Saturday, 16 April 2016

If it's Thursday it must be Belgium

We're off!
For many years I have always wanted to go to Paris. For many years Mr P-L has wanted to visit Waterloo ( as in the battle of ) and WWI Western Front. So after a year of planning Mr P-L made this all happen.
We started our road trip very early with a five hour drive in our rented motor home to Dover for a crossing on the Channel Tunnel - something else I had always wanted to do! I even managed to get some knitting done much to the amusement of the people walking past!
At Dover
My knitting project for our road trip was A Certain Darkness shawl using my Narnia yarn from Rosie's Moments.
Knitting in the tunnel

When we got to Calais, there was a brief stop to fix the headlight reflectors and many reminders to drive on the right and then an hours drive to our camp site in Ieper ( or Ypres the French spelling ) Belgium. There were some minor detours on the way - you try reading Dutch road signs - but we arrived at a lovely little camp site. I can highly recommend Jeugdstadion camping, it was was small and friendly, very warm clean shower facilities and a real mix of nationalities staying there. We were also within walking distance of the town itself.
Tyne Cot
The next morning we drove to Tyne Cot cemetery - the largest Commonwealth war cemetery. Beautifully kept and very sobering. After the rows of headstones are the names of the missing. Even as I write this now the sheer number of names we saw over the next three days overwhelms me.
In the afternoon we went to Passchendaele Memorial  Museum.
Passchendaele
Many of the places we visited had been or were being 'improved' to commemorate the hundred year anniversary of the 1914 to 1918 war. Passchendaele Museum on the outside was a pretty, old house and inside was a modern, huge museum.
Just one of the displays
As we walked from exhibit to exhibit there were interactive displays to engage children and clear uncluttered displays, clearly labelled in Dutch, French and English. there was an extensive underground tunnel section giving a flavour of what it must have been like in the tunnels, and these then led to the trenches outside. It gave me a sense of how awful trench warfare was and how brave the men were who lived and died here were.
In the trenches
When we returned to Ieper we parked in our spot and then walked into town. Mr P-L wanted to visit the Menin Gate Memorial. Again so very many names of young men who had died and couldn't be found. The lists seemed to go on forever with overwhelming sadness.
The chocolate shop we had to visit
Pickle-Lily and I were allowed a lovely wander through a beautiful town. We had to visit one of the many chocolate shops and I even found a fabric shop! After pizza in a local restaurant we went to the Last Post Ceremony that is held at the Menin Gate.
Just a few of the names
This is a daily act of homage to the fallen that is so poignent. It was packed, so if you plan to go, go early. There was a group of American school students there who were so beautifully behaved and a group of English school pupils who weren't until silence fell, there were families and coach parties, there were vetrans proudly wearing blazers, badges and medals. As silence fell it was everyone together listening together.
The Last Post

Having the motor home was wonderful - a place to rest and reflect, and after years of tent camping a bed to sleep in! I slept well that night after so much walking and there was a lot more to come!


Monday, 28 March 2016

dpn cosy

Many of my makes at the moment seem to be centred around the actual process of crafting  - project bags, notebooks and needle books for example.
dpn cosy

I've also been drawn into the world of sock knitting. I belong to this amazing sock knitting group on Facebook, where knitters parade socks knitted in the most beautiful yarns and it just tempts you and ensnares you, and what do you know .. there's a sock on your needles. There are several ways to knit socks - if you want to start can I direct you to this lady's blog, Winwick Mum who explains it all very clearly.
Keeping them safe and snug!

I like to use dpns or double point needles to knit mine and I needed to keep my stitches safe on the needles. My knitting goes everywhere with me and I usually have a couple (well quite a few actually) projects on the go, and I like to knit what my fingers feel like doing, so the knitting can get shifted in and out and about sometimes. So after a little research I found this tutorial for a dpn needle keeper by The Nome Knitter, and ta-dah I made my own to keep everything safe and cosy.
Being me I got carried away, so my extra ones are in my Folksy shop if you're interested!
dpn cosy
You may have noticed it's the same pair of socks on the needles for some time, and my challenge for the Easter holidays is to finish them!

Sunday, 6 March 2016

White Rabbits

White rabbits
Recently I have been reading the story 'Alice in Wonderland'. Way back in January I received my first mystery yarn box from 'Rosie's Moments over on Etsy, based on the story, and so I decided to read it again.
bunny bunting

It has inspired all sorts of white rabbits for Pickle-Lily, from needle books to bags to bunting!
Find these in my Folksy shop!

The theme also happens to fit into Easter rather neatly! (The bags are for sale in my Folksy shop)
And this is my finished 'When Alice met the Caterpillar' shawl!


Saturday, 20 February 2016

e is for elephant

This week I felt like making elephants - and no, I don't know why!!!
So we have elephant mini bunting
Mini bunting

and elephant needle books. I made one last year and sold it straight away and was asked if I had a pink elephant, so I have made a pink one as well. I wonder which will go first? If you would like one of these, they are listed in my Folksy shop.
Needle book or needle case?

And of course an elephant key ring made from the cute wooden elephant buttons I found.
elephant keyring

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Spinning

Add caption
The last WI meeting was all about spinning. Not the healthy exercise good for you sort, but the sort that has been going on for thousands of years. Sarah Harris from The Spinning Weal came and told us all about the different sorts of spinning you can do - she even suggested sticking a skewer in a potato to start off with! It sounds really boring, but it wasn't, it was fascinating and funny!
Sarah made it look so easy!

She even told us a little about dying your own yarns, but I'm not sure I'm ready for that yet. But I am tempted to get the drop spindle out and dust it off for another go!

I'm spinning around

Monday, 1 February 2016

What's on my needles?

Samadhi

So what is on the knitting needles? I treated myself to a mystery yarn box from Rosie's Moments with my Christmas money and what a lovely surprise it was! Some beautiful yarn called 'When Alice met the caterpillar' as well as lots of other Alice themed goodies. Although the box included a sock pattern, I decided that the yarn was too lovely to be hidden inside shoes and so after trawling Ravelry found the pattern for a Samadhi shawel by Martina Behm. I'm almost half way through and looking forward to wearing it. The pattern is really easy to follow and memorise, so I can pick it up and do a few rows every so often. I have to be honest and admit that I've subscribed to the next mystery yarn box too based on the story 'The Secret Garden' and I can't wait!
Alice in Wonderland mystery yarn box

I'm also knitting bunnies for my Pickle-Lily shop and enjoying choosing colours for their jumpers, I'll be a little bit sad when they go their new homes.
Bunny love

In between knitting the shawl and bunnies, and when my fingers feel like a change, I've reworked my felt badger design, as I'm looking forward to the next open week-end at the local wildlife rescue centre. It's the week-end visitors get to see the badger cubs and they are seriously cute!
badger badges

Sunday, 10 January 2016

I had a problem!

I'm hooked on sock knitting!
Just like many crafty people I tend to have several projects on the go - well slightly more than several if I'm honest! At the moment I am knitting Pickle-Lily a scarf and it is perched on the dashboard of my car, for when I have a few minutes of waiting, so I can to do some more to it, but it is not secure there and can fall off! What I needed was a project bag to keep it all safe and clean, not a big knitting bag, just something for this project.
So ... ta-dah!
Project bag with a pocket purse
 It's a tote style bag with proper handles so I can carry it with me, just the right size for a ball of yarn and some needles. I can attach a notions / pocket purse to it for the needle and scrap yarn for the life line to live in (or anything else!). There's a snap closure to stop my knitting from falling out if I need to close the bag.
With a snap to keep it safe.

But as you can see, it's not made to the car for P's scarf, it was perfect my sock knitting, so I'll have to make another one or more!
Already in use!
I've got some lovely fabrics to use, so look out for them in my Folksy shop or on Facebook as I always get carried away! They can also be used for lots of other things - crochet, sewing, packed lunches, books ....
Some bags waiting to be finished
Well to be honest I've got carried away and started some more already!!!