Saturday, December 1, 2012

I've been away too long

Just as I was getting into a routine with blogging (and liking it very much!) I was thrown off course by loosing my internet connection. Just over a month ago now, I moved into a bungalow in Barbrook with my good friend Daisy. We've been having a lovely time settling in - a proper post about the new gaff will follow! Sadly, this is the reason why I've been missing for so long. Hopefully posting will be back on track soon.

In the meanwhile, I have lots of little posts planned to catch you up on this past month's goings on. Lots has been happening!

In November I journeyed to London to meet my very good friend who was visiting from Toronto. Fun! We had a to-do list about a mile long, and got straight to exploring as soon as he arrived - at the Borough Market. Having been there once before I knew what I was in store for, and arrived hungry.

Borough Market

Borough Market

On my first visit, I was completely overwhelmed by all the food I wanted to buy, cook and eat. The selection of local venders is fantastic! This time, I tried to remain calm and think about the things that I could bring back to Barbrook with me (sadly, this meant that I could not buy the entire wheel of comtĂ©.) I could, however,  indulge in the grilled cheese sandwich! The grilled cheese folks were also serving up roasted potatoes with this molten cheesy goop on top...I almost died.

Borough Market

Borough Market

It was lucky really that I couldn't stock up on breads, cakes, fresh game, fish, fruit and veg....I'm sure I don't need all that food!

We had a lovely time wandering around,  taking in the delicious smells and checking out what everyone else was eating. It was great to see really specialized vendors as well - like the liquorice people (at least, that is what I know them as). They were offering real and fresh black liquorice from all around the world. This time around I bought some ginger liquorice and a malty, chewy ball thingamajig. I would include a photo to clarify that description, but I've eaten them all already!

Borough Market

Another highlight of the market visit was our visit to Monmouth coffee. I'd been here before as well and loved the selection of fair trade, single origin beans...though both times I've forgotten to buy beans for home!

Borough Market
I meant to get a photo of the butcher block table in the center of the room. It has communal bread, butter, jam and honey in the center. If you're lucky enough to get a seat, it's not a bad spot for a Saturday morning coffee I'd say. Oh yes, and the queue was around the building!

 Our trip to the Borough Market was a success, we left with heavy bags and full tummies (not to mention a good caffeine rush!)

Here are just a few more pictures, because I can't resist!

Borough Market

Borough Market

Borough Market

Thursday, October 4, 2012

food festival

This Sunday was the annual Lynton food festival. I had no idea what to expect on entering...not that my expectations were particularly high or low. The important thing was, of course, that there would be fresh food from local producers. I do love food! I was prepared with some shopping bags and my camera, and very happily discovered that the Lynton food festival is quite a happening thing!

flowers from the smoked garlic people

 Without a doubt, the most beautiful stall of the day offered smoked garlic, chard, fresh flowers and squash. I was in heaven...where to you even start with that kind of selection?

beautiful squash

The squash is so lovely that I can't decide what to cook with it - the food has to be as beautiful as the squashes are.


Depending on my mood, I might try to argue that chard is the king of vegetables. I am very fond of it any day, time or place.


and garlic. These folks were really winning the day!

There had to be a baking competition (can't believe that I didn't know about this sooner!) The cakes submitted were all Victoria Sponge, and competition was quite stiff from what I could tell.

victoria sponge cometition

victoria sponge contenders

terribly serious. 

enjoying exmoor ales

The Rising Sun was offering up pints and mussels...this is where things got a bit messy.


Station and John

 John and Station tucking into some mussels.

Meanwhile an enthusiastic omelette making competition was underway outside the town hall. I still argue that most of the "omlettes"  being made were hasty scrambled eggs...with bits of shell in...but it was all good fun. Here's Phil having a go


Carnage at the omelette table.

Some more bits and bobs because I can't resist a good food photo.

dan the fisherman

hand made cheese

this man makes the best sausages in the world


Daisy with a fresh jug of unpasteurized milk from a neighbouring village. Pretty great.

Monday, September 24, 2012

a day in the shop

On Saturday I spent the day working in the John Arbon Textiles shop. It's the place you can go to all year round to get your fix of cozy wool socks that are made right here in Devon, from British fibre too! Spending an entire day in there staring at socks and yarn certainly got me thinking of a few new knitting projects...and made me want to buy about 25 pairs of socks. Seriously, these are the most comfortable, warm and awesome socks I've ever come across - and I really like socks! I had some fun snapping pictures throughout the day, so here's a look...

John Arbon Textiles Shop

Love that green paint colour!

John Arbon Textiles Shop

a selection of knee socks. I LOVE the ones in the top left - they're called alpaca country socks and they are so soft and warm (and knee high!)

John Arbon Textiles Shop

John Arbon Textiles Shop

John Arbon Textiles Shop

John Arbon Textiles Shop

Here is the yarn I'm working up those granny squares in. The palette is just perfect if you ask me!!

John Arbon Textiles Shop

I knit those socks in alpaca sock yarn - I love how fluffy they are! The pattern is Hermione's Everyday Socks.

John Arbon Textiles Shop

It was a beautiful day on Saturday and I loved hanging out in the off to do some knitting!

Thursday, September 20, 2012


On Sunday I had a fantastic afternoon foraging for wild blackberries right here in Lynton. There was nothing difficult about it (except reaching through nettles and spider webs) - blackberries cover almost every wall and line every road around this time of year. In the space of a couple hours I had more than enough of these tiny, sweet and delicious berries to make the crumble I had in mind, success!

blackberries on the roadside

There were so berries, and I was having such a great time that I wanted to continue picking all afternoon! In the end I chose to leave some for the other foragers and not be to piggish. Having only tasted blackberries from the supermarket before, I was happily surprised to find that these little berries are the perfect balance of sweet and tart and taste so much better than anything from the store. They are also a lot cuter - obviously very important!
blackberries on the roadside

As I was picking, countless great baking ideas came to me. I decided in the end that the crumble I planned from the start was the right thing to make, just because I wanted to keep things simple and let the taste of the blackberries be the main event. That's not to say that I won't bake up all those other goodies next weekend when I do it all over again, yippeeee!

freshly harvested wild blackberries

 Washing the berries was interesting. As much as I like to get my hands dirty (I do) and enjoy a day spent exploring the forest, fields or any wilderness around me...I don't like bugs very much. I especially don't like touching the squirmy, slimy ones...that were crawling all over my little bag of berries. I bravely (and as gently as possible) removed all the little creatures and carefully washed my berries in preparation for the crumble!

I was so pleased with it in the end that I ate far, far too much. By the time it was finished baking the sun was down and my hope of getting a great photo was gone with it. Here is the best I could muster
wild blackberry and apple crisp

There is still a little bit left that is calling to me from the kitchen right now........

In knitting news, I've been ever so focused on my latest design project. Last post I mentioned that I cast on one sleeve. Since then, I've knit up the second sleeve and worked through a good chunk of the body as well - record time!

comfort jumper

comfort jumper

comfort jumper

I love knitting on something so simple, and I've had such a clear idea of what I want this sweater to be - everything is working up easily so far. I'm sure in saying that I've just put some massive curse on's hoping not!

I will leave you with a few pictures I grabbed on my blackberry walk. The hydrangeas are all blooming now, and some of the colours that are coming up just blow my mind! Hope you like them...



Sunday, September 16, 2012

time for crafting

This past week I've been feeling quite ill - I don't get sick very often, but when I do it usually a big deal. Being home from the mill all week, I've had lots of time to rest, dream and create. My mind is overflowing with new project ideas, and I've managed to cast a few on. More impressively, I've drawn out future design ideas (because even I am not going to cast on 4 new sweaters at the same time - that must be some kind of knitting suicide).

Here's a peek at what I've enjoyed working on...

netherton cardi

My Netherton Cardi has been on my mind since I picked up this lovely yarn at Loop in May. The yarn is the Uncommon Thread BFL Light DK and it is such a lovely thing to glows! The pattern is from Pom Pom magazine and I've wanted to knit it from the moment I saw this sweater knit up in real life. I've almost made my way through the body, just a few more rows of ribbing. Of course, I'm worrying that I'll run out of yarn - I only had 3 skeins to start out with. I've been knitting faster in the hope that I have enough, I know that is insane.

Because life is not worth living without granny squares, I've also started on a new blanket.

crochet motif fun

crochet motif fun

I picked up a lovely Japanese crochet motif book at Junku in Paris. After spending at least a week working up different motifs (it's very hard when you love them all) I settled on this one. I wanted something quite simple and old fashioned. The yarn I'm using is John Arbon Textiles Excelana. I think the colours are just perfect - they're all carefully chosen to look like they are from another time. Unlike many other vintage yarns, however, Excelana is 100% wool. Hooray for that! I'm working up most squares solid, but throwing in the odd mixed one when I run out of yarn...or when I feel like it. I'm finally working my ends in as I go and joining the squares together as I make them - why didn't I do this with my last blanket?!

I've saved my most exciting (I think) project to the end. Last night I cast on the first sleeve of this sweater and it's already past the elbow! I'm making up the design as I go along, and it will be a predictable Emily shape. My yarn choice has surprised more than a few people around here, but I love it!

latest purchase

It's another yarn form John Arbon Textiles - a marl made from Knit by Numbers colours. I don't have any pictures of it knit up just yet, but the fabric is exactly what I wanted and I can't stop knitting! 

The timing of my knitting frenzy could not be better. As the days get shorter and the wind picks up I'm wanting to be bundled up in endless wooly layers. As a Canadian I should surely have a stronger tolerance to the cold, but I don't. The locals are still roaming around in shorts and I'm wearing a hat and 2 sweaters. My plan - just keep knitting! I've been able to put a recently finished project to good use as well...

noro cardigan - finished!

I have been in need of a good cozy cardigan for a long time, and it seems like this Noro chap is going to do the job. My only issue with it is that the fronts curl back if they're not held together (that's why they are pinned in the photo) Once I find the right buttons, it won't be much of an issue, but I would like to be able to wear the cardigan unbuttoned if I choose. I'm hoping that another blocking will do the job.

I'm off to get some more knitting done!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

making something lovely

flying geese

I've had patchwork on the brain for months now (and have been buying fabric like I'm preparing for the apocalypse). It was high time I put all my lovely new bits and bobs to good use. Yesterday, I finished cutting out the pieces for my flying geese mini quilt. I've only cut out enough pieces to make a mini quilt, but expect that I'll want something larger once I get started. That will mean more fabric shopping - oh darn.

flying geese

Yesterday I also stitched up my first few pieces, and I am SO excited about them! I had a few odd squares left over from my last patchwork project (that is not finished - but the rest of it is in Canada - so it's OK for me to start a new project). I'm going to mix up the patterns and fabrics, so that each block is mostly the same, but not quite. I don't like anything that looks too tidy or orderly.

flying geese

The timing of this new project is perfect as I'm moving into a little house here in Lynton in September. Everywhere in Lynton gets quite cold in the winter, so a soft and cozy quilt will be just the thing I need!

indigo dip dye

On another note, I forgot to mention this AMAZING t shirt transformation in my last post. While in paris, Caroline and I spent an afternoon playing around with her natural dyes. This old shirt has gone through a magical transformation and is now one of my favourites. Thanks Caroline!