Wednesday 26 July 2017

What have I been up to in July?

Hello! I know I have been a bit quiet on the blogging front lately so thought I would share a little bit of what I have been up to this month. It's the school summer holidays here in Scotland and my 3 pre-teen/ teenage boys have a whole 6 weeks and 2 days off to enjoy themselves! I embrace this time together without having to rush around to school, clubs and appointments - we can slow down and appreciate life, making up our agenda as we go along.

I shared a blog post about our mini break in Glasgow in the first week of July which you can read about here if you missed it, but I didn't post this photo I took in the Botanical Gardens. The light was just perfect that day and I loved how the spiral staircase up to the top of one of the hothouses contrasted with the lush leaves. I may return to this image as inspiration for crochet design at some point!

Back home I began designing almost at once, working with the hand dyed Queen of Purls Citadel DK that I had bought on my travels. I will share some more about this later!

My eldest boy headed off with the Army Cadets to the outskirts of Liverpool for the middle 2 weeks of the holidays. He returns home on Friday and we look forward to hearing his news ...

I started work on a Kat Goldin pattern too - Lake's Edge hat - for my youngest boy. This was with aran weight wool so it worked up really fast!

I finished the Northmoor Lock shawl by Joanne Scrace. This is possibly my favourite 1 skein project, I have made 3 now! This shawl just needs a good blocking and then it will be ready for gifting.

Once a week my dad, the boys, our dogs and I pile into his car and head for the hills for the day! We go for a short, 8 - 10 mile walk then return home via an icecream shop. I am really enjoying getting out in the fresh air and exploring our beautiful countryside.

I had wanted to start a Virus Shawl by Julia Marquardt for a long time, because it pops up on Instagram so often and is such an eye catching design!! I was given some bamboo/ wool/ polyamide yarn by a friend and decided to use it for this shawl. The pattern worked up beautifully and is now finished, pending final photos and blocking.

Last week I took my boys to stay with my sister in Dunfermline, Fife for a few days. During this time we took a day trip to Edinburgh which we all thoroughly enjoyed. We went shopping, visited the Museum of Scotland, covered loads of charity shops, vintage shops and went to one of my favoutite shops, Greyfriars Art Shop. Below is a photo taken inside the museum - I love the interior architecture of this building and below that my youngest boy in Greyfriars - we both chose a selection of Winsor and Newton pens.

The final thing I have to share with you is something I started just the other day. I decided to hop on board the 100 Day Project - like it sounds, a project completed over the course of 100 days. For my challenge I have chosen to make 1 granny square a day, enough for a large blanket. I will be posting daily photos of my squares over on Instagram and will do some updates on the blog too. They will all follow the same pattern - Edwardian Fancy by Jan Eaton.

Phew, it's been a busy month and there are still a few days to go! Until next time,

Marta xx

Thursday 13 July 2017

A visit to Queen of Purls wool shop, Glasgow

Last week I took a mini break to Glasgow with my husband. Our three boys were on holiday in Gibraltar with their local Scout Group so we took ourselves off to Scotland's largest city to explore for a few days! I can probably count on one hand the number of times I have been to Glasgow (I was born in Edinburgh hence it's the city I tend to gravitate towards if I am in need of a city trip) so we decided to stay right in the centre and use it as a base for delving into our surroundings.

Day 1, top of my list, was a visit to The Queen of Purls wool shop! Trying not to look too much like tourists, we walked along using Google maps on our phone to navigate our way to the shop. We found it easily enough, recognising the minty colour of the exterior paint straight away!

This impressive piece of artwork was the first thing I saw as we came through the door! Since posting the photo on Instagram, I have found out it's called a God's Eye - this is a very complex version of the ones I remember making with lolly sticks at school.

Moving round, I found one side of the shop was devoted to wool in all the colours of the rainbow! There was a large selection of Jamieson's of Shetland wool, which I have used for many projects including a Croft Hoose Hat I made (pattern by Ella Gordon) and a Paul the Toadstool (pattern by Lalylala). I really like this wool because I find that as I work each stitch I feel like I am engaging with the traditional heritage of wool in Scotland. Not sure if that strikes a chord with anyone else - maybe just me? Let me know in the comments.

Moving on a little I was blown a away by the gorgeous, rich colours of The Queen of Purls hand dyed wool! The colours were bold but in tune with nature - think of all the vibrant autumnal colours you can see in the park. The yarns are available in skeins and have either a Merino or Blue Faced Leicester base. The colours are not all over solid but have just the right amount of subtle variation to keep them exciting and alive.

As well as the pure wools there was a small selection of yarn by well known brands such as Wendy, Opal and West Yorkshire Spinners - plenty for sock knitters in particular to choose from!

There was also a wall featuring many different colours and varieties of wool tops for spinning and felting. My phone battery was almost dead, so I didn't get a photo of this wall, sorry! I did take a snap of my hubby, loom knitting a hat while he waited for me to look around ...

So, what did I buy? I chose 2 of my favourite Queen of Purls Citadel DK colours - Flowers of Sulphur and Space Junk (wonderful names too!). I have already begun a crochet scarf design based on this pair of colours, a fabulous "grellow" combination. The photo below shows my work in progress swirled into a snail shape to keep it slightly mysterious for now.

Until next time, 

Marta xx

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