Woolly wondrous Woolfest

Hello All

I can’t believe its 10 years since the first Woolfest. I remember the heady excitement of the first one like it was only yesterday…showing my age? Moving swiftly on…. DSCI0227

down the path DSCI0228

to the bus stop.DSCI0229

Quick check that I’ve got the right time for the 555 DSCI0230

and off I go. DSCI0249

Woolfest 2014 yahoo. As we spotted the crochet jacketed sheep at the entrance to the auction mart there was a buzz of anticipation on the bus. Scampering across the busy road (bit scary) old and young enthusiastic to see what this year’s event had on offer. DSCI0249

After years of experience getting in is a smooth operation and as we did so there were reminders that this was the 10th anniversary DSCI0248

Once inside the aisles already thronged with visitors DSCI0241

I spotted some of my favourite stands and smiled when I saw


remembering getting lost on my recent day out to Farfield. The Why Not Alpacas? people were lovely and told me the sign was made for them from alpaca wool by a lady who gave them some alpacas for their herd. Needless to say they had tables covered in yarns and goods made from their beautifully soft alpaca.

In addition to the trade stands there is always livestock. A small contingent of The Why Not Alpacas? were there, there were rare breed sheep,

and of course Cumbria’s native Herdwicks put in an appearanceDSCI0234

I even spotted a few woolly creatures perched on my favourite needle felting stall.DSCI0238

One stand I always go to is that of Owen Jones who crafts the most gorgeous oak swills. DSCI0245

I am lucky enough to have two of Owen’s swills: one holds my yarn stash the other percussion. Hand crafted things of beauty and practical use always float my boat. Let’s have another look DSCI0246

Time for lunch DSCI0242

watching all the comings and goings DSCI0243

with our stunning Cumbrian landscape only a head turn to my left DSCI0244


I had one quest to fulfill when I went back into the auction mart. A couple of years ago I made some bunting to help adorn the hall one of which was needle felted. I wondered if I could still spot my bunting. Sure enough in the Wool Clip aisle there he was DSCI0237

wearing quite well and looking very jolly along with all the bunting made by fellow Woolfesters. DSCI0240


Time for home. What no shopping? I hear you cry. I was a very good girl and kept very strictly to my shopping list. But it was still a thrill to get home and have a look at what I had bought:DSCI0256

t-shirt yarn to finish off my rug (B you can have a rest from all that cutting up t-arn); DSCI0253

large crochet hooks for making rugs, bags, baskets and other chunky crochet wares; and finally a little bit of luxury DSCI0257

sumptuous coloured fleece from my favourite Austrian needle-felters to use for brooches and hair grips. They offer colours so good that they make your mouth water.

It was a lovely day and well worth going for the inspiration alone. Infact….still under the influence of Woolfest I had a quick dip into the wonderful Fox’s Lane blog and was moved to get out the knitting needles and make up a cosy pair of slippers. DSCI0264

The pattern for these non-felted slippers is by Yuko Nakamura and is free on Ravelry. As I didn’t have any chunky tweed yarn I used strands from 4 yarns (KC – its that fabulous wool from your grandmother, thank-you) for the soles and three strands (also the  Polish wool, thanks again KC) for the instep. I love them. Very snug and toe warming.

Someone is already asleep


so must be time for bed.

Until next we meet. Moke.

Book on a train – ‘The Luminaries’ by Eleanor Catton

Winner of the 2013 Man Booker prize ‘The Luminaries’ had to be a great book for me to carry it back and forth to work each day and for me, a very slow reader, to actually finish it. You’d never know by looking head-on at the cover


but turn it about….


and  you can see this is a sizable tome. ‘The Luminaries’ is 832 pages long… DSCI0226

That’s 832 pages. Yet each word has earned its place in this wonderful novel. Despite its length its depth makes it a modern classic, every page a pleasure to read. I was completely awestruck by Eleanor Catton’s word-craft. What a talented woman.

Set in the gold-fields of nineteenth century New Zealand Catton’s story revolves around the death of hermit Crosbie Wells, the mysterious disappearance of handsome young prospector Emery Staines and the apparent suicide attempt of prostitute Anna Wetherell. The tale delves into the dark worlds of prostitution, opium addiction, violent crime and racism and tackles all these issues without the need for graphic detail but by the use of erudite prose. The characters and the settings are so well drawn I could perfectly envision them.

I would recommend it, especially for holidays. With plenty of time to sit and read this is a page turner. For me it made all those train journeys pass too quickly. I’m returning my copy to the library, get down there quick and borrow it yourself.

Until next we meet, Moke.

Midsummer – and a woman’s fancy turns to…socks

Hello All

Now I don’t know if it is because I have been reading the beautiful Fox’s Lane blog which comes from the opposite hemisphere where it is winter and brrrrrrrr. Or it’s because I have been sooooo hot that I have lost my ankles and dream of chillier weather that will banish my Kankles. Or I am just perverse. But I find myself longing for cold winter evenings and snuggley, warm, home knitted socks!

I have a couple of pairs of own-knitted woolly goodness in my sock drawer.

But if you look closely you will see that they have seen better days. I have spared you close ups of the toes that are sorely in need of darning…. Usually I do not think of repairs and knitting new pairs until the ice crackles underfoot. Unfortunately this means – as the slowest knitter you can imagine – that I have no chance of finishing a new pair until we hear the first cuckoo.

Not this year! Thanks to the thought of the Antipodean winter the double-ended needles came out and stripe-y hose is already being knitted up beautifully (if I say so myself).


Self striping sock wools. I love them.

Hopefully this is a rare sign of forward planning ( miracles will never cease). At last I can claim my Kendalian sock-y heritage. My aunt May and mother worked in the now long gone sock factory which was based in Sandes Avenue in this little auld grey town of ours. Mind you I seem to recall that my mother left soon after accidentally creating a double-heeled model…. moving swiftly on….

A few of you have been kind enough to say that you like Drekie – believe me he has a swollen head – so I thought you might like a look at how he is evolving. DSCI0222

The little fellow now has two arms and is developing small claws. Hopefully this week he will grow back legs and while I have a few days off become more colourful.

Four days to Woolfest! Celebrating its 10th anniversary Woolfest 2014 is sure to be another cracking event. I have gone along every year…bar one (sob)… and always come away inspired and cheered by meeting such friendly knowledgeable people. Brace yourselves here comes a front shot of yours truly taken at Woolfest (cough.. a few years ago). What is it with me and socks?!36846_442679875750_135370_n

Whoo-hooooo Woolfest here I come…

Until next we meet. Moke.

Participles are always better with biscuits

Hello All

Work done. Weekend ahead. Whooppeeeeee. What a lot of wubble-yous/ewes/yews……add your own!

First stop: deliver  Thursday’s ‘The Scotsman’ to my friend AW. DSCI0204

Its just a little token for the lifts from the station she gives me every Wednesday and Friday. Thank you AW.

Then it is Latin time! As I have already mentioned almost every fortnight for more years than we like to mention my friend AH and I get together to trample over the latin language. DSCI0205

This Saturday’s ‘homework’ was the dreaded ‘Practising the language’. It lies in wait at the end of every chapter and means GRAMMAR!!!! I know I’ve been here before but grammar? really? Yikes….  Over the last couple of weeks we’ve tortured ourselves with verbs in the future tense and relative pro-nouns. This week…..participles. DSCI0210Now if anyone can explain to me – in VERY simple language –  how you decide the ending of your latin participle and what it actually means in translation I would be most grateful.

Luckily there are always biscuits and good conversation to keep us going. DSCI0212

A recent discovery – yummy Polish iced ginger biscuits filled with apricot marmalade – helped us through the challenge of participles. Another piece of good news. A little birdie (my original latin tutor) tells me we are almost there and with Book V under our belts can go on to read lots of fun latin texts. I already have one waiting in the wings…DownloadedFilemeos pretiosus….

Until next we meet. Moke

P.S. We are all still cracking along with the Minimalism Game. Well done all. Mxx


Return of Gert

Hello all

Just as I am playing the Minimalism Game and reducing the stuff in my life- its going well by the way – I hear a fluttering of felt wings…

I should have been suspicious that day in Windermere. The sudden extra weight in my backpack. 10277777_10152376762610751_2471691499372400836_n


That strange bird on a train

It could only mean one thing. The return of Gert! …hope she paid for her ticket. At first I thought that she’d heard about my house clearance and had come to protect some of her assets. DSCI0191

But no. A whisper had spread around the world of felty creatures that there is a new kid on the block and she’d come to sneak a peek and welcome Drekie

who is in the early stages of being ‘sculpted’.

I’m working my little dragon friend from basic white fleece and once I’ve got a shape I’m happy with – its lovely that needle felting is so forgiving – I’m going to give him a layer of coloured fleece. Thinking shades of Herdwick (I’m not going anywhere with the shades thing…) with a dash of something brighter (red?) thrown in. I’m glad Gert returned to see him. And while she’s here there are a couple of other projects she can keep an eye on.

In the midst of all the getting rid there have been a couple of up-cycling opportunities.

First there was the crochet basket I made. It was always a bit too saggy but now I’ve run my stash down its completely flopped – in at least two senses of the word (are there more?). I was on the point of throwing it (I’m being ruthless) when I looked at the base. I loved its symmetry and noticed the pleasing fleck of green that gives it a tweedy look.DSCI0181


It couldn’t go. Instead I rewound the sides and ended up with a sizable ball of multi-strand yarn DSCI0182

that I am now using to continue as an ever increasing circle to make what should be a cosy rug. DSCI0183

I’ve upsized the stitches from UK double crochet to UK half-treble but I’m not quite sure. What do you think? Mmmm I’ll keep going and see if it blossoms. I can always pull it back…..

While on the rug front. Remember my t-arn rug?

Well the upside of clearing the airing cupboard is that it is revealing old t-shirts DSCI0186

that soon will be part of the slow-growing rag/t-arn rug. Is that a trag?!

Before I make up any more dubious words and ruin the beautiful English language I had better scarper…

Until next time. Moke (and Gert).

Game On

Hello All

Just a quick visit to let you know that the Minimalism Game has started!!!!! With a bit of planning – those that know me know how much I love a chart – I think I should manage the first 7 days. I’m trying not to look too far ahead because once you start calculating the figures they get steeply scary from next week.

Joined now by a few friends it has been especially interesting how much we have philosophised about the meaning of stuff. Its emotional and memorial qualities, its uses, how long we’d give before deciding we are never going to ‘need’ it and whether a group of objects counts as one or many – specifically whether Encyclopedia Britannica is counted as a single item or by each volume. I think this is going to be a fascinating month.

I’ll keep you posted.

Until we meet again. Moke.