It was distinctly nippy here at YurtMaker headquarters this morning and so a good time to feel smug about our sizeable log pile! We run our central heating and hot water for the house on wood and solar and we are now processing and stacking our firewood for winter 2017/18. We also have wood burners in the two workshops that run on waste yurt wood and shavings.
We source green hardwood from local sources, this load came from the Small Woods Association and was felled less than 5 miles from here. Chopping wood is Henry’s favourite hobby, he is in his element!
We decided that we would have a go at circular wood stacks this year and the first of these does look mighty attractive. We had a bonfire party last weekend and several guests said ‘you aren’t planning to burn that are you?’ The stacking takes a little practice and more attention to detail than the standard linear stack but I found it quite addictive.
It was worth doing the circular stack because all the family wanted to get involved. We share our house with my parents and our two children, so we had quite a few willing helpers. I was stacking too, not just taking pictures, I promise.
These are my feet in my hand knitted Scottish socks (obviously) enjoying the warmth from the Morso boiler stove. I prefer channel Morso to the TV to be honest, and this is where I am to be found happily crafting most winter evenings. Wood and wool, my happy place xx
So it is finally finished! All 204 titchy little squares. I have written about this blanket before in Harmony Sunburst Granny, WIP and Never ending squares so I won’t go over all the details again, but it has turned out to be really rather lovely.
I made this for the big daughter, Holly, but here is the littlest pickle testing the unfinished blanket for cosiness in her usual helpful manner.
It looks like I might have to make another one…maybe next winter.
I should mention again that I have used the Attic 24 Harmony Blanket Kit from Wool Warehouse which was good value for money and the colours are well put together. It is acrylic, which is never my first choice, but it is intended for a child’s bed and washability is a priority.
Can you spot two squares the same? There are some. It is interesting looking at the whole blanket like this and seeing which colours pop out. I particularly like the lime and I have subconsciously used quite a lot of it. I detest that sickly Aster pink but it looks great against the other colours and seems to lift it.
There are a few issues with it. Because I left it for so long between making squares (I was utterly fed up with it for a while) my tension was totally different and some of the later squares are inexplicably much bigger than others, which offends my desire for regularity. This also means that the edges are a bit wavy in places. It got a lot better when I blocked it and in just a couple of weeks of use it seems to have settled down. The edges will never be totally straight but it still looks good.
I toyed with various edgings picking up my favourite colours from the blanket but, as ever, I settled for simplicity with a plain petrol blue edging. I won’t be making another in a hurry although I love how it turned out. The next one will have bigger squares, much bigger squares.
It is amazing to us that we have made a successful business out of yurts! We started out by living in a little yurt that Henry made with old hand tools in his mum and dad’s outhouse and now we make 40ft and even 50ft gurt yurts that go to prestigious events, nearly feature in a Bridget Jones film (ours was in the outtakes!) and have seen so many lovely, happy couples get wed.
We spend most of the summer months moving bits of yurt around the country to weddings, festivals and events. It has been a long season this year! We love our job but it is also good to come home, take stock and put the yurts to bed for the winter.
The last outing this year for the 42ft was for our own community. We live as part of a little self-build community where I grew up and that we now live as an extended family. Lightmoor New Community had its 30th birthday party (I was eight when we moved here, I will let you do the maths) and a party was definitely in order. It was a fantastic day of silly games, home-grown music, performances by the children and remembering the 30 years we have lived and worked together to build our special little community.
We discovered that a circular dance floor makes for a perfect human hungry hippos arena.
It is important to us that we can give a little back with our business. This year we also have supported Greenpeace, Shropshire Wildlife Trust and local good causes by donating yurts and giving discounts.
After a much needed break messing about with giant trousers, silly science experiments, dancing our socks off and sampling the local real ale, we are now back in the workshop doing essential maintenance and making new yurts. We are also making some new flags, a bar and updating our lighting package…it’s all getting busy again.
We are flagging. Flagging in the sense that we have teamed up with the fantastic Jon and Kate of Four and Twenty Arts to add colourful, glorious festival flags to our repertoire of things festival and celebratory. I have been getting to grips with sewing slippery poly-silk (not without some bad words along the way) and enjoying seeing them come together.
Look at those tasty colours, yum yum….
This is our garden covered with silky flags. We have been refashioning some of the flags from offcuts in our usual thrifty, resourceful fashion.
We are also flagging because we have been so very busy with weddings and festivals. Tomorrow we fly to Viano Do Costelo, Portugal, for a well-earned break. Henry will rest his yurtmaker’s tired back and I will rest my sewing/typing fingers and addled brain.
Our last festival outing of the year was to the wonderful Wilderness Festival for a weekend of colourful, glittery family fun. Our 42ft yurt was the home of the stretch yoga team for the weekend. We gained some flag inspiration and the kids had a ball.
Maeve was the subject of many coos and smiles as she settled down to sleep in the work wheelbarrow. This man felt the urge to tell her a spontaneous bedtime story of Jack and the Chicken.
It’s been crazy busy but loads of fun….
The observant amongst you will notice that the title of this blog has changed. Now that I am a fully fledged yurtmaker’s assistant I am finding that life is increasingly more yurty and less yarny. So, we (Henry and Me) are officially joining forces as the YarnTangler and the YurtFurtler and this blog will be a little bit of all of it.
I will start with the big collaborative event of the year: Glastonbury Festival. We were very honoured to be working with the Glastonbury Joint Charities which is a collaboration between Greenpeace, WaterAid and Oxfam. And what an impressive bunch of committed activists they are.
The joint charities team did an amazing job with the decor and made the big yurt into a lush, colourful and relaxing space to escape from the hustle and bustle of the festival. My macrame plant hangers worked really well as part of the decor even if they were somewhat dwarfed by the stunning centre hanging centre piece.
I was taken by the fact that there were some giant crocheted foxgloves and bluebells outside the yurt; it was almost as if they knew! There was a wildflower theme to this area of the festival and the areas around the yurt had been planted with trees, grasses and native flowers.
We had a blast at the festival, despite the obvious challenges underfoot, and I was inspired and buoyed up by the spirit of creativity, cooperation, and skills sharing that underpins the whole event. It is essentially an enormous gathering of the best artists, performers, creatives, activists and immensely skilled, practical people from all over the world. It is hard not to be impressed.
We also got a rare chance to spend a few days with our good friends and colleagues Will and Suki from Cheltenham Yurt Hire. We couldn’t have done it without these glorious people by our side. So long, and thanks for all the glitter xxx
I am in the blanket black hole. If you have ever crocheted a blanket (or knitted, or patchworked) you get to the black hole and it seems to stretch for all eternity.
So many titchy little squares, in so many colours….
So I have developed strategies for easing the tedium. Sometimes I do all the middles first and line them up. That’s quite nice.
Sometimes I do lots of pretty circles….oooh, nice colours in a slightly different order.
Sometimes I pile them up in satisfying little stacks…
And sometimes I lay them out in rows just to check that I still like them.
And slowly, inexorably, a blanket emerges. Eventually it all becomes worth it, only about a thousand left to go….
We are off to Wales tomorrow in our new (to us) beige and maroon dream caravan. I am really looking forward to it, even if I do have to take the squares with me. Maybe one day I will be able to take one of those ‘ta dah’ pictures with my feet sticking out from underneath said blanket with the setting sun over the Atlantic horizon.
The good news is that Mr Yurtman has installed a teeny little wood burner in the caravan so we will be super cosy by the coast. I can be a little bit smug about that.
See you all soon xx
Bunting, blossom, spring sunshine and kids playing in the garden. That’s about perfect really. We are very lucky to have a large, wild garden and this year the apple blossom has been stunning. The traditional apple varieties were planted by my parents 30 years ago and they have recently been subject to some rather vicious pruning, which appears to have given them a new lease of life. The fresh whites, pinks and greens of the bunting (made from old polycotton duvet covers) with the blossom lift even the most cynical of spirits.
I don’t even like florals very much but I like the bunting now that it is finished. I also get a feeling of great satisfaction that it is all recycled from stuff that really would have ended up being shredded. I bought most of the fabric from an amazing recycling project in Telford called Shropshire Loves which collects donated goods and buys textiles from collection bins, gives the relevant and useful garments as aid to refugees and local people, and then sells or recycles what remains. They even have a craft section where they sort fabrics for up-cycling and a mending section where clothes are repaired for resale. Nothing goes to waste.
Trees, sunshine and making stuff. These things make me happy. Thanks for reading xx