We spent the afternoon and early evening today riveted to the TV watching Tim Emmett and Dave Macleod tackle a new route up the overhanging 600 foot cliff of Sron Uladail in North Harris. It was just amazing watching them and by the end I was completely exhausted!! Congratulations to everyone involved in the event - and what a wonderful opportunity to showcase our magnificent scenery and heritage.
OK, at last we are back to some creative stuff! Today I was at Shawbost mill dropping off the Hebridean Harris Tweed and the last linen (purple, red and white) so I feel I've done something a bit useful after a period of being in the doldrums.
Last week I decided to dye the light colours of Harris wool I have in stock so my loom pixie hanked them all up for me and I spent a jolly, if sweaty, morning in the kitchen mising dyes, boiling pots and rinsing out hanks. All my Australian landscape dyes are used up now - but what's the point of having them in a packet when they could be brightening up the world on a bit of yarn?
Here are a few of the hanks before I wound them onto cones on the Munty. They are all crimped up because they're singles and not very stable.
Once onto the Munty cones they look quite different, and then, when put through the winder onto pirns ---
Well, they are really yummy. The Harris Tweed I have in the loom looked wonderful on the warping mill, but was rather disappointing on the loom and I've been struggling to find a weft that will do it justice. The accent threads I used were far too dark and heavy and made it all look very peculiar. So I've whipped them out and replaced them with the space dyed yarn above. Can't wait to start weaving to see what difference it makes to the end result!
Here's a cute photo I took of Baggy the duck in conference with Bramble - not sure what was being discussed but it ended with Baggy making a grab for Brambles' toes!
Anyone who is interested - and I know a lot of my visitors here are - might like to know that the Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers 2011 Summer School details is in the current edition of the Journal and also on their website - http://www.wsd.org.uk/.
There is a wide range of courses available for - particularly of interest to me is the "Colour in Tapestry" one which looks like it could be useful in giving me some basics of colour work as well as a chance to learn a type of weaving I've never tried before.
If you're not a member of a Guild or don't subscribe to the Journal, I would advise you to look into it without delay. There is even an online guild for those of us living in out of the way places!
Another long gap between blogs I'm afraid. Not sure why, but guess it's just the time of the year. So much to do! Here is our current project - making scarves. Fringeing and finishing. There will be a variety of different materials - Linsey Woolseys, linens and Harris Tweeds, so something for everyone.
We went through a spell when there were very few eggs in the nest boxes, then discovered that the hens had found themselves new places to lay. Here is a very cosy spot we discovered in the byre, and who can blame the hen who thought that a nice sheepskin nest was her idea of heaven!
And talking of eggs - how's this for a whopper! Weighing in at 113g - we haven't found which hen laid it, but guess that watery eyes and crossed legs might be clues.
On my way home from a trip to Stornoway on Wednesday, I got accidentally locked in the public toilet beside the Kinloch Historical Society premises near Balallan. The handle came off the door and left me trapped inside. I had to dial 999 to get released, so I'm taking this opportunity to thank the lads from the Stornoway Fire and Rescue Service for their speedy response to my plea for help. In future I shall try to make sure and "go" before I leave home!
We didn't get to see the annual meteorite shower this year - unfortunately the weather has been too cloudy for that.
Last Friday was the North Harris Agricultural Show and it was a good day out. Baggy the Aylesbury drake won a second prize, one of his mates won a first, and the cockerel who used to look like a starling won a second. So all in all, a good result for the Croft 37 Poultry. I spent the afternoon spinning Falkland wool on my Ashford Traveller wheel in the crafts tent, and it was a very relaxing enjoyable time chatting to passersby. There's not a huge amount of spinning going on here these days, so its a real pleasure to devote some time to it.
It's a long time since I last added to my last blog - things have been very hectic with lots of visitors to the loomshed, weaving, warping and winding to do, lots of croft work, agricultural shows to attend and really rainy weather.
Here is an update on Daisys little lamb. Her input into his upbringing continues to be minimal and he has now joined the lamb gang - the lamb on the right gives an idea of the difference in size between the lambs born at the right time, and Daisys lamb. However, he's feeding from the bottle well and shows lots of interest in everything.
Here's my latest tweed - another Hebridean Harris Tweed ready to go to the mill when they open after the summer holidays. With about 8 yards to go I finally cracked and put in a contrasting warp.
When it has been finished, I'll post a photo of it - quite an unusual colour combination but it seems that almost every colour goes well with the Hebridean brown.
It's the North Harris Agricultural Show at Willow Park Showground in Urgha on Friday, so the loomshed will be closed then. We are busy polishing up the chickens and cockerels and hope that the weather is good enough to take a good selection with us. Last year I seem to remember, the weather was so tragic that I only managed a couple of ducks - though they quite enjoyed it.
Publication date for the new edition of Events Monthly - the free paper in Lewis and Harris is on Wednesday so if you are reading this locally, don't forget to grab a copy to see what's happening during the coming month.