Sunday, 30 March 2014

Spring is on it's way, but Winter refuses to leave!

The grey hairy one and I are both enjoying the warmth of my kitchen. I am lucky enough to have an Aga cooker, which warms the house (especially the kitchen) and in turn keeps us cosy. On days, such as today where the weather is wild and windy, I can spend the majority of the day happily in the kitchen with the grey hairy one curled up on his bed and me spinning away. It's time for a tea break and here is a photo of my new spotty cup that I was given at Christmas.

I can sit spinning and see the bird table through the kitchen window with it's visitors. I have filled the table with lots of goodies to attract the birds and we have a steady stream of birds each day. Regulars include a Robin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, pair of Blackbirds, Dunnock, Hedge Sparrow, several noisy Starlings, Woodpigeon, but the most regular of all is a Collared Dove who coos at us if the table is low on supplies, it will even peck indignantly at the kitchen window to remind me to fill the table. This dove has almost become tame and sits on the roof of bird table whilst I put out the food, inches away from me, not seeming in the least bit frightened of me. When not on the bird table this Dove sits in the branches of the cherry tree. Last year it built what can only be described as the most feeble looking nest I have ever seen within the tree just above our heads and the pathway under the tree. It sat there weeks and eventually hatched an egg. After a few weeks the young dove vanished, I don't know what happened to it but hope that it made it to adulthood. Meanwhile it's parent (it's such a regular visitor that I have named this bird Selena, on the assumption it is a female) continues to live in my garden, cooing at us.

Whilst on the subject of the flowering cherry tree in  the garden, I can see the sign of buds on the branches, added to which there are now snowdrops and crocus flowering on the village green,  definitely give an clear indication that spring is on the way, despite to continuing bad weather. No snow yet this year in East Anglia but that often arrives in February. Never mind, the flowers and buds are a happy sight and certainly cheered me up to see them.

I have finished the Cherry Blossom yarn and it is ready to go on my Etsy shop. I had to thread the freshwater pearls onto linen thread and ply that with the Mawatta and Throwsters silk. Here are some photos of the yarn through it's preparation of making rovings of the pink mawatta silk and punies of the throwsters silk. Following on from that, they were spun separately, using the worsted technique, on my Victoria wheel and plied together with the freshwater pearls threaded onto the linen thread. Once plied I wound the yarn onto a niddy noddy to make a skein. The skein was hand washed to set the twist and remove any excess dye from the mawatta silk. Once dried  I measured and weighed the skein and now it is finished. An interesting project which was enjoyable to do. I think it would make a nice light crocheted wrap for a special occasion. I will certainly spin more like this one. Here are a couple of photos taken of my cherry tree in blossom last year which was the inspiration for the yarn along with fond memories of a trip to Japan.


Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Fibre Stash Discovered!

First of all a Happy New Year, one and all. The grey hairy one and myself have at last recovered from our ailments, although the grey hairy one does give an occasional yelp when he tries to shake his head. The vet and ourselves were mystified as to the root cause of his discomfort. I keep a close watch on him but for the most part he is back to his usual cheerful self. I must admit it's hard to come to terms with the fact that he is now classed as a 'senior' as he celebrated his seventh birthday at the start of December.

As for me, Christmas not only brought me some lovely 'spinning themed presents' but best of all the dreadful debilitating nerve pain in my back, shoulder and arm diminished and now has faded away. This means I can begin spinning again and have returned to spinning the red, white and blue merino for the Union Jack mittens. I have also started to spin some of the beautiful silk fibres that I have ready to restock my shop on Etsy in the next couple of months. Over the past few months of inactivity I have been adding a glorious rainbow of fibre colours to my silk stash, shades of Pistachio, apple, purple, a sandy beach, a red/orange sunset and a few more. So spoilt for choice, I don't know where to start - I want to spin them all at the same time. The two cupboards, in the house, where my silk stash is stored, is nearly overflowing.

Like most crafters, I have squirrel like tendencies. Over the years cupboards, shelves, corners and drawers have been filled with equipment, yarn, fibres, patterns, books. I pretend that this does not
get in anyone's way, after all it's out of sight and on the whole my stash is well behaved, but I have reached the stage where opening the cupboard door is done carefully so that the contents do not have a chance to burst out at speed and propel me backwards. As the grey hairy has a habit of creeping up behind to see what I am doing there is the added risk of injury to us both. So, a cupboard spring clean now looms before the stash becomes malevolent.

Well that was my thinking until the large shed sprung a leak, several actually, over the Christmas holiday period. The UK has had a lot of rain over the last few weeks and a great many people have had their homes flooded, which must be a truly dreadful experience to go through. Although I live in a village on the edge of the fenland area of the UK, we have not been greatly affected. Sure, the surrounding fields are flooded and walks with the grey hairy one definitely requires boots and waterproofs. The ground is either like walking across a water filled sponge or you sink in deep squelchy sticky mud. Neither of us are enjoying walks much at the moment.

I had need to visit the large garden shed to find my crochet hooks for a workshop I am attending next week and I thought my hook set was with the 'bigger general craft stash' down there with the spiders. I took backup to help me delve into long forgotten boxes and cobwebs. Looking at the shed roof I remarked that the roof could do with being re-felted in the spring. What we didn't expect was when we opened the door, everything in the shed being wet through. After moving old bikes and various cobwebbed camping equipment we realised that this was going to be a major task. The light was already fading so we decided that buying roof felt and mending the shed a matter of urgency and fled back to the house, to warm up and make a plan of action over a hot drink, to mend the roof and make the shed watertight. As soon as the good weather arrives we will empty the shed and clear out any items that can't be rescued.

The rain goes on and on, leaving no gap within the short winter days to make good the repairs. A temporary repair of waterproof plastic nailed on has made a huge difference. Somewhere in the back of the shed lurks the 'large' stash, sooner or later I will have to deal with this and salvage what I can. Unfortunately, this has brought my stash to the attention of my nearest and dearest and there is no way I can ignore it. any longer!