Monday, 22 July 2013

Busy, busy, busy.... teaching at Alston Hall

This year's spinners' gathering at Alston Hall was a bit fraught in the expectation, as I was teaching a class on natural dyeing and just didn't know when I'd have time to plan it out. But in the end, I turned up with equipment (LOTS  of equipment: freshly checked electric rings, my spinner, pots and pans, and a reasonable assortment of dyestuffs.

Dyeing party

We were a fairly small group, but that meant we could whip through stuff fairly quickly. We started off with madder and dyers' greenweed, added cochineal and indigo, and meadowsweet that one of our party collected on Saturday lunchtime. We got some lovely colours.

Dyeing - greenweed, madder, meadowsweet

We were very lucky in that Alston Hall allowed us to set up all the hot pans outside under shelter, so we didn't suffer with the hot weather at all. This is Sunday morning's pots: greenweed on the left (a pale yellow that makes a particularly good green when overdyed with indigo), the leftover madder and cochineal in together, and the meadowsweet.

Dyeing - indigos

I set up an instant indigo vat on both days, but we really got carried away with it on Sunday morning.

Dyeing on sw bfl

This was my result from Saturday. I wish I'd had more yarn, but someone switched from the other group to ours so of course had brought no yarn with her; I donated one of my two skeins of SW BFL to her.
From left to right: cochineal/indigo, cochineal, cochineal/madder, second soak madder, first soak madder, weld, weld/indigo, greenweed/indigo, indigo. The two on the top are madder/indigo and greenweed.

And a few quick bits on Sunday morning:

Dyeing on handspun bits

Near-exhausted madder, indigo, and meadowsweet/indigo.

Much fun was had, and my feet needed an awful lot of scrubbing before they were respectable again.

And now it's Fibre East this weekend.  All the fibre and yarn are done. Just need to collect the hire van ( because sadly the roof box we bought last weekend didn't fit) and sort out change/gear/camping).

Monday, 1 July 2013

Woolfest 2013...

...is over in what seems like next to no time. We did what we did this year, travel-wise - hired another small van and took that plus our own up to Cockermouth. Of course, we did hope that we wouldn't end up doing what we did last year, having to come home separately on the Friday afternoon after being flooded out and blown down!

Lunil driving to Woolfest

Lunil travelled with me and Bil with Mark. She really isn't happy in the front seat of a vehicle, she doesn't really fit, but we couldn't squeeze her in the back. I had rather a lot of fibre and yarn this year.

We managed to pop in to The Mill at Little Salkeld on the way up, and stocked up with 6kg bags of spelt flour, and then got to the Mitchells site for Woolfest late morning. We'd driven up through rain, but it wasn't heavy and the ground wasn't wet as we got the tent up.

It rained Thursday evening and all day Friday, but the ground was dry and firm and drained quickly. No mud or sogginess appeared at all.

The show was busy both days. My lovely chums Sarah and Chris were staying in the area so came and spent time with us on Friday, as did another of my friends, Mavis from Durham, who's mind was well and truly blown by the size and scope of Woolfest.

Lots of yarn and fibre has been sold. The silk blends took the biggest hammering, so given the limited time until Fibre East, I think that's all that I will have time to work on. I'm collecting 6kg of bfl/silk in black, oatmeal and white tomorrow, and that'll keep me busy for a while.

Stall at Woolfest 2013

The quilt with my stall name on was made on Tuesday afternoon, though the stencilling was done the previous Friday. I had every intention of making a pieced quilt for the letters, but simply ran out of time.

And I had every intention of buying no fleeces whatsoever. Silly me. I picked up a jet black shetland ram fleece, a Corriedale x Shetland in creams/beiges/cinnamons, and a Merino X which was merino quality fleece but in Jacob colours of charcoal and white.  Plus a sweater's worth of mid-brown Shetland dk from Blacker Yarns to replace Mark's much beloved Cobblestone sweater.

So enough to keep me out of trouble for quite a while to come. We got the tent down dry enough to pack straight away for Fibre East in a month, and both vans unpacked and everything tidied away by Sunday. #Efficiency!