Category Archives: Days Out

Walled Gardens and Lavender Fields

Last week, we decided to grab a much needed day out before the end of the school term, just the two of us.  Its amazing what you can find on your doorstep for free without really travelling very far…
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First we stopped off at the Walled Garden in the village of Mells.  I LOVE cottage gardens and would so love to have a garden like this.  Sadly, my garden seems to be a little overgrown with a few too many weeds at the moment!

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We stayed for lunch – wood fired pizza from the Walled Garden Pizza Oven.  Soooo delicious! (Make mental note to research building a wood fired pizza oven at home!)

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On the way home we called in at the local Somerset Lavender Fields.  We’ve driven past the sign for the Lavender Fields many times on route to other destinations and I had no idea what gorgeousness lay hidden a short distance away from the main road.  With the heatwave that the UK is experiencing at the moment, it felt like we were in Provence! The views and the scent of the lavender was amazing:

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There were even some lavender coloured sweet-peas!

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Just enough time to enjoy the Lavender before a quick dash off on the school run.  A fab day out!

Do you love cottage gardens and lavender too?  Do you have a favourite flower?

Happy Holidays!

xx

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Beshley’s Wool Shop

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If you’re visiting Bristol, you MUST pop into Beshley’s Wool Shop, which has just opened in Alma Vale Road, Clifton.  I was SO excited to discover that a new yarn shop would be opening near me and I couldn’t wait to see it.  Would you like to take a little peek inside?

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Meet Beshley the owner  – we had a lovely chat today about all of the gorgeous yarn that she stocks, all sourced from the British Isles (read more on her website about Artesano, Blacker Designs, Donegal Yarns, Erika Knight, Jamieson & Smith, Jon Arbon Textiles, West Yorkshire Spinners and Woolyknit).  Beshley told me that she plans to add lots more to the shop in the near future, packing it with patterns and as much British Wool as possible.  Of course I had to mention the Rowan Purelife Range sourced from British Sheep too!

I read recently that the UK has the greatest diversity of sheep breeds of any nation in the world, with over 80 different breeds in the UK with more than 70% being native to the UK.  Our heritage sheep breeds play an important role in the rural economy helping to sustain our countryside and are an important renewable and sustainable natural resource.  Take a look at the Campaign for Wool website .  You can also read about my trip to the wonderful Wool House exhibition at Somerset House in London here.

Take a look at this gorgeous range including  Jamieson and Smith Shetland Wool.  Can you spot the Kate Davies “Colours of Shetland Book” on the shelf?:

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More gorgeous wool and Brittany Birch Needles and crochet hooks:

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I just love the beautiful shades available from Erika Knight’s British Blue wool range made from the fleece of Blue-Faced Leicester – so soft!

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Spot the cute little knitted owls for sale?

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Artesano British Wool:

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And for those who love vintage, Excelana, the result of a collaboration between John Arbon and Susan Crawford knitwear designer spun from the fleece of the Exmoor Blueface, which live on the moors of North Devon.

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You can also find a gorgeous vintage section in the shop stocking beautiful buttons, needle, notions and patterns and some fabulous art work.  I love the shop ‘yarn’ logo which was designed by Beshley’s illustrator boyfriend.

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The shop provides a wonderful space for workshops and a crochet granny square workshop with Jan Ollis is planned for later in July.  Beshley also told me that a Knitting Group will be meeting on Tuesdays starting from 9th July to sit, knit and natter.

Good luck with your new venture Beshley, and thanks for the lovely chat today – I think your shop is fabulous and I’ll certainly be back!

Claire x

Iced Bun Weekend

The girls have been baking again 🙂

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I’ve been squeezing in a spot of knitting:

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I’ve picked up my Louisa Cape project again from Rowan Studio 30 ~ so cute!

There has been barbie crochet & a fashion shoot :

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Walks with the dogs in the sunshine:

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And rope swing fun!

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And freshly laid eggs from happy hens :

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Our little cockerel was quite poorly last week but thanks to some major TLC and great tips from Little Poppits he has made a miraculous recovery 🙂

I also managed to squeeze in a little trip to my LYS to admire the Rowan Fine Art Yarn (loving Kingfisher & Waxwing : on my wish list!) and drooled over the new pattern book ‘Spirit’ from Kim Hargreaves for Rowan.

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We picked up some fab Stylecraft DK to make an end of year present for my daughters teacher (I have Lucy to thank from Attic 24 for introducing me to this great inexpensive yarn).

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Here’s our sweet dog having fun in the woods:

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It was great to make the most of the bluebells, then home for fresh apple cake ~ the recipe is from Jane Brocket’s Vintage Cakes book ~ it was so easy to make & can surely be classed as healthy because of the fruit (and spelt flour that I substituted!)

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It’s a long holiday weekend here in the UK and its been so lovely to have some sunshine. What have you been doing this weekend? I hope you’ve had a great time too!

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Hardly a cloud in the sky…..

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Wooly Weekend Wanderings

We’ve been on a couple of fun wooly weekend family outings recently that I thought I would share.  If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you might have seen some of these photos already 🙂

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In April we went to the free Secret Garden exhibition organised by the Milestone Trust at the Paintworks in Bristol which was designed to “bring the outdoors imaginatively indoors, and explore the way in which people interpret and play with green spaces”.

Entering through the enchanted forest of hanging trees, we followed the needle-felt sculpture trail,  through the graffiti tunnel to the beautiful secret garden with its knitted and crocheted plants.

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Look at these sweet sunflowers and pom-pom tree:

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A treehouse city:

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Knitted vegetables and a knitted fruit tree:

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As we left the Paintworks, I admired these Airstream Caravans and the cool urban landscape:

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Stopping for a picnic lunch, we popped across the road to Arnos Vale Cemetry to discover it’s famous yarn bomb trail.  Arnos Vale Cemetry is steeped in Bristolian history – it was established by the Victorians in 1837 providing 45 acres of heritage and a rare wildife haven in the city.  My great great grandparents are buried there.  The cemetery is open every day all year round with “visitors being free to wander the site’s extensive network of paths, watch seasonal change and nature, discover the fascinating stories told on gravestones, pay respect to lost loved ones or heroes, follow a themed trail or sit and contemplate in a tranquil setting. Visitors can also take advantage of an ever-expanding range of exhibitions, self-guided trails, guided walks and events”.

As we set off, the start of the trail looked really quite promising….

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Squeals of delight could be heard as my girls discovered the various wooly delights on display on a pretty primrose lined path that led down to the Atrium Cafe…..

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Before our journey home, someone I know who really likes to crochet might just have left a little something behind…. I wonder if its still there!?

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Our other wooly adventures in April took us to beautiful Wales and an annual visit to Wonderwool Wales.  Another great family day out.  I didn’t take quite as many photos as I did last year.  Here are a few favourite snaps from our day:

Shetland Sheep:

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Inspiring crochet:

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Obligatory welsh icecream from Llanfaes Dairy in Brecon (Blackcurrant flavour incase you are wondering!?):

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Giant knitting needles and kits available from Abergwenllan :

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A fantastic crocheted ripple blanket incorporating wool from 44 British Sheep Breeds from Eden Cottage Yarns (there are more details and photos on the ECY blog if you are interested):

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An adorable ‘knit your own fox’ from BomBella Knit Kits:

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And lovely vintage knitting accessories:

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There was also an amazing knitted garden on display:

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We drove home through some spectacular scenery in Mid Wales:

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And headed home over the Severn Bridge:

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April was certainly a yarn-filled month.

Have a great weekend; I’ll leave you with a photo of some cheery Spring daffodils!

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Rowan Beach Shoot and a Giveaway!

Hello, I’m going to be spreading a little bit of Rowan Love from the beach today….

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We popped to our favourite beach on wednesday.  Ok, so I know its super chilly here in the UK at the moment, but I can’t resist a trip to the seaside whatever the weather and we were very fortunate in that the sun shone, the sky was blue, and it was actually quite warm down on the beach itself (as long as you were wrapped up well against the elements).  I even managed to get a little windburnt suntanned!

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I wanted to share with you some of the lovely goodies that I received from Rowan recently and I thought that perhaps if I couldn’t transport myself to the beautiful island of Santorini where the story ‘Glorious’ in Rowan Magazine 53 was shot, the Jurassic coastline in Dorset would do!

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So come and join me at the beach for some summer inspiration….

Rowan Magazine 53 features three design stories: Glorious: a beautiful feminine collection of floral patterns and lace stitches; Ikon: a fun, bold and graphic collection for women and men inspired by the Modernist movement of the 1920’s and 1930’s; and Essentials: a collection of key shapes and textures on trend, designed into simple, easy to wear styles that compliment this seasons essential looks.  Here are some photos from the Glorious section:

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I’ve been knitting (rather slowly since its the School holidays) a Symi Wrap designed by Vibe Ulrik and featured in the magazine, using a combination of Kidsilk Haze (in the colourway Trance) and Fine Lace (in Aged) :

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It’s a lovely lace pattern to try and the Kidsilk Haze is so deliciously light and airy to work with.  Definitely worth checking out if you fancy giving lace a go.  I’ve fallen in love with Vibe’s designs before and written about it here.  You can find a fascinating interview with Rowan’s newest designer in the Rowan 53 magazine.

I also have the All Seasons Chunky brochure to show you some snippets from: a collection of 12 super designs for women by Marie Wallin:

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I’m looking forward to trying out this new yarn which is a combination of cotton and acrylic microfibre.  I can see it being useful for both knitting and crochet, with its great stitch definition.

Or maybe you might fancy the Summer Textures collection : a texture and colour driven collection by Lisa Richardson and Sarah Hatton, which looks to handicraft and artisan tribal weave textures for inspiration?

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Crochet and textured stitches are key looks as well as mesh, basket weave and openwork knit stitches.  The collection has been designed using the Savannah, Summer Tweed and All Seasons Cotton yarns.  I’m hoping to make this crochet top ‘Cabazon’ using All Seasons Cotton:

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Isn’t this gorgeous Softknit Cotton tempting?  The colours available in this new yarn are simply stunning.

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I have some real favourites in the Softknit Cotton collection:

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These designs by Martin Storey provide a fabulous trans-seasonal collection for men and women, with the softknit cotton being interchangeable with Rowan Handknit Cotton.

And last but not least, spot the Kidsilk Haze Glamour (in the Smoke colourway, with sequins!):

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Kidsilk Haze Glamour is a fine yarn made from a blend of super kid mohair and silk with a thread of sequins.  It’s ideal for lace stitch accessories, being lightweight and glamourous, and suitable for evening wear or just that little bit of added sparkle!  I’m going to try crocheting with it as a comparison to knitting (my Symi Wrap).

I’ve also got some plans for some Rowan’s Baby Merino Silk DK and the new Studio 30 collection which contains Folk influenced designs by Sarah Hatton.  Rowan Studio 30 provides a capsule wardrobe of knits for boys and girls from 0-3 months up until 5 years.  Isn’t this pretty Louisa Cape sweet?  I love the yellow in the brochure but I’m afraid my little girl has of course requested it in pink!! (official colour ‘rose’!)  I bought this yarn on my little trip to Liberty when I visited the Wool House exhibition last month.

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I’ve also spotted a gorgeous little girl’s Tutu design by Kat Goldin in the latest edition of Inside Crochet Magazine, with the suggestion that Rowan Baby Merino Silk DK could be used for an extra-luxurious skirt variation!  You can also check out some of my other Rowan favourites in my Rowan Favourite’s Pinterest Board.

SO, SMALL DRUM ROLL PLEASE…

I just wanted to let you know that I really appreciate all of you lovely people stopping by to read and comment on my blog and my Knitandpurlgarden Facebook page, and as I have a spare brand new copy of the new Rowan Magazine 53 looking for a new home (I’ve already got my subscriber copy, which you can find more out about here) I’ve decided to do a Rowan giveaway!!

All you need to do is ‘Like’ my Knitandpurlgarden Facebook page, share the Rowan image you’ll find there in your Facebook feed and leave me a comment to let me know.  Alternatively you could also follow my blog and leave a comment here too.  If you do both, you will get two chances to win!

I will be announcing the winner next Friday.  The lucky winner will receive a brand new copy of Rowan’s Magazine 53 featuring the latest Spring & Summer Collection 2013.

If you are interested in winning a copy, please follow my blog and leave a comment below or like and share the Rowan give-away image on my Facebook page.

Yay!! Good luck!

Claire x

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Wool House

Would you like to join me on a visit to the Wool House exhibition at Somerset House in London?

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Lots of pictures (!) : I wanted to try and capture the true flavour of the exhibition for you : enjoy 🙂

As you may already know, the Campaign for Wool launched the Wool House exhibition as the world’s biggest ever celebration of Wool, exploring interiors, crafts, fashion and all aspects of this wonderful natural fibre.  Wool House offered a window on the way in which wool can inhabit a space, with leading interior designers demonstrating use of wool fibre within their work across individual rooms.  You can find out more about the exhibition and the Campaign on the Campaign for Wool website.

Come and take a peak inside…

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A dramatic black and white themed entrance hall greeted us including a life sized crochet bear created by Shauna Richardson.  Aren’t Shauna’s crochetdermy skills amazing!?

Look at this beautiful Hummingbird Wallhanging designed by Alexander McQueen:

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The corridor linking each themed room contained this stunning 100 foot wool runner designed by Cristian Zuzunaga:

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This Modern Room was created by Anne Kyyro-Quinn:

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In contrast, the Natural Room was created by Josephine Ryan:

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Every home needs a wool corner like this one, a cosy nook with a feature chair, maybe a table for books and some favourite things to make it a bit special…

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Look at those gorgeous vintage welsh wool blankets…..

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I completely fell in love with the Nursery designed by Donna Wilson:

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Look at these amazing Wall Hangings by Claudy Jongstra:

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Welcome to the Craft Room : a place to meet and enjoy workshops being run by Rowan Yarns, the Sublime design studio and Debbie Bliss, and watch spinning demonstrations.

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When we arrived, great fun was to be had with both young and old enjoying the chance to learn to knit and crochet.  We were thrilled to be able to have a go at hand spinning yarn on a drop spindle:

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We admired the many beautiful yarns on display and mood boards created by the designers:

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This stunning granny squares throw made from Rowan Purelife Renew, designed by Marie Wallin and featured in Rowan’s Purelife Home brochure inspired my daughter to start a little crochet project on the train home (more about this later..)

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You can read more about the Rowan Purelife British sheep breeds yarn range and accompanying brochures here.

I instantly recognised examples of Anna Wilkinson’s work; have you read her book Learn to Knit, Love to Knit?

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The weaving room:

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We just managed to fit in a brief visit to Liberty of London before our train journey home….

Haberdashery delights – Liberty Tana Lawn:

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And swooning over Rowan Yarns of course! :

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Finally, a walk through snowy London and some knitting (for me) and crochet time (for Miss E) on the train journey home:

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Check out the fabulous Edmund the Easter Bunny pattern available for free on the Rowan website: a very portable little one ball knitting project just right for train journeys as were the Granny Squares crocheted by Miss E in Rowan Pure Wool DK.

Are you feeling inspired to bring wool into your life and home?

 As an ambassador for Rowan Yarns I’m looking forward to sharing my passion for yarn, knitting and crochet with you. I’d love to hear from you via my blog or my Knitandpurlgarden Facebook page  – I hope to hear from you soon!

Claire

Easter Preparations…

This weekend I have been eating mini-eggs preparing for Easter….

I’ve been working on a little crochet basket/bowl inspired by designs in this lovely book, using some pretty Rowan pink handknit cotton from my yarn stash.  The pattern starts off with a few rounds of simple trebles (UK) to form the base of the basket, followed by some rounds of bobble or popcorn stitch to form the sides and double crochet (UK) to finish off.

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Today I made a floral lining out of a scrap of Liberty Tana Lawn “Betsy” that I purchased from EBay.

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To be filled with eggs from our chooks:

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Thank you ladies:

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Or Easter delights:

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I think after Easter, my little crochet bowl might find a nice home in the bathroom or bedroom as a tidy for bits and bobs:

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This weekend, we’ve also been enjoying the pre-school puppet show and getting Easter tattoos:

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And I’ve been trying on my new sandals:

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With fingers crossed for some sunshine instead of the wintery showers and hail that the UK has been experiencing this afternoon!

Have you got any Easter projects on the go at the mo?

I’m possibly off to knit some bunnies from Made by Ewe here and Rowan’s Easter Collection here &/or these cute little chickens ‘Esther, Ernie & Enid’ from Rowan (pattern here).

And knit some more of my big project

Happy Easter crafting!

xx

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