Happy Fortnight

Hello All

Apologies for last week’s lapse. Things are all good here at Casa Moke just a lot of to-ing and fro-ing. I warn you this is a l-o-n-g post. You will be rewarded with a cuppa if you make it to the end.

What have I been up to?

Cooking.

Delicious Beetroot, Mushroom and Dulse Seaweed Burgers. Grating beetroot always makes the kitchen look like a crime scene but the consequent mopping up was worth it for these tasty burgers packed with yummy goodness.

I love seaweed however often forget how scrumptious and beneficial it is. Thanks to Kate Humble’s BBC series ‘Back to the Land with Kate Humble’ I was reminded and have found some fabulous producers. For this recipe and the Seaweed Cookbook I turned to The Cornish Seaweed Company. The book is a wonderful resource: along with plentiful recipes for everyone (vegans, veggies, omnivores and more) it profiles a huge variety of seaweeds and gives a guide to foraging.

Crafting.

Simple patchwork and a teeny-weeny amount of quilting are helping me gain more and more confidence on my sewing machine (sorry Snail of Happiness I have still not tried stretchy fabrics!). I am also rather pleased with the results if I do say so myself. No 1 Daughter has put in an order for cushions to coordinate with her soon to be decorated living room. Praise indeed.

Hot off the press…

Another cushion made almost entirely from scraps from earlier makes including at least two outfits for my granddaughter. I am smiling looking at it.

Some of you may remember my HUGE over purchase of wool for the simple Fair Isle jumper for Peanut.

Well I have found the perfect project to use the surplus. A Guernsey Wrap.

The pattern by Jared Flood is on Ravelry here. Versions of it can also be seen on one of my favourite blogs ‘Foxs Lane‘ … but I can’t remember where! It is a fabulous blog well worth a visit and you may even stumble on the wrap along your way.

Walking.

Walking buddies JG and JF set off clutching maps (OS Explorer OL7 – The English Lakes, South Eastern area) and compasses – they are part way through learning about navigation – with me their hill-loathing chum (how am I Cumbrian?!) in tow to complete the Kentmere walk we attempted last year when snow and ice made us/me decide to turn back. With the weather much improved – a DRY yet windy day – we set off in high hopes of sitting by a beautiful reservoir to eat our lunches.

Our day started with a charming easy stroll based on No. 3 in Norman Buckley’s book “Lakeland Walking: on the Level”. However as the hills of The Kentmere Horseshoe loomed in front of us it did look as if we were walking into Mordor. But hey! We had that attractive ‘lake’ to look forward to.

With a very flat valley floor and glacial moraines it was easy to see how the Ice Age sculpted this landscape. Ice now a thing of the past…things warmed up around end of April this year…lunch was calling and thoughts of dipping my tootsies in the lapping waters of the man-made tarn were becoming increasingly pleasing.

But what’s this?!

Or should that be what is it not?!!! Where has our reservoir gone? A couple of fellow walkers seeing our dropped jaws told us, it’s the result of a leak! In the past I have had small garden ponds and yes they have suffered the odd pond lining incident but a whole vanished reservoir? That is something.

Abandoning our visions of picnicking on a beautiful shoreline we crossed the spillway. Having watched much too much Nordic Noir I confess I was looking out at the wasteland for a skeleton or two at least. Happily I have nothing untoward to report but it was a very eerie setting…movie location hunters take note.

So being a bit agile (it says so in Buckley’s book) we followed a rough and narrow path back along the opposite bank of the River Kent until the going became easy again and we could stop out of the wind for sandwiches (hummus, peppers and celery if you were wondering) and have a short rest.

The walk back was idyllic. We couldn’t help but laugh at the adventurous and frolicking lambs (I thanked their mums for the wool) some of whom had perched themselves all over this glacial ‘dustbin’.

We admired the bridges.

And held our breath waiting for the bluebells to bloom.

All this and we barely got wet. A rare occasion in them thar hills.

Marching … Women of Cumbria

JG and I managed another tick on our ‘Women of Cumbria’ spreadsheet. We boarded the 505 Stagecoach bus to Coniston and had a wonderful time at the Ruskin Museum looking at all the displays and the exhibition dedicated to Annie Garnett a nineteenth century community entrepreneur who founded a textile industry in Lakeland.

Annie was one of six siblings and while her brothers went to school she was lucky enough to learn autonomously at home and particularly through her love of gardening. Taking her vision from Ruskin’s linen ‘industry’ Garnett founded The Spinnery in Windermere which gave women homebased work spinning yarns which were then woven at the spinnery. Many of the designs were created around plant forms.

Annie Garnett’s knowledge of weaving and textile history enabled her to create new fabrics and dye swatches that reflect her love of Lakeland’s colours.

Beautiful.

Garnett was not only a knowledgeable, inspired artisan she was also an astute businesswoman. By 1899 over 90 women worked as home spinners and embroiders. These workers were given training and also loaned their equipment for free. Annie clearly saw The Spinnery as a business and not a charity and she worked hard to promote it. Her management style was most certainly hands-on!

Lastly we could not leave Coniston without a ratch around a graveyard. We were looking for two gravestones.

Ruskin’s.

And W.G. Collingwood’s. Mission completed.

Are you ready for that drink? You’ve done really well to get here.

Tea drinking.

With a lack of dairy I have missed a delicious cuppa so I went to the Mecca of tea and coffee drinking which we are lucky enough to have here in Kendal, Farrer’s. I went experimental and by serendipity discovered a delicious brew.

And here I sit supping. Time you got the kettle on too. You have certainly earned it.

Until next we meet,

Moke xxx

PS I receive no freebies (I can dream) nor payment (does that happen?) for anything recommended in my blog. Mx

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

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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

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so must be time for bed.

Until next we meet. Moke.