Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Casting Off- On the Water

Skipper and I have just returned from a lovely little holiday in Herefordshire.
We set off on an early ferry from Yarmouth to Lymington so as we could view the "Round the Island Yacht Race" in fact our ferry had to weave it's way through the fleet across the Solent, so we had a great view of the competitors although as it was a breezy morning the large racing yachts had already made it around to The Needles, however there was still a good many yachts to enjoy.  

 The weather was amazing for this holiday "Herefordshire Heatwave" so of course we simply had to get on the water! We hired a canoe for the day. We paddled downstream on the River Wye.

 Stopping off on shingle shores for refreshments, absorbing the views and beautiful scenery, watching the wildlife on the river and generally having a fantastic day! In places the river was shaded by trees, calm and slow flowing, cooling and soft. Along the route there were bubbling rocky runs, light rapids of lively water sparkling in the sunshine. Exhilarating, energy giving refreshing little rides over the rocks.
Canoe The Wye
Super day on the river from these folks.
Other news

As a little taster, I want to let you know about my "search for colour"   I held a Natural Dyeing day in my garden with my sister. Jude has written a super blog post at
  


I will be blogging more about this day myself and another day coming up after I have harvested my Woad and will let you know how it works!

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Small Projects and Preparation Work


 To start with, I want to show you three little pouches, two handwoven Saori style and one hand knitted. Small projects in colour and design in a mix of wools, silks and handspun detailing.
An enjoyable task while larger activities are on the go.
 
I have been washing fleece and spinning plenty of skeins in preparation for some Natural Dyeing.
I lit my new Fire Pit.  

So as I could Mordant all the wools ready for my Dyeing of the colours.
It was so much fun being out in the garden slowly working through all the collection of fleece and skeins I had produced over the weeks.

I used Alum for the mordant.

Another small project I'm working on is Hand Painting Silk Hankies. I have chosen colours inspired from the garden. The silk will be handspun on its own as I want it to be delicate and light, so as I can add it to my Saori weaving. 

Meanwhile, in the garden I have gathered my woad seeds from last year's crop (to store for next season) and look how well this year's woad plants are doing!

So preparation work is done, now ready to start Dyeing some yarn.
A festival of colour to come!

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Won The Double!

 May Time is when our WSD Guild have their annual competition. I entered two categories this year.

I'm so pleased and chuffed as I retained the "Marleen Upton Cup" for my Weaving!
and came joint 1st in The Novice Cup for my Art Yarn
 
My Saori Handwoven Asymmetric Light Weight Tunic
(Weaving Cup)

 My Art Yarn was hand spun using the hand painted fleece and tops I blogged about in April.
( The Novice Cup- new skill learnt)

Shetland fleece with Merino tops,
Hand washed, Hand carded,
Hand painted with Landscape dyes,
Hand spun coiled with a base 4ply yarn,
Producing a novelty thick and thin yarn with Slubs.

I loved making my own art yarn from scratch and I'm really looking forward to using it in my weaving and knitting designs. 

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Hand Painted - Fleece and Yarn

 On a sunny spring day it was good to get out into the garden and produce some colourful
Hand painting fleece and yarn.
 I used Landscape Dyes Sample Kits- Desert and Mountain.

First I put my skeins and fleece in some warm soapy water to soak, while I prepared small pots of dye to paint with.
 Adding hot water to the dye is all that is needed as each pot is "a simple one pot dye system"

 The fun bit is just being creative!
I used the dyes to paint my yarn, letting the colours bleed into each other, over colouring and mixing to give me subtle toned shades.

 I love the gentle soft tones of these dyes when they are used in this way.

 To set the colour the hand spun skeins and carded fleece are cooked in the steamer for 40 minutes.

 Then allowed to cool for a short time before being rinsed in clean water and left in the sunshine to dry.


I'm so pleased with the colours. I shall spin the fleece into Art Yarn and the skeins I'll add to my stash  to await either a knitting or weaving project.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Time To Grow

 March has been a time to get things started. A time to grow. Here is a photo of a woad plant I have left to grow on and hopefully produce seeds for my next year's stock. The photo below shows my woad seed collected from last year's plants. (Woad is biennial)

 I planted some in seed trays in the greenhouse and some direct in the ground under a cloche, as you can see in just a week the ones in the greenhouse have grown into tiny seedlings! the hope and promise of wonderful homegrown natural blue dye for my wool this year.

 While things grow, Skipper and I decided to spend a few days in Devon and enjoy the spring weather, fresh air and beautiful scenery.
A time to relax and be inspired, grow and nurture our own ideas for this year's projects.
 We visited  Arts and Craft centres and explored Dartmoor, walked up to Haytor and did some coastal hopping all along the South coast on our way home -Teignmouth, Exmouth, Sidmouth, Bridport and West Bay.

HAYTOR


 While in Bovey Tracey I made sure my stash this year continues to grow too! I called in at
Spin A Yarn
and treated myself to a gorgeous collection of roving and various yummy yarns.


 Then for my hand painted yarn and dyeing projects I bought a steamer and a good selection of tools to go with it.
I aim to grow my knowledge and experience, develop my skills in producing more of my own yarns, hand spun, hand dyed, hand knitted and hand woven.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Weaver's Shed - Gigg Mill

 On one of our winter trips across to the mainland we visited The Weaver's Shed at Gigg Mill in Stroud

 I'm fascinated about the history of weaving so it was great to see one of the old power looms as well as old hand looms, along with many items of equipment needed to weave such as shuttles, winders and bobbins.
 I'm really interested in hand looms and this lovely old floor loom was in use and to me simply beautiful! Time, age and wear lived in its wood and heddles but it still weaves a cloth of gentle blue.
One day perhaps I'll have the space to take one on...

 All weaving needs a warp and a weft, threads are woven over and under each other to make a fabric, so once you understand the method it becomes natural to you. Then you can look at a loom and begin to work out how to use it, discovering how each style and make of loom wants to be worked to weave its cloth. 
 There was a talk, demonstrations and a chance to have a go on a 8 shaft table loom.

Okay so we didn't complete all this patterning in one short visit, but its rather nice isn't it?

I'm looking forward to visiting the other mills next time and seeing the Dyers garden in bloom.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

In Search Of Colour

                                                           Basket of Hand Spun Yarns

                                                         Hand Dyed Batt of Wool Fibres

January finds me searching for colour. With foggy cold days here on the Island I yearn for the sunshine and blue skies and a little warmth in the air. I am a sunshine girl at heart and I’m looking forward to any signs of Spring
This month we are busy doing some painting and decorating around the home, certain rooms are in need of a lift and so it seems a good time to get on with the chores. I do enjoy choosing and planning room colours, textures and re designing a space. A lovely new carpet is being fitted as I write, so once it is down I will be able to style the room. Of course it is a very good opportunity to do a de- clutter and sort through what needs to stay and what needs to go!
I’m working on some small knitting projects at present but will be warping up my loom once I have my work space organised again.
This year I shall be experimenting, discovering and developing my skills with dyeing my own yarn. I have been doing this for a number of years but I really want to delve into this discipline of wool creativity with gusto!!
Taking a  fleece , preparing it for spinning; dyeing the yarn to my own colours either before or after spinning it. Then knitting and weaving with it, is so thrilling and the sense of achievement is immeasurable.    
So I’m in search of colour, colour in my garden to grow some plants this year that will add to my natural dye pot stock, colour for my wools to lift the spirits, cheer the heart and lots of colour, texture with  design  to add  individuality to my weaving and knitting projects.
 I create my hand knitting and hand weaving, using combinations of colour and yarn types  producing unique cushions, bags, table runners, throws and small rugs.
I also make hats, scarves, warmers and socks; which are colourful, soft and practical.  This year I shall be adding my hand spun, hand dyed yarns to my online shops along with a small collection of  woven clothing.
 Casting on and casting off is going to be lots of fun this year, hope you will pop in to see how my colourful creations work out.