Sunday, 25 April 2010

Sewing lessons, New Harris Tweed, Wensleydale socks and a Lamb in a wheelbarrow

I am finally learning to sew - hang out the flags! We are very lucky to have help from a Swiss teacher of Home Economics who is taking a ten week sabbatical in Harris and is offering to pass on her sewing/knitting and handcraft skills to anyone who feels like improving their technique or starting from scratch. Martina visited the Scalpay Linen loomshed on Friday - it rained constantly all day but I didn't care about the weather.....

The dog started off as some paper shapes on the paper and ended with a cute little fellow (below) who is loved by all who see him. OK - my input on this occasion was restricted to stuffing his tail and doing some trimming, but the next one will be made by me!

Just coming off the warping mill is my next Harris Tweed. Brown Hebridean as spun by Harris Tweed Hebrides, Shawbost, and some beautiful sunset orange. The warp was another of my "turn over the heck after each section" and fades in and out of each colour without sharp edges.

I spent most of Saturday tying it in and will be starting to weave it next week. Looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

Tracy from Gedgrave Wensleydales has sent some gorgeous yarn for me to try through the Circular Sock Knitter. Haven't got round to it just yet, but here it is waiting to be put onto cones. The colours are natural dyes and the wool is soft and classy. These will be bed socks and are sure to be warm and cosy for the coldest of winter nights.

And finally, here's something you don't see every day. A lamb in a wheelbarrow! Just caught this chap having forty winks in my ornamental barrow outside the loomshed.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Lambs and cloth

We have a new lamb on the bottle! She is very small (just about the same size as Heather, but a quarter of the weight) and has the look of a Hebridean about her. Her mum was a gimmer who had little milk and less interest in her offspring - so her loss is our gain!

Still on a sheepy theme, here is our first lamb - now nearly a fornight old - enjoying a relaxing time in the sun.

My new tweed on the loom is the same pattern as the last three - 12 x 12 herringbone stripes with the colour change in the centre of the stripe, and is a linen warp. But the weft is 2/17 lambswool from Uppingham yarns. I chose the grey and cocoa shades so it would match in with the rest of the set but it will be much softer when its been through the mill.

Yesterday we were at the Shawbost Mill - Harris Tweed Hebrides - and dropped in our Hebridean tweed which we are hoping will meet the specifications for Harris Tweed. The yarn was quite a bit thicker than the usual 13c so I adjusted the shots until I got what I hope is within the acceptable range.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

A Well-timed Easter Surprise...

Remember the eight eggs we put under the little ginger naked neck hen exactly 21 days ago?
Well, guess what! We've got six little chicks hatched out today in time for Easter and one still chipping away inside its shell.

Not my greatest photographic achievement admittedly, but you can see that we have a variety of different colours ranging from brilliant yellow to black. The only egg that didn't hatch was a very big one we think came from a Buff Orpington.

Happy Easter to all.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Full House!

Like buses, you're waiting for one and two come along together! Now we have two black lambs born a few hours apart.

Though this one below doesn't appear to have a head - but neither does its mother. Oooerr...

The weather has been sleety and cold - not as bad as in many parts of Scotland, but unfortunately bad enough for us to lose two lambs through hyperthermia. This is the price we pay for lambing outdoors, but it also keeps the island sheep tough and hardy.
Another sad piece of news - our big old Swaledale ram (Picture of him on blog dated Thursday December 18th 2008) died suddenly this afternoon. He was over six years old and did well for us. Our first lamb this year was one of his. We bought him a couple of years ago from the Auction Mart in Stornoway and, if we hadn't bought him, he would have ended up in a tin of dog food. He was a great character, if a little on the agressive side (he was the one who held me hostage in the byre at the end of last year!).
On a brighter note, yesterday was the first day of the season for Scalpay Linen and we had a visitor in, which was very pleasing. We've still got a lot of cleaning up to do but the shelves are filled, there is a linsey-woolsey taking shape on the warping mill and its all looking good.
Opening hours are Monday to Saturday 2-5pm until the end of September. So if you're passing, do drop in.