Learning to Knit

I often get a lot of comments as people see me knit out and about, or see the yarns, or my knitted socks….. “I wish I could knit”

Well the honest truth is it takes practice, but its actually quite easy!! and realistically if you can knit, purl and can google what the other terminology means then you can pretty much knit ANYTHING!! This thought is borne out in some of the FB groups for knitters I am in and seeing some of the amazing first projects people have put out!!

My first project, when I relearnt to knit in my 20’s was a blanket! Several million (well it felt like it towards the end) small knitted squares and then I taught myself to crochet to put them all together! This blanket now resides in the boys room on the rocking chair, has sat round my shoulders whilst I fed them in the small wee hours and might need the odd repair as they now haul it about over their heads to be ghosts etc.

I then knit a LOT of hats!!! At first seamed and then after discovering the local Stitch and Bitch group in Cardiff and support and enabling properties that came with, I moved onto in the round, graduated to socks, sweaters and shawls and never looked back!!

Then I started to dye and design my own patterns for things I couldn’t find quite what I wanted in the huge bank of patterns out there in the world.

So I guess I am saying….

I am going to launch a series of videos over on the YouTube Channel for learning how to knit….!!

Eek there I have said it!

I also plan to resurrect Maker’s Monday over on the Channel and do a monthly update of what I have been making, whether that be knitting, crochet, sewing, spinning or weaving, dyeing, designing etc! So feel free to hop on over subscribe and check out the videos I have made already over there!!

Smallholding Sunday

I am starting a series of blog posts, about the things we get done and need to do around the holding…. maybe accountability, maybe a kick up the bum when we need it, maybe all just pie in the sky….. I will add videos onto the YouTube Channel for a monthly tour of the main bits of the holding as well! Hopefully around the same time as my monthly updates posts!

So for a first posting, maybe a list of to dos I seem to add to almost daily. These are over and above our daily chores of feeding and watering the animals which has to be done whatever the weather, although the chickens didn’t like the snow we had recently!

So my list at the moment:

  • Barn gutterings and down pipes (this will have to wait till later in the year and for a dry time, but we have managed to repair the middle barn sidings so far less water incursion there)
  • Tin hut finishing (there are MANY small and large jobs for this to happen but it will happen this year!)
  • New duck enclosure, they need a new house, more space and we plan to add it onto the current large chicken run
  • New willow plantings, both basketry and biofuel (J has finally said the whole little field can be put to willow!! Yay!! Well other than my dye beds, which will move up to allow for the duck enclosure to be added.
  • Renovate chicken shed enclosure after fox incursion last year, make the run ‘walk in able’
  • Make a hedgehog enclosure, Holly will need a safe outdoor garden space to live in come the spring, with log piles, a shallow pond and sleeping box.
  • 2 long hedgerows to cut and reshape into a hedge rather than the tangled mess, and to also add to our wood supplies for next year.
  • Camping pitch x1 in the far pasture.
  • Start clearing the holding field for building work/landscaping though this will be an ongoing project over the next few years. I plan to build a cabin to run courses and more forest school etc.
  • Planting, growing, harvesting, fruit and veg
  • Planting and growing dye plants
  • Ongoing garden projects, both for the children and for flowers and prettiness!
  • Make a pond
  • Make more wildlife garden areas
  • Plant trees
  • Continue clearing and sorting the inside of the barns, removing rubbish, from years of accumulation both by us and the previous owners. Making workable areas and storage.
  • Pigs, at some point in the springtime the pigs will head off on their final journey to the abattoir

We have always had lots of plans each year for this place, last year we did a lot of gardening and we managed a few final fencing jobs, some holiday let building, a pig house, and a play palace for the boys. In fact since we bought the place in 2014 we have built a house, started and almost completed a second, built a veg garden, three huge raised beds and a polytunnel, planted an orchard, fenced and fenced and fenced. We have built a fruit cage, planted withy beds, a dome and a tunnel, more gardening after beating back enormous bramble forests….

So far this year, we have managed to start cutting back one of the hedgerows, the longest in fact! We are about halfway down the inner side, the outer side was done by tractor flail cutting. So just the tops to do on that half and then into the really overstood half! This has so far gained us about 5 foot more garden space for the holiday let. Now I need to chip the brash and get the willow fedge planted and the holiday let garden can rest till spring, when patio, gate building and planting will start in earnest. The far field hedge will allow us to plant some quick growing pines, for biodiversity, screening and firewood and also to prepare the camping pitch and compost loo site for the summer months.

We have planted our little horse chestnut tree, we have mastered sourdough and we have measured, planned out and written a to order list for the three new enclosures or extensions we need to build.

Smallholding update!

Living the dream!!!

So many people say this to us!! And it always makes me laugh a little, yes in so very many ways we are living the dream, but I really don’t think a lot of people realise how much hard work the dream is!!

Take this week for example!!

All the rain and wind, meant slipped roof tiles and James braving the ladders to fix them, because water had started to come in through the ceiling in the boys room!!

We had a small electrical fire resulting in us losing our immersion heater…. no big deal we light the Esse for hot water mostly at this time of year! But more wood hauling…

More water around than ever it seems…. and for some strange reason multiple air locks in the water pipes of the house (seems to be a weekly occurrence requiring us to drain the system)

So we go puddle jumping to feed the animals and the pigs are happily digging themselves ponds!!

Rats!!!!! (And foxes!! We have lost 10 chickens this year to two fox attacks one where they clear chewed through the wiring of the cage!) but back to the rats, they have increased hugely this year and now as well as trapping the beasts we have to repair rat damage building the ducks a new home and repairing the floor of the chicken house, despite having “rat proof” feeders! We also have a nest in the workshop, so each time we go to get firewood we catch movement out the corner of our eyes and they are wily beasts avoiding the traps set or even bold enough to lick them clean without tripping them!!

And we have been working hard on the new build! James has painted the internals walls, the rear access ramp and front steps have been built by our wonderful builder!

And that’s before we even get started on the effects of Covid, isolations and lockdowns….

BUT would I swap this?? Would I go back to life before????

A million times no!!

Thank fully living here we have been (until this week) sheltered somewhat from Covid effects and having the land here means we have always had something to do and somewhere to go! The land allows us to get outside every day, to work, to look after our animals and to play.

We have the time and space to grow our own food and raise our own animals for eggs and meat and wool. So we know where our food comes from and how they have been raised and treated, which is important to us and waking round at this time of year both shows me how much we have done and how much more we have to do to put everything to bed for winter, then the willow harvesting can begin and I can put in more fedges, new plantings and try to soak up some of the water!!

We have some snippets of time to follow our own interests and this will hopefully increase as the years go by and things get more under control!!

Tomorrow we bring in the horses for winter and move the sheep into a more sheltered field for the winter, and maybe a bit more gardening or repairing…. today we eat a roast dinner from our own animals and our own veg and maybe I’ll steal some time to knit!!

And one day we will have field shelters, under control gardens and land, rat proof poultry pens, and a holiday let up and running!! So rather than living the dream more working towards or on the dream!! 😁

All around the holding….

So….. deep breath and here goes…..

Back at the end of April…. the Polytunnel finally had its skin put on!!

We almost immediately started planting and moving some of the seed across that we had started in the house off into the tunnel….

Spring finally arrived after the seemingly relentless winter!!

The small boy found more vehicles to sit on and press all the buttons….

The fruit cage planting was finished and now it’s just a case of weeding, watering, mowing and mulching at regular intervals…

The chicks, born on the first of March, got new digs and moved in!!

With the advent of spring the endless grass and weed management begins!! We are fortunate in that we have been gifted a field and brush mower in previous years and that mower chimps through long grass, brambles, weeds etc like they are butter!! And then to get the lawn effect in certain areas I am using the little old electric mower from the old town house!! (I am going to start saving for a normal Petrol lawnmower just so I don’t have to run an extension lead out each time!

Look at the little faces!!! Grandad bought the boys a new toy!!! Look!!!! It’s a fabulous tractor!!!!

There is a plethora of blossom in our orchard!! So we are hoping for plenty of apples this year!!!

The one and only flower bed needs a darn good weeding and I need to start making more flower beds and tackling the weeds on the banks cutting them right back and digging out where I can so I can start designing and planting garden areas!! I harbour a small dream that one day our garden will become one of the yellow book gardens that open for the national gardens scheme!!

I have planted some more willow whips and have more rooting!! I am making a willow tunnel, a willow teepee and I plan to maybe try a few more willow structures around the place! I am using a combination of osier willow and basketry willow so eventually as well as winter colour the structures and other willows will become another saleable crop in both cut willow and baskets or willow creations!!

Can you spot them?! Clue- they are yellow basketry ones here!!

The Polytunnel has started to green up slowly!! We have a multitude of different vegetables starting to grow!!!

And James has been out practising using a topper attached to his tractor to cut the grass!! We have now also been out to see a topper for sale nearby and James’ offer was accepted… we have trailer to borrow and now are awaiting a collection date!!! Exciting!!!

Finally James has had opportunity to start the raised bed walls!! So we will have even more growing space for our vegetables!! (Lucky as we have loads in seed trays starting to need to be planted out!! And we have more seeds to sow for more autumnal and winter crops!!)

Phew!! Lots of work!! Lots of plans and always loads more to do!!!

Challenges and goals!!

Well the traditional goal posting for the new year is here!!! Last year I wanted to read 26 books!!!! Ha!!! Between the farm and moving and working till July and toddle chops I don’t think I even managed one!!!! And with a new baby arriving this year I need to be realistic about what I can manage….. soooooo with that in mind…..

Husbundle is good about giving me some toddle chops free time to concentrate on shop/work type stuff!! So I plan to……

Mum and I set up the Brinkley loom she bought me for my birthday/Christmas present this year!!! And I plan to try and weave a little each day!!! It’s very addictive though so I am going to have to be quite strict on my time as this will happen during naptime as I DO NOT need a small “helper” running his cars up and down the warp threads!!!! Which happened this morning….

The next kind of goes without saying….. and happens each evening in order to keep me awake long enough to watch the odd TV programme!!!

Sewing!!!!! I’m having a blitz on cutting out patterns and starting to cut out some fabric but I plan to try and get one garment done a week!!! Sewing I can do when toddle chops is around to “help” as he will play with his toys in the box in our room for a short while….. longer if he has Winnie the Pooh, Thomas, Go Jetters or the Octonauts playing!!! Hurrah!!! So I can get a decent amount of sewing in, but pattern cutting and fabric cutting is a toddle chops free pastime so therefore depends on James being free or nap time!!

And finally…..

My wheel has languished since before toddle chops was born, but I can manage just fifteen minutes a day surely!!! Plus my fluff stash has expended past its initial one (large) box!!!! Must contain it and use it!!! Both in spinning and now weaving!!! Hurrah!!! Hoping the weaving also uses up more of my odds and ends of yarn too!!!

I plan to keep sketch journalling once a month, gradually working through my stall stock and adding it to my Etsy shop…..

Woodwork will happen at times….

Plus I have a few plans for some new bits and bobs for the shop….. but I need more time with my year planner to sit down and work out all the details for this…..

So lots of craftiness and plans for the crafty business afoot!!! Stay tuned!!! I will post some more in depth what I plan to sew….. what I plan to knit…. etc etc as I get more organised!!!

Work around the Holding

So since we are here now every day…..

We have started doing some bits around the place other than he workshop and the house!

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Planting some bulbs for some spring colour about the place….. Crocuses, tulips and Daffodils….011012

Mowing the grass …. so we can get at the bed we planted and weed the heck out of it….once this latest bout of storm and rain is finished….013

Oh my poor rockery and bog garden…… this soooo needs attention…..014015016017

But there are now 50 crocus bulbs in the front garden hopefully settling in and getting ready to pop up come spring….018

James has built some composters in the far end of the slurry pit as was…..019

Our bales stacked up in the yard…. plus the mess of the far end of the slurry pit as a before photo…020

I mowed all the grass and weeds…..021022023

Sir played on the gator again!! (we are so going to have to hide those keys!!)024025

James de-baler twined the roto-tiller…..026

We carted some muck from the barn and planted a box and forsythia hedge from some cuttings we took and rooted before we left the old house…..027028029030

and finally I am not sure you can see the rocks but we have marked out for a fruit cage…. which we ordered at the start of the week and it arrived VERY quickly from First Tunnels.

Now to mulch the area marked, build the fruit cage, anchor it FIRMLY in place, order and plant the fruit!!!!

I have plans for gooseberries, blueberries, raspberries, currants, strawberries etc etc!!! the rhubarb will find itself in a shady spot in the muck the other side of the wall!!

The Podcast!!! Episode 1!!

 
This morning I shared the first of the Tyddyn Bryn podcasts!!! There is episode one up on YouTube!! 

Here are the show notes!

Welcome, and explanation of Tyddyn Bryn and the short series of videos….. Namely because of small man!!

Knitting:

Currently working on… Vanilla socks for James with a partridge heel in Crazy Zauberball yarn I bought at Loop.

A Deco Brioche mug mat, by Lesley Anne Robinson for the Pinsandneedles newfangled makealong 

A hat for William in sirdar snuggly four ply, which just needs ears then I’ll write up the pattern!

The WIP walk of shame….

17 UFOs discovered when I trawled my stash…. 17!!!!! They are all on my Ravelry page (I’m on there as Tyddyn Bryn) the one of note is the daydreamer I’m knitting for William! Pattern by Jennifer Steingass on Ravelry, paid for pattern.

Sewing:

Two FOs the bedroom curtains and a pair of trousers for William. The Barcelona joggers by IKatee patterns. Fabric from Ray Stitch in London.

Acquisitions:

Simplicity 1080 pattern for a linen tunic

Merchant and mills book

Lotte Jansdottir book 

Kafia ole sock yarn

Janome over locker

Shop update… 
There are also two farm tour videos!!

Farm tour part one

Farm tour part two

26 books

Aka one book for reed two weeks of this year!!! Sooo before Cheeky was born I read a bit of a book every night without fail…. Since he was born I have not picked a book up….. So now that he is starting to sleep some more in his own cot not the cosleeper…. I’m going to try this challenge!! 

  
Here are some of the books that have made my potential list this year!!

   
    
    
   
 Some are in print some are on kindle!!! Admittedly some I’ve started previously and all bar Game of Thrones will be restarted, I’m on about book five of seven there…

I also have two Tara Swiger books to read, map your business and market yourself….

So far I have read The start up guide….To completion! So that could fall under female Author or book to improve an area of my life…. 

I’ve started to read Duane Elgins Voluntary Simplicity… So let’s see how I manage!! Baby… That thinks sleep is for the weak….. Returning to work… Sorting the smallholding… I think I can manage  a book every two weeks!!!