Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Perth Festival of Yarn and Bakewell Wool Gathering

Just come back from a wonderful week in Somerset and Cornwall, and things are suddenly happening.

There was no wifi in our field above Zennor - just lots of wind and rain and even more wind and perhaps a gale or two - so I had to toddle down to the Tinners Arms or the cafe in Zennor to communicate with the outer world.

On one such trip, I was delighted to get an email from Perth Festival of Yarn, to let me know I've got a last minute stall there. So an extra show for Freyalyn's Fibres before Bakewell Wool Gathering in October. 

We'd planned to go up and visit the show as visitors, but I'd sent an email enquiring about vending for next year and they kindly offered me this year too! Better check the dyepans.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Fungus inspiration!

So the fungus-inspired colourway of the last couple of weeks now has a name: Versicolour.

I've done a couple more now, one on white Southdown (crisp and bouncy) and one on oatmeal BFL (the colours more muted and subtler than on white).

It's very different from my usual dyeing, but this has been popular enough that I think I shall keep doing it, even if I can only do this one 200g lot at once in a dyepan.

Anyway, while I had the dyepans out I did a quick bit of Nightfall, over both black and oatmeal BFL/silk. Someone had contacted via Etsy regarding this colourway, so I put all four up on Etsy and she bought the one she wanted straightaway. The other three are still up there.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Last week's inspiration...

So last week's sudden excitement over dyeing fibre to match a rather gorgeous photograph of multi-coloured and curvilinear fungus has turned into this:

There's 200g of a gradient in each of these braids,and spun up they are going to mimic the colours in this photograph pretty well. Knitted up into a shawl, either a plain centre-increase garter stitch triangle, or something with wide sweeping Old Shale, it will imitate the fungus beautifully.

This is what it looked like in the dyepans. Nothing like my usual technique, and more time-consuming and fiddly than normal. But I got the exact effect I was aiming for, so all is good. 

The current five sets I have are all spoken for; if you're interested,
leave a comment. 

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Fungus as dyeing inspiration

Spotted this on Twitter this morning - on the @planetpics feed. Isn't it glorious? I'm planning to dye this at the weekend on white fibre, so that it can be spun out and knitted straight into a shawl - either a hap or a plain triangle.

Can anyone who wants some please comment, with your Twitter handle, so I can work out how much to do. It will be over white Blue-faced Leicester tops.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Grampian Guild - teaching in the Far North!

So, the weekend before last Mark and I went up to Aberdeenshire, to teach a workshop for Grampian Guild that has been three years in the organising. It's a long way to go, and more than a night's accommodation, and has taken some sorting to find a date.

We had vile weather for the drive up on Friday last (23) until North of Stirling, and equally vile when we returned on Tuesday, but the weather up there was remarkably good. We'd been booked at the apartment at Wark Farm and it was wonderful; so peaceful and still, and full of rarebreed sheep and cattle. (Very tasty sheep and cows too - there is a farmshop with their own meat). Mind you, we had to keep a beady eye on the pupz. And there was plenty of space to unload the vast amount of equipment and fibre I ended up bringing with me.

This was a view we had to stop at on the way up - Cairn o'Mount.

Of course, as usual, I failed completely to get any photographs of the workshop. We were in the village hall at Chapel of Garioch. But it was an agreeable and hardworking group: we spent Saturday working on handcarding rolags and spinning long-draw. This is my original workshop, and one of my most popular ones, being developed and growing all the time.

The second day was supposed to be looking at combing wool and spinning worsted-style. But we started off with an ad hoc fleece and wool discussion, as everyone brought out all sorts of breeds and wools and fibres for examination and discussion. I think we all learned something. I demonstrated carding with the three sets of combs I'd brought, we played with the drumcarder, did worsted spinning, some people went back to yesterday's long-draw woollen spinning, and generally had great fun.

This was just down the road from the village hall, and I managed a quick visit on Saturday morning. The Maiden Stone.

The Monday was my day off before we went home (Mark and the pupz having been pottering around for the two previous days, which I think largely involved the country park at Alford - livestock-free and lots of lawns for Hector to speed around).

We tried to find the Whitehills stone circle, but failed completely to find it in a forestry area. But look at these: flowers in logs! Rather magical.

And then we all climbed Mither Tap, the last outcrop of the Cairngorms as the drop down to the East and the North Sea, and part of an excellent leisure area run by the forestry lot.
We came home a longer route, as neither of us have ever been over the Tay Bridge or the Forth Road Bridge. So we did this time. Even if it was raining and raining and raining.

I am very lucky that I can visit such a wonderful part of Scotland (and not one we'd ever visited before) while sharing my skills and love of wool. Let's hope I can go back.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Dyeing workshop at Eden Valley Guild of WSD

Once again I've taught a workshop that had some fabulous results, and once again I failed completely to take a photograph.

This is what it looked like before we started:

I had nine people doing the workshop 'Dyeing Repeatable Colourways', and after not long at all those pristine sheets of newspaper were covered with fibre and yarn, clingfilm, splashes of dye, discarded gloves, and lots and lots of pots.

This workshop involves consideration of measuring small amounts of dyes, and how to record a particular colour/range of colours in order to duplicate it on another occasion. Which means you have to take into account the amount of fibre and strength of dye too.

It was all rather fun, and some fabulous dyeing was done. Because Cecilia had very kindly offered to bring her spindryer from just down the road, I didn't have to bring mine, so the freshly dyed yarn and fibre could be spun out and hung out for display. I brought one of my 'vintage' clothes airers to hang things on, and indeed it looked lovely. But I was far too busy supervising the four large pots steaming away, and getting very hot and bothered, to get round to taking a photograph. (I've seen some of the dyeing since, on FB, and it's lovely)

Mark came with the pupz, planning a day out walking on a mountain somewhere. But it was bucketing it down all day, so in the end he just took them down to Glenridding and they pottered around in the rain for an hour or two, before he mopped the pupz up, stuffed 'em in the car, and came back to Mungrisdale.

I did bring all my fibre as people had asked me to do so, and it was rather nice to see it all spread out like this.

So, I've just had a weekend at home. This Friday we'll all pile into the Disco again and drive over 039 miles up to Aberdeenshire - I'm doing a two day spinning workshop at Grampian Guild of WSD. Not somewhere I've taught before, and I'm looking forward to it tremendously.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Leeds Wool Festival

This Saturday just gone was one of our favourite wool shows of the year, Leeds Wool Festival in Armley Mill. Beautifully organised, with a select gathering of vendors tucked in amongst all the exhibits.

We're all given a table each with the instruction not to block the gangways - as you can see, I was in the corner of the Tailor's Shop, so I took full advantage of all the space! And we had a nice corner behind too, for all the bags and boxes.

It's too long to leave the pupz at home on their own, and they can't come because the parking is not nearby, so Mark brought everything in with me early on and then went home for the morning. Of course, the morning was extremely busy. Lots and lots of people through the door first thing, including a Scottish contingent which included Jeni Reid, KnitBritish, and Old Maiden Aunt! I was appearing on other people's Instagram feeds before the day was over.

The day was very successful for me,and the Shetland 2ply yarn took a tremendous battering - the dark green is nearly cleared out!

The weather was excellent, the WI were providing excellent cakes and food, and there were alpacas on the lawn.

And we were home and unpacked and feet up by not long after 6pm. Lovely friendly little show - did I see you there?