Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Random update plus fibre stuff :-)


I haven't completely abandoned this blog but we've been rather busy with work etc.

On the travel side, we have been down to Minehead, over to Morton, to  Hawes in Yorkshire and Rutland in the van. Isle of Skye and the tall ships festival in Gloucester were visited by car.

I will detail more of these trips when I get chance but safe to say the only reason I get time to blog today is because I hake picked up a chest infection that has kept me off work for the last few days.

On the fibre front, I have continued to spin and knit. I somehow lost count of the number of breeds so will check my Instagram as I'm sure I mentioned them on there.

The start of Tour de Fleece is only 3 weeks away and as usual I will spin and take my wheel out with me at weekends.

Sorry for this brief post. More will follow shortly :-)

Photos just to whet the appertite….

Sunday, 3 March 2019

This years fibre challenge

So here we are, 3 March and my last post was way back in January.

We have been a bit busy and will fill you in with our recent travels soon.

As for the spinning ….

Norfolk Horn X

I've been feeling that I need a challenge, to keep me spinning which in turn will enable me to keep knitting.

The one that I've come across is Twelve in Twelve which is running on the Create with fFibre Facebook group.

The idea is to prep and spin 12 different fleeces in the year (only one skein per breed is really needed and I really don't think that I could get through 12 in a year) and if possible use the yarn in some way.

Ok, its a big ask or at least I thought it was but its the beginning of March and I have 5 in the bag as far as spinning is concerned, all from raw fleece although its possible that I will sell some skeins rather than knit with them.
Black Welsh Mountain x Lleyn

So far I've managed South Down, borerey, Mule (poss NC) an unknown breed (random donated fleece but really nice, and Kerry Hill.
Waiting for more prep are a bobbin of Black welsh mountain cross lleyn and a bobbin of Norfolk Horn x Charolais.
unknown breed, Kerry Hill (dyed)

I have a white cheviot to check out, hopefully some black cheviot ( I suppose that counts as just one breed) some hebridean, ryland and Shetland.
South Down
The wish list includes Romney, Portland and I'm keeping my eyes open for a nice Jacob.

I may exceed the 12 breeds !!

I had to knit one of them, mule knitted up into a scarf.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

What I like to spin

October/November spinning
I'm a bit of a lazy spinner, don't get me wrong, I love to process a fleece but once I'm spinning I generally use a semi long draw drafting style. I hold the fibre in my left hand and pull away from the wheel. My right hand does little apart from pinch the twist occasionally to control the amount of fibre going into the twist.

As for the prep, I love combed fibre. I have a set of valkryie wool combs and process most fleeces with these whilst watching box sets on the computer. I have hand carders which I never really got to grips with and a drum carder which is rarely used.

I've found that up to now I don't really like Blueface Leicester or Wensleydale for spinning. Jacob, Ryland, Romney and most of the down breeds are more fun to spin. Since I knit hats etc these are often fine enough and certainly warm enough.

I have a chart of endangered British sheep breeds and I'm slowly making my way through them but I tend to choose fleeces more for their colour.

Its some time since |I dyed any fibre and my last attempt was not brilliant. I suspect that this may have been down to ageing dyes more than anything else so I've taken them plunge and bought some new stock. Not being too sure which colours I would want to use, I've ended up with 24 10gm bottles. 24 different colours to play with..

December spinning waiting for a wash.

Monday, 7 January 2019

How many photos???

Last November we had a short trip out in the van for Bonfire night ( Nov 5)

We found a good campsite in Tewkesbury  next to the Abbey and after breakfast we spent the daytime wandering round the shops and taking a few photos.

The old buildings were fascinating and there were so any of them that we will be going back at some point to explore more.
After a quick meal in the van we headed off to the fireworks and this is where the photo problem started... I was merrily taking photos of all the pretty lights and casually mentioned when I got back that I had taken around 250 pictures..... plugged the camera in when we got back and....956 photos of fireworks and bonfires !!!

Here are the best handful.

Saturday, 5 January 2019


I've been getting more interested in Podcasts over the last few months, firstly listening to Knit British then picking up on Fruity Knitting on You-Tube.

Knit British is pretty self explanatory, Louise concentrates on British wool, single farm yarns and generally anything Woolley related which extends to spinning, knitting, yarn shows and interviews with people involved with sheep and the processing of wool. The podcast is backed up with a blog and a ravelry group with various challenges including the wool exploration, where people taking part purchase or spin a specific breed and then put the knitted sample to the test re softness, stitch definition etc.

I have now listened to most of the back catalogue whilst doing housework and sitting spinning.

At present there is generally one episode each month.

Fruity knitting on You-tube follows the standard pattern of news/finished items/work in progress interspersed with useful tutorials and interviews with knitters and knitwear designers.

I find this enjoyable as the often have fair isle knitters/designers showcasing their work so I make a date to catch up with each episode released on a Monday every two weeks.

Recent finds have been Babbles Travelling Yarns, lovely Irish girl named Grace who is a spinner, knitter and dyer with a real passion for fibre, her rather tall husband and her cat.

Green Bean podcast, gentle knitting with artist and author Katie Green.

Tiny Fibre Studio. by Becks, I've only just found this one as she recently visited John Arbons mill along with Grace from Babbles travelling yarns. However I'm just starting on her older videos as she is a spinner and spent 2017 knitting only with her hand spun.

For me, one of my favourite podcasts is TJFrog based on the isle of Skye. Tania updates the listening community with what is happening on the island with a very strong bias towards yarn, crafts and textile.

 Tania herself makes Dorset Buttons , an old traditional way of making button with wool.

I listen to every episode and often find Tania interviewing people I know on the island :-)

If you have any other suggestions, I look forward to hearing them particularly one that are based in the UK.

I'm leaving you with a photo of the Isle of Skye, our bolthole from our working lives.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Happy New Year xx

So, I did some thinking, I need to document our travels, my knitting and spinning and if I don't do it here, where will I do it?

I will try and update at lease once a month but hopefully a little more often even if its just an odd photo to say where we have been or what's on the needles.

I'm still wanting to share some of our September trip and subsequent  weekends away up to and including xmas, no broken bones etc so far this time :-)

I have a bobbin to finish and ply whilst we still have some daylight so I'm signing off for now but will be back soon with a longer update.

The bobbin holds Ryland, the knitting is Ryland and Southdown and the cups are empty :-)

Happy New Year xx

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Do I stay or do I go ?

This is so difficult, do I carry on with the blog or let it go.

My blogging mojo has been at a low ebb, I have plenty to blog about but the inclination to post it is missing.

Also I'm beginning to wonder how many people still read blogs?

I've reached this point before and always carried on but I do think that a blog has to have regular updates and I've failed rather miserably at that.

So the options are...

1 end it here
2 try and schedule a monthly update or round up.
3 update after each trip, crafting success etc.

I will be giving it some thought and decide on New Years day how I plan to go forward.

I hope you all had a greet Christmas xx

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Travels with my spinning wheel, accross the sea to France.

Sunday morning found us up and about early on but as our ferry wasn't until 8.45 we were pretty much the last van off the ferry pitches on the site ( pitches near the site entrance resrved for people getting early ferries)

First time on the ferry for puffin, first time for us for a few years :-) the ferry was busy so we grabbed a sandwich at the bar and chilled for an hour. We were joined by another traveller who was very familiar with Skye so the journey was passed most enjoyably, exchanging tales of good and bad experiences when traveling.

Our first destination in France was La Coupole, a former V2 launch site which is now a museum. As we arrived early afternoon we had a light meal in the café and asked if it would be possible to park overnight and visit the museum in the morning. They were happy for us to do this, filled our drinking water container and directed us to the overflow car park.

As you can see we were joined by another van. I spent a pleasant afternoon spinning in the sunshine.

We visited the museum the next day, I would suggest that you follow the link above for more details as I find it hard to put into words anything about the destruction caused buy these weapons.

I've posted some photos, I don't think they really need descriptions.


                From the cab of the van you can see the original trackway for the rockets.

We left the museum mid afternoon and headed south, stopping at an old campsite that had seen better days but did deliver bread to your door in the morning.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

travels with my spinning wheel, early days.

We had been talking about taking an extended trip for some time and eventually everything came together. Working for the same company for 40 years entitled me to an extra 4 weeks paid holiday and coincided with our 30 years anniversary of being happily unmarried.

September 1st saw us picking up the van, loading the last few essentials ie jar of marmite, block of cheddar cheese, box of essential cooking spices etc and my spinning wheel. Two ukuleles, heaphones and Bluetooth speakers were added along with the usual knitting requirements.

As this was a Saturday, we had decided to leave around mid morning and head to a campsite about 10 miles from Dover. I must confess that we both like bridges and have crossed some interesting ones when out on the bike but being in the van meant I had my camera ready for a photo of the Dartford crossing.

Yep, I had set up online payment before setting off as well as obtaining the various critical air stickers for the van incase we strayed into the wrong areas at the wrong time in France and Germany however we saw few other vans with these.

By tea time we were camped up and on our way to the local pub for dinner and feeling excited about catching the ferry for the first time in 5/6 years.

We had read about people using Aires in France were you can park overnight with water and waste facilities but we like to have a campsite if possible, it gives us a better sense of security knowing where we are heading to especially on a trip like this. Maybe in the future we will be a bit more adventurist but for now we like the home comforts.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

I'm back!!

Well , to be honest I've actually been back in the uk for a while but really haven't got back into th swing of work etc so the blog went on the back burner.

The last post was early August when we were planning a road trip, getting the van services and fitted with an extra battery and playing with ideas as to where to go.

But first, a quick update on the TDF yarn which I eventually managed to get washed.

Fleeces arrived,

Castlemilk Moorit

Pagan Pride was visited.

Once the van was serviced, we picked it up and took it straight down to Uttoxeter, why Uttoxeter? simple because it was away from home and any distractions.
We stopped at the racecourse campsite and wandered up into the town armed with maps, books and tablets and tried to work out a rough route for the first week or so.

Did I mention that this road trip was going to take four weeks ? We have never had that much time together 24/7 before !!

Saturday, 4 August 2018

keep right on spinning

Post TDF

I still have to wash the yarn, hopefully I'll get chance later today or tomorrow to give the yarn a good soak and hang it out to dry.

oops , lost at yarn chicken this time!

When I 'd finished spinning last weekend I checked my yarn stock only to find that I don't really have much white or very dark grey. So since my wheel was still out I've spun and plied a bobbin of mule ( bfl cross something) and one of dark grey Ryland.

I'm planning on knitting again in the next few weeks so I'm already looking at fairisle patterns for some head bands and a hat or two. Another job will be to track down and sort out my DPNs as well as finding my charts for the hat crowns.

This weekend is also the riverside festival in Nottingham held on the banks of the river Trent and although I usually attend Pagan Pride this weekend I'm really torn this year as there is a band that I would really like to see at the riverside. Both events are free entry and I like the chilled atmosphere of Pagan Pride especially as I usually take my wheel with me. Riverside will be noisy and busy with fairground rides as well as music… tough choice really.

I'm in the process of meal planning for our road trips, more a case of working out what I need to take in the way of seasoning. oils, spices etc plus quick cook rice and pasta sauce pots. The plan is to buy fresh meat and veg as we travel so I really just need the basics that I would use in the kitchen at home. I'm also looking at packing a couple of sachets of Angel Delight and tomato soup...comfort food :-)

Sunday, 29 July 2018

end of the Tour de Fleece

Another year, another TDF grinds to the finish. Three weeks including a Music Festival, Nottingham Pride and a camping weekend.

Just over 500 gram of yarn awaiting a soak... typically today is wet and windy so it will have to wait until we have another warm sunny day.

Empty bobbins and spindle... except for one bobbin that I've just spotted as I type this. Just an ounce or so of brown ryland which  had forgotten about.

The spinning will continue as I need yarn to take on a road trip later this year when there will be plenty of knitting time.

It's been a fun 3 weeks, I've enjoyed seeing all the spinning in the Facebook groups and its given me time to bond a little more with my Louet Victoria.

Next job is to sort out the workroom and start to gather up the camping gear which is still scattered around the house.

Speak Soon xx