Jaunting to Wales …

20/09/2014 § 3 Comments


Old House Cottage on the farm


Nantbrenni Farmhouse

We have, on many occasions, stayed at the Nantbrenni Farmhouse in Rhydlewis for bed and breakfast.  It’s always wonderful to return and this time we stayed in the Old House Cottage – a self-contained 3 bedroom cottage off the old farmyard.  The weather was gorgeous and we breakfasted on the sun terrace overlooking the Ceri Valley every morning.  The cottage was beautiful, comfortable and cosy.  I enjoyed early morning walks around the ponds with the girls whilst watching Red Kites swirling overhead.  We walked the girls on local beaches and enjoyed some great times with Dad and village friends.


River Teifi estuary at Gwbert

Misty - busy digging

Misty – busy digging – Poppit Sands

Belle - her favourite game, chasing the ball

Belle – her favourite game, chasing the ball

I love old farm buildings.  The refurbished cottage and newly converted Stable Cottage are amazing, beautiful stone built buildings, open right up to the beams – light and airy.  The farmyard also has many original buildings with those traditional carvings and good luck symbols left by previous generations:


hind hoof horseshoe

hind hoof horseshoe

front hoof horseshoe

front hoof horseshoe

Did you know that you can tell exactly which hoof a horseshoe was worn on?  Hind shoes are more oval than the rounded front shoes.  If you lay the shoe flat, with the toe clip uppermost, there are usually more nail holes on one side of the shoe and that’s the outer edge – so, it’s easy to identify the precise hoof – front or hind :: off or nearside.  I love old horseshoes on stable doors. I have horseshoes tucked all around our home, from the horses that I’ve owned over the years – Prince, Cinderella and Storm.

Merlin - the farm sheepdog

Merlin – the farm sheepdog

Isn't he lovely?

Isn’t he lovely?

So now we’re back ‘home’ where we enjoyed a quacky welcome from Flora Puddleduck and as ever, I’m feeling a little homesick about leaving Wales.  It takes me a few days to settle down again into my daily routine – quilting, dog walking, cooking – so today I started with mooch around the garden and some yarn-winding:


Shetland wool, from a local herd bought from the Newcastle Emlyn Country Market


This is SOoooooo satisfying and such a fun way to produce yarn cakes!


Seven lovely Shetland wool yarn cakes – what shall I make???

I couldn’t resist this Shetland wool, from the farmer who keeps the sheep!  That’s just the best thing about country markets – meeting the people who make/grow/spin the products.  Yarn winding was an easy early morning job, to ease me back into being at home whilst remembering our jaunt.  I’m not sure what to make – the yarn is described as ‘light aran weight’ but I reckon it’ll end up as a huge and very warm shawl/scarf to keep me snug at the Christmas Market at Winchester Cathedral in November/December.

The garden is still blooming though I’ve long since given up trying to keep up with the weeds.  They’re all dying back now anyway so I’ll just mooch and enjoy some late summer blooms:

I planted some Night Scented Stock in the old sink herb garden - it's straggly but still smells amazing in the evenings

Night Scented Stock in the old sink herb garden – it’s straggly  now but still smells amazing in the evenings, so insignificant alongside the geraniums and Fairy Queen miniature rose



dahlias blooming in the walled garden

self-seeded lambs ears around the geranium pots

self-seeded lambs ears (Stachys) around the geranium pots – and the first Autumn leaves from the Silver Birch tree

The Summerhouse

The Summerhouse – in need of a sort out and a coat of wood preservative next year.

I hope you’ve had a lovely week too.  I picked some sloes when we walked the dogs earlier, so I’d had better wash some jars and start my favourite Spiced Sloe and Apple Jelly.  Enjoy your weekend.


Yarn winding …

11/01/2014 § 2 Comments

and sumptious new yarn!

Have you discovered the Natural Dye Studio?  They’re based in North Devon, an area I know very well and love immensely.  I’ve made several bits and bobs for myself as I adore their lace weight yarns.  I made these, my favourite of which is my Tearose Shawl.

NDS yarns are named after local places – Withypool, Lynmouth, Watersmeet, Parracombe – ah, I’m almost there on the Cliff Railway, walking up Glen Lyn Gorge which seemed like my second home when I was little, out across the bay in one of the Oxenham’s boats or walking the dogs on hot summer days and paddling in the Lyn rivers on the way up to Watersmeet.  Now the yarn, that arrives so quickly – often within 24 hours of my placing an order – takes me back and I soak up all those happy childhood memories as I work with hook or needles.

Before Christmas I decided to treat myself to some new ‘toys’ and now, finally, I’m all set up.

yarn winder

yarn winder

Such a simple little gadget that clips under a worktop or table.  As the yarn winds around – by turning the handle – the angle of the winder means that a symmetrically wound yarn ‘cake’ is formed.  The only moan that I have is that the wire yarn holder (on the left) doesn’t stay upright easily, even when it’s clicked out, and if that drops the yarn gets into a horrible knot under the winder.  I hold the bottom of the wire thingy and it works just fine.

Here’s how the yarn starts out …

Skein of Blue Faced Leicester wool and silk

Skein of Blue Faced Leicester wool and silk – 800 m !

Oh those colours and you wouldn’t believe how soft and luscious it is in the hand.  Just imagine winding 800m of lace weight yarn into balls – I’ve done it in the past and 3 hrs later, with all limbs aching, I’ve wondered if I’d ever recover in time to make anything!

Ten short minutes later here’s what I have …

3 yarn cakes

3 yarn cakes

Ahhhhh - those colours

Ahhhhh – those colours

a perfectly wound cake all ready for crochet

a perfectly wound cake all ready for my hook

Now, I’m missed a bit out – another vital ‘toy’ that I treated myself to.  It’s all well and good having a skein of yarn and a yarn winder, but what you really need too, is one of these …

yarn swift

unbrella yarn swift

a yarn swift

my yarn swift

and a collie watching my every move!

I found it very difficult to photograph my yarn swift, so the first image is from Amazon – where I bought both my swift and winder.  I won’t recommend any suppliers as there were a few problems, but I’m delighted now they’re both here.  I rigged them up very quickly on either side of the breakfast bar this morning.

I’d have loved a wonderful wooden swift, but although relatively cheap and cheerful, my vivid green one appears to do the job very well.

So, what’s on my hook?  Well, nothing at the moment ‘cos I’m deliberating about what to make.  Anything made from lace weight yarn is going to be a WIP for months so I’m currently searching for a perfect pattern.  Probably crochet but possibly knitting.  Any bright ideas anyone?  Do point me in the direction of some good patterns if you know of any.  I’m thinking of a wide and lacy shawl or scarf.

Enjoy your weekend – the sun is shining here – YaY!

Adaliza x




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