Monday, September 29, 2008

Bluefaced Day

The Bluefaced in Question is the Gentleman in the left of the photo. His name is Andy and he is known as 'Mr Wool' He kindly invited all and sundry to his place for a Ravelry meet-up and wool/fibre/dyes fest. Great stuff. Also in the photo are Amanda from The Natural Dyes Studio, Jeni from Fyberspates and Debbie the Mulberry Dyer. Debbie from DT Crafts is lurking just out of shot.

Spinning also happened. Caecilia graciously demonstrated spinning on her wheel and encouraged others to have a go. The one seated is Cinders and Woolydoodles is on the right in the green aran jacket.

These are just a few of the yummy things for sale : )

I met Artis-Anne and Murdo too and Murdo's delightful daughters (and Mr Murdo)

And finally, a close-up of Caecilia's spinning - fine and even and beautiful!!!
PS Thanks Andy - the scones were lovely : )

Saturday, September 27, 2008

My own hand dyed handspun

Many moons ago I decided to try my hand at dyeing my own fibre. I bought some bog-standard Merino rovings and fetched my steam-fix silk dyes down from the loft. After a bit of trial and error (mostly error) I came up with these:

I only dyed about 25g of each one. Then came the spinning:

The yarn is very fine, sort of lace weight. Really, really thin which, considering i was using 50g spindles, was a bit unexpected. I wound off the yarn onto 2 ashford bobbins and put them onto my lazy kate and plied them on my trusty CD spindle.
This is the result:

It only weights about 16g and it is 155 yards long - but its all my own work!!!!
I have learnt several things from this experience. Dyeing is addictive and very satisfying. Lacewight takes a looooong time to spin and never, ever only dye a little bit because you cant repeat the colour.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Worm socks & Alpaca

These socks don't look like worms, they don't act like worms either, so why have I called them 'Worm Socks'? Well, I have gradually been losing my knitting and spinning mojo. I looked back on this years knitting and realised that, apart from a pair of gloves, everything i had made had gone to others. No wonder I felt low. On Ravelry there is a group called Selfish Knitters. They knit what they want, when they want. If they make something for someone else it is a conscious decision rather than the response to guilt or pressure. I have joined this group and the Worm Has Turned!!! For the next 6 months I pledge to knit something for me, and do some spindling for me every day. Hence the title of the socks, they are my first 'me' project since making the decision. I finished the first sock in 3 sessions and have immediately cast on for the second sock today and my knitting mojo has returned : ) The yarn is Regia Kaffe Fassett Mirage in the Canyon colourway.

I am also spinning 10 mins a day for myself. This is some Alpaca fibre from Chrispindle (also on Ravelry) in the Blue Moon colourway. It is sooo soft and fluffy and drafts beautifully. My spinning mojo has returned now too : )

I think the weather doesnt help - I had to take these photos on the workshop windowsill because it has been so overcast here.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Harvest - well, sort of......

First the bad news: This was our total potato crop. Your eyes are not deceiving you, our crop consisted of 2 potatoes!!! The rest were either eaten by slugs or rotted in the Monsoons we have had this Summer.

Then the pears - what pears??? Plenty on the tree but they were rotten inside, and the salvageable bits were woody and tasteless : (

Now for the good news: Our Bramley apples tree is bursting with fruit. Loads and loads of huge apples the size of grapefruits. Our freezer is now stacked with apples. We also went blackberry picking on Saturday evening and got 13 lbs of blackberries for bramble jelly and blackberry & apple pies.

And finally, the runner beans. Not very many this year but they are very tasty and crunchy. We had some last night with our tea. Picked at 4pm, eaten at 6pm. You cant get much fresher than that!!!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Its Spring!!!

Some of you may remember that a few months ago the brick wall of my front garden was accidentally knocked down by our neighbour. We have now replaced the wall with a wooden fence and I think it looks much nicer. We just have to put the wrought iron gate on and it is finished. We found the gate in a barn while we were clearing out the farm and, once it has been rubbed down and has a lick of black paint, it should be just right:

Inside the front garden (and peeping over the top of the fence) the flowers think its Spring again and we have loads of buds opening up:

Even the chickens have been sunning themselves this week:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Knitting Counterpanes...and other books

I love book. No, I mean it.......I really love books. I used to be strict with myself and only have a certain amount of bookshelves. I tried very hard to limit the number of books that I had. But I failed. As you can see....I am not joking. This is just one of the walls of books in my house now. We just buy or build more shelves as my collection grows : )

I buy specific sorts of books. All the classics I can get my hands on, especially children's classics and the Victorian writers. Theology and psychology and philosophy books feature strongly too. But my favourite books are craft books. All sorts of crafts. DH collects books on woodworking and musical instrument making (because that's his day-job) and art books (cos that's his hobby) and Hardanger books (cos that's his other hobby).

I collect rare and out-of-print craft books, mainly heirloom sewing and knitting. Which brings me to the Knitted Counterpanes:

I read about this book in the latest issue of Spin-Off magazine and immediately wanted it. Of course, such a treasure was out-of-print. I tracked a copy down to a lady in America, paid a small fortune - and here it is!!!!! It is a fantastic resource and worth every penny. A big 'Thank you' to the seller and I am enjoying every page of it. Its not only a pattern book. It has the story behind the squares and borders too.

Tomorrow my dining room is turning into a wood yard. We are getting a delivery of 35 cubic feet of wood to make swifts, spindles, nostepinnes, niddy-noddys, and a harpsichord - and that's a lot of wood. Because the weather has been so wet for so long, the wood will be unusually damp and cant be used until it is dried out properly, so my dining room will have to do the job of a seasoning yard!!!

Oh well - Its an excuse to avoid housework and get some knitting done. Some Malabrigo sock yarn in Lettuce arrived today and I am sure I can use my 'housework' time making a scarf for me : )

Monday, September 8, 2008

Ombres & Delft

I love multi-coloured yarn, fabric and threads. I love solid colours too, but my favourite shades are the Ombres. I just find the single coloured yarns etc which go all the way from light to dark fascinating to work with. I get such pleasure from seeing something I knit or sew in, for example, Pink and seeing it develop from deepest Cyclamen to the palest pink blush of a Rosebud.

My Step-mother collects fine quality pieces of Delft pottery, including tiles. They are beautiful, intricate and delicate. Part of the patterning reminds me of lace and, with my love of ombres, the many shades of bue mesmerise me and I can look at them for hours.

I found a cross-stitch pattern in an old issue of Crosstitcher magazine. It was a set of 4 Delft tiles. Each one comprises of at least 8 shades of blue, plus white. How could I resist? So I present Tile Number 1, with the others to follow later:

They are about 5" square and will be framed and hung along the stairway of my blue and white hall.