Thursday, 28 February 2013

Botanical Colors - (and Saxon Blue!)

Samples of wool hand dyed with Botanical Colors Saxon Blue - Liquid Indigo. The sample skein on the left was also dyed with Liquid Himalayan Rhubarb  to create a green shade and the skein on the right was also dyed with Liquid Lac to create a purple shade
Liquid Indigo - Saxon Blue for vatless indigo dyeing


Not really my blog post but I thought I'd borrow this from our news page with an update. This was the original news item in case you missed it....

"For those of you who were followers of renowned natural dyer Jenny Dean's website before it was hacked, you will be pleased to know that it is now back up and running and every bit as good as before! In addition to a very interesting post on chickweed as a possible mordant and a great post on Celtic dyes, Jenny has been busy experimenting with our Botanical Colors liquid natural dye extracts. For a review of her findings (and some lovely photos!) please click here to visit Jenny Dean's website

Unfortunately, it would appear that Jenny has once again been the victim of hacking (honestly, wouldn't you think people had better things to do than spoil someone's hard work?). However, on the positive side, it's still possible to access the blog at the link above and there is info there about how to contact Jenny. Even more positive is news that her latest book is on its way to the publishers. I shall be first in the queue for a copy and we'll be planning to stock it I'm sure!

Friday, 15 February 2013

Handspun sock(s)!


Remember the gorgeous fibre I received from Helen at My Heart Exposed in a Christmas Secret Santa Swap?

I proudly give you... (drum roll) the socks!

I had two 100g braids of naturally dyed BFL in similar shades from Helen so I split them into thin strips. I pre-drafted the fibres as I knew I needed a fine singles to make up my finished 2ply sock weight yarn. The strips of extenuated fibre were spun at random to further distribute the subtle colour variations and the plying was a standard 2ply (2 singles yarns spun Z twist, plied S twist).

The spinning wasn't terribly scientific, measuring tpi, wpi and degree of twist by eye (with apologies to Mabel Ross!). Nonetheless, by the time all the combining and plying had been done it seems to have evened itself out and the socks look like they'll be pretty hardwearing.

The pattern for the socks is my simple 2 x 2 rib groovy sock pattern. A basic heel flap, cuff-down affair with a nice star toe (I have pointy toes!). Being a dpns girl they're done on a set of 5 (very well-used!) Brittany dpns. I had several skeins, each slightly different so I knitted in stripes to create the extra colour variations and avoid blocks of colour. The flash has over-exposed this shot a little but I've included it because it shows the amazing lustre in the BFL.


The shot below shows the subtlety of the colour variations better. I have to say the sock looks pretty uninspiring when it's not sporting a leg but I haven't worked out how to photograph my own feet yet and no-one in the house has hobbit feet as small as mine!

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Starry night!

November's clubs were inspired by Vincent Van Gogh's famous painting, the Starry Night.

I have to confess it has taken me a long time to come to terms with Vincent Van Gogh and see his work with less jaded eyes. Not because I don't like it - I find it amazing now. Unfortunately, I had a long-term arrangement with Mr V G's work in the shape of Mrs Reid's English class. Week after week I sat in the same classroom faced by the same poster (not even a print!) whilst learning the joys of English Literature. Many the hour I spent staring deep into that poster willing all my carefully memorised but frustratingly elusive quotes to resurface and leap onto my exam papers. I shudder at the memory even now.....

But enough reminiscing, I'm long since past all that (no permanent trauma at all, honest!) and now I can enjoy a lovely VVG as much as the next man. And I'm glad really, as they are such beautiful, intense colours with amazing swirling shapes and textures.

So, if you're still with me, thank you, and here are this month's clubs, inspired by The Starry Night...
Bluefaced Leicester and sparkly trilobal nylon roving for Roving Medley members,

BFL/trilobal nylon, twirly soft kid mohair fleece and lustrous Wensleydale roving for Fibre Adventure members,

And for Sock Club members I had a bit of extra fun dyeing two cakes of yarn in matching shades, dipping, rolling and syringing colour onto some beautiful merino/nylon softspun sock yarn.

(I got an A in English Lit. and English Language btw, in case you were wondering!)

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Yes, we're in a video!

A music video no less!

See if you can spot Pete and I in the crowd in Sonic Boom Six's latest release, Keep on Believin' (hint: Look for the familiar pink hair in the darts-crowd sequence and Pete at the back).

This latest track from the awesome album, the eponymously titled "Sonic Boom Six", is released today. Check out the band's website for more info....

(And if you happen to be a Scuzz TV viewer, you may just catch us on there, too!) A definite (if unexpected) big tick on the Bucket List!

Monday, 11 February 2013

Time spent with friends..

...is time well spent!

Traditionally we go on a trip away with two of our oldest friends (known longest, not years of age oldest!) to celebrate the boys' birthdays in January but this year we decided to celebrate the girls' birthdays, too! So when I spotted a Groupon offer for two nights in the Lakes, complete with spa, pool, steam rooms etc. (and at a very nice price), it seemed like the perfect opportunity to get away for a good old catch-up and some well-deserved r and r.

As you'll see from the photos it was a bit touch and go with the weather. However, it was Rav to the rescue! A quick post on British Knitters and within minutes a very nice Raveller who lives just down the road from the hotel got in touch with an on-the-spot weather report - amazing!

The Whitewater Hotel is well-named! A former mill, it sits right on the side of the river which was very full. The water levels were almost up to the lower level windows of the hotel restaurant (not the rooms which were higher up!). I think you can get a feel for the sheer volume and power of the water from the photos.





We enjoyed a lovely dinner on Friday with plenty of laughs until the wee small hours. A gentle walk on Saturday, a boat trip across the lake and a trip on the Haverthwaite and Lakeside Railway was followed by a Rasul Mud Temple Ritual which was amazing - highly recommended!




 Sunday was dry and bright so a bracing walk was in order. Naturally all good walks end with cake and coffee so we found a gorgeous little cafe and enjoyed doorstop sandwiches with homemade bread and pickles, homemade cake and piping hot coffee - yum!






We wrapped up the weekend with a trip on the car ferry and a leisurely drive home - lovely!




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