Tuesday, 14 July 2009

The weekend at Alston Hall...

... was as splendid as ever. Slightly more relaxing than last year as I wasn't teaching. I went up there with every intention of sitting in on Pete and Carol's workshop on spindle spinning but I was completely bowled over by Averil Otiv's talk on Friday night and spent the weekend in hers.

My lovely friends Hazel and India were there, and we spent most of the weekend making basket-type stuff at a table in the garden room with Ma, who astounded us all (and especially herself) by managing to produce a fantastic newspaper bias-woven basket!

India, deep in argument with a woven paper basket. It didn't want to do what it was told....

This is what I'd produced by mid-afternoon on Saturday - a small coiled dish and the start of larger oval basket. Making the cordage was addictive; I can remember, years ago, watching a television documentary about rope bridges across gores in the Andes. Local women were just sitting on steep slopes covered in dry grass and speedily spinning the grass into a strong 2-ply cord using just their hands. The cordage produced was doubled and doubled and doubled again until great thick ropes, made purely of grass, were thrown across the gorge and turned into rope bridges. Well, now I can at least make the cordage!

This is what I'd done by Sunday lunchtime. The New Zealand friendship flowers are positively addictive - I made one from NZ flax/phormium and a generic lily leaf there (and have already been using vegetation down at the reserve since) and the 'thing' at bottom right is just me working out how to do something.

And I sold fibre, which is always a bonus. Now I just have the hard job of photographing it and getting it all up on Etsy. Two packets need to go to Sally in Wales in exchange for some more fabulous hand-made dpns, and I've just sold four of my favourite colour to the US. Yay!

There were four of us camped out in the bar at 9pm on Friday, waiting for Torchwood's denouement. There was a few more by the end, all breathless and gasping together. I made the mistake of trying to cast on for NB's Mamluke Sock - it took me two tries and I'd only got a couple of rows finished by the end. Sock is now finished, and I'll struggle to be inspired to make another.

I've knitted about six inches of the Lily of the Valley scarf, and am about to pull back to reknit on larger, pointier needles. I've been thinking that I'm not happy about the fabric being created, and it's not quite right. Buggrit!


  1. Sounds like a fantastic weekend and I love your friendship flowers . Have nearly finished spinning the last two fibres I bought from you to make a laceweight yarn . All I need now is your pattern ;)

  2. What a cool weekend. Bet you are totally chilled!