Sunday, 28 September 2014

I came. I saw. I fondled* ;-)

*Fondled all the smooshy yarny goodness, that is!!

Yes, much like the contents of my purse on Saturday, Yarndale 2014 has been and gone.

I'm in!

Last year, I didn't buy much. I was determined to make up for it this year.

Mum and I arrived about 9.10am, and even though I'd seen online that the car park wasn't going to open until 9.30, they'd clearly started letting people in long before that. Although I didn't have a problem parking last year, apparently it did go a bit pear-shaped due to the volume of people arriving and a lack of organisation. But from what I saw today, the parking was much better organised. We were on the second row in a grass field - a bit further to walk than last year, but perfectly adequate, and a nice view! We had a sandwich before making our way up to the auction mart.

The canal is down in that dip somewhere!

We could've gone straight to the back entrance but decided to walk around to the front instead. We'd seen a lot of people heading that way so I was expecting a long queue (as the place didn't open until 10.00) but there was hardly anyone outside, because again, even though it was early, they'd started letting people go in and either show their pre-paid tickets, or pay on the door. Inside, the doors to the Yarndale hub (the foyer bit where all the bunting was hung) were still closed, so everyone was just milling about, but it wasn't too crowded and everyone seemed in good spirits.

I'm not sure what time they let us into the hub, maybe about 9.45. This is where the Yarndale merchandise could be found - I bought two badges (are they called Bert and Betty? Or is it Betsy?), a canvas bag and a 2015 calendar. I took another couple of photos of the bunting again.

We were all still queuing to get into the main hall at about two minutes past 10.00, so one of the Yarndale people who was on the merchandise stall went through with an attitude of determination to 'hurry them along' and the next thing we knew, the doors opened and in we went.

First decision - left or right? We went left, and walked down one side of the aisle and then back up the other side, rather than criss-crossing, and so on.

The much-anticipated display of crochet mandalas had been hung on a raised walkway/balcony which spanned the full width of the mart.

The general public weren't allowed up there, but there was a chap taking photos.

Every time we got to the top end of an aisle we'd have a look to see if I could spot mine (I'd shown mum a photo of it on my phone so she knew what she was looking for) - I was determined to find it before we left. I didn't actually spot it until we'd finished looking at all the stalls, and luckily it was above an empty aisle, which meant I could get quite close underneath it to take a photo. I'm so glad I took part this year, after missing out on the bunting from 2013. It was brilliant to see my mandala up there with the other 1181!!

Second row up from the bottom, third one in from the right!

Despite knowing about Yarndale 2014 for, ooh, a whole year, I failed miserably in my attempts to find some patterns that I wanted to make, to the extent that I spent about two hours on Friday evening frantically flicking (that's hard to say!) through all my Simply Crochet magazines trying to find something, anything, that I wouldn't mind having a go at. I found a cardigan and a couple of jumpers for me, and a couple of baby hoodies. As we walked around today, I gradually talked myself out of buying anything for the jumpers for me, and I'm reluctant to make baby clothes because I'm so slow and Junior will grow out of them so fast. So in the end I just looked for the yarn for the cardigan and anything else that caught my eye. I'd written down the exact yarn that had been used in the magazine, but I was expecting to have to buy it from a different retailer at least. I hadn't looked at the list of exhibitors, so I was quite surprised to find the sellers of the yarn had a stall there. I chose a different colour to that used in the pattern (because they didn't have that colour), but otherwise it was exactly the same yarn, so I've no excuses for my cardigan turning out any different from the magazine!!

Five 100g/400m skeins of Pendle 4ply in 'Robin Egg', 100% superwash merino wool from Eden Cottage Yarns:

Eden Cottage Yarns

So what else did I buy? Well, I'd read that Lucy was going to be selling a new blanket pack (in conjunction with Wool Warehouse), so I popped into the Knit 'n' Natter Lounge (where Lucy was having her photo taken like the crochet celeb that she is) to buy one. It's Stylecraft Special DK, and you can't go wrong with that, so I thought it was an easy way to add to my Stylecraft stash. I don't know if I'll make the ripple blanket with it, but I will probably make a blanket of *some* kind with it. One day. There are some new-to-me colours such as copper, denim, parchment (I might have some of this, can't remember) and sherbert.

As I said above, I fondled lots of delicious yarn. I touched, stroked, smooshed. And I really wanted to buy some. But I didn't know what, or how much, or what for. So I bought some anyway. I don't know what I'll do with it, I probably haven't got enough to make much more than a scarf, unless I can match it up with something else. But I just really wanted to try some. I had that 'urge'. Any suggestions on what I can make with it, please let me know.

This is a 100g/600m skein of 80% extra fine merino/20% silk lace from Cuddlebums. The rainbow colours on the stall were stunning and irresistible, although when I bought this I was fast running out of money, which is why I only bought one. I hope I can find something gorgeous to make with it.


These are two 100g/400m 4ply/fingering weight skeins of 100% Superwash Blueface Leicester. The dye lot is called Licorice Kiss, and it really does remind me of a bag of Allsorts, or the pink and blue ones at least! It's from Easyknits, who I believe were the very first stall on the first aisle when you started on the left hand side, as we did. I didn't buy it from them when I first saw their stall, because it was the first and obviously I wanted to have a good look around before I made any purchases. When we'd seen every single stall, I said to mum that I'd just go back and look at the first one, because I felt like I hadn't spent enough time there. I had a nosey around and saw this yarn, and couldn't resist. After buying this I had about £6 left in my purse, and we called it a day!


Last year I was quite taken with all the needle felting that was on display, so this time I bit the bullet and bought a kit. Hopefully, if I don't mess it up, it will look like a little brown hare when it's complete. I like hares. I'm also pleased that I'm going to be trying out a new skill.

Needle Felting kit by Jenny Barnett


Speaking of new skills, I watched a stall holder demonstrating some hand-spinning (I think she was using a drop spindle), but unfortunately I can't remember the name of the stall. She was making it look very easy! I'd love to have a go, but I don't know enough anything about it, so I might do a bit of research online. There are so many skeins/hanks of gorgeous wool ready to be spun (are they called rovings? I'm not even sure of that) in all the colours of the rainbow, it must be amazing to watch them turn into yarn.

There were, of course, the gorgeous angora rabbits and alpacas, which, being a non-yarny person, is the thing that my mum most looks forwards to seeing.

I think the lady in blue must've been the owner, as she was feeding them

So soft and floofy!

I think these were Bigwigs

I wasn't really expecting to buy anything for Chris (who was at home with Junior all day), but we stopped to look at a stall selling ceramics, and I spotted something bee-related, so I couldn't resist. It's a honey spoon rest, although he tends to pour his honey straight from the jar, so he thinks it might get more use as a coaster.

Tile Productions

So all in all, a very successful and enjoyable day at Yarndale 2014! And when I got home my little boy was so happy to see me and wanted a big cuddle, which was the perfect end to a fab day.

Can't wait for Yarndale 2015!!

[Blog post written on Saturday after my Yarndale visit, but completed on Sunday when I had chance to upload my photos]

Thursday, 11 September 2014


Junior is desperate to start walking. He cruises around the furniture - holding onto the back of the sofa, the top of his little head just visible, he carefully makes his way around the side, to the front, and then back again. We've actually seen him take two or three steps, unsupported, but these tend to be more down to momentum - he walks along the back of the sofa as normal and then carries on for a couple of paces, not realising that he's let go. And then he plops down onto his bottom and crawls to wherever he was going.

Tonight though, he started at the other side of the room, standing, holding onto a chair, and then he was off - seven steps, unsupported, until he reached the safety of the sofa! Chris and I were stunned - we looked at each other and said 'WOW' at the same time, and I must admit, I felt those happy tears making an appearance. And this was not long before bedtime, when he's (supposedly) tired. And wearing some pyjamas that are still a bit long for him, so the feet are a bit floppy at the end of his legs, but he still managed to walk! And it wasn't even wobbly walking - just for those few seconds he looked very sure-footed. It was wonderful! (And a bit scary, in a good way, to think that he's so close to being, officially, a 'toddler'!)

And in another first, I think I may have taught him his first word! Is it mama, you ask? No. Then it must be dada? No. It's 'cat'. Whenever Mischief is in the room (which is very often, he's steadfastly refusing to back down and be forced out of his living room, no matter how noisy it gets), I point to him and then look at Junior and say 'cat'. I can see that he's watching my mouth, and after I've said it a few times, he'll smile and giggle and kind of whisper something which sounds a bit like 'ca'. So I'm convinced.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

A Wonderful Thing...

... has happened.

After an emotional journey of almost two and a half years, with lots of low points and moments of despair, Chris and I finally reached the light at the end of the tunnel.

We've adopted a 9 month old boy!

He moved in with us at the end of August. I've no idea what day it is any more, and I can't remember what 'not tired' feels like. I'm loving it!

He is bright and inquisitive - he's always looking around to see what's going on, and he must've been an owl in a former life because he can almost swivel his head around 360 degrees. He has a wonderful sense of humour, with the most infectious giggle, and will play peekaboo round the back of the sofa over and over again, laughing his head off every time you jump out at him. He's walking around holding onto furniture or with the help of his baby walker, and we're sure he won't be long before he's walking unsupported. When he crawls, he's like a little pocket rocket, getting from one side of the room to the other in no time at all. He loves his food, but doesn't like having his face wiped afterwards. He sleeps right through the night for 11 hours straight, and babbles away to himself happily when he wakes up each morning. He laughs at the clock on our living room wall every day. He has six teeth. He's wonderful, and we love him.

For obvious reasons, I have to be careful about what information I reveal - there probably won't be many photos, apart from non-identifying ones - and of course I can't say his name, but I think I'll call him Junior on here, as that's how Chris and I sometimes refer to him.

I'd love to blog regularly about what we're up to, but I'm finding it hard to find the time, and when I do have time, I'm too tired to do anything really! I need to frame myself and be more proactive, and use my free time more wisely, but I'm also trying not to beat myself up about the things that aren't getting done around the house. The most important thing is to have this intensive bonding period with Junior - just him, Chris and myself. We haven't even been allowed to introduce him to family yet, but hopefully it won't be too much longer before we can start to show him off to everyone.

So if things go quiet on here again, I've actually got a really good excuse this time! I'm busy being a mum. At last.

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