Wednesday, 26 May 2010

My silk stash

Loads of new goodies arrived in the post today... I sat rubbing my hands together in anticipation looking at my 3 parcels - it was just like Christmas morning ... and then the paper started to fly in my opening frenzy ;o)

I have 2 lovely vintage saris from India... one is a gorgeous fine silk the other is chiffon silk (not sure if its a blend)... not so thrilled with the colour of the chiffon - it was a lot paler than I expected it to be. BUT, Ive dyed a scarf sized piece this afternoon, in the microwave with the chemical dye I usually use on silk and its really taken well! Looks nice and rich now :o) Im thrilled to bits with these saris, one of my friends recently went on holiday to India and was unable to buy any silk saris let alone vintage silk - so I feel pretty lucky!

Also, I have some silk laps! Im very excited about these too :o) They are undyed as yet... and look like fun.

My third parcel was filled with lots of sari silk goodies to go in my `fancy felters supplies` section - soon to be added to my shops.


Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Girls days and stuff

Im not posting much at the moment... a) time has flown by (doesnt it always though?!) and b) I havent really got anything new and exciting to blog about at the moment.
Ive had a couple of really lovely girly days out with friends... Infact its been amazing - Id gone for what seemed like ages without seeing or talking with any friends - and then 3 in one week! When it rains it pours hey?!
Clare came over for a very chilled out pleasant afternoon, for lunch we had homemade tomato soup & fresh bread with a delicous herby salad straight from Clares alotment; baby radishes with their leaves (which I didnt know you could eat!) red lettuce, chives, garlic leaves, rosemary, sage, mint and young dandelion leaves with a little ranch dressing. And for desert... victoria sponge cake!
We didnt quite manage to tame the beast that is my `new to me but really quite old` knitting machine. Although I now know that part of the problem was the manual I had been following - it was for an earlier model so no wonder I was having trouble! You Tube is a fantastic help though... I think (touch wood) that I may be getting there with it... We also harvested wild galic from the woods - theres a huge patch of it 30 steps from our back gate :o) and we both cooked some delicious meals with it over the weekend.
Spent another lovely day out with my friend Nicky. We went to the Jinney Ring Craft Centre where we caught up with another friend Brenda Marshall - Brenda has her Felt & Textile studio at the Jinney Ring. We made friends with a moma duck and her baby (soooo sweet!) and generally drooled over the many wonderful items made by the resident artists & artisans. Unfortunately I had a migrain come on just as we were about to come home :o( which wiped me out for the next couple of days.
We really enjoyed the mini heatwave over the weekend :o) And Im sooo glad that we have the new french doors and balcony - they were very well used this weekend! Hope its nice again next week while the kids are off for their half term holiday...
Anyway, more soon...

Thursday, 13 May 2010

This weeks felting fun

Had a pleasant, plodding sort of a week... in between work, gardening & housework (BOOOO) I have felted another hat & a cushion cover - both using my Icelandic batts.

Not sure which way round it should go yet :o)

It started out loosely based on medieval split brimmed hats... but evolved into something more tricorn-ish. However Matthew (my 13 year old) says its definately a Mongolian style hat! To be honest I seem to recal seeing a picture of Genghis Kahn wearing something similar :o) This has layers of one of the silk caps I dyed on the inside & out.

It was amazingly quick & easy to make prefelts for inlays using the batts! Ive noticed that you need to use a lot more soap with Icelandic than Ive used with either merino, gotland or Norwegian wools. Im using a fair old bit of hot water too.

long run... I think its from the 70s and must of cost an arm & a leg when it was new - its got everything imaginable. Its actually quite scarily complicated, I have managed to knit a few practice swatches & with the help of youtube think Im ok with casting on & off now. Tomorow Clare is coming over for a girly day, hopefully with both of us on the case we shall tame the beasty and knit something :o).... Im gonna get a big gooey cake to help calm frayed nerves if it doesnt work out that way.

Monday, 10 May 2010

My veggie garden

We had a lovely day pottering in the garden yesterday :o) And now have most of our veggies planted... just runner beans still to go.

These big wooden packing boxes from a local factory are fab for veggie planters! They were really cheap - and we are reusing/recycling too - win win :o)

Amber getting in on the action :o)

We have; purple sprouting broccoli, miniature kale, courgettes, red onions - which Rachael has been growing in a pot in the dining room till now, tomatoes, strawberries & rhubarb all in containers. We also sewed lettuce and chard, and planted a thornless tayberry in the bed at the bottom of the garden, apparently it will tolerate shade... we shall see.

Ive also discovered potato plants growing in my big runner bean pot! Rachael brought seed potaoes home from gardening club a couple of weeks ago... little monkey planted them in there! I must find some big buckets & compost to move them on so my beans can go in :o)
Feels like we are getting there now. Ever since we moved I have really missed having the space to grow veggies... this new deck area is great cos its a sun trap & pretty sheltered from the wind, Im hoping they do well there.
Im off to play with my Icelandic wool again :o) will it be a bag? Or a hat? That is the question...

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Icelandic hat

Happy Saturday!
My new hat is dry now, so I thought I`d share a photo with you :o) Im kinda proud of it!

I used the cerise and pink Icelandic wool - 6 layers. I added a layer from the pink/purple/blue silk hankie that I dyed a couple of weeks ago too. I should really of taken photos as I was making it...but didnt think of it till I was half way through lol.

Kelly has asked comments if Id post where I brought my lovely Icelandic wool from...sorry Kelly I usually do do this, it had slipped my mind tbh. I brought the wool from Alafoss in Iceland, the lady I dealt with is named Jona; she is lovely & very helpfull. They dont take Paypal unfortunately so I had to phone the shop (in Iceland) to pay - luckily they speak very good English...cos I dont speak any Icelandic :o) I was very impressed with the postal service too, it was pricey (cost a bit more than the wool itself did) but it was trackable, and even over a Bank Holiday weekend it arrived 3 working days after posting, although that was probably very lucky at the moment with the volcano. The wool is in batts, and my batts are odd shapes and sizes... just unfold them & start peelin` layers off :o) great. Think Im going to order some black & white too...

Im also wearing the waistcoat I made a couple of months ago (the one that started out as a tunic... but ended up waaay too small :o). Not too bad considering I had no guidance for how to make it at the time... it was pretty much all guesswork... I have since brought Lizzie Houghtons Felting Fashion book - which is really good, Id highly recomend it if you want to felt clothes & hats.

Anyway, Im off to look for more hatblocks in different shapes n sizes :o)

Have fun folks x

Friday, 7 May 2010

Friday already...where did the week go?

WOW I cant believe that its Friday! My week is all mixed up cos I worked BH Sunday & Monday... pretty long hours, so those days just consisted of getting up - working - dragging meself home and just crashing out... Tuesday was a blur - seriously; I was totally spaced out, Wednesday work again, Thursday kids were off school & now wham its Friday!

I have had a really fun morning today though :o) I have felted my Icelandic wool for the first time! And I LOVE it - it felts very well. The batts make the laying out quicker, just peel a sheet off and lay it down. My only difficulty was that I kept forgeting which direction the fibres on the last layer had run in (you cant see it as easily as when you lay tops) so I had to keep stopping and checking which way the current layer needed to go lol. I have felted a nice little hat :o) using my hat block for the first time too. Its drying out at the moment so no pics yet.

I did make a couple of teacosies last week that I havent posted pics of yet...

For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to felt 2 together...dont think I`ll do that again, it was pretty huge and unweildy. I felted them over an oval shaped resist that when cut across the middle would give me 2 teacosies. Unfortunately I used the yellow & orange merino that doesnt like felting! I think its something to do with the dyeing process...maybe it was over done? Its been ages since I used it and had totally forgotten that it was stubborn; it seemed to take forever - I actually ended up with a rub rash on both of myt forearms from all of the rolling! Ive edged them with witch-stitch (herringbone).

Im struggling to get the photos that I wanted to put up from the medieval event... The only one I can show you at the moment is a group shot of all the staff, we are standing in front of the gatehouse.

yes thats me, in costume on the left looking very UNglamerous :o)

Its a lovely building! The first building was around 1270 and its sort of evolved over the years...very interesting. A couple of hundred years ago they faced it with brick to make it look `more modern` and everyone forgot what was under the bricks. It had ended up as tenements until the 1950s and lots of the people who came to visit had lived there, or even been born there. It fell into disrepair and was actually going to be demolished; but when they started knocking walls down they rediscovered the timber framed house & fortunately stopped demolition. Over recent years its been a pub & resteraunt, unfortunately it ended up in a bit of a mess again. Its just come into the Museum Services care though & over the next few years its going to be restored back to its former glory - cant wait!
We had over 4000 people at the event over the 2 days, most of them on Monday. It was a really nice event to work at and Im glad I did both days, I think we all had a great time even though we were nackered. The highlight of MY day on Monday was when I took a 5 minute break (only had 10 minutes all day) and got to hold a European Eagle Owl! AWESOME! I have LOVED these birds for years and to actually be able to hold one ... its hard to describe how I felt. The owl that I held was 21 years old & weighed just under 8lb and had been hand reared, she had the most magnificent huge amber eyes Ive ever seen. One of the girls I was working with took a photo & Im really hoping that she sends it to me...if she does I will definately post it :o)
Anyway, enough waffle from me - have a great weekend, will post pics of my Icelandic hat soon

Thursday, 6 May 2010

knitted homespun

No felting so far this week :o( Been too tired, or too busy with one thing or another. Thought Id take a moment and share a photo of some knitting though! Now thats something you dont hear from me very often isnt it?! I really am far too impatient to knit; I LOVE knitted items & have masses of respect for knitters, who really are way more patient than I am. BUT... I really wanted to make something from some of the yarn I have spun see how it knits up. I was given a pair of big fat old wooden knitting needles a couple of weeks ago, theyre about 9mm... so I thought Id give it a go. Decided to use the pink & green koolade dyed yarn to make a sweet little neckcosy/collar for Rachael to wear this autumn. My girlie has a thing for funky hats, scarves & gloves (like her moma :o)

I really like it, its soft and snuggly. Just need to find the right button for it now :o) It took about half of the skein... so I might make another one - I dont know why, but I might...
Im feeling a lot better today, was absolutely shattered after the bank holiday event - that was 2 loooong days! Only just recovering really...mind you I was at work yesterday with a group that took a LOT of energy. My friends havent sent me the photos that Im waiting for yet... as soon as I get them I shall put them up :o)

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Explosion of colour

Im really excited today... My first package of Icelandic felting wool arrived this morning! Ive brought 4kg in 8 colours...

This is how it looked when I ripped off the brown paper... all squished into a plastic bag. Even though it really is half vacuumed into the bag you can still tell its a BIG parcel. Look what happened when I unpacked it :o)

What a lovely lot of wool! I LOVE the colours, and it feels so soft & snuggly... Im desperate to play & experiment with it; but to be honest my feet are just not up to it today. I worked at a medieval Museum event Sunday & yesterday... an am still recovering. Planning to post about it when I get a couple of photos to add :o) Gonna keep you in suspense till then.
Im at Oak House tomorow & the kids are off school Thursday because their schools are being used as polling stations... so we are going to visit family. So my lovely icelandic wool shall have to wait till Friday. Im chuffed at how quickly it arrived... I expected it to be slowed down by the Icelandic volcano - but luckily the wind was blowing the other way & planes were able to take off as normal on the day that I brought this. Brought it Thursday last week, and it was here today - would of been yesterday except for the Bank Holiday...Fantastic!