Monday, 10 July 2017

Wool Fairs

Well June has fairly whipped by and we are nearly halfway through July! I have managed to get to two of the best wool festivals this year, the first was way back in April. Wonderwool Wales is such a good event, it gets bigger and better every year and this time I wasn't helping out on a stall so I had more time to look around over the weekend.
I managed to catch up with the lovely Sarah and Elisabeth on the Get Weaving stand. Their ideas and patterns are so inspiring, I come away with my head buzzing with ideas of what to make every time I see them. I just need more time to get on and do them!
Over the two days I did manage to do some retail therapy, not that I needed much but things happened to catch my eye!
As you can see plenty of stuff! Yarn, a Saori warp, wavey beater and dyes. Lots to play with over the summer. The next show I visited was Woolfest, at Cockermouth in Cumbria which means I have to make a car journey north for over four hours. Unfortunately the lovely weather we had been having in the couple of weeks prior to the show didn't last and it became wetter and colder the further north I went.

As usual there was plenty to see and lots of lovely stuff to buy.
I didn't buy another wheel or a loom but I did manage to spend some money on the following....
Two braids of hand dyed fibre - 50% Baby Camel/50% Silk, more cotton yarn and some dyes.
Two more Saori warps, three lengths of hand dyed silk top and a selection of speciality fibres to try out - ramie, rose fibre and some bleached flax. I shall try to make it to Yarndale at the end of September but that will have to be as a day trip so a very early start!

Saturday, 10 June 2017

More Crochet...... and a few flowers!

Well another month has been and gone, soon we shall be at midsummer and before we know it the evenings will be getting darker again. We have had a few nice, reasonably hottish days here where we could sit out and enjoy the garden but we don't seem to get the lovely warm evenings anymore. I have managed to finish off a couple of crochet projects lately but there are many more in the pipeline!

I made this mandala cardigan for my son's girlfiend Abi who had a birthday at the beginning of May. It's a pattern by LillaBjorn Crochet in Scheepjes Whirl - a cotton/acrylic gradient yarn. I got it finished just in time. I have a different colourway to make one for myself soon.

This next top I made from a Japanese crochet magazine in a cotton/acrylic yarn by Yeoman Yarns. All the Japanese patterns I have are in chart form so they are reasonably easy to follow and currently are my favourites. All the patterns are classics and worked in fine yarns which is so different from the clumsy looking patterns that are in magazines here in the U.K.

This cardigan is from a pattern by Dora Ohrenstein in her book on top down crochet. I made it from the yarn used in the book but by the time I got it the yarn was discontinued and it took awhile to track some down on Ebay. Let's hope we get some better weather back soon so I get the chance to wear them!Before the stormy weather arrived my garden wasn't looking too bad, now it looks like a steam roller has been through it! Here are just a few snaps to share with you.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Hergest Croft Gardens and More Bluebells.

During the recent bank holiday weekend at the beginning of May I paid a visit to a lovely local garden to view the rhododendrons and bluebells. The gardens were laid out in 1895 on what seems to have been a bare field site.

 The gardens are full of specimen trees, rhododendrons and azaleas with a super tea room and plant sales area. Great for an afternoon outing.

Across a field and a short walk away from the main garden you come to a lovely wooded area full of huge rhododendrons and masses of bluebells. Luckily the sun peeped out briefly and treated us to a magical sight under the trees.

Friday, 5 May 2017

A Walk With Connie In The Woods.

A few days ago I took Connie for a walk in my local wood in order to see the bluebells. The weather was sunny and on the cool side but luckily dry underfoot.

There were lots of lovely primroses and violets still in flower although the grass is getting ever longer and soon they will be hidden from view for another year.

The wood is a mixture of oak,ash and hazel with areas of conifer plantation. But right at the far corner, on the top of the hill is an area of beech with a lovely patch of bluebells. They looked wonderful! The photos don't do them justice.
From the western edge of the wood you can get a glimpse of my house! That's the white building poking out from the trees with our barn and hay field.

Just as we were almost back to the car we came across a deer! Soon we were back at home having a lovely cup of tea and a slice of homemade cake!

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

I'm back again......AGAIN!

We are already well into 2017 before I have been able to do any posting. Our broadband service has gone from bad to worse since the start of the new year and so we have gone to a satellite provider. And it's brilliant!!!!!!! So I can now resume my blogging without the frustration of continually having no signal.

Well, what have I been up to recently. I have discovered a passion for crochet, something I never thought I would say, but after watching a Doris Chan dvd downloaded ages ago from Interweave Press I am well and truly hooked - excuse the pun.

This is my first attempt at the pattern used in the dvd which I made from some commercial yarn that was in my stash intended for another project but which met the gauge needed for the jumper. And it has been my favourite to wear over the winter.
Then I went mad on Amazon and bought a few of Doris Chan's books which resulted in this cardigan made from some of my handspun yarn.
This jacket is another of Doris Chan's designs and is again using some Lion Brand yarn I found in my stash that I completely forgot the reason for buying!
As I have become smitten with crochet I have joined a couple of Crochet Alongs (CAL) and this one is my first. It is called Hygge and is by Haak Maar Raak and uses yarn by Scheepjes. I'm taking part in a couple of other CALS and I'll blog about those soon.
Here are a sample of some sqaures I have crocheted using my hand spun yarn in their natural colours. The pattern is Celtic Tiles by Lilla Bjorn Crochet and I hope to eventually make enough for a blanket.
I'm still weaving and this is some cloth I wove to make some curtains for my mother's bathroom using a mixture of cotton and linen yarns.
This is some fabric I wove to make a skirt. It is all hand spun and hand dyed by me and I plucked up courage to do the sewing last week in order to wear it to Wonderwool Wales.
As you can see there is another version of the Doris Chan jumper in Cascade 220 yarn and it goes nicely with the skirt.

There are lots more things to blog about but I'll leave it at that for the moment. Hope there is still somebody out there who wants to read my ramlings?

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.