Thursday, 30 April 2009

Greenleaf Cap...

... is now added to Ravelry as a free download. I'm hoping to write up the Mallorn shawl properly, legible charts and all, after my weekend away at the Burning Wicker Man festival down at Butser this weekend, and post it next week. Or not. Depends how frazzled I am when I come back. We're in the roundhouse on Saturday night, for which I'll have to take my airmattress although I'm borrowing sleeping bag etc. Photos will be taken and report made on my other blog next week.

However, I cut and picked up for the second sleeve on my third Ramshorn jacket this weekend, a year since I started it now, and the end is in sight. So much stuff to do, so little time.

My new drumcarder is settling in well. Huge batts. Much better cranking ratio than the others.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Etsy linked and updated

Says it all really. I have managed to add a link to my Etsy shop in the sidebar, and am slowly updating with both new and old colours, new and existing fibres. Not all done yet, but I have to go home now and spend ages (and probably some shouting time with Mark) rearranging my bedroom. It's not good climbing over fibre to get into bed, and even less good when it's dark and I stub my toes.

Wonderwool post

This has been a very long weekend, and my shoulders and arms are still stiff from all the driving, not to mention my left hip which really disagrees with two days' worth of standing on concrete. Ridged, cold concrete at that. I must try and remember some kind of floor-covering for Woolfest.
We stuffed the dogs in the front of the hire van as we loaded. They were not happy, and were even unhappier when we briefly stopped at my parents' and dropped Bil off with his lead, his bowl and his bed. Lunil was as good as gold all the time in the van - she lay down quietly on the floor, and the only problem was the odd time when the clutch pedal seemed a good chin rest.

Mark at the stall on Sunday morning. The yarn had gone down considerably by then, and all the spare fibre under the tables was already out. There was lots of interest in my Mallorn shawl (at the back, pattern out soon), the Greenleaf cap and wristies, and my Tree Coat - which I must write up at some point.

The other side of the stall. Pauline the Button Lady and I had a huge stall between us - the workshops were behind this wall, which is why it was much deeper and gave us more space. And it was useful to have the workshops there - on Sunday morning we were raided by the felters and sold LOTS.

Sally Pointer's stall, which is always worth a look. I love her hats - my plain black one had a new Greenleaf hatband. The green hat at the back of the stall actually has Sally underneath, the camouflaging properties are excellent!

And this was the stall opposite us, Presteigne Home Stores, so I spent a lot of time admiring it. Beautiful antique quilts and welsh blankets. I have a blanket in regular use that is just like one in the corner - £150. Eeek, just as well I treat it with great respect.

This was my unexpected extravagance. I popped in to see Hedgehog Equipment; it seemed logical as they're the main maker of drumcarders in the UK and I'm teaching the workshops on drumcarders at Woolfest. I had a lovely chat - I was originally thinking of getting a couple more sets of handcarders as I'm always short when teaching longdraw spinning classes, but they very kindly said that if I ever needed any at an event they were at I could borrow their teaching sets. But as they'd offered me a discount there and then it seemed a pity not to indulge. I now have three drumcarders, which could be regarded as extravagant. However, they all do different things in different ways, and I can now offer drumcarding workshops without borrowing - that's the theory anyway. This thing make enormous batts - I was playing with it last night. I had a bag of Romney in lovely greys (thanks Sarah) which I'd washed a while ago - I carded the pale grey last night and spun some up watching 'Mind of a Tyrant' and it's come up beautifully. I shall enjoy working out how to use it best.

We stopped briefly about fifteen minutes out of Builth Wells on the way home, for Lunil to have a leg stretch. Mark had enjoyed the weekend.

Swans nesting. They were completely unalarmed by the proximity of the carparking spot as it was fenced off.

Finally got home about 10.30 after picking up Bil. Must remember that Stafford Services on the M6 is by far the best for dogs. Phew.

I shall have a week or so off (apart from a couple of orders I took for colours and fibres I didn't have there and then) and then start up for Woolfest. Going by how much stuff I sold in Wales, I have lots of wool to dye up.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009


This is it, all packaged, listed, priced, labelled. I think this is the earliest I've ever been organised. That pile is solid wool by the way - there are ten large bags, two small bags (the exotics), and three boxes of yarns. It's all piled in the large dogbed, and they are not pleased.

They were even more unhappy last night, when it was all over the place as I sorted each bag in turn. Mark came in from work to a rather yummy pork and noodle stir-fry and a specially cleared armchair, and still chuntered because I was making so much rustling. I pointed out it was his fault; he was the one who provided the cellophane bags for it all.

I have started a list on the blackboard of things not to forget. And yes, I do put obvious things on like 'fibre', 'tent', 'change'. We'll still forget something though.

Hope the weather lasts, at least until we can get our tent up on dry ground. Nothing worse than squelching under the tent.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Done? Wonderwool, Woolfest - eek.....

Vast amounts of dyeing has been done over the days I had off over Easter. I have used up all the kid mohair, all the superwash merino, and made huge dents in the other stuffs I've got stockpiled. All I have left to do is package up the Teeswater fleece, about 2 kilos of superwash tops, and drumcard the sockstuff into multi-coloured batts. I always underestimate how long the drumcarding takes me, and I'm supposed to be demonstrating drumcarding/blending fibres at Guild tomorrow morning, a bit of a dry run for the workshop I'm running at Woolfest at the end of June. I thought I'd see what sort of things people actually wanted to see/try/ask before I thought about an actual formal workshop. And as I'll only have an hour at Woolfest (on both days) I really need to make sure I'm doing something people want to see/do/try.

But in the haste to keep the pots bubbling away, I sort of didn't get around to any photographing. I shall regret it later, but when all the packaging's finished I still have to sort all the stuffed laundry bags out and list everything I have, as well as pricing it all. And then produce price lists, extra cards and a few other things at work next week.

We have a transit van booked for Wonderwool - the Disco really isn't big enough, as we have to get Lunil's crate, all the camping stuff, and more fibre and yarn than I took to either of the shows last year. And it will be easier and faster to drive for such a long journey. With it having a huge bench seat across the front we can stuff Lunil in the middle and she can see where she's going. Bil will stay with Ma and Pa - it'll be much easier with just one monster to deal with.

Vast amounts of knitting has been done too. I made a pair of socks for Mark in the Aracaunia we bought the other week at Coldspring Mill, started (and nearly finished) another pair for Katie as well as a Fuzzy Mitten rabbit, both in yarn she sent to me. Neither has been photographed yet, although I'm really pleased with the bunny - appropriate knitting for the festival.

The Greenleaf cap at the top of this entry is finished to my satisfaction, but I haven't typed up the pattern yet to publish on Ravelry. Next week, if I've time. I've been wearing it, and it was photographed on Tuesday at Harlow Carr in amongst some rather splendid spring flowers.

Looking at all the fibres and yarns this time, it struck me that I really seem to have gone for saturated colours, and more brights this time. Let's hope they sell. There's an awful lot of stuff to go up on Etsy if it doesn't, though I suppose it means I won't have to dye much more for Woolfest.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

I have..

.. finished the Greenleaf Cap, and am really pleased with the way it's turned out in the hanspun. I shall get it photographed properly and written up and post it soon.

Of course, this will probably be next week. I am now not at work until next Thursday as I've tacked a few days' holiday on either side of Easter. The computer at home is now working, but has no interwebs connection as yet. The BT broadband stuff is supposed to be arriving tomorrow, but this assumes:

a) The deliverer actually rings the bell and I hear it, or he's not waiting round the corner until I take the dogs out;

b) I can sort the whole thing out by myself;

c) The connection is actually live, although that's been promised from midnight tonight;

d) If all above goes according to plan, I can get anti-virus and updates through properly, as this computer hasn't been connected for over a year.

Don't hold your breath.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Coldspring Mill

Coldspring Mill is literally a fifteen minute drive away from us, but I'd never visited before yesterday - we tend to whiz past on the way to dogwalks at Hardcastle Crags. Anyway, a sudden fit of inspiration struck yesterday morning at work, so I stuffed Mark into the driving seat of the Disco almost as soon as he came home yesterday afternoon, the pupz in the back, and off we went.

Araucania yarn at half price. The two on the left are Naturewool, and to be socks with which I've bribed Mark. The undyed is the same, just undyed. On the right is a thicker weight one, in a yummy green.

These are intended for dyeing and resale. The big skeins are pure wool dk, and rather nice. The cone is lovely - wool, alpaca and camel in a thick dk. Nearly didn't see that.

There was lots of Debbie Bliss, balls, skeins and cones. I was tempted by two packets of aran tweed, one in a bright olive green (but there were bits of black and yellow in it) and the other in a soft sea green (see my Triton colourway somewhere below) but it had flecks of pink. Then I reminded myself that I really do prefer to knit in handspun.

There was lots of Debbi Bliss cashmerino stuff in various weights on cones at silly prices. But horrible colours - the yellow could have been overdyed, but I reminded myself that I used Cashmerino to knit IK's Cardigan for Arwen a few years ago and was sadly disappointed by (a) the appalling pilling and (b) the way it stretched sideways. So I put it back.

This grew nicely on the train yesterday and while watching telly last night. What was I saying about handspun? Much nicer texture than the previous yarn I used for this.

And look what better definition the leaves have.

I spent yesterday evening mostly rewinding skeins of handspun yarn, and re-labelling them all. Ended up with backache, but some very pretty yarn. Let's hope people buy it.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Spinning, at last.

Finally got around to stuffing this through the wheel on Sunday; it's the superfine merino I dyed in Beryl last week. It's come up in a really nice 3-ply in a thin dk weight, and I started another attempt at the Greenleaf cap in it on the train this morning.

This is the blackboard on the kitchen door that I use to keep track of what colours and fibres I've dyed. This is the weekend's lot - I finished off my bag of kid mohair (about a kilo and a half) as well as other things. I'm terrified of mislabelling, so I'm being very careful.

These photos were taken this morning by flash and not natural, so the colours aren't quite right. The lovely shiny ripply stuff in the front is kid mohair, and the green to its left is some superwash BFL that I was given last year. That's for ME - and I already have ideas for it - after I've spun it (there's 500g +, so it won't be instant).

And this is just the front of the creel - there are three bars, and all are full.

I'll leave this at least today if not tomorrow before packing, and there's yarn I need to re-skein, measure and label upstairs. No rest for the wicked, or even slightly naughty.

Friday, 3 April 2009

More Greenleaf stuff, and even more colours.

Finally got this off the needles and written up this morning, but I'm not totally happy with it. The yarn for a start - it doesn't show up the pattern at all. And the top's slightly too pointed, so I'll work on it again over the weekend and try and sort it out. But I'm really pleased with the idea. These photos were taken by me at work this morning, hence the morngy face.

These were the colours that came out the pots on Monday afternoon. I haven't dyed since then, but am planning to start more this afternoon unless I feel the need to cook instead. I've got the weekend to myself with nothing planned (except pupz of course) so much will be done then. I have a few more colours in the superfine to do, then more coloured BFL, some Teeswater, not to mention the superwash merino. And some more camel/silk. Haven't even started skeining any yarn up. Luckily I have a few days off over Easter to finish all the dyeing off.

Plum - purples, through to brownish reds. This was originally a mistake last year, but it's always popular.

This is red with pink leanings, not as pink as it's showing here. Poppy, which is my standard red for this year.

And Redleaf, which is much nicer on the coloured BFL.

I have saved myself one of the Beryl superfines for me to spin, which I keep meaning to do and then get sidetracked. Thinking about it, it might be rather nice spun and knitted into a better version of the Greenleaf cap above. I will have to discipline myself to remove the new driveband from my Suzi Pro when I'm not using it, so I don't tempt the Feline Fiend to remove it in several pieces for me.