Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Spring Cleaning

Im tinkering about with my blog layout at the moment... its probably going to change colours a fair bit over the next few days. Im trying a change from the black... but Im not at all sure about anything Ive tried so far..... Probably end up back to black :o)


Thank goodness... we dont have a cow wandering around! Picking up chickens and bringing them home is one thing - but cows?! What would I do there... put a dog lead on and walk her back to the farm?! Can just picture that... reminds me of Jack & the Beanstalk :o)
They are on the farm, but the way the winds carrying the sound, it sounded like much closer
;o) Relieved

The week so far...

My lovely hubby & son knocked a big hole in the living room wall at the weekend! Im quite happy about it though cos they put in our new french doors :o) and now we have got lots of lovely sunlight coming in through them, and can enjoy the view. We didn`t have this view from anywhere in the house before... it was just brick walls & bathroom windows with obscured glass `till now.

Accross the fields & hills, the woods start with the tree on the right hand side. Looks so dark `cos I was looking toward the sun & it was bright
Looking back towards the town
(thats the corner of my daughters Primary school on the left)

It feels weird to be sitting on the sofa and able to see the hills! I want to set up a nice little seating area out there now & it`ll be just right :o) Breakfast on the balcony, listening to the birds sounds good to me.
Monday I was playing with my dyes again! This time with silk caps, mawata square, carrier rods & wool nepps...

The rods & nepps are still drying, but I shall take pics of the whole batch soon - they look pretty. Working with the silk caps & mawtata silk made me realise how rough my fingers are, the silk fibres were constantly sticking to me! Ive been creaming my hands like crazy ever since lol. Guess Ive got felters hands :o)
Yesterday I was working at Oak House with Clare again, we were Lizzie (me) and Mary; Tudor serving wenches working with a school group, year 3s so 7 & 8 years old.... the hardest part when the group is so young is getting them all into their costumes (buttons, ties, things inside out/upside down... you get the picture lol) but it was a good session. We had an external assessor observing too - the service is going for an award in Heritage Education - wonder how we fared? He was very unassuming, just standing at the back - constantly writing notes. The pencil scratching reminded me of failed driving tests unfortunately :o) of which I had a few!
Ive just ordered some Icelanding felting wool, actually from Iceland... not sure how long it`ll take to get here with the volcano eruption and all the disruption.
Well , Im off to work of some bag design mock-ups...see if they work or not :o)
OK I can hear a cow mooo-ing very close by... off to investigate...

Saturday, 24 April 2010

So easily distracted...

My purple bag is totally unmade... I got distracted, again. My dear friend Clare gave me a much needed kick up the backside the other day (not literally of course :o)! Ive been planning to make some household items for some time... but kept getting distracted (no suprise there). I had the pleasure of working with Clare at Oak House on Tuesday...and after a gentle nudge Wednesday I started making coasters! Id brought a little more Norwegian wool & some Gotland grey to try; seemed like the perfect project for giving them both a whirl.

6 layers of Norwegian...pile of fluff was about 4 or 5" thick

I have to say I really enjoyed working with both fibres & am planning to do loads more projects with them (shall have to buy more first though). Ive made 4 sets of 4 so far - 2 Gotland Grey with my Polwarth handspun blanket stiched around the edges & 2 Norwegian sets; 1set of 4 grey & white with light grey shetland stitching, 1 set of 2 grey & white & 2 grey with white merino stitching.

And Friday was spent making my first ever oven glove - oh the excitement :o) I wasnt sure that I had the shape of the resist right or the size so my first one is just plain white...7 layers, lovely & thick. Its drying out still at the moment.

Looks like a boxing glove :o)

Im actually really pleased with it... but oh my goodness, I hadnt realised what a fiddle it would be felting a thumb in seamlessly. Hopefully the next one will be easier now I know what Im doing :o) (or am I totally deluding myself & thumbs are always tricky?) More planned for next week so I shall soon know... & I MUST make a teacosy - mine is a disgrace at the moment & really needs replacing with a nice felted one.
Oh the banana experiment was very interesting... shall post more about that soon. Im planning to add a new section in my shops... Fancy Felters Embelishments, and this shall be in it... more soon.
The next fibre on my `really must try` list is Icelandic... I cant wait to try it.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Monday Felt Fun!

Ooo Monday was a play day! The kids were back at school & the day stretched out before me... so after a brisk walk round the fields with the dogs (in gorgeous sunshine) I started rooting through my stash! 2 weeks without felting had left me feeling twitchy & I had newish goodies as yet untried. I decided to do a sampler like piece of flat felt... using lots of lovely colours & embellishment.

Do you remember the lovely naturally dyed silk cap & handspun mulberry silk thread that I brought a few weeks ago? From Debbie at Mulberry Dyer (who shall be at Wonderwool Wales at the weekend for anybody who is going)

Well this is the first time that Ive used either of them... the cap is the light green - I love the texture of it, I only used about 2/3 of 1 layer from the silk cap and got a lovely thick lushious effect. The gold thread stands out really well too. I dropped a few bright gold nepps near to the silk thread too, but I dont think Ive got them on the photo.

I used a couple of sari silk ribbons too

This side is my favourite its all hot pinky purple, blue violet & more purple - yum. The other side is dark purple & peacock blue with torn chiffon ribbons & thinly sliced felt beads... I love the richness of the colours & it was interesting trying out the sliced beads, and of course chiffon felts in well :o)

I think this piece is probably going to become a bag (suprised?)

Tried to post this yesterday but the internet connection was DREADFULL - I gave up in the end. This morning has been a run around chasing my tail type morning... tracking down parcels that the posty tried to deliver yesterday wehile I was at work... delivering Rachaels water bottle to school cos she had forgotten it (memory like her mothers Im afraid :o) and back to the Hairdresser - my hair is now in a nice neat long bob :o) and Im a happy bunny again.
This afternoon Im playing with banana silk :o) let you know how I get on

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Catching up with an old friend

Had a LOVELY day today! The weather has been glorious... and we have had a lovely walk through the Clent Hills. Unfortunately I didnt have my camera. There was one winding downhill path through the woods that was beautifully carpeted with bluebells, that are just coming out... I shall have to pop back next weekend, hopefully the weather will be as nice & I can get a photo - they should be in full bloom then.

The highlight of the day though was when we went to visit Rocky-Doodle-Doo! I could hear him from the opposite side of the enclosure & Im sure he could hear us... as soon as we rounded the corner he was running straight over to us! It looked as though he had been trying to get to us from the other side... & was quite excited bless him. He looks really happy & has 2 friends that he hangs out with :o) A very big older cockerel & a little bantem. There are no hens in their area (which is huge) but there are quite a few cockerels & some ducks & geese. It was great to see him with his 2 buddies, this is a picture of the 3 of them.

After a while his friends had wandered off a little ways & waited for him... couple of minutes later he went over to them. Gary & the kids were by the fence close to them... when I walked over to join them & take another photo my little chickadee set off at a dead-run back towards me :o) Which is why he is barely in the shot.

His friends were looking on wondering ` wheres he off to?` I think. I shall have to take a piece of toast for him next time we go :o)


Friday, 16 April 2010

Easter hols

Another week bites the dust! Not done any felting at all while the kids have been off school... but Ive enjoyed dyeing small amounts of fibre & spinning them up.

Pinks & purples, merino & silk
Plied with a while glitter thread

This was a bit of fun... dyed with Koolade type pop mix; the merino is Cherry & the silk is Lime

Plied with a pretty pink rayon thread
Got some pics of the decking that my lovely hubby (who is a carpenter) made with lots of `help` from the children. It was nice for them getting to work with their dad on a biggish project like this...

This side area has been unusable up till now... when we moved in it was actually blocked off. Its too big an area to waste though, and the view from the end is lovely out across the countryside (PLUS its a very secluded little suntrap). So we have raised the deck about 3 feet from floor level and now its a lovely big balcony. Planning to put french doors from the living room out onto the balcony :o) Just needs populating with nice pot plants now!
While they were at it, they`ve changed the balustrade & wood around the bottom of the decking, and cleaned & treated the whole lot ;o)
Just need to put a roof on the 2 tall uprights now - its a nice sheltered sitting area

And thats pretty much it... apart from my minor hair disaster today! I took my 11 year old daughter to my hairdresser - we were both having a trim & layers. Rachael went first & had a lovely haircut. Unfortunately we spent so much time chatting the hairdresser gave me the same hairdo! So now my long lightly layered hair that hung in a very heavy curtain (all one length apart from the light layering) is now about 4" shorter at the around shoulder length - a `do` that I really do not like! Its fine on many people - but not on me. I`ve been contemplating chopping the whole lot off to collar length for a few weeks... the only thing stopping me is the prospect that if I decide to grow it again I have to go through this awkward length that always takes forever to get past. And now its like it AAAGH. SO do I chop it all off? Or just the 4" at the back so its basically a long bob? Or put it in a ponytail & ignore it for a few months?
Im certainly not upset about it...its only hair - and it will grow. Im just annoyed with myself for being such a chatterbox that I didnt make sure I got what I wanted! Rachaels immediate reaction as we walked out was "my hair is better than yours" with a big smile :o) little darlin`.
Anyway, Im off to crowbar said little darlin`out of the bath - where she has been marinating for about an hour & a half now :o) The lady in Lush gave her a couple of bathbombs as a freebee last night (I had just brought quite a bit mind you) she is testing the first one out.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Poor piggy

Poor little Tigs died in the night... I got up to a very bare empty corner in the dining room where her cage had been. Gary (my hubby) got up early and buried her in the flower bed not far from her daughter who died a few weeks ago. They were 7 & 8 years old which isnt bad for a guinea. Tig was a young adult when we had her, with a daughter who the kids named (you guessed it) Piglet. Then Tiggy gave birth to 4 lovely minipigs - 3 girls & 1 boy. They all stayed with us, over the last couple of years theyve all gone and Tiggy outived them all. Im glad she wasnt on her own long.


I love this picture, it was taken last summer. Tiggy was doing what she loved doing best - running round the grass with the dogs. We have 2 cocker spaniels who have grown up with guinea pigs & they get on REALLY well with them. She liked to go & sit between their front paws & watch the world go by.
ANyway that enough from me or Im gonna be fed up again. Im off to eat my last piece of plum cake (which really was lovely by the way)

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Easter week

Well, we havent got much adventuring thus far this week! Lots of work has been done outside, nice walks through our local countryside discovering new bridalways that we havent explored, and baked a plum cake earlier today - which Im about to go sample :o) yum.

I have done a little more dyeing & spinning. but my pictures of the spun skein havent turned out well - the colour is wrong. This yarn is midnight blue with hints of deep purple & smoky grey, thick n thin (though not as pronounced as the others) plied with glitter thread.

Same yarn, different light - & neither is accurate!

Our last guinea pig, Tiggy -who is a lovely little old lady now, took ill over Easter weekend. Shes fed up because she is on her own since her daughter died 3 weeks ago, and has a few niggly complaints that all flared up at the same time. Sadly I think today she has given up & just wants to be left in peace & quiet...
Oh well - going to eat my cake now with a nice cup of tea in the garden & enjoy this beautiful weather we are having today!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Another days spinning

Well Ive done what I planned to :o) The 2nd top that I dyed on Tuesday is now spun. Its the same blend as the last one 90% merino 10% tussah silk, but in terracotta, gold & olive green. Ive spun this one thick & thin too and plyed it with a mustard yellow thread.

Dyed tops
Predrafted & ready for spinning
Spun thick n thin

I think the brown, gold & olive is still my favourite - but this is really pretty too, they actually work really well together!
Well both of my kids have broken up for the Easter holidays now, and Gary should be home soon; he has booked next week off, I dont work school holidays anyway so we have a family week next week - YAY :o) Hope we get to go exploring!
Hope you all have a wonderful Easter weekend - whatever you are doing!

Playing in my dye pot

Yesterday was mostly wasted in a meeting at work - YAWN. It seemed an even longer meeting than it should of been as there was a burst water main just around the corner from the building I needed to get to (half a mile from town centre)... you can just imagine the absolute mayhem it casued with rush hour traffic - I had to pass through the town centre; it took an hour and a quarter to cover a distance that usually takes 5 minutes. Luckily for me I had set out extra early (ESP maybe?) so was only 10 minutes late.
On Tuesday I decided to blend some tops; 90% merino & 10% tussah silk and dye them with my new dyes. I did 2 tops which ended up at 54g each - dont ask me how I aimed at straight 50gs. I dyed them in 2 batches; lot 1 is terracotta, gold & olive green, lot 2 is mocha, olive green & gold. Pleased with the colours I set them aside (very impatiently :o) to dry.

The brown, green & gold was dry by evening :o) And I simply couldnt help myself, I decided to predraft it to a sort of pencil roving thickness and started spinning. I didnt want an even yarn though, I really fancied a thick n thin bumpy yarn.

I ran out of time on Tuesday, I managed to predraft & spin the whole top - but didnt have time to ply... I had decided to ply it with a green thread, to carry the green theme through the yarn. I had to wait till I got back from my meeting to finish it off.

I love this! Its about 65 yards long, luurvly and soft & very tactile. I will definately be repeating this dyeing combo... I like the earthy / woodsy vibe. Today Im planning to do the same with the other top, the terracotta, gold & olive green...