The cyclists are having a well-deserved day off today, so I thought I would have a break from the spinning and catch up with some other bits and pieces from the last six months.
Back at the end of October I went to Devon for Terri‘s second lovely Fibre Weekend. The Friday starting early with me packing all my stuff in the car, having a think and then re-packing. Then I finally set off to collect Marty, and re-packed the car, and then down to collect Joanne, and you guessed it, re-packed the car again. I was quite impressed that you could get three people, three spinning wheels and their luggage including bedding in a Nissan Note, and no-one had to be strapped to the roof or balance their spinning wheel on their head, though Joanne was squashed in the back with a wall of stuff along side her.
Luckily the drive down was nice and uneventful, and we arrived at Sheldon in time to unpack the car and eat our packed lunch before the afternoon’s workshops started. I had signed up for natural dyeing with Amanda Hannaford, which was great fun, and very interesting. Amanda sent us the mordant recipe so we could mordant our yarn before we arrived. I used some 4ply weight superwash bluefaced leicester wool, and made myself a selection of mini skeins so I could try the different dyes.
Here are some of the skeins we dyed drying outside:
And here is everybody’s skeins laid out for everyone to admire:
Here are my 12 little skeins:
From left to right they are: madder x 3, weld x 1, goldenrod x 3, logwood x 1, indigo x 2, and cochineal x 2, all using an alum mordant. I like some of the colours better than others, but it was fun to try it all, and interesting to see the results.
After Terri’s fantastic cooking for dinner and a bit of knitting and spinning we all fell into our beds in time to get a bit of sleep in before the excitement of Saturday’s outing.
Saturday was our busy day, lots to do, so we set off early to go to the David and Charles book shop. There didn’t seem to be quite as many craft books this year as previously, but I did find a copy of Girolamo Cardano’s Ars Magna (English translation) for £1 so I was happy 🙂
Then back in the minibus and on to Coldharbour Mill, where we were treated to tours of both the upstairs machinery open to the public and John Arbon‘s machines in the basement which aren’t normally viewable. I love all the machinery, and it is amazing how so much of it is recogniseably the same process as hand spinning just on a much larger scale.
In the shop at the mill I treated myself to 600g of 70% alpaca, 30% merino fibre, in Cappuccino:
After lunch at the mill it was back in the minibus again to go to Westcott Farm to see Lesley Prior and her Bowmont sheep and Cashmere goats.
Here are some of the sheep:
And here some of the goats:
It was great to see Lesley again and catch up on what is happening on the farm. It is always interesting to talk to someone so passionate about what they do.
After the tour of the farm Lesley very kindly made us all tea and fantastic scones. I couldn’t resist buying some of her lovely cashmere:
This is 4ply cashmere, 25g, 116m. I’m not sure what I am going to do with it yet, but it is such a lovely colour and feels very soft and squishy.
In the evening we all went out for a delicious dinner at the Nobody Inn, there were enough of us that we got our own room 🙂
Tired and very full we trundled back to Sheldon.
Sunday was less formal, but still packed full. In the morning we had a go at blending different colours of fibre on drum carders and hackles.
Here is some of the carding in action, with the enormous pile of fibre to choose from behind it.
And here is Terri having a go on Rachel’s hackle.
I spun up my efforts when I got home:
The red is merino blended on the hackle, and the greens are a mixture of merino with a little bit of silk carded on a Minty Fine Carder. I enjoyed having a go at this, particularly because I don’t own a carder or a hackle, it was very useful to be able to compare. I prefered spinning the fibre from the hackle, in general I prefer a combed preparation and like to spin smooth yarn, although I prefer the colours I chose with the carder. I love playing with colours and seeing the different effects you can create and would like to have more of a go at this soon.
After the tables were cleared away the floor was used to share out the two enormous bags of waste fibre John Arbon had given us, a mixture of alpaca and different wools. I decided this was best as a spectator sport!
And this is my share:
I’m not quite sure what I am going to do with it yet, but I think it will come in really handy for learning new techniques.
After a delicious roast dinner, there was just the clearing up to do, and then all too soon it was time to pack everything back in the car and say goodbye.
Very kindly Joanne gave me this sheep for doing the driving:
He has a lot of character, and is currently keeping an eye on me from on top of the printer.
And Marty gave me a skein of 4ply Alpaca/BFL which I am looking forward to dyeing:
The drive home went ok if rather slowly, there is always a lot of traffic on a Sunday afternoon.
In all a wonderful weekend. Lovely to see so many old friends and make new ones, and to have such a fun time.