Knitting and Stitching

On Friday I went by train to the Knitting and Stitching Show in Birmingham. This is a new venue for it and it was very quiet there, which I appreciated because I could have a good look at the exhibits and stalls without having to jostle my way to the front.

I liked two of the exhibitors in particular – Barbara Lee Smith, an American whom I had not come across before. Her work, a series called Mapping the Mystery, is on the front of this brochure:

brochure for knitting and stitching show

The other one is Jae Maries, who had made a series of life-sized figures, very quirky and lifelike.

As usual, I made quite a few purchases!

book by Maggie Grey on Paint Shop Pro
A book by Maggie Grey on Paint Shop Pro – I have looked through this and it looks useful, so hopefully you will see some effects in the future on the images in my blog!

carnelian and green semi precious stones and a spiral
One stall was selling strings and strings of coloured precious stones. These are the ones I bought – the orange ones are carnelian, I think. I’ve forgotten the name of the green ones. And, of course, a spiral!

purple sock yarn and wooden knitting needles
I haven’t got any wooden knitting needles so I thought I’d buy a couple of sets to try them. And some cashmere sock yarn from Hipknits.

alpaca fibre in four different natural colours
There was a stall selling alpaca yarn and fibre. I got a few samples to try using it in feltmaking. I love the softness of it – I must buy some actual yarn sometime. I want a good waistcoat pattern but can’t find one, but I would love to knit one in this yarn. Anyone know any, preferably free on the Internet? Fairly long? What do you call waistcoats in the US?

Megaliths and castles!

We saw a few old structures while we were in Pembrokeshire. These were the oldest.

These were neolithic (I think) burial sites, and there are several scattered round the coast. Our chief difficulty was finding them, as neither of them were signposted!

ancient stone burial site

This was called Carn Llidi and was along the coast path in quite a lonely, stony area. Anselm provides quite a good guide to the size of the stones.

rocky area

The kids enjoyed climbing on the rocks and attacking one another.

The second was called Carreg Samson and was in the middle of a farmer’s field. Here it is in the drizzle and murk…

megalithic burial site

As you can see, it is bigger than the other one…

megalith with people...

On the last day of our trip, we went to Pembroke Castle. The kids had fun because it is pretty intact for a medieval castle, with lots of steps to towers, narrow corridors leading all over the place and walks around the walls.

medieval castle


All those steps were very tiring!

three houses

I liked these little old houses outside the walls.

Skomer Island

While we were in Pembrokeshire, we went on a small boat to Skomer Island, a nature reserve. It is part of a group of three off that part of the coast. Earlier in the summer it has puffins but they had left for the Bay of Biscay, unfortunately. But we saw lots of gulls and other wildlife, including a pied wagtail from a hide in the middle of the island. It was lovely just to be able to walk around somewhere free of cars. It is quite a small island – it only took us a couple of hours to walk round it.

This is called The Neck, and you can only go there if you are on bona fide research – everyone else has to keep to the very clear paths.

very sheer cliffs on Skomer island
This part apparently was the best place to see seabirds, but most of them must have been out at sea when we were there. Amazing, sheer cliffs …

springy, bumpy vegetation on Skomer island
There were lots of burrows on the island – the manx sheerwater bird apparently makes them, along with the numerous rabbits around. We saw lots of gory bodies of these birds as we walked along – eaten by the gulls in the night.

sun shining over sea from Skomer island
The views were amazing.

Orange lichen-covered cliffs on Skomer island
Look at the orange lichen on the rocks!

more of those funny bumps on Skomer island
I don’t know if these are burrows, plant-covered rocks or strange growing clumps of plants but they looked weird…

seal lying on top of rock on Skomer island
That shape on the top of the rock is a sleeping seal. It blends in quite nicely with the rock itself! It didn’t move for ages…

Seals on beach on Skomer island
There are some more seals on this beach if you look carefully! They drag themselves up at low tide to sun themselves.

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