Friday, 29 March 2013

Today is my Birthday.
It was an exciting start to the day as for the first time ever I watched a pair of Goldfinches visit my garden. They didn't come to eat the tasty niger seed in the feeders (set out just for the purpose of attracting goldfinches to my garden), but to hunt for nesting material. They ignored the bird table and the feeders completely, but it was wonderful to see them and I felt very honoured to have them come today. A birthday cake arrived - the candles don't give much away with regard to age but suffice to say I have reached an age where there isn't enough room for the candles needed, but I did manage to blow the candles out in one go and make a wish!


The Goldfinches didn't stay more than a few minutes, no time to fetch a camera and sadly didn't return again.

The weather here today was very dull and there was a bitter wind but we did go for a nice walk around Wandlebury Ring which the grey hairy one enjoyed and our walk took us past the small herd of Aberdeen Angus cattles' enclosure. The grey hairy one refused to get too close which I am not sure is a wariness of the cattle or the fence around the enclosure, which has an electric wire along the top. The cattle are always curious about the grey hairy one and will often follow us along the length of their enclosure until we leave them behind. I always think their hair looks as though it could be spun and it reminds me of Tussah silk in looks. The cattle seem to range in colour from cream to a gorgeous ginger. During the walk we spooked a large male hare who leapt out from the undergrowth darting this way and that, very close to us and quickly sped away bounding through the trees.

Here is a picture of the small rolags of the Throwsters Waste ready for spinning and my little bunny dish to store the freshwater pearls which I have threaded onto a linen thread to make ready to ply with the Mawatta and Throwsters Waste silks.

I spent the rest of the day quietly and now the Throwsters Waste Silk has been spun and the pearls threaded I have begun to ply the three strands together. It's going to be the first time I have added 'foreign objects' to my yarns so it will be an interesting exercise.

A Happy Easter from me and the grey hairy one.
As a disguise I don't think this is going work!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Japanese Cherry Tree Blossom inspired yarn and Snow Dog.
This weekend has brought snow again to the UK. We woke to light snow on Saturday morning and kept the curtains closed until after breakfast. The reason? The grey hairy one LOVES snow! For a dog who detests rain (he won't put a paw outside the door, just retreats backwards), and dislikes the wind and summer heat it came as a big surprise to find he adores snow. He stands at the back door whining until we go outside and races around in circles trying to eat snow, but ends up inhaling it and sneezing. He also loves to walk across ice and every puddle has to be stood on. Below are a couple of photos I took this morning while we were out after more snow overnight.
"Honestly, I wasn't eating the snow, it just sort of stuck to my nose"

Of course, multiple walks to explore the Narnia landscape mean less time for spinning indoors so here are a couple of photos I have been taking of the 'Japanese Cherry Blossom' Silk Yarn I talked about in my last blog entry. Why Japanese Cherry Blossom? Well I was lucky enough to visit Japan a few years ago just as the first Cherry Blossom was blooming and this week the news has shown pictures of the Cherry trees, in Japanese parks, in bloom.

I have spun the dyed Mawatta Silk Hankies first after stretching the fibres into rovings and will then spin the Throwsters Waste after having carded the fibres into small rolags. I love this textured silk, it has so much character.

The finished bobbin of Mawatta.  Now to start on the Throwsters Waste.
Before I go here is one more photo of the grey hairy one enjoying himself in the snow today, unlike me who was freezing and longing to go back inside.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Hello again,
Sorry about the hiatus during the winter months but Christmas crept up on me and my New Year resoultions fell by the wayside (less TV, more spinning and listening to radio whilst peddling and regular blog entries). I have however managed to set up my Etsy shop and go for some lovely dog walks with the grey hairy one. I have even remembered to take along my camera to take snapshots of colours and things that inspire me. Here on the right is such a photo taken looking up through the beautiful vivid red berries on the hedgerow to the wispy blue sky beyond. A shock of colour in an otherwise grey winters walk.

This picture on the left was taken on a trip to the Lake District last autumn, whilst walking along the shore of Lake Windermere. A lovely dry stone wall covered in Lichens and Ivy. I love how the pattern of the stones is softened by the greenery inhabiting the wall. Its not only on dog walks that I find inspiration but from all sorts of other things. For instance I love the world as seen through the eyes of Claude Monet. Since first seeing his work as a teenager, I have been enthralled with his use of colour. I have visited his garden at Giverney in France and each time I go there I have never wanted to leave. Walking round the gardens it feels as if I have wondered into one of his paintings and if I turn quickly there he will be with his paintbrushes and easel. I have some lovely photos of Giverney and will put my favourite up on here at a later date. I like to listen to music when spinning, generally something soothing, peaceful and uplifting.

I find other Spinners very inspirational. A couple of years ago I purchased a book by Alison Daykin and Jane Deane called 'Creative Spinning' published by gaia traditional crafts. This is a lovely book which I often leaf through to admire Alison and Janes'  yarn creations. Alison has written several articles on creative spinning of yarns in 'Yarnmaker' magazine (which by the way if you haven't come across is a superb read and well worth supporting). In 'Creative Spinning' is a yarn called blossom in the silk mix section of the book. At the moment I am spinning some hand dyed Pink Mawatta silk hankies (instead of the Tussah recommended) and some undyed cream Throwsters waste. To give my yarn my own twist I am adding fresh water pearls threaded onto linen thread and will ply them all together to make a yarn. I have been taking photos of this work in progress and will post its story as we go along.
To leave you here is the grey, hairy one looking out over a very cold, choppy Lake Windermere. (Just after this was taken he turned around and promptly stepped backwards resulting in a cold wet back leg! As is usual with Deerhounds he unceremoniously belched and looked round at me as if it was my fault his leg got wet.)