Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Back again.

Well it's been ages since I last wrote about anything. I have been doing fibre related things but I must say that my blogging mojo left me. I'm hoping that with the onset of the colder weather and the increase in activity in the woolroom may give me some inspiration. It didn't help that we have had a really bad internet service for the majority of the year as they are upgrading the broadband locally. Sadly we had to have our border collie Dan put to sleep in March as he was having too many severe epileptic seizures but we got a puppy to fill the gap! She is now 9 months old and is a joy to have.

Over the summer I have been doing plenty of spinning and in order to speed up the process I invested in a swing picker made by Classic Carders in Bridgnorth.
It has proven to be a good choice and I have munched my way through several fleeces playing with it. I just need to get on with the drum carding now! Today I took the dogs for a lovely walk along our quiet country lanes looking at the lovely autumn colours which may inspire future dyeing sessions.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Blending board adventures.

About a year ago I bought an Ashford blending board and had a dabble with making arty rolags with it and I wasn't that impressed. In fact I had decided to sell it and left it in my work room under a table. However I have watched a couple of classes over the internet which has changed my mind! Both of these are by Esther Rodgers, one is a Craftsy class and the other is an Interweave DVD. I am now hooked! My latest project uses an assortment of hand dyed locks from a range of fleeces. Some are longer and some are a bit coarser but all are the remnants of other projects or colours that I decided not to use at that time.

 I split them in to locks, flicked them out a bit and blended them a couple of times on the board. Then I pulled off a roving as Esther demonstrated and I ended up with a huge ball of multi-coloured roving. I then spun a lofty singles yarn which I am using as a weft in my Saori weaving.


I have lots of ideas for more colourways and I am currently blending some naturally dyed tops with added sparkly bits/silk and some alpaca. I am so glad to have found a use for my blending board as they are not cheap to buy and I can also find a use for all those odd bits of wool.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Friday, 9 October 2015

What Have I Been Doing?

Well, quite a lot actually! As well as the usual gardening tasks which have built up over the summer on account of the miserable and rather wet weather, I have been to a couple of fibre shows. The first of these was Bristol Wool Fair and it was held in a different venue to their first show last year. No more cosy marquees but the usual cavernous auction sheds.

This year Helen added a demonstration/sales area for Ashford spinning and weaving equipment and David Herring came along to give his support and advice. There was also a couple of attractions outside for those visitors not so interested in wool! I really liked the display by some Viking reenactors who had set up a small living history area and did a few battle skirmishes in the arena.
This chap was very impressive!
 Then at the end of September we went to Yarndale held in the auction mart, Skipton which is on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. I could only stay for one day but I did manage to get a bit of shopping done and catch up with friends before the end of my show season. I wore my new pinafore and Sarah from Get Weaving gave it the thumbs up and took my photo which she has kindly let me post here.
The pinafore is very comfortable to wear and I'm already planning on making one, probably two, more! Many thanks yet again Sarah for your lovely patterns and it was great catching up with you and Elisabeth at the show.
Meanwhile, now I'm back home I have warped up one of my looms to weave a different pinafore pattern - more later- and I have begun to dye some different colours for another project I have in mind.
This is a blend of white alpaca fleece from one of my own alpacas and some sheep fleece from dear old Trixie who is a Texel x Icelandic.

I blended the fleece and alpaca together on a drum carder and then dyed the resulting batts of fibre with Gaywool dyes using the idea of flowers in my garden as inspiration.
Happy spinning and weaving!

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Finished At Last!

Well I have eventually got my sewing project completed and I'm quietly pleased with my efforts. I have a problem with any form of "dressmaking" as I had a "dragon" of a sewing teacher at school who has haunted me ever since! Mention zips/interfacing or any other sewing terminology and I will break into a cold sweat! But I can sew quite a decent quilt, which does involve using a sewing machine.......strange I know.

I shall be wearing it this weekend at Bristol Wool Fair where I shall be helping Helen on her stall. I'll try and get a photo of me in it. I have also been busy spinning some more yarn for the next pinafore-type dress which is another of Sarah Howard's Get Weaving patterns. 



I found a huge plastic box full of drumcarded batts of some Llanwenog fleece that I had done awhile ago and as I love using this type of fleece I decided to dye it whilst it was still in the batts. I used Landscape and Gaywool dyes choosing some nice bright blues and greens. To spin it I tore a strip off a couple of differently coloured batts and drafted them together. Some pieces were more towards the greens and some a bit more blue and the end result is quite nice I think. I now have quite a few skeins of a softly spun 2-ply yarn which I will use as the weft. I will also be trying this colourway and spinning technique in the future for a knitted jumper of cardigan as it is fun to do. As I sat spinning my mind was filling with loads of ideas for more weaving projects!

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Handweaving For Clothes....... progress so far.

You may recall in a previous post I mentioned that I was spinning some yarn to use in fabric for a dress I wanted to make.

This pile of gorgeous Kerry Hill, which was dyed using Landscape and Gaywool dyes turned into this....
And eventually this.....
By the end of September, in time for Yarndale, I hope it will be looking more like this....
At the moment I have plans to make two more patterns from Get Weaving, a skirt and another dress, so both wheels are currently busy and the dye pots is constantly on the go! Better get cracking.....

Friday, 10 July 2015

Woolfest 2015

Well another Woolfest has been and gone for another year.

The weather turned wet and windy for set-up day but by the second day of the show the weather was lovely and sunny. But we awoke on Sunday morning to very blustery weather with lashing rain, not nice for a long trip down the motorway. As usual there were lots of lovely sheep on display again, here is a sample.

Some of the local Herdwick sheep.


And the undoubted stars of the show were these Valais Blacknose sheep which are originally from the Valais region of Switzerland. This breed was introduced with stock imported from Switzerland a couple of years ago and I believe there are now over 400 of them in Britain. I have managed to buy a Valais fleece recently which I will post about sometime soon. Usually the alpacas get all the attention but this year it was these cuties, the pen was constantly surrounded by people and it took several visits before I could get in close enough. And there is always a stack of inspiration! Meet the two "Get Weaving" ladies Sarah and Elisabeth.

Their range of clothing patterns is really fantastic and I am busy weaving fabric from my hand spun to make the dress that Sarah is wearing (on the left). I also have plans afoot to spin some Cotswold fleece that I am dyeing at the moment to make the weft yarn for a skirt from one of their patterns. I also found time to visit The Saori Shed and meet Kim, the lady I bought my saori loom from.
So much lovely stuff to inspire you!
It is always nice to have the chance to chat with the visitors spreading the word about weaving and catching up with our customers who come to our stand and show us the projects they have completed using the yarn they have bought from us. My next show with Helen won't be until September but I shall have plenty of time, I hope, to finish weaving my fabric and maybe even get it sewn up!