Spice of Life Crochet Along

A few weeks ago Black Sheep Wools and Cherry Heart launched their first ever Crochet along. After seeing the completed blanket I decided I would take part. I have tried my hand at crochet a couple of times in the past, even attending a Learn to Crochet workshop not long after starting work at Black Sheep. However, I never really got very far, I always gave up!!

We are now 3 weeks in and I am loving it…I am even thinking I may make another one once this is over. The effort that Sandra has put into this project is fantastic. There are lots of different stitches, if you are a beginner there are fabulous diagrams and also Black Sheep are producing videos on some of the more fancy stitches. The Facebook group that has been set up has seen an overwhelming number of members from all over the world! Each week Sandra also writes a detailed post with lots of information and tips for that weeks pattern.

The choose to use Stylecraft Life DK which I has in my stash, a while ago I was going to take part in the Lily Pond CAL by Jane Crowfoot, but when I say the end blanket I didn’t really like it so I have had the yarn in my cupboard for months!!! I added and extra 3 shades so I had 13 in total.

Here is my progress so far:

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My first attempt, slight bump due to working 2 trebles into the foundation
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Yay…pattern one done!
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Ready for the next pattern

I will post my finished blanket in a few weeks (hopefully…I have some things going on which I hope won’t get in the way too much!)

Emma x

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My Day Spinning (and I don’t mean the exercise!)

I had such a great day! The sun has been shining…it feels like Spring is really here 🙂 and I did a spinning workshop at Black Sheep Wools. Run by Cathy (Lazykate) and assisted by her mum Jean. We even took away a skein of our very own spun wool. IMG_1507 First thing was to get acquainted with the wheel…so we had a go at treadling (turning the wheel with the foot peddle)…not bad, seemed quite easy really, next up was to add the fleece…we were using a massam top, all the fibers go in the same direction and it felt pretty soft. A piece of yarn attached to the bobbin is used to attach the fleece to, this is done by spinning the yarn so that the fibers ‘knit’ together, then you pinch, draft and slide. It is very important to keep the pinch firm so that the fiber behind your fingers does not twist, by doing this technique and treadling at the same time you should achieve a lovely even spun yarn…well once you put all these things together that’s where it all went wrong!! IMG_1504 Time for a confession…a few weeks ago Cathy was at the Black Sheep doing a demonstration and I had a little go…so it felt a little less daunting as I had a slight idea of what I needed to do. I was pretty good at Pinching, Drafting and Sliding…when someone else was doing the treadling but as soon as I put it all together I just got a twisted mess…the wheel kept going in the wrong direction or I was going too fast…there was no middle ground. After some help I started getting the technique and felt more confident and tried to treadle too…well after some issues and lots of twisted fibers I did have some good runs…it felt great! After a lovely lunch provided by Julie from the Black Sheep Tea Shop it was time to get going again…oh dear it all seemed to be going wrong again…over the break I had lost the momentum I had managed to get going beforehand. Again after some twisted starts I got going again and got a second bobbin filled. IMG_1512 Next was time for the plying…this is where you spin the 2 bobbins together to produce a lovely textured yarn. For this technique you need a new bobbin on your wheel and a Lazykate to hold you 2 bobbins of yarn. Holding the 2 yarns…one in each hand you spin the wheel in the opposite direction (anti clockwise) to when spinning and feed the fibers in. Well I started off ok…even though the wheel still kept going in the wrong direction…how could that be it seemed that it just wanted to go the opposite to what I wanted!!!! After a while my fibers stopped feeding in, turns out my wheel had had enough (apparently they do this!!) I changed wheel and this decided to give up too 😦 so with the help of Cathy I managed to get enough fibers to make a skein. IMG_1512 To make a skein you use a Niddy-Noddy (isn’t this a great name for a piece of equipment), you then wind the fiber around the niddy-noddy in  particular way, tie it in the middle, pull off, twist from both ends, relax it and tuck one end into the other…hey presto! I was really impressed with what I had produced in such a short time. I am not sure spinning is something I will take up at the moment but maybe it is something for the future…I would love to spin yarn and dye it lots of lovely colours. I am definitely a fan of the thick n thin texture. I’m not sure what I am going to make with this, if anything, I might just frame it 🙂 If you are interested in Spinning why not visit the Black Sheep Craft Barn on the 2nd May for Love Your Yarn Shop day as Cathy will be demoing spinning and also dyeing, there will also be lots of other great things happening. Plus she will also be doing more workshops later in the year. Emma x

My Weekend…

Earlier this week I told you about how I was feeling inspired and started the 30 day shred, well I am up on day 6 but I have to confess I am actually only on day 4! I have had a couple of days where I have just not been able to fit it in, however rather than just give up I have got back into today, it is still difficult but I am hopeful that it will get easier…well level 1 anyway!!

I have had a busy weekend, on Saturday I was attending a Workshop at the Black Sheep Craft Barn, this also coincided with the opening of our fabulous Fabric Room. We were very lucky to have Stuart Hillard, the runner up of last year’s Great British Sewing Bee officially opening the room.

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I then did the Basic Pattern Writing Workshop run by Sarah Hatton, Rowan Tutor and Knitwear Designer. It was a very intense day with lots of maths and no knitting!! However we did learn all the basics needed to put together a basic pattern and also adapting a pattern to suit your own requirements…it did leave me wanting to knit myself a garment just so I could put what I learned to use!

We have recently joined the National Trust, so on Sunday, although the weather wasn’t that great and there was a pretty good chance it would rain we had a ride to Quarry Bank in Styal.  I need to start taking photographs for my College project so I was hoping to get some great shots in the gardens.

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Then for dinner we went to the fabulous Chaophraya in Manchester…the food is Amazing, if you’re a fan of Thai I would definitely recommend this place, it is slightly pricey but it is worth every penny. To start we had Steamed Dumplings and Scallop & Black Pudding Salad, the black puddings are delicious and melt in your mouth. For Main we had Weeping Tiger & Rice Noodles (hubby) and Panang Beef Curry & Sticky Rice (me), I also asked if I could have it more on the mild side and they were very happy to accommodate my request 🙂 and finally for desert I had Poached Pear in White Wine & Sherry with Meringue and Ice Cream…yum yum yum

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I hope everyone else had a fun filled weekend!

Emma x