Learn Something New

Nature is weird, wonderful and amazing. Only a few days ago it was so cold that the water butt was frozen solid and yet today we have been out for a walk without our coats on (!) and these bright pink flowers decided to open again. They seem to close at the end of each day and after the really cold snap we had I thought they were done for because they hadn’t opened in almost a week, but here they are. I don’t know what they are, but they are the brightest thing in the border and they make me smile. There is an app to identify plants on your phone by scanning them, but I’ve done the more traditional thing to learn this plant’s name; I took a photo and have sent it to my mum. She’ll know. (She did, sort of – it’s a ‘species crocus’, but she can’t remember the exact name!).

Yesterday afternoon the thing I have been raving about for months finally happened! Craftucation.com went live!! It was a soft launch with 13 courses available in a wide variety of crafts at the moment, but there will be many, many more coming. Two of the courses are mine (as I might have mentioned once or twice) and there are courses on crafts I’ve never even heard of before – and I have a fairly broad crafting experience. Ice-dyeing, anyone? This looks really cool! Or Anglo-Saxon embroidery? Beautiful! There are also ones you are likely to be more aware of – felting, crochet, sewing, cake sculpting/decorating, and more knitting. The folks behind this venture have worked so hard and have made the website easy to navigate and friendly as well, with a range of chat forums (fora?), including ones for the students of each course to share their progress, ask questions and communicate with the tutor. So, you’re not just on your own once you’ve bought your course, which is so important when you’re learning something new.

My Heart in my Hands Collection was published in full on Sunday too (it’s been a busy few days). It seemed appropriate to get it out there on February 14th! Photographing all three sizes of hat made me realise that there has been quite a lot of knitting happening here since the New Year. There have been these three hats, the matching cowl, my Little Orme mitts in (almost) original colours – I’m halfway through the second mitt, my Llanberis hats (at least two were knitted this year) and my Serenity jumper using my Bear in Sheep’s Clothing advent mini-skeins which is coming on nicely. I’m currently on the yarn from Day 14. That’s in six weeks! Oh, and I’ve been swatching like mad for my third Craftucation course – An Introduction to Lace Knitting. During the week I’m going to gather everything together and photograph it all to share with you visually next week.

I also submitted a design to a UK mag. It’s a lovely design idea that I really want to get out there. I don’t hear back for a little while yet, but I’ll let you know how it goes.

In sourdough starter news, I have had a breakthrough today. It’s been bubbling and looking interesting, but not actually growing in size. Some friends on Facebook shared their starter tips with me, many of which included ‘throw some rye flour at it’. I don’t have any of that, but I do have wholemeal, so this morning I fed the starter with a half and half mix of strong white flour and strong wholemeal. And it’s loving it! It’s almost doubled in size for the first time and I’m getting quite excited, especially as, having named my starter (Audrey) I was beginning to worry that I was going to need to try again. But, hey, the name is ready if that does happen – Audrey 2 (from Little Shop of Horrors in case that made no sense to you at all).

I’m still enjoying my spinning very much and am trying to ensure that I spin at least twice a week. I’ve finished the first half of the wonderful fibre dyed by Anne Murray that I showed you a couple of weeks ago and started the second half last night. Mostly I’m getting an even twist and a regular thickness, but sometimes I lose my way a little and it just stops holding together. I think because I am focussing hard on not over-spinning it and making it too tight there is a tendency to go too far the other way and not put enough twist in. Perhaps it’s a hint that I need to spend a bit more time with the online course that I’m using (Spinning with a Purpose, by Katie Weston from Hilltop Cloud)?

Anyway, that’s enough from me for today – I have spinning to do!

Take care, stay safe and go explore something new, K x

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