The scenery was just spectacular. On the way down again we spotted this viaduct and wondered why there were so many cars parked at the side of the road. Then we realised a train was about to cross over so we very quickly parked, jumped out and took some photos.

We headed on into a lovely village called Ingleton where we had tea and a bit of a wander round.
I love the names of some of the wee villages in this area. Names like Constable Burton, Patrick Brompton and Newton-le-Willows.
At the end of our four days staying at The Smithy we only had another couple of days left before going home. We were intending to visit Yarndale on the Saturday so we spent the Friday night in a nearby hotel. I've already told you about our time at Yarndale in my first holiday post here - thought I'd better do Yarndale first!
There's very little left to tell you now but I'll leave it until another time. It's great to get your lovely comments and I can't believe I have some more very welcome followers.
I'll leave you with a tiny posy I cut in the garden today. Roses, crab apples, crocosmia (just the seed heads left), fuchsia and something with berries that will have to remain nameless because my mind has gone blank.

Bye for now!