Tuesday, 28 December 2010


I have survived the snow and the 'big day' but the four days of 'Bank Holiday' are driving me slowly up the wall - spinning has been my salvation in the shape of 800 yards of laceweight yarn in the gorgeous colourway Victorian Velvet from Mandacrafts.

Now I have to choose the pattern - choices, choices there are so many lovely shawl patterns to choose from - I really can't make up my mind! But I think that it is going to be the Calais Shawl so all I have to do now is wait for the yarn to dry! Meanwhile I have been playing origami with fabric - great fun!

And this is oddly named Lincoln's Platform

Friday, 24 December 2010

Roll on Sunday

I was listening to Radio 4 yesterday and the interviewer was asking various celebrities what they would be doing on the great day!!! One was bemoaning the fact that everyone (yes - really everyone) would be eating turkey and visiting families and how awful was that - but when questioned further he admitted that was exactly what he was going to be doing because that it what you have to do isn't it? Well actually no - you don't!

Thirteen years ago Mr S and I gave up on Christmas, after years of providing exactly the day described we said enough - we certainly weren't enjoying ourselves, and I'm not at all sure that the family (parents, in-laws etc) were really enjoying themselves either. So after years of wearing ourselves to a frazzle - shopping, cooking, calming frayed nerves and soothing over supposed insults - we quit and we have never regretted our decision.

We usually spend the day walking, preferably by the sea, or sitting quietly reading or crafting. Food is something simple and undemanding in the kitchen department with the only concession being a really good bottle (or two) of wine. Most years we have done this in our caravan far away from the maddening crowd, but it is increasingly harder to find that quiet spot as more and more people it seems are also getting away. One bright spot on today's horizon is that in less than 38 hours it will all be over for another year - if only it was just one day and not three months of hype.

This year we have heeded to the mantra 'is your journey really necessary' and stayed at home which will give us even more time for crafting - joy!

My first quilting project - following the instructions by Jenny at the Missouri Star Quilting Co

My Romney Shawl - from fleece to shawl - very satisfying!

Another Piped Hobo Bag, but this one is still looking for a handle

This is the first bobbin of 100 grams of Victorian Velvet - it is going to make the most gorgeous shawl

Scrap Bag - literally made from scraps!

And finally my Secret Santa Raffle Prize (thanks Anji)

Spinning Jenny!

Thursday, 16 December 2010

5 Days to New year

Yes really - if you go by the solstice then Tuesday is the shortest day and on Wednesday the days start to get longer so hence me and Mr S celebrate. Likewise we are starting a new decade, not that the media agree with us! I just want things right - unlike the Japanese who are born aged one, we don't become one year old until we have lived a whole year - so no year nought we begin with one - so that means that a decade goes from one to ten and the next begins on eleven - easy.

It's like the greengrocer's apostrophe which drives me mad - I just long to have a red marker pen and change all those silly '''''. Try reading Lynne Truss' book Eats shoots and leaves it is hilarious and I just love it, if you want a chuckle then it is a good book to dip into. I suppose that most families have private jokes and names for places. When I was small my grandfather used to confuse me with the way he would pronounce place names - Barnstaple was one, he just placed the emphasis on different syllables - doesn't seem funny when you write it, but I was completely sold on his way of saying it and couldn't understand why people laughed.

One such place name has developed because of a road sign written thus:
Road Works
Commence here...........and so on.

Obviously the place Downend Major was undergoing road works - or was it? The best road sign, apart from the obvious Heavy Plant Crossing (is that an aspidistra?) was in a cul de sac:

Drive Slowly over Children Playing

I assume that there was a word missing - humps perhaps?

Monday, 6 December 2010

December rant

I hate December, not just because it has that over-rated of all dates the 25th, but because of the wet, the wind, the cold and most of all the gloom. It is the gloom that I hate the most, no sun just dark mornings and dark evenings and a grey day in between - uck.

I am not sure whether I really suffer from SAD, (Mr S says I suffer from him!!) but I certainly find it very hard to get going, and I feel out of sorts, not really depressed but not right. No motivation and a feeling of lethargy. What I would really like is to hibernate, wrapped up in a cosy nest somewhere until the clocks go forward.

That's another thing to rant about, why do we have change the clocks, mucks up my internal clock twice a year and makes not a lot of difference - well I suppose it might in the very north of Scotland, so let them change their clocks and leave us alone. I have spent time in France where they are on the proper time and I didn't see that it made much difference - nobody went on about it being terrible for children to go to school in the dark!!

Enough - think positive - I did finish all my November projects - socks, Shawl and bags - all done! Now I am just crafting for fun not becasue I have to get something finished by a certain date and this has certainly improved my mood (so Mr S says anyway) and I am feeling more relaxed and have started writing a chapter for my progression at the end of March.

Next week I have a meeting with my three supervisors to agree my aims - so that's a real positive.

But the biggest rant of all is over the proposed lifting of cap on student fees - I am so furious that I have written to my MP - never felt the urge before, but I am livid. I am not saying that further education should be totally free, but what about those who went to university in the 1980s and 90s on a grant - why don't they get asked to pay back? Well of course they are the people that vote, so the government can't upset them - or can they? If a university education means that you earn more then those people (Cameron, Clegg and Milliband and the like) should be paying now -that's what I feel and I make no apology - but enough of politics........

Tonight I am hoping to get a flyer so Mr S can make me an e-spinner - more of that later.....

Friday, 19 November 2010

Running not Spinning......

For the last few weeks I seem to have been running (or just pushing very hard) just to maintain a sense on realility in my life. The sitting room has taken on a another persona - a craft room, Mr S's exhibition layout is currently awaiting landscaping - grass, trees and so on - so taking up space where the second settee used to be!!

This is his first exhibition layout and is due to have its first public viewing at the end of January - yes he claims it will be finished by then - but he still has houses to make and a couple of dozen trees - that's where I come in - trees. Out of florist wire, tape and modelling clay - just don't ask - at least not for the next few weeks at least. Although I might actually take a series of pics and post them here when things have slowed down at bit.

The trees aside, I have been doing a lot of preparation for my soon to be arranged meeting with my new supervisor (just seem to have got out of the habit of writing, at least academically), I have a paper and personal statement to write for a new VCH webpage, a TV reseacher wanting details about silk mills, three bags, a pair of socks, a shawl all due to be finished all by the end of this month.....

Yesterday afternoon I took a few hours off and went for a play on a very expensive sewing machine - serious money - and it doesn't even make the tea!! It was great fun, although I can't see that I'd ever use all the stitches - but I did make a very nice book cover and then went and left my bag at the shop, so this afternoon when I could have getting on with things I have to drive over and get it back.

And I just bought another spinning wheel - unseen, but working and was made in Whitchurch by a one armed man apparently!!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

I've gone into Bag Overload!

Here are just some (not all) of the bags that I have made in the last week or so and I have orders for several more!!

The Bling Bag at the front is my favourite at the moment - the fabris is Oodles of Doodles and I managed to get all three designs, so I see a theme emerging.......

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Dyeing Bonanza

Over the last few days I've been in a dyeing frenzy. It all started with the group meeting on Saturday - when we had a use up day. The idea was to use up all the odd amounts of dyes that were cluttering up both the group stash and our own. It was great fun and some odd results particularly with some of the older dyestuff.

Sunday the house was full of dripping rovings and Mr S complained that he couldn't get in the shower!

Monday, after reading on Marjie' Dye Studio blog that is it possible to dye wool with old Procion MX as if a acid dye - to have a go dyeing some Falkland. This was due in some part to inadvertantly buying the wrong dye some time ago. I didn't get good results so I am not sure what she did I didn't but there certainly wasn't any vibrant colours from my dyeing - dull, dull, dull and green exhaust!!! But there sure was when I tried the same dye stuff with silk

Don't you just love my loo seat - not real cat paws honest..

25grams of white tussah silk, soak for 45 mins in one gram of Kemtex Procion MX Dark Brown - then fixed with 20grams of salt and 5 grams of washing soda.

Then I did the same with some turquoise dye and got the same fantastic result..

Yesterday I dye 200 grams of Superwash Merino and added it to the pile....

and today some BFL - Bitter Chocolate, it isn't dry yet but I am 'right chuffed'- it is just what I pictured - that dark dark bitter chocolate that you get in France - the proper stuff that isn't sweet and doesn't stick to the top of your mouth - uck!

Ok I'm crazy, I don't like chocolate, well certainly not the stuff that is sold in the UK, and I'm not that keen on sweets either I'd much rather have a really sour apple or best of all I love sucking lemons - it is just making my mouth water just thinking about the taste - yum..

Just wondering when on earth I am going to find the time to spin all this - night shifts perhaps?

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Call me romantic or what?

Sunday - the sky is a perfect azure blue (oh how I wish that I could dye that identical colour!) and me and Mr S are in Sandbanks drinking coffee in a beach-side cafe. So? Well 23 years ago that's where Mr S proposed - all very romantic - not -it was a freezing day! Last year Mr S's wedding ring broke and then he was in hospital (with a hand woven woollen wedding ring), we had intended to buy new ones in Scotland, but we never did get there this summer - so eventually after much 'umming and aahing' we bought new rings and where better to exchange them but at the place where it all began...

Thursday, 14 October 2010

What's a failure?

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder - but what constitutes a failure? Recently 'woofnwooly' bought some of the Exmoor Blueface from Coldharbour Mill which very kindly shared with C and myself. I am going to spin half undyed and dye and spin the other, hoping then to discover more about the fibre - K went the whole hog and kettle dyed 150grams - with unexpected results - he used rust, red, sunshine yellow and moss green and got - flame red - he then over painted with some brown and moss green and below is the result.......

Which I really like and K hates, in fact this was destined for the bin until I intervened - OK it has felted quite a bit, which is really disappointing, but there is a lot of good fibre which will be great for a warp thread (probably a cushion cover) - so what was one person's failure was another's gain.

Lesson - one - possibly Exmoor Blueface is best not kettle dyed - two - that for 150grams of fibre in 3 litres of water with 40grams of citric acid and 40 grams of salt will set the dye - three - there was no exhaust (the topic of many a rant on this blog) which is good, but no control, had this been hand-painted then we might have got some of the autumnal hues hoped for and less felted fibre.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Just words

My lovely PhD supervisor is one of the most un-worldly people I know, and one of the most absent minded, despite having a 'state of of the art' blackberry (bought by his wife in an attempt to make him more organised) he still turns up to meetings late and on one memorable occasion said 'I know I am meeting someone - is it you?'

But even he has now taken on board some of the new words that have crept into the language over the years. The verb to 'google' being one such example - he got a round of applause for that one! But that is by the by - Thursday we took E shopping for her birthday - on these occasions she refers to me as Auntie Gok - yet another word that needs no explanation - and we did have fun, she and Mr S were foot weary at the end of the day - can't say I found it that hard, but as they said I had been sat down all day.....

Bought her a super bright pink gilet, which I am so envious about that I think I shall have to get one for myself - especially as my wardrobe is looking decidely empty since the grand clear out last weekend. The British Heart Foundation Shop benefited by four large bags and I now have quite a lot of empty hangers just waiting to be filled - (plus some drawer space which I immediately filled with patchwork and bag material) well I have dropped 4 dress sizes since last September and my stress starvation diet......

Here's this weeks spinning - Remember, Remember - 100 grans of super soft Falkland spaced dyed with red, yellow, blue and black - 345 metres. Mr S is hoping for a pair of socks from this - time permitting....

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Red Letter Day

Back home now and back the to the real world. Mr S returns to uni this week after a year off because of his heart surgery, but getting him registered which should have been a breeze proved impossible - email after email told him to log on and completed the 'simple' process. Well it would have been simple, but they forgot to inform him that his password had been changed........... mind reading is unfortunately not taught at UWE so is was not until Monday, the first day of teaching, that he finally managed to complete the 'simple' process. So for the next 40 weeks our lives will have to work around his timetable, it seems very strange after a year of complete freedom...

Because of the problems I have encounter finding a new Director for my doctorate I have had to asked for extenuating circs and am deferring until January - so hopefully by then everything will sorted out and I might have actually caught up with my spinning and dyeing - a vain hope but I can at least try...

Saturday I had a red day - dyeing 400 grams of Falkland - some with Kool-Aid (an American kid's drink which requires copious amounts of sugar to make it palatable) which dyed my fingers and nails as well as the fibre, the rest with Landscape dyes, all reds....... In the evening we had supper with friends we hadn't seen for nearly a year - so truly a red letter day...

From left to right, Red Letter Day, Jam Today, and Fruit Salad.

Currently I am spinning a roving of Winter Crocus a falkland fibre dyed with Moss, Coral and Sarsparilla. I have three projects on the knitting needles a second sock, baby bootees and my beaded shawl, although in my defence I am waiting for a delivery of beads so that I can finish this, and I have three bags in the making - all in patchwork, and the makings for several more.

Tuesday I spent the morning dyeing!!! Some time ago a friend gave me some Ammonuim Sulphate crystals which are supposed to help the absorbtion of dye. As I find that Jacquard and Kemtex dyes leave great quantitles of exhaust I thought I would experiment. Same amount of dye, but Kemtex and Jacquard with the crystals against Landscape without crystals, both presoaked in Citric Acid, Calgon and a squidge of Washing Up Liguid (my usual) - no exhaust with the Landscape dyes. First the lime green and bight blue (second from right) the dye came out staining both my hands and the sink, the other (first left) I mixed the dyes one eighth of a teaspoon each of Teal, Black, Jade , Turquoise and Navy mixed with equal amounts of Ammonium sulphate and Citric Acid, wrapped and cooked for a total of 10 mins left less exhaust but still some.

Still I am pleased with the results, particularly the navy and turquoise (far right) which is for another beaded shawl......................time permitting....

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Lost time...

The last two weeks have been manic. After our relaxing week away we had the most exhausting week imaginable. Em's MA dissertation was due in on Sept 15th by noon at the latest, and everything was going well until reading the protocol we discovered that the main text had to be double sided - OK not too difficult. How wrong could we have been - after several hours we managed to sort out the margins - which of course had to be mirrored to allow for binding - but then we hit problems. For some reason the PC wouldn't talk to the printer - aaaaaagh......

Several hours later - after trying nearly everything we could think of - eureka - I found that I can save a Word document as a PDF - sorted. We managed to print, with the margins in the right places and with a day to space - deep breath.

I know it is crazy, but I really feel as if I have got one over my PC - as if!

Friday, 3 September 2010


Me and Mr S are having a few days on our favourite CL (Certified Location) in Mr Bond (our caravan) trying desperately to relax..... We really seem to have lost the ability to just sit and recharge the batteries. Yesterday after we had walked down into the village in the morning the question was posed what shall we do this afternoon? The notion of just relaxing in the dapple sun under the apple tree next to the caravan was certainly not the first idea that came to mind - why not, why do we have to 'do something' what's wrong with doing nothing? And that's exactly what we did!!!!!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Let there be light..

Yesterday from 4.20am until 7.22pm we were without electricity (this is the second time in less than two months) and it got me thinking what would we do without this source of power. It is a little like the after dinner game we used to play 'Come the Revolution' when we would discuss who would go up against a wall should 'we' take over! In this case I got to thinking who would be useful in a world without electric - no computers, no washing machines, no artificial light, no fridges or freezers, no microwaves, no fan-assisted ovens, no TV in fact a lot nos to those things that we take for granted.

OK, obviously I was going to be extremely useful, I can produce clothing from scratch! So in my mind I had set up a commune of useful people and life was idyllic, the sun was shining all the time (with a gentle wind to dry all that lovely fleece), the garden was full of plants with dyeing potential, Mr S was busy in his shed making everything we needed out of wood and then the bubble burst. No electricity would mean that the fleeces would have to drip dry and the dyeing would takes absolutely ages over a fire in a big pot, food would also require a big pot over a fire - visions of smoke filled iron-aged huts began to take over - everything smokey and grubby - uck!

No I am a girl/woman of the 21st century I like my PC, and all the labour saving devices that make it possible for me to be able spend time on my hobbies! So by about 10.15am I began to rant about the loss of power - it took until nearly midday for fault to be found, right outside our bungalow - work on digging up the pavement didn't begin until 3.30pm and power wasn't restored until after the 'Archers', well 7.22pm to be precise and that is a long time. I had half a large fleece soaking and no way of powering the spin drier, a pile of dirty clothes and no washing machine and a hubby who had realised that the final time trial in the Econ Tour of the Low Countries (it a cycle race for those not in the know) was not going to be watched in HD at 2pm.

Now don't get me wrong - I really admired all those people in the past that managed without electricity and I am happy to do what I can to reduce my carbon footprint, save water and hopefully get some solar panels (if we can convince the company that the image on Google is out of date and our roof is actually nearer 40sq metres not less than 24!) - and I will keep spinning on my Joy until I really need an electric spinning wheel (the time will probably come but I will face that when it happens) but give up my spin drier - no way, dripping smelly fleeces in the bathroom are not conducive to happy marriages - nuff said.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

First Spinning with my Woolle Winder

Just had to share my first spinning on my new woolee winder which I have just finished skeining! This is a BFL and Silk blend (purchased at Wonderwool) I dyed one roving black and scarlet and one roving scarlet and 2plied together - it is an amazing 593 metres plus 34 metres of the black and red only. It is a true lace weight at 35wpi and here it is.......... I am a truely happy bunny!

Monday, 16 August 2010

What Inspires?

I have been pondering and contemplating and considering why certain colours go together and others won't. How a splash of colour can transform something quite dull and bring it to life. But more importantly I have trying to let go and stop trying to control colours and be more free.

I am certainly constrained by my past - for example blue and green should never be seen unless there's beauty in between - that mantra was drummed into me as a child, and I have no idea why other than it was a kind way of telling that I wasn't pretty. Blues and greens look great together and certainly now no-one would care a jot about putting blue and green together. Brown shoes with black trousers - that was another no-no!

Certain colours and smells bring memories of their own. For example I have never liked the scent of hyacinths since the death of my mother-in-law - there was one in a pot that some one had brought in for her and the scent will forever take me back to the day she died. Then lilies of the valley remind me of my grandmother's garden as does the deep purple/red of the loganberries that grew by the side of her path. I can still taste the sweet tartness of illicit fruit but the memory is tempered with the telling off I received when caught literally 'red-handed'.

So what inspires? I generally like to take inspiration from nature. Seldom does nature get it wrong, but not always do the colours transfer to fibre and yarn. I was particularly taken with the purple and lime green of a Euphorbia portlandica 'Dolce Vita' “Portland Spurge” in my garden - it was spectacular earlier this summer - and when I put the colours together in a roving it still looked great, but when spun it was a different story and the yarn turned out muddy.

Recently I have been taking inspiration from the diverse range of Landscape dyes. Using colours that I wouldn't have used before - coral for example is a colour that does me no favours at all - put coral next to my skin and I look washed out and peach drains me completely. I remember saving up to buy a lovely peach jacket that I had coveted only to find that I look a fright - fortunately I was able to take it back for a refund. So I have avoided peach and coral until the other weekend when at the SDW July meeeting I used up some of the dyes that were left. Who would have thought that purple, coral and moss would look so good together?

Bright colours have always attracted me. I once had my colours done and apparently I am a spring person - so bright/new colours suit me. But pastels can be so pretty and subtle - I must learn that you don't have to be 'in your face' all the time. Hence I have tried to be calmer (now that's a joke - anyone who knows me will know by know that calm and serene I am not) - with my dyeing and so far I am quite please with the results.

But then in the gardening section of Saturday's Telegraph there was this most stunning hyacinth (no smell) Midnight Mystique - a really dark purple black........... hum can I resist?

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

With a little help from my friends....

Finally with a little help from my friends I have managed to spin using my new Woolee Winder. The first attempt caused the air to turn blue and a lot of hair tearing. On the second attempt I gave up in despair wondering how I could explain to Mr S why I had just spent the best part of £200 on something I couldn't master. I did manage to spin a little at the Spinning Weal but it wasn't great and I felt I was fighting the wheel all the time.

I could not for the life of me understand why the yarn kept breaking and why it was so hard to treadle - simple - adjust the tension and away you go! Thanks guys I couldn't have done it without your help

Why is there a bulge one end - I forgot the thread through both rings totally negating the reason for the flyer - double dumbo!

Monday, 9 August 2010

If Only..

There more hours in the day. Having just spent a pleasant hour browsing Ravelry I have come to the conclusion that there just aren't enough hours or lifetimes to enable me to complete all the projects on the ever growing list of must do's.

Bags, I just adore bags - knitted bags, crochet bags, cloth bags, felted bags, big bags, small bags - bags for knitting or just a bag it doesn't matter. It is also quite daft as I don't carry a bag! I have a small pouch slung under my wheelchair and a bag that hangs on the back and that's it. So why the desire for bags - probably it is because I can't carry one that I want one. Currently I have a collection of seven plus three in the pipeline and two queued.

This is the felted Seaside Bag made with the yarn I spun for the Tour de Fleece Challenge - it is just waiting for the handles which will be felted i-cords twisted for strength. There is enough yarn left over to make the Entrelac Ensemble Felted Bag and if there isn't I can always dye and spin some more!!!

Then at the Spinning Weal last Monday I purchased a cloth kit for a Tote Bag to make up for the lovely bag Mr S wouldn't agree to my purchasing in the shop at Ely Cathedral. (Well it was quite expensive, but beautiful) I am going to embellish the front with wadding and beads - the purchase of the wadding will require a vist to the Spinning Weal - joy!

Today I found the most perfect bag and I want to make it now - but it is out of stock at both the UK suppliers - do I wait or order from the USA? Logic tells me to wait, but there is nothing logical about my passion for bags.

Then there are shawls - I can wear shawls so there is some logic here, but how many? I checked out my pattern file and most are for shawls!! Plus I just got my Posh August Cashmere Club yarn - 2ply Sophia - and now I am in a quandary over which shawl I should knit with this gorgeously soft yarn.

The August KAL forthe Beginning Lace Knitters Group on Ravelry is Aeolian Shawl by Elizabeth Freeman and I am going to make it with my White Romney and pearl beads. I have had this one in my queue for over a year.

But I kept putting it off as it a charted pattern only and I have had problems with reading charts - so I intend to write the pattern up as I go along - challenging and like I said there just aren't enough hours in the day so I guess the housework will have to go!

Thursday, 5 August 2010

I'm in a Quandary

I have been playing around with a skein of sock yarn that I dyed last week as I am not sure which is the best way to present the skein on my website. To skein or reskein that is the question.

This colourway is Tomfoolery

It is a superwash Merino Sock Yarn, dyed in three colours, Raspberry, Navy and Orange. But I am not sure whether this really does the yarn justice. So I reskeined the yarn and now it looks like this....

Really not sure which (or should I use both pics?) is best.......... Mr S likes it as dyed and I am not so sure - reskeined there is some indication of how the colours will knit - so hence the quandary

Comments would be really welcome as obviously it takes time to reskein. I am tempted to try Autumn Crocus - but it's a no going back situation and I only have the one opportunity.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Really excited

Yesterday, whilst fighting a rotton headache, I finally managed to get my website up and running! Check it out at thesassyspinner.co.ukNow Mr S is hopeful that some of the gigantic stash that fills every nook and cranny in the very small bungalow will diminish - fat chance!

Here's some I dyed at the weekend at the birthday bash of the Spindyeweavers

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Making up for lost time

During the last couple of days Mr S and I have been exploring the lovely Leicestershire countryside. Doing the type of things we had planned for our 'Grand Tour' earlier in the year and getting used to Mr B (the name we have given to our new caravan - our old caravan was number six off the production line and we never came up with a name - but this one was number seven - ergo Mr B(ond) or 007) and Big Girl's Blouse 2 (the car - the old one was Big Girl's Blouse 1, which was a replacement for Big Boy - OK all very complicated, but we have always given names to all our cars and caravans, I know it sounds daft, but to us these all had different personalities and therefore entitled to a name etc)

I digress, yesterday we visited Ashby de la Zouche castle - home of Lord Hastings (friend of Richard III) and the Bosworth Heritage Centre - a trip back to the 15th century a period which I have studied in depth. The castle was lovely but the audio was terrible (we gave up listening) and Bosworth was interesting - but why oh why do these places have to dumb-down history? (As avid people watchers it was obvious that the target audience missed the points that were being made directly to them) So why can't these places also provide information in a more educated way, one that expects more than a reading age of the average 'The Sun' reader, because basically Sun readers don't go to this sort of place anyway.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Mobile Spinning for the Tour de Fleece

Eureka - actually managed to balance working at a conference and spinning... and just for the record here is my spindle at the Tennis Tournament on Sunday

Forgot how soothing spinning on a drop spindle can be - so I have been spinning in the car and caravan. Also surprised how nice and even the yarn is (was going to post a pic but realised that I can't download a pic from the camera and be online at the same time) so here is one I took earlier

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Challenging few days

I have just realised that I am going to have to work really hard over the next few days to stay within the guidelines for the Tour de Fleece challenge. Normally I can fit spinning in around the actual race but tomorrow and Saturday I am working at a Conference and Sunday I'm meeting up with friends for our annual get-together at the British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships in Nottingham. This means that fitting in a reasonable amount of spinning is going to take real ingenuity and a drop spindle.

Over the rest day (Wednesday) I carded nearly 200 grams of Romney Fleece and today I spun some of it up. Lovely fibre to spin and the rovings and yarn has the most gorgeous sheen that doesn't show in the picture.

Looking forward to Sunday most, as it is a real girls only day with some tennis thrown in. We all met through playing wheelchair tennis and have played together and against each other many times over the years, but for this day no competition just gossip and a lot of reminiscing. In the evening we may even get a little maudlin over a glass or two of vino (Guess who isn't driving back to the caravan?)

Plus I get to pick my new wheels.......................

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Free Spinning

Really enjoying myself this week on the Tour de Fleece challenge - playing around with some combinations using some of the samples from the last Fibreholics parcel. As they are only 20grams there is a limited use for the yarn - although I am intending to make a quilt (time permitting). Sunday I spun up and plied a sample of Blue Faced Leicester and Silk in pink and chocolate with a similar amount of brown that I had dyed resulting in a satisfying 225 yards of 2ply yarn in colourway Chocolate Ripple.

After this success I did the same with some Falkland in reds and pinks and plied it with white - Blueberry Ripple

And then just to continue the icecream theme I spun up some carded white Falkland and pink silk and got Strawberry Ice

Sunday, 18 July 2010

The Tour de Fleece - part 2....

Yesterday I finished the spinning colours for the Tour Challenge and now they are drying on the line.

On Friday I heard of the safe delivery of a friend's baby - a girl so I need to get knitting - fast. Found the most delightful and chic pattern on Ravelry called Peach Blossom Jacket so I dyed up some Merino and Bamboo (see pic above)in a deep pink - not for me the boring baby pinks (I hope that Linda feels the same way!) also going to add a little pair of shoes and a beret - ready for autumn. All I need now is some drying weather.

Off now to label up my samples and get ready for a afternoon of spinning - just hope that the riders in the Tour decide it is time to start racing....,, although I'm pretty sure that Mark C put two fingers up at the commissars yesterday as he won the sprint for second place!

Friday, 16 July 2010

Warping - all wrapped up.

At the fourth attempt and with the help of Mr S I finally warped up my new loom. What a palaver - the instructions provided by Ashford are scrappy, further instructions may have been included with a warping board, but as usual Mr S has made this peice of equipment and also a stand for the loom at total saving of £220! Just enough for a Woolee Winder for my Joy.........................

The first warp was far too ambitious for a first project - demanding 300 threads! I quickly realised that I was never going to get this on the loom and rewound the yarn. Try two ended the same way, in try three I realised that I was supposed to go the same way round the end post and not alternated with the raddle cross (this will only make sense to a weaver) - attempt four finally made it to the loom. Had I waited for Deborah Chandler's excellent book Learning to Weave to arrive I might have saved myself a lot of grief. Each chapter is a lesson and explains carefully how to and what pitfalls there are - sense at last.

Meanwhile the Tour de Fleece challenge is going well by yesterday's stage 12 I have spun 500grams and watch many hours of the actual race. MC won again yesterday although there was a bit of a 'coming together of riders' and Mark Renshaw MC's lead-out man has been disqualified for head butting - who said cycling is a gentle form of exercise?

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