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Just one more row

For once, 'just one more row' doesn't refer to knitting. I spent a lot of early June up on a shed roof in Exmoor, fixing just one more row of cedar shingles.

Here are a few photos of the shed under construction - I will try not to be too boring, but it's been a bit of a labour of love for my OH, as he's designed it from scratch, so this post is as much to encourage him to see how much he's achieved as it is to amuse the rest of us! The first photo shows the shed in early May, when it's really just a framework, with a few wood fibre insulation panels on the walls and some tarp on the roof to keep off the incorrigible rain.

Shed pre-roof, pre-insulation, pre-wrapping.

Next shows a step forward - the wood fibre insulation boards are all done and we wrapped the whole lot, including the roof, in a waterproof breathable membrane. It was like wrapping up the world's most complicated Christmas present.

Wrapped shed, but still no roof.I couldn't wait for the shingling to start, as I knew it would be a job I could just get on with. Here's a pic of the early stages.

It was really very addictive, repetitive enough to be fairly simple, but still requiring a few brain cells to make sure that the channels between the shingles didn't line up across the rows. Pleasing work, and with a lovely view across the valley, down to the sea, with Wales in the very far distance (second photo).

The photo above shows the Recreation ground during the Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend, all set for RecFest (!) which was a day of live music in the park. It kept me entertained for hours while I got on with laying out and nailing down row upon row of shingles.

Did I mention it was pleasing? I'm very easily pleased most of the time! We had a topping out ceremony with some Somerset Cider, in the rain, once it was finally finished.


If you've made it to here and you're not related to me/owe me money/are otherwise under obligation, well done - you'd best go and pour yourself a glass of something cold. ;)


Woolfest and other stories

Last week I travelled up to Cumbria in R's VAN (R is my husband. I still find calling him my husband a bit strange - we have been together for nearly 24 years and have known each other for closer to 27, and yet we only bothered to get married 4 years ago. Anyway. Crashing on.) with the lovely, funny, clever and completely fabulous Jen A-C. She has already blogged (because of the whole clever and brilliant part) both about our utterly glorious lunch at L'Enclume in Cartmel, and about our whole few days of adventure running the Fyberspates stand at Woolfest 2012.

I won't repeat what Jen wrote - her photos of the food at L'Enclume are pretty much exactly the same as mine and her memory of the trip is probably better than mine! I think she may have exaggerated how many snacks I provided. (She didn't. I took lots. Better safe than hungry.)

Oh, there is also a very funny photo of Jen and I giggling like loonies at Woolfest over on Kate Davies' rather marvellous blog, which you should definitely read if you don't already (I'm sure you do). I like to think I'm utterly un-photogenic. I'd hate to think that I truly look that bonkers most of my life.

The trip to Cumbria was epic, I had an enormous amount of fun and enjoyed meeting a ton of people who I usually just wave at across the internet. Massive thanks to Jen for putting up with my dithering and yakking (and singing on the way home - really sorry about that, love!); to Steph and Fred for brilliant tea provision and heroic stand-breaking work on Saturday; and especially to Fred's mum and dad, Pauline and Ernie, for providing a haven full of peace and food (and hearsay red squirrels in the garden).

As I may have already mentioned (repetitive, moi?), I massively failed to take photos at the show, or really of most of our antics. So, instead, here are some photos of woolly stuff, just because.

First up, the Sheep Carousel Tea Cosy kit, from Kate Davies. My one and only purchase at the show. How saintly of me.

I love this design to pieces and just need to sort out an appropriate needle (why do I never have the correct needle for what I want to do?) so I can cast on. I have plans for at least two if not three of these. Let's hope my colourwork skills improve massively...

Next, a quick look at what is on my needles at the moment - it's the Paulie cardigan, by Isabell Kraemer. I'm using the June Great British Wool Club yarn from The Natural Dye Studio as the main colour. It's 50:50 BFL and Wensleydale and is really lovely, woolly with a slight sheen and I think it will be quite cosy despite being a heavy 4ply weight. The stripe is Old Maiden Aunt Superwash Merino in the Murky colourway, a gorgeous mix of greys, blues and browns - a last-minute change from the plummy colour I originally picked for the stripe.

Still a long way to go with it - 4ply cardis do take a while (if you're me).

And we'll end with a couple of pics of some swapped Posh Yarn, in the new heavy laceweight base Catherine, just because I love it so. Very very squooshy, soft, bouncy yarn. I can't wait to find out what these lovelies will become.


A Royal Garden Party

So. This isn't the blog post I thought I'd be writing today. Woolfest was fantastic and I will do a post about it soon (I do, however, have a severe lack of photos - I was too busy to click!).

Today I have a different tale to tell. It started this afternoon with a gentle humming buzz. Which gradually grew louder and louder. Off I went to the garden with my husband and father-in-law to investigate.

As we looked up, we could see that the neighbours' chimney was smothered in small black specks, moving at speed and descending on our garden - the bees that had made the chimney their home for the past 3 years were on the move!

Those specks? They began to look like this above our heads:

The noise was *amazing*. I was entranced (no, I'm not squeamish or squeaky around bees - I love them). It was almost hypnotic watching them circle around and around, waiting for the queen to land so they could all gather around her.

The chosen spot happened to be near the top of the old plum tree halfway up the garden. As more and more bees landed, it became obvious that they were going to swarm right there, in front of our eyes. It's quite an honour - a queen hosting a royal garden party bang slap in the middle of our garden. Very appropriate in this jubilee year!

Here is the final clump that the clever bees formed, high up in the tree.

I've already looked into beekeeping a few times, so I knew that the local beekeeping association had an emergency number to call for swarms. And sure enough, within the hour a beekeeper who lives just a little way away turned up, ready to collect our little swarm.

In the time it took to shake the majority of the bees into a box, and drink a nice cup of tea (of course - it wouldn't be a royal garden party without tea, now would it?), the bees were ready to be taken to their new hive somewhere in the Chilterns.

All in all, a far more regal (and exciting) afternoon than I was expecting.



Starting again

So. It took a while to do that deciding. And (for now) it's been decided, blogging will happen. I'm a little concerned that it might be too much of a mish-mash of subjects for a lot of people - fair warning, rambling will happen in this blog. I need to keep track of things that are going on in my life - mainly our house-build project going on down in Exmoor, so that I can record and keep track of what has been done and when, as well as make notes and jot down ideas. Knitting will be mentioned too, of course. There's no way I can fail to yak on about what I'm making, is there now? hee.

For now, this is just a little intro post really, as I'm a bit short on time at the moment. That'll be because I leave home on Wednesday morning to drive the VAN across to Fyberspates HQ, stopping at Oxford station en route to pick up the fabulous Jen A-C. We're going to stuff the van to bursting point with mouthwateringly lovely skeins of woolly goodness and then drive North, up to Cumbria, ready to set out the Fyberspates stand for Woolfest. I honestly can't remember the last time I was this excited about a trip! If you're visiting the show, please do come and say hello - I'll be wearing my Ravelry badge (I'm laliloo on rav) and it will make my day if lots of people come to the Fyberspates stand to say hi.

I'll get into 'proper' regular blogging next week - I have lots of photos of a cedar shingle shed roof being constructed (with my own fair hands, no less). There. I suspect that little promise is guaranteed to turn off anyone who stumbled across this page! haha. How about I promise to take lots of photos at the Woolfest show - that might tempt a few people to check back...


Jellies, bangs and puffs

The weekend was a good one, on the whole. I couldn't decide what to do on Saturday when I got up - I should have done some gardening, as there's a particular patch that's full of weeds. But I didn't fancy it. There are apples in the garden too. LOTS of apples. And herbs. And I bought this book at the start of the week.

River Cottage Preserves Handbook - apple and herb jellies

Saturday could only go one way really, no? Apples were collected. And a huge colander full of all sorts of herbs from the garden.

Parsley the Lion not presentYou can see mint (peppermint, spearmint and chocolate mint, believe it or not!), herb fennel, chives, sage, and lavender in there. The major appeal of this particular recipe was that the apples didn't have to be peeled - just washed and roughly chopped. Perfect. (I'm lazy. There are lots of apples but they're all small this year, as the June drop didn't happen, so the tree's energy has been a little thinly spread.)

I made three separate batches, as that's how many large pans I have. Apple + Mint, Apple + Fennel and Apple + Chive. It took a while, as each cooked up batch had to drip through a jelly bag, then be boiled up again with cider and sugar. I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out though.

Jelly!There was one slight disaster during my jelly-making adventure:

bang!oops. The jelly was still a tad hot, even though the jar was warm.

So that's the jellies and bangs of the title. Next up:

Hexipuffs. Hexapuffs?Yes, I've caught the hexipuff bug. So far, I'm using the gorgeously squooshy and woolly Excelana from Susan Crawford and John Arbon. It's 4ply Exmoor Blueface wool, which, if I was a cheesy radio host would be a wonderful segue into lots of waffle about The Hut in Porlock. However, it's 7.30 and I need to cook dinner, so that particular segue will have to wait until the next blog post. :D