A candle loses nothing by giving its light to another candle

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Weaving amidst the winter's chill

As we in the UK shiver in freezing temperatures; those of us who have fleeces stashed away...have been making the most of working with them, and keeping warm in the process !!

However, just before the cold really began to bite....
Mo and I braved the November fog to attend the craft fair held at the Manor House School.
The stalls of the farmer's market were outside, amidst the historic ruins of the castle at Ashby De La Zouch.

Castle ruins
Bird sculptures

 This craft fair at Bedworth Folk Festival became the last one of the season for me. Sadly the cold weather and dangerous travelling conditions affected many planned events that were cancelled ( which had included two more for me) but....
 I have found time to play with some new toys...


A work in progress on the peg loom, using the Lincoln Longwool locks that I washed and prepared back in the summer, and more recently Mo kindly hand dyed for me. These locks have not been carded or spun, but have been teased apart and woven. Just the pastime for a chilly winter's day.

Hoar frosted Willow

Bbrrrr...Season's Greetings everyone

Thursday, 11 November 2010

All Change....again

I know.... it's been ages since I wrote in my blog.
There have been many happenings (and not happenings) since September.
Just a couple of weeks after collecting my spinning wheel; symptoms of frozen shoulder returned with avengence. My physiotherapist advised me to do as little crafting as possible. No spinning, weaving, knitting, felting. No computer work, no housework ( I can cope with the latter).
She doesn't seem to think it's freezing up this time; but just grinding and grumbling through overuse...probably all that stabbing with the needle felt, and rolling the wet felt, and spin, spin spinning !
It's all a bit of a 'b' really, especially as the seasonal craft shows season is upon us.

I managed to spin a few skeins of BFL / Silk ..... 

 And although I'm rather a reluctant knitter; I did conquer the art of knitting on a circular needle....

 ....This is the 'Meobius'. test swatch. One continuous ring with one twist. It has one edge and one side.
Mind boggling ! However, I still have the silver ring that I designed and made whilst at college; and had no idea at the time that it was a Meobius; which I could have sold several times over. The ring of infinity. No beginning, no end. 

Change is the watchword of Progression,
When we tire of well-worn ways, we seek for new.
This restless craving in the souls of men;
Spurs them to climb, and seek the mountain view.

(from 'The Year Outgrows the Spring' by Ella Wheeler Wilcox)

Friday, 17 September 2010

the wheel turns

And so the wheel of the year turns.
It seems only a very short time ago that we were enjoying the days getting longer; and now they are getting shorter already !
I generally like to let days unfold as they will; but once the dark evenings descend, I prefer to get some kind of task order into the day. Using the daylight for handcrafting, and thus leaving the twilight hours for computing / research (and you'll note that there is no mention of housework / gardening in there !) tee hee!.

A small group of us went to Melton Market last week.; where there was, among other animals, a fabulous collection of different sheep breeds. The local spinning group were demonstrating. There was also a chance to purchase fleece from a variety of breeders. (I only bought one small bag of Shetland back with me), although I was very tempted to push my luck with him indoors, and bring back a small flock of live ones !    

"I am not a number!"
Melton Mowbray is one of England's oldest market towns. Well known for it's famous pork pies and Stilton cheese .

High Street
This Melton market is held annually, and is well worth a visit. The old architecture is amazing; and the market itself, apart from the fleece and feather, has many interesting stalls and crafts.

 As I've become more involved within the realm of textiles; one of my dearest friends lent me one of her wheels to play with....

Louet Victoria
 One bobbin full of humbug BFL...and my head is really spinning.!!

And spinning some 'designer yarn' with some of the Lincolnshire Longwool fleece.

nice hair, wink wink
And dyed silk.  Absolutely yummy !

And some BFL / silk blend with all sorts of bits and bobs spun into the mix.

With all this spinning going on, I suppose it was inevitable that I would want a wheel of my own. After much research and talking to 'them folk what know about such things', me and him indoors took a trip up to Wentworth, South Yorkshire to visit Wingham Wool Work where there was an opportunity to try out a few wheels.
Here are a few photos from around the village, that were just too good not to share...

Paradise Square
Victorian Postbox
The Church
Rush hour !

Pentagram ? These villagers were well protected

Me and 'Cookie' across the road from Winghams

Alan at Winghams was very helpful with my final choice of wheel. I wanted a double treadle, that would fold flat for traveling. It also needed to be fairly compact when assembled, and pleasing to the eye. Most important though was how it felt as I treadled, and would it spin the types of yarn that I was looking to spin ?
Modern wheels have come a long way, and although they all basically do the same thing, they do vary in size and design. Some have a very contemporary style (which are nice) while I prefer the ageless/timeless/classic look.
Ashford (New Zealand) wheels are always spoken highly of, and research had provided lots of positive comments about the Kromski (from Poland) wheels. Visiting Winghams gave me the ideal opportunity of trying both. 

The Kromski Sonata  ticked all the boxes for me.

  Although this photo doesn't show it, there is a  built in 'lazy kate' which swings out from the bottom right-hand side, holds two spare bobbins, and is used when plying. The photo below captures the Polish newspaper that was wrapped around some of the parts, and this write up would not be complete without a mention that the instructions for assembly are written in Polish...Ummm...Cudowny ! They did have clear photos though (just as well !!)...and hooray for t'internet, managed to find them in English.

So, here is a picture of my new wheel complete with some 'homespun' and roving, and the Polish newspaper.
This photo has not been 'staged'. Our house always looks neat and picturesque like this...uumm..yeah right...NOT !!.

Blessed be. May your harvest be a bountiful one...  and happy crafting.
The wheel turns.

Monday, 23 August 2010

New Layout

Last weekend was a busy one.; and the final county show of the summer season for me. Designing and making for these shows was a challenge, but such fun, and I made lots of new friends, and returning customers.
I can now relax for a few weeks and re-charge my batteries. Not that I'll be any less creatively active of course !

There are so many techniques in textiles that I want to experiment with; and so the next couple of weeks I'm planning some real fun play time. My sketch book and scribbled down thoughts on design ideas is brimming over. 

One of those  'scribbled down thoughts' was about re-vamping my blog page.
So fellow bloggers...here it is.....

Tuesday, 10 August 2010


Enjoying the journey....

Cross patch, draw the latch,
Take up your wheel and spin.
Take a cup, and drink it up,
Then call your neighbours in.

Or so the old nursery rhyme goes.

There are many variations and suggestions of the use of words in this old rhyme. One school of thought is that she that worked alone, which often made her feel cross in doing a menial job for a pittance.
Another suggestion is that the 'cross patch' referred to the woman who would mend and make do with whatever materials were available at the time. The last two lines suggest a time of celebration with friends.

Time has changed; and with respect to the above...for the better.

The spinners and other craft people whom I've come into contact with are well respected and a cheerful bunch !

I  have quite recently discovered , (through researching our family tree ) that my ancestors were frame-smiths and frame-masters., living and working in the town where I now live myself.; right in the hub of the old stocking frame area.  Incredible !
More information has come to me that involves craftsmen in engraving, authors, teachers, artists, designer /makers;  and for those of you out there of a 'certain age', you may remember your bicycle saddle having the name of Brooks on it.
Ooo wer !

my first ball of hand-spun yarn

The small ball of single yarn was just enough to knit this simple cuff.

Enjoying the journey, and meeting lots of interesting folk; re-connecting with those from generations past and  those very much in the now.

Yesterday is history,
Tomorrow is a mystery,
Today is the gift,
That's why it's called the present.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Fleeces and Spinning

Well, I suppose it was inevitable that I would eventually want to have a go at spinning !
'Having a go', being the operative word !
Ummm !
The 'ladies wot spin' make it look so easy.!

These are the locks from the Lincolnshire Longwool. Considered amongst some spinners, to be not a 'beginners' fleece., and the staples are indeed  long !; but it does have a beautiful lustre.  It took me the best part of a day to separate the locks and wash them. They looked so pretty hanging out to dry; and the more they dried, the whiter they became. I'm not sure what I will create with them., but I have some projects in mind that involve felting and weaving.  


This is Portland fleece

And here it is after washing and drying. A huge white fluffy cloud of white fleece. Scrummy.

Washed and dried. Scrummy and fluffy

This does not wet felt easily. It needle felts though., and is one of the favourites among spinners.

  My first spun cord of Lincolnshire Longwool., spun on a drop spindle. I don't think I'll be knitting anything with it !  More practice needed me finks. 

first spinnings on the wheel
Not worrying about the destination, just enjoying the journey into this wonderful world of fibre art.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Show days and Groups

The month of June quickly became July; and with this month came show days, craft days and new groups.
Market Bosworth was the first show. I wasn't exhibiting. Unfortunately non of my photos turned out; but suffice to say that it was a lovely day. The weather was perfect, with a lovely summer breeze keeping us cool in the very warm sunshine.
The second  show was Ashby Country Fair. I had been working very hard for this event..'felting for England' !

This little chappie is my latest creation, and attracted lots of interest and smiles. 

I had been experiencing a real urge to create a large piece of felting. This wall hanging combines both wet and needle techniques.; and measures about the size of a standard pillow case. Sold at the show.

 My stall was situated in the craft marquee; opposite a group of ladies known as the Sheepwash Spinners. They put on a fabulous display (as pics below show, thanks to Maureen for a couple of these)  of hand dyed / spun yarns plus a wealth of goodies, enough to make one's mouth water !

I felt very proud when one of these ladies purchased my sheep wall hanging.
I also secured a commission on a second piece, on a similar vein. Work is in progress !
You can find out more about them and the Derbyshire Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers  here 

For those of you who don't know me ...I 'don't do' early mornings, so getting up very early, plus the excitement of  the day took its' toll !!  however I had recovered enough by the Tuesday to get back into the designing and making again ready for the shows booked in August.

This weekend I took a friend, who is visiting from California, to a local spinning group. It was a new experience for me also, and I must say that we had a fabulous day. Thank you girls for your warm welcome, lively conversation, hints and tips and yummy lunch. Hey, and thanks for helping me get to grips with using a drop spindle !

Tuesday, 22 June 2010


Here are just a few pics of my weekend in 'well dressing' country. Well dressing events are unique to Derbyshire.

Stanshope Hall and surrounding countryside.

....and the black cat who lives at the hall. ; who seems to manage just fine on 3 legs...ah bless.

 The craft fair was held in the village hall at Tissington. Too far away for me to travel home each day; so my friend Shirls and I made the most of a girlie weekend away. Very nice to. 

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Craft Fair and Exhibition days

Two busy weekends. The first at Atherstone fun day and the second at Elmesthorpe Art and Craft Exhibition.

This event was enjoyed by everyone; crafters and revellers. The sun shone, bands played, dogs showed, and I do believe the local pubs did a roaring trade !
St. Mary's Church was filled with a large selection of crafts, including brass rubbing and local spinners.

The second one was held at Elmesthorpe Village Hall and St. Mary's Church. (where history tells us that King Richard's men stayed over night before the Battle of Bosworth)


  Within the church there was this wonderful display of beautiful quilts

And Lyn's tatting ...

Sadly, my phone / camera battery went flat before I had managed to take pics of the display in the village hall (next door to the church)., or my own needle felted sculptures on display.; but never mind; and I did sell a couple of pieces.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Sheep shearing down on the farm

Well, I don't really know what happened to the merry month of May ! whoosh and it had gone.

Thought you may like to see a few photos that were taken on the farm in Desford on sheep shearing day.  

And some of the other animals .....

Lastly I espied a real live Pinto !

Thank you all (you know who you are) xx,  for a truly enjoyable and interesting day.