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Saturday, 30 June 2012

On Your Marks, Get Set . . .


Today is the first day of the Tour de France, and therefore the first day of the Tour de Fleece.  So this morning I got up bright and early and sat in the sun with my spinning wheel for two hours.

Not a very exciting photo, but it's a start.  This is my first time spinning Falkland fleece, and it was really nice to spin.  This is going to be a shawl for my friend who gave me the fleece.  It will eventually be dyed blue, but for now it looks pretty boring!  Today I managed to spin about 25g.  I'm not sure exactly how much I'll have to spin for this project, but I need at least 500 yards of yarn, so probably between 150g and 200g.

Yesterday we had visitors arrive here - Ted, our friend from Germany, and Caroline, his daughter.  Unfortunately, Caroline can only stay until Tuesday as she has to go back to work, but this evening she found time to give me a painting lesson.  Well, mainly a drawing lesson - the "colouring-in" was pretty easy.  First we ventured into the field which surrounds our house, and "acquired" a couple of sunflowers (don't tell the farmer!), then we sat and drew them (Caroline did hers in a quarter of the time it took me).  Here's the finished painting, I was actually quite pleased with the way it turned out.

You'll notice I haven't posted a photo of Caroline's sunflowers (she did two) - hers was much better than mine so I'm not going to tempt a comparison!

Right - off to bed now.  I have to be up early again in the morning to do more spinning. We've been invited to a birthday party in the afternoon, and then Eric has a band rehearsal in the evening, so I may not get much time to spin.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Le Tour Looms!

Just a quick little post to show you a little of what I've been doing since we got back from the UK.  There's been lots of gardening, grass cutting, and weeding, but in my spare time I've been trying to get this little lot carded :-

for this year's Tour de Fleece, which starts in 5 DAYS!!!

All of these have been dyed with plants and lichen, apart from the white Falkland at the back which hasn't been dyed at all.  I'll probably spin that first and then dye it.  It's going to be blue, but my woad plants won't be ready for a while yet so I may have to use an acid dye.

I very cleverly (or so I thought!) put little labels on each different fleece saying what it was and what it was dyed with.  Since these are not clear enough to read, let's start with the white Falkland at the back and work around the edge, clockwise.  First is the Falkland, then we have some merino dyed with apricot bark, then British Friesland dyed with nettles (I used an alum mordant for this one), then Friesland dyed with nettles but this time using a copper mordant, then sheeps wool dyed with oak moss lichen (sorry, don't know what this fleece is), then more sheeps wool using a green lichen which looked a bit like kale, and finally, in the middle, merino dyed with mixed lichens.

I was hoping to add some more colours to this pile, i.e. I have some home-grown madder for reds and oranges, plus some black beans which can give blue or grey, but I think I'm running out of time.  Maybe this will be enough to keep me occupied and at the same time reduce some of the clutter in my fibre cupboard.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

The Wedding

Now we're back home, I can finally post a few photos of Ben and Sam's wedding.  We were really worried that the weather wouldn't behave as it had rained pretty much constantly since we arrived in the UK on Tuesday night.  Thankfully on Saturday it was dry and the sun even showed it's face.  These are taken outside the marquee just before the wedding.

Eric in the suit he wore when we got married, and me in my remodelled wedding dress. The cardigan didn't get finished, so I'd had to buy something else to go with it.

During the ceremony - looking a bit nervous!

And afterwards - with Ben's Mum.  The photographer wanted Eric to take his "sun specs" off for the photo, that's why he's looking a bit confused.  They're actually photochromatic (is that the right word?) prescription glasses and he can't see a thing without them!

The Saunders Boys (and Mum!)

Then it was back into the tent for the reception

where good fun was had by all - this is my favourite sister-in-law Jane (actually, she's my only sister-in-law!)  Too much champagne, obviously!

Alan, Eric's brother.

Each table had an appointed "carver" - this is Mike, Sam's stepfather, with her Mum, Wendy :-

And then the party began,

Ben, being a pilot, had to have a helicopter (made out of balloons)

and Sam was kitted out with a very fetching pair of wings!

Finally, a view from the wedding venue, overlooking Burgh Island :-

So, that's the first wedding - one down, three to go! - next one's in August.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Wet and Windy Weather

Here we are in sunny Devon . . . NOT!  The weather is absolutely atrocious - high winds and driving rain.  And it's forecast to get worse tonight with flood warnings issued.  We're just keeping everything crossed for the wedding on Saturday, hoping for a little respite in the weather.

The blue cardigan I was knitting on the way over here has more or less fallen by the wayside.  I knit all day in the camper van while we were travelling north in France, and at the end of that time I hadn't even reached the armholes on the back.  At that point I realised it was pretty hopeless, so when we got over here we went shopping.  Problem solved.  I will carry on knitting the cardigan, but leisurely, not manically like on Sunday!

Will try and post some photos of the wedding later, but it depends on where we are (at the moment we're sitting in the California Inn - sounds good hey? - and they have free WiFi.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Ready to Knit

1409 yards - should be enough for the cardigan.  Time to get knitting, 7 days and counting . . .

Think I'll be sewing this up on the way to the wedding!

Friday, 1 June 2012

Silkmoth Emerging from Cocoon

First photo shows the end of the cocoon which has become wet.
You can just see the moth through the silk.


Almost there.




This last photo is the moth plumping up it's wings.