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!

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Two Views From The Wheel

Two different views from my Majacraft wheel while spinning some dyed Kerry Hill fleece for weaving. The first was in the garden on Friday afternoon.

And a complete contrast.......
Watching the Le Mans 24hr race this weekend. Brilliant racing! Husband Graham and son Nick have been to Le Mans for the Classic racing and had a great time. We watch as much as we can over the day and, of course, I take advantage by doing lots of spinning. Keeping my fingers crossed that Porsche can win later today.

Friday, 12 June 2015

An Evening Dog Walk.

Summer has, so far, been rather chilly with persistent cold winds from either the north or the east and not very many sunny days. As we are fast approaching the longest day/shortest night this is quite depressing! Most evenings when it isn't raining I try and get a walk with the dogs down our lane and sometimes I venture into the woods.

Looking to the northwest.
Looking north towards the Long Mynd
The lane is lined with wildflowers but the bluebells are becoming covered now by the grass and all that lovely kek (cow parsley).
Eventually you reach the woods which are mixture of conifers and broadleaf trees. It's lovely walking along the track at the edge of the woodland hearing the birds in the tall trees and glimpsing the sheep in the fields over the hedge.
And finally here are my canine companions!

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Latest Spinning Projects and Wonderwool Wales 2015

Apologies for the lack of posts lately but here is an update...... better late than never!

Wonderwool was busy as always and it was lovely to catch up with old friends. We were very busy on the My Fine Weaving Yarn stand as Helen had some new yarn ranges from Brassards of Canada which sold like the proverbial "hot cakes". I shall have to be quicker next time to try and bag some for myself.

My Fine Weaving Yarn
Phillippa and Jan Joad of Wheeldale Woolcrafts
Beautiful felted sheep portraits by Taylored-Felt
A very busy Saori weaving stand. I did manage to chat with the two ladies briefly and bought a couple of ready made warps but they were so busy I didn't want to keep them too long. There is definitely an increased interest in weaving this year. So many people visiting our stand started the conversation off with the words " I'm new to weaving" or "I'm only a beginner". It is really great to see that people are moving into weaving eventually. The next show is Woolfest!
I've been quite busy at home with a couple of dyeing/spinning projects, trying to work my way through the huge pile of fleeces in the hopes that this years crop will not overwhelm me! The first spinning project is to make a jumper for Graham and I dyed a Clun Forest fleece in Landscape Dyes Night which is a dark blue. I blended it with some Llanwenog which I dyed last year in a variety of lighter blues, mauve and a turquoise. This stopped the darker blue from looking too flat and gives a lovely heathered look to the yarn. Both fleeces have the same qualities and went together well.
The actual colour is a bit deeper - like a nice blue ink colour - the sun was a bit bright when I took the photo. My next project is to weave some fabric to make this....
.... a pinafore dress from a pattern by Get Weaving. I met Sarah and Elisabeth at Wonderwool and got some brilliant advice on what to do with some fabric I had made. They had an example of this outfit there and I just have to try and make one myself. So I have dyed a stack of Kerry Hill fleece in a range of autumn colours and I shall blend them roughly together so that I get areas of solid colour and some where it is a mixture.
So far I'm pleased with how it looks.

Friday, 17 April 2015

And Now For Something A Bit More Cheerful

17th April 2015

Despite the sadness of the previous post I have been able to get some weaving done and also to welcome a new loom to the collection. Yes my new Saori WX60 loom has arrived!!!

What a beauty! Such a simple 2 shaft loom yet it can help you weave such amazing cloth. I was weaving on it within half an hour of sliding it out of it's box as it only needed the warp to be attached to the back of the loom and to tie it on to the cloth beam. The built-in bobbin winder is fantastic, no need to get up from your seat when you need a new bobbin. I'm smitten.... it's the old drop spindle thing all over again I'm afraid. Can you hear me eating my words? I have already woven off the warp that came with the loom ( already threaded and in the reed I might add) and at the moment I have a navy blue cotton warp which I did myself from yarn in the stash. Waiting in the wings are 3 more ready made warps purchased from Kim at The Saori Shed. This is what my first Saori loom woven warp looks like. The ends haven't been trimmed yet and I think I shall sew it into a summery top to wear with my linen trousers.

It was a black cotton warp and I wove mostly with cotton and some cotton mixes with a few additions of novelty yarns. I'm really pleased with the way the fabric drapes so I must get cracking and sew it up before the weather breaks! The next thing to show you is the first bit of Saori-style weaving I did on my Louet Spring loom. The warp is black lambswool and the weft mostly wool with a bit of mohair including quite a bit of hand spun. I was originally going to make a skirt out of the cloth (to wear with long boots) but after draping it across the dressform I recently bought I'm thinking of wearing it as a shawl.

It has a Scottish look about it.... you can almost hear the skirl of the pipes! And finally I wove a long length of fabric, again on the Spring, to make into a tunic-type top. The warp is a mixture of lambswool and a few ends of Jaggerspun Zephyr left over from scarf projects.
A lot of the weft yarn is my hand spun taken straight from the spinning bobbin and used as a singles yarn. It seems to have worked alright and I really liked the mottled effect of the merino/silk mix top that I spun. I have started another warp on the Spring, which I'm hoping to get finished soon, in greens and yellows and I'm only using hand spun yarn for the weft this time.
The green-blue yarn is some that I dyed a long while ago and chain plyed it to knit a jumper but never got around to it. The yarn making the warp floats is some that I corespun from a mixture of merino tops, alpaca and glittery bits mentioned in a previous post. It's going along quite nicely and I would like to get it off the loom soon as I want to wear it to Wonderwool in a weeks time. Yes. It's showtime again!! Yippeeeee!