Friday, 29 July 2011

Goodbye Fridge Magnets

Alex and I have a street on our fridge. When we were in Amsterdam a few years ago we saw magnets that were shaped as various shops and fell in love with them. Since that time we have collected a number of magnets which fulfil a specific criteria. They are now about to be packed away in a box to be shipped to Australia but this is the collection that we have accumulated.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Knit Nation - The Purchases

Knit Nation was a fabulous weekend and not only did we meet a lot of wonderful people but I even did some shopping which I thought that I would share with you.

Patterns by OneHandKnits, the South Kensington Shawl, St Pancras Sock and T.A.R.D.I.Sock

An Easyknits Sushi Sock Roll
Sweet Clement Royal
Tube Line skeins from the Knitting Goddess
Mini Squeens from Skein Queen

Knit Pro Needles from Addicted 2 Knitting
Bamboo DPN's from Tall Yarns

We also bought items from Tillyflop Designs but as they will be a present for someone I haven't taken photos of those.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Yarn Dyeing

When we start running The Quizzical Owl as a business at the start of October one of the areas that we will be expanding into is yarn dyeing. It is something that I am very keen to try. I've been told I have a very good eye for colours. I have been very lucky to have been given a couple of opportunities to have chats with dyers and to do a little bit of dyeing of my own.

After spending time with Jeni from Fyberspates, these are the results. These skeins were painted with dye by hand, and steamed. Each of the four skeins below were dyed with the same dyes. The skein on the bottom left is an aran of pure wool (not superwash), and has taken up the colour differently from the superwash merino/silk blends (the two yarn cakes) and the sparkly yarn skein.

On a visit to The Knitting Goddess (Joy) I tried my hand at doing semi-solid colours.  I chose pink and green.

And the results:

The yarn cake is superwash merino and nylon, the top pink is a merino/alpaca blend, green is merino and tencel, superwash and nylon, and the last is a mini skein that I had dyed with Kool-Aid some years back and threw into the dye pot to see what happened.

Thanks must go to Jeni and to Joy for letting me mess around with colours, hot water, paintbrushes and for teaching me many things about the world of dyeing.

It's a world I can't wait to try out.


Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Isle of Wight Steam Train

The reason that we travelled to the Isle of Wight was to pick up the yarn from the Knitting Goddess for our London in Stitches Collaboration which happened at Knit Nation. We had a look at what we might want to do while on the Isle of Wight and noticed that the Heritage Railway was running for 40 hours straight as it was their 40th anniversary. Alex and I like trains, and thought that we couldn't miss the opportunity to ride on this steam railway.

We don't have a car so after getting the ferry across to the Isle, we got on the Island Train service which runs from Ryde Pier Head to Shanklin. The train is a 1938 former London Underground Northern Line train. The train took us to Smallbrook Junction which is only open when the heritage railway is running.

We boarded the steam train which goes to Haven Street and Wootton and had a very relaxing ride. The railway doesn't go through any major centres so it was very enjoyable going through the countryside after what had been a very busy few weeks for both of us.

We went through Haven Street and stopped at Wootton where the engine had to be turned around.

On our way back to Smallbrook Junction we jumped out at Haven Street to have a look at the museum and shop. While at the shop we bought a couple more items for the train set that we both want to build when we grow up. Scott also bought a book from the shop that had photos of people platelaying. His Great Great Grandfather was a platelayer for the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway so was very pleased when he saw a photo of platelaying in the book.

The steam train ride and the weekend on the Isle of Wight was a lovely and relaxing diversion from what has been an extremely busy couple of months.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Isle of Wight - Dirty Drink Names

I just wanted to post photos of these two drinks we found when on the Isle of Wight because they made us snicker. Hopefully it will cheer everyone up from a very rainy London.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Macro Photos - Insects

Alex takes a lot of excellent photos but while we were on the Isle of Wight, I was quite proud of a macro photo that I took of a bee on a flower and thought I would share it. Not to be out done though Alex took this amazing photo of a wasp when we stayed with the Knitting Goddess.

My Photo of a bee taken at Wootton Station on the Isle of Wight

Alex's photo of a wasp taken at Ventnor

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Legoland Windsor

On Saturday we took Sarah’s two girls to Legoland Windsor. They had stayed with us the previous night in the ‘magic bed’ on the Friday night as we were leaving very early on the Saturday. The ‘magic bed’ is our fold out sofa bed because it magically appears out of the sofa.

Arriving at Windsor there were some difficulties getting from the station to Legoland. The reason for this was a march for Armed Forces Day and the signage at the bus stop advising of delays was non-existent. After an hour and seeing the road closed and the march go past we decided to jump in a cab which the girls enjoyed just so that we could get there sooner. I have to say the girls were extremely well behaved through all of this frustration.

Arriving at Legoland the queues were not too horrendous, Esme had fallen asleep in the cab and was napping on Scott’s shoulder. We got into the parkland and took the Hill Train down to The Land of the Pharaohs where we met Paul, Justine, Tay and Alyssa. Everyone got along very well throughout the day. It was amusing when Orlaith and Alyssa stood side by side they were the same height even though Orlaith is 5 and Alyssa is nearly 8. Tay and Alyssa were very sweet and really looked out for both Orlaith and Esme. 

The first ride that we went on was the Orient Express where we got a little bit wet, this wasn’t a bad thing as it woke Esme up and she suddenly realised that we had actually arrived at Legoland. We also went on the new submarine ride which was amazing. You ride in a submarine and go around an aquarium. None of us expected there to be live fish in the water, all we expected was Lego sculptures, so to see live fish was stunning and a nice surprise.

We next moved onto the dino safari, which the girls loved as Esme got to pretend that she was driving and Orlaith loves everything to do with dinosaurs. Then Scott and Esme went and drove the boats and Orlaith went in the boat with Tay and Paul. Scott bumped into the back of Paul and Orlaith’s boat a bit hard and he was trying to blame it on Esme but Esme thought that it was very funny.



Tay and Alyssa then went to do the Driving School which was for children over 6 so Esme, Orlaith and I went to Duplo City where they went into the water feature. They had an absolute blast. All they wanted to do was get wet – and get wet they did. They ran around and around the water play area, through sprinklers and fountains, puddles and hopping on and off Duplo animals. 

Everyone else went to ride on the Viking Rapids which meant that Esme went to play in the Wendy House and then wandered around Mini Land. Mini Land lived up to its name. It was an area within the park with scale models of world landmarks. There was Amsterdam with canals, boats that travelled around the canals, the typical houses (the same houses we have adorning our fridge). The landmarks were phenomenal. The detail on them was incredible! Moving trains, almost perfect replicas of the buildings and tiny people, all made from Lego. 

Esme and I then headed back up the hill on the Hill Train (as she’d been asleep on the way down and missed the journey entirely). We met everyone else in the shop. The girls did some shopping. We did some shopping. And then began our very long journey back to London. We were all utterly exhausted by the time we got the girls home. I think their faces were sore from smiling so much. They had a great day, and so did we.