Friday, 31 December 2010

More bands....!

Band three were local band, Navigation Road. A more grown up affair but nonetheless a great night out at Bondi in Altrincham. Halted by party poopers at 11pm (noise abatement team, despite the bar over the road blasting out a dj set way louder than the band). Boo!

An evening of rocking covers of some of our fave songs and a very welcome lift home shared with a huddle of road cones courtesy of bassist Simon "Digger" Dagnall (not sure if there is a collective noun for road cones but if there was I'm sure it would be huddle or something similar judging by the way they collect in groups at the side of the road). Road cones are surprisingly large close-to, by the way - and heavy...

Great night, guys, roll on more successful gigs in 2011! Check out the band's new website for more info. on forthcoming gigs : )

Last but not least were Hawkwind. Haven't seen these guys since Uni so it was a bit of a journey into the unknown, especially as I've definitely never seen them sober (me, not them). Nearly missed the start of the set (this will not be a surprise to some), so it took a little while to weave to the front and get into the mood, but it was every bit as trippy and rockin' as I remembered. It was admittedly odd to go to a gig and be among the youngest there (an experience only matched by Jethro Tull gigs), but the crowd rocked, the band were great and the astral projections have certainly benefitted from 21st century technology (ouch, that makes me feel old!).
Yes, they still had the dancers...
Projections are cool....
 Oops, very bright!
Lots of projections...
 Not so evident in this pic but there were quite a few hats which I suspect were disguising a bit of mpb (male pattern baldness) in the male audience. Some impressive dreads in the foreground tho'....

Year-end round-up part two - Gig time!

Nights out here at Tomkies Towers are like buses - nothing for ages then, in this case, 4 in a week (yes, four!).

First was Faithless at the MEN Arena. At the front, dance-til-you-drop, sing at the top of your voice awesomeness. We've seen them several times now and wouldn't miss this one for anything!

Maxi emerges and the crowd go wild....
What must it feel like to stand there in front of such a huge crowd all going crazy? 

 See the lights in the bottom there? We're just behind the one furthest away, within touching distance of the stage.
 And from the stands (not our pic, obviously, but gives you an idea of the sheer size of the crowd).
 And the man himself. He is 150% energy on stage!
Was it worth the 25 mins bar queue, £3.80 for a can of beer, 30 mins waiting for a tram and the freezing walk home with no coat? You betcha!!

Next up, Pendulum at Manchester Central, supported by Hadouken. Our first time for both these bands and one might think this isn't my musical taste at all being heavily influenced by drum & bass. But live? they rock! It took a while to worm our way to the front and it was definitely more mental moshness than Faithless, but wow! Manchester Central is probably my fave overall Manchester venue (apart from the beer prices!) - plenty of space, lots of room at the bar (MEN take note) and lots of loos - I am easily pleased!

But back to the important stuff, the bands...

And Pendulum from further back...
 And Pendulum from closer to the front...
No pics from closer as there was barely enough room to raise an arm let alone take a photo.

For those of you who want to share a bit of the moshpit feeling without needing to be there, throw some beer over your head, put the heating up, turn the lights down, hands in the air, click here and dance.....

Year-end round-up part One - dyeing workshops

As the year draws to a close, a quick summary of November and December seems to be in order! First up, some dyeing workshop pics. Sock blanks at the Hut.....

 The pics don't do these lovely pieces justice as the colours were so rich in real life. I think it will be interesting to see how the one with the swooping curve knits up (might have to try one of those myself!).

This was followed by a lovely workshop at Spun in Huddersfield.
 I forgot to take my camera so I don't have any pics but luckily Lydia has some nice pics on her facebook page, so I hope it was ok to borrow a couple ; )

And there is a lovely Ishbel in Corelli's projects on Ravelry. Incidentally, if anyone else has pics that they'd be happy to share, it would be lovely to see them. A link to an album/ravelry page/facebook etc. or emailed ones would be just fab!

Spun is a new yarn shop in Huddersfield. It is in a beautiful Victorian Arcade and is well worth a visit if you're in the area. You'll be able to catch me there on 19th March for a sock knitting workshop, but there are lots more exciting workshops before then, too! The rag-rug sheep looks particularly tempting....

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

New designs! Tayberry cloche and slouchy beret

Simply Knitting have featured two of my designs in their latest pattern supplement. Not only that, one of them is on the front cover : ))))

Tayberry (above) uses my hand-dyed baby alpaca aran

The slouchy beret

 uses my hand-dyed Bluefaced Leicester Aran.

A big thank you to the lovely Vicky who took both patterns on holiday with her to test knit for me - dedication above and beyond the call of duty! These are the Simply Knitting pics, but there are some beautiful ones with extra detail and different colourways in Vicky's projects on Ravelry taken by her very talented photographer husband, Laurie. And not forgetting a huge thank you  to P for exemplary modelling!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

"20 Days of Christmas" - The Christmas countdown!

Happy December folks!

Still lots to tell about the last month or so, but thought I'd put up a quick post to let you know about our Christmas Countdown and the latest newsletter.

Starting today, every day there will be a very special 20% discount on a particular product. Simply check out the Countdown Christmas Tree for details of the day's special offer, click on the bauble to take you to the offer page, add the product to your cart and hey presto! you can tick off an item on your Christmas shopping list (or enjoy a treat for yourself!).

Offers will only be available for 24 hours and have to be placed via the offer page, so be sure to check back every day : )

Subscriber news - free patterns!
We've just moved over to a new computer and I think I've ported across all the addresses for the subscriber newsletter but if yours hasn't arrived it means there's been a gremlin at work, in which case, please accept my apologies. If you haven't had your newsletter and would like one, click here and I'll send it on to you post haste. If you're not currently on the subscriber list but would like to be, click here to sign up.

(Incidentally, this month's subscriber-only offer is one of my patterns free with every yarn order. Just place an order for any hand-dyed or undyed yarn in December and I'll include a free pattern for one of my designs in your parcel! You can see some of my designs on Ravelry and if there's a particular one you would like, please put a message in the "message to merchant" box when you go through the checkout (or drop me an email at ). If you don't mind which pattern, I'll add one of my choice). 

Back to normal news later but must dash as it's just started snowing (our first snow!) and I have to bring in some dyeplants before they are buried : )

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Belated Birthday!

My birthday falls the same weekend as Woolfest which means that I spend a good chunk of it folding catalogues/weighing dyes/labelling etc. etc. Usually we manage to squeeze in some birthday celebrations but this year we were way behind, even more behind than normal, so we abandoned plans for birthday partying until after the end of June. Of course, as is the way with these things, one weekend after another went by, each one with lots of things to keep us busy. Anyway, eventually Pete said if I didn't write a birthday list I was going to get a serious ticking off (!).

So, one sunny weekend in October I awoke to breakfast in bed, cards and gifts, a fantastic cake and a day being waited on hand and foot. What could be better?

And some of my lovely gifts.....

Remember my lovely handmade boots? Well, Pete asked Phil, the guy who made them, to make me a pen wallet to match. And this is it. Isn't it fab? It's so soft and will be a perfect addition to my collection of pink handbag accessories....

And to go with the pen? Courtesy of Mrs Yarn Yard I discovered a site with a fantastic selection of coloured inks. Difficult as it was to choose, I narrowed it down to this one - not only is it the most luscious shade of purple, but it even smells of violets - so cool! Feelin' that "flowery" prose folks ! (sorry).

 After my henna painting session on holiday, Pete tracked down this great kit from the States. There are some gorgeous designs in the book and I can't wait to give it a try (do you think this one might be a bit ambitious for a first attempt?).

There was also this yummy bundle of scented heavenly-ness (note the "was"). Vicky's lovely gift, being from Lush, didn't make it anywhere close to October! So I've cheated a bit and borrowed a pic from those masters of cosmetic wizardry - now you know why I spend so long in the shower!

 And, before you do yourselves an injustice laughing at this next one, I am trying to get fit - yes, you heard it right. So, I don't do jogging/running, can't bear aerobics or any form of bootcamp style organised exercise, am too soft to swim at this time of year, and am struggling to get to the gym. I do, however, love dancing and seeing as I can't get out to classes I thought this would be a bit of a laugh. (Confession time: I already own a dancemat and I have been known to sneak onto the arcade dance machines when we're on holiday). I haven't tried it yet, but I'll let you know how I get on (and which ward I'm on for the get well cards!). Glee here I come!!!

New Arrival!

 A new baby to knit for  : ))

Welcome to little Pardis and congratulations to the proud parents.

(Now, where's my pink yarn?.....)

October clubs - The Day Dream

I'm a real fan of the Pre-Raphaelites and Dante Gabriel Rossetti is definitely in my top three. This month's inspiration was from one of my personal favourite works, The Day Dream. Painted in 1880 and said to be inspired by William Morris' wife, Jane, she is langorous, seductive yet somehow unattainable (which is just as well if she was based on someone else's wife!).

I softened the tones for the Falkland roving as the colour will intensify on spinning.

And for richness and texture, Fibre Adventure Club added silk noil and the curly sheen of soft grey Gotland x Shropshire fleece.

Sock club was a layer-dyed semi-solid on a superwash Bluefaced Leicester yarn.

What happened to October?

Whistlestop tour of highlights from October.....

29th October was the first gig of a friend's new band, Navigation Road. (For those of you not au fait with the area, Navigation Road is probably most famous as a stop on the Met to Altrincham!). It was a great night with a good turnout from Will's teachers (the guitarist is a science teacher at Will's school). Looking forward to the next gig at Flaming Galah in Alty on 10 December - see you there!

30th October - Marigolds akimbo with a day spent cleaning the bathrooms, then into Domestic Goddess mode with a spot of baking. Just pass me the polish for that halo!

31st October - The totally awesome Robert Plant and Band of Joy at the Palace. We could only get seats in the circle so the view wasn't great but The Man was amazing and well worth the crushed legs and overpriced canned beer : )).  Reworked versions of some of my favourite Led Zep classics were spellbinding and the new work, if a little on the country side for me at times, was still great.He might be over 60 but he still rocks (and I still would).

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

ps. "I Spy" books

Good old Google. After my last post I was curious to find out what happened to I Spy books so I did a quick search and I'm amazed to say that they have been relaunched! The covers have changed (I'm not sure about the big Michelin Man on the front, but hey ho). This is the one I remember best from my childhood. I wonder if you can still send off your finished book to Big Chief I Spy? Ah, fond memories....

(pps. I don't think there actually was an I Spy book of hospitals, just in case you were a bit concerned from the last post).

Tassimo - best bargain find ever!

Anyone remember "I Spy" books? Well, the last few years have seen me collect more stamps in my "I-Spy Book of Hospitals" than I care to think about. That said, there is an upside to all the hospital appointments (apart from all the benefits that come from having the NHS in general, that is).

The first is trips to Fuel cafe bar in Withington. Awesome breakfasts and veggie food, great coffee and a great atmosphere. This is our post-hospital treat, a chance to wind down after what have been some fraught and some less fraught, appointments/scans/tests etc.

The second was a bit of a one-off. Fuel, being in a student area, doesn't open until 11am. We were a bit early so decided to wander round the charity shops as we like to look for old bits of furniture, books etc. As we wandered round the Age UK shop, I spotted a Tassimo coffee maker. I have wanted one of these for just ages but couldn't quite justify the price tag when I have a perfectly serviceable cafetiere. BUT, this one was a bargain price and the cash would go to a great cause, too, so needless to say, I snapped it up. It is now cleaned up and has pride of place in my kitchen. (And it makes great coffee in less than a minute - amazing!). Hopefully this will save me from my Starbucks withdrawal symptoms since I gave up working in town : )

Monday, 25 October 2010

Make it Monday! Win a skein of undyed laceweight yarn!

If you're a Twitter fan you'll find another Make It Monday prize draw on my Twitter account today!

Simply Retweet the Make It Monday post, or, if you're not already a follower, add my tweets to your follow list, and you'll have the chance to win a 100g skein of one of my lovely laceweight yarns. To join Twitter, simply sign up for free here.

Choose from merino/silk, mohair, botany wool lace, merino/nylon, merino/cashmere, British wool lace or, brand new and just in stock, Bluefaced Leicester lace.

Good luck!

September Clubs - Cafe Latte

 Ever heard of Latte Art? Me neither until one of my lovely club members sent me a photo for the September colourway challenge. To see how amazing you can make the humble cup of coffee look, check out these brilliant pictures.

So, a big thank you to Carolyn, winner of the colourway challenge, not just for your super contribution, but also for introducing me to this fascinating artform. I hope you enjoyed your thank you prize : )

Oh, sorry, nearly forgot the yarny pictures - think swirls of deep mocha and coffee with a cream “foam”, dusted (of course) with a sprinkling of chocolate. Mmmmm.....!

Fibre Adventure was lots of fun with silk hankies, Massam roving and Shetland fleece.

Lovely Massam roving for Roving Medley members

And squooshy Merino/nylon sock yarn for Sock club members.

(It's no good - must now go and have coffee - in my new Tassimo - more of which later!).

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Spicy Squares Throw - Latest design for Simply Knitting

I was rather pleased when Simply Knitting asked if I could create rich, spicy colours for this month's design as I've been planning to make a throw in these colours for some time but never quite got round to it (nothing new there!).

We own a lovely blanket, handknitted by Pete's Nana as a going away present when he went to University. That was, erm, let's just say quite a few years ago, and it is looking a bit "well-loved " (which it has been). Not only that, but now that Will is nearly as big as his Dad, there just isn't enough of it to go round so we all try to curl up under it and fight over who gets to sit in the middle as they get the warmest spot!

So, as soon this blanket makes its way back to Tomkies Towers it will be an excellent addition to our living room and will hopefully be as well-loved as its companion.

(Of course, then it will be two blankets between three of us - hmmm, I feel another design may be required....)

Ooh and nearly forgot, there are two lovely new shades in our squishy Bluefaced Leicester Aran yarn, Paprika and Cinnamon and, even more exciting, all the shades are on offer at £8 instead of £8.90 per 100g skein.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Make It Monday Tweet Prize!

A little something for my Twitter followers today! If you already follow me on Twitter, you can re-tweet my "Make It Monday" tweet for a chance to win one of my Kool Aid Funky Dye Kits. If you're not a Twitter follower yet, add me to your follows and I'll include you in the prize draw too : )

(You'll find me as dtcrafts - not very imaginative but easy to find at least!).

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Holiday - the final day

It might have been the last day but we were determined to enjoy it! A trip to Padstow for souvenir (er, well, fudge and chocolate) purchases, Cornish pasties (what else?) and a going home present for me of a hand-drawn henna tattoo. I've always fancied a real one but I can't think of one design I'd want to have for the rest of my days so I went for the more flexible alternative. I think I shall have to learn how to do henna painting myself as I could get seriously into this!

There was also a rather unexpected, last-minute surprise.

Sitting in Padstow harbour was the Dawn Treader! Yes, for Narnia fans out there, I can report that the next installment is on the way and there is, indeed, a full-size Dawn Treader. And you could go on board too, how totally cool! Doesn't it look amazing?

Oh, and just before we left the house the boys wanted a picture of their cereal tower. I could try to explain how this was a prototype for a chimney to send carbon emissions outside the galaxy to solve the global warming problem but you'd probably think we were bonkers. It is, however, a lot of cereal for three people to have eaten in a week!

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Club pics August - Red Rubin

In between busy shows, teaching at Knit Camp and the school holidays, I was planting up my first dye garden (more of which to follow). I hadn’t thought of basil as a dyeplant but apparently there are lovely yellows and greens to be had from the flower tops. Even if they don’t pan out, I can always use plenty of basil and this one, Red Rubin, has the most fabulous deep red-burgundy-purple leaves, perfect for a yarn colourway! So August's colourway was Red Rubin, after my new seedlings (which, incidentally, are still alive although a bit windswept by the recent weather).

To show off the glossy tones of the basil leaves I chose shiny fibres ; )

Merino/tencel for Sock Club members...

Roving Medley was a lovely merino/tencel roving....

And for Fibre Adventure Club members - merino/tencel roving, cheviot fleece and a gorgeous mini-braid of lustrous, pure kid mohair.

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