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DIY Crochet Garments

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Hi everyone,

Those of you who follow me will know that I have a somewhat…different…taste when it comes to clothing. I don’t go out of my way to dress outrageously (which is not what I consider to be my style) but I do have a habit of not always following the crowd.

My wardrobe is absolutely stuffed with knitwear, and heaven help me when it gets to summer – I’m going to have to go on a serious shopping  spree!

I was in a lecture the other day with guest speaker Teresa Collenette who was wearing the most AMAZING granny square jumper. She was discussing how charities like Oxfam had turned the traditional ‘Granny Square’ into a money making machine, and utilised the idea of craft to pursue activism.

It’s what sparked the idea for my recent essay that examined the correlation between the popularity of knitwear in conjunction with the popularity of feminism.

It’s safe to say that this lecture really inspired me to say the least.

 

 

As a result of this, I couldn’t resist trying to make something similar myself.

Alongside the blue free-form crochet corset that I shared with you in the previous post, it’s been my other Work in Progress.

Being able to sit and mindlessly crochet granny squares whilst watching Poldark really helps me to relax. (Aidan Turner may also play a part in this…but obviously it’s mostly the crochet!)

 

 

Once I’d built up a fair stash of granny squares, I started pinning them on to my mannequin, and trying to figure out how I could turn them (successfully) into a garment.

Like the corset, this piece is still a WIP, but I’m really pleased with how it’s coming along.

 

 

Working with granny squares reminds me of working with pixels. Building up all of those different squares to be able to create a finished shape that moulds to the body and doesn’t make you just like you’re wearing a blanket that you’ve picked up from a charity shop! – Just a side note – there’s nothing wrong with charity shop blankets, but it wasn’t the look I was going for.

I love having the ability to make my own garments. There’s nothing quite as rewarding as when somebody asks you where you got something and you’re able to say “I made it myself actually.”

It gives me a real buzz, especially when I’ve created it free-hand without a pattern, it makes the garments I create one of a kind, which is something that really appeals to me. Except when I forget to write the pattern down thinking I’ll remember it, and then wake up the next day and have to try and decrypt the stitches I’ve used – learn from my mistakes!

Until next time

Bex

xxx

This post is my submission to the Deramores Craft Blog Competition 2015. Deramores is the UK’s number one online retailer of knitting and crochet supplies. Visit http://www.deramores.com for more details.

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April

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Bloomin’ heck – if someone could tell me where April went, that would be lovely, I seemed to blink and it vanished!

As promised, here’s my monthly catch up with you all, so you can see what I’ve been up to at University, and with the rest of my life!

Starting from where I left you last time…

Those of you who haven’t seen my recently won’t know that I’ve had a change of hair colour. I got fed up with blonde – so as a result, I’m now orange/red!

 

 

I’ve dyed it again since this photo, so it’s actually gone a darker orange now, but I LOVE it.

It also means I stand out in a crowd – which is particularly helpful at work I must say. I had a company manager coming to find me this weekend to discuss selling programmes, and he’d been told “look for the short girl with orange hair.”

There’s not many of those around, especially in Winchester!

A few days after I dyed my hair, me and my friend Sally from Uni went on a little excursion to Oxford. Sally knows Oxford really well, so it was great to explore the city without getting completely lost!

She took me to this amazing little shop

 

 

Where I obviously couldn’t help but treat myself to some yarn – I’m a knitwear student, it was research!

 

@pittriversmuseum #pittrivers #oxford #pittriversmuseum #dayout #museum

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We also visited the Pitt Rivers Museum, which I’ll definitely be going back to, as it’s like one of those Victorian curiosity cabinets, there’s just SO much to see.

I then spent the next week drooling over the yarn I bought in Oxford, I’m about 3/4 of my way through what I’m knitting, but I’ve run out of wool, *queue dramatic music* so I’m going to have to take a trip back there, but I’m going to wait until my deadlines are out of the way on the 11th of May, and then I’ll be FREE!

 

 

Something else I’ve been doing a lot of this month is exploring Winchester.

 

Yesterday's market #winchester #market #bluesky #highstreet

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Not only has the weather been perfect for a spot of exploring, but I’ve been working on a really exciting project as part of the Winchester Hat Fair this year, which, all I can share at the moment, has had me wandering around the city looking at trees!

Watch this space.

 

Pretty Winchester #winchester #beautifulday #bluesky

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Hello sunshine! #sunshine #winchester #cathedral #winchestercathedral #beautifulday

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#tree #paint #inspiration #university #artstudent #blue #pink

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One of the main reasons that I seemed to lose the end of April, was that I had an essay deadline on the 30th, which took up an awful lot of my time to say the least.

I only had to write one essay this semester, so I obviously wanted to make it the best that it could be, even if that meant staying up until 4am on the day of the deadline!

 

#essay #ugh #help #artstudent #feminism #knitwear #feminist

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I won’t go into massive detail and bore you all, but I chose to examine the correlation between the popularity of knitwear in conjunction with the popularity of feminism. It was a pretty exciting and interesting essay to write, you never know, I may share some of it with you when it’s been marked. (providing it’s not a complete failure that is!)

Now up to the present day…

 

Theatre love #theatre #auditorium #curtains #red

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I’ve spent this weekend working at the theatre, which I absolutely love. It’s such a gorgeous venue, and I’m flattered that I can be a part of running it!

As previously mentioned, my final deadline for EVERYTHING is the 11th of May, so currently, I’m lying in bed, making the most of the bank holiday, and working on one of my many sketchbooks.

I’ve had a few ideas for a couple of extra blogs this month, so don’t be surprised if there’s a few more heading your way. Likewise, don’t hold me to anything, because my life seems to currently revolve around uni, work, food and naps!

It’s pretty hectic, but I wouldn’t change it for the world!

 

 

Until next time

 

Bex

xxx

March

Hello everyone,

I suddenly realised when I was looking at my calendar today, that it’s nearly April! Therefore I thought I’d better fill you in, as promised, on my latest adventures this month.

As those of you who read my blog post last month will be aware, I was in New York City at the end of February, so if it’s ok with you, that’s what I’ll mostly be sharing today!

 

 

I was there from Monday – Sunday so that gave me plenty of time to explore the city, in comparison to when I went last time.

I also had a lot more freedom because I was with my university, and therefore only had to make sure I registered with the tutors accompanying us in the morning, rather than being shepherded around all day.

 

 

#empirestate #newyorkcity #newyork #skyline #manhatten #nofilter #stunning #sunset

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I did lots of the typical ‘touristy’ things, such as going up the Empire State building, and visiting Grand Central Station, but I combined this with heading off the beaten track a bit and venturing in to the East Village and Soho etc.

 

I treated myself to a ticket to a Broadway Show – ‘If/Then’ which starred Idina Menzel, which was fantastic.

Those of you who know me, will know that I do love a good show, and it was a valid excuse to get out of the cold temperatures for a couple of hours!

#nofilter #newyorkcity #newyork #skyline #manhatten #centralpark

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Central Park was obviously a must.

With the amount of snow that was around, it meant that it was absolutely stunning – but again – bloody freezing!

 

#timesquare #newyorkcity #newyork #manhatten #lights #nofilter

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One thing I’d recommend to anybody visiting NYC, is to be aware that a majority of museums like The Metropolitan, and the Museum of Natural  History have advertised “ticket prices” but actually they’re just suggested donations.

This meant I could get away with paying about $2 for each museum, although I could’ve donated less – sorry for those of you who might not approve, but I am a student!!

 

 

Another big recommendation, is that a lot of the museums such as the Museum of Art and Design, and the Museum of Modern Art, have evenings in the week when they’re free – I definitely made use of this!

 

What a load of Pollocks…

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#tb #newyork #skyline #manhattan #newyorkcity #sunset #nofilter #stunning #empirestate

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Overall I had a really fantastic time in New York City. Yes it was icy and for the majority of the time I couldn’t feel my nose, but it’s a city I’ve definitely fallen in love with, and I’m sure this won’t be my last visit!

This month I can also share a bit more of my University work with you. I’ve been working on a project that’s based on ‘Fairisle’, but putting a modern twist on it.

I studied Politics at A level, so I’ve discovered that unintentionally, a lot of my work has a lot more political meaning and motive behind it than some other peoples.

I based this project around Animal Farm by George Orwell, and then branched out, looking at the Russian Revolution for colour inspiration.

Please bare in mind that this piece isn’t finished, it’s a work in progress that I’m hoping to get finished before I go back after Easter, but here it is nonetheless…

 

 

 

Hopefully next month I’ll have finished it, and you can see it in all its glory!

Something I touched on last month was that I’d been promoted. For those of you who didn’t already know, I was working in a theatre bar down here in my free time, but now I’m a Duty Manager! Which is pretty exciting, slightly terrifying, but definitely rewarding. I’m really loving it, and I work with some great people – I couldn’t really ask for more.

 

I love my job. #dutymanager #theatre #dreamteam

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So that’s an edited version of what I’ve been up to this month. I’m hoping that there’ll be even more exciting adventures and news to share with you next month, fingers crossed!

However, currently (dare I admit) I’ve just woken up having taking a 2 hour nap, after writing a to-do list that’s about as long as my arm, so I think I’ve got enough to be getting on with!

 

Love this place #library #books #light #winchester #bookgeek

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Until next month

Bex

x

February

Good evening my lovelies, how are we all?

I know that we’re only midway through February, but I’ve got some very exciting things happening in the next few weeks (which you’ll find out about if you read on) so I thought I’d take this opportunity to fill you all in!

 

#studio #knitstudio #knittingmachine #yarn #knitting #crochet #knitwear

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Firstly, I’ve been spending a lot of time in the studio.

When I came back from Christmas, I got to specialise in my chosen pathway, which funnily enough is knit! Which means that I’ve been doing rather a lot of knitting over the last few weeks whilst I work on my new project.

I’m still finalising designs etc so I haven’t put anything on social media to share with you yet, but no doubt as soon as I do, I’ll make sure you’re aware!

 

#wannabehipster #macbook #coffee #knitwear #coffeeshop

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The other thing I’ve been doing, is spending a lot of time sitting working in coffee shops.

I’ve found that I can’t really be bothered to walk back to halls in the middle of the day if I’ve got free time, or sometimes I just don’t want to sit in my shoebox of a room on my own, so I’ve been trying out all of the coffee shops in Winchester – I don’t think I’ve found a bad one yet!

 

 

One exciting piece of news that I received the other week, was that an interview I did with a lovely lady called Melanie Dimmitt (http://melaniedimmitt.com.au) for a fairly new international magazine called ‘Renegade Collective’ was published last November!

It was all about the “Blood Doesn’t Grow On Trees” yarn bombing campaign that I was a part of last year, as well as other yarn bombing artists etc.

I have to admit that it boosted my ego somewhat! haha

 

Missed this little one #cat #fizz #beauty

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I popped home last weekend for a grand total of 48 hours. Which leads me onto why I’m not going to be able to publish a blog at the end of February.

I had to go home in order to pick up some bits and pieces, including my passport and adaptor, because have you guessed it? I’m off to foreign lands! Specifically, New York City!

I go on the 23rd – so next Monday, and I’m back on the 1st of March. It’s a trip with the University, but we’ve been given pretty much free reign to go wherever we want – and boy are there a lot of museums that I want to visit! Aren’t I exciting?

 

Work work work #crochet #stock #knitting #grannywillis #yarn #knitwear #knittingmachine

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I’ve tried to restrain myself when it comes to wool recently. As I’ve previously mentioned, living in a shoebox of a room has its benefits, but it also has its downfalls – such as storage!

I’ve been working on stock to sell for Easter, as well as just general things for interiors such as cushions etc, which means that my room is currently overflowing with a vast quantity of knitwear and crochet…

Hence I’ve been acquiring rather a lot of patterns recently – I can’t help it, they were a bargain!

 

 

Finally, Happy Valentines Day for yesterday everyone! I hope you’re all having a lovely weekend.

I’ve been celebrating getting a rather exciting new job which I don’t want to say too much about at the moment, but it’s a massive promotion for me, so I think I’m actually still in shock.

But this means that yesterday (slightly hungover from Friday night) I decided to be my own Valentine, and cook myself a full English, buy myself a bunch of flowers – because who doesn’t love flowers? and sit consuming a massive amount of ice-cream whilst watching 80s feminist films – it was heaven!

 

 

Got a little bit of a New York theme going on, I can’t deny it!

 

 

There we go, that’s just about caught you up from last time.

I’m sure I’ll have lots of adventures to fill you in on when I get back from the Big Apple, but until then – be good, and I’ll see you in March!

Bex

xxx

January

Evening all,

This month I’ve been working seriously hard at uni…(definitely haven’t had 3 weeks off…) Ok, so technically not AT uni, but I’ve been working on a ‘research’ project whilst our work was being assessed which has involved me being able to drool over vast quantities of knitwear, whilst trying to mentally deconstruct it to figure out how it’s made.

This has been a really exciting project, the tutorial for which I had on Tuesday, and received really positive feedback – so that’s a bonus!

I thought I’d share a couple of photos with you of what I’ve been doing – because as it is universally acknowledged, a picture speaks a thousand words…and doing an arts based course, it’s a bit difficult to explain thing without showing you them

Punch card research #knitwear #productisking #wsa #punchcard #knittingmachine #pattern

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These 2 alpaca garments, a jacket and a waistcoat, were very kindly bought for me by the Godmother.

I love the punch card detailing, so spent rather a lot of time breaking down the patterns and figuring out how I can recreate aspects of them (obviously not directly copying them!)

 

 

I’ve also been making use of a copy of ‘Good Housekeeping – Knitting’ that I picked up in a charity shop for 50p years ago, which is a fantastic reference for hundreds of different types of stitches.

I’ve been developing my watercolour skills, and finally, I think I can say I’ve moved on from the ‘5 year old let loose for the first time’, to ‘pretentious art student who is fulfilling all stereotypes except wearing a beret’. haha. So this was me looking at stitch structures, and how they can be adapted to whatever effect I’m trying to achieve.

 

It’s all great fun! 😀

 

Oh Winchester, you so preeeetty #winchester #sunset #nofilter

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On a slightly more bizarre note –  there was an earthquake in Winchester!

I have to admit, I was in the middle of painting a purple sheep at the time, and my desk shook at a rather inconvenient moment, prompting plenty of expletives and tutting, because I honestly thought that it was one of my housemates slamming a door! Apparently not judging by this news article…

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-31009707

That’s really my month in a nutshell. Whilst it feels like a lot has happened (some of which I can’t share with you yet unfortunately), when I actually put pen to paper (you know what I mean), it seems like not a lot has happened at all!

What I can tell you though, it that 2015 is shaping up to be a pretty exciting year…watch this space.

Until next time

Bex

xxx

 

 

Overwhelmed

Afternoon all,

Before I go any further –  I GOT INTO UNIVERSITY!!!!! Sorry I haven’t announced this sooner, but basically since last Thursday my life has been slightly more chaotic than usual, to say the least…

Starting with A-level results day…once I’d discovered at 7:30 am that I’d actually got a place at university, everything kicked off. I drove myself to school to pick up my results – UCAS only tells you if you’ve got a place, not your actual grades, and then I had to rush home to finish packing because I was flying out to Amsterdam with a friend that afternoon.

Once I’d finished packing and remembered at the last minute that I’d forgotten an adapter, I went to pick up this stunner…

"Mcflurry?" #mcflurry #macdonalds #food #bestie #bestfriend

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Meet Tegan…aka one of my best friends and one of the few people that will put up with me! (she also indulged my Malteaser addiction most lunchtimes through our 2 years of sixthform together  – that’s true friendship!)

We caught the 4:30 from Gatwick to Schiphol, arriving at the hotel about 9pm because there were delays etc due to the weather. The Dutch are so unbelievably friendly – not something I was expecting in all honesty (as some of you are aware). But it meant that if at any point we were unsure of where we were (my navigating leaves a little to be desired) people were more than happy to point us in the right direction.

We stayed in a Best Western Hotel called the Leidse Square, which is located really close to the Vondelpark, the Leidseplein and the Museumplein, meaning that we were really well situated for most of the things that we wanted to visit – bonus!

#vondelpark #amsterdam #holiday

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Once we’d checked out the hotel room – bed ✓ shower ✓ BBC 1 ✓ we went for a wander around the area.

#amsterdam #holiday#canal #bikes #pretty

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Amsterdam is so pretty, picturesque and totally cliché, but that is in no way a bad thing!

We went to a number of places whilst we were there including the flower market…

It's so preeeetty #amsterdam #flowers #flowermarket #colour #holiday

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a canal cruise…

Canal cruise #amsterdam #holiday #canal #boat

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and the stedelijk museum, where they had a fantastic range of modern art, from Monet to Warhol.

#jacksonpollock #art #amsterdam #stedelijkmuseum

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#pablopicasso #picasso #art #stedelijkmuseum #amsterdam #painting

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#pietmondrian #stedelijkmuseum #amsterdam #art #painting #colour

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Something else that was really interesting about Amsterdam, was the art that wasn’t confined to the museums. It’s such an artistic and interesting city, which is made clear through displays of street art…

Yeah Timmy… #timmy #thingsdontworkthatway #amsterdam #holiday #graffiti

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#droppantsnotbombs #amsterdam #canal #boat #peace

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whilst graffiti is considered a rather controversial subject, I actually find it fascinating – I love seeing how places can be transformed through street art, because that’s what myself and other have previously hoped to achieve through movements such as yarn bombing.

Another place we discovered was a little pancake restaurant that was just opposite our hotel. We decided to try some traditional  poffertjes, which as you can see below, were truly delicious! They’re little baby pancakes, covered in icing sugar with a lump of melted butter on top. My arteries are groaning just at the thought of them…

Finally, we visited a few other places that I haven’t yet included, but sadly we were unable to take photographs (Or I might have just forgotten…but that’s not the point!)

Anne Frank’s house – definitely a must if you’re in Amsterdam, a really moving and inspirational attraction that shows where Anne Frank was hidden during WWII.

The Van Gogh Museum – I love Van Gogh’s work, the main ‘famous’ ones to see here are the Bedroom in Arles, the Sunflowers and the Irises. As well as these, there are a great deal of self-portraits, which I found fascinating, because you can study the way that Van Gogh painted himself in comparison to others, as well as looking at the different characterisitcs that he chose to highlight in himself, depending upon the period in which he was painting.

Waterlooplein – This is a flea market that was established by Amsterdam’s Jewish inhabitants in the 1800s, it’s a little bit reminiscent of Camden, but there is the odd stall that could actually be considered of the ‘flea market’ variety. I picked up a lovely jumper for €1 (it’s in the wash at the moment so I’ll show it to you next time) as well as a few postcards etc.

Finally, we made our way back to Schiphol (getting caught in a torrential downpour in the process) and then sat in departures playing scrabble on the ipad because our plane was really delayed, goodness knows why…

Storm? What storm? #storm #amsterdam #schiphol #airport #travel #gatwick #delay

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Storm? What storm?!

Anyway. That’s what’s been happening to me in the last few days…I’m completely exhausted, and at this current moment, feel like instead of hitting the ground running, I’ve hit the ground with  a rather inelegant ‘bump’ and proceeded to land face first into a puddle. Time to write some lists I think!

Until next time

Bex

xxx

 

Alpaca Annie

Good evening everyone!

For those of you who are regular followers of my little blog, you’ll be aware that I normally try and post once a week, and most recently this has been on a Thursday.

So this week, I thought I’d shake things up a little bit, because I’ve had a relaxing day – doing very little, and spending some time concentrating on myself rather than the chaos that has been surrounding me recently (results day is looming!) – and sit and tell you about something rather exciting that I did the other day…

 

This is Haguelands farm.

A friend of mine brought it to my attention when they were over for dinner, and we were discussing (or it might have just been me ranting) about the fact that I really wanted to meet alpacas, because I find working with their wool, absolutely divine.

‘Alpaca Annie’ is based is New Romney, Kent, and are one of the few places in the country that are not only a working alpaca farm, but also offer the opportunity to meet and learn about alpacas.

http://www.alpacaannie.com/

After much deliberation, we decided to book ourselves onto an alpaca ‘trek’ at 10 am on a Friday morning.

So, armed with walking boots, and a sense of apprehension as to what we’d got ourselves into, we headed off to find ourselves some alpacas!

When we arrived at Haguelands, we were greeted by a lovely lady in the ‘Alpaca Annie’ shop, where we waited until the rest of the group (there were 8 of us in total) joined us. Once everyone had arrived, a lady called Lara came and met us, and after a quick introduction, took us to meet the alpacas that we’d be walking with that day.

I’ve only ever seen alpacas from a distance, normally in a field whilst driving, so to get up-close and personal with them was a really amazing experience.

As we walked through the fields, we were greeted by a mass of ‘pacas of all different shapes and sizes…

After a briefing and health & safety talk, we were allocated our alpacas. I was given the ‘gentle giant’, Fennell, and we were taught that as much as you want to just give them a cuddle, the best way to approach an alpaca, is with the back of your hand facing them, because that way they feel more at ease, and then to only touch their necks, because otherwise they may feel threatened.

Walking an alpaca was completely different to anything I’ve ever experienced…I spent plenty of time down at the local stables when I was younger, but an alpaca ain’t nothin’ like a horse – let me tell you!

I saw a lot of my own personality traits in Fennell…good looks, charm, strong willed, stubborn… 😉  meaning that a walk with an alpaca, is more of a gentle stroll, with plenty of grazing in between, and a carrot break half way through…what a life eh?

I love this photo – I was attempting to get Fennell to smile, but instead it just looks like we’re in the middle of a heated debate – I told him not to mention politics!!

Whilst we walked, Lara – the herdsperson – answered all of our questions about the alpacas, and it was a really educational and fun experience – and I even topped up my tan 🙂

When we got back to the farm, we were given a certificate to prove that “We’ve trekked at Haguelands Farm”, and after a few more questions, we went for lunch at the bistro which is situated on site. Lunch was delicious and reasonably priced (you receive a discount if you’ve been on an alpaca trek), which meant that it was a really lovely end to the experience.

I’d definitely recommend this to anyone who fancies doing something different and trying something new. The staff were so friendly and informative, and most importantly, the alpacas are just so cute!

On a separate note – I know I promised that I’d share what I’ve been making with that blue cotton with you in my next blog, but I think I’ve told you enough to keep you going until later in the week, when I PROMISE I’ll show you some knitting and/or crochet!

I hope you like my little alpaca report – I promise I’m not completely insane…well…no more than usual anyway 😉

Take care and see ya soon

Bex

xxx

OH! P.S – I’ve received some really positive feedback about Granny Willis recently in the form of emails/comments – please do feel free to get in touch at grannywillis@hotmail.co.uk  I don’t bite! I may be a teenager, but I can converse in a language other than grunts and unamused facial expressions…(although possibly not before 9 am)