December 7, 2014

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

My sister and I booked seats on a coach to visit Winter Wonderland in London, not really knowing what to expect. Stupidly I didn’t look on line to find out. It wasn’t til we were on the coach when my sister told me that some of the attractions needed pre-booking. Not desiring to ice skate, or sit in an ice village, I wasn’t too distraught.
We queued for about 15mins to gain entry and headed straight for the nearest loos (obviously). First queue of the afternoon. Bought some tokens at the kiosk and waited in another queue for our first ride (santas sleigh, for those over 5yrs). Then some food and a hot mulled wine, hoping the warmth would make it to my toes. By this time you couldn’t actually see the ground for feet and legs or see over the heads, keep walking head for the big wheel, keeping to the left as we were directed.
Spot it in the distance, amazed at the sights of the other rides, all brightly lit, sensory overload, ears in shock. Eventually we found the end of the queue, jostling commenced,stamping of feet trying to stay warm. Almost an hour later it was our turn and in we stepped, sharing our pod with a lovely lady with her niece. My sister was rather panicky, being as she didn’t like heights very much but since the wheel hardly moved and you only did one rotation stopping and starting as people either got on or off it was a rather forgettable experience. At least by the time it was our turn it was properly dark so we could see a beautiful full moon, the London Eye, Harrods and a few other famous landmarks.
Also from our advantage point in the sky we could see the throng of people still waiting to come in. We then joined the shuffling snake of people to get back to the loos. More queuing, another hot drink then to the finale- the Helter Skelter! Amazingly no queue, we could have just used our tokens for this all afternoon and avoided all the waiting, if it had it’s own loo it would have been perfect!
Needless to say I screamed all the way down and then couldn’t get up again, that was the best fun EVER.
So lessons learned- Check what/where/cost of attractions. Be prepared to queue endlessly for toilets.Wear even more clothes.
If you are looking to buy presents in the market, forget it. Re my previous post on stuff, all imported, useless stuff! (IMHO)
Feedback to Winter Wonderland-Provide more toilets!!! with all the millions of visitors they had last night I’m sure installing a few more portakabin loos won’t break the bank and it will make visitor experience much happier.
To families with small children-take a blanket or two to wrap them up, hats/mitts/warm boots essential.
My thanks to the gathering of santas, the coach driver and my big sister for a memorable evening.photo (31)photo (30)

December 7, 2014

Giant Needle felt Christmas cake

Last in the giant trilogy came the cake. Won’t be the last giant construction but it is for this year. Weighing in at about 2k and over 40″ around it’s decorated with merino tops ‘piping’,a sprinkle of mohair. a mini snowman, tiny snowballs, sprig of holly and holly berries. Now gracing May’s Antique shop window in Cliffe High st. Lewes.
photo (26)photo (25)

November 25, 2014

Giant Pumpkin and pudding

A few years ago I created what I believed to be the largest needle felted pumpkin in existence, it was rather large and made a fabulous footstool but it spent much of it’s life bagged up in the barn. A chance conversation with a Lewes shop owner eventually found the pumpkin travelling to Alfriston where it made a wonderful display in a shop window there.

Then I was commissioned to make a giant Christmas pudding, this one weighed in and 1.2K and was 45″ around and 14″ tall. 30 mini puddings accompanied it to Alfriston too for the Christmas window display.

30 Snowball decorations will be decorating a certain antique shop window in Lewes just after the beginning of December and mini puddings will be in another. Many of my decorations will adorn the tree in a high street bank in Lewes too.

My next big commission is still under wraps but look for it in Mays window in the next week or so.

My supply of fleece has dwindled but thanks to a certain auction website, they keep arriving. When I’m not washing the fleece I’m felting it.
I’ve never made this many felted items and I’m happy to say that I’m using British wool in everything I’m making.
Happy Christmas everyone!photo 1 (2)photo 1 (3)

November 25, 2014

Stuff and all that stuff

We fill our homes with it, we buy it for our families and friends. Container loads of it arrive from China and heaven knows where. Shops are stuffed with it, even charity shops push aside donated goods to fill their festive shelves with stuff. Do we NEED all this stuff? We need to eat, drink and clothe ourselves, read, wash and educate ourselves but what’s with all the other stuff? Candles that set the smoke alarm off, sparkly things that sit and gather dust for a few weeks before being packed away and ending up in another charity shop. Toys for little ones that would rather play with the box it came in, girly pretty things that sit on a dressing table til next year when pink is no longer the on trend colour of choice. Lunch boxes with ‘famous’ faces on that only 7yr olds can recognise and by next year will be discarded. So many synthetic hats/gloves/socks and scarves  that will make you sweat but not keep you warm. Where does it all come from and who thinks we need it all? Someone at the top of the tree needs to be told to STOP this madness, we don’t need it, don’t want it and most of all can’t afford it but all the time it’s there the vulnerable will believe they DO need it, have to have it, have to give it to their children, get in debt for it and be miserable. Eventually it will end up in a charity shop where it may be deemed unsafe/unsuitable and end up in the bin going to landfill. What is the point????

Couldn’t we just stop buying this stuff? Maybe set aside a whole week when we refuse to buy stuff except food/clothing etc. No more stuff, just a week. Have a homemade Christmas, make some biscuits or sweets, knit a hat or toy, shop in an antique shop and upcycle something that was once loved by someone else.

Say NO to STUFF!

Enuf said

July 4, 2014

Unwind Brighton 2014

Just over a week to go until the biggest yarn/fibre fest that Brighton has ever seen. Forget the Knitting & Stitching show, this event is bringing together the very best in indie dyers, tutors from far and wide, knitters from further and wider and little ol’ me complete with busted ankle running the Spinning Surgery. Being held in the Friends Meeting house spinners will be able to drop in from 10 til 4 and experience some of Britains finest Rare Breed fleece as well as Sussex alpaca.
I will have a blending board, silks, tencel and lots of hand dyed curls to play with.
Bring your wheel or spindle and sit a while, experiment with the very best of British wool. Take away portions will be available.

image016IMG_1364feeding RogerI'm a bit wobbly

June 8, 2014

South of England show 2014

Hectic week, delivering our entries to the WI marquee on Tuesday morning ready for judging, preparing needlefelting kits on the Wednesday, running a needle felt workshop on the Thursday, peg loom weaving with Guild of Weavers, spinners & dyers on Friday and being a visitor on Saturday. We had to stay late to collect all our WI competition entries so it was a long ole day.Of course we didn’t agree with the judges choices, not just because she didn’t choose ours! 

Such organisation goes into these events, whether it’s the WI or the Guild everyone volunteers their time, the spinners & weavers turn up and demonstrate over the 3 days, their beautiful hand crafted items on display. There is no remuneration for their time and effort, we are not allowed to sell any of our items, we can only promote the Guild as a whole and encourage people to learn some of the skills we demonstrated. It was convenient for the Guild’s marquee to be next door to Plumpton college sheep shearing demonstrations so the link between the sheep and yarn was there. 

Seeing all the stunning entries in the WI marquee makes me worried that it may put some members off entering future competitions, the standards are so high almost unachievable, but if everyone thought that there would be no competition! I try to encourage members of Ringmer WI to enter something and they did, I will encourage them to enter the Autumn show, it was our first ever time last year and we won several classes. The show committee work so hard to make these shows successful and they always look amazing. This year the weather was great and hopefully even more members of the public enjoyed seeing all the entries.

On my ‘day off’ I went to look at the sheep and saw a Teeswater sheep in the ring, he was in the runner up class against many other breeds, mostly meat sheep, of course his wool was the best in the class but being a bit on the skinny side not much good for the plate. Bizzarly he was next to a Wiltshire Horn sheep that had no wool at all. (not much use to a spinner). I tracked down the owner of the Teeswater and admired the 3 sheep that were there. Turned out he was interested in having them shorn so he talked to the head shearer and at 4pm the sheep were led to the college pens. A rather large crowd then watched as Thomas was shorn, thankfully he wasn’t too lively and the shearer experienced so the fleece came off without too many second cuts and Thomas sustained no injuries. The crowd applauded!  2 other sheep followed and I was very happy to be able to buy 2 of the fleece, even happier to be able to lead Thomas back to his pen, he was so gentle and his skin so soft. 

A show to remember for sure!

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May 16, 2014

Brighton Mini Maker Faire 2014

I am going to apply once again to attend the Mini maker Faire in Brighton. It will be held on 6th Sept in the Corn Exchange. My needlefelt balls are always popular and if I’m successful the theme this year will be ‘The Big Top’. I have happy memories of going to the circus so I though it would be fun to make some clowns using pre made felt balls. Last year I made 100 balls and all were duly decorated by visitors to the faire. So send in the clowns….. (and a Ring Master)Image

 

March 29, 2014

Vacation Florida style part 1. Knitting and the seaside.

I have only been to Florida  once before so this trip was to be a sightseeing and trying new things visit. My son has lived here for a while so he knows his way around and is patient with me wanting my daily brew (coffee) and as many yarn stores as we can find. Between us we compiled a list of places and restaurants to visit, where the best yarn shops are and what we’d both enjoy doing, sometimes with my grandson too. We are almost there. I’ve eaten many different foods, drunk different beers, seen new places and made new friends. We’ve been on a ferry, a boat tour to see dolphins, eaten great sea food, fried green tomatoes and fried chicken. Spring rolls, the best biscuits I’ve ever had, (not cookies), shrimp, crab and possibly the best French fries. I’ve cooked for my son too, tonight it’s shepherds pie. Still have to eat some kind of pie though! 

One yarn shop was like an Alladins cave with very helpful staff, we’re patient with me and didn’t mind how long I browsed the floor to ceiling shelves. The other was the complete opposite, with no prices on shelves or yarn bands so when I asked she had to look on computer. There was a workshop going on and I was obviously in the way. I think that is the only time I’ve left a yarn shop empty handed!

I’ve experienced torrential rain, scorching heat, cold, humidity and high winds all in a two week period.

when you go to the beach in England you drive to the coast, park, carry your bucket n spade to the (mostly) pebbly beach, hire a deck chair and wind break and hobble down to the sea. Eat your sandwich and warm lemonade. If you’re lucky you may need to apply a sun hat and lotion. 

We cooked a dozen or so hot dogs, stuffed them in the buns, wrapped them in foil and put them in a thermos bag, wrapped ham in tortillas, grabbed a few bottles of water, cartons of juice, hats, sun cream (factor 60) towels and toys and off we went. Stopped at gas station to buy ice, filled cooler with ice and off we went again. Arriving at the beach we paid our entry fee and drove on, and on….. To the beach. Tide was out, we parked in zone 10, stripped off, and ran over sand to the ocean. Again and again. The only trouble was you had to watch out for the other cars and trucks that kept arriving (then leaving) throughout the day. Part of the beach is a nature reserve and is roped off, much farther along the beach was accessible to 4wheel drive vehicles only due to soft sand. I did fret rather when it was high tide and the car was only a foot away from the waters edge but my son assured me we’d be ok.and we were. 

At home I don’t do the whole sitting on the beach thing, I can’t sit anywhere doing nothing so I had to keep paddling and wandering off. I was very brave too and went in the sea up to my hips all the while wishing I was enjoying it. My son was slightly braver but not much! 

Thankfully much of the afternoon was overcast so it made the walking in the surf a bit more comfortable.ImageImage

 

January 26, 2014

Whole 30 A whole new way of eating

My daughter-in-law suggested I try this Whole 30 diet 20 days ago. Considering I gave up smoking some years ago and dairy over 25 years ago I thought I was quite healthy. Seems like trading dairy for soya ‘milk’ and still having a teaspoon of sugar in my tea is not healthy. I’m ADDICTED to sugar!!!! I don’t like chocolate except the white stuff and of course that’s just milk and sugar but I love sweeties.

For 20 days now I’ve consumed nothing but meat, fish, vegetables, eggs and fruit. I’m learning to love dates, remember those things you had at Christmas time? I really like their caramelly taste now! Olive oil and coconut oil have replaced my ‘vegetable’ oil. I read even more labels now searching for the hidden sugars and nasty e numbers. My butcher and I are almost on first name terms and every week I pick up a new ingredient from the food market. This week is was a white radish. I ask numerous questions to all the market traders and explain to the vegan noodle lady why I’m not purchasing her gorgeous spring rolls and curries with noodles. Not long now I tell myself…….

Hot drinks are no longer enjoyable, I’ve tried about a dozen types of ‘tea’ and various ways to make a decent coffee at home. When I’m out with a friend I’m limited to an espresso, not the same as a soya latte!!! And fizzy water is not a drink to have in a pub!

We have a fantastic bakery in our village, the best bread for miles and the best donuts! I have to walk past it to the butchers, oh the temptation! 

I have more food waste now so I’m glad our council collect and compost it, I’m not throwing away my cooked stuff it’s all the veg & fruit skins!

Just ten more days to go then I might just celebrate with an iced bun and a shandy! Soy will no longer be part of my diet though and hopefully I will be able to drink a cup of tea with no sugar without grimacing. 

Wish me luck!!

 

September 10, 2013

Make Horsham felting workshop

Places are still available for this creative workshop on Monday 16th September. Suitable for all skill levels, I will be demonstrating how to wet felt the background of a picture (your choice), then show how to needle felt detail onto the dry felt. This part will have to be done at home when the felt is dry. I will need to have an idea of the picture you are planning so I can supply the colours! The completed picture can be framed or suspended from some dowel.

If you’d like more information please email me knitwitoriginals@gmail.com

Book soon as places are limited!

7.00-9.15pm (2 ¼ hrs) at Brighton Road Baptist Church, Horsham Cost £18.00

More details here

http://makehorsham.wordpress.com/2013/08/22/creating-a-felt-picture-wet-felting-and-needle-felting/

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