Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Good Grief! Is it that long since I posted on the blog?? What have I been doing?

Well, actually, we've had the builder in and things have been a bit hectic and not much has been achieved apart from a successful start to our Weekly Knitters' Club in Tarbert, helping to organise a good Flea Market last Saturday also in Tarbert, and starting knitting up a little jacket in zig zag pattern from some of Joan Calanacrafts gorgeous Uruguayan yarn which she took to the club and which I couldn't resist.

My camera is still malfunctioning, so today I thought I would post a picture of one of my favourite animals - the Alaskan Musk-Ox. For those in the know, the fibre that comes from these beautiful beasts is called "qiviut" pron. kee-vee-ute, and is amongst the finest fibres known to mankind. It is so warm because the muskoxen sometimes have to survive temperatures as low as minus 50 degrees.
The University of Alaska, Fairbanks has a research herd and sell the fibre - proceeds go towards the maintenance of the herd and the research.
The fibre is incredibly expensive (£100 for 8 ounces) but it is so warm it can be spun incredibly thin and goes a very long way. A pair of qiviut socks or gloves mades a wonderful gift for someone who is elderly or has problems keeping warm.
This picture is of one of the new mums with her twins earlier on in the year.......

For more info on the musk-oxen go to

Monday, 9 February 2009

See what the wind blew in......

A couple of days ago, we were out on the croft when we spotted something red under a rock. It turned out to be a partially inflated balloon originating from Demiro's Mediterranean Restaurant, Cardigan Bay. We rescued the balloon which managed to deflate more before I took the photo, and e-mailed the restaurant in question who were very surprised to hear where it had ended up! We have an invite to join them for champagne next time we are passing Cardiff Bay. As we've had constant southerly winds for a couple of weeks now and I guess the balloon escaped and floated up here. If only it could speak, I bet it could tell an exciting story of its travels.

Around about the same time, my husband came in with a yellow plastic tag he had found on the shore. This had belonged to a lobster that was taking part in a research project but sadly the lobster was no longer attached. On one side of the tag was written "DFO LOBSTER NL" and the other had the serial number as per the photo. When we looked on the internet at lobster research programmes, we found that NL showed it originated in Newfoundland! I have e-mailed the DFO in Canada and they are trying to find out more details for us.

So all in all its been a week of interesting things finding us instead of the other way round. But it is so good to think that we are all networked together not only be the internet, but by the winds, and oceans etc. Food for thought.......

On the knitting, weaving, spinning front, things have been a bit slow as we have the builders working at home and the loomshed is really cold, what with the frosty weather etc., so I have designed and knitted a jolly little shrug-type garment out of my handspun Carloway Tweedy yarn, and with a handspun white Wensleydale border crocheted round the edge and armholes. It's in the final stages of being partially felted just now - so pictures tomorrow. Have started another one already for the Etsy shop as the one I have fits beautifully and is incredibly warm.

The SassyGael knitting evenings get going this Thursday evening at Tarbert Community Centre, Isle of Harris between 7 and 9 pm. This week Joan from Calanacrafts has a prior engagement so I shall be holding the fort. A great place to come to knit, crochet, sew, or do whatever handcraft that floats your boat - and all for £3.00 per person including a cup of tea and biccie. Beginners and experts in all fields welcome.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

New Lambs in Suffolk and connections with the outside world....

Gedgrave Wensleydales ( have their first lamb of the season. A wee boy who has been named "Jachin". I had the pleasure of spinning his mum, "Maizie"'s, fleece earlier on in the year. Isn't he just the bees knees? Makes me go all soft and marshmallowy inside. Our first lamb is expected on 25th March, so we still have a while to go yet.

So Congratulations to Tracey - and good luck with the rest of the lambs.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

1st February - Great Day to start the month

Today the weather is wonderful. Sky is dark blue with almost no cloud. Earlier we took the dogs for a walk on the moor to enjoy the day. The temperature had just hit freezing and the puddles were covered with a thin skin of ice in beautiful cobweb patterns. Couldn't resist taking a few photos out there......

Little dog Heather made a pretty picture against the skyline running over the ling heather. This part of the moor was burned about two years ago and the heather cover is only about four inches long. This is best for the sheep to graze on as there are plenty of shoots coming through and because it is so short, any holes in the moor where the peat underneath has worn away are visible so the sheep can safely graze. If the cold dry winds continue I have my fingers crossed that we can continue with the "falaisgean" (heather burns) and get some good photos.

Then we came across one of our peat stacks - after we had cut and dried the peats in May last year, we stacked them up and put turf over them to keep them safe from the weather until we needed them. Just to check the condition of the peats, we removed one or two of the turves and had a look.......

Beautiful and dry. Hard and black. These peats will burn like coal when the time comes. The forecast is giving news of snow and cold winds next week, so maybe we will be glad of extra peats for the stove.
At the end of the track we found an old electricity transformer that had stopped working during the last series of power cuts we had a couple of weeks ago. The power company had to bring a helicopter to lift this transformer from its position on a light pole near to Eilean Glas lighthouse which does not have vehicle access. Here's a picture of a light pole with a similar transformer attached to it: