Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Holiday Craft Project

The place where we have just been on holiday is right next to a brilliant surf beach.. unfortunately dogs are not allowed on during the summer months.  So when the surf is up and we want to go play we have to take it in turns to stay behind with the dogs.  The coastal path and cliffs are beautiful to walk so it's usually a pretty peaceful time.. but if it is raining and you don't fancy getting wet the option of spending time in the tent or van is far less appealing.  PLUS I tend to get twitchy when I spend too long without making..  SO  I went well prepared :)

When my dear friend Heather came to visit a few months ago, she left me with a huge bundle of bright green merino fibre and a challenge to use it for 'something interesting' (previously used here).  

some of the green, with bright colours that I thought would be nice blended in.
Starting to blend on my drum carder
2 lovely, brightly coloured, fat bats to play with.
I split one into thin pieces (like roving/tops) and gently rolled it into 'nests' to travel with
Unpacking my bag in the tent 
I didn't actually spend much time spindling while we were away..
this is what I'd done by the time we got home
A few more peaceful hours spindling at home and I was ready to ply.
I used the Andean Bracelet method
Which involves carefully winding the yarn off the spindle and around your hand
Then removing it from your hand and slipping it onto the wrist like a bracelet.
From there you can pull out both ends and spin them together
(it acts like a centre pull ball.. with just happens to be wrapped round your wrist to keep it out of the way).
Very handy
Plied yarn ready to wind into a hank.
I just need to set the twist now.
This was probably about half a batt
I decided to spin one batt on my wheel - which I did a couple days before we went away.. and the other batt on my drop spindle.  Though the colours are the same the yarns are different.. this one is a 2 ply yarn, while the one done on my wheel is 3 ply - I Navajo plied that one (I love yarns that have been Navajo plied, they are so textural).  I have the 2nd half of the spindling batt left to do.. but think I may spin it on my wheel and add some green eyelash yarn to keep it a little different.  I have plans for all this yarn.. will keep you posted :)

And I just have to show you the beauty that we discovered in our garage when we got home!

Gorgeous Peacock Butterfly liberated from our garage.

I've never seen one this close for this long before, he was stunning!
Made this fabulous rustling / hissing noise as he opened and closed his wings
(I think he was probably warning us to stay away).  

He stayed put for a good 5 minutes after we brought the piece of wood he was resting on outside.. it was lovely watching him flutter away and disappear into the undergrowth.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Summer Holidays

Well it's been all quiet from me lately because we have been away on our holidays.. we spent some lovely family time camping in Cornwall!  The weather was pretty nice.. though we did catch the tail end of hurricane Bertha, had about an hour and a half which was quite scary.  After 5 minutes of the 'wind' starting the tension band system (which is designed to protect the tent during high winds) BROKE!  The tent pegs kept pulling out of the ground.. Gary and Matthew had to keep racing round knocking them back in before the whole thing took off.  I managed to dash to the camp site shop and buy some real bad-ass heavy duty bad weather pegs .. I think they're the only thing that kept it on the ground in the end, 'cos it felt like we were fighting a losing battle until they went in.  Several tents on the field were broken, and one poor family having tied the tent to the roof rack on their car during the worst of it, forgot to untie and a day later drove the car off - taking the side of the tent with them.. such a shame.

It was break filled with out-of-the-ordinary moments..  the tail end of the hurricane being one of them lol.  Unfortunately I don't have photos of the following rather bizarre moments..  

Later on hurricane day and still having very strong gusts of wind, seeing a young man strapping his surfboard to the side of his motorbike to drive home was unexpected.. I do hope he got there safely.  

Seeing a tent with a satellite dish outside so the occupants could watch Sky TV was plain WEIRD.. it seemed like their were as many glampers as campers this time, the people next door even had a microwave!  (I just LOVE getting away from electricity while we are camping, the thought of taking electrical devices with me is enough to make me shudder).  

The little boy in the next tent spinning and spinning, like a whirling dervish for more than 5 minutes without pause.. then just stopping and walking on with perfect balance!  Amazing..  I've never seen anyone do THAT before!

A combination of Spring tides and the effect of the weather brought high tide up a long way!  It was so weird one evening when high tide flooded the beach car park (actually on the sand) and came right up to the grassy area where a brass band played on regardless of the pandemonium breaking out around them as cars and surf hire businesses scrambled to evacuate the flooding area.. I couldn't help thinking 'how very British' :) - as Matthew said there was something almost Titanic-like about the scene with the band playing on regardless.

Of course the strong tides and weather meant the surf was amazing! Matthew had a wonderful time surfing on his new board and Rachael and me had a whale of a time on our body boards :)  Gary couldn't take his kayak out on the beach next to us.. the surf was too much for it really, but we took it in turns on the board so he still had fun.  We got 2 or 3 surf sessions in most days.. the early morning and evening ones were wonderfully quiet.

I've got LOADS of photos :) but I've whittled them down for you..

Seething white water at low tide
Wedding Anniversary!
20 happy years!
Early morning Tintagel..
so peaceful
No matter how many times you see some things,
when the light catches it 'just so' you have to take another photo :)
Early birds outside Merlins cave 
17 years old!  I remember when wearing the 'right clothes' had nothing to do with how suitable they were for what you were doing lol
Shadows on the sand..
I entertained myself by piling stones..
Leaving a trail of fairy stacks behind me ..
like a trail of bread crumbs
Gary in beach comber mode..
looking for 'treasures'
like this lovely, big, rusty, old boat chain..
which was immensely heavy
Then the happy chappy found another big stick!
Which just had to come home with us
(I'm not quite sure what he plans to do with this one mind you!)
Amber posing next to Rachaels sand portrait of her :)
Tired after a long walk..
Jesse loves being in the van :)
Lots of beautiful sunsets (and moon rises but no pics of them!)
This was from MY perspective.. the boys were in the water
Matt was surfing
While Gary took lots of photos
Including lots showing big waves rushing at him :)
and crashing over him.
I like this one

Oh and we did some celebrity spotting too.. we bumped into Damian Lewis (from Homelands & Band of Brothers) with his wife and children a couple of times :)

I'm not sure whether I shall get round to doing a fibre of the month for August..  The sample is done but time is just slipping away from me.  


Friday, 8 August 2014

Swaledale Lanterns

Over the last couple of weeks I've been tinkering around, felting lanterns from Swaledale.. 

Working inside out
Using merino fibre and prefelt for simple design elements.
With Wensleydale locks along the top
2 layers of Swaledale
and a little merino detail that will show inside the glass lantern
Massaging it on to the hurricane lantern
All different
8 lanterns and the pot from last time

At night

This morning I delivered them to the gallery shop at Haden Hill House (one of the museums I used to work in).

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Fibre of the Month July - Swaledale Project

Just about scraping in for July!

I brought 300g of Swaledale to play with.. but when it came time to decide what to make for some reason my mind just filed up with vessels...

I used 3 fibre layers to make a simple 'pot'

Some lovely dyed silk hanky 
with a tiny resist placed over
(I added a couple of layer to form a patch over the resist)
First 2 layers were perpendicular, 3rd layer radiated out from the centre
simple design elements
merino fibre and prefelt
And some lovely Wensleydale curls placed so they would fringe the opening when cut.
The resist on top was just to stop them felting in
(it was too thick really, bubble wrap would of been better)
After cutting the opening & leaving a tab -
I worked the edges well with soapy fingers
This spot marks the resist over silk - to remind me where to cut
Again, I worked the edges really well with soapy fingers
 And then in TRUE FeltersJourney style I forgot to take photos for a while!  I worked the felt really well, rubbing and rolling, pummeling and throwing.  Using lots of very hot water to felt it as hard as I could.

Finished pot standing on the resist I used
With one of my smallest branch button sewn on
Unfortunately some of the water I used was SO hot (boiling in fact)
that it has faded the silk a little.. still pretty colours though I think
For comparison to sampling data:
Resist size: 25cm diameter
Finished size squashed flat as possible: 17.5cm
Shrinkage: 30%
Weight: 50.1g

It's made a nice little pot.. Though I think using 5 or 6 fibre layers instead of 3 would of made a really nice sturdy little pot.  Think that's what I would do next time.. but you know how much I like my thick felt :)

Next time: Even more Swaledale..

Fibre of the Month JULY - Swaledale

A little later than anticipated.. I'm just in time for July!  I had a request a little while back to look at Swaledale.. so here we go :)

websearch photo from npennines-wool.co.uk
A medium sized, hardy breed of sheep which thrives in hilly and mountainous regions.  Gets it's name from the Swaledale Valley in the Yorkshire Dales.

Just look at that face! Adorable
websearch photo from World of Cumbria Carpets
Kept for their wool and meat.  Swaledale produce an off-white wool which is very hardwearing and often used for carpets and rugs.  Staple length ranges between 10cm - 20cm, and micron count is 35 to 45.

My Swaledale came from World of Wool and is a lovely light grey.. much lighter than I had expected, with a staple length of 16cm.

oops made a mistake embroidering the measurement here!

Layed out the same as previous samples (20cm x 20cm) with three layers of fibre and felted to achieve maximum shrinkage.

Feels quite a coarse fibre.  It's fairly lofty when you lay the fibre down.. best to wet between layers to help avoid it spreading.  Felted fairly quickly.. I found it easiest to work fairly soapy, more so than usual but I often find that with coarser fibre.  Made a lovely, strong, thick felt that although you can feel it is strong and firm it's actually soft, slightly fuzzy and very pleasant to touch.

Finished sample size: 13.8cm x 16cm
Weight: 22.2
Shrinkage: 32% x 20%

Nice fibre for felting projects that need to be hardwearing.  I have only found it available in the natural light grey, which I think is really lovely for a natural, even slightly rustic look.  One of my friends dyes this light grey wool and achieves absolutely gorgeous colours!

Next time: Swaledale project