One of the pleasures of self employment is that you're not tied to regimented hours of 9 to 5 Monday to Friday, which means you have to face the shops on a Saturday or Sunday when most of the rest of the working population are doing their shopping.  So on Tuesday I declared we were risking scurvy unless we got across to the east coast to stock up with lots of salad and vegetables.  To be honest, we were both going a little stir crazy too, as we've been postponing the shopping due to some stormy, wet, windy weather.

But Tuesday dawned calm, and so we set off for our preferred shopping location of Tain, a little town on the east coast, north of Inverness.  The drive across is slow, but the views are fabulous.  It was one of those days where a mist sits just above the tops of trees and everything looks so still and peaceful.

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Most of the trip to Tain is done on single track roads, and fortunately it wasn't too busy on Tuesday.  At the height of summer this trip can take a lot longer as you are continually pulling in to passing places to let others past, or having to reverse to a passing place because someone coming in the opposite direction failed to stop.   But there is always something new to spot on the road so it is never boring.

Once the little Panda was piled high with all the necessities and a few luxuries, we headed back home, but first we stopped at a wonderful community owned and managed woodland near the small community of Ardgay - Gearrchoille Community Wood.  The woodland covers about 30 acres, although we've only explored a fraction of that.  It is a great "stopping off" point to let the dogs out and to stretch our legs before the long drive home.  It was very mild for the middle of January - you can see I'm in my shirt sleeves!

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Judging by the full car park and the number of folk we met on our short wander, it seems it is a well used community facility, which is always good to see.  And of course, I couldn't help but look for fungi and lichen!

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But I'm back in the dye shed for the rest of the week, as I plough on with work and preparations for the shows ahead of me in 2017.  At the moment I am confirmed for the following events in 2017:

Edinburgh Yarn Festival

Dornoch FibreFest

Perth Festival of Yarn

I am hoping to attend more than those 3, but the application process for these events have to take their course.

In the dye shed I'm working on new shades as well as old favourites.  This weekend I hope to update the shop with the returning Na Dannsairean Aran.  I stopped dyeing this some time back, but have brought it back into the Ripples Crafts fold.  While dyeing this past week I made a mistake in adding the incorrect colours to the dye pots for the recipe I was following, but the resulting accidental colour is rather lovely, and this will be one of the shades available on the aran weight yarn.

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The colour is slightly on the red side of terracotta, if that makes sense.  But I rather like it, so accidental or not, I'll be dyeing more of this shade.  This yarn base is beautifully warm and cosy, and I recently knitted a cowl using this base - you'll be able to see it in real life if you come to Edinburgh Yarn Festival:

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The pattern is Turbulence Cowl, and takes one hank of each colour.  It knitted up in no time at all, and is very cosy, so still time to knit one up for this current winter.

Also in the dye pots today is more of the Suilven Lace in the colour "Emeralds at Midnight".  This colour sold out very quickly when I put it up in the shop last week, so I have been dyeing more and as soon as it is dry enough I'll put it up in the shop for sale.  I'll also be bringing this shade to Edinburgh Yarn Festival, so if you'd like to pre-order this particular colour, please get in touch.