Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Ladies in Waiting - Daisy and her pal

The other day, we were at the end of the croft checking if any of the stock which wasn't on the summer grazings needed shearing when we saw Daisy the cross Cheviot and her pal.  Thoughts of how well they were looking and how plump soon gave well to astonishment when we realised that they were both in lamb!  Don't know who the daddy is, don't know when the lambs are due but we're waiting daily for the patter of tiny hooves again!

Incidentally - you can see our tree on the top right of the photo.  It's a Rowan and is old and gnarled and about six foot tall.  But it's a tree, and as such is a highly treasured asset of the croft.

Last weekend saw a lot of yachting activity in the North Harbour - here's a picture of three of them at anchor enjoying a peaceful stopover.  One crew even managed up to the Outend to visit the loomshed.

And finally another croft scene - we have a glacial valley across the croft with steep cliffs that the sheep can't get to and so there is a variety of plant life flourishing there.  Here is a patch of honeysuckle.  Tonight the perfume from it was totally glorious - the air was warm and still (yet surprisingly the midgies were not out) and you could smell it from twenty metres away.  We didn't want to come indoors tonight - a perfect summer evening, definitely a memory to tuck away and enjoy again in the depths of next winter.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Land of the Midnight Sun? Not quite...

This was the view from my loomshed window at exactly midnight last night just as the pips were on the radio!   Now we know that it wasn't midsummer night, but it was such a lovely sky - the wisps of dark cloud at the top of the photo remind me so much of Hebridean wool when it comes off the carder...

Anyway, talking about Hebridean sheep - which as you know is one of my favourite subjects - they are being sheared one by one as their fleeces start to loosen.


So this is the start of next year's Handspun Hebridean Harris Tweed (H3T).  The more fleeces the merrier, so anyone in the Outer Hebrides who might be reading this and have some good dark brown Heb fleeces, please contact me and I'll collect.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Hebridean Harris Tweed - Finally launched

     Publication of "Events Monthly" saw the launch of our new Hebridean Harris Tweed.  I'm busy warping up the next one just now.  It's taken such a long time to this stage that I can still hardly believe it.  Anyway, next stage is to finish the yarn spun by Shawbost and then collect up this year's fleeces (at the moment most of them are still walking around). The next edition of HHT will bear the "Handspun" stamp as Natural Fibres Ltd in Launceston, Cornwall have said they will supply pre-spun that I can finish off myself and this will fit in with the Harris Tweed Authority rulebook.  Meantime, the little dogs in the picture have gone to those folks who have been so helpful in the project - still one or two to distribute.  And many, many thanks to Martina who gave such a lot of her time in making the little dogs for me, and made such a fantastic job of them.
  If you double-click on the picture below, a larger version opens. To get back to the blog, just click on the left facing arrow in a blue circle at the top left of the screen.

Yesterday we went up to Morvern Gallery at Barvas, Lewis, to pick up our felted HHT wrap and hand-made box, also to see Joanne Kaar's excellent exhibition of hand-made paper (much of which has a Scalpay Linen content!).  First time we had been to the gallery, though not quite sure why since it's been around for quite a while.  The cafe is wonderful - really yummy cakes and great coffee. 
On Monday they are taking delivery of a really upmarket and exclusive coffee machine (the Synesso) and to feature the event they are extending an open invitation to the world to visit the Gallery and partake of a complimentary coffee made by the 2007 World Barista Champion, James Hoffman.  But you have to be a bit quick since the event lasts between 10.30 am and 1pm.  As mentioned there is no charge, but a coin box will be there collecting contributions for "Coffee Kids".  So if you're in the area, why not make a day of it up north -  Breanish Tweed, Hebridean Soap Company, Rarebird Studio, Angela Gillespie, Borgh Pottery and many more visitor attractions are all within a stones throw.  The "Inn Between" provides great lunches too.
Grab a free copy of "Events Monthly" for a fabulous 72 page wallow in what's going on in Harris and Lewis for the next month, and have a great time!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

New Arrivals and World Cup Fever hits Croft 37!

A bit of a surprise today when we went to feed the poultry.  Four little ducklings had hatched from a batch of eggs that were being incubated in a, frankly, part-time way by one of the party girl Buff Orpingtons.  How she will cope to the full-time demands of a brood of ducklings - well, only time will tell!  Poor Pippin nearly lost the end of his nose when he poked it in the pop-hole to see what was making the noise.

Today we are really getting in the mood for the World Cup.  We don't care who wins, but there is a fair amount of training going on here in case any of the teams needs a last-minute substitute!

  Bramble isn't really a team player - she likes to run away with the ball and play on her own.  Could be a useful technique for whileing away the last few minutes of a match?
Heather is great on the tackle and her speciality is tripping up the other team.  She can indulge in intimidating behaviour so could be yellow-carded for that.  Pippin is fast and good natured.  A good all-rounder who can be relied upon to keep the team together at all times!

Monday, 7 June 2010

Hebridean Harris Tweed - Out on its own at last! - and buyers beware.....

A busy weekend!  Heard there was a display of Harris Tweed items at the Morvern Gallery, Barvas during the coming week so decided to create something using my new Sollas Bookbinding Box which Corinna made for me a while ago.  It's a gorgeous organic colour - Corinna created the paper especially for me and it was exactly what I wanted.

Then I took a length of Hebridean Harris Tweed and fringed each end to make a wrap or shawl.  Then I hurried down the road to our local felter for advice on how to decorate the new shawl.  She came up with a big box of different colours of wool and silk fibres and I picked some that would co-ordinate with the box colours.

After an inordinate period of time spent hunched over a foam pad wielding several felting needles I finally achieved a satisfactory result which looks a bit like it's painted on when you see it from a distance.  After tidying up the back and giving it a good press I took the photos.  Today it is in Stornoway.

The weather was so lovely today that when I hung the dyed silk out in front of the shed it looked so bright and shiny that I couldn't resist taking a photo.

I also have a hanging basket with a petunia and several verbena in it - no pictures until I know it isn't going to keel over and die....

Hey, I've just found an item on E-bay entitled  "Genuine Hebridean Harris Tweed Scarf." 
My Genuine Hebridean Harris Tweed can easily be identified because it will always bear the "Scalpay Linen" sew on label, and also the special "Totally Harris Tweed... Distinctively Hebridean" swing ticket.  It's also solid dark brown.  So buyers beware - there is only one supplier of Genuine Hebridean Harris Tweed just now, and you're reading her blog right now!