Handmade Christmas

Hi everyone - hope you are all getting into the festive spirit!

Well I have had an interesting few weeks to say the least.........

Firstly I lost my job........... although I can honestly say this was not really unexpected or necessarily unwelcome - although I had hoped to hang on to my job until February what with Christmas expenses and all, plus the fact we are moving house again and there are many costs associated with that!

However, having worked full-time  for around 25+ years, I have to say, that although I was looking forward to being at home, the reality of not having a set routine and not having my 'own' money is coming a bit hard.

But having said all that, its time for me to look for new adventures and try and find out what I can do that I truly love.  I am going to try and do some freelance HR work to buffer up the coffers a bit whilst I decide what to do.

Now OF COURSE I would like this to involve Knitting and crafting in some way, shape or form..... I have dabbled into pattern design of course and I love this, but its not the easy option, Designers work incredibly hard and I think I would have to approach this by thinking about it as just doing what I love rather than thinking that it will bring me any cash in!

Another option would be to look at becoming an online yarn shop serving the Middle East - as we do not have anything local and the cost of shipping to the UAE is expensive whether you use Shop and Ship or direct shipping.  Of course for this I would probably need to get a UAE National Sponsor, or set myself up in one of the Free Zones in the UAE, but it something worth thinking about.

Bearing this in mind of course is that at some point we will come back to the UK!! Given the problems we are having with getting the UK to treat Flo as a citizen and not a foreign student, it might be within the next couple of years so that Fred can have 3 years 'proper' residence before he starts University.

Anyway - putting those conundrums aside for a moment, and with a reduced budget, I am looking at doing some more Handmade gifts for Christmas! Although at the moment, I seem to have managed to  make one gift and one 'gift to self'!!  However inspired by Kirsty Allsops #HandmadeChristmas I am getting ready to give gifts which come from the heart rather than the Mall!

So for Florence I have made Christmas Socks in the Straycat Socks Joyeux Noel Self Striping colour way.  Wow this Straycat Socks yarn is great!  I was enabled with this by @sunnydayzdxb (who is really Claire) and I also bought the 'Candy Cane Twist' and 'Are We There Yet' colour ways - destined to fill my sock drawer at a later date.  You can see these great colours below......

For Flo's socks I did the afterthough heels, although I did them toe up.  She has quite small dinky feet so they did not take too much time and I think she's going to be very happy with those whilst she is here over Christmas and also once she gets back to Bath.

Then of course the West Yorkshire Spinners Christmas special sock yarn - Holly Berry - has been all over Instagram and Twitter - so I just had to have some of course! (along with Ethel the Brit Yarn bag OF COURSE!) and as ever the lovely Isla from Brit Yarn provided fantastic service and sent my goodies to Flo who brought them over with her when she came for the F1!

These socks just flew off the needles (and at the moment my favourite needles are the Knit Pro Zings 2.75mm with 100cm fixed cable for magic looping.....)

Again I did the afterthought heel, but this time I did them cuff down because I wanted them a little bit longer and actually the ball of yarn is so generous that I could have almost made them over the knee!
I adore them and will be wearing them on Christmas morning - even if it means having to turn the air conditioning on...........

Finally I have had a nasty reminder that my kidney function is very poor and perhaps I sometimes I take the  fact that I am so lucky to have a kidney transplant for granted!  I had a 'sore' foot which got worse and worse until I was literally crawling round on my hands and knees, because to even put my foot on the floor gave me excrutiating pain.  Now I have a high pain threshold, but for even me, the pain was so dreadful that it brought me to tears!  A trip to A&E told me it was Gout and my uric acid was twice the amount it should be....... So I spent our trip to the Abu Dhabi F1, on crutches, wincing in pain, unable to drive my visitors around and feeling generally miserable.  To add insult to injury, the anti inflammatory drugs gave me terrible stomach cramps!  So I have turned to alternative methods and have found the cherries are a natural remedy to dissolve the crystals which form in you joints - who knew!!!  With that and the fact that I now need to follow a 90% vegetarian diet with very little (or no) meat and alcohol, you could say that the last few weeks have definitely been a catalyst for change for me!

The Summertide Shawl

Hi everyone and I hope you have had a productive few weeks!

I thought I would share my finished Summertide Shawl with you today.

This shawl is a design by the lovely Helen Stewart of A Curious Handmade, which she designed as a mystery knit along.  I do like mystery knit alongs, although a couple of times in the past I have been disappointed because people who have the time and knit very fast, have posted their finished objects when I am half way through! However this group of lovely Knitter's took heed of Helen's plea to keep social media sharing to a minimum so as to not give the game away and I managed to finish it without having seen a photo to spoil the fun!

Helen announced the winners of the KAL prizes last week on Periscope and so I feel safe enough now to write about it!!

I wanted to knit from stash and the requirement was for two colours.  I really agonised about the choice because actually I don't have too much sock yarn in my stash!! (Or at least I didn't until my recent trip to A Yarn Story!!).  So I decided to chose a Dubai Knits skein from the lovely Jocelyn which I had fallen in love with a few years ago - a beautiful pale mint colourway in a silk blend and something very different in a skein from Ripplescrafts which I bought last year on our trip to Scotland (see my previous blog post HERE) which is a deep blue with the most gorgeous tweedy 'nups'!

I was not 100% sure that they would complement each other, but nothing ventured, nothing gained right?

I waited patiently for the first clue, and I duly cast on in the evening of 17th September!

The first clue section of the of the shawl was garter stitch and I decided to start with the Dubai Knits yarn and was not disappointed! Not only is the colour gorgeous but the silk blend made the garter fabric super soft with a gorgeous drape. Jocelyn has not dyed this colourway since mine and I have already told her she needs to do more of this - it's just lovely for shawls!

The second clue arrived and this was still to be in the first colour.  However we moved into lace and this clue took some concentration! I took the shawl with me to the UK on my trip to Bath and managed to finish this lace section in the hotel on the night before my early morning flight back to the desert. By this time I was a little behind schedule but decided there was no way that working full time and travelling to the UK in the middle of the KAL would make me an early finisher so I took that pressure off myself!

When I got back to the UK I started to work on the next clue and changed to the Ripplescrafts yarn.  This was a complete contrast to the first yarn, but in a really good way! Stitch definition was great and I soon realised that the contrast in the yarn did in fact work very well! Again the lace needed some concentration but I began to motor through and really enjoyed knitting right to the end!

The shawl is a live,y size - medium sized I would say, which is going to make it extremely useful now that the weather in Abu Dhabi is finally cooling down!

Although I have been listening to Helen's podcast for a long while now, I had never knit one of her patterns (shame on me!) but I would thoroughly recommend them! Her instructions are super clear and I love the fact that she writes everything in a table and let's you know how far you have knit with her percentage system. In fact although I usually use a chart to knit lace shawls - this time I used the written instructions!

The whole experience has been a delight and I look forward to he next one Helen!!

Find Helen at Curious Handmade - she appeared you may remember in my Top Ten Podcasts post a while ago!!

Bigger on The Inside!

Last week I finally finished my 'Bigger on the Inside' shawl.

As you might know from previous posts - we are huge Dr Who fans in this household and since the 'new' series began back with the 9th Doctor - the lovely Christopher Ecclestone - we have not missed an episode!

Fred and I have been along to the Dr Who exhibition when it was in London, we have also made the Tardis for a school project on 'Time Machines' and Fred went to school dressed at the 11th Doctor - Matt Smith - for his 'film and TV star day'!!

We even own an inflatable Dalek!!

Fred as Matt Smith, various Dr Who themed Birthday gifts, Inflatable Dalek and home made Tardis for a school project!!

So was it any surprise at all that I wanted to knit the 'Bigger on the Inside Shawl' by Kate Atherley??

The pattern is available on Knitty.com and after looking through the projects on Ravelry I decided to work with the Knit Picks Gloss Fingering in the Winter Night colourway.

I have to admit I had started the shawl once before in lace weight and it was a disaster!  The lace section had completed confounded me and I frogged it!  However this time it was a lot easier in fingering weight yarn and whilst you still needs to have your wits about you whilst doing the lace section, it did make for much easier knitting.

I took it with me on our first trip to the UK this year and spend a lovely few days on the Kent coast in quirky Dungeness and made some good progress!

A gorgeous spot for knitting!

After the lace section however I got hooked up with other projects and finally I picked up the project in September, wanting to finish it for the new series!  However that was not to be!

I finally got it finished last week.  Its a lot of knitting but the little Tardis' (Tardii??) were interesting to knit and the yarn was very easy to knit with so the last part flew along!

Lace section

The shawl is subtle enough to wear without anyone screaming 'Dr Who Weirdo!' at me! I did wear it to the Abu Dhabi Gaming Convention on Friday last week - just before our drama which resulted in Fred having to have his appendix out!! Because of that we did not get any photos sadly - but will try again as soon as Fred is better and can hold the camera up!!

So if you are a Dr Who Nerd like me - give it a go - its very cute!

Read more detail on my Ravelry Project page Geronimo!

What is Lupus? Lupus Awareness Month

This week I am going to take a slight diversion from my normal knitting talk, and share a bit about my experience of Lupus.  October is Lupus Awareness Month and there have been a few articles floating around on the net – especially since Selina Gomez has been diagnosed with the disease.

So what is Lupus?  Lupus is an auto immune disease – basically it’s your own immune system turning on itself and attacking like it’s a storm of Orcs in the Lord of the Rings!  Mind you the most distressing thing about the disease is that you never know where it’s going to turn up – some people have rheumatoid arthritis, some have chronic skin rashes and some, like me are unfortunate enough to sustain organ damage.  It’s a nasty disease, which is only really just being 

Each Lupus sufferer has a different story to tell – and yes they can be so different that you may think they are suffering from a totally different disease – but each one of us can tell you how much it affects every aspect of your life.

I was diagnosed finally at the age of 24, after having 2 years of seemingly constant illness.  Every six weeks or so I would get a ‘stomach bug’ which would put me to bed for 2 or 3 days and take a further 2 or 3 days to get over, with terrible headaches, vomiting and urine which looked the same colour as a class of Coke.  Each time would be worse than the last, but although I was ill I still looked really fine – no particular weight loss (I was slim at the time already) and because I was fairly fit at the time too, I bounced back quite quickly.

So I kept on working and struggling to maintain some semblance of normal in my life.  I had just got a really good job where I was travelling around the UK and I put on a brave face.  But it was terrible – I would be throwing up at work and back at the hotel at night.  I remember one particular time being so ill that I actually threw up in the reception of a hotel (The Cumberland in Oxford Street) whilst trying to check out – to the chorus of disapproving “Should not have drunk so much last night”…………… why, when seeing a young woman clearly sick, do people think you have been drinking or are pregnant!  Work was no better – they accused me of taking too much sick time and because of that they were going to give me a poor performance review – clearly they thought I was making it all up because I ‘you look well – you don’t look ill’ – but the reality was that each day was a monumental struggle to get through and I did not know what the heck was wrong with me.  Doctors made some wild assumptions including Porphyria – the same disease that ‘Mad’ King George had in the 18th Century!  I was put onto antibiotics and went for many blood tests but to no avail.

Eventually one foresighted doctor referred me to the Royal Airforce Hospital, Halton, Renal Unit.  There I had 3 kidney biopsies and eventually they came to the diagnosis of Lupus!  I of course had never heard of it!  My consultant, Wing Commander Rainford, specifically told me NOT to go off to the library to look up Lupus!  So what did I do…………yes you have guessed it – I went off straight there and saw in an old book that Lupus was uncurable (yes that’s still the case) and that most people died within 2-3 years of diagnosis (wrong wrong wrong!) – well, as you can imagine at 24 this was pretty devastating!!   Of course then, as now, progress was being made all the time and now 25 years plus later – I am still around (well not without some other major health issues – but I am still here!!).

So the great thing was that I was no longer going to being sick every 6 weeks – this was going to make my life so much better – yes! …………………NO!  Instead I had to take a cocktail of drugs to keep my immune system in check – including the heinous Prednisolone!!

Prednisolone made me fat, made my face swell, made me even more tired, made my hair brittle and made me super sensitive to the sun (added to the fact that Lupus makes you sensitive to the sun anyway!).  Vitamin D made me itch – itch like there was no way of ever escaping (in the end I refused to take it!!) and other immunosuppressants made me break out in warts!

Coupled with regular trips to the hospital (which was over 80 miles from my house), sometimes as an inpatient and sometimes just for a check up, I found out what it was like to have a Chronic disease.
I was 24 – my life was ahead of me – a life which was now going to be dominated by illness (and still is to some extent, although I have had to learn to live with it!)  I had a disease which no one understood which made me look well (note ‘wow you have put on some weight in your face – you ARE looking well’!!) – with no idea where it was going to lead me.  I wanted children – that was going to be pretty much out of the question now. It was all pretty gloomy.

I’d like to tell you it all ended with a happy ending – it didn’t, it doesn’t…………..

My symptoms came and went  over the next 5 years– sometimes my Lupus was really raging and I would be ill again, and sometimes it would be in respite for a couple of months.  I never knew what it was going to do next.  My periods were heavy,  I had a rash on my face,  I was tired, I got migraines – we never knew if it was Lupus or something ‘normal’.

And then when I was 29 I got pregnant!  Lupus was pretty quiet at the time, I was ‘just’ tired and picking up every cold going – but aside from that the Doctors agreed that with care we could proceed with the pregnancy.

I am not going into the details too much but Lupus was sited as the reason I got pre-ecplampsia, delivered a month early and why I was carrying the Streptococcus virus which passed to my unborn daughter in the birth canal, and why she died 12 hours later………………  Her death certificate sited cause of death as ‘Lupus’.  Whilst she may not have had the disease herself – it caused her death.

I was of course devastated, I felt like I had let my partner down – of all the people he could have chosen I was the one who was sick, who had caused the death of his daughter – I was not in a good place.

Lupus is an evil disease and preys upon you when you are at your lowest!  It flared up (Lupus ‘flares’ are those times when the disease is active) and I was very ill – mentally and physically.  Wing Commander Rainford told me that the only thing to do before too much more damage was done, was to put me onto Chemotherapy (Cyclophosphamide, same drug as is reported Selina Gomez been given).  Now this was not the intensive chemo that cancer patients have to bear, but was a once a month trip to the hospital for over a year to have a cocktail of lethal drugs which made me feel absolutely vile for 2 or 3 days (and although I can hardly believe it now, I drove the 80 miles there and back each time!!!).  Thankfully I have a mad mop of hair and I did not lose too much,  but I went back onto steroids as well – a low time.

It was then that we decided to get married and right up until 1 week before the wedding, we did not have a photographer – I did not want photos of me on my happy day, looking so awful.  We did go ahead and get a photographer and even now when I see my wedding photos I feel a flutter in my stomach – this was not how it was supposed to be – I was supposed to look like my friends did on their wedding days– the gorgeous bride………….I wore a big hat to try and hide my huge moon face.  Yes you might say that that’s very vain of me – but this disease had chosen me – it wasn’t fair, why had it not chosen anyone else – pointless thoughts of course.

Fast forward four years and Lupus had finally gone into remission.  The disease had only affected my kidneys (not sure if I should be thankful for that or not) and RAF Halton had closed down so I was referred to the only Lupus unit in the country at the time at St Thomas’ Hospital under the care of Professor Hughes – the UK pioneer of Lupus research.  Professor Hughes agreed that we could try for another baby so we did just that and fell pregnant very quickly. There were lots of complications in the pregnancy, but our daughter Florence was born 8 week premature at St Thomas’s hospital on 27th December 1996.

And then my kidneys completely failed………………………………………and my Lupus completely disappeared from my system – like the Orcs, it fled leaving devastation behind!

I have had many more problems since then (Dialysis, Transplant, Cancer – I can save those for another day!) Lupus is a devastating disease and its twists and turns can be cruel and unpredictable. I am the lucky one, I got my transplant, I have a beautiful daughter and son (born after my kidney transplant) - I consider myself lucky - others are not so lucky.

 I wish Selina Gomez the very best, my hope is that she can do more to promote understanding and research into Lupus – but give her space, somedays she will be looking her usual glamourous self, but underneath she will be a vulnerable 23 year old, who is tired beyond anything she has ever felt before and getting to grips with the fact that her life will never be the same again. 

My heart goes out to her and all my fellow sufferers throughout the world in this awareness month.

More information on Lupus can be found at:



Images above are from the Lupus UK website and more facts can be found there and on their Facebook page.

Woolly Hat Day 2015

Happy Woolly Hat Day Everyone!!

Wooly Hat Day is part of Wool Week and is supported by the Campaign for Wool.

Its also a time to raise money for charity and the Mission for Seafarers is looking for donations.  Its easy to do in the UK as per the below banner!!

In celebration of the day I have put together a collage of my own woolly hat collection!!

In the centre middle is my own Lordship Lane Hat which can be found here on Ravelry - Lordship Lane Hat and Scarf - its a free pattern but if you would like to donate to the Wooly Hat charities perhaps you could text to Wool 11 as the note above!

Anyway its as usual too hot here in Abu Dhabi to wear a woolly hat so I will be donating without wearing!!

Enjoy your weekend!!

From top left:

Lordship Lane Hat and Scarf

Top Ten Sock Knitting Patterns for Socktober

If you are a knitter and not been abducted by Aliens then I am sure you will have heard of Socktober!! I am knitting some gorgeous new socks for me as part of the celebrations, but I thought I would give you my top ten picks of patterns available on Ravelry which might tempt you to start a pair of socks or even given we are already a few days into the month - you might want inspiration for a second pair??? (Ever the optimist I know!)

Top Ten Knitting Patterns for Socks

1.  Seed Pods by Louise Tilbrook:

Well of course these are number one!  This is my pattern of choice for my Socktober efforts!  I am finally using my treasured Skein of Buffy Toughie by the sadly lamented and missed Juno Fibre Arts. Loving the pattern so far and very well written - well done Louise!! Available for £2.50 on Ravelry.

Find Seed Pods here on Ravelry

WIP on my Seed Pods in Juno Fibre Arts Buffy Toughie

2.  Rye by Tincanknits

If you are a newbie to socks this HAS to be the pattern to start you.  Its fabulously written - there is no way you can go wrong and its FREE - what's not to like!  I love them, they are quick, simple and there are instructions for all sorts of sizes!  Do a pair for each member of the family!

Find Rye Socks here on Ravelry

My Rye Socks in Plucky Knitter Yarn

Such a lovely easy pattern

3.  Elgin by Clare Devine

In my queue - these just look the most comfy socks that ever lived!!!  AND they look a quick knit too!! A paid for pattern £3.50 on Ravelry.

Find Elgin Socks  here on Ravelry

4.  Monkey by Cookie A

Where would a top 10 list of socks be without Monkeys - again these are on my queue and saved for when I have given up work and have more time to concentrate!!! This pattern is still available for free via Knitty.com but if you want a bigger range of sizes there is a $6.00 version on Ravelry.

Find Monkey socks here on Ravelry

5.  Muddy Daffodils by Clare Devine

Clare makes it into the list again at number 5 - the best pair of yellow socks I have ever seen! The pattern for these yellow beauties is £3.50 on Ravelry.

Find Muddy Daffodils here on Ravelry

6.  Fish Lips Kiss Heel Socks by Sox Therapist

There are many different types of heel around - and I definitely want to try the Fish Lips Kiss Heel - if only for the name!!  The pattern is a steal at $1.00 on Ravelry!

Find Fish Lips Kiss Heel socks here on Ravelry

7.  Afterthought Heel Socks by Laura Linneman

Again another different type of heel I want to try - its pretty popular and similar to the Fish Lips Kiss, perhaps a little more sturdy.  And the great news is that this is a FREE pattern on Ravelry.

Find Afterthought Heel socks here on Ravelry

And then try these at your peril...... well it IS nearly Halloween after all..........

8. Pair-A-Normal Socks by Barry Scates

I'm not too good a colour work and whilst these are only black and white - they look way to complicated to me!!! These are another fabulous free pattern on Knitty.com!

Find Pair A Normal sock on Ravelry here

9.  Elf Shoes by Pamela Wynne

I admit it, I secretly really really want to knit these - and yes they are probably classed as shoes or slippers but they could also be classed as socks..yes??  Even better news is that this is also a FREE pattern on Ravelry.

Find Elf Shoes here on Ravelry

10.  Cowasocky by Leslie Comstock

These somehow just seem so wrong.......but so right......  FREEEEEZIAN (get it??) pattern again on Ravelry!

Find Cowasocky here on Ravelry

Hope you enjoyed that quick romp around my current faves - would love to hear what your favourite Socktober patterns are??

Leaving the Nest to Feather the new one!!

There have been a few articles in the press in the last few weeks about kids leaving home and going off to University both from the 'Freshers Flu' point of view and the 'What are we going to do without the Kids' angle! Of course I still have a relatively small person (aged 11 if that counts as small!) but my eldest has now officially left home for the big wide world! But yes I can relate to the feelings of emptiness and the inevitable change that a child moving away means, and in my case she's thousands of miles away - I'm not sure if that makes it harder or not..................I'm still getting my head around that one!

The first wrench was 3 weeks ago when she left Abu Dhabi for the last time (well the last time as a resident anyway!) and I was surprised at how emotional I felt about that, seeing her off at the airport at 5.30am on another hot and sultry morning in the desert. She could not understand it - 'Mum, you will see me in 2 weeks, what's the fuss?' - well the fuss is that everytime I closed my eyes I saw a toddler with swathes of long dark hair with huge brown eyes, with unbelieveably long lashes, saying 'Can I have a hug Mummy before we watch Teletubbies?' and that was the tough part - my little girl has officially Grown Up!

So the intervening 2 weeks went pretty slowly for me until I sat down on the British Airways 1.45am red eye flight back to Heathrow to move her into Uni! 7 Hours later I picked up the hire car (little white manual VW Polo - which I kept stalling because I am so used to driving an automatic  (yep I am an Expat Brat!) drove to Sevenoaks to pick her up from my sister-in-laws house and we set off for Bath!

I absolutely adore Bath - as you may know from previous posts, I am a History Nerd and therefore the city ticks all the boxes there could possibly be for me - I'll be honest I could camp out indefinitely in the The Fashion Museum with a copy of Northanger Abbey to read over and over again - picking out those 'ironic' bits that my English Literature teacher at school was obsessed with! We spent the first couple of days at Ikea and Primark (hate them both because they are 'fast' - but budget requirements meant they were the only option) and we managed to get everything we needed for her (well at least we thought we had everything until our Skype call yesterday.......Toilet Brush!!!!!!!!)

Naturally I had to pack all the hand knits - and yes I wore them all!!!

How could anyone not love this architecture!

Flo had never actually been to the University Campus, having had her interview over Skype so we both had a great shock when we arrived on Saturday to do the final registrations - such a stunning location, helped by gorgeous weather - which I am reliably informed is not always so lovely, I had obviously packed some sun to share. Her Halls are in another part of Bath, a short bus ride away and Sunday was spent moving her in. Bath Spa University - details here.

As you would expect - more gorgeous architecture at Bath Spa University

Traditional parkland planting - probably by one of the Georgian Landscape Designers - definitely need to research!

I love the mix of traditional and modern

I was shocked at the amount of 'Stuff' being packed into quite small rooms by some of the students! Flo and I are both advocates of the 'less is more' school of thought and I introduced her to the Konmarie form of folding t shirts to fit neatly into drawers. Took us a couple of hours and we were pleased with our work and I even managed to put fairy lights up for her whilst the rest of her flatmates were still wading through their cardboard boxes! Then it was time to go - time to leave her with her new friends - time to let go!

BUT........ there is always a silver lining to every cloud and even though the sound of the BA theme as we landed in Abu Dhabi the next day sent me into tears............... I did have a fab time in the UK and there was always the yarn................there IS always the yarn................ 

So, where to start..... I had made an online order at Tangled Yarn because I completely fell for the Wingu Shawl by Claire Devine. This was a very serendipitous moment because I had just posted an old photo of Sperm Whale watching in New Zealand (still one of the greatest moments of my life) and can you believe the colours Claire used for the shawl were an almost exact match to the colours of the photo! So I was straight onto the Tangled Yarns site to order! Well as these things happen (well they happen to me anyway) I then saw the packs for the Pwani Shawl by Claire and I fell for the 'On the Shore' colourway which are browns and creams - so into the basket they went! I hastily called Flo and told her to expect them in the UK and to pack them carefully when they arrived! On our first night in Bath she casually threw the parcel at me, which was a lot lighter than I expected! However I was delighted when I saw the yarn - Light Fingering - a very apt name and with the light and open patterns Claire has created these are going to be ideal for desert wear!

Able and Ivy Kit in the 'On the Shore' Colourway

Coast Colourway for the Wingu shawl

 I have not been into a yarn store since January when I had made a rushed purchase of some Debbie Bliss cotton in Tunbridge Wells so I was really looking forward to going to a 'proper' indie shop! A Yarn Story in Bath was my LYS of choice so we headed up there on Saturday afternoon! The shop was full of lovely ladies learning to drop spin and I happily squished and stroked and 4 skeins of beautiful yarn became mine!!

How beautiful are these!!!

Firstly were these beauties from Townhouse Yarns in Ireland.

This skein is the Grafton 4 ply which is 80% Superwash Merino, 10% Cashmere and 10% Nylon.  It feels like clouds of marshmallow due to the Cashmere!  There are 400m in this 100g skein called Cherry Cola!!

The next skein is Camden Tweed which is 85% Superwash Merino and 15% Donegal Nep.  Again 400m in a 100g Skein.  Colourway is Troi and its a real 'Duck Egg' Blue!

I was super excited to finally purchase some The Uncommon Threadyarn.  So many podcasters (ear burning you A Playful Day!!) have raved about this yarn but I have never seen, let alone bought a skein, so I am super happy with this! Its a Singleton which is 100% Superwash Merino with a whopping 415m!  This may become a shawl because I need more grey shawls in my life!
Last but by no means least is this 'Skein of Awesome'!!!!

Just look at this beauty!!  This is from Life in the Long Grass  another Irish supplier and its 75% Superwash Merino and 25% Nylon and if the Uncommon Thread skein was long - how about 425m!!

The custom colourway is simply stunning with pinks and creams, lilacs and purples!

And the name ...... Confused Hydrangea ... genius!!!

So now if I am able to claim via third party (i.e. Flo), my new LYS is A Yarn Story, 128 Walcot Street , Bath - go get yourself some Confused Hydrangea - you won't be sorry!!!