Monday, 29 June 2015

From Fleece To Yarn- A Spinning Journey

 Hi guys :D
After my wonderful bargain at Woolfest i thought you might be interested in seeing how it goes from raw fleece to yarn.

Now this is rather a new journey for me. I've spun before, but only with batts
 (ready washed and carded wool)
So, i lay me fleece out, inspect it and sort through it to get rid of any left over poo/debris and sort into smaller batches

I discover a funny looking yellow/orange gunk which is a mixture of lanolin, know as wool wax, it is a naturally occurring grease which waterproofs the wool (wonderful for your hands, it is found in many moisturizers and ointments), and suint (sweat)

I washed the wool in very hot water and detergent. You have to be very careful at this stage as if you agitate the wool too much it will felt! 
I then drain the water and set it out for the next rinse 
I will do this 3 times and then roll it in a towel to get rid of excess water

Then lay out to dry and hope for a sunny day tomorrow!

I'll carry on when it is dried and ready to card :)

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Woolfest 2015- A Feast For The Eyes

Hi guys! What a day we had yesterday at the famous Woolfest!
Oh my goodness, it was fantastic!

It was a pretty rubbish journey on the way.
Don't get me wrong, the views were absolutely stunning! But i'm not the worlds best traveler and spent most of the ride on the mini bus feeling very queasy. 
Up and down miles of hills and valleys is not the easiest way to travel when you've only eaten half a ham sandwich for breakfast (my own fault, i admit, i should have had something more substantial)

Anyway, where was i?
Oh yes. 
The yarn. 
Look at this.
Have you ever seen anything so stunning? 
This is the Technicolour Dreamcoat.
It was woven by community groups and young people in and around Sedburgh. 

So many amazing creations by talented artists

Beautiful creations 
And of course the sheep that make this happen!
Have you ever seen such a fluffy sheep?
These are called Valais Blacknosed Sheep and originally hail all the way from Switzerland!
So many colours! I admit i wanted to dive straight in the middle!
 Beautiful handmade tools, spindles, wheels, looms, the list was endless 
I managed to snap this before mum came and herded him away 

A true feast for the eyes. There were so many talented people, it was nice to be with my own kind!

A stunning baby cardigan made from alpaca fibre

Angora rabbits. Soooo fluffy! 
Recycled and upcycled blankets and clothes by The Woolly Pedlar, i love the way the colours complement each other 
Looking rather bored bless them! 
And of course Alpacas!
Bless them they look so scrawny without their coat!
If you look closely, the way they have been sheared makes them look like they have also been knitted! (In my mind anyway haha) 
Sadly, that is all the photos i got, as about an hour before we went back to mini bus i was jostled and i managed to lose my camera batteries :( 
I did, however, come home with a few bargains.
A drop spindle and carded and washed batting, ready to be spun
I couldn't wait to get going!
And some rather lovely bamboo circular needles from Skybluepink-Designs 

And perhaps my greatest bargain ever!
A full bag (0.4kg) of raw shetland fleece for £1!! 
It came from a Shetland sheep (not my picture) 

It was being sold by a young lad, of around 12-13, and i was wandering around one of the many fleece stalls, minding my own business, happily enjoying the atmosphere when i heard him say to his mum "I think i'm just going to reduce this to £1" my ears pricked up and i think he got quite a shock when my head popped around the corner "did i hear you say £1?"
I'll give him credit, he tried to sell me another bag and would have sold both for £5, but sadly that was all i had left and i wanted to keep my options open in case i saw something else. I felt quite mean, as if i had a little more i would have gladly taken both bags, but alas, i couldn't.
 All it needs now is to be washed and carded then it is ready to spin.
I must find a pair of carders. Anyone want to lend me some to test? I'll send you some of the wool i eventually spin! haha (I can try, right?)
The only thing i'm not sure on is to dye, or not to dye? The actual natural colours are stunning, but i think i would like a nice variegated blue too. On the other hand, i could do both?1 ball natural and one dyed?
I'll ponder on it.

Of course, none of this could have happened if not for the amazing organizers from The Wool Clip.
 It is a Cumbrian co-operative, producing original and creative craftwork using wool and promoting British wool and traditional skills.
I think i can speak for all wool lovers, artists, knitters, crocheters, felters, spinners, dyers, weavers and everyone else when i say thank you! You have made so many people very happy
 (and so many husbands/wives/life partners broke! haha totally worth it!)

Don't forget, i shall be hosting the Whats Cooking? Blog Hop tomorrow, though it may be a little late as we have to go out. If i can figure out how to work it, i'll schedule it tonight :) 

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Yarn Along, Progress and T-minus 3 days to Woolfest!

Hi guys :) 
This week i am finally remembering to join in with the Yarn Along!

So, this is my progress so far!
I gave up on the mock cable thing, it was too complicated to remember to do along with everything else! Maybe next time.
 The bottom part is where i practiced just a knit stitch, then i mastered stockinette stitch and added a new colour. Yay!
 This week i am reading Whispers In The Sand by Barbara Erskine
"Past and present collide in richly mysterious Egypt, where recently divorced Anna Coburn is retracing a journey her great grandmother Louisa made in the 19th century. Cruising down the Nile from Luxor to the Valley of the Kings, Anna carries with her two mementos: an ancient Egyptian scent bottle, and the diary of that original Nile voyage, which has lain unread for a hundred years. As she follows Louisa's footsteps, Anna discovers both the chilling secret of the bottle and the terrifying specters that pursued her great grandmother."

i love this book, i first read it two weeks ago and ended up enjoying it so much that i am reading it again! A fantastic thriller :)

This year  i am also getting to go to Woolfest! Woohoo! Me and the Knit and Nattter group, and a few from the textiles group are going on a mini bus on Saturday! I am so exited! I must remember to take my camera :)

The basil and parsley are doing well and i transplanted the thyme
(at the bottom, looking slightly worse for wear!)

I just couldn't resist snipping a few pieces of parsley to use in dinner later, and to experiment drying a few small pieces in my super duper high tech machine
(an old sock dryer! Bought for the princely sum of 50p!)
It is in the pantry, and my notes say that it needs 2 weeks to dry out, and as this is the first time drying anything in the pantry i wanted to try a small piece to see if it works, as i'm not sure if the pantry will be too cold
Fingers crossed!

Monday, 22 June 2015

What's Cooking? Classic Victoria Sponge (minor disaster!)

Hi guys :) Welcome to this weeks What's Cooking? Blog Hop 
This week i made a  classic Victoria Sponge

What You'll Need:

3 large eggs
Few drops vanilla extract
175g soft butter 
175g caster sugar
175g self raising flour
4tbsp jam
icing sugar to dust

What You'll Do

 Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4
grease two sandwich tins and line with baking parchment

Lightly beat the eggs with the vanilla extract.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the sugr and butter until pale, light and fluffy 
 Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition

Sift the flour over the top and, using a metal spoon, fold in lightly until the mixture is smooth.
Divide he mixture between the prepared tins. Cook for 20 mins until golden and firm to the touch.

Remove cake from oven and sob silently when you realize your pathetic mini oven has burned the cake.
Remove from tin and flip the cake over.
Feign ignorance about the burned side.

Doesn't it look nice and golden? ;)

Add your jam and buttercream to each side 

Carefully flip one side on top of the other 
Dust with icing sugar
Slice and enjoy (you can stop holing your breath now ;)  )

In slightly happier news, i have sown all of my seeds and my windowsill looks like a mini greenhouse!

What's cooking in your house? 
Feel free to leave a recipe :)


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