Sunday, August 22, 2010

The End of August in Northumberland

What a beautiful day! I really feel very lucky to live on the doorstep of such a wonderful county and to have a DH who wants to show me all his favourite places. Today we went back to a walk we've done before, not far from Mitford and Meldon in Northumberland about half an hours drive from our home.

The sun shone, the sky was blue and the day started with lots of sightings of butterflies.

The fields are full of ripening wheat which is a sight to behold, so much more pleasing than the oil seed rape of earlier in the year! We could hear the Combine Harvester in a neighbouring field. I expect all the farmers were making the most of a dry day after all the recent rain, they were still hard at it when we were leaving to make out weary way home.
So nice to be out of the city and walking along the footpaths and bridal ways :)

Everywhere are colours I'd love to capture in dyes and fibre or yarn :) But today wasn't about work it was about making time for family and to let the past few weeks hassles and stresses evaporate.

Even the daisies are on top form when the sun gives it's glow to everything around us.
This little guy was happy enough to be singing in the sunshine and DD2 was fascinated by him and the other insects. She ran along spotting things for DH to photograph and he took full advantage of the excellent light conditions. This was the only section of our walk today which was on the road but it was one of those quiet country single lane roads - so quintessentially English with the fields on either side and large untidy hedgerows full of life and colour.

A walk full of butterflies and bees - just what the doctor ordered!
I counted 5 different butterfly species.

The spiders were busy too!

There were pretty sheep and hens of course.

Into the woods and we found fantastic alien looking fungi growing on the trees.

Look at the texture on the top of this! It looks as soft as a peach.

Now these I know are Texel, I asked the farmer :)
There were also blackies and mules :) which I recognise now since Agusta and I went up to see Julie when they were shearing.

As we walked past a shed where they were shearing earlier in the year we saw abandoned fleece! This was like torture but I didn't stuff it in my rucksack and run away LOL

I was tempted!

There were green lanes and lanes of green.

It was a good day :)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Spotty meets Max

My DD2 has a favourite toy so when I asked if she's like to do some sewing this morning it was no surprise that she wanted to make another Spotty.

Fabric was chosen, a pattern drawn, and sewing ensued. I just happen to have toy stuffing, like you do, so it was only a couple of hours between thought and finished toy. Here are Max and Spotty together, making friends.

Ah, that's better, Max is going to be Spotty's mummy, every dinosaur needs a mummy, don't you think? :)

Friday, August 06, 2010

Suint or no Suint the Fleece Goes On.

The second fleece came out looking cleaner and I'd say the whole thing was a qualified success. Qualified by the fact that the fleece absolutely reaks to high heaven and even when rinsed really well still has a considerable and foul wiff! Qualified by the fact that although now white it still has dirty-ish tips and is still very greasy with lanolin.

Years ago people learnt to spin with fleece, they mainly spun from fleece, they made their own fibre preperations and carding is hard work. Spinning in the grease was a lot more common that it is for new spinners now. What I have after the FSV may be a perfect preperation for spinning in the grease, I don't know how to assess that, I don't have the experience or skills. But I do know that I learnt to spin using prepared tops, tops in many rainbow colours or white naturally coloured tops. Tops free from lanolin. This is where my comfort zone is, this is how I like to spin. I do not want to get my carders or wheel dirty, I do not want to spin greasy fleece. So from now on it's hot water and detergents for me :) Tried it, decided it's not for me. So back to the white clean fresh lovely fleece I'm used to. Back to the lovely colourful tops hanging in my hallway :)

This is my current spinning, beautiful BFL Tops from Wildcraft in Mont Blanc colourway.

In other news Sock Club is very nearly ready to ship. Today will be spent tweaking the new sock pattern for this months colourway. I need to grab DD1 to get a modeled photo to put on the pattern before she leaves for the day :) Once the parcels start to arrive I promise there wil be photos here too but for now it's a secret so shhh! No spoilers today.

But every bog post should have a photo or two so I'll go photograph some BFL locks I am going to dye for the shop - before and after photos, here's 'before' today, and 'after' will follow when they're ready :)

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Fermented Suint Vat

Here's the rinsed Polwarth fleece that I used to start the FSV all wrapped in mesh bags and draining in the yard. This fleece was very dirty and had a small anmount of vm and a lot of lanolin, the vat has been soaking and brewing for 8 days. This fleece still needs washing with warm/hot water and a detergent to clean it of the lanolin. I need to let it dry first so that it wont felt when I put it in the hot water but Dh wont let it in the house because of the smell so I hope it doesn't rain tonight lol

The stinky FSV in the box, all the water from the draining fleece went back in here but no fresh clean water was added. This smells like liquid sheep manure (I'm not sure it's anything but - to be honest) but the fleece is very white apart from the tip and still feels full of lanolin.

This the Romney before it went in the Vat beautifully skirted and free of Vegetable matter and ready to go into the disgusting mucky water. This is the real test of the Vat's powers. I still need to wash the Polwarth it's very white but the tips are still disgusting and the smell of the FSV is disgusting too. Theis fleece is a Romney Shearling and it's beautiful but quite grubby so if the FSV does it's stuff it should come out nice and white after a 2 day soak and should just need rinsing (several times) and drying to be ready to spin.