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Wednesday, 27 October 2010


I've finally started knitting my cardigan using the multi-coloured wool I finished recently.  After knitting various samples I decided it was turning out a bit too orange for me so set to work spinning some blue and some red to blend in with it.  I'm knitting it in one piece because I HATE having to sew pieces together after I've spent all that time making it.

The pattern doesn't really show up very well here, mainly because of the colours, but it's a mixture of little bobbles, moss stitch, stocking stitch, seed stitch and, basically, anything I feel like at the time.  I'm making it up as I go along.  Need to have it finished by the end of November when we are going back to the UK for a 3 week holiday, so got to get my fingers going!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Talullah's Wool

Finished the first ball of llama wool, there are some photos below.  The llama is the grey colour, and the other is from Bridget the Camel.  Unfortunately, there won't be much more wool from Bridget - she's been sold and sent to Holland.

And the next photo is the same wool wound into balls . . .

Think I need to work on my photographic skills.  They look black and white on here.  And they certainly don't show how soft and fluffy they are.

Spent this afternoon digging the garden, adding manure, and planting garlic.  And Eric's started work on my new greenhouse.  We have an old dilapidated swimming pool which we inherited with the house and have spent the last seven years trying to decide what to do with it.  Then last year we had the chance of an above-ground wooden-clad pool, half price.  So we decided the best thing was to put a poly-carbonate roof on the old pool and make it into a greenhouse.  Think I might be spending a lot of time in there in the winter months with my spinning wheel!!

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Talullah, Brewster Bob and Lady Camels

Had a visit from Sarah on Friday.  She brought me another huge box of camel down plus some llama from Talullah and alpaca from Brewster Bob.  The camel is on the left, Talullah is the lovely grey colour on the right, and Brewster Bob is top right.  They don't look very spectacular in these photos, but I just wish you could feel them.  They are all so soft, but I think the camel gets the gold star every time - it's like spinning clouds.

This is a very bed photo of Talullah the llama's wool before and after carding.  I thought I'd start with her because I like the colour so much.  It looks a bit brown here, but it's really more like the photo at the top  - grey with a hint of brown - gorgeous soft feel too.  Can't wait to finish the first ball.

Today we have rain, so I don't feel too guilty about spinning all day instead of digging the garden.  We collected a trailer load of  nicely rotted horse manure from the pony club the other day and I need to get the garlic planted.  Not today though!

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Market Demo

These are a few photos from September taken at our local market.  In the summer months, our village has a small market every Sunday morning and this was the final one of the season.  There were other craftspeople and artists there, and I'd been asked to take my spinning wheel and demonstrate.  It was a lovely warm day, and Eric took his guitar and amplifier to play and sing a few tunes.  On the table is a selection of some of the yarns I've spun, including a basket of naturally dyed yarns.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

New Wool!

Here are some photos (I hope!) of my latest spinning and dyeing efforts.

The wool is a mixture of merino and mohair (one strand of each, plied together) which was then washed and hand-painted using Ashford's acid dyes - a little pack of the 3 primary colours.  I mixed half a teaspoon of each colour, then mixed some of the red and yellow to create orange, blue and yellow to make green, and blue and red for purple.  Then I added more water to each of the six colours as I didn't want them too strong.  Each colour was put into a hand sprayer (old hair conditioning sprayers) ready to apply to the wool.

The wetted out (but hand-squeezed) hanks were laid out in the skein on a large piece of polythene and sort of separated into strands as much as was possible.  Then I sprayed each colour randomly onto the skeins and left them to seep through the layers.  When done, they were steamed for half an hour, left to cool, and then rinsed in clear water and hung up to dry.

The photos show the hanks lying on the polythene just after applying the dyes, and the finished article.  I was quite pleased with the finished result.  Just got to knit the cardigan now!


Wednesday, 13 October 2010

First EVER Blog!!!!!!!!!!

As a fairly creative person (spinning, dyeing, knitting, sewing, pottery etc. etc.) I am a real technophobe.  The fact that anyone is able to read this at all is a major miracle.  Hopefully I'll improve as I go along.

I live in south west France with my born-again rockstar (well, I think so!) husband Eric (will post photos when I know how!!) where we are restoring an old fortified farmhouse in the middle of beautiful Gascony.  My passions are spinning and dyeing all types of wool (i.e. sheep, mohair, angora, camel, alpaca, lama and even my cat!!), silk and anything remotely spinnable.  I grow some of my own dye plants, i.e. madder, woad, dyer's chamomile, and frequently collect from nature and the fields around us to create my colours.

I hope in the future to post details and photos of my current projects, so WATCH THIS SPACE!!