Tuesday, 10 December 2013

It Was A Disarster Darling

With getting ready to move house I was behind before we'd started today.  I was supposed to clean my new loom up so that we could get started first thing.  But the loom had stayed in the shed for the week while I'd packed and in the couple of hours free at night I'd spun yarn in preparation for all the weaving I was going to be doing.

    Extremely dirty loom in need of love and affection

The loom was so filthy.  Heather and I rubbed it down with wire wool, we wiped it over with a damp cloth (Heather did more work that I did). I really don't know where the time went but we seemed to be at it for hours.  

We decided to use up some cheap acrylic yarn first in our weaving just to make sure that we didn't dirty our precious handspun.  Heather showed me how to use the warping board. I'm so embarrassed to say that I couldn't wrap the wool under and over and count at the same time! I felt like such an imbecile.  Finally, it did click, and to be honest it shouldn't be difficult for anyone, I don't know why I couldn't do it.

     Threads (all 112 of them) on the warping board

So we knotted the thing to within an inch of its life, place it on the loom and immediately the threads all stuck together and tangled up.  The yarn (which an old friend had kindly given me for free) was useless, all messed up and knotted.  We gave up.  We were tired dejected and the enthusiasm from the morning had disappeared,  so we all went home.

No image of loom tangled, threads cut and put into bin. 

Lesson learned - check the yarn for your warp thread before you start.  I can feel all you weavers shaking your heads and pursing your lips in my direction.  I can even hear a tut or two.  But I plan to make every mistake there is to make, I might even do them twice. 

I will go back and have another go, but just at the moment, I'm not speaking to it.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Eclectic Dye Day

Yesterday was the trial run of our dyeing day and it went better than I'd imagined in my dreams when people were horribly burnt and everything felted.

We started off with coffee and cake so priorities were maintained.  This cake - which needs no words.

We began with acid dyes, everyone chose their colours, we soaked yarn and fibre and then we painted.  Some chose delicate shades, others were bold but we were all pleased with what turned out. It's interesting how spinners, knitters and weavers will paint their yarn, or fibre with their chosen project in mind.  


Here Heather shows her two skeins, Heather was dyeing with a view to weaving her yarn.

We then dyed using natural dyes, mordanted with copper and alum.  I don't like copper but I had some from a sample kit so we had a go.  I preferred the yarn mordanted with the alum, the shades are delicate and beautiful, I've stolen these images from Jennie (thanks)

The day was busy but productive, we've got ideas for the next workshop and we're hugely excited.  So you ladies who said they're coming at the beginning of Feb, get your creative juices flowing, we're ready for you!

Thanks to Heather, Jennie, Tamzin and Ginny for their images!

Monday, 2 December 2013

Moving House again.......

I'm so pleased to be able to report that I'm moving house again since it is one of my favourite things to do..... (Jeremy Paxman voice) ..' In the world'.

Here is a photo from the last time we moved, almost a year to the day.  This was half an hour in, stolen from my daughter's Instagram page. Poor Ginny, no-one should make their mother look like this.

So I've begun by hitting the chocolate, followed by the dregs from the alcohol cupboard in an attempt to keep my chin up.  This may result in my new Blog Regularly mindset to be slightly knocked off course, but I will try!

So tomorrow we are back weaving at Wickerwool. My new loom will arrive and hopefully Heather will be able to set me off.  I've been spinning crazily all weekend, I stole some of my own fibre - the Pollyanna dyelot and have spun as thinly as I could because I'd like a delicately woven scarf.

As I've said previously, I'm a complete novice so I'll be interested to see how Heather uses it.  The single looks like this which is slightly affected by the kitchen lighting but you get the effect.

I'm waiting for Spin to Weave by Sara Lamb to arrive so I can check what I'm doing is right but hopefully tomorrow I'll be making my own tentative steps as a weaver.

We're also dyeing tomorrow for our own yarn to weave, it's an open invitation, pay for your materials but come and share your knowledge for a donation of £3 (for scones and cake). We're there from 10am

Cedar Farm Galleries
Back Lane
L40 3SY

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Warping and Weaving

I was back at Wickerwool at Cedar Farm today, our loom collection has now grown to four with the addition of a table loom courtesy of Jackie from The Cedar Beaders who is unable to weave any longer due to arthritis.  It's so sad when that happens, but we will certainly use her loom to the full!!

Heather was able to show Ginny how to thread up the loom and begin weaving.  We started by using the Inkle loom as a warping board to get started, I was in and out of the room (I had forgotten wool and had to nip home)

Heather took Ginny slowly through the stages up to which she was able to start weaving.  For a more detailed explanation of what happened ( I have to be honest, at the moment it's all a blur for me as beginner), follow this link to Heathers blog http://tinywoodlandfibres.blogspot.co.uk

Heather is so talented with her weaving, she explains things clearly and I'm sure we'll be creating amazing scarves soon! This is my plan anyway, possibly in the style of this time next year we'll be millionaires.

In the meantime, I'm going to spin some singles to use on Jackie's loom. It has plastic Heddles so it will be great for handspun. This book by Sara Lamb is amazing and I will be ordering it ASAP, it has all the info needed to get going if you plan to weave your handspun yarn. The colours in her scarves are amazing and certainly gave me ideas and inspiration for our dyeing day next Tuesday.  

We'll be starting at 10am and trying different methods of dyeing and talking colour theory too. We're at Cedar Farm, if you fancy coming along, please get in touch so we can prepare.  We'll also have the looms and spinning wheels there too.  

You can contact me on cathy.lazykate@gmail.com

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Pendle Stitches

We (Ginny and me) were at Pendle Stitches in Clitheroe for a workshop yesterday. Clitheroe, if you've never been is a beautiful market town in the hills of Lancashire and well worth a visit.

We met Emma, Liz and Lucy who worked their socks off and each achieved an impressive skein of yarn.  It's not easy to learn to spin, especially if you've never been near a wheel before but there certainly was determination in the room!

As well as yarn, books and worshops, Pendle Stitches also teaches how to shabby chic vintage furniture and how those tins of paint came in useful as our wheels moved across the carpet. Even though they were supposed to be Traditionals, not Travellers. Hahahahaha. (Almost Bruce Forsythe standard joke there!)

I'm sure the ladies went home and had a well deserved glass of wine, it was lovely meeting them, I hope they continue with their spinning, - they'd better!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

An Introduction to Weaving at Cedar Farm

We bought a loom! Ginny and I bought one from Lancs and Lakes Guild of the Spinners, Weavers & Dyers who were selling a couple and we thought why not?  So, it has sat for a little while with no-one to love it until now.

We went to Wickerwool at Cedar Farm to meet Heather and her Ashford Rigid Heddle loom.  As complete novices we have absolutely no idea what it was all about - I imagine that will become clear from the rest of the post.

So firstly we took all the little bits n bobs out of the bag, which turned out to be 300 heddles.  Heather showed us how to attach them to the frame (don't know if that has a name

So what we realise we need now is a warping frame.  Man, are they pricey! So before we jump in and commit ourselves to the £100 layout, we may be searching for a way to do it ourselves - quite a statement considering, well, we don't really know what we're doing.

Just that little introduction has wetted our appetite for wanting to know more - we're so excited about using handspun yarn to create a scarf. You can follow Heather's blog of her spinning and weaving here at http://tinywoodlandfibres.blogspot.co.uk

So, if you've ever wanted to see what's involved with weaving, if you're inquisitive and want to have a mosey or it's something you've always wanted to do, come to Cedar Farm in Mawdesley every Tuesday and we'll be there with our looms, we really want to meet people in our local area who want to get together and weave, spin or knit. Please feel welcome to join us.

We finished the afternoon having a go on Heathers Schacht Loom, which was so sparkly and new, we were scared to touch it.

For the weekend, I' making a workshop at Pendle Stitches in Clitheroe. I love Clitheroe and don't need much of an excuse to trek over there. Please pop in and say hi if you're a Pendle Stitch regular.

Pendle Stiches
10 Moor Lane 

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Latest Workshops

Workshops are keeping me busy at the moment and they really are my favourite thing.  When someone comes along to spin and loves it, it's the biggest buzz going.  So, last Saturday at Knit Wise in Ormskirk, I met Marion Diane and Julie and we spun together for the day.

Marion and Diane had both used a drop spindle before and that is always a bonus because it introduces you to the drafting process, so they had a little bit of a head start.

Julie had brought along her own wheel, an Ahford Traveller which is quite a quick wheel for a beginner but she did so well and by the end of the day had mastered it enough to produce a beautiful skein of yarn.

It's one of the things that I try and let people know when they come to spin, that they will learn at different rates,  it's easy to say but hard to convey, especially if you're the one who doesn't seem to pick it up as quickly as others but there can be many different factors that will affect your ability to learn. And some of those maybe out of your control.

So, if you learn on say, a Traveller, it will be a faster wheel and may take you a little while to master it,  but a Traveller is a wonderful wheel, so stick with it. We need to learn not to be so hard on ourselves, we expect so much!

All the ladies were wonderful, I'm sure they'll continue with their spinning and hopefully stay in touch, I have a feeling we'll stay friends and there isn't a greater reward than that.

If you're interested in Spinning Workshops, take a look at my facebook page for all the events that are going on in the near future.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Torn ligaments = blog update!!

Well oh my word I haven't posted anything for simply AGES, you know, sometimes I have things to say and sometimes not.  Then summer holidays get in the way and you start to lose yourself in order to entertain your children.


Baby rabbit in garden, what could possibly go wrong?
So, it took a small rabbit, a maniac dog and torn ligaments to get me to sit still and catch up. I've spent the last day or so walking with a stick and wondering how come I turned into my nan so soon.

Coming up over the next fortnight, which is filling me with panic/excitement is Yarndale.  I'll be sharing my table with the wonderful Nic from Feltipedia, my very talented friend and we'd love you to come up and say hello so we can meet people with a passion for textiles like ours.

I'll have my wheel so if anyone wants to have a spin they're very welcome and both Nic and I will be offering our workshops so please do say hi.

I will try and blog more often, but seeing as I'm crocked I'll probably be back tomorrow!

Sunday, 9 June 2013

International Knit in Public Day

We enjoyed Knit in Public Day yesterday at Cedar Farm, Mawdesley, Lancashire.  The day was incredibly hot so the knitters were truly hardcore.  I was joined by Stacey who came to spin and we moved around throughout the day depending on where the heat was perfect.

We joined Tamzin and Ruth to knit sections of a scarf which was raffled off at the end of the day, the money going towards two charities, Queenscourt Hospice and SKCV (Street Kids Community Village, India)

Stacey with the first of her three skeins

It was a wonderful good natured day with all, from young to old(er) joining in.  Knitters are good natured people and I enjoyed my day with Stacey who is a knitter but who came to spin (and was a natural).

Today, (Sunday) I headed over to Burscough Wharf where Colin and Carole Wareing from The Wool Boat were hosting an event.  The weather was stunning yet again and as only mad dogs and knitters would go out in the noon day sun, well, here were some of Lancashire's best.

The Wool Boat are now stocking some of my yarn and fibres, so if you see them on the Leeds Liverpool canal, be sure to pop in and say hello to them.  They post regularly on ravelry or facebook where they'll be, click on the link to like their page.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Over the past few years, we've moved house quite a bit.   We lived here for a while

and then we lived here

and now we in Parbold.  We love it here.  It's in the secret beautiful countryside of Lancashire, halfway up Parbold Hill, it's gorgeous.

The main difference with regards to spinning is that this house has a halogen cooker.  It's thrown me a little, I can tell you because the way it heats the fibre is so different from anything I've been used to.  And because of that, I have slightly felted quite a bit of merino fibre, I can tell you.

The upside of this is that I'm keeping it for myself to spin, which as I've said on many a blog, I really want to do with all the fibre I spin because a) I love it and b) I want to spin all the fibre I dye.

So this little lot I chose to keep for myself and spin which I was at the Medeival Fair in Ormskirk last week.  I spun it thinly so I didn't have to think too much about wpi and if any children came along they could have a go at treadling the wheel and I could spin without too much worry.

I inteneded to keep it for myself in any case and so I've kept it as a single for experimenting.  I'm really looking forward to finding a project that will suit it, any suggestions would be gratefully recieved.

I think I've mastered the old cooker now, but until I completely do, I'll be keeping all merino fibre to myself!

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Pendle Stitches Workshop

Saturday was spent in Clitheroe at Pendle Stitches, with Lyn and Ginny, spinning for the whole day - bliss!

The sun was shining, which, lets face it, we all needed a bit of. So, people were happy and the shop had light streaming in which made it a joy to work in.

Pendle Stitches is the area distributor for Ashford Spinning Wheels and so you can get everything you would need for your spinning.  There are fibres, natural and hand dyed, Niddy Noddies, Lazykates and all of Ashford's wheels.  It's really worth a visit if you're considering buying a wheel because Liz is happy to let you try.

Lyn returned for her second time and brought along felted faces that she makes with her students, she's an art and textiles teacher.

They're so quirky and funny and each face, because it distorts while being needle felted takes on a personality of it's own.  Lyn was snapped up then and there to do workshops later on in the year and I'd love to have a go too.

Lyn appeared on my last blog post with her skein, which was her first.  Her second skein was a huge improvement (aren't all of our second skeins that way?). 

It's really worthwhile having a second day spinning, not long after the first, to prove to yourself that you can do it, and see the improvement that you make.

I'll be back at Pendle Stitches next month, 15th June and it would be lovely to meet anyone that would like to come along and have a spin.

Pendle Stitches
Moor Lane

Monday, 20 May 2013

Spinning Worshops in Lancashire

One of my favourite things is teaching people how to spin, passing on a passion of my to someone else and watching them run with it.

On Saturday I got to meet a lovely lady, Lesley who was so enthusiastic and keen to spin that I knew she would just love it.

We had a fantastic day, I think I enjoyed it more than Lesley did.  One of the things Lesley said was that she'd looked for a while to find a spinning teacher in the North West, which is such a shame because there are plenty of spinners in this area, we just need to shout a bit louder.  So, if you hear of anyone wanting to learn, I have workshops at Knit-Wise in Ormskirk, a shop where you can knit, quilt, make felt and every other craft inbetween.

I'm also at Pendle Stitches, Moor Lane in Clitheroe.  Liz is the area representative for Ashford, so there's a great opportunity to spin and try out different wheels before you choose which is the right one for you.

Pendle Stitches have just expanded into the next door shop, so it's airy and bright and a wonderful place to learn.

I also teach at Knitting Heaven in Leyland, a little treasure trove of yarn with Linda at the helm, it's a happy place to learn.  There's plenty of coffee to help you concentrate and loads of yarn to inspire you.

And last but by no means least,  I teach at Wickerwool at Cedar Farm in Mawdesley.  Cedar Farm is inspirational, if you've never been, it's a must if you're creative in any way.  Wickerwool is located in the Pig Barn and is run by Ruth and Tamsin, artists who have changed a section of their studio into a wool shop.

I'll be taking part in Knit in Public day at Cedar Farm, so if you fancy knitting, or spinning, or crochet for that matter, come along to Mawdesley, Lancashire and join in the fun. I promise you, you won't be disappointed.

If you've ever thought you'd like to learn to spin, please get in touch, it's a wonderful craft and we'll get to share a passion and keep the crafts alive.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Honey Fibre

I've spoken many times on the love I have for colour and how the dyeing process never ceases to amaze me.  I know that this passion is not unique  to me, take a look at ravelry at the dyers there and there is passion with a capital P in bucketloads!

In our winter black, it's wonderful to have bright splashes of colour to cheer up the dull days and lets face it, there have been many, many gloomy days that desperately needed a bright pick me up over winter.

So, now that the spring is starting to edge it's little nose carefully out of hiding, I've decided to dye something a little more delicate, something that is a contented smile rather than a big old shout.

Inspired by the singular bee I found in my kitchen, I thought of the difficult time the bees are having, my parent's well cared for hives didn't make it through this winter, and I picked on honey shades

As usual, I do want to spin these myself, but they're on my website instead and I'll be dyeing more over the next few days.


Please let spring stay.