Friday, 17 June 2011

Where did the time go??

I didn't realise that it has been such a long time since last posting on the blog.  Many apologies to my faithful readers.  Excuses coming up........  Well....  my laptop was fried by lightning and I had to get another one, and get it up and running with all the bits and pieces of software etc.; the local broadband folks were on a go slow, and Vodafone dongles were on an even slower go-slow which meant they were almost stationery!; then we had a few days out - attended a royal visit at the Bays Centre at Leac 'a lee (great cafe, and marvellous place to see seals); been to the dentist - now I'm really scraping the barrel.  We've also been magnificently busy in the shed - t-towels flying off the shelves (and not with the gale force winds!) and lots and lots of weaving being done.
As promised a couple of blogs ago, below is a pic of the dyeing I did a while ago using the handspun Falkland and Shropshire wools which I made up chunkyish and used a glossy viscose binder to stabilise it for handknitting.  These were omega dyes, and they worked out very well, though my skill in measuring out granules to get the correct colour is still very hit and miss.

Also in the picture on the far right is a super fluffy mohair hank that is destined for Sallie at Driftwater Weaves in Gt Bernera.

The postie brought a lovely surprise from Beth in the US who was a spinning  member of the "Singing Weavers" party in May and who promised to send me some Koolaid for dyeing.  Good as her word, they arrived safely and I can't wait to start using them.  Thank you so much Beth, I am seeking out a very special little something to send in return..

Despite the very changeable weather, summer is creeping up on us slowly I guess.  I have a huge predatory plant in my little shed-garden.  It appeared from the dregs of some bird seed I dumped there at the end of last year and is now sporting some dangerous looking spikey leaves and thistley heads.  I don't know what it is exactly but have the feeling that it could be carniverous - and should I be careful going to the shed at night? 

Newest and smallest member of the croft family - introducing little Tilly.  She has come to us from Shawbost in Lewis and is around 10 weeks old.  Already the three dogs are under the prickly paw and she is quite relaxed about her new position as queen of the croft.

To show that I have been working too, here is the latest fleece from the Gedgrave Wensleydales in Suffolk which we are spinning up for Tracey.  This one is short, but incredibly soft.  The individual locks were just a tad too short, and separate to spin normally, so I popped the whole thing through the carder just once to keep lots of curly bits, but open it up a bit to make spinning more straightforward.  This is the carded fleece.  It's spun up a treat - some plain and some with multi-coloured silk. 

And finally, two big bags of Zwartbles fleeces arrived from Hampshire last week.  Gorgeous and thank you Caroline.  They are so black with coppery tips, and so crimpy, and so oily!  We are planning our piece de resistance - which is going to be a Handspun Harris Tweed - and are trying to decide what breeds to use.  We think the Zwartbles is going to be one - below is some of the fleece which I have washed in preparation for carding and then doing some experimental spinning.  Though I've done loads of spinning for weaving in the past, I've never done any warps - always been put off by the received wisdom that its a real pain to get it twisted enough to stay together as it goes through the eyes.  So there is going to be quite a bit of R & D before this project gets off the ground!

News of the community shop - share issue going very well and shares can now be purchased via Paypal direct from the shop website (see links on right).  To be part of the fun, just click on the link......


Doespins said...

I have no problem with handspun warps, infact they sometimes behave better than their commercial cousins. I prefer a two ply warp but a singles one is possible. Just make sure your fibre joins are good when spinning.
Love your dyed yarns.

Anonymous said...

Oh your Tilly looks as beautiful and influential as our own feline Tilly! She will have a lot to keep track of if she's going to be running the place.

I couldn't find any way to buy Buth Scalpaigh shares via PayPal, but I've printed the form and will post it in. It's a great thing to be working towards.