Monday, 28 May 2012

Spring is sprung and other activities...

A walk along the Test River in Romsey was a delight on Friday. Spot the fish.

Spring has sprung and all along the banks flowers are celebrating the warmth. I don't know the names of most of them but I can still enjoy their beauty.

I love irises and there were a myriad of different shades along the way.

Daisies make me smile.

A family of ducks hurrying by, the little white one struggling to keep up.

I love the 'Monet effect' of the reflections in the water. The colours are inspiring.

The river was gorgeously serene bringing a peaceful walk before breakfast and a busy day ahead.

On Saturday, when the Saint and I cycled to the lakes in the morning we found that the signets had hatched. There are 7 sweet little fluff balls.

On Sunday eve, we loaded the bikes on the car and set off for Hengisbury Head near Christchurch and cycled from there which is the furtherest part of the bay in this photo

all the way to Poole and back, a staggering 15 miles and the longest cycle I have been able to manage in 4 years. It was awesome:)

The Saint is taking a sip and the Daughter is waiting on the left in the wings patiently.

It was a beautifully clear evening and we could see Old Harry across the bay where I am longing to go and walk along the cliffs again.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Exbury Gardens 2012

This is mostly a photo blog to celebrate the beauty in this wonderful garden once again and also the fact that last year I navigated it with a wheelchair and this year I walked the entire morning enjoying it immensely!

We drove through the New Forest where the foals are all gangly and awkward but beautiful nevertheless.

The sight that greeted us as we entered the gardens promised a morning of colour and delight. I trust that you will enjoy this too.

 There are still bluebells under the trees.

Nature's knitting...

The view across to Buckler's Hard at the end of the garden.

Back via the cascade pools.

One of my favourite things in the garden is this ancient tree with a cross cut of all its rings showing

and events like the Battle of Waterloo named on the flags nailed in to indicate which ring it applies too.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

National Spinning Week (last week)

Last week was National Spinning Week here in the UK and I was blessed enough to be able to spend 3 days spinning and promoting our wonderful Hampshire Guild. I took photos on the first and third days and forgot completely on the second as I enjoyed spinning. I apologise for any omissions.

We were at King John's House in Romsey which dates from the 13th century and was a major building in a medieval complex. It is a late Tudor / early Jacobean timber-frame  house with loads of wonderful character and not a straight line in sight. It was the perfect setting to share our crafts in.

Here is Grace, my Ashford Traditional Spinning Wheel, set up and ready for me to spin

and this was my view from my chair. Notice the yarn on the bobbin, you might recognise it from the tops in the Wonderwool post. I have spun 9 ounces already:)

A closer shot of Jane's gorgeous Japanese Kumihimo braids.

Shosh and I sat spinning on either side of this wonderful old fire place. We met and chatted to wonderful people and the museum folk were gracious hosts.

All around the 2 rooms that we occupied where examples of guild crafts. The knitted goods and yarn below belongs to Judy who dyes, spins and knits these garments. The yarn is all labelled with the names of the plants used to dye them. I love all the colours and am looking forward to the workshop in July.

The sample board is a wealth of information about different fibres, recycled plastic bottles and banana included. All the samples were spindle spun and knitted by the same lady.

In the second room Sue was demonstrating felting. Here she is dry felting a piece for the National Exhibition.

These are some of her gorgeous pieces. I tried the gloves on and they felt wonderful.

Jane was setting up to braid on the Marudai braiding stand and did inkle bands too on her lovely floor loom.

On the third day there was a good turn out. Shosh spinning on her side of the fireplace,

Sandra, Shirley, Dawn and Bev (sitting in my chair) spinning on the other side. Ruth sat opposite us. A great deal of laughter and fun was shared by all. Bev was kind enough to show me longdraw and I am itching to try... I think I may need a second wheel - better not let The Saint read this one...

Sue was back, wet felting this time, delicate scarf with camel fibre that shrank magically before my eyes

and Jane kept her company, warping up the inkle for the next band.

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and feel very blessed to belong to a wonderful guild.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

A Wonderful Wonderwool experience

Wonderwool celebrates all that fibre is. Much has been written about it this week. Here are the snippets  that tickled and delighted me. 

I love the the way we all express our creativity in a myriad of ways. Today the photos are mostly of displays and sights that inspired me, completely self-indulgent I know,  but here for you to enjoy too.

I spoke about this little van in an earlier post so we will continue from here.

On entering the hall, the fibre extravaganza began.

The Pembrokeshire Guild of Weaving, Spinning and Dyeing was a stall I spent quite a lot of time in. A friendly lady was carding fibre as we walked in. This lead to drum carder envy and temptations.

These two batts of white-faced woodland fibre were carded while we chatted so they had to came home with me.

The guild display had handspun samples of rare breed sheep with photos to identify them

and a blanket of squares made from samples 

each one carefully labelled.

There was a blanket of handwoven squares each dyed with different natural dyes

and a sheet next to them identifying the dyes.

I enjoyed the weaving collection and the handspun too.

From the guild booth we went to the back hall which was quite empty.

The Toft Alpaca Shop is a place to go to stroke gorgeous creations.

At the Thomas Shop

there was a man in a kilt was spinning. He made me smile.

Rag Art was a stall of constant discovery.

The creative owner ingeniously recycles all kinds of discard goods and makes the most beautiful art pieces.

She created this piece from the bits left at the bottom of  her children's toy box. There is even a mobile phone cover. The Recycle piece above in the corner is framed with the lids of old felt tip pens which she made into beads.

The Gansey stall brought back many memories of knitting museum pieces when I was in South Africa many years ago. I had a wonderful chat with Debs who told me the pattern names.

I knitted sweaters from books like the ones below.

Somewhere in the world there are some sweaters very similar to this one that I knitted.

I wondered if the boyfriend's sweater' curse existed in these times.

A happy customer bought the first kit of mitts.

The International Feltmakers Association offered pure inspiration. I really was surprised by what could be accomplished with felting. It makes me itch to try something... I love these pictures of trees

These were at a different stall. Aren't they gorgeous?

The Woolsack stall was busy with ladies stuffing cushions for the Olympic players. I enjoyed their booth at Unravel too. There were some great designs.

I had to prevent The Saint from buying one of these for me after we had see the one in action on the guild stall. I do covet one secretly but I am not convinced my hip will agree with it.

I was delighted to find the Fivemoons stall as I was able liberate a skein of yarn from it. I discovered this yarn in Devon and love the colour ways.

Selena - Colourway Waterlilies

I have lost the leaflet and failed to identify the stall that had these beautiful pieces. If you know please let me know and I will add their name to my blog. They sold knitted baby blankets and pram covers which were a delight to behold, such beautiful work.

The tractor is such fun.

When I saw this stand it made me think of Hoxtonhandmade. It seems that we both share the enjoyment of good facial hair.

McAnaraks' pretty handmade buttons. Sometime soon I plan to own some. 

The British Coloured Sheep Breeders Association 

and some goods they had that I just had to fondle. 

This banner made me smile

and this yarn label made me laugh out loud.

It was time for coffee. I met a lovely man who lives in Bristol had been spinning for 30 years and we had a long chat while I waited. The Saint, being the saint that he is, stood in this queue and brought coffee to her ladyship who was sitting comfortably at a nearby table knitting upon a sock. 

'Did you take a shot of me in THE QUEUE?' he asked me. 'No' I said, 'but I did take one of the queue.' If looks could kill.

There were alpacas and sheep for sale all over the place.

I discovered a 'new to me' Indie dyer, Eden Cottage. Her dyed yarn was gorgeous with subtle changes in the colour ways. I had to go back to liberate a skein from her too.  My photo was blurred as I was shaking with excitement. There is a small shawl sometime soon in my future.

Titus - Colourway Springflower

Funky Felt and Fibres sold kits for these garments cleverly packaged in very pretty cardboard gift boxes or suitcases. I had to rein myself in once again. Someone I know did not and I plan to live vicariously through her. 

My love for indigo dyed goods was also indulged.

Although I was delighted by many of the decorations of the stalls, the one that stole my heart was The Easyknits booth. I laughed at the funky drawings

and I adored the way the patterns were highlighted and included.

Sadly, there are many booths that I failed to photograph. I needed time to support all the local shops that I love. The greatest pleasure I had during the day was meeting and chatting to all the Indie dyers that I support online,  on Etsy or Folksy and as a result, few of them were photographed. I apologise to them.

This is why I had to rein myself in in several places. I have not bought so much for along time although most of it is for specific projects which include 2 handspun sweaters and a dyeing workshop I am attending in July.

 I discovered Adelaide Walker LLP who had beautiful fibre in the bags. I bought cashmere and a BFL / silk blend (in the middle) which will grow up be a cardigan.

The plaits are Woodland Spring Falkland or Corriedale. I obtained a jumper's worth from Easyknits. I have stared spinning these already. It is a dream to spin. Three ounces spun, twenty five to go...

I bought fibre from 2 of my favourite Etsy Indie dyers both of whom are fabulous dyers and do amazing things with colour and fibre.

Camel/bfl blend from FeltStudio. 

Bfl/Silk blend in the greens and the red one (which is sooooo not me, but I fell in love!) is Black Shetland/silk from Freyalyn. 

My WonderWool adventure is over but I have plenty of superb fibre and yarn to keep it fresh in my memory for a while. I will be spinning and knitting for many hours with lovely memories for company. 

Thank you to all of you who I met, chatted to and spent time with. It was these encounters that made the day a special one for me.