Yarn, Yorkshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

Archive for January, 2013

Snow for the Big Garden Bird Watch!

This is the weekend for the UK’s Big Garden Bird Watch. All you have to do is spend an hour recording how many of each species of bird visits your garden (or park) at any one time, then tell  the RSPB how you did.  Simples!

Pull back the curtain on Saturday morning all set for my hours counting and what do I see- well everyone in the UK knows what I saw.. this..

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MORE SNOW! Heigh ho!

This was not a good sight to behold on account of our boiler having gone kaput on Friday! Three cheers for the Mister who had got a fire going first thing so we had one warm room. And some more cheers for the man from Worcester Bosch who came and fixed said boiler on Saturday afternoon.

Not to be deterred by snow and no boiler I fed the birds and sat down to count.

And here’s what I saw


Blackbirds -4



Blue tits-2




Great tit -1





The tally is sad because we had 10 blackbirds ,2 Robins and 6 Blue Tits at Christmas so I am wondering if some have succumbed to the winter weather, perhaps? Or maybe they just found another bird table!

Good news- not only is boiler fixed but the snow has melted a lot today. And the grey squirrel came out of hibernation yesterday too.

Love to know if anyone else spent time this weekend feeding or counting birds!

Here’s a couple more snow pictures from our garden..

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Big Garden Bird Watch-uk

26-27 January 2013 is a date to put in the diary for anyone who loves birds, and wants to take part in annual exercise to see how well the birds have fared in the last year. All you have to do is to spend an hour over this weekend, in your garden or a park and count the maximum number of one type of bird you can see at anyone time! Couldn’t be simpler- all you need is a basic guide book to garden birds- I have a number of pretty comprehensive books,but for this exercise one that just shows the most common species is enough- I use a free guide book my Dad passed onto me from the Daily Telegraph.

For more information and to register go to http://www.rspb.org.uk

Once all the information is collated you will be sent details of the results. The information is used by the RSPB to help our birds.

Do take part- the children will love it. I’ll post my results at the end of January.In the meantime do let me know if you will take part and also if you don’t live in the UK if anything similar happens where you are.

Get counting and Good Luck!


I have really enjoyed reading about others’ experiences of producing knitting from fleece to garment. So when I spotted Jenni ( known as Wooli Jenni) at the craft fair last November, with her lovely display of hand knitted bags in their full natural glory , I just had to stop for a chat. And would you believe it, she does workshops in her own home.

Yesterday, in the snow, I ventured out, to her lovely home- a cottage converted from a cow byre and diary- for a one to one session.Here..

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It was AMAZING! Jenni showed me the raw fleeces, and explained how you could tell which end was the clip end and which the tip, what made a good fleece from a not so good fleece, which part of the sheep each piece of fleece had come from, how each piece of wool had a surface like scales on which helps it bind together in spinning.  It was fascinating !

Then Jenni showed me how to prepare the fleece for spinning by carding the wool- that’s going to take some practice remembering which way to turn things.

Next came the really scary part- using a spinning wheel. Learning to treadle so that the wheel doesn’t go backwards ( a bad thing) and at the same time feeding through the raw thread to spin yarn. But


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My first pieces of spun yarn- one from carded wool and one from combed wool. But better than that- here is my first hank..

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I am so proud of my first hank- all bobbly and gorgeous. not enough to make something from but I will knit it into a small square to show you later, unless someone has a better idea of what to make.

I had the most wonderful time. Jenni was a super teacher- encouraging and so clear in her explanations. Will I try some more- you bet!

If you are ever in the Ryedale area of North Yorkshire and would like a one to one session with Jenni (£12 for three hours tuition and coffee and a flapjack!) and would like her contact details then let me know and I will pass your name to her.

PS Jenni also sells bags she knits herself, I have tentatively suggested she needs an ETSY shop, but if you would be interested in what she makes, again let me know and I will pass on your request.

Crochet rose heart

I decided the time had come to make another crochet project with my re found skills! So yesterday using patterns I found on http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog ( dated 6 January)  I made this.

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Perfect for Valentine’s Day, wouldn’t you say? And so straightforward to make I am certain there will be others coming from my hook.

My Winter Wonderland- Pickering in the snow

This  morning I drew the curtains to see this.

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The promise of sunshine, blue sky and a walk. Chores done off I went, and no apologies for a really heavy photograph post.

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Called Wells Walk- no idea why, maybe there were lots of wells here once, or a family called Wells?

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Through the fence

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Scout hut- even this building looks pretty in the snow

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Nearly into the fields

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It’s not a snow day for the schools so no children on this hill now.

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I love taking this shot when it snows!

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Poor horses – they didn’t move at all, just looked COLD!

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Past the pottery

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Gate to nowhere !

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The track to Newbridge

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No trains today!

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Path to the castle- I just love the fence with its snowy caps!

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The castle in snow

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Over the rooftops!

My favourite shot- the Gate  to Nowhere. Which is yours? And where do you like to walk on a snowy day? Love tp hear from you…



Sewing Project 3- and a forgotten “treasure”

Many, many , many years ago when I was a young,very,very,VERY young bride, I went to an embroidery class. Before we were “allowed” (those were the days!)to start a proper grown up project we had to make a sampler of different embroidery stitches on a piece of ticking fabric. I had forgotten all about it until a recent de-cluttering session when I unearthed ,at the back of a cupboard, in a carrier bag ,my forgotten treasure.

Here it is,..

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That is just too pretty to hide in the back of a cupboard. So without more ado, I found a piece of fabric I have had for years. I have no idea what I was supposed to be doing with it.  Then out comes new scary sewing machine- which I then discover I have not actually been threading up right.. all a learning curve and


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another new cushion..

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here’s the embroidery in close up.

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Have you got any treasures that need unearthing and finding a use for. Love to hear what you have lurking in a cupboard that needs a proper home!

Picture Postcard Perfect!

The village of Thornton le Dale is just a couple of miles away and has one of the most iconic cottages in the UK, not only on postcards but also on jigsaw puzzles, cross stitch kits, advertising material etc. But Thornton Dale has much more to offer than one cottage.

Let’s have a look around..

Here’s the cottage- does it look familiar?

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Over the road from the cottage is the Hall Hotel- nice meals, but also with an antique shop full of rustic goodies and a ceramic painting studio in the old stables. Sadly both closed when I dropped by yesterday, so no pics.

Up the hill from the bridge , is the church

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Now you may call me a tad prejudiced about this village. When I started to research my family history I found that my paternal great grandmother was born here.Her Dad was the local village blacksmith, maybe this one on the village green

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It is now a gift shop and cafe. ( I once had a summer job here and had no idea of a possible family connection)

It is fascinating to trace your family through the census information. Our humble blacksmith started by calling himself this, in the next census he was blacksmith and farrier, then farrier and vet and finally on the last one ,vet!  ( Self promotion!!!)  He had a large family, one boy and a lot of girls. The older girls went into service, the boy went to Leeds and studied to become a vet. My great grandmother became his housekeeper, before marrying when she became a lady of leisure! I didn’t understand tho’ why they were married in Scarborough and not Pickering until I found out that when they got married ,Pickering Church had the builders in doing restoration work! My Gran was a terrific cook, her lemon curd and Victoria sponges will be forever remembered by me. I think she learned these skills from her own Mum.

Anyway let’s move on a bit

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Don’t miss the motor museum- a must for chaps and lovers of  all things vintage

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We had a car like this when I was growing up. Dame Edna Everage is maybe not one of my favourite characters but she described it on a visit to Stratford upon Avon as a “real Shakespearean half timbered car”! And so it has been ever since to me!

Finally don’t miss this gem of a vintage finding shop.

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Well worth a visit.

Oh and my blacksmith vet great great grandparent is buried in the churchyard with his wife, his son the vet alongside, who never married and their young daughter who died as a child from the influenza.

Have you traced your family history- ;love to hear any stories. Also do you live anywhere which is picture postcard perfect?


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