Saturday, 21 August 2010

I'm in love

A while ago I visited my good friend Puddytatpurr and got her started on her spindling journey. She is an accomplished spinner and always used a wheel. Needless to say, she had a play with my trindle and before I could say boo she was spindling away and had started a spindle collection. She has progressed to supported spindles and loves them.

We always manage to enable each other - go figure. I was intreged when she showed me her latest spindle from Gripping Yarn. It was a beautiful Russian. Well, I just couldn't resist and had to have one of my own.

Purchasing my custom spindle was a brilliant experience. I watched Lisa's videos and then emailed her. I stated I was interested in trying a Russian and a French hand held spindle and that I loved walnut wood but wanted something different. Lisa emailed back and suggested I purchase her Rose design as it can be used both ways and sent me a list of woods she uses together with a suggestion of based on my love of walnut.

Choosing the wood was difficult, to be honest I could take one of each and be a hugely happy bunny. I was seduced by the redness of Redheart but was worried by the fact it can fade in sunlight. I just love African Blackwood, Cocobolo and Ziricote to name a few but I finally settled on Bloodwood as it has a gorgeous glow and reddish tint.

Well, my Rose arrived today and it is even better than I hoped, it just feels so sweet in my hand and is a pleasure to twirl. It also spins well as a Russian although it is going to take me a while to get good at this lol.

It also came with a small chunky batt from Desert Garden Farms, which consists of Rambo, Silk Noil and Angora which is a total pleasure to spin with. Do look at their store, they have some lovely fluff.

I already have plans for ordering a Russian spindle in Lignam Vitae which is a wood that develops a green tinge and smells like roses. I just need to save the money lol.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Exhibition and Sale

I'm so excited! As you may know I am a member of the Wiltshire Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers which I love. At the moment I am busy helping to prepare for our annual textile exhibition and sale.  What is more, I have a couple of pieces of weaving and some yarn in the show.

The exhibition is being held at the West Barn in Bradford-on-Avon. The exhibition runs from 11 to 15 August and will be open from 10.30-5 each day. The admission is 50p with children free when accompanied by an adult.

It promises to be a lovely exhibition and will showcase some of the beautiful work by Guild members. There will be plenty of woven articles to look at and purchase as well as yarns, jewellery and the most gorgeous fascinators. There is usually a spinning demonstration and this year there will be the opportunity to have a go yourself. There will also be a raffle, which will include a range of prizes including a 'start dyeing kit' containing acid dyes and some yarn so the lucky winner can experience the joy of dying their own yarn.

Bradford-on-Avon is a lovely town, well worth a visit in its own right. The West Barn is a beautiful building and is situated near the Tithe Barn, a gorgeous structure. There is also a lovely cafe down by the locks; it is always very busy.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

A little weaving

This weekend I went camping with my friend, Hen, in Exmoor National Park. I met Hen online a while back and we had been hoping to meet for the last 6 months. She makes the most lovely baskets - I have a little one of hers hanging from my Pipy wheel. It holds my different whorls and other spinning bits and bobs. It is brilliant a great shape, it has an off-centre handle so it can hang from a door knob and that it came with a sprig of lavender and an orifice hook. I have been looking forward to meeting Hen in person as I am also in awe of her trail craft.

I arrived where we were camping and it is so beautiful with disused trails, woodland, views of fields and the sea. A perfect spot that is well sheltered, I put up the tent and settled in.  It was then a short drive so we could take a stroll along the Coastal path.  We spotted dolphins playing in the sea and we sat and enjoyed their frolics; it was such a huge privilege to see. Having watched them until they disappeared from view we continued our walk, coming across several wild goats climbing on rocks and chewing the grass.

It was great to spend the weekend under canvas as I love camping but it isn't something I do enough off. We had also agreed to do a skills exchange and so Friday we cooked some eucalyptus leaves over the fire ready for dyeing the next day.

The weather forced us indoors so I broke out the spindle collection, carders and several varieties of wool. I showed Hen how to card wool and spin using a drop spindle although she already spins on a wheel. I seem to demonstrate spindling wherever I go and people seem to really enjoy it, which I love.

On Saturday the weather improved be sunny and warm - ideal for a bit of target practice. For the first time since I left college I was let loose with a bow and arrow. It was brilliant fun. When my mum was much younger she was an archer and it was lovely to feel that connection with her all over again.

Then it was time for a car journey as Hen then took me on a woodland walk to Watersmeet. This lush walk on a clearly defined path took us along a river with plenty of waterfalls and deep basins, edged with a range of plants including wild raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, pennywort, wood sorrell and mushrooms.

I would really love to live in a house in such a stunning location.

We finished dyeing the fibre with eucalyptus and we modified some with iron and some with copper to arrive with 3 beautiful shades.

Saturday night was spent with Hen teaching me how to weave a basket base. It was brilliant fun and she is such a great teacher and very patient.

Sunday loomed, a beautiful sunny day. The weather was a bit hot for making baskets easily as the willow dried out quickly but I was shown how to make a sun.

This then became a sculpture.

Hen then taught me two different weaves.

And finally, after several hours I had a completed basket.

I am hugely proud of my basket and really pleased with it even though it is full of kinks and is slightly uneven and the wrapping on the handles could be better. I loved making it and my hands are recovering nicely. It took most of the day to finish and I did feel a bit mean that I had to run when I finished as it was getting late. Sadly, it was necessary for us to go home and our adventures were over.

It was such a special weekend, one I hope I'll have a chance to repeat in the future. Afterall, despite the fact we talked masses we still have loads to say. But you knew that would be the case, didn't you?