This afternoon I was up at the loomshed when I saw the white ram lying against the back yard gate with several chickens in close proximity. They were picking bits of feed out of his coat and he didn't seem to mind at all!
My new labels for Handcranked socks arrived from Vistaprint today, so I thought I'd better get on and knit some more..... This is a really pretty Wildfoote yarn.
And this was me setting it up before joining in the sock wool.
We're clearing up the shed ready to open on 1st April and its turning into a mammoth job.
Yesterday I went on a trip to Uist - one of the southern western isles, if you know what I mean! You know you're somewhere really special as soon as you get off the ferry at Berneray.....
I went to visit Corinna Krause from Sollas Books (www.sollasbooks.com). Corinna is a book-binder who works from a workshop in the little village of Sollas, about twenty minutes from Berneray, and she makes the most beautiful books and papers. I have commissioned some hand-made boxes to present one of my new products in, so I spent an amazing hour or two looking at all sorts of different papers.......
..... finished products........
.... and Corinna at work. Below she is positioning a finished book cover in the press,
after pasting on the cloth and preparing the recess for the inlay. We also bought some lovely concertina notelets with waxed paper covers - available from Taigh Chearsabhaigh and direct from Corinna herself. Its just amazing the talent that is lurking in the various villages and glens of the Western Isles. Take a peek at the Sollas Books website to see what else Corinna does.
In the evening we attended a meeting of the Wool Development Group - set up a while ago to undertake a feasibility study into whether a spinning mill on Uist would be possible. I've had a long term interest in the project because of my problems in getting local Hebridean fleeces spun up so they can be used for Harris Tweed. It was a great upbeat meeting with lots of people attending and the result of the study was positive.
As part of the study a lot of public opinion was sought, and various events organised to publicise the importance of wool and woollen products in the Western Isles today. As part of this, everyone was invited to participate in making some patchwork quilts by constructing a square that related to wool. The results are stunning!
Good news from Suffolk, home of the Gedgrave Wensleydales (see the link on the left). Lambing is nearly over now and they have arrived in both black......
..... and white. And all are mega-cute and cuddly. Can't wait for our little ones to start arriving at the end of the month!
Now for something completely different - but maybe not. Nicky from Hebridean Humpties has sent me a photo of her new Viking Humpty who was on display at a recent golfing exhibition. His hair is made of white Wensleydale dreadlocks, and he is wearing a plaid made of the Scalpay Linen Hebridean Tweed. Isn't he great?
And finally - our first hen of the season to go broody is a ginger naked neck. So we are going to put 8 eggs under her tomorrow and keep our fingers crossed that some will hatch so there will be new chicks for the Singing Weaver and her party when they visit in a months time. Oh yes, nearly forgot. Joanne Kaar - papermaker extraordinaire from Caithness (see link at the side) sent me a mail to let me know that Google street maps are now available for our part of the world. So now the world can see the Scalpay Linen weaving shed! Try this short link to see....
A quick trip to Harris Tweed Hebrides, Shawbost this morning and we returned with the last in our series of Hebridean Linsey-Woolseys. This one has a warp of red and white striped linen (24x 24 herringbone) and the weft of 2 shots of grey and 2 shots of brown Hebridean wool.
This one is just stunning! The bright red has muted down to a dusky plum yet it still has that metallic sheen that comes from.... where?
Here it is close up. I have 40metres of it, single width. Gorgeously soft and beautifully milled by Shawbost Mill as usual.
First order of 3m will get it for 50 GBP plus postage. Usually it retails at 25 GBP per m.
Every year in the springtime, Scalpay Linen has a visit from the Singing Weaver - Nadine Sanders (www.singingweaver.com) who brings a party from the US to take a textiley tour of Scotland. For the past few years we have been included in the tour itinerary (see April/May 2009 blogs) and always enjoy the visit very much. Yesterday I was idly flicking through the diary and all of a sudden realised that it must nearly be time to get out the feather duster and the paintbrush to give the loomshed a bit of a makeover in preparation for the 2010 tour. So I took a look at the itinerary http://www.singingweaver.com/tourbrochure_10.pdf and was delighted to see that our four-horned ram was featured on the front cover. This in turn reminded me that I had not mentioned his safe return from Galson (www.alpacasoflewis.blogspot.com) where he had been enjoying a working Christmas and New Year with some attractive ewes who we hope had similar interests to his own. As you can see below, he did not wear himself to a frazzle, indeed he is every bit as gorgeous as he was when he went away. Wonder what he thought of the alpacas?
Not wishing to be outdone, the white ram wanted his photo taken as well!
An finally, here is our lonely lady turkey, who is looking for a mate. If there is anyone on Lewis, Harris or the Uists who has an equally lonely tom turkey of last years hatching, we would love to give him a home. I'm hoping to be on Uist at the end of next week - so this could be a chance to cheer a turkey up and make a perfect match. She is a black Norfolk, but says she's not fussy.
Weather is showery and the mountains still have snow on them. The daffodils are showing yellow buds though, so spring is on its way.....