Thursday, 26 February 2009

February Fibre Clubs - the pics!

As promised last week, here are the pics of this month's Roving Medley Fibre Club and the Fibre Adventure Club. The colourway is Hyacinth, inspired by the imminent arrival of Spring (we hope!) and this month the Roving Medley was Merino/Tencel, lightly blended to give clear, distinct stripes for interesting spinning effects.

Fibre Adventurers received a parcel of silk noils, Merino/Tencel roving and gorgeous Jacob fleece.

The Jacob, one of our British Rare Breeds, is kept by a local handspinner and is just beautiful. It can almost be spun straight off the back of the sheep! As Jacob fans will know, the breed is a coloured sheep, but I was lucky enough to be able to bag an almost entirely white fleece for this month's parcel - one of the benefits of buying locally!

Look out for another scrumptious British fibre next month... (and if you haven't signed up yet, I've opened up some more places here)

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Locking horns at Dunham Massey

snowdrops at Dunham Massey
Spring is sprung!

Nick, Clare, Jack and the family labrador, Toby, came to visit on Sunday and the crisp, dry day inspired a short stroll round Dunham Massey, along the canal, finishing up at the Axe and Cleaver for coffee and cakes (well, okay, we started at the National Trust cafe for lunch and cakes too, but we did walk off at least some of the calories, honest!).

Dunham Massey's young deer lock hornsNow I have worked out the cropping tool in photoshop I can share a couple of the pics. Will took this one of the young deer jostling for position in the herd - isn't it fab?

Old StumpyWood nymphThese are new wood sculptures made from some of the older trees which had to be cut down as they were becoming unsafe. The whole area is enclosed by fencing so I hope this means there will be more. They are really quite magical, but it's hard to appreciate them properly from the other side of a fence!

Tuesday, 24 February 2009


Yay, we had pancakes, cooked in style (including a few impressive flips), by Pete. No pics as we scoffed them too quickly, sorry : )

Oh, and we went for a lovely walk at the weekend, but I can't make photoshop resize images properly for some reason at the moment. When I work it out, I'll post the pics of the new wood sculptures at Dunham Massey.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Natalie's meme

Natalie sent me the following meme (showing my ignorance here, but how do you pronounce that? Is it meeemee, or meem or something else altogether?).

Anyway, here are her questions (and my answers)....

1. What can you hear, right now?

The prodigy's new album - very loud! Gutted we missed out on tickets. Last time we saw them live I was right at the front - so cool!

2. What will you have for dinner tonight?

No idea. Just had brunch at the Lakeland shop (veggie brekky and coffee - halloumi cheese - my favourite!), so not in food-cooking mode at the moment.

3. Crossword, Sudoku or Boggle?

Guardian crossword, DS Sudoku (or Facebook), Boggle "old school" original but also the Facebook version. Love Word Twist, Word Challenge and Scrabble, too, on Facebook, so come and challenge me to a game (you will win, I am rubbish!).

4. Favourite biscuit?

Dark chocolate digestive (must be McVitie's)

5. Which magazines do you read?

Spin off, Wild Fiber, InKnitters, Knitters, Slipknot, Vogue Knitting, Interweave Knits, Simply Knitting, Let's Knit (mmm, detecting a theme here....)

Lastly, my question: Why is this in bold?

No idea, but can't seem to switch it off!

Here are Natalie's answers, would you like to share yours? (what the &*@, the bold's gone now - computers huh?)

Friday, 20 February 2009

Summer School - we are good to go!

Just got my student list for Summer School and I only have one place left on my course! I'm so excited! I think students are getting their confirmations this week too, so if you've had yours and you'll be joining my course, drop me a line, post a comment here, or come along and say hello on Ravelry. I'll be emailing too, to say hi to everyone, but my pc is poorly so I can only access web stuff at the moment and not emails : (

There are places on some of the other courses, so do go along and check out what's available. It is an absolutely fantastic experience, so if you can make it, you'll have a great time. And if you can't make the Summer School, there will be a trade fair at the end of the week with some great traders who will be more than happy to tempt you with their goodies.....

If I can find some photos from the last Summer School (pc permitting), I'll post some so you can get a feel for what goes on. Skipping off excitedly now to start preparing samples and testing out some interesting new ideas I've been working on.....

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

February clubs on the way!

It's club day! All the club yarns and fibres are on the way, so get ready to stalk your friendly postie! I won't spoil the surprise but look out for pics in a week or so when everyone has their goodies....

Monday, 16 February 2009

P/hop sock

Have you any idea how difficult it is to photograph your own feet? Well, I wanted to get this pic up on the blog so, rather than wait for DH to do a "proper" pic, I just stuck my foot out and snapped this quickie so you can see the design I'm working on for the p/hop project. I promise there'll be a better one to go with the pattern!

For those of you not familiar with p/hop, this neat idea to raise valuable funds for Medecins sans Frontieres is the brainchild of Natalie at The Yarn Yard. Rather than try to explain it myself, here is the idea in Natalie's own words from the Ravelry p/hop group.

"p/hop (although it sounds like a rapper’s name) means pennies per hour of pleasure. It is a fundraiser for the international medical aid organisation Medecins Sans Fontieres (Doctors Without Borders). Lovely designers from all over the place have pledged to donate patterns to MSF, which you can download for free! However, once you have your newly knitted/crocheted scarf/socks/sweater in hand, we ask you to donate an amount that corresponds to the amount of pleasure you got from making it… I think I’ve made this sound more complicated than it is! Hopefully you know what I mean…"

To keep up with the latest p/hop news, Ravelry members can sign up to the p/hop group . Not on Ravelry yet? Check out Natalie's blog. You can also make a donation and find out more here

Natural dyeing at the hut

kate's dip-dyeing
Not Pizza Hut, the scout hut : )

Saturday was the first Natural dyeing workshop of the year and we got off to a great start with everyone going away with over 70 different colour samples from our expanding range of Hue & Dye and Earthues natural dye extracts.

It was a busy day with a myriad of colours emerging from bubbling pots, and exciting clingfilmed parcels being carefully unwrapped to reveal their gorgeous, hand-painted hues. We dip-dyed, squirted, painted and colour-modified and, as you can see from Kate's luscious plummy merino boucle sample (above), natural dyes need not mean pastels!

Kathleen paints a skein on clingfilm ready for microwavingA big thank you to Kate, Kathleen and Margaret for coming along (and I hope you all got to put your feet up when you got home! You all worked very hard!).

And good luck with your finals, Margaret : )

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

January Fibre Adventure and Roving Medley Club

Just a couple of quick pics of the lovely fibre selection members of the Fibre Adventure Club and Roving Medley Club received in January.

This month's Roving Medley was a luscious, blended merino/silk. Fibre Adventurers received a scrummy parcel of merino/silk, silk hankies and Shetland fleece. The Shetland comes from a small local flock in Cheshire and the lady who keeps them is an excellent spinner so she really "knows her onions" when it comes to a good fleece for the handspinner. February's package will include fleece from another small, local flock but I won't spoil the surprise! If you'd like to join a unique experience and expand your fibre horizons, there are just a couple of places left and you can sign up here.

(Oh, and as I've had lots of interest from customers outside the UK, look out for an International membership coming soon).

Blankie - finally started spinning!

After losing the pattern for our new living room "blankie" I thought I was going to have to re-think the whole project. Thankfully, Judy came to my rescue and lent me her copy, so I'm back up and running again - yay!

So I scooped up my big pile of batts and spun up the first couple of bobbins. I specifically want this yarn to be "art yarn" (lumpy-bumpy) as some of the fibres are quite old and some is from the "less desirable" parts of the fleece (think daggy areas!). I know everyone says that once you've learned to spin fine, it's hard to go back to lumpy yarns, but it is so true! It took ages to persuade myself to let all those lumps and clumps disappear into the orifice. But it was worth it! Here are the first couple of skeins, some of the batts and the yarn on the bobbin. The skein in brown is from a local jacob flock and will be the contrasting smooth yarn to complement the lumpy "57 varieties" yarn.

This is the first "me" project I've made for absolutely ages and it's really nice to have a proper hobby project on the go.

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