Thursday, 10 February 2011

Spot the Difference

I love playing Spot the Difference and here is this weeks competition between the garden last blog and all the work we've been able to do since then. That's right. Big fat none! That's because it's done nothing but rain all week. We're at the point of developing webbed feet here in the North West (no comments please).

So all I'm able to do is tell you what we would have done. I'm following the cutting garden plan in Sarah Raven's Cutting Garden book for a small garden, even though ours is quite big. I've decided to double up the plan and have one half of the area cutting garden and the other half veg. In Sarah's plan she has four sections of flowers with a sweet pea wigwam. I plan to have a mirror image of veg with a pea and bean wigwam in the middle. And a little extra section with be for the dye plants, although some of them, eg marigolds, cosmos and sunflowers will already be in the other areas. It's an excellent, do-able plan in my head.

On the spinning front, I've finished the alpaca yarn and it was good to have a change. I'm really pleased with the colour of it and the way it has plied and I get a real kick out of spinning from an animal that I've seen and heard the name of. And supporting small suppliers, especially as passionate as Skye House are about their animals is a great thing to do.

My next project is a Bluefaced Leicester/Silk mix which I've dyed myself. I don't know about you but while I'm finishing the last skeins of my previous fibres, I'm extremely impatient to start the new one and this pink pile has been winking at me for a little while. Its really good to get back to my all time favourite BFL too. This is the first bobbin in all it's pink glory.

And the alpaca, in the wrong order, but believe me, it's too difficult to start again!

Finally, here is a photo of our dog Brodie, taken by my daughter whose dream it is to be a photographer.  Who says dogs can't laugh?

See you soon x






Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Wellies anyone?

This week I've been preparing knitting kits using handspun wool. I think that some people are a little bit afraid of handspun so I've been putting together small amounts of handspun to go with our flower pattern which is available for free through lazyate on Ravelry or if you would like it, send me a message and I will send it to you for free.

I've also been spinning this beautiful alpaca fibre which after spinning Bluefaced Leicester for so long was so different. The staple is much shorter and I found that if I turned the fibre round in my hand it would spin in a much more even way. Any change of fibre takes a little while to get used to but it's usually worth it.
I'm sure you'll agree that the colour of the fibre is just beautiful, those honey shades are melt in the mouth and it spins up to a very evenly coloured fibre. My alpaca was available from Skye House Alpacas which is run from the wilds of Cumbria. They have a small herd of about 35 of these beautiful gentle and timid creatures and I would definately recommend having a go if you haven't spun alpaca before.

I don't know if the camera has picked up the light blue and green shades here in this skein, look carefully, squint a bit and you can see it. This skein would sell for about £8 which for 100g is a fair price, in case you fancy knitting without the spinning palaver.

Also, this weekend we intend to begin work on our land. This is the state of the area now which we hope will be completely transformed by the summer when we will have a mixture of cutting garden, vegetables and dye plants. As you can see from the top photo, we definatley have our work cut out.

I'm hoping that by posting this picture I will be shamed into getting my wellies on and my fingernails filthy and get something done! I'm hoping to be able to do some dyeing classes, both natural and acid dyeing outside in the field along with lunch on the barge. But there's going to have to be some hard graft up until then. Watch this slightly apprehensive space