Full Circle (& More Foreadventure)

I featured Jade and Dan of Foreadventure some time ago for the podcast and since then, we've been firm friends. Jade and Dan have created a special mix of awe, wonder and practice skills that show the best of all we can enjoy when we step outside our doors and into a little more wild. 

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From Dorset With Love

Can we take a moment to celebrate the power of female friendship please?

Flowers and friendship.jpg

Excellent.

I spent last weekend running workshops with a group of women so creative and amazing, I felt like I moonwalked right out of the teaching space. I jumped in a cab and checked my phone. I saw the happiest of news: my good friend is totally having her moment and causing a big buzz around her new collection launch. It felt so good to see women just owning their ambitions and working with clarity and focus to achieve them. 

I had the pleasure of shooting this special collection a few months ago. It was my first full shoot with models and I was more than a little nervous about getting my friend, Clare Devine,  what she needed. When the samples arrived, I was instantly inspired and moved them around in my hands, examining seams, hems, details..... the feel and look of each piece. The colour choices reminded me so much of the nature tones that inspire me here everyday and I felt a new confidence. 

' Lulworth Cove ', available on Ravelry. 

'Lulworth Cove', available on Ravelry. 

I contacted friends to help and put together a day full of pictures, laughter and happiness. I really think you can tell how much fun we had. 

' Corfe Castle ', available on Ravelry

'Corfe Castle', available on Ravelry

The collection is called, 'From Dorset with Love' and includes Clare's first sweater design (and it's a goodie). Each piece is a wardrobe staple, thoughtfully designed to make it a pleasure to knit and sit *just* right when worn. Clare is releasing these over the coming week and I have a special code for you today if you wish to knit your new favourite project. 

To enjoy 20% off at checkout when shopping on Ravelry, you can use the code '"APD20"

'Swyres Head' available on Ravelry

'Swyres Head' available on Ravelry

I'd like to shout out a few lovelies who also helped make this shoot special:

Model extraordinaire- Sarah Knight

White Striped Dress- STALF 

Beautiful Bouquet- Beards and Daisies (my go to florist, every shoot)

And my dear friend Elaine who doesn't have an online presence for me to link to for you to go and high five her, sadly. She's quiet and gentle and finds the big wide world of the internet a bit intimidating. Let's not tell her we're all pouring over her photos and finding her cute as a button shall we?

Happy knitting! x

 

The First Shearing

I'm almost certain that there is nothing that will make you appreciate the beauty of wool as much as witnessing a lamb's first shearing. Tucked in the corner of a local farm's barn, camera in hand, I watched in awe a few weeks ago as lamb after lamb were whisked out of a holding pen and into the expert hands of two sturdy sheep shearers. 

Shepherdess collecting freshly sheared fleece

It was a mesmerising spectacle. Plumes of raw fleece were gathered by the local shepherdess and deposited into huge bags, destined for a UK mill. Crimpy escapees littered the floor and nervous lambs skittered around, a little dazed about their first experience of shearing. 

Shearing a sheep
raw sheep's fleece on floor

All under the watchful eye of Monty...

Monty the farm dog, a working terrier

It's a special thing to have seen many of these lambs arrive back in January and March and to now see them almost fully grown and in need of a haircut. The speed and efficiency with which they are relieved of their huge fleeces is impressive and before long they gathered in the courtyard looking a little skittish and surprised by the events that had just took place. The air was dense with the smell of lanolin and a gentle rain that day just added to the damp but satisfying feel of wool in the air. 

If anyone asks me of future life goals, I'm going with small holding even more than ever. 

I'm so thrilled to announce that this season on the podcast, I'll be following the story of this precious collection. A lamb's first shearing makes for a particularly fine wool with great crimp. It's untouched by the stresses of life or illness. An untouched fleece is a wonderful sight to see.

raw wool fleece

Isle Yarns and their team have been sharing the special project they've embarked on to make the most of this unique shearing for the soul benefit of the A Playful Day podcast subscribers. If you're a Patreon subsciber, you'll be able to download four feature episodes, following the journey from farm to needle to design. If you want to hear this too, please do pop over to my creators page on Patreon where you'll find me explaining more. 

In the meantime, here's a little sneak peak of what to expect:

Not listened to the podcast before? Don't worry, I have a whole back catalogue you can try before you sign up. Happy listening!

Summer Report, Part B

There it is, our first Summer holiday, done. Little One is tucked up for the night claiming she will never enjoy preschool, has no friends whatsoever and wants to stay at home with me forever. By the end of the week, I know she'll run in without so much as a backwards glance for those slow mornings that have become a habit these past 6 weeks. Another year turns and she's getting bigger all the time. I'm learning to accept it but it's not easy that's for sure. 

We had our first big camp kind of week: a full week of ballet culminating in a performance. As you can imagine I survived this well and did not blub the whole way through. 

ballet

I'm lying, I cried like a child who had their lolly swiped by the mean kid in the playground. 

 

We also attended a fair few village fetes. My favourite by far included a a little parade of trestle tables groaning under the weight of preserves, homemade cakes and a sort of 'pop up' greengrocers created by pulling together everyone's produce. Of course I refrained from exposing my newly transplanted status and didn't call it a pop up. Had I revealed that I was in fact a softy South Londoner infiltrating the rustic idyll, they'd never have told me where the good sloes are to be picked come Autumn. Instead, I did my part and exclaimed in delight at the scales and bunting. There is a code. We observe it and are rewarded in jam ingredients. I'm ok with this. 

produce
scales

Also, when did we stop including good but simple competitive games at fun fairs? The coconut shy was possibly the best fun we'd had in ages and the 3 legged races only resulted in a few broken limbs. What's a broken limb between village rivals? I'm in favour of bringing back hand cranked carousels and tombolas where all you really want is the questionable bottle of wine. 

coconut shy

Somewhere in between eating too much jam I did a lot of knitting. I even finished a hat AND scarf ready for the chillier morning dashes to preschool that I can see coming right round the corner. I had the pleasure of shooting for Purl Alpaca at a recent workshop they hosted and was kindly sent back to the coast with a kit to make the gorgeous set pictured below. Purl Alpaca is a pure field to fashion story: from the alpacas they breed to the designs they work in their exquisitely soft yarns. The fact they leave the wool undyed and let the natural beauty of the fibre do the talking is possibly my favourite thing but it might also be that I got to skritch an alpaca and thank it personally for the yarn. That's always going to be a winner, right?

Pattern:  Charlie & Adie , Yarn: ' Dew '

Pattern: Charlie & Adie, Yarn: 'Dew'

Also can we talk about the fact that dress fit just before Summer?? 

 

So I return to work eager to create again after a break to recharge and reflect. It doesn't mean my heart  doesn't pull at the thought of tomorrow morning at the door of the preschool as her little hand tightens around mine nervously. I'll be doing my best to shoo her in and then it all starts again, another year's cycle. 

 

Are you ready? If you are, can you tell me your secret please?

 

When Your Adventure Takes a New Turn

Sometimes you plan an adventure and with the best plans in the world, things go awry.

Getting ready for adventure

My carefully laid out podcast schedule took a tumble this week when one of the previously recorded interviews returned from my producer in a slightly sorry state. Sat amongst packing boxes and a half empty suitcase, I dithered. Did I throw everything to one side and start over? Did I have time to rework something I'd already recorded or did I start something from scratch? 

In the end I came back to an idea that's pretty central to this space. A Playful Day is about having a playful spirit, creating something, having an adventure and giving yourself time to enjoy that. Right now, I'm in the middle of my own adventures. I am speaking at Blogtacular tomorrow in front of some of the world's best bloggers and I'm truly honoured to be there. I travel back to Dorset afterwards to continue packing my house up to move into our Forever Home by the sea. Broadband is going to get sketchy and yes, there's still a few deadlines tucked in there. 

So I flipped on some music, packed my suitcase and put London firmly in my sights. The podcast will be making an appearance over the next few days but the schedule has gone a little awry. I'm a firm believer in waiting until the story is right

So, I'll be back. With more adventures. 

Adventurer

Just give me a few days to see these ones through ok?

~x