Thursday, 10 September 2009

Sunshine at the Westmorland Show...

It was amazingly sunny for the Westmorland County Show today! There is always a huge amount to see and do at this show. I had a good wander around with my camera and saw all kinds of weird and wonderful things.

This cow scrubbing machine looked fun (for cows anyway, maybe too bristly for me!)
Cow scrubber 2

I had a good old grope of the fleeces in the fleece show...
Fleece show 2

Owen Jones, a swill basket maker who lives just a couple of miles up the road from me, was plying his trade over by the Traditional Crafts tent (his lovely woven rush hat was attracting admiring comments from everyone!)...
Owen making a swill basket

This amazing wallhanging was inside the Traditional Crafts tent...
Lunesdale rugmakers rug

Its a kind of free-form hooky-proddy/proggy rag-rug style hanging made by the Lunesdale Rugmakers and the details in it were stunning. Sparkly silver fabric in the wording at the top, dangly bits in the river at the bottom and stuffed tights as cobbles! It was about 6ft long and must have taken ages to make.

Over in the WI tent I encountered some knitted creatures (sheep, camel and dragon!)...
Knitted creatures in the WI tent

The vintage tractors were sparkling in the sun...
Blue tractor

Of course there were plenty of animals, hundreds of them! There were lots of lovely sheep...
Curly coated sheep

Some handsome heavy horses...
Shire on show

And some gorgeous goats...
Saanen goat

All hoping to go home with one of these...
Blue rosette

I'm looking forward to next year's show already! :)

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Are you knitting another bowl?!

Errr... I might be! :)

I've had a bowl knitting obsession recently that has resulted in over 10 small knitted bowls of varying size and success. They're knitted in the round on double pointed needles to a pattern I made up as I went along...
Knitted bowls
There's not much point to them but I've enjoyed tweaking the pattern to improve the shape and it's been a good introduction to using DPNs. I'm going to felt one or two of the bowls too, just to see what happens (hopefully they'll get sturdier and fuzzier!).

I also had a go at crocheting a bowl after a quick crochet lesson from the multi-talented Carolyn when she was visiting a few weeks ago. Once I'd got the hang of the basic technique, I thought that crochet would make an even better bowl than knitting but I've run into a problem that I can't seem to solve...

I start out crocheting a round flat base and then decrease by a few stitches to create the sides. Then I keep going for a few rounds to try and get some height to the sides but the bowl just seems to get wider and floppier, curving in on itself. It turns into a low, flat beret type of shape. Maybe a cat beret... If any crocheters out there have got some bowl-making tips, let me know!

In other crochet news, I won a lovely wrist-warmer pattern in this give-away on Rebecca's fantastic blog! The wrist-warmers look great and I'm looking forward to learning some new crochet skills when I give them a whirl. You can buy Rebecca's crochet designs at her Etsy and Folksy shops :)

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Roadtrip part II...

While we were staying with my Dad on stage two of last week's roadtrip, we spent a day at the National Trust's Wimpole Hall and Home Farm property in Cambridgeshire. We got in free thanks to Ade being NT staff and had a good nosey around the walled garden and farm (which took all day, looking in the hall will have to wait till next time!).

The walled garden was very impressive, with neat gravel paths and tidy hedges...
View of the walled garden 2

View of the walled garden 1

There were some big vegetable plots...
Walled garden veg plot

and a display of squash and chilli plants in the greenhouse (check out the purple upwards-pointing chillies!)...
Squashes and chillis 2

The home farm was the most exciting bit though. It's one of the Rare Breed Survival Trust's approved conservation centres and there were lots of interesting animals to see.

This White Park calf was very sweet and had amazing eyelashes!
White Park calf

There was an Exmoor pony...
Exmoor Pony

Some Leicester Longwool sheep...
Leicester Longwool face 2

and lots of cheeky Bagot goats lounging around and getting up to mischief...
Goat in a hay rack

Brown Bagot goat indoors

Black goats

There were also Dartmoor and Shetland ponies, Shire horses, Longhorn, Gloucester, Irish Moiled and Shetland cattle, Norfolk Horn, Hebridean Whitefaced Woodland, Manx Loghtan and Portland sheep and a wide variety of chickens and ducks. It was a rare breeds bonanza! There were pigs too, but we didn't get to see them because they were being kept away from the public for their own safety (swine flu precautions I suppose).

As well as visits to Gib and Wimpole, we went to Lincoln, Cambridge and Leamington Spa and played a round of disc golf (which my shoulder is still aching from, I'm such a lightweight!). And I caught up on some knitting, more of which next time... :)