With a really bad forecast on for the rest of the afternoon and tonight, what better way to pass the time than update my blog, which yet again has been sadly neglected over the past month.
Yesterday was the annual Christmas Show and Sale at the Auction Mart in Stornoway. As always a fine array of cattle and sheep were on top form and the crowds turned out, and the catering was up to scratch with teas, coffees, pies, sausage rolls and filled rolls to keep out the cold and stop the tummy rumbling.
It's good to see the selection of breeds getting larger - quite a change from 20 years ago when you were thought of as a bit racy if you had a cheviot ram tucked away on the croft!
When we arrived back home yesterday, there was a lovely surprise waiting for me - my linen yarn from NV Jos Vanneste had arrived. The speed of post has been truly amazing - I paid on Thursday, it was posted in Belgium on Friday and arrived on Scalpay on Wednesday.
These yarns are just amazing. They come from the "Laura" range, which is a sort of melangey, marly type of effect with a bit of a texture going on. I have used the Nm 12 extensively for the Hobbit order, but have now decided to change to Nm6 - principally because the finer yarn has to be sleyed at 3 to a dent and therefore is 940 ends wide, whereas the Nm 6 can go 2 to a dent with the same settings as Harris Tweed (maybe just a bigger shot wheel depending on the thickness of the weft being used). The array of colours available in this quality is very wide, and it was difficult choosing a selection of shades for samples. This yarn is the most expensive of any I currently weave with (excepting the hand-spuns of course), so this cloth is going to be top of my range.
A week or two ago I received a newsletter from Sollas Bookbinding. Regular readers may remember that Corinna Krauss made me some gorgeous waxed paper covered boxes for presenting Hebridean Harris Tweed wraps, and I've been itching to spend more on her delightful products.
So when I looked through her online shop and found these elegant visitor books available, I couldn't resist treating the workshop to one for Christmas and Corinna added gold lettering for me too. Visit www.sollasbooks.com for lots of gift ideas - you won't be disappointed!
Just to show that I have been doing something useful during the past month, a local company has asked for some samples of handspun to use, so Tracy from Gedgrave Wensleydales (see links on right) very kindly said I could use some of the beautiful batt she sent up a while ago. It has come out very elegantly - soft and around a 10 cut. Since I took this photo I dyed the yarn a really nice maroony, purply colour. It was supposed to be red, but I have never professed to be a good, or accurate, dyer! I've also spun up some greasy Zwartbles which is waiting to be washed, and a bit more of the Wensleydale white. Hopefully it will be in the post sometime next week..
On the loom just now - more grey Hobbit linen. The warping mill is empty waiting for one of the trainees to warp up for a celtic hopsack - this warp will involve turning the mini-reed behind the heck to produce a double-width mirror image pattern. All exciting stuff.....