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It’s that time of year again…

It’s that time of year again, World Wide Knitting in Public Day. I haven’t done one for a couple of years and hadn’t really thought about doing one this year, but Big J mentioned it, and the seed was sown. I checked when the big day was happening, in the 10 days (6th – 16th) WKIPD could be held, there was 1 day in my diary where I wasn’t going to be busy, I posted the idea on Facebook to see if there’s be any interest…lo and behold it was practically organised for me!

We decided to raise money for Wales Air Ambulance as this was the charity the LWS supported and she provided some fabulously woolly raffle prizes.

Sadly and stupidly I forgot my camera…so the only photos I have of the event was this one taken by Ms Daines.

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Yep, this is me, spinning some cotton

and these taken by Ms James

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We had a fantastic day sharing interests and tips, teaching new crafts, knittin’ and nattin’.

I’ve been spending a lot of my time making items for my old new shop and getting back into the habit of spinning every day, because of course it is that time of year too.

Tour de Fleece. I’m yet again on Team Jellylegs, spinning some of Limegreenjelly ‘s beautifully hand painted fleeces.

The latest hank to come off the spindle is this,

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“Little Haven” Wensleydale fibre singles, I think I bought the roving from Thefeltbox.com, but I am honestly not sure. I’ve got to say, I didn’t enjoy spinning this, I found it really fluffy, with loose staples flying everywhere, which made me sneeze a lot!! But, the colours are beautiful and now that it’s done, I love it.

I’ve only got a small amount of the cotton (which has been in my stash for a while) left to spin and next is some BFL, which I will attempt to dye…once the weekend is over.

It’s going to be a busy one. Big and little J are off to Leicester to see Madness (yes, Madness!!) and particularly their supporting band By The Rivers. I’m only slightly jealous! This leaves me with entertaining the other 3 babies and loads of face painting with Pembroke Dock’s Summer festival and as hectic and tiring it is,  I love this job and so thankful that i am asked back each year.

I shall leave you with Take Control by By The Rivers :

I’ll see you on the other side. x Have a fab day.

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What was I saying?

It seems the “Manx Missile” is back on track…I really felt for him standing up there on the podium, crying his heart out. It just goes to show that saying is true…”If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again”. I almost live by that saying. I love to learn new things and I won’t leave it until I’ve won, I suppose you could say that I become obsessive. I will live and breath the new task. But what do I do with it, once it’s learned? Nothing, I go on to the next thing. There’s another saying; “Jack of all trades, master of none”, oh yes, that’s me. There is hardly anything I won’t try (as long as it doesn’t involve leaving the ground…and water…not keen on those!). Fibre wise, I’d love to be able to do it all, but I will also admit that if I really feel I’m “fighting a loosing battle”, I’m quite happy to wave the white flag and surrender.

designed by Barbra Breiter

Lace…the bain of my life. I look at all the beautiful shawls and scarves and wraps and I long, really long to be able to produce such stunningly, wonderous garments. Alas, I do not have the concentration, the time nor the patience needed to make them. I will get there one day, but today is not the day. No, today is the day for mastering the corespun yarn, on a drop spindle!

First attempt – it wasn’t pretty!

If you search on You Tube you will find plenty of tutorials…though they are for the spinning wheel (I came across a lovely one where the lady was spinning yarn that looked like a Christmas tree, complete with presents and a star! But I can’t find it now), but the theory is just the same. The main difference is, you have two free hands with a wheel as your feet are doing the spinning.

Here’s a quick demo

So, you need one hand to hold the core with tension, one hand to hold the wrapping fibre and another to spin the spindle…hmmm…unless you have a willing spouse, child…dog(?) to hold…something, I didn’t think this was going to be easy.

I then thought teasing fibres whilst spinning is going to be out of the question, not enough hands, so prepping needed to be done. On my first sttempt I had already spun the yarn.

Welsh Black tops, spun with silk then plied with merino.

I then attached the core yarn to the drop spindle, holding that with tension between my thumb and finger. The wrapping yarn  I placed between my index finger and the next so it could freely slide, while my right hand did the spindle spinning.

Like so; the fibre needs to be kept well away from the spindle otherwise you end up with a big fibery mess…which I suppose could be interesting in itself!

After spinning I washed the yarn in hot water and soap, so lightly felting it all together.

TaDa! merino/bamboo/flax/tussah silk corespun yarn.

Just a little bit of patience and knowing what you hands are doing and it’ll all be ok. Another yarn I’ve been working on is Limegreenjelly’s “Ocean Drive” Merino/Bamboo.

Which is turning into a very nice sock yarn weight yarn if it’s left in it’s single state. I’m not sure whether to make socks or wristwarmers…I’ve seen a couple of patterns I’d like to try – Archie’s socks (ravelry link) or there’s the hat heel in Knitty and these Mary Wristwarmers. I would dearly love to be knitting lace…

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There She Goes My Beautiful World…

(Nick Cave)

Well that’s that then, the Tour de Fleece is over. It was great! I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. I feel my spinning has improved greatly, I have learned to navajo ply, spin fine, consistant singles and I’ve had a go at art yarn, though not very successfully I have to admit.

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I’ve also written a new pattern after discovering a neat little trick.

It’s quite a strange feeling after continuously watching the Tour on TV and spinning like a very spinny thing…to nothing. I have started some socks with a merino/solk blend that I beagan spinning at the beginning of the tour.

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The fibre was very kindly given to me by DeepSea Knitter.

And this one is next on the cards….

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This is 50% Faux Cashmere and 50% Silk,  “Cherry Kiss” from Limegreenjelly.I’ve also got some fibre coming from HappyNeedle which I’m really excited about but I’ll have to wait a while for that, it’s coming from the states.

During the passed two weeks it suddenly dawned on me why I began blogging in the first place…this whole internet community thing can seem a little wierd at times. Especially when you have stories in the media telling us it’s bad for our health and state of mind, people are going out less and all that…where I see where they are coming from and no doubt for some people it can be a bit of an obsession…but without the internest (I quite like that typo so I’m leaving it in) I’d still be knitting in secret, I’d have never even thought about spinning my own yarn, or I would have done but I’d still be crap at it!

I’d never have been in touch with people like Jo and the LimegreenJelly group,  Anne and Kath, all the Plurksibs, The Ravelry lot, the Mobbloggers without whom Jim wouldn’t have been able to cycle 300 miles and to everyone who reads my blog and takes the time to leave a comment.

And though I have a tiny little voice, I just wanted to say, no, shout,  thank you all, all of you are wonderful and helpful and fantastic!

So what’s next?

I’m waiting for the other half to get back from London then we’re going to stay in Bosherston for a bit where I’m going to be giving some spinning lessons. I’ve got plans to give a friend of a friend some lessons on a knitting machine and no doubt I will be doing some craft sessions at some point, but those are still to be planned.

At the moment I am being tested to see if I have Coeliacs disease, which is a bit of a pain…as we’re in a pretty small town gluten free stuff is hard to come by (and if anyone out there also needs a gluten free diet and has any tips…they will be greatfully received). It also means no more Riggwelter…the beer that is, or whiskey…Do they do gluten free ale? Hmmph!

And on that bombshell (sorry I’ve just been watching Top Gear)…see you soon.

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“Hey man, slow down”

(Radiohead – The Tourist – Ok Computer)

I’ve been meaning to write this blog post for ages, but for some reason or another, I just haven’t got around to it.

The Tour de Fleece spinning is going well, and have so far spun 2 50g hanks of navajo plied merino, 100g of BFL 2 ply 3 40g hanks of a chunky slubby shetland yarn and I’m about to spin another shetland…I might try plying on the fly for this one.

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This is “Take Back” from Limegreenjelly, a merino nad bamboo blend.

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This yanrn I have named “Navajo Blue” a superfine merino which was gifted to me from MamaMi.

I love to learn new techniques and can get quite obsessive until I feel I’ve got it right. I still don’t really know if I have but I followed the instructions given on this video.

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This is “Precious” from Limegreenjelly, I’ve spun it into a 2 ply yarn and have named my creation “Smeagol”. I am so pleased with this one! Jo’s wonderful colours make it a special yarn.

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The yarn on the left, middle and right are the “Slubby Gimp” yarn, this is “Ceiliog” (If I remember rightly,  is Cockerel, in Welsh) a shetland fibre from MamaMi, plied with a bright red cotton yarn.

So stage 11 is up and I’m gonna spin this one: “Derw” (which is Oak, in Welsh) another shetland from MamaMi.

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I’m either going to ply on the fly with this one or ply it with some “Take Back” merino/bamboo…or both! I’ve been spinning most of these on my spindle that was hand made by a friend in Pembroke, I am so impressed with them, they have worked so well.

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If at all you would like to buy one, they are in my Folksy Shop.

I had the most wonderful 3 day weekend. Saturday was spent shopping as I had to go to Haverford West to get my eyes tested…I wion’t tell you how much we ended up spending in the Christian Bookshop, but it was alot!

I bought this one for me:

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Which is book 1 of the Circle Trilogy. I’m enjoying it, though it sounds, so far, a lot like ” The Chronicles Thomas Covenant” by Stephen Donaldson, but a lot easier to read.

The reason we spent a lot was that Jim and I are hoping to set up a youth church in Pembroke Dock, we want it to prepare young children for big church, but explaing various things like Communion, Baptism, the sermon etc on their level. We’re looking at alternative worshipping, so it’s not boring….and I get to do all the craft bits, naturally!

On Sunday I had my little sister over from Leeds, she’s about 7 months pregnant with her first baby and very excited. We spent the evening looking through all my baby knitting patterns and had a good laugh at all those fantastic vintage patterns!

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I think she’d kill me if I knitted this for her!

Monday I took the day off work, the big kids were a bit poorly, but nothing too bad in the end. As Caryl and James were still around, we took them to Bosherston and met up with my friend M (she own’s the alpacas), who has booked us in to camp on her site for a couple of weeks during the summer hols (only 3 days to go!!!!!!) which will be so handy as we’re not too far from home if we need anything, and we still get to go away, a change is as good as a rest, so they say! I have to give her and a friend some spinning lessons in return though! I’m sure I can manage that!

First though, we have a trip to London to meet some of Jim’s Moblog friends. He is taking part in a charity Bike ride, from London to Cambridge….if you fancy sponsering him at all, the website is here: He’s raising money for “BreakThrough” a Breast Cancer charity. There is a link here if you would like to know more about the Breakthrough Charity.

So, what’s next for me?

After I finish work in 3 days time, Spinning for the Tour de Fleece, I have face painting for a friends birthday, making table runners from Sari fabric for a friends wedding, I have been asked to do another face painting session for “The Big Lunch” which is happening the Sunday. I’m hoping the weather stays dry! We’ll be meeting in the Memorial park at around 12.30pm and having a big picnic.

So, still busy, busy for now at least.

Happy days xx

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Dipping into my “energy overdraft”

The first day of the Tour de France and Phil Ligit manages to get one of his famous Ligit-isms in straight away! Yes, it’s that time of year again when fibre freaks around the world don a pair of lycra shorts and tool of their choice. For two years I did the KAL, obtaining a Polka Dot Jersey both times. This year I’m going for my biggest challenge yet, but not with pointy sticks, oh no…this year I’m doing the Tour de Fleece.

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I am on Team Jelly Legs initially, also in Team Rookie and team Drop Spindle

I am planning to spin 400g of fleece and hopefully learn to navajo ply. So far I have spun 100g of the Merino/Silk that was in my last post. It was so easy to spin and looks wonderful as a yarn. I’ve left it in singles, as there are so many colours already in it, I think adding more would be too much.

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Next up is “Precious” from Jo at Limegreenjelly

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I am so very looking forward to spinning this BFL, the colours are just what I want right now.

As for the Tour de France…Armstrong, Wiggins and Cavendish are looking good (these are the guys I particularly look out for). Cadel Evans and Contador are looking good too…I wish all the guys the best of luck!

Watch this from YouTube