Saturday, 24 March 2012

Oldies but Goodies - Here & Now!

Our first visit to the Band on the Wall in many years and we marked it with an old favourite, Here & Now. BOTW has changed some since last we were there (not least having an entire bar next door!), but it was as good as we remembered it.

Here & Now didn't disappoint - a great set, good crowd and all in all, a fab night out. (Oh, and some very palatable local beer in actual glass glasses- very civilized!).

Friday, 23 March 2012

Chahar Shanbeh Suri - Persian Festival of Fire

Last Wednesday we were privileged to share Chahar Shanbeh Suri with dear friends. I'm borrowing the explanation from Wikipedia so forgive me for being a bit lazy.

The words Chahar Shanbeh mean Wednesday and Suri means red. Bonfires are lit to "keep the sun alive" until early morning.[3] The celebration usually starts in the evening, with people making bonfires in the streets and jumping over them singing zardi-ye man az to, sorkhi-ye to az man. The literal translation is, my sickly yellow paleness is yours, your fiery red color is mine. This is a purification rite.[4] Loosely translated, this means you want the fire to take your paleness, sickness, and problems and in turn give you redness, warmth, and energy.

The boys performed the traditional fire-jumping (a bit quickly for my camera skills but quite cool photos, I thought).

There was also an attempt at pronouncing the traditional song (some more successful than others!).

We girlies wimped out and jumped over little cans of fire (no photies of me as I had the camera!). There is some rather embarrassing video footage of our little skips over the fire but I'll spare you the detail!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Advanced Dyeing Workshop this Saturday

If you've been on one of my dyeing workshops previously and would like to extend your skills further (or just to have another day of dyeing fun!), there are a couple of spaces left on my workshop on Saturday at Spun in Huddersfield. We'll be covering creating a custom-palette, creating self-patterning yarns (faux-Fairisle), resist-dyeing, overdyeing and the opportunity to try dyeing sock blanks (additional charge payable for sock blanks). Just 5 minutes from the station and set in a beautiful Victorian Arcade, Lydia's shop is just lovely and Lydia will make you very welcome!

Newsletter out tomorrow - sign up for your yarn special offer!

The first newsletter of 2012 is out tomorrow! And we're celebrating with 3 new yarns and a special offer too!

Sign up for your newsletter here and find catch up on what's been happening at DT Craft & Design for the last couple of months!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Time well-spent

A night away with friends is sometimes just what the doctor ordered but when one of you works shifts, one works weekends, the other works a "regular job" and the other is a teacher, finding time when you're all off is a major achievement!

But we did it. We managed a lovely weekend away and had some well-deserved r&r at the Last Drop Village in Bolton. Yes, I know Pete works in Bolton and I know it's only 20 minutes away from home, but seriously when you have the Lancashire hills on your doorstep, why feel you have to travel miles?

We went to the Last Drop for Pete's Xmas do at work and we were really impressed - large pool, beauty spa, a full suite of different steam rooms and saunas and an indoor/outdoor hot-tub. And the food was great, too. So when they ran a special offer for an overnight stay with brekkie, 3-course evening meal (inc. wine) and use of the leisure facilities, all for £50 each it was just too good to pass up!

Despite the short journey it was looking a bit iffy because we set off just as the snows were really coming down. By the time we got to the hotel, the snow had really laid and it was touch and go whether we'd get up the hill to the carpark. Thanks to Pete's awesome driving skills we negotiated the tricky reverse park in deep snow between two very expensive 4x4's, and he even helped someone else reverse their car out of another space. 

To relax from our rather hairy journey, Pete had his first ever spa treatment (a massage) and I went for the facial, then it was a dip in the pool, a full tour of the steam rooms and saunas, finishing off in the hot tub as we watched the snow fall as we looked out over the hills - fabulous!(Snow is much nicer when you are looking at it from the warmth of a hot tub rather than from behind a steering wheel!).

Dinnner was lovely - lots of catching up, laughs and putting the world to rights.

And the couple on the next table were getting engaged so it was nice to share their special evening too....

Sunday dawned bright and clear and we headed off out on a very nice walk from the hotel
 around the reservoir,

 to Turton Tower (truly a hidden gem for any architecture/history buffs out there!),


to Bromley Cross via the Strawberry Duck pub (v nice) where Pete was very excited to find a recipe for local Lancashire delicacy, butter pie.....

Then it was a short hop on the train back to the hotel - tired but happy!

And it was indeed, just what we needed - see you again soon, guys!

Monday, 5 March 2012

My spinning mojo... back!

After receiving two lovely braids of fibre from Helen at MyHeartExposed in the Christmas Ravelry Swap 2010, I got off to a great start and quickly notched up my initial skein. Then life happened and this was accompanied by no time/inclination to spin.

I am pleased to report, however, that I am now back on the horse. This year I'm determined to be disciplined and make some time for myself to go our Guild meetings and I'm actually enjoying spinning again.

So much so that I have now spun one braid and am making good headway into braid two. In theory there is enough fibre to make two pairs of socks, however, having plied the first braid, I'm not sure if it's fine enough to give me the yardage I'll need. This is both good news and bad - bad because I can't get started on my socks (boo), but good because it's an excellent incentive to get on and finish braid two (yaay!).

My plan is to knit in random stripes from each skein such that any colour variations will be artistically intentional rather than an "oh dear she obviously ran out of yarn" moment. We shall see.

So we started with this....

Double it to create this.....

And then ply into this.....

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Two photoshoots in two weeks!

Super-exciting and super-tiring! Since leaving the world of accountancy I'd forgotten how it feels to be making regular trips to London so the last two weeks have been a bit of a shock to the system. I've definitely got out of the habit of the crack-of-dawn starts, last-thing-at-night trips home and drinking too much coffee!

It's been exhilarating, though, too, because I'm so excited to be getting on with the book. Seeing the first batch of text and photos last week is making it seem real and more than makes up for the long journeys.

Naturally I can't show you any book shots yet, but here are a couple of pics of me in the studio. I don't think I can recall knitting so many sample swatches in one day! A big thank you to Simon, Jo, Katie and everyone at Quarto for all their hard work and look forward to seeing you all for the video shoot next week : )

Thursday, 1 March 2012

OCA Textiles Blog goes live!

After several false starts I've finally got my OCA Textiles blog up and running : )

I was hoping to be able to combine this blog and the OCA one but it doesn't appear to be possible, so rather than clutter up this blog with all the OCA pics etc. I'll be putting all the OCA-related posts here

If you'd like to keep up to date with my progress on the course I'd love to read your comments, observations and thoughts. No need to be an OCA student, all visitors will be very welcome!

(And the latest news is that my first assignment is about to be submitted so fingers crossed it goes ok!)

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