1

And relax…

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Sadly I had to give up the Tour de Fleece towards the end due to a very, very painful shoulder. I most probably over did it a bit on the spinning, but that’s me, go at it ‘hell for leather’ and suffer the consequences after!

I did manage to produce some yarns I am very proud of and once this shoulder heals or I find a way to work with it, I will go back and finish the yarns I started.

The one above is a merino and embroidery thread art yarn, only about 20g as it took some time. Inspired by the final day of The Tour, coming down the Champs Elysees at night and the wonderful display on the Arc de Triomphe.

Th yarn below is another Limegreenjelly hand dyed merino. This is the finest I have ever spun, so producing a 2 ply DK yarn, which belonged to me for all of 20 mins. A friend saw it hanging on the line drying and bought it!

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There is another I am half way through spinning, a grey Gotland fleece, I haven’t got photos of it yet, but it has the most wonderful curls that I didn’t want to loose, so I haven’t carded the fleece, but spun it as it is, it’s producing a slubby art yarn, silver grey and black. I can’t wait to show it off.

One thing I did learn during The Tour, is the existence of Spindolyns. It’s a drop spindle that spins in a base, so you can prep the fleece with two hands.

I’ve ordered one for my birthday!! Woohoo!!

So until then, I have a little relaxing time now, making clocks, and hats for various people….

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0

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.

4

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…

2

Buns and bikes and batts…oh my!

*fanning myself franticly!*

The Tour de France got on it’s way on Saturday evening and as always, the house goes a bit Tour mad…the poster of the route has gone up and Cycling Weekly will be bought and ITV4 will be on almost religiously for the next three weeks.

And of course the fibre and spindles are out too for the Tour de Fleece…where spinners all over the world have wheels moving as fast as Cavendish on a winning sprint…or, maybe not going by yesterdays performance!

That was a pretty impressive crash!

So what’s my plan of action for the Tour? Well, Cycling Weekly gave me an idea. On the front cover it poses the question “What type of Tour rider would you be?” Now, during the TDFKAL the “riders” would state which jersey they would be working towards, but in the Tour de Fleece, we don’t do this so I decided to see which kind of rider I would compare to instead.

hmmm..

Cycling Weekly suggests that sprint climbers need to propel themselves upwards so being a small or medium in size helps. Yep, sounds good to me, not sure about the stocky build and large quadriceps…(where are they again?) though.

Climbers have long legs and ferocious aerobic power…that’s me out then being a measly 4ft 11″!

Sprinters can be any size (cool) have a strong core (yep) and arm and shoulder strength…hmmm.

and then Time trialists…have narrow shoulders and a small frontal area…(uh yeah, that’ll be me then), flexible, yep,  and feel more comfortable in a low position. sounds perfect. So the aim of the Time Trialist? Fastest average speed…

So, this concludes that I shall keep spinning as much as possible, speeding up for the straight and slowing for the bends. I had intended to spin everything I have until I bought a load more fibre. So now I’m going for as much as possible as long as I keep going, no days off.

During the prologue I finished Jo’s “My Velocity” BFL/Seacell

Sadly after spinning so much on Saturday, I had great difficulty spinning on Sunday as my hands and arms were aching but I did manage 50g of a Merino/Alpaca/Camel and Mulberry silk blend, which was incredibly light and easy to spin, although it made me sneeze like …a big sneezey thing!

Now this beautiful fibre is now spun into DK weight singles I have aptly re-named “Velo” .

Purchased from Limegreenjelly

Chunnky singles. Merino/Alpaca/Camel/Mulberry Silk

Laceweight singles so far. BFL/Bamboo which I think I may ply with some Black Welsh tops.

It’s back to the doctors for me today. After being told I will have to wait 6 months to see a specialist about my legs, I’m pretty annoyed so a fair bit of…not shouting but a little more than gentle persuasiveness (oooh think i just made up a word) and get this sorted. Just some non drug induced sleep would be nice.

Good luck with the spinning and knitting everyone!

5

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.

6

“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

6

Turning of the Tide

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1. “Taffygog Tribble”. Alpaca and Merino, handspun on a drop spindle.

2. Good beer and MamaMi’s “Blasus”, superfine merino.

3. Alpaca neck warmer.

4. New drop spindle with more MamaMi superfine merino.

5. Twilley’s of Stamford 100% wool “Freedom” knitted in garter stitch.

6. “Blasus” superfine merino singles, spun on drop spindle.

7. Spinning outside, alpaca.

8. “After the Goldrush” wool and angelina fibre I think….(help Anne?) from MamaMi.

9. New drop spinlde, new carders and new fibre……heaven!

10. Alpaca, 2ply, drop spindle.

11. Handbag knitted in “Freedom” with circular bamboo handles.

12. “Taffygog Tribble”.

Centre: more alpaca!

As you can see I’ve kinda got into this spinning lark….kinda. It seems there is more spinning going on than knitting at the moment, though I do need to swap the spindle for needles soon as there are a few babies on the way….not me, btw, before anyone gets any silly ideas!

But while things are going my way I’m sicking with this spinning. The wonderful lady at my LYS has done it again and managed to put me in touch with a local wood turner. I bought a few of his bowls which are beautiful (I’ll post a pic later). I asked G when she saw him next to ask if he’d have a go at making drop spindles…..A big fat YES was the reply and after a phone call from him, I think he’s about as excited as I am about it all and wants to try his hand at making a spinning wheel! As I don’t have one I’ll have to see about finding stuff on t’internet for him (if anyone can point me in the right direction I will be very grateful). Anyway the new spindle in the mosaic above is the one he made…..it works fine, a little wobbley, but it spins. I was hoping to meet up with Jonathan during the half term holidays as he said he’d let me have a go on his lathe! How cool is that? But it looks like we may be going away to Cardiff to see a frriend…..Angie, I will be in touch, maybe we can meet up?

As well as all that, I managed to get a pair of second hand carders from the wonderful Christina (thank you x) so that’s me in business!

Apart from all that good stuff, there’s not a great deal going on. Work, work and work! I am looking forward to the half term holidays though and getting a bit of a break. She says, with four kids in tow!

I’m trying to organise a WWKIP day here. I was trying for the Pembroke Town Hall but it’s booked for that week. I have a lovely lady on the case who’s been trying very hard to find a venue, but nothing is working out. So I’m going to try for the space outside the Pembroke Dock Library, it’s close to a cafe, toilets and seats. If it rains though, I don’t know what we’ll do? Still working on that one! We might end up in one of the church halls, which is what I didn’t want to do, as they are not public enough…..we shall see.

If anyone in Pembrokeshire wants to come and join us, please feel free….please, let’s make this a fantastic event!

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Hand made wooden bowls. If you’re interested, they are £16. Just let me know.