Lancashire Lass

Last week I went ‘home’ to Lancashire to see my parents for a few days taking the 2 youngest boys along for a bit of a holiday.  I haven’t lived there for over 20 years, since I left University, but I still consider it to be home and am proud to be a Lancashire Lass who hasn’t lost her accent, or love for meat and potato pies and chips with gravy.

We spent quite a bit of time just chilling out at Mum and Dad’s, playing in the garden, swimming and doing local walks.  I went to visit my brother’s grave as it is nearly 3 years since he died.  He is in a lovely spot next to fields and it is a really peaceful place although it still upsets me to think that his life was so short; he died at the age of 37.

Towards the end of the week I took Mum and the Littlest to Sizergh Castle, a National Trust property on the edge of Kendal.  Sizergh is a medieval property set in beautiful countryside at the gateway to the Lake District.  It is still lived in by the Strickland Family and boasts a lot of ancient wood panelling some of which was in the V&A until it was returned to the house in 1999.  You aren’t allowed to take photos inside the house and although there were some interesting artefacts it wasn’t my favourite NT property.  I found it a bit dark and gloomy and it was very draughty.

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In the gardens there is a lot to see, and I would definitely recommend a visit during the Summer to see the Herbaceous Borders and the walled Kitchen Garden which looked very bare when we were there, because of the time of year.  However, Littlest loved the very scary Scarecrow 🙂

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He also loved pulling faces at his reflection in the water tank

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We loved the hens, especially the Lemon Cuckoo Neiderrheiner Cockerel who was strutting his stuff

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and generally running around to keep warm on what was a very cold day

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After lunch we went into Kendal to visit Williams Wools, a lovely wool shop on the High St which is owned by Adrienne Williams

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Th shop is a lovely haven of yarnie goods..there are local hand dyed yarns, as well as Rowan, Arancunia, Noro and many other brands. There is a really comfy sofa area in the middle of the shop and lots and lots of samples on display for inspiration

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I bought two skeins of Botany Lace to make a striping shawl, the variegated mustard yellow/grey in the middle and the solid mustard yellow on the right

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It was a lovely few days in a lovely part of the world.

Kirsty x

A new shawl

This week I have been dyeing yarn for a shawl commission, which will be winging it’s way to France when it is finished.  It’s always quite stressful dyeing yarn for people when they can’t just pop around to see the colours.  I can photograph them and e mail them, but the colours are never as true as they are in the flesh so you just have to hope it will be ok.  It does help that I now have a brand new SLR camera which takes much truer photos than my old compact or my phone which I used to use a lot because it was so easy to upload photos to Twitter etc.  But no more!!  It’s actually quite easy to upload images from the SLR as there is an SD card port on my Laptop and it will mean I can be more organised about photo storage too.

The colours that had been requested for the commission were silvers and silvery blues.  Because these are very similar I also dyed some dark grey so that I can use this as a darker contrast in the middle of the shawl border.

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The dark grey, which is blurred in the background is ‘Blackbird’. On top of this is the main colour for the shawl, ‘Woodpigeon’ and the two colours in the foreground are ‘Lapwing’ – the small ball on top and ‘Stock Dove’ on the bottom.

All my yarns are dyed in skeins and then I have to wind them into balls before they can be knitted with.  The smaller ball has been wound round a friend’s hands..it looks like a traditional ball of wool that you see in pictures or drawings.  The ball on the bottom looks more like a cake and has been wound using a swift and a ball winder.

A swift looks like an umbrella and is used for holding the skein.

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This keeps the wool at an even tension while it is being wound onto the ball winder

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So now the wool is all wound I had better get on with the knitting. Design is a secret for now 🙂

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