Monday, 30 August 2021

A very quick crafty update.

 As we have had a few days of reasonable weather, I washed the skeins of Ryeland and Texel together with the latest mitts. The pattern works well with the slightly thicker rustic yarns.

The brown mitts (shetland) do not have the same feel even though the thickness is very similar.

The others are a mix of ryeland, portland, black welsh mountain, all fleeces that I really like to spin. The two skeins washed up beautifully.

I currently have an oddment box, leftovers from knitting hats, skeins with knots in etc  that I am knitting up as more mitts. This box will probably go on the next road trip to give me some evening knitting.

On the stitching front, I've been working on the two red pieces, the French one has another motif or so in it.

And I've made a little more progress on the Friends and Family Quaker SAL 2020 (didn't start it until end of June 2021)

I will admit to looking for my next project and may have found it.

I think that this may be a serious challenge !! I bought the DVD of the complete magazine collection with some birthday money and this one really appeals. The picture is of the original from 1816 and it has been re-charted  but I just love the motifs. Its big and it may be next year before I get round to finding the fabric and treads but it is very much on my wish list.

Wednesday, 25 August 2021

Highlander sheep part three

 pre-wash Highlander

So, not my most even spinning but its good enough :-) spun beautifully, nice shine, soft, feels like a woolly Romney haha.

I'm going give this a wash, soak, ball it up and knit a small sample. This fleece is probably going to be used in my hats over winter.

After washing, I hope you can see the shine :-) the background yarn is Ryeland spun at a coffee house last week.

Will I wash and prep the whole fleece? definitely !

I hope these few posts have been interesting to spinners, I split it into three as it would have been a bit too long as a single post. For non spinners, there is another travel post coming up along with a bit of knitting and some cross stitch xx

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Highlander sheep part two


you can find part one here

Once dry I gave the fleece a final quick pick over and started loading it onto the combs, lock by lock to keep the fibres running in the same direction.

like Romney, these locks are a good 7inch plus in length and I could have done with finding my mister as static was a little problem.

These nests are around 5gm each and I've settled on a test spin, two ply, around 30 gm.

As you can see, I sit sideways on to my e spinner and draft across in front of me.

Back with part three tomorrow x

Back to the fluff ... Highlander sheep fleece part one

 Remember I mentioned a new breed/cross fleece from highlander sheep?

Well, I opened my front door just before we went away to find a box sitting in the doorway, a big box which has been residing in the kitchen waiting for me to return.

It weighs over 3 kilos and I suspect that it contains the promised fleece, I will open it properly tomorrow and investigate ( as long as its not raining )

I found some breeding info here but I haven't found anything that relates to the fleece yet.


the box was opened and I  found a lovely letter from Val explaining that she knows the farmer and the shearer and is a spinner herself. She wants to educate other spinners about this breed as she was so delighted with it.

First impressions are good, Romney like lustre and fairly fine. I emptied it out of the bag and tried to unroll it but the fleece is so open that it drifted apart very quickly.

Well skirted, clean, very little veg matter. Val had enclosed a sample of washed and spun fibre which gave some indication of what to expect.

I have two bags soaking in hot water, very sudsy as even though there is not much detergent I made the mistake of putting it in before the water... bubbles everywhere again :-)

Once the fleece is dry. I will comb, spin and spin a sample so look out for part two in the next couple of days xx

Sunday, 22 August 2021

warning.. Almost non crafty blog post


We managed to get back out in the van this weekend and headed off to Ferry Meadows campsite next to Nene Park near Peterborough. We have used this site a few times, a couple of Christmas visits and a couple of pre holiday van checks. This time it was a pre holiday/post service check to make sure that everything has gone back into the van and in the right hidey hole or cupboard. Most things were ok except that we didn't realise that the dealer had left the water tank full ( usually they drain it down after doing checks ) so by the time we had added out customary weekend amount it was almost over flowing !! At least we now know that the gauge works.

As for forgetting things, human error came into play as Ian forgot his book ( that he's desperate to finish) and I forgot the rice so we ended up with bacon and veg baguettes on Saturday night rather than the bacon risotto dish that I had planned.

Friday afternoon I sat spinning and managed to spin and ply 120gm of Texel, not a bad afternoons work.

The nest day we headed off to the park, Ian on his bike and myself on foot.

I was too early to catch the small train but did catch a glimpse later.

you just have to love a train timetable that reads.. trips every 10 min from 11 am until it starts to rain !

Apparently I was spotted walking into the bushes, in my defense, I was taking photos of pretty things.

and the wildlife, in the swans case very wild as she was letting everyone know that they were her cygnets

A very different species of swan was also spotted on the lake.

The soundtrack for the weekend came from two other engines making their way up and down the track at the back of our van, we couldn't see them but could definitely hear them.

The steam locomotive is Bahamas, built in 1934 and on loan to the Nene Valley railway from its usual base on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway. The second is a Class 14 Diesel, 1212 Swedish Railcar which is really quite pretty for a diesel.

Sadly we had to come home today but at least Ian had some company whilst draining off the full tank of water. 

And I did get some knitting in whilst enjoying a cuppa at the station.

Tuesday, 17 August 2021

Life is quiet and peaceful

I'm in a bit of a lull at the moment, no road trips recently although we have some planned. I'm keeping busy doing routine jobs around the house and slowly beginning to destash unwanted items.

I'm slowly working through the fleece stash, ditched some oddments, prepped even more.

 This must be the dustiest fleece of the year, Isla of Skye black cheviot. Shook it well before washing and this is the fall out from just transferring into a pillowslip. I spun a couple of skeins last month and I'm so glad that I have lino on the floor, almost like a layer of coal dust once I'd combed it :-)

I've ordered just one more fleece, a bit of a curiosity buy. Breed named highlander and I must admit the name and the description of the fleece as being soft, shinny and heavily based on romney had me curious. Apparently the average fleece is 4/5 kilo so one fleece would give me plenty of dyeing opportunity. I will photo etc when it arrives.

After four years of having my old computer sat in my workroom taking up space. I took the side off, had a ferret around inside and removed the hard drive. The rest of it is now in the tip run pile.

Yesterday (Monday) turned into a shopping day as I needed to pop into the asian supermarket near town and Aldi for bits and pieces to take away in the van. One of the reasons ( one of many) for getting the van was to overcome the problem of having to eat out most of the time when travelling and staying in hotels. I generally cook all our meals in the van through choice so always have a small supply of noodles, sauces, pasta and rice along with part baked bread packed when we are on the move. This means that when we spot a market we just have to buy the fresh ingredients.

Also I am slowly getting addicted to chai and the supermarket sells several different ones in sachets so perfect for travelling. My favorite so far is ginger chai.

Since I was already in town, I wandered down to St Marys Church in the Lacemarket area. I had heard about a memorial to Heroes with Grimy Faces and wanted to check it out.

I also noticed that the church was open so I had a look inside, first though, I love doors with interesting hinges etc.

and interesting carvings.

The inside is beautiful, I always find churches interesting architecturally and aesthetically rather than for any religious reason.

and from the outside 

My red stitching is coming along nicely, especially the French pattern that I am working on. I'm not quite halfway but very nearly.

I'm trying to resist the urge to start another until I've finished at least one of the two redwork pieces! Although, having watched a few floss tube vids recently, it seems that having 20 plus projects is about normal with some folks even having 100 plus on the go. I have two that I'm really stitching on, one that may go in the bin, a couple in deep hibernation and one finished that needs to be made into another small pillow.

I have plans to stitch a band sampler using the patterns from my Bristol sampler at some point but I will need to work out the placement of everything.

speak soon xx

Monday, 9 August 2021

a sort of a nothing week.

 No trips out except to the shops.

No exciting weather just sunshine and showers.

No stitching progress.

It's really been a a bit of a non week, the highlight being moving all the stuff back into the van. Just taking out that crate of stuff has made the cupboards emptier all round.

                                             TDF spinning washed, labelled ready to use/sell.

I have been knitting though, four pairs of fingerless mitts knitted from yarn oddments and the skeins that have knots in the, I'm really quite picky about which skeins get sold.

No set plans for this week at the moment, if the weather improves I will have fleece to wash as I'm making good progress processing the clean fleece stash in the work room. We have a two week break coming up so I'm hoping that I have enough fibre to spin whilst away also crossing fingers for dry windy days as we have a couple of kites in the van that haven't been flown since we put them in there, nearly four years ago !

Take care, speak soon x