Saturday, September 29, 2007

Thank You, Congratulations, Learning New Skills and Thank You to Dreamcatcher!

First of all, I just want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who made a bid for the Forest Canopy Shawl , I was overwhelmed by your generosity. Congratulations to Linda who made the winning bid of £28:00 - Linda, thank you, it will be in the post at lunchtime.

Congratulations too to Holly Burnham - Holly you have won my bloggy prize draw for September, so if you would email me your address I shall send your prize to you.

I have had a lovely few days. On Friday I visited mum again, then went a few miles down the road to Berriew to stay overnight at one of my favourite places, The Talbot where the welcome is always warm and the food is always excellent, and staying as a single female poses no problem at all.

Berriew is a delightful village, full of black and white character and winner of several "Best Kept Village in Wales" awards. The river Rhiw runs through the village, and it is just a lovely tranquil place to be.

Now I'm sure this place needs no introduction! Berriew is 8 miles across the country lanes to Llanfair, so after a wonderful breakfast I arrived at around 9:30, just as the Llanfair Ginny was firing up - I LOVE going to Colinette!

The reason for the visit was a workshop - Knitting in All Directions - run by Colinette herself. What a lovely lady she is, fascinating to talk to, and I learned such a lot, not just new skills, but colour and texture, and not to be afraid to try new things.

We were given these three lovely pattern books, full of ideas and inspiration, as well as several worksheets.

As well as three HUGE baskets of yarn on the worktables to choose yarns to work with from, we were also given a pack of yarn - isn't that just a wonderful pack? Sorry about the photo quality, I don't think it has actually got light since Saturday to take a decent photo!

Anyway, here is a little of what we learned. There are two mitred squares here in the centre, with a mitred rectangle on the right, and the rectangle on the left was picked up and knitted in such a clever way.

Then we moved on to triangles. The possibilities with these are endless, and great fun. We also made shell shapes, but I haven't managed a decent photo of that.

* Ahem* - purchases - in spite of my best intentions - 7 skeins of Velvet Plum Iona with which to make Ula and a bargainous 150g of Cadenza from the Saleroom.

Thank you Linda for your excellent company, and the advice on what size Ula to knit.

And finally ........... no blog post of mine these days would be complete without a Forest Canopy Shawl it seems!

Forest Canopy Shoulder Shawl

Needles: Size 7 Millwards

Yarn: Stroud Wool Supersock # Heather

Thank you Dreamcatcher for this beautiful yarn, it was too nice for my feet and will keep my shoulders warm when I am on Night Duty! Speaking of which, today is the start of New Beginnings for me - I am now officially only working twenty hours a week. I won't know what to do with myself!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Forest Canopy Shoulder Shawl for Auction

An arty shot! Yes, it's another FCS! But this one's in good cause!

Yay! Just like the dear old Queen I am having a Golden Jubilee. Who would have thought that I would have made fifty blog posts since February. It just goes to show that what my teachers always suspected is really true - Joy talks too much!

In true bloggy style there will be a draw and a prize at the end of this month for everyone who has posted a comment during during September.

In the meantime, it appears that I am going into the mass production of Forest Canopy Shawls! In all seriousness, I have made this for a very special reason. My cyberfriend terri is running in the Great North Run on Sunday September 30th to fundrise for the Toby Henderson Trust and this is my final auction to help her fundraising efforts.

So this is it - another Forest Canopy Shoulder Shawl - my favoutite so far - and if you would like it, it's yours! All you have to do is pop over to the Crafty Threads 'n' Yarns Forum or, if you would prefer, you can make bid here on my blog and I will put it on for you.

I will up-date daily on this page as to bidding progress. And the auction will end on Sunday September 30th at 7:30pm GMT.

Good luck terri!

Forest Canopy Shoulder Shawl
Yarn: Posh Yarn Emily #Harp
Needles: 5mm Pony

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Paying it Forward

Breaking news.......... Watch this blog - there's a very special 50th post coming up this weekend!

I read about the Paying it Forward Exchange on Whimsical Knitting on Sunday morning, followed by Jacquie's blog in the evening and it intrigued me.

So I am "in" as they say. I wasn't going to do this till October, but hey ho, I can PLAN my projects now in readiness for me to start in October.

It’s the Pay It Forward Exchange. It’s based of the concept of the movie “Pay it Forward” where acts or deeds of kindness are done without expecting something in return, just passing it on, with hope that the recipients of the acts of kindness are passed on. You all know I’m already a PIF type of person. So here’s how it works. I will make and send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment to this post on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I do not know what that gift will be yet, and it won’t be sent this month, probably not next month, but it will be sent (within 6 months) and that’s a promise! What YOU have to do in return, then, is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.

I like the idea of six months to complete projects. Mine might be knitted, they might be stitched, but they will all be hand made by me with love.

I can only have three recipients - so I guess it's fastest fingers!

I'd just like to thank you all by the way for the lovely comments that have appeared on my last post, and I will make sure mum knows that her garden was a "hit"

Friday, September 14, 2007

Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness

I know technically it's not Autumn yet, but I love September, and so far this year hasn't disappointed. It's such a treat to have these warm balmy days to eke Summer out just a little longer.

I was put to shame today - I have been to visit my mother in Welshpool. I may not have lived there for 34 years, but it is "home". Even down town this afternoon, I met people from school and old friends, we were chatting away as if we'd only seen each other yesterday, I could almost live there still.

Now, mum's memory may be failing - she may not know who the Prime Minister is, goodness knows, she doesn't remember my name half the time, but oh does she love her garden - so I thought I'd share a few photos with you.

DD has given me permission to add the photo of her with mum too. Now then, how long have I been blogging - I have finally caught on and discovered I can make my photos bigger if I want to. Honestly!

I love this last photo :-)

Doesn't it look wonderful - it fair puts mine to shame. She may need help in the home, but the garden is all her own work, and if I look as well as she does and am as active as she is at 89 I'll be well pleased.

I'm having a G&T as I write - cheers mum, Iechyd da, see you in two weeks time!

Hopefully, some knitting progress soon.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Heavens Not Another One!

"Surely not" I hear you cry - not another Forest Canopy Shawl? Yes indeedy it's my third. I wanted to say thank-you to Chrissy for her recent generosity and I could hardly send her a skein of sock yarn now could I - coals to Newcastle and all that, so I knitted her a skein of yarn instead. And thank you Chrissy, it was a pleasure to make something for you! You are a star of the first order.

Forest Canopy Shoulder Shawl
Yarn: Fyberspates Sock Yarn
Needles: Size 7 Aeros

Queen of the Sock Yarn

Recently over on Knitting Haven Holly had a little competition and to my great surprise my little sock yarn stash won the prize of a skein of O~Wool and here it is, isn't it beautiful. I am currently knitting squares for an Afgan in the Undercover Club and if possible will incorporate it into my blanket. O~Wool is lovely to work with, I made a Sharfik scarf for my eldest son last year for Christmas and it gives the most wonderful stitch definition.
Thank you Holly very much, and also everyone who voted for me!

Now then just look at this beautiful Piglottie Productions card and it's all mine! Thank you Piglottie, I shall treasure it. And at last I have one to keep for myself, I have bought several of Piglottie's cards, trouble is they are so beautiful it's hard to give them away! I had the devil of a job doing it justice in a photo, but if you click the photo you will see all the beautiful detail on it.

Piglottie and I have had our own little One-Skein Swap - isn't that CTH a divine colour! Thank you Piglottie very much, the colours are stunning - I shall save it for a special project, but NOT, I promise, another Forest Canopy!

Look what else the postman delivered this week - this beautiful dishcloth from the lovely Linda I was on holiday while the recent swap took place on Knitting Haven, but Linda thought I should have one anyway! It's already being put to good use, thank you Linda very much.

And finally............... belated thanks to Christina and Gilraen - I am now a Schmoozer!

"Schmoozing is the natural ability “to converse casually, especially in order to gain an advantage or make a social connection. Good schmoozers effortlessly weave their way in and out of the blogsphere, leaving friendly trails and smiles, happily making new friends along the way. They don’t limit their visits to only the rich and successful, but spend some time to say hello to new blogs as well. They are the ones who engage others in meaningful conversations, refusing to let it end at a mere hello - all the while fostering a sense of closeness and friendship".

I think I like being a Schmoozer!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Memories from Tunisia

Note to self: Travellers cheques are not much use to you on holiday if you don't take them with you!

Well now many apologies as this is a picture heavy post! I have just come back from a wonderful fortnight in Tunisia, and what a lovely place it is. For those of you who don't know, Tunisia is situated on the mediterranean coast of Africa, between Algeria and Libya, and is the northernmost African country, roughly the size of Florida. 40% of Tunisia is situated within the Sahara Desert, it also falls within the Atlas Mountains. The currency is the Tunisian Dinar, one dinar is worth 40p.

Our Hotel

A Room with a View

A View towards Hammamet from the Beach

The View from our Breakfast Table

The Bar's Terrace

Tunisia is a land of contrasts as we discovered when we took a two day Sahara Safari. Our first stop was El Jem.
Who would have thought that the the Romans would have left behind this wonderful colosseum? It is smaller than the one in Rome, but would still hold in excess of 30,000 people. It is very well preserved. We travelled there on the longest road in Africa, which stretches from Carthage to Cairo, and was built by the Romans so of course is very straight!
El Jem

From el Jem, we travelled to Matmata which was stunningly beautiful. Star Wars was filmed there
A Berber Dwelling in Matmata

Breathtaking scenery in Matmata. I can't begin to tell you how hot it was here!

The Star Wars Bar

Inside a Berber Dwelling

From Matmata we drove on down to Douz to our overnight hotel where we underwent somewhat of a transfomation before heading out on an hour's camel ride into the Sahara. I can recommend a camel ride as an excellent inner thigh workout!

DS and I on our Camels

The following morning we rose at 4:00 am, to head to the Salt lakes of Chot el Jered to wait for sunrise - it was an amazing experience.

From there we set off to visit the largest oasis in Tunisia, where I bought some divine dates. You can just make out the man climbing the tree.

And from there to le L├ęzard Rouge ( or von Ryan's Express as Mr A put it! ) which was stunning. The two hour journey was breathtakingly beautiful, it is hard to do it all justice here. All this and it was still only 9:30!

Our final destination was the Holy city of Kairouan then home in time or dinner. What a wonderful two days, I would not have missed this for the world.

It wasn't all sightseeing though - there was lots of rest and relaxation too.

Aknita Knits

"Our" Pool!
This pool was one of two - there was a busy pool always full of children and lilos, and this one which also extended indoors to length of 30metres. Mr A and I went down at 8:00 every morning apart from while we were on our trip, and swam 20-30 lengths before breakfast while there wasn't a soul in sight, it was wonderful.

View from the Fourth Floor Veranda

The Last Evening

There were some drawbacks - for example the poverty, the flies, being pestered in the Medina, and we won't mention the Imodium consumption! But it is a wonderful holiday destination, and we had a fabulous time.