Thursday, 7 March 2013

Unravel 2013

That was January and February zooming by...
January was rather grey, February was a bit brighter, and then there was Unravel at Farnham Maltings!

As ever, the Maltings was wonderfully decorated yarnbombed (and this year, the sheep on the front lawn didn't make a bid for freedom). The theme for the riverside cafe was 'Under the sea'. I think my favourite was the shoal of fish suspended from the ceiling. Visa Lisa has a nice slideshow on her blog of her experiences of the weekend.

Our stand was in the courtyard Kiln - a lovely light room at the end of a corridor. We shared the room with UK Alpaca and Hoopla Yarn. After setting up our stalls on Friday, we all decided that the sign out in the corridor looked a little cold and lonely, so on Saturday morning, we decorated it and found it some friends (to the delight of Amy from the Maltings).

I spent Friday evening crocheting scarves for the pair of tiny ducks.
(yes, I can crochet if I have to, and I didn't have any dpns with me for my initial i-cord plan)

The bigger ducks were presiding over the stand
We were so busy that I didn't get chance to escape to take many photographs or to go shopping for very long (shock, horror!), although I did manage to get a felting kit from Jenny Barnett, one of the Unravel festival bags, some Hoopla Yarn, and a hooky project pouch from the Undercover Owl. And, I had a nice catch-up with OneHandKnits (who didn't tell me that she had a lovely new pattern out!), and I met Ruth from Rock + Purl and the list of things-I-really-want-to-knit expanded even further...

Thank you so much to everyone who came to say hello, bought yarn, chatted, brought sweeties and made it such a wonderful two days. I'm looking forward to next time!

Monday, 31 December 2012

Hello, I'm back!

So, I haven't really been properly away much this year until December, when I ended up abroad twice in three weeks.

The first trip was to Denmark, as my friend Lisbeth was getting married. The second trip was to Austria, for Christmas without the stress of who's cooking / washing up and being cooped up whilst the UK weather and TV conspire against you. The rest of the time (in between wool shows), I've just been tired and not really up to writing anything coherent.

I've now had my last day in the office, and whilst I'll miss some of the lovely people that I've been working with, it is a huge relief to have reached the end of three years of trying to do my best at a job with an unpredictable workload whilst learning to cope with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (which really needs me to establish a routine and pace myself carefully). Now that I've got control of my schedule, I can rest when I need to and hopefully get more done overall - particularly Sparkleduck dyeing and web updates, but also knitting, spinning, patchwork, quilting, drawing, painting, photography and generally making a colourful mess :o)

Today has been a 'friends' day - meeting up in Cambridge, and hearing from someone who had vanished from the radar for a while. M has taken the chocolate brownies that we baked earlier to share at a New Year's Eve party. I'll have to catch on that tomorrow, as I need to rest if I want to stand a chance of coping with tomorrow in a smiley manner.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, 1 April 2012


The last week has been a bit rough. I started to make a list of people who, whether they realised it or not, have helped me with hope, smiles, confidence and acceptance.

So, thank you, Ben, Dot, Eddy, Eva, Gerri, Jane, Joe, Kirsten, Liz, Marcus, Marie-Louise, Mark, Michael, Miri, Rosie, Steph and Susan for guiding me through. I've discovered that I'm not as isolated as I thought.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012



I can hardly believe that it's just over a week since Unravel (and two months since I last posted. Ooooops!)

If you've never been, Unravel is held at Farnham Maltings, and is very friendly and fun. The Maltings gets decorated yarnbombed (I loved the knitted moles in their molehills on the front lawn, keeping the live sheep company), and the festival of wool has been growing each year.


Last year, I admired Seren Stacey's "A Bumble of Bees" exhibit. This year, the sparkleduck stall was in that very spot!


We shared the Tannery with 6 other exhibitors - Eliza Conway, IT, Jeanette Sloan, Mary Kilvert (who designed the fabulous Unravel bags), Namolio, and the OneHandKnits and The Undercover Owl duo.

It was lovely to meet lots of new people and old friends over the weekend.
A little ducky parcel hatched into these two cuties:
The keyring-torch quacks, and I spent the remainder of the weekend wandering around lighting up and quacking... Thank you, EveE!

This little chap formed a cunning plan to keep me quiet on Sunday by kicking the skein of yarn that his mother was winding into a nice tangle on the floor.
As some of you may know, I quite like untangling things, so I spent the morning cheerfully chatting to visitors through a skein of yarn... then these appeared to say 'thank you!' (the fourth, a lemon tart, escaped with Wrigglefingers who helped me when I started flagging at lunchtime)

Friday, 6 January 2012

On the twelfth day of Christmas...

... the few decorations that we'd put up came back down ... including this little chap, who's one of the best Christmas cards I've ever had, I think!


I hope that you've had a merry christmas, and that 2012 will be a happy one for you.

Monday, 29 August 2011

It's Making Monday time again

Hello again... it's been another week of very little making. I've added about an inch of ribbing to one sock, started the toe of another because I was impatient to try the yarn, and perhaps most importantly, I've been trying to make an effort to rest enough, as I'm on a fairly rapid medication change, and I stand most chance of maintaining an outward appearance of a normal human being if I can channel the amount of energy I normally seem to need to cope with fatigue into maintaining composure instead. Spending about 3 hours during the day on proper rest is actually rather hard - I'm something of a fidget-brain, wanting to explore or do things as much as possible. Sleep, music, audiobooks and feeding the ducks seem to count, but knitting, sewing, reading, the computer, TV, walking, chatting to friends, cooking and spinning are not rest. (grrrrrrrrr!)

So, whilst not resting, I've made something tangible: cheese scones, from a Delia recipie, with smoked paprika in place of cayenne pepper, and whatever cheese was in the fridge. Yum!

M would like to point out that he has contributed to Making Monday by making crumbs from one of the scones ;o)

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Making Monday - Look What Other People Made!

I wanted to write this post last week, but I just wasn't in a fit state to string words together. The last few weeks have been particularly groggy and unproductive. I've only managed a couple of rows on the Westknits mystery shawl since last time (and the final clue came out today).
My grand achievement for today was 'making' dinner, and that involved feeding pizza, garlic bread and salad to the oven and/or the appropriate slicing device, and I'm not sure that that really counts. It doesn't feel like much to be proud of. Writing this might be a greater achievement.

Since I can't celebrate what I've made today, I'll celebrate other people instead. Last weekend - 12th and 13th August, I went to the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham.
My friend Kirsten
had a couple of quilts on show, including this 'grow-bag' baby sleeping bag
complete with dummy. I have a strong suspicion that her daughter will be a happy little ladybird when that quilt gets home!

Gillian Cooper had a gallery of her 'Unsung Muses' work (that's her, viewed through one of the pieces is the first picture)

What about the raw materials?
Everything around us is made. Some of it is made organically, as plants grow. Plant fibres can then be processed, in large factories, primarily by machines, or in smaller factories, with more manual input...

Micheal Oakshott of Oakshott Fabrics sources Oakshott's range of fabrics from a weaving cooperative in India, providing the weavers there with a steady stream of work - and providing quilters with some fabulous fabrics to work with:
On the right-hand side of the Oakshott stall is the blur of activity that is Helen Howes, who designed and made a lot of the kits and samples that are on display.

Finally, one of my favourite quilts. It's small (about 30cm square, I think), quite simple, ad a cheery splash of colour:

I've got quite a lot more photos, but the lighting in the exhibition hall varied from orangey sodium to almost daylight, depending on the weather at the time, so some tweaking will be required to make them presentable!

Gosh. I think I have another achievement - this post is more than I thought I could manage.

See what other people have been up to this week at