Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Half square quilt

The name for this lap quilt jumped into my head today while I was adding the last rows..

What do you think? Paint box? after all it reminds me of being a child with a yummy box of paints or crayons......no?

How about rainbow ...it has all the colours of the rainbow in it that's for sure..

Nope, neither of those. This quilt is going to be The colours of my life. Because for all there are some dark grey points there are also some truly joyful jewel like colours..

Monday, 29 October 2012

experiments in pink.

It had no doubt escaped your notice but there was a lot of brown going on with that wool..and you know how periodically I just have to escape the brown!!!

Time for a bit of experimentation, since these are baby steps in spinning and all things related I stuck with simple dye, Dylon to be exact, since it is easy to buy  in most places.

Since I was experimenting dying fleece I thought I might as well have a go with some cotton too..

There doesnt seem to be a big difference between the cotton and the fleece over all though the tips of the locks did take on much more colour. I am guessing that there was less residual lanolin at the tips.

Later I will try dying some spun wool...for now I want the variation.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

money and moaning

No snow this morning thank goodness..

My lovely sister knitted this for me using the first wool I made..I think its rather neat. Thank you Pat.

The Liquorice alsorts quilt is being packed up and will soon be in the post. 

After a cautious foray into techy land, aka how does Paypal work when you are receiving not spending, US Dollars became GB Pounds and was actually easier than I imagined.  Thank goodness some one knew what they were doing.....I do hope you enjoy it G if you are reading this ;)

We have a saying here "coals to Newcastle" which pretty much covers any event where you take something to where there's more of said item than you can shake a stick at...selling ice to Eskimos maybe is the equivalent?

Sending a quilt to America feels a bit like that..

Kaffe Fassett shot cotton solids

Mean while back in my sewing land there has been a little of this going on..Kaffe Fassett shot cottons, I sneaked in accidentally managed to buy a charm pack.

Of course I really, really, really lust after the oakshot fabrics entire collection, but that may take a while to justify, so a  charm pack was about my limit....It will be interesting to compare both fabrics if and when I ever get some .......

So I got this pack from Cotton Patch who usually do a great service and by and large I would recommend them, but on this occasion there were a few niggly things that got to me .The yellow in this pack (top of the pile so hard to miss) had a dirty black line down one side.  Okay I can live with washing that out no big deal really......but yesterday when I began this project I measured the patches..while all are a uniform size they are not 5 inches..the whole pack is off by 1/8th .  In a craft playing, where tiny measurements make a lot of difference it would have been nice if they had been a nice round 5 inches to begin with, that way any messing up is my own fault...something I rather excel at.

I may be nitpicking here but it was a disappointment . The fabric its self is lovely and light, very ,very light and the reds particularly are sumptuous, I am only doing simple half square triangles.

The grey is Kona Ash that I think I bought at the same time and it is lovely.

That's enough moaning from me.

Saturday, 27 October 2012


I knew it was snowing when I went to bed. bitter cold and thin snow that doesn't really do the fluffy blanket insulating effect, the first snow of winter Autumn. October is meant to be marigold not gold and white ..didnt they get the memo upstairs in the weather department?

When you are a cat that wants to go out at night and your usual exit point is out the window and over a roof its a good job you have 9 lives or sure feet. Suki was most alarmed when getting out at insane o'clock meant a more rapid descent than she is used to. A lot of clattering and skating noises were heard as I closed the window back on her. Im not that mean so I did haul my sleepy self down to check she made it okay. Only to be rushed at by a very grateful sweep who clearly was not impressed that his night out was ruined by this cold white stuff.

I must admit it was pretty looking out one of my bedroom windows though this morning.

That rose is called high hopes and given that it is blooming right outside the upstairs window it is pretty well named.

Archie was less impressed with the snow than Sweep and Daisy refused to go out in it at all.

If it stays this cold it will be a hand quilting day :-) I'm not daft ;)       

                                                           other wise a more of making this .............

Alas I am sure the wool fibres are going to play havoc with my lap top.

Do stay warm, what ever you do today.

Friday, 26 October 2012

just a little pretty

They say "nearest to heart nearest to mouth".. in my case its often nearest to sewing machine. So when I wanted a little play at fine machine quilting a simple letter seemed a good idea, and the nearest to heart letter for me is E...for my two beautiful girls.

Alsorts of sewing

I got the binding done last night on the liquorice alsorts quilt
I think it looks quite effective. To maintain some of the soft flow of the fabrics I didn't over quilt it. For this one I wanted butterflies and moths somewhere in the design so they slipped, of should that be flew into the machine quilting pattern. The back is pieced in grey and apart from one small fussy cut butterfly of a different fabric uses some scraps of the fuchsia pink, I stuck with that for the binding too. It is light weight so should post fairly reasonably...its meant to be heading for Arizona in America. Being light I am hoping it wont be too warm to use, don't deserts get chilly at night?
And that little pink and green pillow is now in situ
Now I just need to sort through what remains to be finished, have a bit of a spin and broach the next task.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Knitting for dummies

Sooooooo this knitting lark, having had a few tips from my mum and sister I braved tackled the knitting needles. I have to confess my first efforts with some black acrylic wool were a disaster, so much so that I really daren't show you..no really I tried but its all too dark to show up..in for a penny in for a pound though I began again with some of my own wool.. The results could be worse. IE I didnt split the wool this time round and I did kinda sorta get the hang of some of it.

Its really frustrating that i can pick up most things and have a good idea of what is required to achieve a reasonable out come....but knitting???? One look at knitting patterns and my brain says "warning warning gobbldygook alert do not attempt to proceed" The panic sets in and I get flash backs to childhood maths classes, were nothing what so ever makes any sense to me at all. So unless my knitting is going to consist of Dr Who proportioned scarves, I for see much angst ahead, at least while spinning etc etc etc the angst doesn't get my finger nails vanishing down to the quick.

My nearest and dearest friends and family will be sick of wool before I am done with them..mwahhhhaaaaaevil laugh sweetly smiles...... Wool anyone one?

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

hand spun

basket of goodies

My little basket of wool...the ball is the ryeland mixed coloured and my own white the skeins my white the bobbin is spun alpaca with the combed alpaca sat on the top..

A couple of quick knitting lessons from both my sister (she took the picture) and my mum...I'm sure I will knit something but suspect I will do a lot more spinning than knitting..

Sunday, 21 October 2012

giminey cricket

Imagine my delight and surprise when in stead of a carrier bag full of Alpaca fleece a huge bin bag arrived. It contained 3 fleeces one cocoa powder brown clipped from Barbilla (interesting sort of name that...) and a baby fleece  and another in a lovely dove grey from giminey. One is obviously the baby fleece  with a softer feel and shorter staple and since both were labelled Giminey I am guessing they are his..the grey has a lovely crimp to it while the brown is straight and eerily like human hair..

Wig anyone?

I decanted it from the plastic bags shook out a lot of general dust and dirt and put in cotton pillow cases for storage. I am sure plastic isnt good for storing wool of any sort.

Since Alpaca doesn't contain lanolin it can pretty much be combed and spun right off the bat, (is that a spinning pun?) Washing after spinning seems to be the way most go with it. The combing consists of little more than a flea comb to remove the vegetation, bits of hay and moss etc. I didnt see any actual Alpaca poo when i aired the fleeces off so nothing too nasty to worry about.

mixing the brown with the grey gives a nice blended effect..Lots of twist since its spinning quite fine, least I think it is fine. Not sure experts would agree.

So there we are lots to experiment with, maybe a ryeland alpaca mix?

Saturday, 20 October 2012

silent saturday

Well other folk have wordless Wednesday so why not silent Saturday too?

Thursday, 18 October 2012

putting the boys to work

When showing the boys the neighbouring pen of 2 girls got them quite excited. As it turned out those 2 girls were looking for a boyfriend and the boys were very happy to volunteer their services. The girls are from Mowbray School so are  just the nice sort of well educated Ryeland that can add a certain class to the proceedings (apologies for the puns). One is a delightful coloured Ryeland and reminds me of my very first Ryeland Tup Fudge. His harem in those days consisted of shetland ladies, which made a really nice cross.

Once the girls and boys were settled we humans had a bit of a coffee and spinning break. They were keen to have a look at the spinning wheel did not have to force them too much at all. I may even end up doing rudimentary demo's with the wheel in the future, lets call that blind leading the blind for now shall we. There were suggestions of alpaca fleece bandied about in lieu of stud fees so who knows what I may be boring you with soon :-)

Patch takes his job as the teaser tup very seriously, he is such a conscientious boy .

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Technology past and present

So, with out a doubt spinning is using old technology, it is partly this which convinces me I should be able to do it!! I even made myself a small niddy nod today, now it that doesnt sound like old technology I dont know what does.

Lately I have used my blackberry to take the snaps I have uploaded onto my blog, its quick instantaneous and so far had not caused me any technological headaches.......I say so far, because dear reader this post was going to be about the plying of wool singles using the old technology of the wheel and instead is turning into a "why the hell does modern techy stuff have a mind of its own" tirade.

For no reason I can fathom my normally biddable phone has decided it cant upload pictures to my lap top any more,or my lap top has decided it wont talk to my phone,not quite sure which is in a huff with shich but I know Im not happy with either of them right now. as for Photo streams and iclouds I could cheerfully strangle the creators of them. I just want things to be simple stop flaming well complicating every damn thing in the universe.!!!!!!

 mean while back in the zen zone a little wool..I ended up emailing myself to get these off the phone.

This one reminds me of ammonites.

Close up it is obvious that I have a long way to go

Monday, 15 October 2012

I bet I can do that

So having run out of the coloured ryeland wool and having washed and picked part of a fleece from one of my own girls it was time to turn this......
in to this.....
I have been asked a couple of times WHY???? After all anyone who knows me knows I never mastered knitting, my tension was never relaxed enough for knitting and frankly following a pattern was just not me, something to do with all that counting I suspect. No quite honestly I am a bit of a suck it n see kinda girl. give it a go and see what happens.

 I can crochet, since that seems to be just going for it with out having to stick to anyone else's pattern or instructions, a little more creative maybe? And I did do a little simple weaving when in Art college so I have a rudimentary knowledge of weaving..Plus of course a plentiful supply raw fleece..which is a big help.

More than anything though I think this spinning thing, like everything else I have tackled over the years has been done just because I wanted to, wanted to see if I could, or wanted to experience the process. I tend to see things and think.."heck how do they do that", closely followed by a "I bet I could do that". Its the sheer pleasure of achievement that gets to me. There is a magic in creating something new out of stuff..wool stuff in this case.

I know I am lucky in being able to at least try all these mad things, but what is life without new challenges and goal? The spinning is soothing my soul right now, it may be far from perfect, but heck I have only done a few days worth, but I feel peaceful doing it, I also feel that same sense that quilting gives me, of being part of a continuous stream of women throughout history that have added the little touches of softness and luxury to life.

And if all else fails I do know some folk who do knit !!!

Sunday, 14 October 2012


progress in spinning.

sugar pink

Lest you think I have stopped sewing a little block with ambitions to be a cushion. I might do more of this block at some point but Im not sure...

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Just a tiny portion of the fleece. Washed but not picked over.
Picked over now needing carding.
Is it wrong to dream of a drum carder now?

Friday, 12 October 2012


So most folk would have started with a well shorn sheep and washed the fleece and then spun I guess? No? oh well maybe I am not too bad then. Because I had a small amount of Piccolo's fleece washed already and I'd conveniently bought a bundle thingy of carded coloured ryeland wool off Sandy Davidson I didn't really have to tackle the fleece washing debacle until today.

It was pretty clear that my bundle thingy of wool wasn't really going to last as I obsessively diligently set about spinning yesterday. I think it helped actually having properly carded wool to tackle. All those pronouncements of rubbish in rubbish out ringing in my ears at least gave me the hope that I'd not produce anything too dreadful if (big if that) I could just master this treadling drafting tension chaos. Not unlike learning to drive, I found my feet and hands were a little too confusing at times.

But I digress from today's shenanigans, washing a fleece!!!! Actually more like half a fleece, which for any one who knows Ryeland sheep, is still a lot of wool! As per usual I watched youtube vids and read a fair few web pages and then blythely got on with it. mostly hoping for the best. I will admit a small part of me was thinking "well if I stuff this up there's more fleece to go at" which when you are adept at stuffing up is a sort of comfort. I also briefly thought that creating my own quilt batting with any duff stuff might well be in my future..

 several hot washes, a frustrating desire to moosh it all about, which is by all accounts the big no no, and several hours later and I have something akin to wet reasonably clean looking if you ignore the bits still to pick out woollen clouds.

I have decided that if I'm going to do this I have to learn to enjoy each step of the process, that its no good hating one bit and there fore rushing it out the way. Dogs and cats are warily skirting past me lest they too lose the odd hank of hair.

Its the carding step I find really difficult :(