Build a Batt Box – September – Kaffee und Kuchen

September’s Build a Batt box is all about tasty things!

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Once upon a time, many years ago – well about 9 years ago – my mum hit on the idea of starting a Knit n Natter group for us and some of our neighbours. This was an interesting idea because at the time although mum and I could both technically knit, neither of us really enjoyed it. nevertheless she invited a couple of our neighbours, Glenys and Jo, and we baked cake, made coffee and had a lovely time.

Mum asked Glenys one day to bring her spinning wheel as she quite liked the idea of learning to spin. We all had a go – not very successfully – and it bugged me that I couldn’t do it. So before too long, mum and I found our way to our local guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers where I had another go, loved it, hired a wheel, made new friends, bought my first spinning wheel and the rest is history. Several more people learned to spin and spinning wheels popped up in houses all around our area. We carried on with our Knit n Natter’s every couple of weeks, a few more people joined, some moved away. I even learned to love knitting…

After a few years our friend Jo was given the sad news that she had secondary cancer. She underwent gruelling chemotherapy about the same time as various other things upset the routine of the lives of some of the rest of us so we met far less frequently. We still had a great time when we did find time to meet and found that we forged new, even stronger bonds over knitting, spinning and our coffee and cake sessions as we all rallied round to support each other as life got more shadowy…

During that time Jo found much support in the visits of her MacMillan Nurse. She moved heaven and earth to support Jo and her husband through the dark times, the treatments with practical help and moral support. I’d never really had any contact with MacMillan Cancer Support but I started to realise what vital work they do for people living with cancer and their loved ones. Each September I joined in with The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning to help raise money for MacMillan so people like Jo could have the support they so needed. Sometimes I organised an event, sometimes it was just our friends and neighbours but each penny counts to helping someone living with cancer.

In 2012 Jo passed away. She was so strong, she fought hard to stay here with the people she loved and her precious animals and we were graced with her presence for longer than any of us could have hoped. I miss her so much. She left all of us with special memories and I think of her often. Her brother and sister told me that she’d often spoken of Knit n Natter and how much meeting together and crafting together had helped her and made things easier to bear.

Since then we’ve held a MacMillan coffee morning in her memory. This September it will probably be just a small group of us, I’ve not had time to do anything bigger. We’ll still gather to have what Jo used to call “cup of coffee and a sticky bun” and chat and laugh and craft together and donate to help others.

So the September Build a Batt Box is called “Kaffee und Kuchen” – don’t coffee and cake go together with knitting and spinning like a horse and carriage?! It’s made up of rich coffee and chocolate shades with hints of cappuccino and latte. To compliment it, I’ve chosen to pair it with deep berry shades of damson, plum, cherry. I thought of a scrumptious Black Forest Gateaux (only this isn’t the time of year for cherries :0)

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All around in the hedgerows at the moment juicy fruits are peeping out from the leaves.

Blackberries…

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Damsons…

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Sloes…

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And in the garden autumn varieties of soft fruits are bursting with flavour and sweetness in the last of the sunshine like these Autumn Bliss raspberries…

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Alpine strawberries ‘Mignonette”…

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And although the wasps are starting to make inroads into them, there are plums high up out of reach in the trees behind our house…

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This month I chose to over dye brown BFL tops – Jo’s favourite fibre to spin – with damson and cherry shades of dye leaving some of the natural fibre to show through.

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Instead of dyed alpaca I thought it would be nice to have the rich natural shades of coffee, chocolate and fawn. The carded batt “Cappucino” is made up from alpaca, merino and soy silk and instead of dyed Gotland curls I’ve included some soft bouncy Welshland (one of my crossbred Gotland x Black Welsh Mountain) and I’ve over dyed the black staples with deep plum shades so it’s created a warm black a bit like ripening blackberries.

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The merino pack is plummy and fruity with a hint of bitter chocolate

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and the add ins of firestar, silk noil, silk are dyed in similar shades teamed up with milky soysilk and chocolatey bamboo. There isn’t any textured silk waste this month but the alpaca trio is 30g instead of the usual 25g which hopefully makes up for that :0)

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Hopefully you can make something tasty out of these fibres – maybe you should put the kettle on before you start diving in!

As an extra, for each “Kaffee und Kuchen” box sold, I will donate £1 of the profit to my MacMillan fundraising this year. Even small amounts of money count – just £25 helps to pay for a MacMillan Nurse for one hour. An hour that could make a real difference to someone who is frightened or suffering.

The boxes will go on sale at coffee time tomorrow – 11am 9th September – in my etsy shop

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