Sunday, August 26, 2007

A grand day out

Or rather, two grand days out. Yesterday we went up to Cumbria, firstly to Sedbergh and the Charter Market, and to meet up with the folks from the Sharpe Appreciation Society who had been invited to participate. Sedbergh is England's third Book Town, and as such has a number of specialist and general bookshops. The market was part of the Festival of Books and Drama. We spent a very enjoyable hour or so wandering around the market stalls and some of the shops. The "Sleepy Elephant" is a rather wonderful combination of books and crafts, and specialises in books about the needle arts. I found this inspiring book amongst them:

After my exploits in Noro I couldn't resist this, it's very inspiring, and I have plans to attempt at least one shawl, possibly something like this:

At one of the craft stalls I found this rather lovely project bag:

We also visited Westwood Books where I picked up three Elizabeth Gaskell novels, including "North and South". We hadn't planned to go anywhere else after Sedbergh but found ourselves with plenty of time to spare, so we headed north, firstly out of Sedbergh towards Kirkby Stephen along the most glorious route. The landscape was stunning and the weather for once was very pleasant and sunny. This time of year the heath/heather is out in full bloom and you can see the amazing patchwork of greens and purples stretching out in front of you.

We picked up the M6 again further north and headed towards Caldbeck. For a bank holiday, the traffic was light, although it did look very busy on the local roads as we passed under the exit for Keswick. The area between Windermere and Keswick does unfortunately become very busy at weekends and holidays, and probably most of the time in the summer. We have spent more than one occasion stuck in large amounts of traffic! Caldbeck is the home of the Wool Clip, and of course not far from the home of Woolfest. It is housed in converted mill buildings along with two other shops and a cafe. As you might expect, the shop is full of fibre! There are also yarns, handknitted garments, rugs, and all sorts of things. I've been thinking of getting a drop spindle for a while, so I bought a drop spindle starter kit, along with some Wensleydale locks dyed in rich sunset colours, and some dyed Masham fibre:

I got a needle felting kit for my birthday and I bought the fibre more with this in mind, but I'm looking forward to trying out spinning with the spindle! It came with some Blue Faced Leicester and Black Welsh Mountain fibre. There are some instructions, but I'm going to do a little more research before trying to spin!

Last Sunday we had another day out, although the weather wasn't quite as kind. We went to the VW Festival at Harewood House near Leeds. The rain had made the event field into rather a mud bath in places, but thankfully it did stop raining not too long after we arrived. Later on, we went up to the house itself, which is just incredible inside in the state rooms, and fascinating under stairs in the old servants quarters and kitchens. Outside in the terrace garden, the RSPB were stationed with binoculars, as this is one of the sites where red kites were re-introduced. The species was almost wiped out in Britain but is now staging a remarkable recovery. We saw two kites circling high above, and one a little closer over the lake. We've seen them in Wales, too, while travelling across Powys in the mountains.

More photos in the gallery.

Thank you so much to everyone who has commented on the Noro entrelac scarf. It's a really fabulous use for Kureyon in particular - each shade contains such rich colours, very saturated, and this I think is partly why it works so well.

In answer to terri's question, I do think entrelac is actually quite easy, once you get the hang of how it is constructed. It's very logical, and really only comprises of basic knit and purl, and standard increases and decreases. If you have a slipped stitch selvedge it makes it simple to pick up stitches for the next block evenly. Definitely give it a try - use a practice piece first time to understand how it fits together. It took me an age with my first go, but once I'd worked it out and found a good pattern, I was flying along.

This week I've been working on Yelena, and am not far off finishing the first front piece. It's not the fastest knit, being in 1x1 rib, but at least it's on 6mm needles! I'm trying not to cast on any new projects at the moment, but so many patterns are calling to me!

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At 7:23 pm, August 26, 2007, Blogger Sarah said...

Glad to see you've been havng lots of fun and making some lovely little purchases too. Am looking forward to seeing the spinning results.

At 10:37 pm, August 26, 2007, Blogger Piglottie said...

Sounds like a great day out! My DH is a Sharpe fan :) Love the project bag!

At 3:36 am, August 27, 2007, Blogger Lynne said...

Oooh, you got a spindle! I hope many happy hours of spinning lie ahead of you. Choose a "grippy" fleece to start spinning with - slick ones are hard to handle.
Looks like you had some grand days out. I remember Keswick well, and the drive back in the miserable drizzle. The sun broke out once we were out of the Lakes District. Doh!

At 6:43 pm, August 27, 2007, Blogger donnac1968 said...

I have the Kaffe Fassett book from the early nineties. Must dig it out and have a look.

Sounds like you've had some lovely days out too!

At 8:10 am, August 28, 2007, Blogger Artis-Anne said...

Soundslike the perfect day out and I love Kirby Stephen,a lolvely little town
Do hope you enjoy using the spindle

At 7:58 am, August 29, 2007, Blogger Sussex Yorkie said...

Your project bag is lovely, very hard to find a useful shaped one. Kaffe Fassett is so clever, good luck!

At 9:49 pm, August 29, 2007, Blogger Seahorse said...

Really lovely days out! I grew up in that part of the world, so am feeling quite nostalgiac now! And a little bit of Sharpe is always a a good thing ;) :)

At 12:25 pm, August 30, 2007, Blogger white stilettoes said...

Which little bit of Sharpe do you think Seahorse is interested in? :D

At 8:24 pm, August 31, 2007, Blogger Queen of the froggers said...

I do like that bag, it looks like a great time you had! The Noro entrelac is beautiful, I will copy you with that one day!

At 11:17 pm, August 31, 2007, Blogger gilraen said...

I love Sharpe! but more for Sean than the book character, too crude for me ;) but not so Mr Bean !!!

The project bag looks like a fabulous find and pretty too. :)

I loved the North and South books :)

I would love to see pictures of your needle felting adventures it has such a pretty end result :D

At 2:53 pm, September 02, 2007, Blogger Jo028 said...

Your post brings back fond memories of childhood holidays camping in Sedbergh & going to Keswick for home-made cheesecake for a treat instead of an ice-cream. Not forgetting Kendal mint-cake too! Super purchase you've made :)

At 6:25 pm, September 05, 2007, Blogger Cherry Rolfe said...

Ooh Elizabeth Gaskell - I hope you enjoy her as much as I do - very big hearted!!
Love the project bag - Nice lot of pockets!
PS love the Entrelac scarf - very cheerful!

At 12:57 am, September 06, 2007, Blogger Aknita said...

Ooh you're back :-)I was thinking about you only this morning as I am using your lovely yarn at the moment.

What a great day out.

At 7:39 am, September 06, 2007, Blogger Mandy said...

You have been a busy lady this summer! Love the project bag! Your scarf is beautiful! Glad that your back!!


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