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Archive for the ‘travelling’ Category

A Grand Day Out

**WARNING – VERY PICTURE HEAVY POST**

We had a lovely day out yesterday. We haven’t really visited many places since moving north to Leeds, so we’re determined to start rectifying this. We’re planning some of the trips etc we want to do but first up was a visit to Ilkley. It’s a little market town about 10 miles from Leeds and we were going to tie it in with a visit to Bolton Abbey which is about 15 minutes on the bus from Ilkley itself.

The purpose of our visit was two-fold – to go exploring and also to visit Duttons for Buttons and Bettys Tea Rooms! We have a Duttons and Bettys in other places such as Harrogate and York, but we thought we might have more luck in Ilkley which is a little less busy and touristy.

It was an early start – got on the bus to Ilkley at 8:50 and got there about 50 minutes later. We spent the first few minutes getting our bearings and having a bit of a wander around. We very quickly found Bettys:

Betty's Tearooms

Betty's Tearooms

It was opposite a very cute little bandstand – which at about 9:45 in the morning was very empty:

Empty bandstand

Our plan was then to go to Duttons early on, buy the buttons I wanted to finish my Marina cardigan and then go to Bolton Abbey where we could take FO pictures. With the help of a lady in Oxfam who provided us with excellent directions, we then found Duttons where I was promptly overwhelmed by the scale of things:

Duttons for Buttons

Duttons for Buttons

There are far more buttons then I’ve shown in my photos – more buttons behind and to the sides – it’s absolutely mad!

They also sell a bit of yarn in here and notions such as beads, ribbons and lots of other beautiful things. I couldn’t decide what I wanted – so in the end I kept things quite simple and bought stuff I know I needed (I’m using the word “needed” in a very loose sense!):

Duttons Haul

I bought 25 cream mother of pearl buttons – you can only see three in the photo as the other 22 are now attached to my cardigan. There’s then 15 red/purple mother of pearl buttons that I plan to use for Audrey in Unst when finished. The last buttons are some toggles that I’ve bought for when I knit Kerrera. Finally, I bought some beads. I didn’t really *need* them, but I had to buy some. Of course now I’ve got home, I’ve realised they’re the same colour as some other beads I have – but thankfully a different size.

Upon finding out I was a knitting fiend, the lady in the store gave us directions to a little arcade in which we could find a knitting shop – which sells Debbie Bliss, Rowan, the usual suspects etc – but where you can also do some other interesting crafty bits to do, such as pottery painting.

The little arcade it’s in is beautiful:

Victorian Arcade in Ilkley

The shop, (Create) is on the first floor up the stairs – but by the entrance is this gorgeous old sign advertising the cafe:

Victorian Arcade in Ilkley

I did succumb and buy just one skein of yarn. It’s a lovely locally sourced and dyed yarn by a company called Ba T’at (after a Yorkshire anthem – clicky here to see what I mean). It’s a skein of light sockweight yarn and yes, it’s blue:

Ba T'at Laceweight

No idea what to make with it, but I’m sure I’ll think of something!

After this, it was time to flee to the bus station to get on the bus to Bolton Abbey. This is an interesting journey – with lots of tiny twisty roads – can get a bit dicey at times if your bus driver likes to throw the bus into the corners. Which ours did.

Twenty minutes later we made it there safely – unfortunately we had just over an hour before the bus came back – unless we wanted to wait for an extra three hours – this meant we had to quite speedily do all the things we wanted to do. First of all, this meant assembling the button fastenings for Marina:

Me working in the sun

Me working in the sun

Love those shots with the Abbey in the background! After putting these together, we went off for a little Marina photo-shoot which I’ll show you in another post. We then walked around and took a load of pictures of this incredibly beautiful Abbey.

The Abbey is still in use – in fact a wedding was taking place while we were there. You’re allowed in for free and are welcome to wander in and around the ruins – which is awesome. So enough of me – here’s some pictures of the Abbey and the surrounding land:

Bolton Abbey

Bolton Abbey

Bolton Abbey

Bolton Abbey

Bolton Abbey

Bolton Abbey

Bolton Abbey

Bolton Abbey

Bolton Abbey

Bolton Abbey

Bolton Abbey

Bolton Abbey

Bolton Abbey

Bolton Abbey

Bolton Abbey

Bolton Abbey

Bolton Abbey

Bolton Abbey

Bolton Abbey

Bolton Abbey

Bolton Abbey

Bolton Abbey

Bolton Abbey

Taking all these photos really makes me want to get a better camera. Ours is about six years old now and still takes perfectly good photos, but I’m considering investing in an older DSLR that we can still get new parts for – as the quality will still be infinitely better than what we have now.

We then made our way back to Ilkley as it was about a quarter to two and we were ravenously hungry. I saw an advert for a french bistro on the bus that was doing 2 courses at lunch for £9.95, so we toddled down the road and found our way there. Turns out we were in a Le Bistrot Pierre – which is a chain I’d never heard of, but the place was lovely:

Le Bistrot Pierre

Le Bistrot Pierre

Now, I never normally do this, but I’m going to show you photos of the food. As it was incredible. Portions were very generous and the quality was amazing.

For starters, we had beef carpaccio with rocket and parmesan and some crazy weird rabbit dish served with pickles and sourdough bread:

Le Bistrot Pierre - Beef Carpaccio

Le Bistrot Pierre - Rabbit & Sourdough

Trev had never tried carpaccio or rabbit and loved both – he couldn’t get enough of the rabbit in particular – very unusual but it was gorgeous.

For mains I went for a risotto with mint, asparagus, mange tout and peas – while Trev went for the Aberdeen Angus burger with fries and salad:

Le Bistrot Pierre - Risotto

Le Bistrot Pierre - Aberdeen Angus burger

By this point we were absolutely stuffed – so having dessert was out of the question. We waddled out of the restaurant and tried to gently stroll around the shops to burn off a bit of lunch. Our plan was to go to Bettys for tea and dessert – so we walked around for about thirty minutes and made our way back to the tea rooms.

Remember the band stand we passed in the morning? Well here it was mid-afternoon:

Bandstand... with a band!

Complete with jazz band!

When we got into Bettys there was a queue, but a very small one – we didn’t have to wait more than ten minutes before we were seated. It’s very classy inside – very comfortable and relaxed but the staff were awesome.

Betty's Tearoom

Betty's Tearoom

Betty's Tearoom

Trev at this point was still too full to eat anything else and just wanted tea. Not being a tea drinker myself, I ordered some raspberry lemonade:

Bettys - Drinkies!

I also gave in and ordered dessert – a massive fruit sundae:

Betty's - Fruit Sundae

I’d already eaten some of the cream and the biscuit on top by the time I took the photo – this thing is crammed full of cream, ice cream, fruit and then meringue at the bottom. It was gorgeous. Took me a while to eat, but was absolutely amazing.

Finally, we had a little wander into the shop to browse the goodies on sale:

Betty's in Ilkley

Betty's in Ilkley

All in all, it was an amazing day. We definitely need to go out and do something like this at least once a month. It’s lovely to explore new places and get to see some of the beautiful countryside around where we live. Makes me very grateful to be living in such a gorgeous part of the world.

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Sneak Peek

I’m well aware that for a blog that’s meant to be mostly about knitting, there hasn’t been a whole lot of knitting taking place in recent weeks. I am miles behind on my self-imposed sock club, having neither finished my bonus pair or even started the June pair. And it’s now almost August.

So, time to set that right! Even when I haven’t been doing a lot of knitting recently, I have been *thinking* about knitting. Even though there’s been lots of spinning taking place, last weekend I went to Knit Nation – where as I’ve said previously, I was very restrained. Unfortunately I don’t have any picture of the event itself. The whole thing was a little overwhelming – so many knitters and so much yarn in one place! It was however, awesome!

There was so much beautiful yarn I saw there – particularly laceweight, which is what I’d gone shopping for. I wanted to pick one up special skein with which I could make something lovely. I visited many gorgeous stands, including Natural Dye Studio, Renaissance Yarns, Loop, the Yarn Yard, Skein Queen, Juno Fibre Arts, Sweet Clement and more! So so so much lovely stuff – unfortunately most of the yarns I wanted, contain alpaca – which made them a no-no for me. I love that there’s so much beautiful lace dyed in so many lovely colours but I wish there were a few more non-alpaca blends available.

Anyway. This meant that I ended up looking at lots of lovely mohair! I bought 2 skeins – one teeny skein from Habu, which is mohair/silk that I haven’t got a picture of yet. It’s half an ounce and 170m – so perfect for something small and lacy. I could have spent LOADS at the Habu stall. Definitely need to visit these guys again and stock up on some of the awesome blends that they have.

I also bought this skein of beautiful mohair/silk from Artisan Yarns:

Kid Mohair/Silk

They had beautiful kits – of 50g of mohair and a pattern for a scarf/cowl for only £10. I couldn’t resist. I can’t yet decide whether to do a long scarf or snuggly cowl – any thoughts?

The only picture I did take, were of the lovely Rock and Purl – here she can be seen playing sock puppets with Sinuous socks knitted by myself and Alisha Irish:

Ms Rockandpurl

Ms Rockandpurl

Also during the weekend as I said, I did lots of spinning. I managed to finish spinning up the second half of the camelbunny silk – which I’m now slowly plying. Here it is while still on the spindle:

Camelbunny Silk

We did quite a bit that weekend as we were staying with Trev’s family. On Friday, we wandered off to the Royal Albert Hall and listened to the Darius Brubeck Quartet in the Cafe Consort. Here’s some pics of us there.

Hubster

Moi

Trev and his dad:

Trev & his dad

Us outside the Royal Albert Hall:

Us outside the Albert Hall

The Hall and the Albert Monument:

The Royal Albert Hall

The Albert Monument

Afterwards, we ate at an amazing italian restaurant in Kensington called Da Marios. I had to take a picture of the table as it looked awesome:

Da Mario's Restaurant table

The place was nice and cosy:

Da Mario's Restaurant

But downstairs it was like some kind of tardis – with a huge basement with tons of seating. We went back on Saturday when Trev met up with his brother – I encourage you to check it out! They also had the most amazing orchid behind where we sat:

Gorgeous Orchid

Finally on our travels we say the cutest little street of houses – just the kind of place if I ever (could afford) to live in that part of London:

Cute Little Street in Kensington

On Sunday Trev and his dad played a bit of music:

Trev & Roy being all musical

On the way back on Monday we made a new acquaintance:

Pedro enjoying a scone

Pedro the Spanish Penguin – here he can be seen enjoying a scone with cream and jam on the train on the way back to Leeds. He came to live us with from the Natural History Museum and hopes to come and join us on his travels whenever we go anywhere.

So, what about the sneak peek of the title, I hear you ask? Well, today I have finally finished my Marina cardigan – complete with totally awesome seams! I’ll do a full post when I’ve bought buttons for it and taken proper photos – hence the current sneak peek:

Marina sneak peek

Marina sneak peek

We are taking a journey to Ilkley next weekend to visit Duttons for Buttons, which is where I’ll buy buttons and get it all finished up when we go for tea at Betty’s Tea Rooms!

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Exploration

So yesterday we went for a little wander. We popped into town to trade some DVDs for cash at CEX and set out to walk home, via a particular place that we wanted to visit.

In our new house we’re still sat on beanbags as we haven’t been able to get a sofa yet (saving!) but were told of the Poverty Aid UK warehouse/shop not far from where we live. This place is a treasure trove of furniture, clothes and totally random stuff. So we set off in search of a sofa.

The shop is located on a street in Leeds called Cardigan Road – it’s about 2 miles and on the way, you walk past this:

Cardigan Road Bear Pit

What is it, I hear you ask?

This, ladies and gentlemen is the Cardigan Road Bear Pit. When I first heard of it, I was extremely dubious as to whether or not that was actually its name and where said name came from.

Well, there’s an amazing site called Leodis.org which is a photographic archive of Leeds – and it has more information and pictures on the bear pit here. There used to be a Zoological and Botanical Garden in Leeds which opened in 1840 and closed in only 1858 – apparently the entrance fee was a bit steep.

Alongside the bear, there were also monkeys, swans, an eagle, a multitude of exotic plants and much more. The little turrets etc in the photo fell into a state of disrepair and were restored in 1968. The turrets were built as “safe” viewing platforms to observe the bear who would be in the circular pit behind the wall.

Seriously odd, eh? A Victorian zoo in a quiet suburb of Leeds! On top of which we also took some pictures of some very nice railings:

Nice Railings!

Mmmm…. cast iron.

Speaking of which. We popped into the shop looking for a sofa and have successfully managed to locate one (provided nobody beats us to the purchase) but I also came across the below. Trev says my face was a PICTURE when I saw it:

Singer Sewing Machine 15k

A vintage Singer sewing machine! Set inside a cabinet (which we couldn’t open, so no idea what’s inside):

Singer Sewing Machine 15k

We’re pretty sure the cabinet is original – as we saw another one just like it on eBay. Unfortunately it wasn’t priced up, so I have no idea of what it costs and whether or not I can get my grubby little paws on it. But I took some more pics and went away to do some research. It has a beautiful faceplate:

Singer Sewing Machine 15k

It’s also motorised:

Singer Sewing Machine 15k

Singer Sewing Machine 15k

The serial number indicates that it’s a 15k class machine, but I’ve no idea of the actual model. It’s a 1950/1951 machine – but I’m not sure whether or not it came out of the factory with a motor. The design of the cabinet and the others we’ve seen like this were treadle machines, with a drive belt that got the wheel going. It’s very possible that the motor was added later, as this was quite commonly done, but with it being a 50’s machine it may have been made that way.

So I’ll have to hope I can get my hands on it for a bargain price and bring it home for some research. Of course, I’ve now been browsing vintage machines on eBay all day and eyeing up the beautiful turn of the century and 20’s machines with Egyptian decals and much more. I can see a little collection forming here. But it would be great to get this one as it’s a) local and b) in excellent external condition. There’s a shop in the city market who can give it a service for me, so I’m sure it wouldn’t take long to get it up and running.

I’ve also been having some fun with maths! Before Christmas, I agreed with two friends that we’d have a mini-KAL and all knit Audrey in Unst by Gudrun Johnston in varying shades of red Wollmeise. I am the last to start – by some margin. One is finished, the other is in progress, but at least I have now wound some yarn and swatched. Here’s my yarn:

Wollmeise 100% Bussi

Bussi – a strong, cold red. I love it. It’s much more solid than some of the other colours, but I think I’m still going to alternate my skeins, once I’ve wound the other two. So I’ve washed and blocked my swatch and as expected with a lighter yarn, I’m going to have to make some gauge adjustments. I’m in the process of working out what size I need to make to end up with the correct finished size and I’ll cover that off in later posts once I’ve figured it out.

But this will be my first proper sweater and I’m quite looking forward to it – if a little trepidacious! (Is that even a word? It is now!)

Now off to finish my second Spice Lady sock (on the cuff now) and wind some more yarn (if I can bribe the hubby sufficiently to help me.)

Enjoy the rest of your weekend 🙂

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Whoops

So, you know that Self-Imposed Sock Club (SISC2011) I spoke about here? Well, I’m sort of a little bit behind.

I know, I know – I only had to knit *one* single sock in the space of a whole month and I’ve failed. Miserably. In fact, I must have knitted no more than 15 rows which barely got me past the cuff on my second Sin Miedo sock. Ironically, I’ve actually got LOADS done on them today, while catching up with some new shows on Sky Atlantic (enjoying Boardwalk Empire and Blue Blood btw!). I’m hoping to get a little over a whole leg repeat done, which should mean that I’ve done almost half the leg and will feel like I’m making real progress.

I always find that cuff-down socks zip by really fast once you get to the heel – I guess because you’ve already gotten past the leg, where generally both front and back are patterned, the foot is quicker because normally the sole of the foot is plain stockinette.

Anyway, I have plenty of time to make things up as I have another five weeks between now and the end of sock number two – which should be plenty of time to finish this one up and knit up a pair of plain stockinette socks for Trev.

But to distract from my lateness, oh look yarn!

Sweet Clement - Smitten

Smitten yarn from the lovely Sweet Clement. I had the pleasure of being the first purchase from her Etsy store – but she’s already sold lots of yarn at trunk shows in and around London. Because I can’t get to such things now (sob) this was the first chance to get hold of yarn that I’ve heard Rockandpurl go on about for ageees. And it’s just as beautiful in person.

The French Pink yarn will probably become a pair of Sinuous socks and I’m undecided on exactly what to do with the Cornflower, but I’m thinking of a Little Colonnade, maybe? But it will be a little while before I can get round to either of these – although I may enter the Sinuous socks into the Self-Imposed Sock Club as one of the packages.

And before anyone says it, I know I was meant to be on a yarn diet – but this was bought with the proceed of some Wollmeise I’ve sold, so technically it evens itself out, right?

I also wanted to show off the first little skein that I spun on my supported spindle last week:

First Supported Spinning Handspun

Can’t you just feel how soft and squishy it is? It weighs about 8g and measures about 34 yards – so if I spun 100g at this rate I’d have about 425 yards – which looks about right. It was spun mostly long-draw, and having since spun up another sample using higher twist, I much prefer this softer, lower twist version.

Because I’ve spun it long-draw, it has a lovely halo to it:

First Supported Spinning Handspun

I’ve tried spinning up some other fibres today – a little bit of shorn angora, which was one heck of a challenge (and I have up, if truth be known) and some tussah silk from the fold – which is very different again. But I’m certainly enjoying it and getting more of a feel for how much twist I need to add.

My Grippingyarn Rose spindle is paid for and on its way! Very excited to have it arrive. Having seen a picture of it in progress, I can hardly wait. Hoping it arrives before Friday (I’ve booked a day off work) so I have lots of time to play with it over the weekend.

But for now, back to my socks. I leave you with this picture taken on a walk back from Gordale Scar (in the Yorkshire Dales, near Malham) where we went with my family last weekend:

Gordale Scar 29th Jan 2011

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So, time for a series of posts catching you up with the last week or so since we’ve been on holiday! First of all I’m going to cover off the one I know most of my knittery friends will be most excited about.

Last Saturday was our eighth wedding anniversary and we’d planned a trip to Germany to see our friends who live in Hockenheim. We were going to combine it with a quick trip to Munich and Oktoberfest, prior to which we wanted to visit the Wollmeise store as it’s on the way into Munich and it was open on Saturday.

We got into Germany Friday evening, where after a quick dinner we soon went to bed as the aim was to get to the store for around 9am when it opened – which would mean leaving Hockenheim around 6am. Eeek!

Unfortunately it took a little longer to get up and about than we would have liked and we hit the road just after 7am. Eventually we got to Pfaffenhoffen and it was a case of keeping all eyes peeled for the shop as we drove down the street. Soon we came across this:

Wollmeise store

Cue excitement! Excitement and digging out the list of colours I’d been working on for the last few weeks! The problem (I say problem, but it’s really the wrong word) is the sheer amount of colours and the fact I want them all. Thing is, I’m pale and pasty and look like death most of the time, so I have to be careful in what colours I actually WEAR. Unless I plan to knit everything into socks, there’s no point buying colours that I LIKE unless they actually suit me. So while there are tens of colours that I would have love to look at, the actual list of ones I was likely to buy was much more easily whittled down.

As well as my list, I’d agreed to go shopping for a couple of friends and had, in one case, a fiendishly complicated list that charted different potential outcomes and the different yarns I should look for based on what was available (you know who you are! 🙂 ). So there was lots to be done.

Needless to say, walking into the shop for the first time, is a little overwhelming. The first thing you notice is the riot of colour. And then the giant sofas in the middle of the shop with people sat knitting and drinking coffee. (Photo taken from the far side of the store.)

Wollmeise store

Unfortunately due to our late start, I didn’t have quite as much time as I would have liked in the store as we wanted to try and get to somewhere by just after 12, but in the end I was still there for an hour and a half – which went so quickly!

First things to tackle were the lists for other people – which in some cases were very easy, in others not so easy. I even had to wake a friend up from a very deserved lie-in to say, well, there’s no Raku, and no Mauerbluemchen in lace, but how about a Mauerbluemchen in sock? I was wonderfully assisted by a lovely member of the shop team whose name I didn’t catch, but she was brilliant and so helpful. The best way to think of my time at the shop, is like, Supermarket Sweep, but with yarn!

Once those 10 skeins were found I had the fiendish task of trying to figure out what I wanted – which actually took a lot less time than I thought. There was no red lace in the store, which meant that deciding between a red or My Old Blue Jeans lace for a Featherweight Cardi (or something similar) was made very easy. This in turn meant that I’d be finding something reddish in 100% Merino to knit Audrey in Unst. After struggling to find the right sort of red that didn’t totally drain me of colour (it’s much harder to find a cool red, than it is a warm red), I settled for 3 skeins of Dunkle Kirsche.

Finally, it came down to picking the individual skeins that I wanted for much smaller projects. This was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be. Despite my list being a mile long, it was very simple to just grab a skein of each colour, space them all out on the back of the sofa and then decide which ones I liked best.

I was desperate to see the new colours – Verhext und Verratzt, Igor and Cassis. I loved the look of all of them, with the purply tones that they all have – but ended up only coming away with V&V. The other two were a classic case of, “I love them, but they’re too warm for me”. How it makes me wish that I was less pale!

Let’s pop in a few more shop pictures:

Wollmeise store

Wollmeise store

Wollmeise store

Wollmeise store

Wollmeise store

Wollmeise store

Wollmeise store

Phew. Sorry for any of those pics that were slightly fuzzy.

The lovely Wollmeise people also made me a present of my choice of Twin skein from the Nobody is perfect shelf. These are skeins that are perhaps slightly underweight or might have a knot in them – such is Claudia’s quality control that none of those go out as “normal” skeins and are sold at a lower price. This meant that Trev got to pick a skein for socks and he took almost as long choosing that skein as I did whizzing round picking all my others.

Eventually, we were all done and I left with this:

Wollmeise Haul

See that big bag there? All mine! I know what you all really want to see is the money shot of all of the yarn laid out together – so let me oblige.

My camera isn’t the best at capturing purples and blues, so rest assured that all of the colours are more vibrant in reality. The top row, with the exception of the blue lace on the right, is for other people – which that lace and the bottom row is allll mine! You may notice that I have a *slight* prediliction for pinks and purples… my excuse being that I wear an awful lot of black, so rather than try and alter my entire wardrobe, it’s far easier (and more fun) to brighten up through the use of knitted accessories.

Wollmeise Haul

Here’s the breakdown of what’s above (as I know some of you will want to know that):

Top row, L-R: Lila Ludmilla, Pitahaya, Verhext und Verratzt, Lavendel x3, Spice Market, Graf Ratz, Mauerbluemchen, Igor, My Old Blue Jeans.

Bottom row: L-R: Dunkle Kirsche x3, Fliederbusch, Petit Poison Nr 5 Light, Roter Himbeermund, Verhext und Verratzt, Magnolie Medium, True Love, Poison Nr 5 and finally two NiP skeins I can’t identify but I think might be a Maus Alt and a Paul (which was the freebie).

At present I am currently minus yarn, as despite careful planning, I didn’t have enough room in my luggage (although I had enough weight) to bring it all back. So it’s been packed up in a box and sent insured and tracked back home where I’m now (im)patiently waiting for it. I reckon it’s in the hands of Royal Mail now and hopefully will come tomorrow, or Tuesday at the latest – but it’s hard being without that much WM!

So, that’s the shop! Hopefully this means I can steer clear of updates for a little while (particular as I’ve easily spent my yarn budget for the foreseeable future), but have already started thinking about planning the next trip. I’ve now got to get around to knitting all this up. Most of the skeins have plans already made for them (bar, three or four, I think), so better get cracking!

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