a life of fibre

Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Catching up again

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

Have you missed me? I’ve missed being here but life has been a little full these past few weeks. For a start, we managed a whole week long holiday in Scotland and the weather gods were so kind to us. From six in the morning until nine at night it was blue skies and sunshine!! The thermals we’d taken just in case – didn’t wear them, the waterproofs we’d taken just in case – didn’t wear them, we even had times in just t-shirts as temperatures soared to 18 degrees. Mind you, it was a little on the breezy side but we didn’t mind that at all.

Don’t you wish you could bottle up your holiday and bring a little back? It was blue skies, blue sea, blue lochs, the higher hills still brown and the vivid yellow of full flowering gorse. If a child had painted the scene it would have looked something similar I’m sure, so bright and primary coloured as it was.

I don’t know about you but if I go on a beach I generally need to paddle and yes that does include January too. Scotland in April is pretty cold I have to say, the sea was like liquid ice and our feet quickly became bright red with the cold. Very refreshing.

After our screams had died away and we’d regained the use of our feet we went exploring and found the most magnificent rust.

Wouldn’t it have been marvellous to bring these home, better still I should just move there. We were there before the midges too so not a single bite between us. I won’t bore you with lots of holiday snaps but it was wonderful to have nothing that had to be done and nowhere that we had to be. Lunchtimes sitting in the sun with a drink, early morning walks before the wind got up and fantastic sunsets. Below is the view from our cottage as the sun began to go down.

And the one below is the sunset from the back of the cottage.

They’re not brilliant as they were taken on my phone but you get the idea, an all round fab holiday. I love Scotland even when it rains all week, which it did on a previous holiday, and would love to move there but I find the thought of the midges off putting as I do tend to be seen as a particularly tasty morsel by them and am pursued ruthlessly. Happily, holidays come round every year.

 

 

One crocheted cushion and slightly sore fingers

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

Visiting a local charity shop I spotted a cone of wool for only 50p, no matter that it was strong rough rug wool, I had to buy it. It languished in my stash for some months then finally made it onto my crochet hook. After a brief flurry of activity it languished on my crochet hook too. It has finally made it from w.i.p. to finished project – phew, it took way longer than it should have but I’m pretty pleased with the result even if the wool felt somewhat rough against my skin at times.

The pattern was made up as I went along, I knew I wanted texture (when don’t I ?) and decided on a post stitch to create it. It was simple to follow and no counting so very easy to do.

It’s envelope style which doesn’t require buttons to keep it fastened but I love the contrast between hard shiny buttons and soft (well, softish) matt wool so I added buttonholes and buttons.

The buttons have been languishing in my stash for years and years so it was a perfect match with the languishing wool and a relief to finally find a use for them. I also went mad and added my first ever fringe to a cushion. Why haven’t I done this before? I’m partial to a fringe, I enjoyed doing it and I think it looks great and adds to the texture. There may be more fringes in my future 🙂 This cushion is now off to work to adorn one of the chairs we have available for customers to rest their weary bones, all those decisions on which luscious fibre to buy can really wear you out.

My first woven scarf

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

We bought the loom just before Christmas and as Simon was first to start weaving I had to wait my turn. It’s a 20″ Ashford knitters loom, which is basically a rigid heddle loom that folds up. The folding up part was important to us as with two spinning wheels in the house space is at a premium.

It’s difficult to know what it will turn out like especially as how firmly you beat each row down will make a difference. There are occasions on which I’ll produce samples but when it’s just for fun I like to make a whole item. Things I learnt making this first scarf – 1) warping up was faster than I expected   2) the tension needed to be greater than expected  3) it was easier to beat the rows down using both hands to hold the reed  4) if you don’t get your tension even in the beginning you can feel the difference in the work  5) make the warps longer as you lose some length during weaving and when cutting off at the end   6) it was way quicker than I expected!!   I really liked that last learning point 🙂

It’s far from perfect but I learnt a lot, was much better at keeping my edges straight than I expected to be and the result is still beautiful and usable despite any errors. I can’t wait to have another go but I’ll have to as Simon is now on his third item. Think we both may have the bug.

Knitted scarf

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

Fortunatley for me I started this scarf in the summer.The pattern was simple and I memorised it but that didn’t seem to stop me from making mistakes which I only seemed to spot after I’d knitted another 9 rows!

It was so frustrating! With all the mistakes and lots of frogging back, added to which is the fact that this is a finer wool than I’d normally work with it took me flippin ages. I wasn’t working on it every day but even so…  I was very happy to finish it.

The wool used is Araucania Yarns, Botany Lace and I got both the yarn and the pattern from The Skep Knitting and Quilting Shop. One of the tings I like most about it is that although it’s a single colour it’s not a flat dyed single shade, there is variation. It has a lovely weight and drape to it and has been given away as a birthday present. There was wool left from the two skeins I had and I’ve made matching mittens and hat which I gave away before taking photos!  I love seeing it finished but I’m in no rush to work that finely again, where did I put that aran?

First weaving

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

We’d been fancying trying our hand at weaving for some time. Knitting and crochet aren’t for Simon but he was quite interested in weaving and I was wanting to weave up some of my handpsun yarn.

This is Simon’s first scarf, keeping the edges straight is the hardest part but I think this is a great first attempt from Simon.

The grey and white is lovely. My turn on the loom next I hope.

Keeping busy

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

Our daughter loves to be kept busy and I thought I’d share with you a few of the items she’s recently finished.

We didn’t have a kit to hand so I quickly designed this for her on a scrap of aida, it was completed with cottons from my stash. Very peaceful colours.

This was from a kit supplied by her Gran. Vibrant colours but as it’s not to her taste it’ll be going to the charity shop to find another home.

I chose the colours for this blanket last winter and it sits very well with the other crocheted items in our living room. Charlotte made a special effort to complete this before her return to university and we’re glad she did as it’s so snuggly.

 

Portrait

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

My friend Kate Sutcliffe is a very talented artist and has recently  been busying herself with paintings on reclaimed slate. Instantly I thought what a good present it would make for my daughter to take back to university, a portrait of her cat Pan.

He gave it a thorough perusal.

And then his approval. Charlotte was over the moon with it, “it’s so cool, it’s an ace present”.

It’s a good likeness don’t you think? Kate is happy to undertake commissions but also paints subjects of her own choosing. I know she’s working on an online shop and I’ll be sure to let you know once it’s open.

An old textile

Friday, December 30th, 2016

It’s impossible to say when exactly I bought this batik but it is at least 24 years old. I bought it  stretched over a frame and it’s moved around various houses with me ending up on our stair wall. When we decorated in the summer we took it down and thgouth we’d have to dispose of it so badly faded as it was.

It had been so vibrant and yet some sections were just so faint. I did consider cutting it down and preserving at least a small portion and began to remove it from the frame. It was more fragile than expected, edges ripped easily and in a few places it had ripped along the edge of the frame but the best surprise was that when I turned it over the reverse looked as fresh as the day I bought it 🙂 🙂

It’s back on the frame and hanging in pride of place on our dining room wall. I repaired the rips and you can’t see any damage but whilst writing this post I’ve wondered why I didn’t put it on a carrier cloth to preserve it longer?  It’s too late now, a second reframing would definitely create more damage and I couldn’t bear that.

Christmas wrapping

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

If I have the time I like to make presents look really nice and this year decided I’d print up some paper to use on family presents. Charlotte loves black and white photos so I took monochrome as my theme.

I love printing onto brown paper and I did a whole roll! Some sections are white, some black, some black and white and some grey. Most of the stamps used came free with magazines donkeys years ago and the paint was leftover from previous art projects. The acrylic white was so ‘left over’ that I had to thin it and remove the lumps before I could use it!

We also have a tadition of being a bit silly with the presents, joke presents, ones you can’t open and this year the largest tag I could find on the smallest present I had to wrap.

What have you been up to?

 

Paper stars

Saturday, December 24th, 2016

If, like me, you’ve been keeping up with a shed load of Christmassy things to make from Hawthorn then you may have seen the delightful origami stars.  I just knew it would be one for me and our daughter Charlotte to do together so I saved the activity pending her return from uni.

We began by making a few in 3 different sizes but then Charlotte got carried away and didn’t stop until all the old sheets of music were used up. As you can see, we are now over supplied with stars !

That’s not all the stars you know, there were even more that didn’t make it into the photo.

I bought this garland very cheaply at least ten years ago, each year it comes out and I dress it differently. The paper stars and white lights are just perfect.

There were plenty left over so some made it onto the tree.

Still more made it onto this jug full of twigs in the hall. Last used for an easter tree I just sprayed it with snow (can be brushed off later if required) and hung the stars on along with a few silver mini baubles. I love the hall this year.

Yet more have been stuck onto the hall mirrors which I know I took photos of but can’t find them anywhere :-(. You’d think that would have exhausted them but it hasn’t, the remainder have been put away for next year and I’ll send them to Charlotte’s student digs and they can be used there, they’re much too nice to waste.